Some people say that first impressions are everything. While first impressions may just small glimpses into your personality — and of course, not even always accurate representations of who you are — they're certainly something many of us want to achieve in social situations. Basically, it certainly doesn't hurt to make a good impression on people you just meet at parties, networking events, bars, or any other social settings. And oftentimes, the best first impressions are made when you're being yourself and showing genuine interest in getting to know others.
To prove that first impressions really can make an impact, a 2009 study by professors at NYU published in the journal of Nature Neuroscience, found that, in studying the brain activity of the participants, people form their first impression very quickly. Not only that, but their first impression tended to be accurate. Of course, we've all been in situations where we didn't make the best first impression and still formed a friendship with someone or vice versa. So you're not automatically doomed if you think someone got the wrong impression of you one time.
While you may not be able to control how someone perceives you, even if what you put out there is truly awesome, you can at least pick up on some of the signs as to whether you've impressed them or not. Here are nine ways to tell someone is impressed by you in the first five minutes of meeting them, according to experts.
1. They Answer Your Questions
If anyone answers your questions with a simple yes or no, not offering up anything else, they're probably not exactly making a good first impression themselves.
"[If they're impressed with you], when you ask questions, they provide more information than a simple no," Jenn DeWall, MBA, CPC, Career and Life Coach, and Motivational Speaker, tells Bustle. "They are open to keeping the conversation open so they're willing to provide more information and engage more."
2. They Want To Hear Your Opinion
When someone asks your opinion, it means you've really made an impression in those first five minutes.
"During the conversation, they pause to ask your opinion, about what the rest of the group is saying," Erica McCurdy, MCC, CEO of TugWaa, Inc and McCurdy Life Coach, Inc tells Bustle. "They pull you aside to ask for advice about something they are thinking about doing or a decision they're thinking about making."
3. They Lean In As You Interact With Them
When it comes to first impressions, body language says so much. People usually don't lean in to better hear you, if they're not immediately enjoying your company. If anything, they gradually make their way away from you, until you're standing there wondering where that person went.
"The alternative to this is that they are doing the constant head nod or leaning or moving farther away from you," relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. "These signal that they are disconnecting from you and are not impressed."
DeWall agrees with this technique when someone is impressed: "They might physically move closer to you to be more engaged in the conversation," she says. "In dating, they might physically touch you, like a touch on the arm."
4. They Introduce You To Others
"Before you can introduce yourself to others," says McCurdy, "they're making the introduction on your behalf and sharing your accomplishments with others."
For someone to go out of their way and introduce you to others, it's a big deal and absolutely a sign that they're interested in getting to know you.
5. They Ask You Questions
Getting back to that back-in-forth, as a means to keep a conversation going, if someone you just met is asking you questions, then they like what they've heard so far and want to hear more. It's all about making sure the conversation doesn't fall flat.
"They are moving the conversation forward instead of letting it end," says DeWall.
6. They Avoid Distractions And Really Pay Attention
Although it's made communication better, technology has also isolated us in some ways, too. But if you've truly impressed someone, they won't even bother to look at their phone while talking to you. They'll be totally focused on you and nothing else.
"When someone is not impressed with you, they keep their phone close and facing up — looking down at it every now and then," says Armstrong. "As well, they will look around and become easily distracted by what is going on around them. When they are impressed by you, they are focused on you. Putting this in interview context, [if] an interviewer will look down at their notes or write a lot while you are talking [is] a signal that they are not as interested in you."
7. They Include You
If you're at an event and you've impressed someone, they're not going to let you get away very easily — not in a creepy way, but in a way that keeps showing you how much they're enjoying your company. For example, if there's a part of the event where people take a seat, after you've impressed someone, they're going to make sure you can continue your conversation. Even if that means asking people to move.
"They save you a seat, ask someone to make room, or move over to include you,"says McCurdy.
8. They Show A Desire To Include You In Future Plans
"They ask you to join them in whatever they are currently doing or what they are planning to do," say McCurdy.
When you've impressed someone, not only are they going to save seats for you, ask you questions, lean into you, and really engage with you, but they might even want to include you in future plans — especially if you're in the same field or have lots in common.
9. They Ask How To Contact You
The biggest sign of all that you've impressed someone? They want to stay in contact. Most people wouldn't ask to share contact information if they're not impressed.
"They ask for your information and give you theirs in return," says DeWall. "If they don't give you their information, this can some times indicate they have no intention of moving the conversation forward."
While we may not always be in the mood to be charming, especially in overwhelming social situations, if you want to impress someone within the first few minutes of meeting them, just be the best version of you. From there, everything else will fall into place.