Should you kiss on the first date? A simple question with a complex answer
You met someone, you felt a connection, you asked them out, they said yes… and now you’re on a date. It’s a great feeling, but it doesn’t come without a few worries – is the date going well? Should you kiss on the first date? What about sex on the first date? What if – and hopefully this isn’t the case – your date isn’t going well? Pretty tough questions, especially if this is your first date in a while. Luckily, eharmony is here to walk you through how to act on a first date.
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5 Signs your first date is going well
Probably the most pressing concern in anyone’s mind while they’re on a date – is it going well? Luckily, it’s pretty obvious when it is. Here are the five top signs of a good first date:
1. You’re both laughing and smiling
Laughter is the best medicine… and an excellent indicator that a date is going well. If you and your date keep laughing at each other’s jokes (even when they’re not particularly funny) or smiling randomly at the other, you can rest assured that this date is well on its way to being a success. Fake laughter is pretty obvious after a point as are forced smiles. An even more obvious sign? If something awkward happens, and your reaction is laughter rather than embarrassment. It bodes well for the rest of your date and the future of your relationship.
Take it to the next level: Whatever your sense of humor (Dad jokes, dark humor, wisecracks) now is the time to lean into it. It’s a great time to figure out if you’re compatible in this aspect as well as other things. You could also suggest to your date to tell you one of their favorite jokes – as a bonus, in addition to (hopefully) making you laugh, it’ll tell you something about them.
2. The conversation is easy
There are no awkward pauses, no staring desperately into space thinking of something, anything to stay. Instead, you’re chatting quite easily as if you’ve known each other for years, both of you taking the time to listen as well as talk. Even if you both wind up speaking at the same time, it’s a cause for laughter, not awkwardness. While the conversation may have started off about superficial topics, it’s not long before you’re both opening up and chatting about deeper, more personal things – and neither of you feel any desire to stop.
Take it to the next level: Once you’ve established that your connection is deeper than surface level, don’t be afraid to bring up topics that would usually be taboo on a first date, like politics. After all, if there are things you feel very strongly about, it’s better for your date to know about them sooner rather than later.
3. There’s lots of eye contact
They say eyes are the windows to the soul, and they’re not wrong. In Western cultures, extended eye contact is not just a sign of trust, it’s a way of letting the other person know you’re interested. If you can’t keep your eyes off each other, or their feelings for you are obvious in the way they look at you – congratulations, your first date is going spectacularly. Another sign of interest – if you can feel their eyes on you even when you’re looking at the menu or talking to the waiter. You’re just too pretty not to look at!
Take it to the next level: Use your body language to telegraph your own interest. Keep up the eye contact, sure, but take it up a notch – lean in to listen when they’re speaking, or touch their arm gently but fleetingly in passing. Make sure you’re respecting their boundaries, of course!
4. You’re both present in the moment
Have you ever been on the kind of date where you forget your phone exists? Considering just how much of our attention those pocket-sized menaces claim, being present enough in the moment to forget them is a huge achievement – and a sign your date is going spectacularly well. Plus, research suggests we enjoy experiences far more when we make the effort to devote our full attention to being in the moment. So, what if you don’t have a selfie to commemorate your first date? You’ll have something a lot more precious, if less tangible – memories.
Take it to the next level: Put your phone away at the start of the date and suggest your date do the same. (Of course, the rules are different if you’re a first responder or need to be available in case your loved ones need you.) Making the choice to deliberately unplug will make you both more conscious of it and is a great way to really be present in the moment for your date.
5. You don’t want the date to end
You were only supposed to meet for an hour, but it’s been twice that and you keep finding more things to talk about. Or it was supposed to be coffee, but then it turned to wandering around the neighborhood and dinner after. Or you did get dinner, and now the staff is waiting impatiently for you to leave so they can close up. Could there be any clearer sign of a date going well than both of you trying to extend it? You don’t try and spend more time with someone you’re not interested in, after all.
Take it to the next level: When you set the initial date up, try and arrange things in a way that’ll give you the opportunity to either cut things short or extend them later – say, coffee in a neighborhood with plenty of shops, or dinner early enough you can head somewhere new for dessert.
Should you kiss on the first date?
This is probably the biggest question most people have: should you kiss on the first date? The honest answer is: it depends. It depends on the chemistry you and your date have, how the date went, whether the circumstances are suitable for a kiss, and most importantly, simply whether you want to.
