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You met an amazing girl. She’s beautiful, funny, intelligent, and doesn’t seem to be out-of-her-mind crazy. Obviously you want her to be into you, too. Nothing’s worse than getting shoved into the friend zone or getting so nervous to impress that you scare her away indefinitely.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, we reached out to dating experts to figure out what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to catching her attention. Here are seven surefire ways to nudge things along to a second date.
As you walk up to her (or with her), slow down your pace and slightly exaggerate your shoulder movements. It will make you look relaxed and in control. “She will read ‘confidence’ and confidence is always attractive,” says NYC-based body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of The Power of Body Language: How to Succeed in Every Business and Social Encounter. “Do this while holding eye contact and smiling and you will easily catch her attention.” Just make sure you stand tall and keep the shoulder action subtle. If you saunter too much she’ll either think you’re injured or some creeper approaching in slow-mo.
If you speak a foreign language, surf, or play guitar, you definitely want to let her know. “Skills or talents are super sexy and highlighting them makes you appear more dynamic to her,” says San Diego-based dating and relationship coach DeAnna Lorraine. The trick is sliding them into conversation naturally, so you don’t come off as awkward—or like you’re bragging. Wait for the right opening, and slip it in nonchalantly. She will notice.
To be clear, we’re not telling you to yell at her. But you want to convey outgoing confidence, which won’t happen if you talk in a soft, muffled way. To make sure your voice carries, practice talking twice as loud as you think you want to be when you’re out with your buddies. And since nerves can sabotage your efforts and make you sound choppy or high-pitched, take some slow, deep breaths before you head out on your date. “It will relax you and automatically lower the pitch of your voice,” Reiman says. Breathe in through your nose for a count of five and exhale through your mouth for a count of five. You should feel your abs move in and out. Repeat 10 times.
When you’re with her, try to make her feel like she’s the only person in the room. “Even if dishes are breaking and good looking waitresses are walking by, keep your eyes focused on her,” says Reiman. Pay close attention to what she tells you and try to ask follow-up questions to show you’re interested in what she has to say. She’ll feel appreciated, plus the eye contact will work double duty, making her feel more bonded with you.
Your first instinct may be to hold back and watch what you say as you get to know her, but that can backfire and make you appear dull. So don’t be afraid to disagree with her over who should’ve won the Super Bowl or lightheartedly tease her about her taste in music. Back-and-forth banter may actually help you stomp out any first date tension. “You’ll turn the conversation into something playful and flirtatious,” says Lorraine. If she’s laughing and having fun in a conversation, she’ll feel much more relaxed and will more likely be attracted to you.
If you really want to get her pulse racing, take her out for spicy food. Dishes with a kick, such as those with curry or hot peppers, increase blood flow—as she heats up, she’ll associate the rush from the food with spending time with you. There’s also something else at play before she even takes the first bite. “Spicy foods spark feelings of danger,” says Reiman, “and a slight sense of fear can give her a small shot of adrenaline and build excitement.” Recommend she try a spiced-up entrée and order a hot dipping sauce with an appetizer that you two can share.
Women love to laugh and always rate a sense of humor at the top of their list, so show her you’re easy going by telling a story that highlights a goofy or clumsy moment. Talk about your first time bungee jumping or parasailing, including the part about the rope smacking you in the face or how you stumbled through the landing. “Stories with slight self-deprecation show her that you’re comfortable in your own skin and resilient enough to pull out of problematic scenarios with a positive attitude,” Reiman says.