Put down that store card and botox menu. You don’t need a major image overhaul to improving your fortunes in the dating game – the simplest things can make the biggest difference.
1. First, be a happy singleton
Frustrated singletons make for desperate daters, and desperate daters don’t get a phone call the next day.
Escape desperation by embracing the things in life that don’t involve dating. See friends and family, indulge in your hobbies, be unashamedly ambitious at work. Start believing that you’re a complete person as you are.
Only then are you ready to get the most out of dating. You’ll be able to approach dates as fun encounters that may lead to something more, rather than last-ditch efforts to find someone (…anyone). You’ll seem more interesting, less needy and a lot more dateable.
2. Get confident by faking it
Confidence is the single more powerful quality in the dating game. If an average-looking person radiates confidence, they’re a date magnet.
Not many of us are blessed with natural confidence, but we can all fake it – and fake confidence soon breeds natural confidence.
Here’s how it works. Go to a party, a club, a date or wherever, and treat it as a drama class. Adopt a confident-but-not-arrogant persona. Speak clearly, hold your head high and smile. Look at people and be interested in them. Once you see how people respond, your natural self-confidence will start to grow.
3. Be an everyday flirt
Practice makes perfect, so get into the habit of making small talk with people. Strike up a conversation with the man at the cash till, with the postie, with the receptionist at work. You’ll get a boost from putting a smile on their face. Soon it’ll be second nature, so flirting with good-looking strangers won’t hold any fear for you.
4. Know what your body’s saying
Every day you’re influenced by people’s non-verbal cues, from unfriendly folded arms to nervous hair-twiddling, so you already know how powerful they are.
When you’re trying to attract someone, the things your body is saying are just as important as the words that come out of your mouth. Show that you’re at ease by relaxing your shoulders and face. Express interest by meeting their eyes and keeping your arms unfolded. Show a connection by subtly mirroring their posture and movements. And smile!
5. Improve your eye contact
Meeting someone’s eye is the most powerful form of body language, but it can be difficult to do. If eye contact makes you uneasy, start by making an effort to look around whenever you walk into a crowded room. You’ll appear engaged, confident and approachable.
If you meet someone’s eye in a crowd, you’ve made a connection – so don’t let it go. Build on it by holding their gaze and smiling. It’s worth a thousand chat-up lines.
Eye contact is equally important in conversation. If you meet someone’s eyes while they’re speaking to you, they’ll feel that you respect and value what they’re saying.
The more you listen, the more the other person will like you.
Try not to interrupt or talk over someone, but don’t bite your tongue until dessert arrives. Talking is part of listening. Your responses show that you were engaging in what your companion was saying. Make an effort to remember names or places that they mention, and opinions they express. Drop them into conversation later to show how tuned-in you are.
The more interesting you make them feel, the more attractive they’ll find you. Never underestimate the power of polishing someone’s ego.
7. Pay the right compliments
Polish their ego further with a compliment, but beware: not all compliments are alike.
Vague compliments like “you’re gorgeous” aren’t worth your breath. Anyone can be gorgeous, so the compliment doesn’t sound sincere. Insincerity isn’t just pointless, it’s counter-productive.
Good compliments work by flattering someone’s individuality, including things that they’d never regarded as noteworthy. For example, a six-foot woman who curses her height as a barrier to romance will feel crushed if you say “wow, you’re so tall,” even if you meant it as a compliment.
Instead, tell her that you’ve never seen anyone wear a long dark Russian coat so beautifully. You’ve made her feel attractive because of her height, not in spite of it. You’ve also flattered her dress sense – and taken away her guilt about what the coat cost!
8. Curb your bragging instinct
If you want to pull a gold-digger who hates you but loves your bank balance, then make sure to tell them about your dazzling career and £40k car on your first date.
If you want to pull a decent person and perhaps have a relationship with them, shut your bragging mouth on your first date. And your second, third, fourth and fifth date.
A date with a bragger is a miserable experience. Imagine having dinner with someone who’s going on about their 10 marathons, their incredible promotion and their cool New York buddies. You want to give up and go home.
The aim of a first date (or five) is to make the other person feel great in your company. Be more interested in their anecdotes than yours. Let them find out about your 10 marathons in a year from now. That way, they’ll know that you’re modest as well as fit.
9. Get out there
If you’re happier single, fine. But if you want to win the dating game, you have to take part. Your mum’s assurance that “it’ll just happen” was about as accurate as her claim that those pressies were left under the tree by Father Christmas.
So stop moaning to your remote control about how nobody loves you, and get off the sofa. Accept invitations, join a dating website, join clubs, look up old friends. A busier social life circle will introduce you to potential dates, boost your confidence and improve your flirting skills. You’ll soon have more dates than your calendar can handle.