The chemistry is the thing
Given that more and more people are meeting online these days, the line between friendship and romance can be blurry. Kissing on the first date is a great way to not only make your intentions clear but also to check what kind of vibe you two have between you, at least physically. It can be argued that you should pucker up sooner rather than later – imagine going on several dates and then finding out that there’s absolutely zero spark – or worse, that your otherwise wonderful sweetie is terrible at kissing. On the flipside, a good kiss can send attraction levels soaring, leaving you and your date eager to continue the relationship when before it might have been a one-and-done kind of deal.
How the date went
There are some dates where you just know you want to end the evening with a kiss – the ones where your bodies are leaning into each other right from the start, the eye contact is extensive and revelatory, the ones where you know there’s a connection right from the start. Conversely, there are the ones that didn’t go poorly, no, but they didn’t go particularly well, either – the conversation was middling, you don’t really have much of anything in common, and you’re not particularly eager to spend time with them. A kiss would be natural in the former case; the latter, not so much. How your date went is a good indicator of whether you should end it with a kiss – you don’t, for instance, want to give someone false hope by kissing them if you’re not planning on seeing them again (unless of course both of you are clear on this and decide to lock lips anyway).
Slow can be good
Sometimes, not kissing someone on the first date can be a great way to build anticipation for future dates – good things come to those who wait, after all! Especially in a dating culture that prioritizes casual sex and tends to hookups over serious relationships, waiting to kiss can be a sign that you’re both invested in this relationship. You may also simply find that the circumstances aren’t great for a post-first-date kiss – maybe your roommate is home, or maybe your date lives with their parents and you’re not at the PDA-in-front-of-family stage yet. You may also, for safety reasons, want to hold off on sharing saliva with someone until you’re exclusive – not an uncommon thing considering more and more people prefer to date multiple people before settling on a single person to commit to more seriously. (Some people think sexual compatibility is an important part of this decision, which is just as valid. If that sounds like you, remember to be open with any dates and practice safe sex.)
It’s your call
At the end of the day, the only person who can decide the right answer to ‘Should you kiss on the first date? is you. You may think that it’s a great way to judge compatibility, you may not want to be that intimate yet with someone who’s still a near stranger, you may hold off making a decision until the very last minute – all of those are equally valid choices. It also doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule – you may realize that you’re fine with kissing some people on the first date and would rather wait until they know their dates a little better. What’s important is that you and your partner are both okay with what is going on and it works for you.
|You should kiss on the first date
|You shouldn’t kiss on the first date
|It’s a great way of testing chemistry.
|It’s moving too fast.
|Waiting will make it more fun in the end.
|It’s ending the evening with a bang.
|You don’t know the person well enough.
Sex on the first date
Just like with kissing, whether to have sex on the first date is a deeply personal decision only you can make. There are valid reasons for doing so (the chemistry is great, sex is fun) as well as not (sex too early has been shown to doom relationships, some people just aren’t comfortable with that much intimacy so early). Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, though, remember that consent is key, and that respect and trust go a long way. Also, don’t forget to use protection.
What if your date isn’t going well?
It’s sad but true – not all dates are the start of a fairytale romance. Sometimes you and your partner disagree on what’s a good first date, sometimes there are awkward pauses, absolutely no common ground between you two, or a glaring lack of chemistry now that you’re seeing each other in person. Other times – and thankfully this is much rarer – it’s not actually safe for you to keep on with the date. If you’re worried about needing a reason to leave, it can be useful to arrange for a friend to call at a pre-arranged time, giving you a valid excuse to cut the date short. Another tactic is to set things up so that you have exit points if you need them – a coffee date with a (not necessarily real) meeting afterwards, for instance, meaning you can duck out without making things even more awkward than they already are.
Kissing is great… but what matters is the connection.
No two first dates are alike… which makes answering the question ‘Should you kiss on the first date?’ almost impossible to answer. The truth is it simply depends! If the date is going well, anything is possible. On the other hand, if the date isn’t going well, skip the kiss, but don’t lose hope – at eharmony, we have a large pool of eligible singles all looking for the same thing you are – a serious relationship. So, if your last first date didn’t work out, head on over to eharmony and take the plunge toward finding real love today.