A first date is a great opportunity for two people to get to know another a bit better. There's no commitment (other than an agreed upon meeting time and perhaps a location) so they can use this initial meeting to try and get a feel to see if they want to take the relationship further after this first date. It is almost a given both people will be checking the other out and scoping out each other's personality traits.

While you may have romantic designs on this person, for your own safety and peace of mind it is best to keep the date somewhat casual. This first "getting to know you" date is not the time to drown one another in sorrows or commiserate on previous bad relationship experiences. Instead, it should be treated as a time to have some light-hearted and genuine fun. If you are going on a first date to get to know someone, especially if you are looking along the lines of a potential relationship blossoming, you'll want to know more about the person's personality and other attributes.

But what should you look for?

First date/blind date
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Choosing a public, yet casual, place can give you a good opportunity to get to know someone a bit better to decide if he or she is someone you want to date again.

There is a lot to be said for first impressions, and the traits your date exhibits during your time spent together are likely to be pretty telling (and keep in mind your date will surely be checking you out too).

You'll want to pay attention to two major things - your date's physical and personality behaviors.

Physical Behavior

A person's body language tells a lot about a person. If your date is overly smothering, this could be good old-fashioned affection, but a first date is most often not appropriate to act in this way (unless you are welcoming it too). However, a first-time meeting is probably not the best time to get too physical. Anything beyond friendly and/or casual body contact could potentially indicate a trait of possessiveness or the person can be a jealous one (or you could be misconstrued as having these traits yourself).

Eyes are often said to be mirrors to the soul and there is an element of truth to this adage. Does your date's eyes shift and dart around as if he or she has something to hide when speaking? Or does he or she look you straight in the eye during your conversations? Your date's eyes can tell you a lot about him or her, even on a first date.

Another facet to explore is a person's choice of words. Is your date's tone disparaging to others or does he or she use words inappropriate for a first date? If your date's language isn't appealing, this could indicate a lack of respect for others and inconsideration of their feelings.

If your date constantly puts down other people during your time spent together, this may be a  warning sign you are out with an abusive person. Pay careful attention to how your date talks about family, friends and even ex-girlfriends or husbands; a person's tone can be very telling and offer a lot of insight into what kind of person he or she is. 

iPhone date
Credit: Ding Yuin Shan on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

A person that spends the date looking at his or her phone on a first date is probably someone who won't be attentive in a relationship either.

Personality Traits

Honesty is something to look out for on a first date. Does your date appear to be truthful or do you get a sense that something isn't quite aligned right? If you find your date appears to be untruthful this may be a clear indicator he or she is not an honest person. Someone who appears dishonest right from the get-go is likely to lead to trouble if the relationship progresses.

While sometimes people tell a small "white lie" in order to make themselves look appealing to someone he or she wants to impress, and it is possible the untruth may be harmless, it is still something to make a mental note of. Outright mistruths and blatant lies are not a good sign. If your date is not honest with you now, chances are the lies will get worse if the relationship progresses.

A person's integrity is another characteristic to check out. Does your date come across as being sincere in what they say? Do they remain true to who they are, stand behind what they say or do they change on a whim in order to impress or gain something?

Attentiveness is another characteristic to watch for in your date. Does your date focus on your conversations or do you get the sense he or she is thinking about the upcoming football game or the man (woman) across the restaurant sitting at another table? If your date's attention is not on you during the course of your date, chances are this will only get worse if the relationship moves forward.

A first date is often perceived as testing the proverbial waters in terms of seeking out relationships. It is often mostly about compatibility too. While there are some traits to look out for and – perhaps even run for the hills as fast as your legs will carry you if certain traits emerge – it is important to keep in mind no one is perfect either. If you nitpick every date you go out with, it's quite possible you'll never find the right person.

After your date, if you are asked or are considering asking to go out again, evaluate what you like and what you don't like and see if the positive attributes outweigh the negative ones. If the negative ones aren't serious or are personality traits you can deal with, a second date might be in order.

And, if not, you can politely decline and part as friends.

Parting ways
Credit: Paul Aloe on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

Parting ways early on when compatibility isn't present can save you from problems down the road.