It’s not uncommon for singles to ask, “What’s your sign?” when meeting someone new. Depending on the extent of their belief in astrology, knowing someone’s astrological sign can aid in making assumptions or conclusions about someone’s personality, character, and consequently, their potential compatibility.

But there are other signs that singles pay attention to while dating, ones that are not so obvious. These are the signs singles wear on their shirts that communicate valuable information about their personalities, their attitudes about themselves and others and, especially, announces their willingness to be approached and to connect with.

Cindy was encouraged by a married friend to go to a weekly religious service where she heard many singles attended. The married friend offered to accompany her to ease the way, intending to introduce Cindy to people to get her started. It was customary for the singles to socialize over refreshments after services, and while Cindy and her married friend moved about the room, Cindy walked with her head down, took little steps, and hardly broke a smile. When she encountered or was introduced to someone new, she spoke softly and hesitatingly. Soon after getting something to eat, Cindy asked to leave.

If Cindy could see it, she would recognize the sign she was wearing on her shirt said, “I’m scared. Don’t come near me.”

Jack met Julie on an online dating website, noting they had attended from the same ivy league school. After a few emails, they graduated to talking on the phone. Since Jack was soon to leave on a business trip, he asked Julie to meet in person the next day, even though Julie preferred to talk more on the phone beforehand. Jack dismissed Julie’s hesitation, and she reluctantly agreed to meet Jack for a drink. They instantly recognized each other from their pictures and Jack ordered a bottle of wine for the two of them to share. He then began a monologue about his knowledge of the wine they were drinking, the physical therapy he was receiving for his recent shoulder injury from playing softball, and his bad experiences meeting women from the website.

If Jack could see it, he would recognize the sign he was wearing on his shirt said, “I’m more interested in myself than in you. You don’t matter.”

Unfortunately, neither Cindy nor Jack could read the signs they were wearing. They were oblivious to the first impressions they were creating, communicating their inability to connect to others. All Cindy could do was feel self-conscious and rejectable and project her fear that she’d never meet a man who could see how much she really wants to get married. Jack will continue to complain about the women he meets and blame them for not getting closer to him because the first impression he creates communicates how he’s too focused on himself and meeting his own needs.

Even if singles were to ignore the signs they read in the beginning of their relationships, first impressions can endure.

Eric met Belinda when she came into the store where Eric worked. Eric was attracted to Belinda and quickly moved to strike up a conversation with her about her purchase. As Belinda was leaving, Eric asked Belinda if he could call her, and she responded by saying “Oh, you don’t want to go out with me. I’m not very much fun.” Eric was surprised to hear this comment, but he persisted. Belinda gave her phone number to Eric, and they went out on a number of dates. As they spent more time together, Belinda would frequently express her disbelief that Eric would like her. Eric would get irritated hearing these disparaging remarks and kept telling Belinda how pretty, how smart, and how kind and thoughtful she was. But Belinda was not so easily convinced that Eric’s view of her was more accurate, and her inability to believe him was a constant source of stress in their relationship.

If Belinda could see it, she would recognize the sign she was wearing on her shirt said, “I’m unworthy and undeserving of your attention and love.”

These examples demonstrate how first impressions have the potential to provide an accurate clue into someone’s personality and style. First impressions can be powerful forces to attract or repel others. For singles looking to find and create a life partner relationship, it supports the importance of knowing yourself, liking yourself, and knowing what you have to give in a relationship. Without that self-knowledge, one would be hard pressed to control the first impressions they convey.

Consequently, the dating problems experienced by Cindy, Jack and Belinda began with their beliefs about themselves – Cindy’s fear of getting close, Jack’s arrogance, and Belinda’s poor self-esteem – and the obstacles they encountered to reaching their relationship goals were due to being oblivious that they were communicating these beliefs. . . . and on their shirts, no less.

Contrast the previous scenarios with this one:

Emily was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner party by her married friend Annette. Annette’s husband Kirk invited other single men, hoping that some of their friends might meet someone special. Emily was not feeling very happy that day, as she was unable to fly home to be with her own family for Thanksgiving. However, she decided to be grateful for Annette’s invitation, and made the effort to be friendly to the other guests during the dinner party.

What sign is Emily wearing? Because she understood herself well enough to know she might feel homesick, she made the conscious effort to wear a sign that said, “I’m happy to be here. Come meet me!”

Tim was invited to Annette and Kirk’s as well, but had plans to join a friend to watch the football games after the meal. Arriving at the party around the same time, Emily noticed Tim was attractive and outgoing, but he seemed to be distracted by his Blackberry’s beeping of football scores. When they all sat down to eat, the conversation eventually turned to football, and Tim found himself interested in Emily’s stories of her childhood experiences going to professional football games with her father, and the football games she went to in college. Tim eventually noticed that he was only talking about football, so he initiated conversations about other topics during the meal, focusing most of his attention however, on Emily. After the meal, Tim decided not to meet his friend, and instead he and Emily went into Annette & Kirk’s family room to continue talking and to watch the football games together.

What sign might Tim have been wearing? Because he noticed he was distracted by his interest in football that day, his sign might have said, “I love football, but I’m happy to talk about other things. Just ask me!”

Emily and Tim had the self-knowledge and the motivation to make themselves available to others, even though they may have been distracted by other feelings (homesickness) or interests (football). They did not want to convey first impressions that communicated an inability to relate and connect to others. Instead, they each made a conscious attempt to wear a sign designed to maximize the opportunity to meet and attract other singles.

One of the truths about the signs people wear is that they can be easily changed. All it requires is self-knowledge, honesty and the motivation to connect with others in meaningful ways. So since you never have a second chance to make a first impression, make sure the sign you wear truly represents who you really are, when you’re at your best.

Author's Bio: 

Practicing as a psychologist for over 24 years, Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D. has treated many singles looking to get married, but who had become depressed and demoralized by the dating process. Living in New York City with her husband and three children, Dr. Janice now uses her skills and experience to help healthy singles overcome the obstacles preventing them from attaining the relationships and lives they really want. Dr. Janice has been quoted as a dating and relationship expert in Us Weekly, Seventeen, Women's Health and Cosmopolitan Magazines, and gives teleclasses, lectures and workshops. Visit her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Check out her "Get Your Love Right!" blog, read other dating-related Q's&A's and articles, and sign up for a complimentary 45 minute telephone coaching session by visiting her website