There is nothing more exhilarating than starting a relationship with someone you’re head over heels for. The mixture of nervousness, excitement, validation and promise that comes with those crucial first few dates can’t be matched.
As you get to know each other, both of you have a chance to reinvent yourselves. What an opportunity to shed bad habits, bury the less favorable parts of your past, and put your best face forward! At the same time, you are cautiously evaluating your date’s every gesture and sentence, reading between the lines to try to form an accurate picture of the person across the table.
What can you deduce about your date as you get acquainted in those all-important first nights out? Is she really who she says she is? Is he just feeding me lines, or does he really feel that way? Part of the fun, of course, is figuring it all out. Here are 5 things to look for in the candlelight:
Does your date smile genuinely?
The most powerful facial expression is the smile. When flashed out of genuine happiness or delight, it is calming and reassuring sign of contentment. But when faked, it is cause for caution. If you spot forced smiles on the face of your date, he or she is not as engaged in the conversation as you might think. Waiter! Check please!
Does your date gesture while talking?
Are your date’s hands hidden below the table while she is answering questions? If so, you are in for a loooong evening. (Not the good kind of long evening either.) As social creatures, we don’t normally tense up and freeze our upper bodies in normal, relaxed conversation, so a lack of arm or hand gestures while talking is a strong sign of discomfort, or worse, deception. On the other hand, if your date is knocking wine glasses over left and right as she excitedly tells stories, you’re in for a fun night.
Does your date place physical barriers between the two of you?
You’re midway through dinner, and all is going well with the date. Or so you think. But after the busboy has cleared the table so there’s nothing but white tablecloth between the two of you, she pulls out her purse and sets it in front of her. Red flag! Interviewers and interrogators have found that people who are hiding something (say, guilt or discomfort) will look to build barriers around them with whatever’s available. If the table stays clear, use the opportunity to connect… How about an after-dinner drink?
Does your date repeat your questions verbatim?
Within the first few dates, the question inevitably comes up, “Are you seeing anyone else?” If your date’s response is to repeat the question in full, Am I seeing anyone else?, chances are good that he or she is about to fudge the truth. While we repeat parts of questions all the time in normal conversation, the only reason we take the time to parrot a question in full is to buy time to construct a deceptive answer. So be ready with a follow-up “Is that the whole story?” if you really want to know the truth. You might not.
Are your date’s legs and feet pointed toward the door?
For your sake, let’s hope not. You may have heard the expression “fight or flight”… this is the human evolutionary response to stressful or uncomfortable situations. In the case of a date gone south, the human tendency for “flight” usually results in a person subconsciously orienting himself toward the exit. His legs cross away from you to build a barrier, his feet point toward the door and he leans in that direction as well. By contrast, when two people are comfortable and building rapport, their feet, legs and torsos are oriented toward each other. As the evening progresses, if all goes well, those body parts may even become … entangled.