Looking Good for Dating - The Power of First Impressions

Have you noticed how you know almost immediately if you’re going to like someone you’ve just met? The ability to make instant judgements about others was hard-wired into human beings millennia ago by the need to survive. Is this person a threat or a friend? Do we run, fight or can we relax? 

While nowadays the threats are less, we still make an instant judgement about a stranger on first meeting. Will we like them? Are they attractive? Psychologists tell us that first impressions are formed within a fraction of a second. Think how you react to people you don’t know. Rightly or wrongly, you form an immediate view. Once made, this decision is difficult to alter and it follows that the best opportunity to present ourselves well comes within the first split second of meeting.

So, the pressure is on at a first date to make as good an impression as possible so that you can increase your chances of establishing a rapport. Dating is a competitive game and obviously you want things to go well. You’re dating because you want to meet someone new for a relationship so how can we make our initial impact on others work to our advantage?

Some of these first impressions are influenced by factors outside our control: hair colour, body shape and size, or tone of voice. However, there are many areas you can easily do something about — we can make many changes to our appearance and behaviour to control how others see us. I’ll be examining these in more detail in future features, but here are a few general pointers to a successful date. 

The advice I give here is equally applicable to men and women:                                                                                                                      Appearance: Dressing and grooming have a huge influence on how we appear. We may be any shape and size, but we can enhance our look with carefully selected and stylish clothing and by ensuring that we look after ourselves. Wearing good quality clothes that fit and aren’t too outrageous in pattern and colour, and making sure our hair, bodies and skin are clean and well-maintained can all help to give a favourable first impression. 

Behaviour: How we respond to and treat others is an important part of the equation. Basic manners, selflessness and sociability are essential. Of course, nerves and confidence come into the equation, but being ourselves and remaining interested in others are the starting points to a successful first meeting.

And finally, here are some general thoughts for both men and women that will help make us more attractive to others: Age isn’t a licence to let yourself run to seed. Keep fit and active, manage the adverse effects of age by exercising regularly and in moderation for aerobic and muscular fitness. Exercise helps keep the brain healthy and depression at bay. Finally, stay interested in things around you and, above all, keep an open mind.

David Evans

Writer and Founder of Grey Fox Blog

David Evans (63) founded Grey Fox Blog in late 2011. As a man with little interest (then) in  fashion, he decided, for no particular reason, to set out on a search for style. The blog developed into a celebration of the best of menswear, cars, watches, food and drink. He also writes about the challenges and privileges of age and has addressed the subject of dating on many occasions on his blog.


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