How Do You Greet a First Date? It’s a Little Awkward, Right?by Chiara Atik on May 01, 2012
You’ve exchanged messages online, or maybe talked briefly at a party, but now you’re going to meet for the first time in a date setting. As you approach your meeting spot, you see your date is already there. Standing there. Waiting for you to come up and — and what? You have about 15 seconds to decide.
Related: The Ultimate First Date Guide
Do you shake their hand? That’s what you usually do when meeting strangers or people you don’t know that well. You give them a friendly handshake and smile and say nice to meet them, or nice to see them again. But this is a date, not a business lunch. Shouldn’t you be warmer?
Do you give them a hug? You greet your friends with a hug. A hug is friendly, relaxed, and easily breaks down the physical barriers. You potentially want to kiss this person, so what’s wrong with hugging them? Except maybe it’s too much, too soon. You’re basically strangers at this point. And there’s nothing, seriously nothing, more awkward than a limp, half-hearted hug between two people who don’t know each other that well.
Do you give them a non-conventional greeting, from a fist bump to a back/arm tap to a bro hug? It’s congenial, certainly. But it doesn’t exactly pave the way for a night of romance.
Or do you just sort of…grin, with your hands in your pockets, and initiate no physical contact at all? You know, playing it cool. You’re totally warm in your greeting, you make eye-contact, you modulate your voice to convey the necessary warmth and enthusiasm, but as far as touching, you leave them wanting more. At least, that’s what you hope the impression is. There’s also a chance you’ll come off as frigid or stiff.
What do you choose?!
Here’s the thing to remember: there’s a good chance the first greeting is going to be a little awkward, because, often, first dates are a little awkward. But if you dwell too much on the potential awkwardness, it’s a lose-lose situation: which ever greeting method you choose is just going to be extra ungainly if your inner monologue is going “Ahhhh, awkward!”
So, back to the scenario. You’ve got 15 seconds to choose your greeting. Make your decision in 5 seconds and then, whatever you choose – hug, bro tap, handshake – commit to it wholeheartedly. None of these are bad options so long as you execute them with confidence, maintain eye contact, and smile. You want to give a handshake? That’s fine. A slap on the back? Okay!
The truth of the matter is, nothing here is going to be a dealbreaker. And if things are a little awkward, you can definitely recover.
But just out of curiosity, and keeping in mind that there are no wrong answers, we’re interested: what’s your go-to method of greeting a date?