How to Greet a Girl on the First Date

No matter if it’s your first first date or your 100th first date, two things are probably true—you’re excited and you’re nervous. And with that nervous excitement usually comes a lot of questions like what to wear, where to go, and what you’ll talk about.

But one of the biggest questions that sometimes gets overlooked is how you’re going to greet the girl on your first date. Are you going to hug them? Are you going to try and kiss them? Should you say something special?

All of these are great questions, and the answers can have a dramatic effect on the success (or failure) of your first date.

So, how do you properly greet a girl on the first date? Let’s get into it.

Man and woman out on a date holding hands

Do You Have a Pre-Existing Relationship With Her?

The first question in deciding the right way to greet her is whether or not you have a pre-existing relationship. Is this the very first time you’re meeting in person, or have you been friends for years and you’re just now exploring things romantically? Let’s look at each of these.

If it’s the first time you’re meeting them in person or you’ve only chatted briefly in person before, skip to the next section of this guide. There’s a lot more that you need to look at before deciding the best way to greet.

If you have a pre-existing relationship, here’s what we recommend.

  • If it’s someone you’ve been friends with for a long time and you usually hug when you see them, stick with that. Don’t try and escalate that to a kiss or anything like that (we’ll cover this in more detail later).
  • If it’s someone you’ve had a professional relationship with (like you work together) but usually keep it formal, this could be a great time to lead off with a hug. Why? It can help to break you out of that professional relationship and set the tone for a more romantic type of date. If you’re wondering what kind of hug, we will get into that more later as well.
  • If you’ve been intimate before (maybe you’re going on a first date with a previous hookup), definitely go with the hug and possibly a kiss (like a peck, not a smooch). As per the kiss, the best thing to do is commit to the peck, but if they start pushing for a little more, that’s okay. And if they turn away when you go for the peck, that’s okay too.

Should You Kiss When You Greet a Girl for the First Date?

In almost all situations, the answer here is going to be no. If you have a previous intimate relationship as we discussed above, it’s okay. If it’s a cultural norm (like in France), it’s okay. But outside of that, a first date is about getting to know each other, and you shouldn’t assume that such a forward physical move is okay.

Now, kissing at the end of the first date is an entirely different story that we’ll cover in a later post. For now, though, understand that even a peck on the cheek is not a good idea unless it’s one of the special circumstances we mentioned (or she tries to initiate one and you’re okay with it).

Should You Hug When You Greet a Girl for the First Date?

For us, we think hugging when you greet a girl on a first date is a great move. If you don’t have some sort of physical contact early in the date, it gradually gets more and more awkward to do so later in the date. Secondly, the hug helps to set the romantic tone for the date, which can help prevent you from getting insta-friend-zoned.

What Kind of Hug is Best?

The best kind of first-date, first-greet hug is the one-armed, half-hug. It’s not like the bro-hug where you grab hands and pull them in for a half hug. It’s more like a regular hug but just with one arm and your body turned to the side. By turning your body to the side and basically just extending with your arm from the side, it is much less invasive and should be much better received.

Additionally, the hug should be a quick one without some sort of dad-style pat. Secure the hug, hold it for like half a second, and move back out to give them plenty of space. Don’t hold it or stay in close after you let it go. It’s an in and out, that’s it.

Lastly, extend your arm out as you’re approaching them. That way they know that the reason you’re coming closer is to get a half hug. Otherwise, you might just look like a weirdo walking toward them for no apparent reason. By doing this, you show that you’re looking for a very low-commitment, half-hug that won’t make them feel like you’re going to try and snag a kiss or an awkward hold.

If you do this when you greet a girl on a first date, you’re going to have some great results.

The All-Important Caveat

Just because we all think a hug is a totally normal and acceptable way to greet a girl on the first date does not mean she is going to feel the same way. She may be conservative, nervous, or just not comfortable with it. And guess what? That’s totally okay.

So, how do you know if she’s going to be okay with it? You really can’t know, and you don’t want to ask because that’s awkward and shows a lack of confidence. We think it’s 100% normal to go in for the half-hug we mentioned above. If she pulls away or stops you, that’s okay. Just apologize with a smile and tell her you were just excited to see her and didn’t mean to overstep.

If that happens (which will be pretty rare), it’s no big deal. Continue on with the date as normal, but let her take the lead in the physical contact department for the rest of the date.

What to Say When Greeting a Girl

Obviously, the greeting isn’t just going to be an awkwardly silent half-hug. You’ll want to be saying something as you greet them. Here’s what we recommend:

  • If you’ve never met them in person, start by saying their name as a question (to confirm they are who you think they are). For example, “Sarah?”. They’ll usually respond by saying yes or more commonly saying your name as a question. After that, simply say, it’s so nice to meet you in person. Say that phrase while you’re starting to move closer with your one arm out for the hug.
  • If you know them or have met in person before, it would be weird to pretend that you don’t. Instead, just say something like, “Hey you! It’s so great to see you again.” And, same as above, say that as you’re beginning to initiate the hug.

