5 skills to master before your next first date
The 5 skills to master before your next first date
I recently posted on Huffington Post, “The only 5 first date questions you’ll ever need” and that got me to thinking about how else you can prepare yourself so that you rock that next first date. Read on for the 5 skills I reckon you need to master to blow your date away.
1. Learn to avoid taking anything personally
The key to getting through lots of first dates unscathed, and in fact the key to getting through life more or less unscathed, is to avoid taking things too personally. Learn to rely on yourself and know yourself rather than seeking validation from others. When you look to others for validation you’re handing over your personal power to them to decide how to think and feel about you. Sounds awful when you put it like that, doesn’t it? If you head to your date, feeling confident and knowing you’ve got your own back no matter what happens, you’ll be able to handle any dating situation with humour, good grace and jazz hands.
2. Become an expert at active listening… and listen without judgement
Listening is actually a skill that most people struggle with. You know those occasions when you’re chatting to your friends or in a work meeting and you can barely contain yourself because you can’t wait to get your two pence worth in? Or those times when you’re listening but you’re also on Twitter? Well, it turns out that isn’t actually active listening. Who knew? Unless you’re a coach, therapist or someone else whose job it is to listen to people, then there’s a chance you’ve never been taught how to actively listen. But being listened to is one of the nicest feelings and a guaranteed way to make people feel special with relatively little effort. The idea isn’t to stay schtum, but to really listen to what they are saying and take the time to respond appropriately with nods of the heads and by repeating elements of what they’ve said back to them, without giving in to that overwhelming need to jump in and talk over them. One of the key things here is to listen without judgement. There’s nothing less attractive on a date (well there probably is actually but that’s another blogpost) than your date making judgemental comments about what you’re saying. Building on that, bring up things they’ve said later in the conversation to show that you were really listening and taking in what they said.
3. Ask the right questions
Asking questions is the easiest way to get people to open up and indeed asking them in the right way is better. Ask open questions rather than closed ones so that they will naturally talk more to answer them. People generally love talking about themselves so it’s a good way of relaxing your date. Questions which focus on getting them to reveal their values and lifestyle choices are great for first dates as per my blog for Huffington Post above. But another good tact to get them to warm to you and open up to you is to ask them for advice. People love to feel needed, so choose something that you think they’ll know about and ask away.
4. Pay super close attention to body language
About 55% of what you convey when you speak comes from body language so taking the time to register what exactly their body language is saying to you is really useful. You’ll be able to read if someone is into your or not by the direction their feet point, how they hold their arms and whether they’re smiling a lot or not. Smiling is hugely important on first dates, of course as is keeping your palms facing up. Tilting the head goes down a treat and try to keep your chin down so that it doesn’t look like you’re looking down on them. According to the experts, anything going up and elevating is open and comforting (e.g. lifting up your eyebrows) whilst you should avoid compressing anything (think of pursed lips, frowning etc). Apparently slow smiles are the best. You heard it here!
5. Keep it real
Online dating is full of people who, choosing to play it safe, talk about themselves in meaningless cliches. This makes it challenging to find out if someone is really a good fit for you. Opening up isn’t easy but if you focus on keeping things real and sharing the things about you that really matter, your values, your talents, your passions etc then you’ll find you’re more likely to attract people who are right for you