Dating is … you probably just filled in a word based on your own experience. Exciting. Awkward. Fun. The worst! Your perception of dating likely depends on your experience of it — and the experience of those closest to you, particularly if you’re the only one in a friend group in a long-term monogamous relationship.
Dating is whatever you want it to be, but for most human beings, the first date is the most fragile. It’s possibly your one shot to truly connect with this person. A first date that goes badly doesn’t usually lead to a second one in most cases. But how do you know when your first date has gone well?
12 Signs He Enjoyed Your First Date
Everyone has insecurities, and the first date can be the most awkward. At this point, you’re really trying to see if you have any connection or chemistry at all. This is especially true with online dating when this is your first time actually meeting, and you first have to verify that you haven’t been catfished.
If you meet up with your date and really like him, here are some signs that he was feeling that vibe, too.
He Immediately Followed Up for a Second
It’s a pretty stellar sign if your date immediately follows up to confirm a second date. It shows that he’s interested and would like to get to know you better. It’s a sure sign that he found the first date enjoyable enough to want to do it again. If he didn’t enjoy the date, he’d likely try to end it as soon as possible with either an overture of pure friendship or clear communication that he’s just not that into you.
Of course, at this point, just because he wants a second date doesn’t mean you know exactly what kind of relationship he’s interested in with you. That’s why it’s important to ask and get the kind of clarity you want from the very first date. The good news is that following one date up with confirmation of another is a positive development.
He Smiled and Laughed Often
How was the banter? If he smiled and laughed often during the date, you can breathe a sigh of relief that he likely enjoyed himself. First dates can be cringe-worthy experiences, particularly if either one of you brings in overwhelming expectations. When your date can relax enough to laugh and enjoy himself, you know the date is going well.
Plus, even if this person is a total stranger to you, you’ll likely notice if the smiles or laughter seem forced or polite. Look for the subtle cues that signal they’re just being nice but not really feeling it. It’s important at this juncture to be observant and to avoid projecting your hopes and expectations on this person. It’ll be easier to see the signs of a tight, polite smile if you’re paying attention rather than interpreting every subtle movement as a nod in the right direction.
You Conversed the Entire Time
It’s always a good sign if the conversation flows naturally, and you both chatter away. If you skipped the interview portion of the first date and went straight to genuinely talking without needing icebreakers, it went well. The steady conversation is a positive indicator that he enjoyed himself.
It’s okay if you start with icebreakers. First dates can be nerve-racking. But if the conversation starts out stilted and then flows, it’s still a good sign.
You might have had a plan for how long the date would last. Did he linger? Did he take his time and try to draw it out? That’s a great development.
Someone who is enjoying the date may try to turn drinks into dinner or suggest another activity following the one you agreed upon. Even if you have plans immediately after and can’t make it, if he’s interested, he’ll still show signs of wanting to linger and spend more time with you — even if he can’t. This will likely be followed up with a clear indication that he would like to see you again.
He Asked You Questions to Know More About You
Ask yourself this question: Did he ask the expected questions that everyone asks on a first date, or did he seem genuinely interested in getting to know you? There’s a big difference.
Some dates will try to figure out how old you are, what you do for a living, what your past and present relationship history looks like, and why you’re single in the first place. Other dates will dig deeper and will ask genuine questions about your life, hobbies, and history. There will be follow-up questions, and you won’t feel like they’re just checking things off a list.
He Made a Lot of Eye Contact
Long, soulful gazes could be a clear sign that he’s enjoying the date, but even consistent eye contact can be a good indicator. Eye contact is one of those universal signs that (a) he’s paying attention and (b) he’s interested.
Yet, it’s also important to note that it’s possible that he’s enjoying the date but doesn’t make a lot of eye contact. Autistic adults and adults with anxiety may find eye contact challenging. While frequent eye contact could be a signal that the date went well, it’s far from the only determining factor.
He Showed Off
If he tried to impress you during the date, it could be that he just loves the attention — but it’s very possible that he was enjoying the date and wanted you to think well of him. Did he low-key flex on his accomplishments? Did he humble-brag his way through some of your inquiries? The fact that he’s trying to get you to like him could be a sign that he’s interested and wants you to be interested, too.
