Have you heard of the term “hamster wheel”? Well, its not just about the exercise medium of the beloved pet of many 6 year olds. It actually applies to the world of dating. To clarify what hamster wheel means, according to Urban Dictionary , the expression means “when someone just keeps running in circles (and making the same mistakes) in their life, instead of progressing”. As an Austin Matchmaker, I have observed that this hamster wheel trap is alive and well in today’s dating landscape. Getting a first date is easy, getting the second date can be a like a merry-go-round that never stops. What if I could tell you how to click with someone almost instantly? Clients of my professional matchmaking service are privy to my top nine strategies to get second dates—not ways to manipulate people or to be fake, but to make sure that it is clear that you are interested in being more than friends. Now it’s your turn to get off that hamster wheel!
!. Start with eye contact: When you are trying to attract someone and show them you are interested you need to talk and listen with your eyes. When a person you like is speaking, use their whole face as your focal point. Look at their eyes, listen to what they are saying, smile in the appropriate places, raise your eyebrows at the right times. If you feel you are staring at them move to their other features such as their lips, their cheeks, their nose and then back to their eyes. Remember, eyes are the windows to the soul.
2. Smile. Now, this is no shock, but studies do show that the amount of time you smile during a conversation has a direct impact on how friendly you’re perceived to be. Also, people mimic the expressions on the faces they see, so if you smile, you’re more likely to be smiled at. (Scientists have identified 19 types of smiles, by the way).
3. Be easily impressed, entertained, and interested. Flattery will get you everywhere, as the saying goes. So, make sure to give your date a sincere compliment. If your date looks amazing when they arrive, it’s okay to say so. Similarly, pay attention if your date has any special skills or goals they want to achieve. Validate their desires and speak up if you have similar goals for yourself. You may have more in common than you think!
4. Have a friendly, open, engaged demeanor. Lean toward the person, nod, say “Uh-huh,” turn your body to face the other person’s body. Don’t turn your body away, cross your arms, answer in monosyllables, or scan the room (or look at your phone! I have seen this happen!) as the other person talks.
5. Remember trait transfer. In “trait transfer,” whatever you say about other people influences how people see you. If you describe a co-worker as brilliant and charismatic, your acquaintance will tend to associate you with those qualities. Conversely, if you describe a co-worker as arrogant and obnoxious, those traits will stick to you. So watch what you say.
6. Laugh at yourself. Showing vulnerability and a sense of humor make you more likable and approachable. However, don’t push this self-deprecation too far—keep it light. You’ll make others uncomfortable if you run yourself down too much. I met a guy who kept saying things like, “I’m an idiot,” “I have the most boring job ever,” etc. It started to make me wonder if he really was an idiot!
7. Radiate positive energy and good humor, not sarcasm. . Because of the phenomenon of “emotional contagion,” people catch the emotions of other people, and they prefer to catch an upbeat, energetic mood. Would you rather be around someone who is happy and centered or frustrated and angry? It’s an obvious answer but it’s hard to see yourself objectively. Many people say they are optimistic and happy, but if you listen to what they say and the energetic vibe you get, you see that they are neither.
8. Use the Mirroring Technique Studies have shown that couples in the early stages of dating tend to mirror each other’s actions. This body language technique includes taking a sip of water when he reaches for his glass, and dipping your chip into the guacamole bowl at the same time. When done correctly and subtly, these mirroring actions will instantly bring the two of you in sync, and it has scientifically been proven to make couples feel more at ease with each other. A second date is bound to be the only thing on his mind if you can perfect this mirroring technique.
9. Show your liking for another person. We’re much more apt to like someone if we think that person likes us. Look for ways to signal that you enjoy a person’s company. A simple comment like “you certainly are a very accomplished person” or “you make me laugh” can leave the other person feeling like you and he/she “get each other”. Don’t be afraid to make yourself vulnerable, someone’s gotta make the first move. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Finally, studies suggest that we decide how close a relationship we’ll have with a new acquaintance within the first ten minutes of meeting that person, and that in evaluating people, we weigh early information more heavily than information acquired later. So making a big effort to be open and friendly the first time you meet someone is the most critical step in establishing future opportunities to spend time with this person. Look, we all know that first dates can be tense, nerve-wracking affairs, but you need to relax. Remember: the key to a great first date is to have fun… and if you’re so caught up with anxiety and stress, that’s just not going to happen. Always remember that like attracts like, so raise your personal energy to brilliant new heights and attract the person you’ve always dreamed of!
Julia McCurley is a Certified Matchmaker and Founder of Something More, an offline and personalized matchmaking service for busy professionals seeking a more targeted approach to finding love. She has been creating happy couples in Austin since 2009 .