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Home » Featured, Headline, Relationships

Can You Trust First Impressions?

Submitted by on October 29, 2012 – 11:39 pmNo Comment

Author: Darren

Your friends think you’re hilarious, your work colleagues find you trustworthy and your mum KNOWS that you would be God’s gift to the opposite sex if one of them would just give you half a chance. Unfortunately dates are like job interviews; no matter how suitable you may be for the – ahem – position, it’s all about that crucial first impression. Unlike a job interview however, there are no CVs or references to precede you, just a well-placed phone call or a tipsy conversation at a dark nightclub to work with.

The Approach

Strictly speaking, the phrase ‘first impressions’ is not to be taken entirely literally. Traditionally it is a two-part process, hence the pluralisation, but you must lock down the semi-finals if you want to have a shot at the title. Your initial move has to be played just right from both sides and it is so crucial that scholars have been trying to pin down the perfect technique since mankind first invented the tavern. If you happen to be male then it’s bad news for the lazy bones out there because, in this patriarchal society we live in, you’re still expected to make the first move and have a damn good reason for doing so. Put simply, make sure you’ve got your biggest pair of balls on. However, it’s not all plain sailing for the ladies; you have to look alluringly nonchalant without coming across as a bitch, and that’s no easy feat!

Stage 2 begins

Once you’ve got the all-important phone number, e-mail address or [insert social network du jour here] then you move firmly into phase deux, known by some as the ‘ceremonial first impression’, so-called because it’s not actually the first but it’s the one that counts. It begins as soon as you say your goodbyes, with those details still processing in your phone’s memory. Will you give in to temptation and make the phone call that evening, or will you accept that the fetid stench of desperation is NOT the best impression to give at this early juncture? If you have any sense you’ll hold fire; again, convention dictates that the man makes the call but if he chooses the right time to do so it is the woman’s duty to respond in kind. As a confirmed heterosexual male I tend to make the assumption that same-sex couples don’t have this problem, and I doth my cap to them if that’s correct.

Out of Harms Way

Choosing a venue for the date is important and I don’t want to appear to be glossing over this sizable element, but as it is usually arranged over the phone or Internet it must be marginalised into the sub-category of Stage 2 known as ‘audio/literary’ – once a phone call or email has been made at an appropriate juncture, this premier bout can be rounded off by a few witty remarks and a good restaurant suggestion. The chances are that if you didn’t already possess these qualities you wouldn’t have got past The Approach. Our next focus will be the ‘visual’ round, where fashion and grooming turn their perfectly-coiffed heads to make or break your rendezvous. In short, it’s a question of your partner’s taste but for the most part ladies should opt for elegant angles, well-trusted colours and just a hint of cleavage or leg (whichever suits you best) and guys need to stick to smart casual with major focus on the perfect pair of shoes.

Be Yourself…mostly

We’ve all heard this little nugget of advice before and most of us who have followed it will know that it results in varying degrees of success. Reaching into the deepest recesses of one’s personality and retrieving a stream-of-consciousness narrative about your awkward childhood and why you’re under-appreciated at work is hardly first date material, so make sure everything you say is tempered with a degree of mystery. However the old adage is true that if you’re not honest about your feelings, opinions, ideologies or – even worse – your career or personal life then it will come back and bite you later on. Thankfully once you’ve got past this third and final sub-category – also known as ‘the meat’ – that metaphorical Everest that we call the First Impression is over.


While all of this still applies to courtship in the 21st century (decade 2) the goalposts have been moved somewhat in the last fifteen years. With the proliferation of social networking and online dating it is possible to make a first impression before you’ve even met your potential partner, and that can be a good thing or a bad thing. Mighty relationships are grown from the smallest seed, and if you stumble across someone whose profile makes them look exciting, well-dressed, funny and with similar interests to you then they’ve succeeded in making a good first impression. Specifically, they’ve fulfilled aspects of The Approach, ‘audio/literary’, ‘visual’ and ‘the meat’ but don’t be fooled; all that good work can be undone if the reality doesn’t match up. With today’s technology, just because you have more chances at a first impression doesn’t make it any easier!

This article was written by BarryCooke. Barry is a respected SEO and usability consultant who has been working in search and social media for over 15 years in a number of markets from online dating to finance and travel.

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