Meeting a stranger for the first time is always a bit awkward, even if you’ve been chatting online or on the phone beforehand. If you are able to instantly put your date at ease, the nerves will fade away and you can start getting to know each other properly. Here are five ways to create an instant connection.
Make eye contact
Eye contact is the quickest way to form a connection with someone. It shows confidence and that you’re enjoying their company. If you avoid their gaze, they may feel you think they’re boring or that you feel uncomfortable. If you really struggle with eye contact, try focussing on the end of their nose instead as, to them, it will seem like you are gazing into their eyes.
Hopefully you’ll be completely engrossed in what they’re saying but sometimes anxiety or nerves can make us self-conscious, which stops us from concentrating. By genuinely listening to what they’re saying, and demonstrating that through body language and asking questions, they will be able to relax, which will make you feel calm and confident too.
Touch their arm
A light, brief arm touch is a good way to let your date know what you’re engaged with what they’re saying, and that you feel comfortable enough with them for a small amount of physical contact. Make sure the touch stays between the wrist and the elbow, and don’t try to touch them anywhere else on a first date. Pay attention to how they respond to your touch: if they look uncomfortable or move away, don’t try it again, but wait to see if they reciprocate later.
Read their body language
Reading and reacting to someone’s body language is a great way to connect with them. For example, if they’re leaning towards you when they talk and maintaining eye contact, this is a good sign (and a good moment for a gentle arm touch!). Mirroring someone’s body language is an effective, non-verbal way to demonstrate empathy.
Tell them you like them
This one sounds very obvious, but it’s very hard to do. If you’ve enjoyed spending time with someone, tell them that you’d like to meet up with them again. It sounds much better in real life than it will later in a text, which can often be misread or forgotten about. Tell them you like them and see what happens.
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