If you’re meeting an online match in person for the very first time, pay close attention. Your date will reveal quite a bit about him or herself without realizing it, and in many cases, it’s those unintentional hints that tell you the most about who they really are.

In other words, keep your ears open and your eyes peeled! You’ll learn so much if you look for these clues.

1. Date Plans

Did your date make it easy to line up a time to meet, or was it difficult? Did your date find a spot convenient for you both, or did he or she prioritize their own convenience?

Finding yourself frustrated before you even meet in person isn’t a great way to start a date. Be sure to consider, however, whether the person’s situation (work schedule, having kids at home, etc.) is affecting these decisions.

2. The Outfit

What someone wears can say a lot about them. If the person dressed up or looks sloppy, it tells you how much thought and consideration was put into making a good impression. The clothes don’t tell the whole story, of course, but it can share some information about the person you’re about to get to know.

3. The Greeting

Did you get a handshake? A hug? A kiss? Two kisses?

How a date greets you says a lot about how this person views you and how this person displays or doesn’t display affection.  A formal greeting versus an informal greeting may indicate a person who is more reserved and hesitant.

4. Language About Exes

A man or woman who slanders an ex, especially in the early stages of dating, is one you need to be highly wary of. Sure, he or she may have picked a doozy. We all have at one point, but we can be careful with our words about a former partner. A person who blasts an ex may be overly critical or not very kind!

You should also note the language your date uses to talk about others in general, from friends to coworkers to family members… even just the people around you while you’re on the date. Does she judge the server or the bartender? Does he mock strangers you pass on the street? These types of comments are often intended to be taken as a joke, but generally they are red flags nonetheless.

5. Body Language

Is your dating oozing touchy feely vibes from the get-go? Is he or she keeping those arms crossed? Or how about warm, leaning in close and perhaps grazing your fingers or other parts of your body?

Body language can indicate interest towards you … but keep in mind that some people take a long time to warm up. So, whether your date leans on hot and passionate or icy cold to you, pay attention and respect whatever boundaries he or she sets out. This doesn’t mean you can’t try to bridge the gap, but watching body language is key to understanding your date.

6. Political Talk

If your date goes into political tirades or shies away from the topic, you’ll know if you’ve got someone who has strong opinions. How your date responds to opinions that don’t align with his or hers will tell you a lot, but it’s also telling if your date doesn’t want to talk politics at all.

Think about this in terms of your own feelings and interests. Do you love a good political discussion, or do you feel uncomfortable with political talk on dates? The way someone approaches this topic can help you discern whether you’re a good match.

7. Questions They Ask … Or Don’t Ask

Pay attention to the types of questions your date asks. Are they intrusive, warm, nosy or all about money and work? Take a note of the information your date wants to hear.

And if your date doesn’t ask questions but instead, talks mostly about him or herself, this is also a sign of your date’s communication and personality style.

Even with these potential clues, keep in mind that people on first dates tend to be a bit nervous. There are no set rules to make a judgement call about someone right off the bat; these are just some hints to help you find that one person you just “click” with.

Happy dating!

You may also be interested in First Date Conversation Tips For Connecting With Your Match

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