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Dating on V-Day? Why Some Are Better at a Good First Impression

FRIDAY, Feb. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Valentine's Day is Sunday and even amid a pandemic the search for love continues. When dating, will potential suitors think you're a prince or a frog?

That may depend on how genuinely happy you are with yourself and how well you present yourself, new research shows.

The new study from McGill University says first impressions during a first date can accurately assess another person's personality, though it may be tougher than it is in casual settings.

Researchers wanted to figure out if people could form an accurate impression of a potential suitor in a first-date situation, so they invited 372 people to speed-dating events in Montreal in 2017 and 2018.

First, they had participants complete a questionnaire assessing their personality and well-being. They also asked a close friend or family member to assess the participant's personality.

Each person had a series of three-minute first dates, then rated their dates' personalities after each interaction.

On average, people saw their dates' personalities accurately, but certain "dates" were easier to read than others.

"Some people are open books whose distinctive personalities can be accurately perceived after a brief interaction, whereas others are harder to read," said study co-author Lauren Gazzard Kerr, a PhD student in the department of psychology at McGill University in Canada.

"Strikingly, people who report higher well-being, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life tend to make the task easier," Kerr said in a university news release.

It's possible that people who others perceive more accurately end up having greater well-being because of that, the researchers suggested.

It may also be that some people are better at presenting themselves, noted study author Lauren Human, an assistant professor at McGill.

"Perhaps people that have greater well-being behave in ways that are more in line with their personality -- being more authentic or true to themselves," Human said.

The researchers now plan to dig deeper into why those who report greater well-being are seen more accurately by their first dates. They will also examine the consequences of accurate first impressions and how they influence romantic interest.

"Understanding why some people are able to be seen more accurately could help us determine strategies that other people could apply to enhance how accurately they are perceived," Human said.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Research in Personality.

More information

The University of Minnesota has more on taking charge of your health and well-being.

SOURCE: McGill University, news release

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