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With Spring just around the corner (or technically here, but come on Minnesotans, we’re not that gullible just because we’ve passed March 20th), romantic daydreams abound.  Do you find yourself imaging a romantic walk through your favorite park and then into an Uptown watering hole, all the while holding hands with that hottie you’ve been eyeing throughout these long, gray winter months?  Does the idea of taking this daydream into reality give you the nervous sweats?  Don’t worry – we’re all subject to jitters and flutters at the thought of taking action on romance.  

So today, let’s have a quick breakdown about how to work up the nerve for the ask-out, how to get your flirt on, and how to recover from awkward silences when things start going sideways.  Dating is fun!  And it’s supposed to be, so let’s all take a deep breath, relax and head to our favorite wine shops to pick out a celebratory pinot – because this dating thing isn’t as scary as we make it out to be.

 

First things first – if you’re in the mood for dating and don’t want to wait for someone to approach you, then you have to work up the nerve to do the asking out yourself.  Sometimes the easiest and least risky way to get your flirt on is to take it online.  The relative anonymity takes the sting out of possible rejection if it’s just a harmless Facebook proposition.

 

But if you’re old school, you’re going to take the plunge and ask someone out face-to-face and in person.  This is definitely the scarier option, but hey – high risk/high reward.  Be direct and as laid-back as possible.  A simple hello and a winning smile is a great ice-breaker.  From there, find some common ground and let the conversation flow to mutual interests that could be converted to a proposition spending time together: Voila!  Instant date.

 

Now that you’ve secured a date comes the second set of obstacles: Trying to keep your cool while still showing interest.  Sound like a ridiculous oxymoron?  It is -- because our hearts and minds are in constant conflict, never knowing when to employ emotion or logic.  The point being, the first date is a sticky wicket of trying to bring just the right amount of flirt.  You want your date to know that you’re into them, but you don’t want to scare them off, either.  So, what are some effective flirting techniques?

 

  • Invite romance silently: Never underestimate the effectiveness of eye contact.  Gaze long enough to let your date know you’re attentive and interested but not lingering so long that you look like a creeper or a ditzy airhead.  Remember, conversation is still crucial, but eye contact really drives home that your date has your undivided attention.
  • Physical contact: It’s the oldest move in the book – a light touch on the arm or shoulder during a funny story or a vulnerable moment.  This instantly signals that you’re attracted.
  • Scents of humor:  Wearing the right perfume or cologne on the first date is a great way to let your date know that this is a special occasion and not just a friendly hangout.  Nothing too overpowering, but a light and flirty (or masculine and subtle) scent really cues the atmosphere for closeness.

 

So now that you’ve got all your flirty moves in order, what do you do when all of those good intentions fly out the window?  More often than not, the risk of dating leads to loads of awkward moments.  And what you really need to know in those situations is how to salvage a date that’s about to take a nose dive.  Not to worry, here are some practical tips:

 

  • If there’s an uncomfortable silence – don’t panic.  Okay, you’re probably already panicking, which is why there’s the uncomfortable silence – but take a beat and dig deep.  Sometimes it’s just too painful to make continuous small talk.  Try shaking up the situation by asking a question that’s really on your mind.  Don’t be tacky or crass, but give a deeper question a try – it actually might lead to increased chemistry and connection in addition to vanquishing the silence.
  • If it looks like your date is spacing out, try not to take offense.  These days especially, attention spans are super fleeting.  It doesn’t mean he’s not interested, but it is a clue that maybe should up your game with a killer anecdote that really highlights your sense of humor.  Or – take it from the cerebral to the physical.  Sometimes physical activity on a first date is easier to keep both parties interested.  If you’re having drinks and you see your date drifting off, grab her hand and suggest a dance or a walk.  A little physicality shakes out the nerves and eases tension.  You’ll be connecting on a more natural level in no time.

 

So as temperatures and hearts warm, take a fearless dive into Spring and love.  By summer, you could be sizzling into a full-on relationship!

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