When you’re single and looking for a relationship, figuring out exactly what you want can be tough. Superficial requirements make their way onto your relationship checklist, and it can be difficult to ditch those dealbreakers once you’ve racked them up.

The superficiality trap isn’t the only reason it can be difficult to tell who might be a good partner. Traits that seem ideal in theory might not be attractive in reality. Things like attachment style and past relationship experiences lead many of us to naturally gravitate toward partners who aren’t great relationship choices.

So after you part ways, how do you know if you should see them again? Tricky as it can be, figuring out whether a second date is a good idea is a skill that we can all benefit from in our dating life.

Logan Ury is a relationship expert, dating coach, and behavior scientist. She created a list of eight questions to ask yourself after a date. The point of these questions is to evaluate the date based on how you feel. Ury says that judging based on your emotions, not your expectations, will give you a better idea of whether your date might eventually lead to a relationship.

“We spend dates asking ourselves “Do they check all the boxes?” instead of focusing on how they make us feel. Checklists aren’t inherently bad, but most people’s lists focus on the wrong things – superficial traits that are not correlated with long-term relationship success.” Logan Ury, behavior scientist and dating coach

Taking a few minutes to reflect will help you figure out if you want to see that person again or if you’re better off moving on. Here are eight questions to ask yourself after a date, according to a relationship scientist.

1. What side of me did they bring out?

Thinking about what aspects of yourself came out during the date can help you understand how you felt around the other person. Did you feel like you could be yourself, or did you act differently? It’s important because it shows if the relationship is bringing out your true self or if there are things you need to think about. Your self-awareness can help in evaluating the compatibility and potential of your connection.

2. How did my body feel during the date? Stiff, relaxed, or somewhere in between?

Your emotions can affect your body. Thinking about how your body reacted can help you understand your feelings better. If you were anxious or stressed on your date, you might have felt tense. If you were happy and enjoying yourself, you likely felt more comfortable physically. 

It’s normal to have some nerves when you’re seeing someone new. However,  if your body is communicating discomfort, it’s worth taking time to reflect on why you felt this way.

Your body language can also give you valuable insight. For example, if you noticed that you were leaning in and making eye contact easily, it could mean that you were engaged and interested in the conversation. However, body language like crossing your arms and fidgeting in your seat could be a sign of discomfort or disinterest.

3. Do I feel more energized or de-energized than I did before the date?

This question can help you gauge your emotional response to your date’s relational energy. Mostly used in organizational psychology, this term can also apply to the way interacting with someone leaves you feeling. People with positive relational energy will leave you feeling happier and more energized, while negative relational energy can be draining. 

If you feel more energized, it likely means you had a good time, enjoyed the conversation, and felt a connection with your date. On the other hand, feeling de-energized might suggest that the date was draining, uninteresting, or uncomfortable.

4. Is there something about them that I’m curious about?

Curiosity is a fundamental aspect of building rapport and understanding with someone new. If there’s something about them that makes you want to ask lots of questions, it’s a sign of chemistry and potential compatibility. It shows that you’re genuinely interested in getting to know them better, beyond surface-level interactions.

5. Did they make me laugh?

For many of us, a similar sense of humor is an important factor in deciding whether there’s potential for a relationship to develop further. Genuine laughter is a sure sign of a great date. It shows you enjoyed each other’s company and probably have some things in common. It’s another sign that you felt relaxed and comfortable around your date.

6. Did I feel heard?

Feeling heard means that your thoughts, feelings, and perspectives were acknowledged and respected by your date. Effective communication and feeling understood are essential components of a healthy relationship. If you didn’t feel heard, it might indicate a lack of mutual understanding or empathy, which could be a red flag in a relationship.

Pay attention to whether your interest and curiosity are returned.  If your date didn’t ask any questions about you, they might not be ready to connect with you on a deeper level. They might just need more time to warm up, but this is something to keep in mind, especially if you’re ready for a serious relationship.

7. Did I feel attractive in their presence?

Reflecting on whether you felt attractive in someone’s presence can help you consider a few things. Firstly, you can tell a lot about your chemistry. If you felt attractive, your date likely seemed interested in you, and vice versa. 

This question can also highlight any insecurities or doubts you may have about yourself. We all have insecurities. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but sometimes self-doubt can make it harder to connect with others. Asking yourself if you felt attractive can help you update your date night wardrobe with items that make you feel confident in your appearance.

8. Did I feel captivated, bored, or something in between?

Thinking about how you felt during and after a date can tell you a lot about whether you really clicked with the person. If you felt interested and connected, that’s a good sign. It suggests there was genuine interest and chemistry, and it could point to future compatibility. 

On the other hand, if you felt bored, it might imply a lack of compatibility or engagement. Dating comes with its fair share of awkward moments, but if you really didn’t click at all, then it might be time to look elsewhere for your long-term partner.

The Importance of Reflection

In the early stages of dating someone, it’s important to stay attuned to your feelings. Often we get so caught up in an idea of who our new interest might be that we don’t get to know who they actually are. To counteract this, we recommend our clients meet their matchmaking introductions in person three times before making any final decisions.

This approach called the Three Date Rule, allows both you and your date to get more comfortable and familiar with one another. Nerves and mismatched expectations can easily get in your way on a first date. By giving yourselves more time to decide how you feel, you can make a more informed decision about potential partners.

Checking in with your feelings after each date can help you stay grounded and keep your expectations realistic. Instead of clouding your first impression with nervousness and unmet expectations, these eight questions can help you reflect on how you genuinely feel about your date. Ury says this is a crucial step in finding a happy, loving partnership. Relationships can’t survive on expectations; you have to like each other, too.