You know how that moment goes, don’t you? It’s the first date and your first real encounter where you are face to face—and you have no idea how to handle yourself! Suddenly you have turned from a confident person into a stumbling fool because you’re unsure of what proper etiquette is when it comes to greeting this person that stands before you. First of all don’t feel bad, everyone goes through this and has this moment of uncertainty. Secondly, know that there are a few simple greetings that can take the edge off and put you both at ease.
The thing to remember is that you should always go with your gut. Though there will be times that you feel a little shy or want to keep a bit of distance, there will be other times when you want to extend the hug. Keep in mind how you approach this first meeting too, and if you have already talked on the phone, then you have a bit more of a comfort level than the alternative. Though it can be tough to think through that all important first greeting, if you put your mind to it you can give a good first impression and set the framework for things moving forward.
If you find yourself in this predicament and are unsure of how to greet your first date, here are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind. You may still have that moment of uncertainty, but trust your instinct and use these tips to help you to create the perfect greeting to set the right tone for that first date.
1. Smile and make eye contact: This is by far the best greeting and it fits nearly every situation. You see them for the first time, you look into their eyes and maintain that eye contact. What that says to the other person is that you are engaged in what they have to say and interested in them. The smile doesn’t have to be forced or over the top, but it does have to help you to look warm and open. You want to look approachable and you want to set the right tone, and sometimes all it takes is a smile, eye contact, and body language that says you are interested in enjoying a good first date with this person standing before you.
2. Stand close and place your hand on their arm or shoulder: You want to close the gap with the space between the two of you, and that may be all that it takes. When you can stand close that works wonders. When you can stand close and then place an innocent hand on their arm, that’s even better! You want to show them that you are interested, that you want to talk to them and that you are all about making the first date a success. A simple gentle well placed touch on the arm, a smile, and standing just a little bit closer can be all that it takes.
3. Give a brief hug if you have already talked and established comfort before the date: If you are feeling it in that moment, if you are greeted with a warm and friendly smile, and if you are ready to move things forward then go in for the hug. This is particularly effective if you have already chatted before the date and you feel that instant chemistry. Be sure that you don’t linger too long or say too much with the hug, but in the end if you feel it then give a brief hug to start things off the right way—your instinct will serve you well and it can really help to launch a great first meeting!
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