Hillie Marshall, agony aunt, writer and former owner of Dinner Dates, has considerable experience in matchmaking. Here is an excerpt from her book The Good Dating Guide.
Should you make the first move?
The first thing you have to do, if you want to get to know someone you see and like, is to make contact. Chances are they may not have noticed you, and so if you wait for them to make the first move you could be waiting for an awfully long time. You will also save a lot of valuable time by finding out as soon as possible whether there is a mutual attraction or not.
If things should not go well, try not to feel rejected or put off by a rebuff. Everyone I know has faced rejection. Both sexes have tremendous anxiety about rejection, and so maybe that is why the person you fancy is not approaching you first.
Rejection is a fact of life; it is how you cope with it that is important
One friend of mine still shudders when he remembers a night at his local nightclub. He saw a girl he thought was gorgeous, plucked up his courage and squeezed past a line of ten of her girlfriends all sitting close together, to ask her for a dance. He asked her and she said ‘No!’ and turned away. He then had to turn round and squeeze past the ten girlfriends who were by now all looking at him with curiosity and suspicion, and he retreated to the bar. He felt humiliated, rejected and wanted to leave, but I gather he stayed and after a few pints felt better.
However much we want someone we find attractive to like us, it isn’t always possible because we all have different tastes and cannot be expected to fancy the world in general. If you are rejected try not to view it as a personal insult, just bear in mind that the real reason probably has nothing to do with you at all. Mentally shrug your shoulders and move on.
Traditionally, men are expected to make the first move and women to wait passively to be won over. However, research has shown that in two-thirds of all meetings it is women who, in a subtle way, engineered them. Also in the majority of cases, the men they lured were convinced that they had made the first move and were proud of their achievement!
Most importantly, if you want someone to approach you, be approachable and easy to talk to. If you are a fun, relaxed and caring person and you are happy with yourself and your lot in life then people, almost certainly, will be drawn to you like a magnet.
What do you do to make contacts?
If you have the advantage of knowing a mutual friend you can get them to introduce you. Most people, especially women, will feel more comfortable and relaxed when they are approached by someone who has been vetted rather than by a complete stranger. If you can therefore establish any link between yourself and the person you wish to know, it is worth its weight in gold.
If you are not fortunate enough to be introduced by someone else, sometimes the simplest and easiest way to make contact is just to smile. Few people can resist a genuine friendly smile, especially one full of admiration, and it usually results in a friendly smile back. Your smile has let them know that you are interested and find them attractive, and you will be able to tell by the way they smile back at you whether they are returning the compliment.
Eye contact is a powerful way of getting someone’s attention, especially the five second gaze and smile. The reaction is usually instantaneous and they may well approach you. If it results in a glare you’ve lost nothing except for five seconds of your time.
Sometimes, if you feel too shy to make a physical approach, it is easier to put your interest in writing. Many a romance has started via e-mail on the Internet. Whatever you decide to write, keep it short, light-hearted and amusing. A note that brings a smile to the face will be far more likely to bring results than a heavy, deep or slushy one. If you feel so inclined you could write a love poem. Robert Browning and other famous poets certainly achieved their objectives in this way, and you might even consider copying some of their poetry.
What do you say?
Having made contact you need to open up a conversation and there is no point in agonising over what you should say - anything will do, even hello will do to get the dialogue going. Imagine that the other person is more nervous than you are, and try to put them at their ease. A word of warning here - if you feel you need an alcoholic drink to give you Dutch courage then have one, but only have just enough to loosen your inhibitions. Few people like to be chatted up by someone who has had one too many.[/optional_content]