Did you know it’s possible to meet people and establish real relationships offline? I BS you not. At the risk of sounding a tad anti-social media (promise I’m not completely), humanity hasn’t always been glued to electronic devices. There was a time where some effort was necessary to find people we clicked with. I mean, think back to your earlier years. Your 8-year-old self was probably buying friendship with Swedish Fish back in the day without giving it a second thought. The thing is, your 8-year-old self was invincible and not afraid to ask the kid next to you if he wanted to play. Your grown-up self doesn’t have to be either.
To those who say that’s the point of going online – to cut back on the effort part – I hear you. But you could be dodging more than that by not getting out of your own way and from behind your laptop every now and then to make friends or get a date.
With that said, here are seven surefire ways to open yourself up to new friendships and romantic possibilities that naturally make you more attractive in the process… without poking, winking, or swiping at anyone. Electronically, that is (he he).
Say cheeeese! Okay, maybe don’t walk around with a huge grin on your face all the time because that could be off-putting. But do smile a little. In other words, be approachable.
This is especially tough for us girls. I know sometimes we put on the “f*ck off” face to ward off unwanted advances and it kind of just sticks. But if you want to meet new people you must relax your face. It could take practice and time, but you’ll develop this skill by becoming more aware of when the muscles in your face tighten, and relaxing them. Repeat throughout the day.
Stay in tune with your body and the vibe you’re giving off. Unfold your arms and try putting your phone away sometimes when you’re out to appear more inviting. (I know it hurts.) No one will approach you if you look like you’ll take their head off as soon as they open their mouth to speak.
Venture beyond your local bar. And possibly your comfort zone. You know that crossfit or art class you and your friend have been meaning to try out? Do it! Placing yourself in a new environment will mean new opportunities to not only meet singles, but to experience something different which is never a bad thing. Clubs and bars are great for letting loose with the girls on the weekend, but they aren’t the best places to get to know someone. Not only is the music usually deafening, but everyone’s wasted and there for a fun night out. On the other hand, have you noticed how great you feel when experiencing something new and fresh? It can be exhilarating. What better atmosphere, and in what better mood can you be, to meet somebody?
And if it isn’t somewhere new, try being more conscious when dealing in the everyday stuff. Strike up conversation with the cutie at the coffee shop or grocery store. There is no right or wrong place to meet someone. Make the most of running your errands.
Here’s a short, semi-embarrassing story. Once upon a time, I thought this guy working at my local Sprint store was so fine that I went in there about four times within a week trying to work up the nerve to talk to him about something besides my ridiculous phone bill. I was low-key stalking the guy until I just said “eff it” one day and asked him for his number. We mostly texted for a short period and nothing ever came of it, but I was still so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and asking for what I wanted. And it worked! Kind of. My point is that you gotta loosen up and be open to the possibility that something good may not meet you where you’re most comfy or expecting.
Say my name. Say my name. Well maybe not my name, but definitely his or hers. People love to hear others say their names and simply inserting it into the conversation, especially in that playful flirty way that you do (mmhmm, you know) can be an ego stroke and a bit of a turn on. Obviously, don’t be weird with it and say it a dozen times. Really, once at the right time should suffice. What’s the right time? A break in the conversation before you ask a probing question. During some flirting or the hug right before the date ends. Sneak it in somewhere where the conversation is flowing and say it like you like the way it sounds. Ow Owww!
Stay in the moment. You’ll need to turn off the voices in your head when trying to connect with someone. The moment is fleeting and you don’t want to regret later missing an important part of what the other person was saying because you were wondering what you’d have for dinner later or if you really should try getting a Brazilian wax. Be present and invested in the conversation. No one likes to feel what they have to say isn’t important enough to deserve your attention, especially when trying to form a connection.
Don’t make it the [insert your name] show. The guy from our “Ratchet Dating” article blabbing about how great he is came off as a huge douche. Don’t be like that guy. It ain’t all about you boo and if you think it is, you really shouldn’t be dating. Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t show off a little. Who doesn’t like genuine confidence and ambition? But if you have a bad habit of rambling about yourself when nervous, it’s much better to disclose that up front so that your date can help ease your nerves at best, and at worst, knows you don’t mean to come off as obnoxious and self-obsessed.
Get underneath the surface. We can only talk so much about what we do professionally and our lack of luck online dating. You have a life full of interesting people and experiences. Trust me, even if you don’t think so, you do. You and I don’t come from the same background. We haven’t been to the same places or seen the same things. Don’t be afraid to open up. What do you love? What are some of your bucket list items? Guilty pleasures? Beyond those things… are you close with your family? Dream of making a drastic life-altering decision? Some may question if these topics are a little much for the first couple dates.
I think not.
It’s bold and refreshing to go beyond the mundane convo bullet points and get into the things that make us human because those human experiences connect us. If you open up, he or she will too and you’ll both feel relieved to have had such an authentic encounter.
Look for the good in them. Wouldn’t it be nice to date a person who was insistent on seeing the good in you? Someone who didn’t pick you apart in their head, but instead kept mental notes of your attributes and maybe even gave you a sincere compliment or two? If that sounds good to you, try it with your next date. Obviously, we all have flaws, but it can be incredibly sexy and uplifting when someone you don’t even know that well makes it a point to highlight the subtle parts of you that make you uniquely amazing. How about…
“Wow, your face lights up when you smile. I like that.” So what he has a gap?
“I love how you put your phone away at dinner. That was so considerate.” Instead of thinking he has a stalker ex who won’t stop calling, let’s take the high road and assume this guy is actually a gentleman.
“You look amazing… Am I underdressed? I thought we were going to Longhorn.” Girl, hush and let this man look good for you. Maybe he wanted to impress you or he just likes to look his best on a daily. Either is a real good look! (Next time, though, you may want to step it up just so he knows the deal. 😉
…oh yeah… let’s make this 7.5.
If you want to connect sincerely with someone, you may want to rid your vocabulary of the word and idea of that which is “thirsty.” Yes, some people do too much, but most of the time people are so intent on caring the least nowadays. If someone thinks you’re thirsty because you act interested in knowing him/her, he/she should promptly remove his/her head from his/her rear-end and take the seat closest to the restroom at the back of the plane flying cross-continentally. (And vice versa if you’re the one thinking someone thirsty because they called instead of texting… Ha, is it obvious I hate that word?)
So I guess that means the last way to connect genuinely is to make sure you’re genuine in your quest for a connection!