Everyone wants signs of chemistry on a first date. But do you know what they actually mean or how to pinpoint them?
Romantic chemistry is a widely used term that isn’t quite definable. Our only definition is “you know it when you have it.” It gives you that gut feeling when you’re on a date with someone, letting you know that you’re enjoying their company and you want to see them again.
Post-date question marks, be gone! With our guide, you’ll be able to recognize the signs of chemistry on a first date so you’re not left wondering, “Wait, did that go well?”
Here are the tried-and-true signifiers of a good date.
You share similar humor
Oftentimes first dates involve polite chuckles of acknowledgment. But if you find yourself truly laughing, like a real, genuine laugh, that’s a telltale sign that you’re enjoying yourself. But, of course, it’s not just one-sided. Sharing similar humor is a good marker of chemistry between people. If you’re laughing at the same things, that means you share common ground.
Basically, if you’re on a date with someone who loves nerdy puns as much as you do, that’s something to text home about.
There’s a physical spark
One of the top signs of chemistry on a first date is physical touch, whether it’s holding hands, sitting close to each other, or a light touch on your arm or shoulder. Did your end-of-date hug feel nice? Did you find yourself wanting to kiss or hold hands? If physical touch feels natural, safe, and you’re craving something more, that’s a good signal of attraction.
You share eye contact easily
There are many studies on the power of eye contact. In fact, a sustained gaze can release something called the “love hormone.” While your first date doesn’t have to involve a lovey dovey romantic gaze, if it’s easy to look into the other person’s eyes, then that means you’re sharing intimacy.
Silence isn’t awkward
This is a big one. We all know about those cringy first-date silences, when it seems like you’ve hit every talking point or realized there’s just nothing left to say.
That’s why when pauses feel natural, it’s a good sign that you feel comfortable with the person. This is especially true for introverts, who might feel vulnerable by not sharing as much with the other person. If the first date has moments of silence that feel safe and genuine, you’re on a good-chemistry path. Learn more about the importance of confidence during a first date.
You have shared interests
Have you ever gone on a date with a complete stranger and you seem to have just about everything in common? You keep saying, “No way, me too!” or “What a crazy coincidence!” Discovering shared interests doesn’t have to mean romantic chemistry, but it’s definitely a sign of compatibility. This means you have common ground and understanding–whether that’s with hobbies, personal upbringing, or future goals–and a good sign of chemistry on a first date.
But you’re also interested in each other’s differences
When you have chemistry with someone, you often feel intrigued by the things that make them different from you. They make you want to try their hobby or listen to that band or do something that you wouldn’t normally do with just anyone. Part of healthy relationships is challenging each other’s views and ideas, and it all starts with the first date.
Conversation flows easily
When you meet someone for the first time, the conversation can start out a bit stilted or feel like small talk. But you know that there’s chemistry between people when the conversation flows from one topic to the next seamlessly, when there’s laughter and natural silences, and when both people have a chance to share without interruption.
Good, easy conversation on a first date is a great sign, especially if it moves beyond niceties and “Where are you from?” You don’t necessarily need to get deep, but sharing little personal snippets or vulnerabilities can help you feel close to each other.
Time goes by quickly
Many first dates seem to drag on and you can’t wait to have the “emergency” phone call from a friend. But when time seems to fly by and all of a sudden you’re heading back home, that’s a sign of chemistry on a first date.
You’re not distracted
Nowadays, there are so many dating distractions, from TVs in a bar to your phone buzzing in your pocket. A great first date means that these distractions don’t faze you at all. When you have chemistry with someone, it can feel like there’s no one in the world besides you two–everything just fades away.
Now, you might be thinking that this only happens in the movies. We get it. This situation isn’t always the norm! But if you’re not tempted to look at your phone or glance at other people around you while on a date with someone, that only means one thing: that you enjoy their company.
There’s a sense of intimacy
While you might not know if this person is “the one” on the first (or second or third) date, oftentimes people have a sense early on if the date is someone who fits. And even beyond that, there can also be an indescribable feeling of having known this person for “forever.” You can’t explain it, but it feels like they are the missing link or puzzle piece. This feeling doesn’t always turn into love or a romantic relationship, but it is a very good sign that two people fit together in an intimate way.
What are some red flags on a first date?
You’ll know if there’s no chemistry on a first date, but there are some red flags to look out for if you’re unsure. You can take some of the signs of chemistry on a first date and, if the opposite happens, that probably means the date wasn’t great. Here are a few examples:
- There’s too much or too little physical touch. Everyone’s comfort level with physical touch is different, so this is totally up to what you like and desire in a potential partner. If your date is too touchy feely and not respecting your boundaries, that’s a red flag. On the other hand, if you’re getting the idea that they don’t want physical closeness, the date probably isn’t destined for success.
- You have nothing in common. Opposites do attract, but that doesn’t mean you have absolutely nothing in common. For people to be compatible, there should be commonalities with the important things. Think about your deal breakers. Did the person’s perspectives and goals more or less align with yours?
- You don’t feel like yourself. If your date doesn’t seem to accept who you are or makes you feel like you can’t share certain things, this isn’t a good sign of partner potential. Don’t let someone take a dig at your self-esteem; instead, keep the first date as the only date.
- You can’t wait for the date to be over. This is one of the biggest signs that you don’t have chemistry with someone. If you keep looking at the clock or waiting for the check to come, that’s a red flag and means that this person might not be a good fit.
- They’re late. Trains are late, traffic is crazy, or alarms don’t go off. Things happen. But first dates are all about first impressions, and if your date doesn’t make a good one by being on time or at least apologizing, it’s a sign of disrespect.
If your date included any of these scenarios or you just weren’t feeling it, it’s probably time to move on. Read our tips on rejecting someone nicely so you both can have closure and move on.
Chemistry is real
And we’re not talking about science. Everyone’s romantic journey is different, and sometimes you won’t feel that spark after meeting someone for the first time. But there are signs of chemistry on a first date, from shared interests to similar humor to that indescribable “something” that makes you feel right at home.
If you don’t put a checkmark next to each sign, don’t worry! It might take a few dates to develop a romantic connection, and that’s ok. Romantic chemistry is indefinable for a reason—because it feels different from person to person. Learn more about having a successful first date.