Is your Date a Keeper?

A keeper is first and foremost, honest. Before many couples even meet the date is doomed because far too many set themselves up as the perfect photoshopped version of themselves. The dating market is still rampant with those who airbrush, filter, and photoshop their images to an inch from exhaustion to endless disappointment. First impressions are very important in any walk of life but especially on first dates and surprises caused by the actuality not matching the expectation are never good when you finally meet face to face so don’t even think about filters - once you travel that road it’s difficult to get off it.

So, you’ve done some background, exchanged information and maybe managed a face-time or two, presenting a genuine version of yourself and managing expectations from day one.

Whether you meet him/her at work, at a party or online, wherever - are there any signs to look for that mean that first physical date might blossom into a meaningful relationship rather than be a flash in the pan?

First you have to get beyond the 7-second rule. It is widely accepted that prospective employers decide whether you are right for the job in the first 7 seconds of walking through the door. Anyone who has been to a speed dating night knows the power of this rule. As soon as you sit opposite someone you are subconsciously making decisions. OK, they are not always the right decisions but you’re making them anyway and it makes for a bad start. Tell-tale signs we look for on first meeting include eye contact, a firm handshake or confident greeting, a smile, a smart appearance and speaking clearly. And while a first date is not a job interview, the same principles apply. Those who mumble a greeting or haven’t taken some care on how they look are potentially costing themselves a chance at finding someone. OK, you might be shy and nervous (nothing wrong with that as long as it is endearing rather than off-putting) so a little eye contact and care about your appearance will more than pay back the effort.  

First impressions behind you. The date arrangements have been agreed, work for both, and you’re happy and chatting. At this point, most surveys agree that the signs people look for (unconsciously or not) in a ‘Keeper’ are: they listen (rather than waiting to talk), they have a positive mental attitude, they can make you laugh (the mainstay of any long lasting successful relationship), they are polite and courteous (those who are rude or dismissive to waiters etc is an instant red flag), they are genuine in their interest (not just asking a series of questions, which happens a lot), and (a very high percentage blow it by doing this) they don't talk about their ex. If they are a little bit nervous that means they are interested (especially as the date progresses) and if the conversation just flows, things are looking good - you have things in common. Oh, and however things go, he/she might be a keeper even if things haven’t gone perfectly from outset so don’t let the bill scupper future proceedings. Instead, why not use it as a prop.

The rule of thumb is the man pays unless you’ve agreed otherwise but the probability is that a Keeper male will gently insist and a Keeper female will insist on going halves (and get her credit card out, not simply posturing).

Sometimes we just know the other is a keeper without the analytics. The date was easy. The chat was easy. You mirror each other. You had a laugh. Very occasionally we get lucky to find this magic but more often than not, such magic is the consequence of great research and the support of experts rather than the lucky dip lottery of chancing your arm online.