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How to Make the First Move: 10 Key Tips

by eharmony Editorial Team - July 4, 2024

You’ve found someone you’re interested in, and now you’re wondering how to make the first move. No matter the genders involved, the thought of making the first move can be nerve-wracking. You’re putting yourself out there and the idea you might be rejected or make a fool of yourself is scary. Or you want to make the first move but you’re not sure how. Or you’re wondering how to make the guy make the first move. Don’t worry, eharmony’s got your back. Read on for tips on how to make the first move.

Things to keep in mind before making the first move

Regardless of the genders involved, it’s important to keep in mind proper dating etiquette.

  • Consent is key, both for you and your date. If it’s not an enthusiastic ‘yes’, then it’s a ‘no’, regardless of what the media or influencers may tell you. If your potential date isn’t interested, accept it and move on.
  • Relatedly, it’s also important to communicate. Figure out what you want and make sure you and your date are on the same page. Being clear about things right from the get-go means you don’t wake up months later realizing your relationship has no future.
  • If you’re wondering, ‘Should a girl make the first move?’, the answer is ’of course, if she wants to’. Women are more than capable of going fter what they want and as the sports cliché goes, you miss all the shots you don’t take.

Tips for making the first move

Here are 10 tips for everyone wondering ‘How do I make the first move?’

Read body language

People say far more with their bodies than they ever do out loud. If your date is leaning in when they talk to you, casually touching you, or making plenty of eye contact, that’s a pretty sure sign you making a move will be welcomed. They might also make the effort to move close or unconsciously angle their body towards you – both are ways to show a potential partner you’re interested.

Body language and signs of attraction

We take a deep look at body language and signs of attraction, how you can read them and the more recent idea of digital body language on apps.

Show your own interest

Some people like surprises… some really don’t. If your date falls into the latter category, they might react poorly to you making a sudden move. So make sure they know you’re into them. Lean in (but be respectful of their space), keep your phone away and turn your full attention to what they’re saying, casually touch their arm or tell them something funny… you’ve got options. Just be sure to match their energy – you don’t want to put them off by coming on too strong.

Compliment them

Everyone likes hearing nice things about themselves. Want to take it up a notch? Leave the traditional compliments by the wayside and tell them about something you’ve noticed about them – maybe you like the way his eyes crinkle when he laughs, or find her habit of saving the blue M&Ms for last adorable. Specific compliments show your partner you’ve been paying attention and aren’t just flattering them.

Giving compliments

We take a look at giving compliments that help strengthen an existing relationship and foster new ones, and examples of compliments to give someone.

Keep it casual

What’s the worst that can happen? They can say no. If you’re wondering how to make the first move on a girl or a guy  it’s important not to build it up too much in your mind. The less pressure you put on yourself, the easier it will be when it comes to how to make the first move.

Ask them to teach you something

You should do this for two reasons. Not only is it flattering to have someone think you’re enough of an expert to teach them, it’s a great – and not very common – way to show you’re interested in them as a person. Plus, being in close quarters can help develop a sense of intimacy.

Let it be natural

Is there anything more awkward or off-putting than a move that’s clearly taken from a list of ‘surefire’ ways to get a girl or guy? For any of you wondering how do you make the first move on a guy or a girl, the key is going with the flow and keeping it natural. They mention loving Mexican food? Suggest going to a Mexican restaurant for your next date. Or if they like  dancing . . . you get the picture.

Be funny

If you’re wondering how to make the next move, making your date laugh is a great way to break the ice. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian– a few well-timed jokes or funny observations can do a lot to raise the comfort level. Just make sure you’re matching your date’s energy, and obviously, don’t push boundaries or try to be too edgy – that’s likely to have the opposite effect.

Don’t put down other women

This tip is especially for anyone who’s into women –  you may intend “You’re not like other girls,” as a compliment but it’s really not. In fact, most women hear it as the opposite and for many, it’s a huge red flag. Rather than focus on comparing your date  to other people, focus on what you like about them. As a bonus, if you’re wondering how to make the first move, beginning with a sincere compliment doesn’t hurt.                       

Just ask!

You should always try and figure out if someone is interested in you first, but there’s no harm in just up and asking. Some people aren’t good at reading body language. Plus, you never know – your date might appreciate you being straightforward about what you want, whether that’s a hug, a kiss, or even more. Just be sure to be respectful about it!

Be okay with a no

Sometimes you make a move and get told no. What matters is what you do next and you never want to give the impression that you don’t respect their right to consent. Dial things back to a level they’re comfortable with, and make sure to reassure your date you’re fine with it. And if it’s a no to another date? Respect that and move on.

Dating Rules

No matter if you have been single for a while or if it’s still fresh, you might wonder how dating has changed over the years. Here are our 8 key rules for a successful dating journey.

Making the first move doesn’t have to be a big deal

Making the first move can be terrifying for all manner of reasons – but it doesn’t have to be. So long as your partner said yes (or you’re pretty sure, from their behavior and body language, that they’d be okay with it) there’s nothing wrong with seizing the day. Reread our tips on how to make the first move, take a deep breath, let go of the nerves, and enjoy it. And if it doesn’t work out? There’s always eharmony. For over two decades, we’ve helped singles all over the world find partners who want the same things they do. Sign up for eharmony today and find someone you can be yourself with!

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