Knowing If You’re Compatible On The First Date Isn’t Always Easy, Experts Say
Going on a first date is often considered the best way to know if you're compatible with someone new. Unfortunately, expecting to walk away from the first meeting with an accurate idea of who someone is, isn't always realistic. That's not to say that first impressions aren't telling or that you should ignore a gut feeling. However, the truth of the matter is that the pressure and jitters of meeting someone new can make knowing if you’re compatible on the first date tricky. According to Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, judging compatibility from one date isn't the most effective approach to dating.
"First dates have so many cues and influences that take us out of our normal, authentic behavior," Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily. "You may get along great on the first date and be totally incompatible in the relationship, and vice versa." There are so many factors that can affect how you connect with a first date, many of which may be out of your control. If there's even a shred of interest, Dr. Klapow recommends investing a couple more dates which will give you both the opportunity to see a more authentic version of each other. "Where you go, what your mood is, and how authentic you're being all drive compatibility on the first date," explains Dr. Klapow. "Unless you never want to see them again — if there is any interest, give it a few times."
So, what happens if you leave a first date convinced that you've experienced love at first sight? Well, before you get too excited, remember that you've only seen a small piece of a much larger whole. "Positive or negative, judging compatibility on the first date is not a sound approach," he explains. That said, there are still some first date clues that signal the foundation for compatibility could be there. Although discussing heavy topics should typically be avoided, if you realize that your religious, political or social views align, it's more likely that you'll be on similar pages with other things too. "How you see the world drives how you act in the world," says Dr. Klapow. "The more compatible your views, the more likely you are to be compatible."
According to Dr. Klapow, grooming habits and social behaviors can also be an indicator of whether or not you'll be compatible. "Are you both polite?" poses Dr. Klapow. "Do they care about their appearance the way you do? The more you're alike in grooming and social behaviors, the greater the chance of compatibility." Conversational chemistry is another promising sign that you could be a good match. "What do they gravitate towards in conversation naturally?" asks Dr. Klapow. "Are they talking about the social activities that you like? What's their preferences in people and lifestyle? If it lines up with you, that’s good news."
Ultimately, in the dating sphere, going on mediocre first dates is part of the process. That's why, if it's clear that you never want to see someone again, then you should stay true to your instincts. That said, if you're on the fence about someone because things between you didn't click right away, Dr. Klapow emphasizes the importance of reserving judgment. Once you've gone on a few dates and had the opportunity to relax, you'll have a better idea if you're truly compatible. If at that point it's clear that you're not a good match, you can go your separate ways confident that you didn't back out prematurely.