Second Impressions Are Much More Powerful Than The First—Here’s Why

People put their best foot forward on the first date or when you first meet them in another setting, and sometimes it can be totally misleading. Here’s why I prefer the second impression to the first one.

  1. It’s more real and removes the pressure. The more I get to know someone, the more I get to see what they’re really like. The walls come down and the masks start to slip. That’s when the fun starts! There’s so much pressure to be charming, funny, and smart on a first date, but screw that. I want something real. I want to get to know someone when they’re not feeling like they have to put on a performance to impress me.
  2. We’re both way more comfortable. When I meet someone, like on a first date, chances are we’re both a bit anxious and uncomfortable. By focusing on the second date when we’re a bit more at ease, we can really see if we connect or not. Second impressions are a much better gauge of that.
  3. I feel more in control. I feel more like myself when the first impression is over. All that pressure to be your best self and impress someone in six seconds or less is just way too much to have to deal with. I’d rather feel cool and collected and that tends to happen after the first date. I’ve tested the water and now I can relax in it a bit more.
  4. I want to be let in. On the second date and every one after, people start to let each other in a bit more. They’re much more eager to show their more private selves than they were when they were getting to know each other lightly on the first date. Heck, the whole point of a first date is to tread carefully and keep things light.
  5. I don’t want to feel like we’re going through the motions. There are so many tips online for how to make a great first impression. That advice has its place, sometimes it can feel like too much rests on that crucial initial encounter. There are also many rules that accompany it, like those concerning having the right attitude and body language. Honestly, it sometimes feels like all those rules are rubbing off on us, making us follow them because we so desperately want to be liked. I’d prefer to get to know someone when those rules are binned, which usually happens by date two or later.
  6. Seeing his great qualities is great… But I don’t want to waste my time thinking that he’s a perfect guy. No one is. I want to uncover his flaws. Those aren’t really going to come out on a first date (unless I’m really lucky), so I’d prefer to wait until he makes his second impression so I can really see if he’s a good person or not. I know it takes longer than the second date to see what someone’s really like, but it’s a step in the right direction.
  7. I like it when someone’s caught off guard. Everyone tries to make a great first impression, and everyone’s on their guard on the first date. I want to see someone when they’re caught off guard. The guy I’m dating will probably turn up to the second date feeling more relaxed. He’s passed the first date test so he can chill. Wrong! I’ll be watching him even closer on the second date than I was on the first.
  8. I’m done with faking it. “Fake it ’til you make it” is some of the worst advice out there, but I’ve tried to fake a great attitude and positive self-esteem in the past to make a great first date impression on a guy. Of course, it’s good to try to be my best self, but I don’t want to be fake! I want him to see what I’m really like, so he should come to the second date prepared for the real me. The gloves are off.
  9. Can we skip over those first date questions? When a guy approaches me at a bar or we go on a first date together, chatting is fun, but honestly, I’m so sick and tired of the usual questions that go back and forth, like, “Where did you grow up?” and “What’s your relationship like with your family?” Insert eye roll. It would be so much more fun to ask inappropriate first date questions. See, I want to fast-forward over all that and get to the juicier stuff. That’s why I want to kill time until the second date.
  10. Focusing on the second date reminds me of my worth. If I made a good first impression, I’ll get a text or call from the guy after our first date. If I suck, then I won’t. Whatever! That’s faulty logic right there. I don’t want to feel like I have to be rated on my first date performance. If I get a second date with the guy, great. Now I can really show him what I’m made of. Focusing on the second date reminds me of my worth. I’m much more than a first impression.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.