By Dr. Ricky Arenson
Most people want to fall in love, have a healthy sex life, and find Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Navigating the complicated modern world of social media – busy working lives, and trying to work out what is going on in the minds of the opposite sex can be daunting.
Here are ten easy strategies for successful dating:
- Put yourself out there!
This one is obvious. If you don’t socialize, meet people, flirt, and ask people out, (or at least get on a decent internet dating service), you won’t land too many dates. You must buy a lottery ticket to have a chance of winning.
- Practice active listening
Ask lots of questions about the other person, listen attentively, and answer appropriately. People like talking about themselves, so they’ll think afterward, “That was the best date ever! The conversation was so interesting!” Most of us don’t like being interrupted by self-centered people who inject themselves into every subject, so give your date time and space to talk about the topics they enjoy. This is a good way to get to know each other and create a good impression: “He/she actually listens to what I say.”
Reward your date with lots of smiles. Everyone loves affirmation, so rewarding someone with a warm smile makes them feel good about themselves and you! Nobody enjoys surly people. “He/she looks so grumpy. I can’t get through to them.” On the other hand, people often say, “What I love most is their beautiful smile.” Don’t overdo this one or you’ll end up looking insincere or half-witted, or at the very least, irritating.
- Don’t have sex on the first date
Aw, come on! Have I ruined all the fun? Many women like to feel valued for something more than sex and may appreciate waiting a short while before taking this step. Men who allow them this space show consideration for their feelings and give the message that they are interested in something more than sex. This approach may feel like a short-term loss, but if the relationship works and the woman feels more positive about sex as a result, the long-term yield may be better and more frequent sex.
For women, we live in a sexist society that sometimes judges women for being “sexually promiscuous” or “easy” for jumping into bed with guys on the first date. So, unless you really want to do it, it’s not necessarily in your best interests to give in to pressure. I’m not endorsing this sexist attitude, but sometimes it’s better to invest in the long-term goal of respect and relationship building first, especially if you’re only doing it to impress a man, which may achieve the opposite result.
- Go somewhere quiet and romantic
A first date at a romantic restaurant will allow time to chat, get to know each other, and create a magical experience if you click. Night clubs are great for dancing and ensuring premature deafness, but they don’t provide a quality social experience. Don’t go to see a movie, (unless it’s “Top Gun: Maverick” – never miss an opportunity to watch this one again!). Movies create awkward first dates. Do you sneak that arm around the other person, hold hands, share popcorn… all too complicated! What do you do when the movie ends? I kissed a girl in a cinema on my first date, but it was very irritating to the staff trying to clean up for the next movie! Also, what if the movie is boring? The overall sense will be that the date wasn’t enjoyable!
- Good Manners are a turn-on
Slurping soup, eating with your hands, licking your bowl, taking food off your date’s plate…that’s not going to create a good impression. “Manners maketh the human.” See if you can behave in a refined, polite fashion for one evening at least. Better still if you maintain these standards in the long term!
Drunkenness is ill-advised and a risk to decorum. Drunk people think they are very funny, but their dates find them embarrassing. Maybe reserve the alcohol swilling for the second or third date, but you’ve got to get past the first one successfully to get there.
- Dress appropriately
For men, wearing a suit and tie may be a bit much for a restaurant, unless it’s the Ritz. Don’t come on too strong! For women, men do enjoy visual stimulation, maybe a bit too much. Looking sexy is great, but if you dress in next to nothing, keep in mind that the less you wear, the less your new boyfriend is likely to listen and remember what you tell him! If you think this sexist, consider that unless you were dating Chris Hemsworth, you probably wouldn’t be that impressed if your first date turned up to a smart restaurant in the equivalent of underwear and a vest.
- Show an interest!
Make eye contact, give your date your undivided attention, look interested, and put away your phone. Few things make people feel less valued than someone looking around in a distracted fashion in the middle of a conversation, or constantly playing with your phone. Give appropriate compliments, but don’t go overboard or you’ll appear insincere, desperate, or both.
- Don’t talk about friends and ex-girlfriends
If your date doesn’t know your friends, you’ll bore them or make them feel excluded by constantly talking about fun times with people they don’t know. Worse still if you bring up tales about your ex! They’ll suspect that you are still carrying a flame or comparing them. Tonight is all about the two of you, so make sure you send that message clearly.