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First dates in 2018: How to charm and impress, should you want to…

These days, the chances are, if we have a first date, it may be that this is the very first time we have laid eyes on the person in real life. We may have met online or through a personal introductions agency, which means we have read a profile and perhaps spoken on the phone, but that’s it. We used to be nervous about whether our date would like us. Now we have to concern ourselves with whether we might not like them. It’s a lot to contend with.

With this in mind, we’ve enlisted the help of Hayley Bystram, the managing director and founder of Bowes-Lyon Partnership, an elite matchmaking agency with offices in Mayfair and Surrey. Hayley specialises in bringing together eligible and accomplished individuals, who are looking for a committed and meaningful relationship. Founded in 2009, the agency has helped to create many long-term relationships, marriages and babies.

Here are her top tips on how to charm and impress on your first date.

Take pride in your appearance

Whilst it is personality and compatibility that will ensure the longevity of a relationship, first impressions do count. This sounds like a no brainer. But, there can be an attitude where ‘being yourself’ veers into ‘take me as I am’. When your partner falls in love with you, they will most likely ‘take you as you are’, until then, dress in something that makes you feel fantastic; that shirt or dress that everyone always compliments you in. When people rock up to a date in ‘whatever’ they tell the date that they don’t care about the date. This does not make a date go well.

Hayley Bystram
Hayley Bystram owns Bowes-Lyon Partnership, an elite matchmaking agency based in central London

Be on time, if possible 10 minutes early

No man or woman is impressed by tardiness because it shows lack of respect, especially on a first date! Of course, no one wants to get somewhere too early either because you then might sit around getting more nervous and feeling exposed. But, you could get there early and hang back in a nearby shop until it’s time to arrive exactly on time.

Eye contact!

Eye contact is confident, charismatic and sexy. When held for a long-time eye contact is also flirtatious and helps create intimacy. We’re not talking staring at your date but your ability to make and hold eye contact will show your date that you are truly interested in them. Constant looking around the room is a big turn off!

Be interested and interesting

A first date is all about getting to know someone. Ask them open-ended questions that they can expand on to get the conversation flowing. Everyone’s favourite subject is themselves, so use this to our advantage. Asking your partner questions about themselves, their interests, where they grew up, what makes them laugh or what their dreams are, will make them feel really great. When we feel great we pay attention to what (or whom) is making us feel great in this case, it will be you. Subtle compliments and agreeing with the person are also a bonus but it’s always best not to over-do it!

Properly listen. Few people listen really well, instead they wait for a chance to jump in. By truly listening you will separate yourself from 99% of the population and cannot fail but to charm your date. Furthermore, by paying attention you can find out if your date is compatible for you.

couple holding hands
First dates can either make or break your chance of getting a second date

What not to talk about

A break up, or the difficulties of dating, may be something you both have in common, but on a first date isn’t the most opportune time to bring up the failures of your past or your ex. Never panic or apologise if you realise you have mentioned an old partner, instead change the direction of the conversation and engage with your date, ask them a question and be genuinely interested in what they have to say.

You’re on a date with a person, not your phone!

It seems like most of the population have their phone surgically attached to their thumbs and find it hard to be apart from it even at the dinner table. But on a first date, it is imperative that your phone is hidden away and on silent! There is nothing worse than your date constantly checking their phone, even if they really are waiting for a work email or are using it as their watch! If you can’t focus on your first date, it doesn’t bode well for the second!

First dates can either make or break your chance of getting a second date. Knowing how to be polite, confident and charming, not only makes you good company but it puts you in the drivers seat when it comes to deciding if, there is a date two.