When dating, first impressions can often be wrong. But why does that happen and how can you avoid it?

For example, a date may have snot in their nose or a pizza stain on their shirt. Unfortunately, these first impressions are hard to change. Here are some tips to help you.

1. Appearance

Looks are one of the first things that people notice about each other, and they can make or break a first impression. A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists found that it takes a tenth of a second to form a first impression of a stranger from their face, and longer exposures do not significantly change those initial judgments.

The way that you dress can also make a big difference in how people perceive you. It is important to find a balance between being yourself and dressing in a manner that conveys confidence and professionalism. For example, if you are meeting a potential employer, it would be appropriate to dress in business casual rather than in your pajamas.

People are evolutionarily wired to make snap judgments about others, and those first impressions can have lasting impact. Getting off to a bad start by appearing arrogant or rude can damage the impression that people have of you for years.

2. Body language

Many first impressions come from non-verbal clues, but it can be difficult to get a clear read on them. For instance, eye contact can indicate interest, but it can also be a sign of boredom or defensiveness. Also, the way someone postures their body can send mixed messages. For example, sitting up straight and maintaining eye contact may suggest confidence, but crossing their arms or hunching over can convey a closed-off attitude.

Fortunately, the most telling body language cues are usually clear, particularly when paired with other signals from the person?s body. For example, if a person nods their head in agreement while you talk, it shows that they are engaged and listening attentively. However, if they fidget in their seat or are constantly looking at the clock it could be a sign that they are anxious. The same can be true for hand gestures, as well; a relaxed curved wrist can mean openness, but tightened fingers suggest anxiety.

3. Language

Language is an essential part of the communication process, allowing us to convey ideas and emotions. It is the medium through which values, laws, cultural norms and taboos are transmitted. It also draws and creates boundaries of behavior. Stanford linguists and psychologists have found that even the slightest differences in language can correspond to biased beliefs of the speakers. For example, take a look at a few different English-language dictionaries and note how words are spelled and used differently from one dictionary to the next. This is an indication of the subconscious influences that language exerts on perception. It is this influence that gives meaning to the arbitrary symbols packaged in discrete units called words.

4. Attitude

Human beings are built to size others up quickly based on subtle facial and vocal cues. They make judgments about trustworthiness, physical strength, and intentions to do harm based on these first impressions. People bring their own past experiences, expectations, biases and misapprehensions into these initial judgments when forming attitudes.

Attitude includes an affective component which involves feelings of liking and disliking in relation to attitude objects. It also has a cognitive component which is the process of thinking about the attitude object. Finally, it has a behavioral element which influences plans of action and how they are carried out.

It may sound like a cliche, but the truth is that your attitude can make or break you. A shitty attitude can functionally cut you off from 99% of the ways to meet people (in real life or online). It can keep you stuck, stalled and unable to move forward. Likewise, a positive attitude keeps you open and looking for opportunities.