You can only ever have one first date with Mr Right, so for singletons looking for love, it can come with huge pressure to make sure he doesn’t turn into Mr Wrong.
However, for those who think they are unlucky in love, it might just be down to making some basic dating mistakes, according to emotional intelligence expert, Madeleine Mason.
Don’t head to a bar or restaurant for a first meeting, don’t give him too much of your time, and be more interested than interesting, she advises.
In an exclusive interview with FEMAIL, Madeleine, who is the founder of dating service passionsmiths.com, says challenging the norm that playing hard to get is the way to make him want more should also be a no-go – as playing it cool can be detrimental to your chances of success.
The key to getting a man interested in a second date? ‘Light touch and lots of laughing,’ she advises.
Here Madeleine reveals the seven points behind getting any man to come back for more.
1. Create a great first impression – before you even meet: ‘We make snapshot decisions about our partner within a few minutes of meeting them, which are difficult to change,’ says Madeleine, who advises creating that first impression before you even meet by calling your date to arrange your night out.
‘Be upbeat and excited on the phone but without sounding too keen,’ she says. ‘And smile while you talk, even if it’s only over the phone.’ Experts say you can ‘hear’ a smile, even if you can’t see it.
The psychology: ‘Human minds have a tendency to fill in the blanks,’ Madeleine says. So when we don’t have enough information about something we create a full picture with whatever is available.
‘By calling and taking the initiative, you come across as cool, charming and collected and the person will start to make other positive assumptions about you,’ she says.
2. Meet for a cup of coffee on a park bench: ‘While you might want to impress your date with a hot outfit or lavish dinner, if it’s the first time you meet, keep it casual and matter of fact,’ says Madeleine, who says that having a coffee on a bench is a far better first date than a fancy night out.
The psychology: Making it casual indicates that you put value on the person and not the actual night out, Madeleine says. And by showing that you are not willing to give a total stranger more than 60 minutes of your time, Madeleine also says you are illustrating your own self-respect.
‘It’s good to show that they have to put in a little effort by being nice, fun or interesting in order to get more of your time,’ she says.
3. Be interested more than interesting: ‘Ask questions of your date that demonstrate you are interested in who they are as a person,’ Madeleine says. ‘Find out about their interests, passions, hobbies, how they take their tea, how they grew up and their favourite memories.’
Not only will your interest be appreciated by your date, you will also gather information that helps you decide whether you can see yourself together romantically.
Madeleine also advises making the questions quirky. She advises asking: What is your favourite childhood cartoon character and why? If you were to be turned into an animal, what would you choose? ‘Dating is meant to be fun,’ Madeleine says. ‘So you can let go with your questioning.’
The psychology: ‘The talker – your date – will have a positive association to the listener – you – and will feel like they have had a good time,’ Madeleine says. ‘Humans are ultimately ego-centric and love nothing more than talking about themselves. There is nothing more attractive than having someone listen to you uninterrupted and un-judged.’
4. Make yourself laugh: ‘If you are bored, your date will be too,’ Madeleine says. ‘Make sure you have a good time and bring out your inner child if you need to. Dare to be different. Dare to have fun.’
The psychology: In short, emotions are contagious. ‘If you are having fun, laughing or smiling, your date will be influenced by this and end up thinking they had a good time,’ she says. ‘Although make sure you are not laughing at your date’s expense.’
5. Be vulnerable: Share something intimate about yourself, not too deep, but something that shows you have a fear or concern, Madeleine advises.
You can even tell your date that you fancy them, which also leaves you slightly vulnerable. ‘But say it without expecting an answer,’ she adds.
The psychology: ‘The more vulnerable you can be, the more you open you will be, and your date will feel safe to open up also,’ Madeleine says.
‘This creates a psychological space where you begin to feel a bond forming – the beginnings of a deeper connection.’
If there seems to be an element of trust between you are more likely to both feel inclined to go on a second date.
6. Touch your date – ever so softly: During the meeting, touch your date but keep it subtle. ‘Focus on the hand when you make a point of something, on the shoulder as you rise to go to the loo, on the knee as you laugh about something,’ Madeleine says.
The psychology: ‘Light touch can be a powerful aphrodisiac,’ Madeleine says. ‘When we get touched, we get a dose of oxytocin, a hormone that makes us feel good.’
‘When we feel good, we are likely to attribute it to the person we are with. We will want more of that and say yes to a second date.’
7. Playing hard to get is old news: If you get a text, answer within 12 hours. If you are interested, act interested. Be nice. Demonstrate you are fun to be with.
The psychology: According to research, one of the most desirable characteristics people look for in a partner is kindness.
‘If you demonstrate this, you become more desirable in your date’s eyes,’ Madeleine says. ‘But note this is not the same as being a pushover, who says yes to everything or have no opinions.’