Hit or Miss: How to tell if you're clicking on the first date.

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All of us have experienced it at one time or another. We come home from a first date, swimming in euphoria, sure that we've just spent the first night of the rest of our lives with our true soul mate. Mr. or Miss Destiny. The One. And then, we never hear from them again.

As we sit by the phone, waiting for that second date call (or call-back) we first begin to doubt the efficiency of the phone company. Then we start to wonder if Mr./Miss Right had to suddenly leave the country in the middle of the night, without a chance to call. Then, realization hits. You're not going to hear from them, and you wonder how you could have had such a magical experience, while they, clearly, were unimpressed.

Fortunately, there are some clues to help you figure out if your first date is really a heart-to-heart connection, or a just one-sided illusion. Next time you're on a first date, keep an eye out for these telltale signals:

Give 'em a Body Check:
When to people are really making a connection, their bodies line up (toe to toe, heart to heart, face to face) and they tend to mimic each other's gestures and voice levels. Which means if your date is soft-spoken and you're a shake-the-walls loudmouth, you'll both instinctively feel that something is a bit off-kilter.

Signs your date is going well:

Watch to see if you find your date is mirroring your gestures, a strong indicator that the date is on-track. Another positive signal is if your date is leaning towards you as you speak. Other good signs to watch for including nodding and tilting the head to the side as you are speaking, an indicator your date is interested in what you have to say.

Danger sign:
If your date is crossing his or her arms while you're speaking, it is generally a sign of resistance or anger.

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Flirting or Faking?

When a date is going well, there's bound to be a lot of flirting going on from both sides of the table. Key signs your date is interested include smiling, extended eye contact and biting or licking the lip. (theirs, not yours...) Another key signal for both sexes is low-level non-sexual touching such as a brush of the elbow, arm or leg.

Signs your date is going well:

Preening or grooming behavior (such as smoothing down clothes, reapplying lipstick, running a hand over the hair) is a clear sign someone is interested. For women, the classic flirting move is the crossing or uncrossing of the legs, while men tend to stand a little broader when they're flirting and throw their shoulders back.

Danger sign:
Keep an eye out for flirting that isn't accompanied by other "I like you" behaviors -- this can indicate a purely sexual, not romantic interest.

Two-step on the Doorstep

Another key indicator of a successful (or bad, bad, bad) first date is drop-off behavior when the date is finished. Does your date see you into your front door, or drop you off at the curb and speed off into the night before you have a chance to say, "Thanks for the linguine" and find your keys? Another positive sign is the goodnight kiss that leaves you wanting more, but ends mutually on the doorstep. (A signal you're both willing to save a little something for date number two.)

Signs the date has gone well:
When your date makes a specific suggestion for another date, (such as, what are you doing next Tuesday?) rather than a generic "I'll call you" it's a positive signal that they are definitely interested in seeing you again. Other encouraging signs include lingering after the date is clearly over (you're in your doorway, goodnight kisses have been exchanged and he's still hanging around on the porch...)

Danger sign:

Possibly the worst first date doorstep signal is when one person leans in for the goodnight smooch, and the other sticks out their hand for a handshake. A less-obvious sign is a quick kiss or hug, followed by a pat on the back (which can indicate discomfort with the embrace.)

As for that mystery man or woman who appears to drop off the planet after what seemed to be a perfect first date, well, we think it's safe to assume after a few days that the poor dear was probably mowed down by a runaway tour bus, or had to leave the country due to some pressing national emergency. Don't take it personally, just move on. And remember, it only takes one first date to meet your soul mate. (Sure, it might be one in fifty-seven, or one in six, but it only takes one.)

Dating Expert Lisa Daily is an internationally known dating coach
and the author of
Stop Getting Dumped!
All you need to know to make men fall madly in love
with you and marry "The One" in 3 years or less.
As seen in Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post and Glamour Magazine
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