And we should all be thankful that we are. Because if this yahoo personals column is any indication, the people who need dating advice are being steered painfully wrong.
It'd be great if dating and flirting were easy -- things you could approach with excitement and nonchalance. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. You want to make a good impression on your potential love-interest, yet the very act of pondering how the other person perceives you can make you less confident!
As a general rule of thumb, a person should not take advice from anyone who uses exclamation points. To illustrate this, I will retype the previous sentence, but instead of a period, I shall end it with an exclamation point. As a general rule of thumb, a person should not take advice from anyone who uses exclamation points! Do you see how dumb that looks? Would you take advice from me if I were seriously engaged in the use of an exclamation point in that sentence? No? No!
Putting an exclamation point at the end of a sentence in which you're admitting that the subject of said sentence can cause anxiety and undue pressure is, to say the least, counterproductive. Why not just write it IN ALL CAPS WHILE YOU'RE AT IT and really unsettle the reader?
Below are four tricks for making a great first impression whether you're cruising the pick-up scene at a bar or on a first date.
Seriously? "Cruising the pick-up scene"? What is this, advice for characters from "Three's Company"? Are they headed down to The Regal Beagle?
Person 1: Hey, friend, why can't you get any chicks?
Person 2: I don't know-- I've been cruising the pick-up scene every night this week, and I'm getting, like, no satisfaction, man.
I suppose you should also watch out for Mr. Goodbar, too.
1. Have great eye-contact. According to Leil Lowndes, author of "How to Instantly Connect With Anyone," eye-contact signifies "honesty, respect, interest, intelligence, candor and confidence." But what makes eye-contact good? In a word, length.
You need to look at someone long enough to actually connect with them -- not just a brief flicker here and there. Lowndes recommends a few strategies for maintaining continuous eye-contact. Think about the exact shade of his eyes; count the number of times she blinks; note the shape and asymmetry of his eyes.
Sure-- catalog the faults of the person you're looking at. That will help you stare at them longer. Aren't blinks supposed to be a sign of weakness? Am I trying to intimidate this person? Geez, she is blinking a lot. 12. 13. 14. 15. Is she okay? Maybe she has an eye infection? Oh, crap, what if she has pinkeye? I don't want to catch that. And, why is her left eye so much higher than her right? She looks like Alfred E. Neuman.
And, regarding Leil Lowndes, no less an authority than Larry King had this to say,
"You'll not only break the ice, you'll melt it away with your new skills."
So, yeah, listen to her.
2. Use the almost-touch. Touching the other person on the arm or the shoulder is a standard flirting technique. The physical contact indicates interest and comfort. Lowndes suggests something else: the almost touch. Reach out like you're about to touch him, but stop before you do. This works on men ("their fantasies go wild wondering what it means") and women ("she may appreciate your affection but can't accuse you of being too forward.")
But they can accuse you of being a dreamy, vague, unfocused twit who can't make up his mind whether to touch you or not. Their fantasies do not go wild wondering what it means. Their fantasies go wild wondering what kind of nervous disorder you have that causes your hand to almost touch you, and then pull away. Or, worse, they wonder if they themselves smell bad or have something oozing on their skin that's caused you pull your hand away just before making contact.
Some real advice: Touch her, maybe on the hand, arm, or shoulder. Don't touch her naughties until you're back at your "swinging bachelor pad" (sorry- I slipped back into the 1970s for a second there).
3. Be eager and enthusiastic -- to a point. Here's a dilemma: How do you come across as interested in someone without seeming overly interested? Let the other person speak first, then match his level of enthusiasm. That way you won't sound disinterested or desperate. This works well on a first date, or when someone introduces you to someone else.
No, no, no, no, no. Wait for the other person to talk to you? This is advice for Tiger Woods or George Clooney but for crying out loud this doesn't work for normal people, unless you want to end up like the protagonist of a Morrissey song.
There's a club if you'd like to go
you could meet somebody who really loves you
so you go, and you stand on your own
and you leave on your own
and you go home, and you cry
and you want to die
And if you're on a date, then, what if you're both trying to follow this grand advice? You'll both sit in silence all night. Oh the waiter's here, should I order? I really want the squab, but I don't want to seem to eager about it...what if she doesn't like squab? Oh, I wish she'd just hurry up and order--
4. Make a good last impression. The way you say good-bye might be even more important than the way you say hello. Studies have shown that when people think about a past incident they're more likely to remember the way they felt at the end, even if it's significantly different from how they felt during the event.
No pressure, but the date can be fantastic (as long as you're not following the advice in this article) and you can still bitch things up by sneezing in her face as you lean in for the good night kiss. And you're back in a Morrissey song. Or, no pressure, but you can totally bitch up the date but still rescue it by reciting French poetry when you drop her off.
To create a great last impression, advises Lowndes, don't just say good-bye -- instead say a full sentence that includes the person's name. Something like, "It was really great to meet you, Tom." Or "Amy, thanks, I had a really good time." Be warm and friendly and speak with at least as much energy you did when you said hello.
Okay, but what if your date isn't named "Amy"? Or "Tom"? Then you're worse off than ever. And maybe it's all in the delivery, but for crying out loud "It was really great to meet you, Tom," sounds like a great big steaming pile of brush-off to me.
Why not look into her eyes and say something like, "Remember earlier tonight at the pick-up scene, when I almost touched you and then pulled my hand away? I was just waiting for you to speak first so I'd know how much enthusiasm to show you."
She'll be so disarmed by your candor that she'll probably say something like, "I find your candor disarming. Perhaps you'd like to come up to my place to read some French poetry?"
It's just that easy, people.
Morrissey pic source.