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First Date Kiss: On the Cheek or All the Way?

A couple giving each other a first date kiss.

Nothing beats the magic of a great first date. When you’re hitting it off with someone new and getting excited about the idea of spending more time with them, you’re on top of the world. So when it’s the end of the night and you’ve reached the tense, wonderful moment where you might lock lips, you’re faced with a decision: Do you go in for the goodnight kiss, or leave it be? The next time you find yourself on the cusp of a first date kiss, it’s important to know that you have options.

There are things you can do to signal that you’d like to share a first date kiss. You can move closer to the person, or playfully touch their arm to indicate that you’re physically attracted to them. If they pick up on these behaviors and reciprocate, that’s a great sign that a first date kiss is in the cards. Still, there’s no one right answer. The first date kiss is a date-by-date situation, so let’s talk about your options.

Go All In

Let’s say you’re feeling confident and decide to go for it. You had an exceptionally great time—a first date for the books that you’ll tell your grandchildren about, whether or not it works out—and you think your date did too. It’s acceptable to move in for the kiss, but you must also be tuned in to how the other person is reacting. If you read the signals right and they’re into it, they’ll kiss you back. If they hesitate, don’t force it; pull back and reassess.

If you decide not to go in for the kiss, that’s okay. You can still convey in other ways that you’re interested and would like to see the person again. If the chemistry is truly there, you’ll both feel it, and you’ll find yourselves on another date. The chances of that one ending with a smooch are highly likely.

Go for the Cheek

You could meet in the middle and go for a first date kiss on the cheek. It’s lighthearted, but still shows that you’re interested. And depending on how you execute it, a kiss on the cheek can be plenty flirty. Seductive, even. A kiss on the cheek is better than a handshake, which is another alternative, though a more formal one that might send the opposite message.

Go for Permission

Another option is to ask permission. If you’re feeling a first date kiss, why not ask and find out if your date is too? People might say that asking is lame and kills the mood, but trust us—there’s nothing wrong with making sure you have consent to be intimate. Permission is sexy, people. Remember, you’re still getting to know this person. The simple question Can I kiss you? might seem goofy, but it shows respect and will earn you a lot of points. Plus, your date’s response will tell you exactly where you stand coming out of your first date together.

Online dating has totally changed the way we date, from how we meet people to who we decide to date. But the first date kiss rules have, for the most part, remained unchanged. You can control what information you put on your profile and who you chat with and who you meet up with in person, but you can’t control chemistry. The internet can bring you together, but you still need good old fashioned instinct and communication to make things work. Online dating made the game interesting, but still, some things will never change.

So: to kiss, or not to kiss? Every first date is different. The best thing you can do is listen to your partner and pay attention to their body language. If it doesn’t feel right, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed as a couple. But if you’re confident that a first date kiss would be well-received, there’s nothing wrong with going for it. Just be prepared to adjust accordingly if need be.

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