If you’re dating, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only are you likely exhausted in your search to find someone you actually enjoy spending time with, but you’re probably sick of wasting your precious free time on a chemistry-lacking dud or a date that goes nowhere. Experts acknowledge that dating can be overwhelming, as can the attempt to find someone worth your time. And even when you do like someone, it can feel near-impossible to tell whether or not he or she feels the same.
“In the modern dating landscape, where ghosting is a common occurrence and people have been conditioned to think that someone even better might be just a swipe away, unfortunately, there are no surefire signs that your first date is likely to lead to a second,” says Dave Bowden, online dating expert and confidence coach. “But just because it can be hard to tell if your date is into you doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There are some signs of a good date to look out for.” If any of these signals are present, you just might be in line for a second date.
There’s not a single lull in your conversation
“Good conversations and strong connections go hand in hand: The more common ground you have, the easier it will be to talk to each other, and the easier the conversation flows, the more likely you are to feel a connection — and an attraction,” says Bowden. “If your first-date conversation flows smoothly without many awkward pauses, it’s a great sign.”
They show interest in your interests
If your date is actually interested in what you’re talking about, he or she will lean into the conversation and show genuine support. “They may show their interest by asking questions about it, or they may reference it throughout the evening or on the second date,” explains Lauren Korshak, LMFT and online dating expert. “How they show their interest will depend on their personality type.”
They’re all smiles
We’re not talking the polite, forced kind — we mean big, open smiles that are genuine in nature. While this can be hard to detect, especially in someone you’ve only just met, keep an eye on how they smile at other people around them (i.e. the waitress, the patron passing by, etc.).” If your date frequently slips into a cheek-to-cheek grin, you can be confident that they’re enjoying your company, but if their smile is tight-lipped and you can’t see their teeth, be warned: They may just be throwing on a fake smile to be polite,” says Bowden.
You both seem to be laughing a lot
If you’re not sure whether their smile is a genuine grin or a plastered-on fake, Bowden suggests looking for the next level of engagement: laughter. “According to a study out of the University of Kansas, when a man makes jokes and a woman laughs, it’s a good indicator of romantic connection — but when the couple laughs together, it’s an even stronger sign,” he says. “If you’re both laughing throughout the date, the way you would while swapping stories with an old friend, it’s a definite sign.”
They remember the little things
This one you’ll notice later in the date, or maybe even a few days later, but it’s a key detector of whether or not your date considers you partner potential. Pay attention to how he or she responds when you bring up stories or bits of information that you’ve already mentioned before. “If your date remembers stories you told them about your life or references inside jokes or specific things you shared with them, it means they were really paying attention to and interested in what you said,” says Korshak.
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You truly feel that they’re into you
Sometimes it all comes down to your gut. Do you think your date is super into you? “You don’t have to worry about remembering all the social and scientific data points that indicate attraction — when you and your date are vibing, you’ll feel a spark,” says Bowden. “If you go looking for it and just can’t find it, chances are it’s not there, and you can save yourself some time (and potentially some heartache) by simply moving on.”