Life is filled with possibilities, which is the exact premise that dating is based around. How people meet, how well they relate, the likelihood that they will end up working out, how strong their connection will be – all of this leads back to one circular theme of dating: possibilities.

The good thing is that there are ways to increase your chances of making a connection work. When you meet someone for the very first time, you ultimately want to “break the ice” by hopefully saying or doing something that will make them smile. Your chances with that person increase if you make a great first impression.

In fact, as the saying goes “the first impression is the last impression.”  If you don’t make a good first impression, most of the time there is no second chance.

When it comes to breaking the ice and approaching someone, I don’t suggest that you attempt to mimic what you see in TV and movies. Rather than pretend to be something you’re not, instead focus on being you. The following tips will be exactly what you need to make that perfect first impression when you’re first meeting someone or first approaching them:

1. Don’t be creepy

Don’t loom in the shadow of the person you’d like to approach, that’s just creepy. Take the time to decide whether you are going to try and approach them (from a distance) and then make a move. Indecision is an immediate advance toward rejection.

2. Appearance matters

Don’t even bother approaching someone if you haven’t showered in 2 days. If you know that you’re heading out with the intention of trying to meet someone new, then make the extra effort to be presentable. Appearances matter, and whether you’re approaching a woman or a man they’ll notice how well you’re dressed and they’ll notice your personal hygiene.

3. Personalize your approach

The best way to personalize your approach is by paying attention to the environment you’re in and what the person you want to approach is doing. If they’re shopping, your approach could be as simple as saying “I was looking for that in my size and preferably in bright pink” to elicit a smile and an opportunity to learn someone’s name. That’s not so hard, right?

It should be stated that pick-up lines are incredibly stupid. Okay, they might serve a purpose if you are trying the ‘humor’ approach to simply to laugh at them, but outside of that they’re ineffective. The only time I’d suggest a dumb pickup line is if it’s non-sexual and funny enough that the odds of them realizing you’re joking and laughing are high.

4. Play into your personality and strengths

Consider the type of personality that you have and use it to your advantage. If you know that you have a natural ability to make people laugh, then you have the single greatest strength in making initial conversation: laughter.

On the other hand, if you are more of a reserved type, then consider the atmosphere you are placing yourself in. Consider your interests and choose places to try and meet people where a shared hobby can be the comfortable middle ground. In fact, a shared hobby is the perfect starting point to break the ice – so if you love art, try meeting someone at an art show.

5. Be confident, not obnoxious or arrogant

There is a large difference between confidence and being obnoxious. Think of it like this: would you like to be out with someone who talks about how great they are the whole time? No. It’s natural to want to brag a little about how awesome you are, but you’ve got to refrain from doing that. If you want the person you’re approaching to know that you do well for yourself, wait for it to come up in conversation. If you’re patient, he or she will likely ask you a question that gives you an opportunity to brag a little without it seeming like you’re volunteering the information.

6. Listen and be interested

One of the things that will make you stand out initially, is if you’re actually listening to what he or she is saying to you, and showing interested. Ask follow-up questions to show him or her that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Don’t just listen, make sure you also show that you’re listening by making eye contact, reacting, smiling and laughing at their jokes.

7. Be yourself

There is a certain awkward element that comes into play when you try to be someone that you’re not, so just be you! Confidence is the single most attractive quality that anyone can have, and you’re more likely to be confident when you’re not faking anything and you’re just being the authentic you.

Being secure with who you are and owning who you are is how you appear attractive. The moment you stray from who we are as a person is the moment a relationship is doomed. Eventually, whether it’s a week or a year from when this choice is made, the real you will emerge. You can’t fake anything, because the truth always comes out.

8. Have thick skin

Understand that it’s not always meant to be. In fact, very few connections are meant to be. This is something you have to be aware of and be prepared for. If the first person you approach shoots you down, don’t take it personally or let it bruise your ego. Keep your chin up and try again.

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