He Didn’t Keep Checking His Phone
A man who keeps checking his phone and responding to texts is rude — and likely disinterested. While there are always exceptions to this rule, if they were good ones, he’d explain upfront so that you wouldn’t feel slighted. On the other hand, a man who doesn’t even glance at his phone and keeps it on silent throughout the date is most likely enjoying himself.
After all, he’s not waiting for some mysterious summons to bail him out — like a good friend with a fake emergency. He’s relaxed and paying attention to you, not his social media.
He Was Flirtatious
Did he keep it friendly or flirty? If the tone of the date was flirtatious, it’s a positive indication that he was having a good time and the first date went well. He’s not trying to shove you into a friend zone or send you on your way, never to be seen again. He’s letting you know that he’s attracted to you and interested by flirting with you.
Let’s be honest: some men flirt with everyone. Pay attention. Did he show that same flirtatious energy to the host who seated you and the server at the table? Did he shower everyone within range with his charm and charisma? If so, then flirting isn’t special, and you may not know if he actually enjoyed the date without comparing notes to see if any of these other signs were present.
You Noticed Stolen Glances
If you noticed his sneaking glances your way and checking you out, he might have been really attracted to you. It’s possible he also enjoyed the date. Those lingering, stolen glances when he thinks you weren’t paying attention are clues. The fact that he’s trying to check you out without being obvious or creepy is a good thing.
In fact, an even better sign is when you’re low-key checking him out only to find that he’s checking you out, too. If your stolen glances keep meeting, it’s likely that you both think the date is going well.
He Texted After Without Making You Wait
Did you get a text without having to wait and wonder? A man who’s interested in you will likely follow up to let you know he enjoyed the date — and that he hopes to see you again.
Honestly, the second part isn’t a guarantee. He might have genuinely enjoyed the date but does not see a future with you. That’s okay. Sometimes, you might want different things or just not have the right vibe to move forward. It doesn’t mean the date was awful — or that you are.
A follow-up text is a good thing either way. It lets you know that he’s not going to ghost you, and it confirms that he has some basic manners at the very least. It could also be a sign that he’s interested in continuing to the second date.
He Stayed Close While Respecting Your Boundaries
A sign that he really enjoyed the first date is one you’ll miss if you aren’t paying attention. If he sat close to you, leaned in toward you, or found a way to touch your hand or come in for that first date kiss, it’s a safe bet he enjoyed himself. Trying to be close to you is a great sign — as long as he respected your boundaries in the process.
Everyone will have different ideas about what’s appropriate in terms of closeness on a first date. If you don’t mind things going straight to a kiss or even to a hotel room, there’s no judgment here, but it’s also possible that you want to take things a little more slowly. What’s important is how well he reads, listens to, and respects your boundaries.
What To Do Next
If the first date didn’t go well, it’s not the end of the world. You might still get a shot at a do-over. However, if the two of you just didn’t share a vibe, it’s best to cut your losses and move on. You might have thought he was the one for you, but if he says he’s not feeling it, he’s not the one.
Don’t take it personally. If you feel rejected and sad, spend time nursing those feelings and validating your disappointment. Then, acknowledge that this person wasn’t for you, and move on. There really are more fish in the sea even if you really wanted that one.
If the first date went well, you can wait for him to initiate the second, or you can suggest an activity. Many people will tell you to play hard to get, and there’s some wisdom in avoiding the appearance of being too eager and available as it might come across as desperate. Yet, there’s much to be said for honesty, clarity, and openness. A simple “Hey, I had a good time, and I’d like to see you again” could help you find out how they feel and if they want to continue getting to know you.
If they immediately come back with a monosyllabic or noncommittal answer, they might not be that into you — even if they enjoyed the first date. If they make a statement about getting to know you better as a friend, you’ll know that they don’t see you as their next relationship status update. But you just might get confirmation that they were feeling the same connection you experienced.
Dating has its challenges, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice when a date is having a good time or when he’s regretting that he even showed up. With a little sensitivity, you might be able to turn the date around. Take off the pressure. Don’t feel like you have to interview them, and don’t put the pressure of “The One” or your “soulmate” on his plate. A date can be fun even if it doesn’t lead to a second one.
So, relax, enjoy yourself, and look for the signs that they’re enjoying the date with you, too.
Originally published on The Truly Charming
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