By Jane Hoskyn
Does your love life look even more Arctic than the view from your window? If you fear that you’ll never be asked out again, worry not: heating up your social calendar is simpler than you might think. Here are 18 easy ways to boost your dating success.
1. Get online
Online dating is an excellent way to meet people – millions of them – from outside your usual circle, and to suss them out before meeting up. To stand out from the crowd, write a witty profile and hook them with a decent photo.
2. Get out there
No-one gets dates by sitting at home with the telly. Accept invitations, look up old friends and go to local events. As well as putting you in touch with potential suitors, it’ll give your confidence a handy boost.
3. Sign up to learn something new
School was a fantastic place to meet and flirt with potential sweethearts. Shame you’re not at school any more, isn’t it? Well, you could be – just sign up for an evening class or two. Those coffee breaks are a ready-made excuse to hang out with attractive strangers and ask what they do for a living.
4. Borrow a dog
Dogs are nature’s great matchmakers. Go to a local park and just watch those dog-walkers go – chatting, flirting and eyeing each other up as their charges stop for a sniff. If you don’t have a pooch, borrow one!
5. Don’t be a slave to your job
All work and no play makes Jack or Jane a dull boy or girl, especially in the love stakes. If you’re overworked and underslept, you won’t feel like going out on dates – and if you do go out, you won’t be much fun.
6. Talk to more people
Some lucky people are natural flirts, but they don’t think it as flirting. They chat happily to the supermarket cashier, and smile at people who pass them in the street. They seem confident, friendly and approachable. Learn from them! The more you chat to people, the better you’ll feel about yourself and your interactions. Practice makes perfect, after all.
7. Meet people’s eyes
This is another thing that natural flirts do without thinking about it. If you can meet people’s eyes as you go about your life, you’ll seem more confident and interested – and they’re the two qualities that win more dates than any others.
8. Dress for success
Your clothes make a statement about you, your body image and whether you regard washing as a priority. Get into the habit of going out in clothes than make you feel good about yourself.
9. Be as vain as you like
Vanity may be one of the seven deadly sins, but it doesn’t half boost your self-esteem. Don’t overdo it by getting up at 6am to spend two hours fussing over your hair, but make an effort to look fanciable. It tells people that you value yourself and that you care about what they think of you.
10. Shake up your social circle
Are all your friends in couples? Your chances of meeting a potential date through them are next to zero. Broaden your social circle to include happy singletons who’ll be far more likely to introduce you to fellow date-seekers.
11. Make the first move
It’s no good meeting people and hooking them with your body language if you can’t seal the deal. Be proactive. If you shrink away from every chance of rejection, you’ll be stuck in a rut forever.
Remind yourself that everyone is flattered by attention. Keep the opener brief and casual, perhaps a comment related to your surroundings, and then put the focus on them. The more interesting you find them, the more interesting they’ll find you.
12. Learn to survive a brush-off
If you approach someone who turns out not to be interested, don’t go away thinking that your world has ended. To the most successful pick-up artists, rejection is water off a duck’s back. They don’t run away crying, they try again with someone else.
13. Forget about playing hard to get
The only real way to a man or a woman’s heart is to let them know that you like them. If you’ve enjoyed chatting, ask for their number. If you met online and you’d love a drink, say so. If you had a great first date, text them afterwards to say what a great time you had.
14. … But leave them wanting more
Playing far too forward doesn’t work either. Don’t cross the line between enthusiasm and stalking. Let them know that you think they’re great, but leave them wanting more. Your attempt to chat someone up ends when they make their excuses and go off to mingle. Don’t follow them unless you want a humiliating put-down.
15. Brag less, listen more
If you seem to find someone interesting, they’ll find you interesting, whether or not you think they’re out of your league. Listen to what they say, even if it’s about the weather, and respond to them without interrupting.
16. Forget your ex
Don’t look for a carbon copy of your last partner. The past is old news. When you start going on dates, don’t even think about mentioning your ex until there are signs that you and your companion might continue seeing each other.
17. Keep your options open
If you have a very narrow idea of your “type”, you may keep trying to get dates people who are wrong for you. That’s why it never works out. Resolve to go out with someone completely different, and you may be surprised by how well you click.
18. Stop looking
Sometimes all it takes is a break. After taking some time to see your single friends, you’ll exude more confidence than when you were fixated about finding a mate. And there’s no-one quite as dateable as a confident, independent singleton!