3 Traits People Subconsciously Judge The First Time They Meet You, According To A Biological Anthropologist

Are you making the right impression?

woman with red hair smiling Carballo / Shutterstock

No matter how many apps you use or how careful you are in weeding out potential red flags, dating can still suck the life out of you. Maybe this is because people really don't know how to date anymore.

Getting to know someone and beginning a relationship is challenging, despite initial thoughts that finding your soulmate would be as easy as swiping right.

Writer and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher says, "Courtship has changed more in the last 10 years than it has in the last 10,000 years. Our ancestors lived on a farm and there were a lot of arranged marriages, and today we're marrying to please ourselves — and we're doing it through the internet."


With that insight, a lack of dating success may be due to a first impression someone has of you.

Here are 3 traits people subconsciously judge the first time they meet you, according to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher.

1. Your teeth

"Your teeth tell a great deal about how old you are [and] your health," Fisher advises.

traits people subconsciously judge the first time they meet youPhoto: Michael Dam / Unsplash


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In fact, your dental identity indicates your age, gender, income level, and social status. Teeth-grinding, specifically, indicates psychological, lifestyle and personality traits. For instance, if you smoke, drink too much coffee, or if you have a great deal of anxiety, frustration, or anger in your life.

The minute you smile, your date is judging how your teeth look. In fact, studies have found that people with whiter teeth are perceived as trustworthy, professionally and financially successful, and attractive. Yellow teeth and "abnormal" spacing have negative effects on attractiveness.



If you're not finding luck in the dating game, it may be time to take a trip to the dentist or invest in teeth-whitening strips to make your smile really sparkle.


2. Your grammar

"Your grammar says a lot about your sociological background [and] education," Fisher adds.

Many people find bad grammar in a dating profile or in person as a real turn-off, and think that if you don't know the difference between "there" and "their," you're not worthy of wasting any time on.

While you may feel a bit bad correcting someone's grammar, research has found that it negatively impacts dating success and overall perception of a person.

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One study determined that 75% of men and 88% of women prefer good grammar over confidence; another study found that men reduce their chances of scoring a date by 14% when they have grammar mistakes in their dating profile.

To increase your chances of making a good first impression, hone your spelling and grammar skills as best as you can. And, if all else fails, use a spell check before communicating with a potential date.

3. Your confidence

As Fisher explains, "Your self-confidence tells a good deal about your emotional stability." And she couldn't be more right.

How we feel about ourselves can impact our relationships. If we don't feel good about ourselves, we have no positive emotional energy to focus on another person.


traits people subconsciously judge the first time they meet youPhoto: Rodrigo Feksa / Pexels

Additionally, when we don't feel confident, that's the version of ourselves we present to others. This makes it obvious to others that you don't feel comfortable in your skin and potentially don't have the ability to remain authentic. And a potential match is looking for exactly that.


We've been built with a number of fast-acting special skills that can aid us when meeting someone for the first time. "The brain is very well built to try and size somebody up immediately," Fisher says.

For example, when you aren't confident, you may bite your nails or have other repetitive habits, as well as avoid eye contact, which makes you appear anxious and untrustworthy.

So, work on boosting your confidence one small change at a time. You're not only altering how you feel about yourself, but how you present to others.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and frequent contributor to YourTango. She's had articles featured in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Woman's Day, among many others.