How to Make the Best First Impression On the Other Gender

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A 'How To' for turning that awkward introduction into a lasting first impression.

Submitted: October 05, 2013

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Submitted: October 05, 2013




How to Make the Best First Impression On the Other Gender

By Chelsea Childs


Whether we like to admit it or not, first impressions matter. Even if someone’s opinion of you isn’t set in stone, relationships of any degree are easier to build on a positive foundation. While there are numerous strategies for handling every kind of situation, everyone goes through the motions of casual introductions on a daily basis. So here are some rules of engagement for the everyday first encounter between man and woman.

Number one, don’t be afraid to initiate. Ladies, by all means, it’s alright to take initiative and approach him first. Our princess-fairytale Disney movies have tricked us into believing it is solely Prince Charming’s responsibility to show interest, but that is not the case. Ask any man about it and I guarantee he would suggest a woman with enough confidence to introduce herself sits higher on the scale than the damsel who waits around. Guys, while I do think it is acceptable for women to approach first, don’t think that you should just wait around. Being shy is one thing, assuming the damsel persona is another.

Side note for my men here—this goes under Rule Number One, but it’s too important to forget: never use pickup lines. If you want to come off like a no-good sorry jerk, then you may resort to a cheesy pick-up line. No woman, worth your time, really wants to hear it. Yes, as a joke they are occasionally funny, but there is no humor in the mind of the victim of an exhausted one-liner.

Number two is simple, make eye contact and give a firm handshake (at least in the Western Hemisphere). All too often I meet people with limp hands or worse, vise grips. Don’t Hulk out on a handshake, but don’t act disinterested either.

Number three, ask direct questions. I know the subliminal messaging and suggestive phrases are copouts for the potential rejection, but show some confidence. No one likes wishy-washy. Maybe the occasional quirky cute play on words is alright, but either ask or be quiet. You’ll thank me later.

Number four; let the woman initiate casual touching outside of the handshake. If she wants any kind of intimate contact she’ll let you know. Mind you, everyone’s pace varies, but it only takes one awkward lingering hand to be labeled a creeper (and erasing that reputation is tougher than licking your elbow).

Number five; introduce your new friend to your old friends…if they show up during the conversation. This rule can and should be applied to everyone all the time. No matter what your current friends are like, it’s only polite to include your new friend. No one likes to awkwardly sit and wait on you to finish a conversation with a buddy, especially after just meeting.

Number six is for men. Open the door for her no matter what. Yes, we all know there are those macho chicks out there that “don’t need men to open their door,” but do it anyway. Even if she doesn’t appreciate it, you’ve learned something about her: she’s rude. However, more than likely she’ll feel special and see it as a sign of respect. You might even be surprised at how many women actually expect that sort of thing.

Number seven; listen as much as you talk. There are no rules that say you must be the most interesting person on the planet, so don’t pull a filibuster or constantly interrupt. It’s merely a respect factor, and it keeps you from sounding narcissistic, unless you want to sound narcissistic--and then I suppose it’s alright.

Number eight is for everyone with a smartphone: put it away and get a personality. It is incredibly rude to text, Insta-stalk, Facebook creep, or tweet while holding a conversation. I don’t care how great you are at multitasking. No one wants to share your attention, and dividing it is a sure sign you aren’t interested in what they’re saying. Even if you can hear and remember every word, you will forget to make eye contact like Rule Number Two told you to.

Number nine: the exit. Most people feel like it’s awkward no matter what you do, but there is a way. Every conversation varies, but you should resist the typical urges that may end the conversation on a bad note. Things like repeating yourself, abruptly ending the conversation, rapid eye movement, and fidgeting are all poor ways to show you were delighted to meet someone. This reminds me of the phrase, “You haven’t left until you’ve said goodbye three times.”— I realize this is a typical occurrence for most people. However, make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re rushing the other person off. For instance “Well, it was very nice meeting you, but I do have to run,” sounds a lot better than “Well, like I said I gotta go… Ok, gotta go, thanks.” Be honest, but be mindful of the intonation of your voice and the language you use. It could mean the difference between seeing each other another time and never again. 

So there you have it, ladies and gentleman. It’s that simple. Now there is no excuse for another awkward introduction (unless you’re painfully anxious or shy). Just remember that confidence shows, courtesy and chivalry are not dead arts, and having a reason to leave is alright. Now go out there, meet some people, and pass on the knowledge of how men and women should introduce themselves.



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