Couple laughing, drinking beer in a pub on a date

Not Sure If Your Date Went Well? Look for These 10 Signs

First dates are always a little difficult to gauge, especially in the age of the apps when everyone is a bit wary of being too sincere or too vulnerable. With so many people going on multiple dates a week, the incentive is to play it cool and not take risks, and that often results with both parties wondering if the date was a success or not.

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To make matters worse, how you act after the first date matters a lot. If you’re too eager to reach out again, you might come off as desperate, whereas if you play it cool and act aloof, you risk losing the attention of your date, who might assume you didn’t have a good time or aren’t interested in a second date.

And in the past year, this problem has had an interesting twist: the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of virtual first dates, and if you thought you were bad at reading the signs in-person, doing so over a virtual meet-and-greet is even harder.

To make things easier on you, we consulted some dating experts and put together a list of ten surefire signs that the first date went well. Learn to read the signs and you’ll never have any confusion about where you stand after a first date.

10 Signs of a Successful First Date

1. They Asked You Questions About Yourself

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how easily we overlook the obvious, especially when we’re nervously focused on how we look or sound to another person.

Match’s Chief Dating Expert Rachel DeAlto stressed the importance of paying attention to how inquisitive your date was. “Do they ask a lot of questions? They don’t have to be interrogating, but even just asking questions (and follow ups) show that they are interested,” she told AskMen.

2. They Leaned Into You While Talking

While a subtle sign, this is a positive indicator that your date found you interesting and engaging. Tripp Kramer, one of the most successful and sought-after dating coaches in Chicago, put it this way: “Check if her body is leaning in closer to yours or if she even seems to be playfully slapping your hand or leg. These are strong signs of interest because when a woman is not interested she usually stays stiff or even backs up when you two are speaking.”

This one even works on Zoom or Skype dates, since the tendency to want the intimacy of proximity doesn’t go away just because you’re communicating digitally.

3. They Laughed at Your Jokes

Men and women both list a sense of humor as one of the most desirable traits in a partner, and sharing a laugh is the both the easiest way to break first-date tension and build trust with someone who, just hours before, was a total stranger to you. So ask yourself: did your date laugh at your jokes? Did they find you funny? If yes, you’re probably in for a second date.

4. They Made Eye Contact Often

Eye contact is inherently intimate. It’s not easy to hold a friend’s gaze for very long, let alone a stranger’s, but when two people are vibing on a date, it becomes totally natural and even helps build the attraction.

That’s one of the reasons Tripp Kramer lists “strong eye contact” as among the best signs of interest: you just don’t spend much time locking eyes with someone you find boring or unattractive. Rachel DeAlto agrees, noting that “[continual] making eye contact is a sign they are interested in connecting.”

“When we are looking to create distance, we tend to avoid intense eye contact, even if it’s only subconsciously,” she adds.

5. They Spoke About You to a Friend

People don’t talk about their dates with friends unless they fall into two broad categories: good, in which case they’re preparing their friends for the possibility of meeting you in the future, or catastrophic, in which case they’re looking for sympathy for the ordeal they went through. But if your date went out of their way to let you know they spoke about you to friends, you can be confident it was the former and not the latter.

6. They Asked You About Your Life Goals

Another subtle sign many guys miss, since it can easily be disguised as simple politeness, is if your date takes an interest in your future plans. If that’s the case, congratulations! They’re wondering if you two have a future together.

“If a woman starts asking future-facing questions, then she’s interested in learning if your futures align – that’s another good sign,” states Laurel House, one of eharmony’s relationship experts. “Men shouldn’t be scared of those questions as the timeline can be set for both when the time is right, but knowing she’s thinking about the future is always a plus.”

7. They Thanked You for the Date

You might dismiss this as simple politeness (and it is!), but a “thank you” text the following day is also a way of re-establishing contact, making it a natural way to continue the conversation from the date itself. And trust us: if the date went poorly, they won’t be eager to get back in touch with you.

8. They Made Physical Contact With You

Touch establishes rapport and builds attraction, and while long hugs and kisses are obvious physical signs of affection, they’re not the only ones.

On a first date, every piece of contact is significant, however minor or seemingly inadvertent. Were they comfortable brushing up against your legs at the bar, or happy to slap your leg when you made them laugh? Success!

9. They Rarely Checked Their Phone

In the modern world, this is a big one, since most of us are addicted to our phones and the constant notifications from friends and social media. If your date can’t put their phone down, that’s pretty rude, and a sign you might not want to continue things – but if they don’t bother to check their phone, it’s a sign they’re engaged in the here and now, and that’s good news for you.

10. You Left the Date With an Inside Joke

We already mentioned the importance of humor in establishing and building attraction, but there’s a big difference between sharing some laughs and having your own inside joke. The former is great, but the latter is the stuff of real intimacy and friendship, and naturally lends itself to future rapport. If you’re lucky enough to leave a first date with an inside joke, watch out: it didn’t just go well, it went really well, and you’d better start planning that second and third date ASAP.

First dates can be difficult to read at times, but armed with the above knowledge, you should be a lot more confident in where you stand and what your future together might look like.

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