Each week, Miami dating expert Nikki Novo gives us advice on finding love in this hopeless place. Today: What not to do to land that elusive first date.
Ah, the first date. Do they even exist anymore? After a string of group hangouts and zero dinner invites, you're starting to think the one-on-one date is becoming extinct. And on particularly bad days, you're wondering if the famine is a personal problem.
Listen up: there is nothing wrong with you. Repeat after me: "I am not broken."
Now that we have that clear, rest assured that the first date continues to live on, and all you may need are a few tweaks to your strategy in order to jump in the game. From learning to send the right signals to restricting yourself from giving it all up front, these three sneaky tips will help fill up that calendar in no time.
stab at sleep / Flickr CC
1. Your Vibe Is All Wrong
We Miami ladies are infamous for the "please don't talk to me, please don't talk to me" vibe. In our defense, we get double the amount of creepy, drunk douchebags approaching us than does the rest of the country. Not only do we have to deal with our own pool of them, but we also get a busload of foreigners. We've had no choice but to evolve and consider every unsolicited drink a threat to our souls.
But let's be honest: where has that attitude left us? It has left us with a closet full of short, tight dresses that would bore even Malibu Barbie.
It's time for a small change in attitude. Yes, while most strangers coming up to you at a bar, or anywhere else for that matter, might seem, well, strange, there may be some really good people in that mix. If you keep crossing your arms and assume everyone is weird, you're going to discourage the cool peeps and attract only the people who can't translate social cues (the creepers). If you do manage to lure in a decent person, you'll be too busy judging their approach and appearance. Imagine if they were to judge you off your cross-armed stance? That's not really who you are, is it?
Every chance encounter is just that: a chance. Sure, maybe he's not your next date, but maybe you spend 20 minutes laughing with a complete stranger. Or maybe he has a really cute cousin who is perfect for you. The purpose of your meeting is not for you to foresee.
Uncross those arms, open up those shoulders, and smile. But most importantly: feel open. If you can't be happy with where you are, you'll never get to where you want to be. Relax and enjoy the awkwardness that comes with meeting a complete stranger who may seem totally different from every other person you know. Is that really a bad thing? Or better yet, do you have anything to lose?
It's a diverse beach out there -- don't be too quick the judge.
Parker Knight / Flickr CC
2. You're Too Picky
Finding that balance between being open to people and not settling for just any person who comes your way can be hard to strike. But it's definitely doable.
There's nothing wrong with having high standards for yourself. The problem is when people think a potential mate should arrive in a perfect red bow. If you have this vision of how a suitor should look, what job he should have, and what area of town he should live in, you're most probably always going to be disappointed by first encounters. It'll be really hard to get to a first date if this person can sense your high expectations.
Rather than have a perfect man or lady checklist, I always recommend creating a perfect feelings checklist. Maybe some things that are important to you are feeling secure, cared for, and appreciated? Awesome, add that to your list. But don't add his job, his income, or place of residence. Let that be a surprise. Trust that the feelings will bring you to where you want to be.
Don't be this guy.
Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) / Flickr CC
3. You're Not Picky Enough
Getting that first date is like getting a follow up meeting after delivering a stellar sales pitch. The trick is to reel in your audience by offering a few facts with substance that intrigue, but not to totally monopolize their time by sharing stories about your family pet.
Let's say you've managed to uncross your arms and attract a pretty cool person at your friend's birthday party. Awesome! Just promise me you won't be in a place where you feel like you're lucky to have this person approach you. Or don't think to yourself that you must seal the deal. There's a choice to be made, and you have equal buying power as does your new friend. You're not obligated to be interested in every person that comes your way. You have a choice.
First, feel the person out. Do you truly like his vibe, or is this just a person to share a drink with? If he's beyond a one-drink wonder, start by listening. This will help you from giving too much away up front. Also, ask questions. Not the nosey type, but the kind that show you're interested. And when you sense that you each have spent enough time away from your friends, make your escape. Let him/her know it was lovely spending some time together and you look forward to maybe seeing each other soon. Now, walk away.
He may ask you for your number, or he'll just stalk you on social media later. Either way, don't judge yourself on the outcome. And don't try to overcompensate by sending those weirdo excuse emails about how you think you might be able to help find his lost puppy or whatever. If you really have an honest reason to invite him out, then do so. Put yourself out there and see what happens. If not, trust that it's going to happen for you. All it takes is one successful connection. Not all of them need to work out.
4. You're Not the Best at Flirting
We can sit here and talk all sorts of flirting technique, but you and I both know that the best results come when you feel confident -- and not when you're trying to mimic some "rule" thought up by a middle-age male author with frosted tips.
There is really no one-size-fits-all approach to flirting. Smiling at and making eye contact with a complete stranger is all about how you feel about yourself. I'm here to tell you once again that you are not broken. In fact, you're pretty awesome. Don't believe me? Call me, maybe. In the meantime, accept yourself and others will gladly do the same.
Secondly, have fun! Seriously, chances are you'll never see that guy across the bar again. So have some fun with him. And if you do see him again it's because you were obviously doing something right.
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Lastly, love your life for what it is right now. When you're at that party, at that bar, waiting for the flight to take off, truly enjoy your time. There's nothing more attractive than a person who is happy with where they are and who they are. Dating is not a means to an end. It's just a stage in life that you happen to be in. Enjoy it, and take the pressure off of yourself. It will happen for you once you believe it.
As a result of your new way of thinking, sexy smiles and intriguing eye contact will naturally make their way in to your day-to-day life -- no instructions necessary.