Other Physical Things to Think About

Outside of the first date hug, there’s a lot more that goes into a successful meet and greet. Remember, this will most likely be her first in-person impression of you, so she’ll definitely be judging what she sees (as you’ll probably be as well).

Here are some physical things you have to think about to make that greeting go well.

  • Don’t give her the up and down or stare at her chest. – She may be very attractive. Heck, we hope she is! But do not look at her like she is a piece of meat. Don’t give her the up and down or fixate (or even glance) at her chest. Yes, it may be hard, but she will catch you doing it. You can sneak a look at a full-body glance later when things are more calmed down. Keep your eyes above her neckline for the duration of the first greet.
  • Smile. – This is insanely important. If you look nervous or like you’re having a bad time, she will see and feel that. Smile! Enjoy the fact that you’re about to hang out with a pretty lady. And don’t just look happy for the first five seconds and then let your nerves shine through. Let her feel like you’re happy to be there, and chances are it will be contagious.
  • Be confident. – No, don’t strut like UFC fight Connor McGregor does to the cage before a fight, but also don’t walk like Eeyore. Hold your shoulders back, your head up, and walk like you’re someone worth spending time with. Confidence is a sexy trait, however, arrogance is not. Don’t have your chin so high that you look like you think you’re better than her, but walk with a little bit of pride.
  • Try not to get too excited. – We won’t go in-depth here, but if you’re prone to getting pretty excited just from the site of a pretty girl, maybe invest in some tighter underwear or boxer briefs. She will NOT be flattered by it. Again, this is another reason for the half-hug, to prevent any accidental bumps or stimulation you didn’t plan for.

The Importance of Coordinating a Meeting Spot

This one is HUGE. You’ll want to coordinate a spot to meet at the spot you’re meeting at. Come again? Here’s what we mean. If you are planning to meet at a restaurant, great! But is that out front? At the bar? At the hostess stand? Are you getting a table? See how this could get confusing.

There are two ways to approach this. One—you can set it when you set the date. “Let’s meet at Charlie’s Restaurant.” “Great!” “I’ll meet you outside right out front.”

The second way (and our favorite) is to get there early and send a quick text. “Hey! No rush, I got up here a few minutes early. I’ll meet you out front of the restaurant. I’ll be the guy in a red shirt and khakis!”

What this does is helps to put her at ease. If you haven’t met in person before, she may be worried about being able to spot you. This tells her exactly where to meet and makes it way easier to find you. Do this even if it’s not busy there. However, don’t do this if you’ve met in person before for obvious reasons (you’d be signaling that you assume you are forgettable).

Additional Tips on How to Greet a Girl on the First Date

Usually, the “additional tips” section of an article contains the lesser important type things. In this article? Not the case. Everything in this section is equally important to master that first date meeting.

  • Be on time. – All of these great tips go out the window if you’re late. Be. On. Time. Honestly, we recommend planning to get there 15 minutes early in case you run into traffic or anything like that. It’s better to be early than late, especially for the first date.
  • Read her body language. – We did our best to give you general rules for this interaction. However, the best thing you can do is try and read her body language. If she is looking like she’s ready for a big ole’ two-armed hug (like she comes at you with both arms out), then go for it if you’re comfortable with it. If she has her arms crossed and you reach out your arm for the hug and her arms stay put, that’s probably a sign to abort.
  • Commit to what you’re doing. – If you’re going in for a hug, don’t be all skittish about it. Act confident like it’s what you intend to do. Note—this does not supersede if she clearly shows or says she’s not comfortable with it. But for the most part, once you commit to something, go for it until you learn otherwise. It will make you seem much more confident.
  • Speak loudly, clearly, and slowly. – Everyone is nervous during that first meeting on the first date. It can be easy to mumble and rush through everything you say. Take a breath and slow down. Speak clearly, slowly, and at a volume she can hear you (especially if you’re outside or in a loud bar).

An Important Final Thought

We have covered a lot here today in our quest to get you ready to greet a girl on a first date the right way. Here are the two last and most important tips. Have fun, and don’t overthink it. Seriously. Remember, she’s going to be nervous too. She’s probably asking the same questions or looking up similar articles.

Just focus on having fun, trying your best to do what you think is right, and go with it. Even if the first meet is awkward as heck, you can still have an amazing first date. If it doesn’t go great, don’t let it bum you out for the rest of the date!

You’ve got this.