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 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 you have even a shred of interest in the person, 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, unless you never want to see them again," explains Dr. Klapow. "If there is any interest, give it a few times."
But 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 this person, compared to 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 important 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, similarities in 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 toward in conversation naturally?" asks Dr. Klapow. "Are they talking about the social activities that you like? What are their preferences in people and lifestyle? If they line up with yours, that’s good news."
Ultimately, when it comes to dating, going on mediocre first dates is often 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. But if you're on the fence about someone because 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 about whether or not 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.