Nothing like a first date to make you swirl into a cycle of extreme anxiety and questioning everything you've ever known to be true about yourself, amirite? Even on first dates that seemed to have gone extremely well on paper, I've found myself picking every single detail apart until I boil down a generally good first date into, "Why am I like this? They probably hate me." Figuring out how to know your date likes you will send you down that hole. And trust me, it ain't pretty.
But aside from the fact that it's important to focus on how you feel about the person you were on a first date with, rather than how they feel about you, there are, in fact, a few subtle clues your date may give you on a first date that actually signal they're feeling the date, they're feeling you, and maybe — just maybe — they're feeling date number two.
If you aren't sure what those signals might look like (you're not alone, I promise), allow a low-key dating expert to give you some insight. Believe it or not, in addition to being a successful hairstylist, a lovable TV star, and an inspiration to LGBTQ+ people worldwide, Queer Eye's own Jonathan Van Ness has some pretty solid dating advice he's willing to share, too, specifically when it comes to the subtle signs your first date likes you.
According to Van Ness, a major indication that your first date is feeling some sparks is if they initiate some sort of light physical contact. "Cute touches are a big [sign they like you]," he says.
Now, obviously, this doesn't mean that your date crossing your boundaries and shoving their tongue down your throat should be written off as them "liking" you. What Van Ness is talking about here is the lighter touches — a soft hand on the knee or a light touch on your forearm. On the flip side, if you're ever looking for ways to let a first date know that you like them, throwing in a few cute touches when the time feels right will do the trick.
Another way to tell your first date is into you that's a little less physical, according to Van Ness, involves paying attention to your date's words. More specifically, you should look out for any hints your date might be dropping about keeping the date going or bringing up a new outing that might be fun for you two. "Kind of, like, starting to get into a second hangout while you're still in the first one [is a good sign]," says Van Ness. For example, if you hear your date casually say, "Oh, what’s happening later? There’s this cute thing at the museum,” that's a preeeeeetty good indication they're trying to find a way for you two to keep hanging out — which, you know, they would want to do if they're into you.
Of course, Van Ness also warns that there's a fine line between gently hinting at another date and forcing you into one. Trying to pressure you into another hangout is actually a bit of a red flag, especially if you've already tried to express that you're not feeling it. "Really trying to nail you down into some stuff on the first date I think is really weird," says Van Ness.
All in all, while you're on a first date, try not to work yourself into a rabbit hole over whether or not your first date likes you, and instead, reflect on whether or not you thought they were decent enough to deserve a second date. Plus, if your very first conclusion after the first date is that you feel good about it, then rest assured, you can probably trust your gut. Just know that if your date didn't mind some "cute touches," as Van Ness says, or toying with the idea of keeping your hangout seshes going, it's looking good.