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Chivalry Might Be Dead, But the College Scene Proves that Online Dating is a Great, Controlled Opportunity

Chivalry Might Be Dead, But the College Scene Proves that Online Dating is a Great, Controlled Opportunity

College is exciting! It’s a new experience, filled with opportunities to meet new people and experience new things. I grew up in a small, Midwestern town. My friends were the kids on my block that I grew up with. My world was small, and I was excited about experiencing everything involved in the college promise.

Creating new friends was an exciting thought, but what would my love life be like? I had only dated two girls in high school, but I felt confident that I had worked through the awkwardness of navigating a relationship for the first couple times. College was my opportunity to experiment and discover; I wasn’t about to let that opportunity slip by.

The Hook Up Culture – Dating Has Become a Glorious Numbers Game

I was shocked to find that the party scene at school was totally different from the movies. Yeah, there was drinking, but people weren’t really “hooking up” with people they first came into contact with at the party. Everyone, for the most part, had already met virtually beforehand. I had always looked down on apps like Tinder and OKCupid as places for desperate people to find their “soulmate” or a no-string fling.

I’m not a techy person, but it became clear that I’d need to embrace the world of online dating and hooking up if I wanted to operate at the same level as my new friends. One of my first college friends / wingmen, we’ll call him Brad, had profiles on three different dating sites. He would go to a party and have two or three potential hookups lined up in advance. That meant he had done his homework before heading out; he knew the online profiles of these students like the back of his hand, and he had hedged his bets.

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Dating apps allowed me to “meet” and virtually screen hundreds of potential dates. Locking eyes and falling in love from across the room wasn’t necessary; true love, or an attempt at it, was just one more swipe away.

Recalibrating the Idea of Romance in an App-Based Environment

Forgive me, but I’m a hopeless romantic. I wanted to have that moment where I meet eyes with a striking woman across the room. Sparks would fly and I would walk over, using my best line to see if a conversation could be started in the moment. No online cheat-sheets or plans for hooking up. Totally fluid, totally natural and exciting; that, to me was my naive essence of an amazing relationship’s first moments.

In college today, it’s exceedingly rare to just meet someone in-person. We live in a virtual reality that seems to shape our physical reality, rather than the other way around. To have the best chance of leading an extraordinary real-life, you have to hone your virtual life skills.

Stepping Up My Game

At my first couple of parties, a line from Young MC’s Bust A Move kept playing on loop in my head. I walked in, saw some attractive woman and thought to myself: “…come on fatso, bust a move!” For the record, I’m pretty fit, but I was frozen with the thought that those women had already lined up a “match” before heading to the party. I didn’t want to start a conversation with someone that was there to meet someone else.

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So, before attending my third Saturday night frat party, I decided to get serious about virtual pre-dating. I needed a killer profile and a strategy for matching and flirting online with women I would meet the following weekend. Beyond chatting with Brad to get some initial pointers, I did what every good millennial does when they have a question; I googled it!

One of the best articles I read on the subject pointed out that if you’re going to be successful in finding a real match online, you have to understand the “purpose” of your profile, along with the “purpose” of your potential match’s profile.

Swiping right and getting a “MATCH!” notification is exciting. But, I didn’t want to waste my time on a casual hook-up. Remember? I’m the hopeless romantic. I wanted something real, serious and full of potential. I became an expert at analyzing the online profiles of my matches.

Here are the three things I looked for:

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  1. Is their profile serious, with real information about what makes them unique and interesting?
  2. Are their photos genuine looking? Are there any photos that aren’t at a weird angle, or in a group setting?
  3. Could they hold a real conversation when we chatted, while still keeping it fun and casual at first?

Your criteria will probably be different, but I was looking for a woman that was in-shape, able to hold a conversation and had a good sense of humor. Angeline Jolie would have worked out too! But, in all seriousness, you have to understand what it is you’re looking for.

And, if you’re worried about having something to say, you’ll want to learn how to play an instrument. As the founder of Trusty Guitar, is fond of saying, “Learning to play the guitar might only take a few months, but the romantic perks last a lifetime.” I learned very quickly that if you can teach a girl an instrument, you’ll capture her attention in a meaningful way. But, you’ll want to lay the groundwork first.

Chivalry has a new, 21st century definition. The world where people meet in real-life for the first time and develop an organic, meaningful relationship is becoming more and more rare. I’m sure there will be courses like “Dating Before the Internet 101” available for elective credits before too long. But, there’s no better place to witness the transformation in real-time than on a college campus.

More than a quarter of the US population under the age of 25 claims that online dating is an integral part of their dating life. That’s a massive jump from previous years, and if you’re not meeting people online, you’re going to have a hard time “gelling” at parties and other social events, because you’ve already missed half of the conversation before you’ve even stepped foot in the door.

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Of course it’s still possible to meet a great match in real life and if this happens to you, good for you. You’re one of the lucky ones! But if you find meeting people in real life hard, then your should embrace the opportunity that online dating provides. Expand your horizons and embrace new ideas and technology. I would not have met my wife if it weren’t for online dating. Are you letting opportunities pass you by?

Featured photo credit: Nathan Walker via hd.unsplash.com

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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