Tell me if you know this one: You're at the end of a first date that you think went really well. The conversation flowed naturally. You both laughed and had a great time. And the chemistry, oh yeah, that was definitely intense. When the Lyft rolls up to take you home, your date goes in for the kiss goodbye. Boom, first date mic drop. So why is it that, as you drive off, instead of high-fiving yourself for all your mad first date skills, you’re left wondering: Well that was nice, but what the hell did it mean? Kissing on the first date is a good sign, right? You'd think so, but who hasn't been ghosted after a good date that even ended with a kiss?
This is especially frustrating when you thought there was a connection. If only there were some way to know if that kiss actually meant anything. I mean, this is a kiss, not the freaking DaVinci Code, right? So, I reached out to bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter to help me try to crack the first kiss code. It turns out you can actually learn a lot about your date and their intentions from that first smooch — if you know what to look for. So pucker up, girlfriend, because we’ve got some detective work to do.
1. Does A Kiss On The First Date Actually Mean Anything Anymore?
You might think that because kissing is not as big of a deal is it was back in the day it might not mean much, but according to Winter it actually can mean a variety of things. It can just be a formality that says, "OK, that's it. Well, I'll be on my way now." But it can also be them testing the waters to see if there is actual potential for romance there, to gauge your interest by seeing how you react to the kiss.
2. If The Kiss Was Good, Does It Mean The Date Went Well?
Turns out that just because you pushed your faces together, it’s no guarantee that there was any connection. This is where Winter says you need to trust your gut. She warns that you should always beware of a partner who is too comfortable or slick on a first date because they may be a serial dater who is skilled at making misleading first impressions. “They know how to be charismatic on the date and seductive in the wrap up. You can tell who they are because they're ‘practiced.’ There's no lack of confidence. That indicates repetition (the hallmark of a player)," she says.
Surprisingly, Winter says what you really want to keep an eye out for on a first kiss is awkwardness. This is actually a better sign that your date likes you than if they managed to sweep you off your feet. “If the kiss was a little awkward, that's a clear indication that he or she likes you. They had a lot at stake.” Sounds backwards, but maybe the keeper isn’t the great kisser; it’s the one that accidentally bumps teeth with you. Bet you didn’t see that coming.
3. What Do Different Kinds Of Kisses Mean?
OK, let’s recap what we’ve learned so far. A first kiss can be a way for your date to test to see if you like them and a bad kiss may mean they really like you. But what if the chemistry is popping right away and you just end up making out all night? How does that bode for future relationship potential? Unfortunately, according to Winter, there’s no real way to tell what your date’s intentions are during a make out — except for maybe that they are very attracted to you, but you won’t know from that alone if it’s real interest in you or just “sex for the sake of sex.” Hey, if that’s what you’re into, that’s totally fine. But if you’re trying to get in your date’s head, making out won’t give you a ton of info.
Winter says a “normal” kiss will actually be your best barometer, because “the partner who doesn't want to startle you but wants to establish romance as the basis for your connection will opt for a meaningful, yet potent kiss on the lips,” adding that while making out can be hotter, “if your goal is a relationship, don't dismiss a normal kiss.“
Still feeling confused about what that first date kiss meant? Winter has one last piece of advice: "Tune into your gut." While you heart and eyes may tell you what you want to hear, and help you to dismiss red flags, your gut doesn't lie.