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How to win at the dating game

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How to make a good first impression

Dating can be a lot of fun if you play your cards right. It doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience, but an enjoyable one. Once you master the fine art of dating, you can be a winner all the way. The important thing is to get the routine down pat and get yourself to loosen up and enjoy yourself while you’re at it. The idea is not to desperately chase after women but to hone your skills in being subtle and get the desired results.

Every dating game follows a set course, a pattern, and you have to follow through to be successful at it and reach your final goal, whatever it be – a one night stand, a fling or a long-term relationship.

How to meet women

First, you have to provide yourself with plenty of opportunities to meet women. While bars and clubs might be ideal for a one-night stand (or if you really connect, something more permanent), the perfect places to meet women are where it’s not a one-off thing.

You need to frequent places where you get the chance to probably have more than just a passing encounter with a woman – places like dance classes, language classes, the gym. These are places where you can gradually build a rapport with a woman. You don’t have to be anxious about pinning all your hopes on one night, or a standard pick up, where you have to do all the groundwork in the space of a single evening. Here, you can make things appear casual; you may not even have to initiate anything. Dance classes, for instance, involve close proximity and the initial awkwardness of learning new dance moves is an ideal icebreaker, something to laugh about and get things going.

What will you say to her?

Something casual and innocuous should do the trick. You’ll probably have her running in the opposite direction if you resort to standard pick up lines, unless you’re really good at doing it in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way and you can get her to laugh about it. But it’s generally best not to show a woman you’re too eager to get to know her. It works better if you don’t make it obvious you’re hitting on her, so you must wait for the right opportunity and make it appear accidental. Once women know they have you on a leash, they’ll string you along, but if you keep them guessing - whether you’re really interested or just being friendly - it will work in your favor.

Keep it light and entertaining. If you’ve given a woman the chance to approach you and she does, don’t let her regret it. Get her to talk and remember, you don’t have to find out everything in one conversation. Unless she asks you, don’t be too anxious to convince her what a great guy you are - women are very intuitive about such things, they don’t need to hear it from you - they can sense it from the way you behave around them. So if it helps, pretend you’re with a casual friend and be as natural and relaxed as possible. Don’t be overanxious to get her to go out with you one of the first times you talk.

Make your first impression a lasting one. If your first few conversations and ‘casual encounters’ don’t go well, she’ll probably start avoiding you and all will be lost. For this you have to strike a balance and capitalize on your strongest assets. Combine impeccable grooming with a decent wardrobe and try and be as clued in to current events as possible. Women are almost always impressed by intelligent talk. But once again, don’t get carried away telling her about your latest project and blow her mind with technicalities.

The key lies in touching on interesting, relevant topics that allow her to participate in a stimulating conversation and impress her with pertinent remarks at the right moments. If you think she doesn’t have much to contribute or is waiting for you to do the talking, entertain her with a few humorous snippets that you keep handy for just such an occasion. The idea is to get her to relax and have a lively exchange so that she actively seeks you out again, or at least doesn’t avoid you!

What you shouldn’t do

There are certain absolute no-nos when you’re trying to hook up with a woman. Avoid nervous gestures and drumming of fingers, dithering and indecisiveness. On the other hand, don’t go to the other extreme and act arrogant or egoistic and brag about your job, car or luxury apartment. If you have to resort to talking about it, you’re either going to come across as desperate or attract the wrong kind of woman, one who’s only looking for what she can get from you.

Don’t get physical too early in the game. If she says ‘no’, back off, don’t persist. Avoid getting drunk or using bad language. Also avoid bringing up any references to your past or relationships gone sour at this stage or you run the risk of coming across as embittered and still wallowing in the past. Don’t be like a panting, eager, puppy dog after a bone – play it cool.

What you should do

And just as there are things you shouldn’t do, there are certain musts. Give her all your attention when she’s talking. Don’t worry about whether she’s a feminist, do all the gentlemanly things – stand up when she walks in, help her on with her jacket or hold the door open for her. Be interested in what she has to say and respond appropriately, and most of all, store it away for future reference. Women just love it if you remember some apparently insignificant detail – to them it means you cared enough to listen.

Try and be a keen observer and pay attention to her body language, it will provide invaluable clues to how she feels about you. If she leans towards you when she talks, brushes up against you more often than can be called accidental or keeps touching you on your hand/arm, she’s definitely interested.

Secure vital information

Once you’re pretty sure where you stand, it's time to go for what you’re after – her contact details. Tell her you’d like to call her sometime, or if you’re going for the direct approach, that you’d like to ask her out. Wait and see if she’s willing to offer you her phone number without making you grovel. If she doesn’t or is still waiting for you to say something more, ask her directly if she’d like to give you her number. If she says no, bow out graciously or if you think she’s scared to give out her number, give her your's. Don’t ask her if she’d like it, she may be uncertain whether to act coy or be honest. However, when you do this, you’re taking the chance that she might not call you. Or if you don’t mind one last-ditch effort, ask for her email address. For safety reasons, women sometimes prefer giving out email addresses, which buys them a little time to get to know you better, while still retaining anonymity if they wish.

Calling her and asking her out

Don’t call her too soon; give it a couple of days after she gives you her number. Don’t leave it too late either or you’ll be diluting the impression you made, especially if it was a really good one! Depending on how the conversation goes, if she sounds relaxed like she’s got the time to talk, ask her out.

Avoid stretching out the conversation too long. Get to the point and if she says yes, don’t be lost as if you weren’t expecting it. Have a date, venue, and a couple of alternatives in mind. And give her a little flexibility. It’s important to be decisive, but not rigid. And if she says no, don’t beg. If she refuses, take the rejection with a chin-up approach. If she agrees, don’t act like she’s handed you the moon.

The first date

On your first date, remember you need to create enough of an impression and give her a good time, but you don’t have to overdo it. Choose somewhere casual like a café, or even a blues bar, or a tasteful (but not necessarily expensive) restaurant – somewhere both of you can connect and get to know each other better.

Also, just because you have asked her out doesn’t make you the needy one. Remember, she may be equally nervous about this date and you aren’t the only one under trial here. Putting her at her ease will serve to relax you as well, and two relaxed people make for an enjoyable evening. If the date goes well and she’s giving out positive body language signals, try for a light kiss at the end of the evening and if she reciprocates, deepen it. But don’t push for anything more.

Calling her and asking her out again

If she doesn’t call you to tell you she had a good time, you could call her and tell her that you did. That’s if you really did. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t want to ask her out again would you? And just to keep her guessing, don’t ask her out again straight off. It will lead her to believe she’s your only option. End the conversation on a positive note and wait a few days to call her again and ask her out.

And when you go out on your second date, do something totally different from the first one. Go bowling or on a picnic, somewhere you can both let your hair down since the ‘first date pressure’ is over. Remember there’s a lot to be said for being innovative when planning a date. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be adventurous and fun.

The art of loving

In addition to personal characteristics, it is an added advantage if you’re a good and considerate lover. Apart from skill and technique that you get from experience, as you get to know her better you will learn about what she likes best. Her erogenous zones, where she likes to be caressed, what turns her on. And that will help you satisfy her on a sexual level. But remember that if you really like this woman and want to keep her, at least long enough to explore possibilities of a relationship, you have to keep the spark alive on other levels too. Compliment her, appreciate her and make her feel there’s nobody else who could make her feel quite the way you do!