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Sex + Relationships

Love At First Sight or a Good First Impression: How to Tell The Difference

Dating during the pandemic has been a strenuous process. We have been sucked into the eminent world of online dating and dating apps; a world that tends to be frowned upon. After going on a first date with someone, it might be hard to distinguish a person’s intentions. It can also be easy to get swept off your feet, which might give you misconstrued feelings about a person. 

These feelings might be translated into the thought that this person could be the one. That’s because you got along so well; it could be love at first sight.

But how do you know if it’s really love at first sight or just a good first impression?

It isn’t an easy thing to differentiate. There’s a fine line between the two, and it can be blurry. According to Alexander Todorov, a professor at Princeton University and author of Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions, “A first impression could be misleading. Trying to figure out what a person is like from a simple exposure is basically ridiculous. We only make first impressions about strangers, so naturally, they are superficial.”

So how do you tell the difference between the two? There’s only one main way to. A good first impression is an individual feeling about another person, while love at first sight (or a romantic spark) is undeniably mutual. With that spark, there’s a degree of reciprocity that you can feel. That feeling can be butterflies, lightheadedness, continued eye contact, etc. Once the spark brightens up, you will see leaning in, being vulnerable, sharing personal information, etc.

It might not happen on the first date, but the spark typically occurs early on. If not the first, you can expect to feel a spark on the second or third date.

If you have only spoken online and have not actually been on a date yet, you should be wary of love at first sight and a good first impression. It’s hard to feel a spark through the phone. You are unable to see things such as facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and feelings when communicating with someone through text. You also won’t know intentions through the phone, which can, for the most part, be seen through actions.

You have to make sure intentions are clear from the beginning. In our generation, dating is mainly done online. With texting, facetime and social media, it is easier to talk to multiple people simultaneously. Through face-to-face dating, you are able to see a person’s intentions based on how attentive they are to you as well as the conversation, how willing they are to make more plans and how they react when others are around. Through dating on the phone, you are able to try and understand someone’s intentions based on if they facetime and not just text, make plans to meet in person and how often they communicate with you; although sometimes too much communication can be a red flag.

Some other red flags you might want to consider? Being late, they won’t put their phone down, expecting a lot too soon, being pushy, too personal too quick, inconsistency, etc. These are just a few of the basics, but our generation’s standards are entirely different from the previous generations. With the rise of modern technology and social media, we have created a new set of red flags based on what people do nowadays. We see TikToks about how if a girl asks for your zodiac sign, it’s a red flag or if a guy only talks to you through Snapchat, it’s a red flag. To some, they might be true but to others, they might find them to be a little too harsh. 

It’s easy for you to tell what you like about a person or what you don’t early on in the dating process. Sticking to your gut and knowing when something just doesn’t feel right is something you must always remember. But also remember to have fun! Life is short, and you should enjoy every single moment, good or bad, because it can always teach you something new.

Allexea Desuyo

Montclair '23

Allexea is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Social Media and Public Relations at Montclair State University. Some of her passions include singing, traveling, taking day trips in NYC, beauty/skincare, and luxury fashion. She hopes to become a model and singer/songwriter, while also working in the field of Public Relations. With her articles, she strives to use her knowledge and personal experiences to help others be the best version of themselves!
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