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Striking a Connection Before the First Date

It’s game, set and go at the new, happening club in your city. A guy smiled at you and made your heart flutter. You’re hoping he will ask if you’re free sometime next week, and mentally calculating when would be a good day for a date.

Problem is, you have only a few minutes to strike a connection. You’re surrounded by many potential competitors, and have to move quickly. Here’s why:

Good chemistry and connection on the first meeting can lead to a date. The trick is in finding a connection and pursuing it the right way.

In our previous guide, we discussed how you can increase your odds of landing a date. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what you can do to get the attention of a man and some gentle inquiries that can help you build a connection that leads to a date. 

As we suggested inHow to Score a Date With Confidence, don’t let the conversation go on all night. Save some of it for a potential date – you will have lots to talk about! However, you should definitely check if you can build a rapport with the person, beyond physical attraction.

Make sure he comes to you

Let him know that he is the ‘chosen one’. You can keep looking in his direction to catch his eye, encouraging him to approach you. If he is slow to get your hint, go up to him and begin a conversation.

Touch upon each other’s interests and hobbies

Sharing the same interests can fast-track your conversation to a date. If you don’t share similar interests, an idea of what makes each other tick can also sustain the conversation and move it in the right direction.

Sometimes, there’s a possibility that you might come from different worlds and not share anything in common. Although the prospect of being with someone who is a world apart may be exciting, it doesn’t bode well for a long-term relationship.

Remember Carrie Bradshaw and the famous Russian artist Alexandr Petrovsky from Sex and the City? Theirs was a case of opposites attract, but the relationship didn’t work out because they had absolutely nothing in common.

So, we’re talking about fiction here and there aren’t many chances of meeting rich and exotic foreigners at local hotspots, but the message holds up. If the other person can never really understand you or see you, you don’t have a future with him.

Some questions:

  • Are you having a good time?
  • You live in the city?
  • What do you love about THE CITY (if he’s from out of town)
  • What else do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • Are they your friends from work? (if he’s with friends)

Make situational observations

You’re sharing the current moment and environment. You can begin a conversation remarking about the club’s ambiance or food. Be careful not to make fun of any person in the club or the club itself. The woman may be a patron and think you’re being a jerk.

If the club has a lot left to be desired, it’s fine to compare it with a better club you’ve visited. However, avoid a stream of negativity and mention what you like about where you are at the moment.

Crude jokes fall flat

You have some chemistry and you’ve tried to make a connection. But will your conversation lead to a date? The pressure of striking a connection may make you blurt out things you didn’t mean to say, or you may try to please her with flattering comments only to incur her displeasure. 

A study of chat-up lines and openings to initiate a relationship found that women don’t take kindly to jokes, sexual references and empty compliments. Keep this in mind on your first date too: it’s fine to compliment your date but avoid sexual innuendos. Be humorous but don’t recite jokes from CollegeHumor.com. 

Building Rapport: What Works and What Doesn’t

You have every opportunity to take the lead and build a rapport with her. Here are some time-tested CONNECTION LEVERS:

Listen actively

When she is talking, don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Listen carefully to what she says, and ask her questions if she isn’t coming across clearly to you. It makes for a more organic, engaging and authentic conversation.

Identify elements of rapport

When you ask her about her interests, you can find elements you have in common and talk about them to create rapport. If you don’t share much in common, show interest in her hobby and comments. You can figure it out only if you pay attention to what she’s saying, so be a good listener.

Celebrate who she is in the moment

If the woman is animated about how much fun she’s having, stay in the moment with her. It is an incredible show of acceptance, and will warm her towards you. On the other hand, if you observe that she is stiff and nervous talking to you, make her feel comfortable.

Smiling, nodding and touching her reassuringly on her upper arm are some ways to make her feel relaxed and open up to you.

Be yourself

Nothing is more off-putting than seeing someone put on a facade to appear more desirable. She doesn’t have to know you to figure out that you’re trying too hard to impress her. In the best-case scenario, she may pity you. In a worst-case scenario, she may call you out and leave you cold.

Volunteer useful information

If he has recently moved to the city, share information of value to him. You have only a few minutes before he heads off, so make sure you provide tidbits like the best places to eat or weekend activities. You can also volunteer to show him around town. This strategy can help you land a date or at least a casual meet-up.

What NOT to Do

Some things you say or do can prevent a connection from forming even though the two of you have many things in common. Be mindful of these CONNECTION BREAKERS:

Talking too much

Nobody likes a chatterbox. If you don’t give her a chance to talk, she is right to judge you. Even if there are elements of rapport to touch upon, they will go to waste because you didn’t give her a chance to speak!

Getting overly excited

Another way to creep out a potential date is to react over-excitedly to whatever he’s saying. This also holds up on your first date with a guy. Doesn’t matter if he’s telling you how he survived an avalanche climbing Mount Everest or that time when he was a server at the Oscars after-party. And even though your over-excitement is harmless, sometimes it can be perceived as restlessness and instability.

Revealing you have no life

Even if you don’t, avoid making this revelation. Some will be empathetic and encourage you to have fun. The responsibility lies with you to make changes that add color to your life. As this is a grey area, it can be discouraging for anyone who wants to meet an interesting and fun person.

On the other hand, an introvert or someone who has recently started going out more to find dates may connect with you. Unfortunately, there is no way of guessing who else in the club doesn’t have a life! Be on the safe side and don’t make any revelations about being lonely or cut off from the world.

Continuing the connection online in the days leading up to the date

After you’ve exchanged numbers and set a date, no doubt you will flirt and try to strengthen your connection online via a messaging app. This is a sensitive period, so proceed with caution.

Dos

  • Send him a witty forward that reminds him of something interesting the two of you discussed or laughed about during your conversation.
  • Ask her how she’s feeling that day and how her workday went. It’s okay to sound flirtatious, for instance, “Should I assume you’re enjoying a lemon-scented bubble bath with a glass of wine?”
  • Share an experience you had that week: it can open the doors to an online conversation and reinforce your connection.
  • If she’s new to the city, ask her if she had an opportunity to visit the place you had recommended or managed to finish the paperwork she was worried about.
  • Send him ideas for your first date. Share links to potential places where you can meet-up and ask if he has something in mind.

Don’ts

  • Message him twice in the same day or many times a day if he hasn’t responded. He could be very busy or possibly be having a personal emergency.
  • Send an angry message if he has been late to respond or hasn’t replied on one day. If you take things too personally, your date will be over before it even begins.
  • Call him by a pet name, it’s way too early for that!
  • Send her an unsolicited private photo: it’s lame and desperate!

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