Nobody Wants to Look Desperate
On the day I announced the Ultimate Summer Dating Challenge, my twitter timeline exploded with questions and comments. Some tweeted statements of gratitude like “thanks so much for making me step out of my comfort zone.” While others tweeted thoughts of distaste like, "men do the chasing and women should be the prey…period!” Despite the variety of commentary, there is one question that has stood out as the most frequent…so much so that I estimate for every 10 questions I get, this is one of them "Paul, how do I approach a man (without looking desperate)?”
The Secret Weapon
I wish I could tell you there was one secret line to instantly lock in that Lance Gross-looking brotha, but there isn’t. I’ve never seen a one liner work for everyone. As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you I’ve seen a particular approach work for everyone (although the damsel in distress ranks high as a universally effective approach). So, if there are no exact words or methods of approaching, am I saying to just jump out there with no strategy? Of course not tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat (Sun-Tzu).
What I have witnessed as effective strategy lies within the elements of the approach, which are no different for a woman approaching a man as they are for a man approaching a woman – we basically react to the same stimuli. What follows is from my observations, reading, and experiences with clients. I’ve distilled the strategy to 6 rules, that when applied collectively, will optimize your approach.
Rule 1: Be Confident
This is easier said than done, but the good news is that everyone has the ability to convey confidence (see Confidence Is Sexy: 10 Ways To Show It). Whenever you approach someone, know that your confidence (or lack thereof) will reach him before your perfume hits their nostrils or your words vibrate through their ears.
Rule 3: Smile
Hands down, when I surveyed men, this is what they say they see the least (a smile). They also mentioned that bottom line is that most of their decision to accept an approach (to go out on a date) is based on this rule and Rule 2. Bonus points are awarded if you don’t just carry a smile but can tell a good joke. Humor ALWAYS wins!
Rule 4: K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Sweetheart)
“Hello, my name is ______, what is your name?" is all it takes for a strong introduction. When it comes to asking for the date, simplicity also wins: "I really enjoyed talking with you, I would love to continue the conversation, how about we get together this weekend. Are you free?” That’s all it takes.
Rule 5: Stand Out
The one thing we all have in common about who we are seeking, is that we all want someone extraordinary…spending your life with just “anyone” never is appealing. Outside of humor, I’ve observed that people who can quickly distinguish themselves as unique are looked at favorably. Now, don’t overdo it! Just because you can crochet a sweater while hanging upside down on a pole doesn’t mean it should be shared in a first conversation (although I’m sure that takes a unique skill set).
Rule 6: Muffle Your Chatterbox
I’ve seen so many good initial conversations nosedive because someone couldn’t stop talking. Remember that everyone wants to feel heard. If you’re talking nonstop, you stifle that feeling. Also, those who talk profusely tend to look desperate. If you feel it’s your natural inclination to talk a lot, be very conscious of this rule.
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