Have you ever been on a date with someone and, while it wasn’t exactly bad, let’s just say your heart didn’t skip any beats? Well, that’s probably a sign there was no chemistry on your date, because when you have it, you know it. It feels exciting, surprisingly comfortable, and like you might not be able to resist kissing your date’s face at any moment. Yeah, it’s pretty great. But what exactly is it and why do you have it with some people and not others? "Chemistry is the x-factor, the curious attraction that’s inexplicable. When people say, ‘it hits you like a ton of bricks’ or ‘you know when you know,’ chemistry is part of what they’re talking about," Nina Rubin, a certified coactive coach, tells Elite Daily.
Whether or not you have instant chemistry with someone can actually come down to your flirting styles meshing, as Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League, tells Elite Daily. "Just as we have different love languages, we have different flirting languages. For example, some people flirt in a very playful, teasing way — sort of like a schoolboy who pulls the pigtails of the girl he likes," Barrett says. "Others flirt in a more sincere, heart-to-heart way. They share and are emotionally vulnerable. A Teaser and a Feeler will struggle with chemistry because their blueprints don’t match up. But if you get two Teasers together, look out — they’re like a couple from a rom-com, bantering and challenging each other. The chemistry is through the roof."
Recognizing you have chemistry with someone’s pretty straightforward, as that click is unmistakable. But here’s where it gets tricky. Not all chemistry is immediately apparent, and sometimes takes a bit longer to build, according to Brenda Della Casa, a relationship coach and author of Cinderella Was A Liar. "Unless there’s been major discomfort or disrespect of any kind, giving a chemistry-free date a second chance is usually a good idea," she tells Elite Daily. "Perhaps your date got some bad news they didn’t feel comfortable sharing, things didn’t go as they planned with the reservation, they forgot deodorant and are freaking out internally (yes, it happens), or their boss just sent a cryptic text and they’re feeling a little preoccupied. Giving a second chance is also a great way for you to be sure."
The question then becomes: How do you know when the chemistry’s really just not there with a date? It turns out there are a few tell-tale signs to look for that mean you’re just not on the same page.
1. You Don’t Laugh At Each Other’s Jokes.
First dates can be nerve wracking, but that all goes away if you can make each other laugh. Barrett says that not sharing a sense of humor is a major red flag the chemistry is off between the two of you. “Everyone says, ‘I want to date someone funny.’ What they really mean is, ‘I want to date someone who thinks I’m funny, and we laugh at the same things.’ If you don’t make each other laugh or don’t laugh at the same things, it’s evidence that you’re not a good romantic match,” he explains. "Life is too short not to be with someone who you can laugh with.”
2. Steady Conversation Is A Struggle.
When you have good chemistry with someone, it feels like the conversation just naturally flows and you lose all sense of time passing. Barrett says you can tell if it’s lacking by how the conversation lags.
“Either there are long, awkward pauses, or you get easily bored with the discussion,” he explains. “This problem suggests that you don’t have enough common interests to talk about.” Barrett adds that you shouldn’t panic if you don’t instantly feel comfortable talking to each other. “Don’t worry if this happens in the first 20 minutes of a date. It could be that you’re both just nervous, which is normal and healthy. But two hours of dull conversation? Head for the hills!” he says.
3. There’s No Physical Attraction.
When you have chemistry with someone, you’re likely looking for any excuse to make contact. You touch their hand when you laugh or lean in to get a little closer. If you’re not feeling any desire to be close or make physical contact with them, Rubin says that’s a clear sign you’re just not feeling them in the way you would with someone you have chemistry with.
4. You’re Only Noticing Negatives.
When you’re on a date with someone, the point is to get to know them. You want to find out if you enjoy their company and if they have the potential to be a good fit for you. Usually, there are things you like and potentially something you’re not sure about, but if all you see are red flags or signs of incompatibility, Rubin says this may mean that chemistry’s just not there. “Feeling annoyed early on on a date and thinking the other person is flawed [are signs, as well as] noticing all of your incompatibilities rather than the shared values,” she explains.
Dating, especially when it feels like you aren’t feeling that oh-so-special-click with someone, can be frustrating, but Barrett cautions against letting that get you down. “I wish people would go easy on themselves and not mistake a lack of chemistry for a lack of being a great catch,” he says. “We all have different types. And if a person you go out with doesn’t want a second date with you, it’s not that you’re not good enough or don’t have other good options. Maybe it was chemistry, and that’s nothing personal. Maybe you’re pizza and they wanted tacos, and that’s no one’s fault. Pizza is the best!” If this all sounds a bit familiar, hang in there. It’s just a matter of time until you meet someone who makes your heart pound in the best way possible.
Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League
Brenda Della Casa, a relationship coach and author of Cinderella Was A Liar
Nina Rubin, certified coactive coach
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