7 Tips to Help You "Click" with a First Date

How you can get an instant connection with a first date. Or a new friend. Or anyone, really.

Romantic Dinner
(Image credit: Ansgar Werrelmann/Veer)

Most of us have had the wonderful experience of "just clicking" with someone — feeling like we could talk to him for the rest of eternity, or like we must've known each other during past lives. Usually, it just happens naturally, in a way that seems almost magical. But, as bestselling authors (and brothers) Rom and Ori Brafman explain in their popular book, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, it's not magic. Certain behaviors and factors can help predict whether or not we'll hit it off with any given person. The Brafmans have studied the things we do that help us connect with each other — and I talked to Rom about things you can do to help you click on a first date.

In your book, you say it's good to show some vulnerability if you are hoping to connect or click with someone you've just met. My reaction to that was: "Vulnerable? Really? Isn't that a turnoff for most people?"

We usually associate vulnerability with a negative quality, namely weakness — but what we are talking about is being open, and disclosing some personal information. We're not talking about revealing your deepest secrets or letting someone in on all your sorrows — but sharing a personal anecdote with someone or letting him or her know what you're thinking helps to create intimacy. And the more you reveal about yourself, the more someone else is likely to reciprocate — and feel a connection with you.

Can you give me a few specific examples of "vulnerable" things people can do to increase the sense of connection and intimacy on a date?

1. Tell a little story from your childhood.

For example, let's say that on a first date your conversation naturally turns to pizza, and you decide to share that when you were in second grade your teacher would set up these pizza parties and that's what kept you interested in school — that every day you were looking forward to these pizza parties. It's not a profound story. There's no great lesson. But you're taking off the persona that we so often have on when we're dating. You're sending the message that you trust the other person, and feel engaged enough to open up. Telling a childhood story is almost never going to backfire.

2. Let your date know you're enjoying yourself.

Try "I'm really enjoying our conversation" or "I'm really glad we're here." That sets the tone and will also clue a guy in to the fact that you're engaged, so he doesn't have to feel preoccupied with that question — which allows him to focus more on being himself.

But be careful to talk about how you're feeling, rather than giving the guy a direct compliment — which could make him feel on the spot. So saying, "I like the way our night is going" is better than saying, "I really like you."

3. Don't say anything negative, like "I'm feeling bored right now."

That's not being vulnerable — it's being inappropriately blunt!

4. Ask questions that will draw out your date and make him feel a little more vulnerable — in a good way — as well.

Say things like, "Whom in your family do you get along with best?" Or, "What was high school like for you?" If he can't answer these questions, don't immediately give up — maybe he's just nervous. Encourage him. Or be a little more specific, like: "Do you get along with your siblings?" Or "Who were you closest with in high school?"

5. If you have any sudden ideas about fun things you can do on the date, throw them out there.

For instance, maybe you feel like sharing an ice cream with your date; suggest you go for a cone. Try to act the way you would with a friend. Be spontaneous and try out new things.

6. Show up with enthusiasm and energy.

Develop a curiosity about the other person, and ask questions that you find interesting — not just the usual boring get-to-know-you questions like "What do you do?"

7. Don't be afraid to disagree.

That shows you're confident. If you feel completely the other way about an issue, say so. And if things get a little heated, turn down the temperature by saying, "Wow, we're not even halfway through our first date and we're having a serious debate. I'm glad we can be honest."

Folks — what do you think? Are you eager to try out some of these tips? Do you think any of them sound particularly interesting — or kind of risky? I'm with Rom, personally. A lot of these techniques have worked for me. And he also has tips about conversational misdemeanors to avoid on a date — which I'll post someday soon.