SET YOURSELF UP FOR THE BEST IMPRESSION
You lock eyes, slip a smile, and reach out your hand for an initial introduction. In the seven seconds it just took to greet one another both parties have just formed a first impression that well, you only get to make once.
Ready for the positive spin on this Eminem-esque “you only get one shot, do not miss your chance” situation? Those fleeting moments while we’re sizing each other up create an opportunity to set your self up for the best impression foundation – and you can come prepared.
Women form said impressions from the cues we notice when those first hellos are exchanged – and we’re left subconsciously (or not) ticking the interpersonal checkboxes that run throughout our minds. It’s the successful visual and aural cues or even a whiff of your body wash that you can use to your advantage when meeting a woman, so we’re here to give you inside scoop on nailing a first impression.
1. YOUR SIGNATURE SCENT
We don’t have to dig too deep into the science of scent to know that memories are linked more to smell than any other sense – for better or for worse. Just the other day I stood near a woman doused in a fragrance that immediately reminded me of my fifth grade teacher and a flood of nostalgia (read: nightmares) brought memories of learning geography by filling in blank maps. Your scent – or lack there – of is going to be noticed, so let’s make sure it’s in a positive light.
The takeaway: You can quite literally spritz on a better first impression here, guys. Although it should be emphasized that subtly is key. If I my eyes are still watering from cologne once a someone has left my vicinity, I think we can all agree that he needed to put the bottle down and walk away at least three sprays back. For those less inclined to reach for a signature scent, don’t under estimate the power of a fresh smelling body wash. Most new brands have created a formula that lasts well into the day, but won’t leave you worried about going overboard on fragrance.
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2. YOUR GREETING
Right now I’m imagining a montage of meet-cutes on TV jumbled with the anxiety-riddled introductions we see on reality dating shows (ahem, The Bachelor) – and the importance of those first interactions. In my favorite sitcoms the greetings are so charming and fluid: they bump into each other, make eye contact, and immediately dive into shared interests or become profoundly interested in what the other has to say after flashing a smile and a subsequent “hello.” Then comes the beauty of reality show greetings. The courtesy laughs, darting eyes, and hurried handshakes that still somehow lead to a successful interaction are a prime example of the impact of those first few seconds on a new relationship. As my TV pal and introduction extraordinaire, Barney Stinson, likes to say “challenge accepted.”
The takeaway: Make eye contact, but don’t look through us or up and down our bod before meeting eyes. Speaking of bodies, reach out for a handshake that doesn’t crush bones or feel too limp – the middle ground is gold. Above all else, though, be confident and ask questions. It’ll show that you’re interested and engaged. Oh – and if you’re worried about having to feign a bit of confidence to overcome nerves, I’ll lend you the trick that my mom
offers enforces when I’m home: “head up, shoulders back, and smile genuinely.”
3. YOUR SHOES
More than the watch you don for special occasions or even the car you pull up in, we’re looking down at your shoes (and running if we see square toes). I can promise you that I’ve never discounted a guy for rocking a $50 weekender watch and more so, I’ve definitely never been starry-eyed over a d-bag because he’s flashing a Rolex. What women do consistently take note of: the state of your footwear. If your worn down shoes are clinging for their dear life, we’ll wonder why you don’t take pride in your appearance. Conversely, thoughtful shoe selection is usually the first thing I throw compliments towards.
The takeaway: Account for the occasion when choosing footwear. Sneakers don’t belong at a candlelit restaurant just as much as square toed dress shoes don’t belong anywhere. Take a quick pause while getting ready to ask yourself if you’re accessorized for the occasion or better yet, shoot a tweet to Style Girlfriend. Polishing your dress shoes and boots will protect your investment and highlight their dapper design – what’s not to love about that?
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4. YOUR HANDS
Stops to glance down at hands…“oh these ol’ things?” You guessed it, we’re noticing your hands during that first handshake. In the most plain sense: rough and cracked hands are in no way appealing and that doubles for unkempt nails. This very tangible first impression is also a greater indicator of grooming in general, so keeping your hands soft and nails clean have a big impact.
The takeaway: Make moisturizing and manicuring a must in your grooming routine. Keep hand cream in your gym bag or in your car for easy access and a higher probability that you’ll you know, actually use it. When it comes to manicuring, throw a scrub brush and nail clipper at the problem. If a shower doesn’t wash your nail beds clean, take a few seconds to scrub under and pay special attention so that your nail length isn’t too long.
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5. YOUR OUTFIT OVERVIEW
We’re not brand checking or docking points for last season’s jacket, but we are noticing how well your outfit works together and the small details that may put your outfit into “yiiiikes” territory. That’s not to say there aren’t a few style flubs to avoid (looking at you Affliction tees and embellished jeans), but it’s usually the missed details that’ll leave someone scratching their head after a first impression.
The takeaway: Glancing in the mirror or asking a second opinion works wonders. Do the buttons on your shirt look like they’re about to burst and possibly blind me during this handshake? Is it hard to focus on what you’re saying because your outfit has three plaids in four bright colors? Are over-sized pleats detracting from the rest of your stylish look? Preparing yourself to make an impressive impression is nothing more than a few extra thoughtful moments that ensure you look put together when you enter a room.