I go on first dates with abandon (read: I have no standards). From all this experience I have learned three things: most first dates will not be awesome, a select few first dates will be the exact opposite of awesome, and even fewer will be truly wonderful. When they are, though, they will be stratospherically, scream-it-from-the-rooftops-like-a-bad-romcom wonderful. They’re what makes those 45 minutes we spent nursing a vodka-soda listening to some drip drone on about his boring job or her stupid pets worth it. Here are eight things you’ll feel after an amazing first date (that deserves a second one).
1. Mutual awesomeness
This is the holy grail of first dates: how often do you find someone who thinks you’re awesome, who you also find just as awesome? But it’s also one of the very best things you’ll feel after nailing a first date. Few things feel better than when you both leave a date feeling better and more confident about yourself, and like there was no question of whether or not you were into each other.
2. Sexual chemistry
We’re not saying your night has to end in a full-on makeout sesh (though good for you if it does), but we’re not going to lie — by the time you part ways, you should be feeling some kind of urge to grab their face and/or other body parts. Sometimes you’ll have so much to talk about there’s no time for physical stuff to even come into the picture, but if you don’t feel any desire for physical contact, whether or not anything happens, that’s not a great sign.
3. A sense of authenticity
We all want to present our best selves on first dates, and sometimes that means you can force yourself to be “on” for the night, carefully offering up only your funniest stories and pretending like you don’t snort when you laugh. But on a great first date, you’ll subconsciously shed this pressure to be “on” and just start being yourself — snorts and all. When you’re being yourself, you’re free to take a genuine, honest interest in what your date has to say, as if you were catching up with a good friend. And that’s a very good sign.
4. A feeling of mystery or intrigue
In Data: A Love Story, author Amy Webb discovered the most popular women on online dating sites limited their profiles to around 500 words or less. The reason, she concluded, was these women knew to put out just enough about themselves to leave visitors with a desire to know more about them. Similarly, if you end a first date feeling like you know this person completely, why would you want to go out with them again? Feeling like there’s so much left to learn about this mysterious and wonderful new person in front of you is one of the very best things you can experience after a great first date.
5. The constant urge to replay the date
If you find yourself replaying the best parts of your date in your head long after it’s over — like when you both said the same thing at the same time, or when you both laughed at something funny the waiter did — it can feel like the best kind of daydream. A great first date will make you continually draw upon and revisit these special little moments in your head for hours or days afterward. Conversely, if you try to think back on what happened and the memories don’t come flowing back, chances are it wasn’t a very good date.
6. Validation that your date feels the same
It’s only human to crave validation, especially from a romantic interest. A friend of mine recently told me how he judges whether or not a first date went well: “If we make out, then I know she didn’t hate me.” Not all post-first-date gestures will be so obvious, but if it was a great date, you’ll feel some sense that your date felt the same, whether that’s through a follow-up text, an invitation to go out again, or, yes, a makeout.
7. A desire to be better
A great first date will be so intoxicating it will redirect your focus from the negative parts of your life, whether that’s the job you’re struggling with or the ex you’re trying to get over. The shot of positive energy you feel just by sitting in front of this great person will force you to live in the present and make you want to improve yourself.
8. Hopeful about dating in general
You know how going on enough bad first dates will convince you the only right thing to do is ban humans and live the rest of your days curled up in bed with an endless stockpile of burritos and Ally McBeal reruns? Great first dates will make you feel the exact opposite. And no matter what happens on dates two, three, four, or on to infinity, that’s what we love the most about them.