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10 Low-tech Valentine Hacks

10 Low-tech Valentine Hacks

Message to the Ladies: This is a post written for the men in your life. Casually leave this page open and put your laptop in the fridge, he’ll see it. Alternatively, post it to facebook with something like “Hahaha, Can You Imagine!??!”. Curiosity will do the rest for you.

Message to the Men: Hey guys, did you find this article in your fridge? It’s a trap, your lady doesn’t think you’re being romantic enough. I’m here to help with some romantic hacks.

Technology’s really convenient when you need directions to your friend’s party or your therapist. However when you’re trying to spend some one-on-one facetime with that special someone, tech gets in the way.

It’s not in our DNA to fall-in-love with screennames or avatars. We’re programmed to recognize the real tangible moments in day-to-day life. Today I present some refreshingly LOW-TECH valentines day hacks for guys to wow the women in their lives.

WARNING! This list contains much saturated AWESOME. If you do everything on the list she WILL expect a proposal at the end of the night. Choose what you do carefully.

1. Setting the Mood

This is a huge one guys! In order for the other nine hacks to work, you need to set the tone for the day before she even wakes up. The most effective way is through breakfast in bed. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • If it came from McDonalds it’s not considered “food”. Cook it yourself, guy.
  • Avoid bacon. It’s called “nature’s candy” for a reason, the delicious smell will wake her and ruin your surprise.
  • It’s not breakfast without orange juice, haven’t you seen a commercial?
  • Your best bet is homemade GIGANTIC waffles. She’ll know you care because they’re such a pain in the butt to make.

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    Wake up an hour early to chug your coffee and start cooking. When the meal’s done, tiptoe to the bedroom and gently wake her up. When she squints at you and smiles, be all “Surprise honey, I made you waffles!”.

    Make sure to give her a moment to get up and use the toilet before you shove the food in her face. Congrats, you set the mood for the perfect valentines day!

    2. Four-Minute Card

    A long, long time ago before there were ecards, people used to actually give each other pieces of paper. They called these pieces of paper “cards” and it was meant as a display of affection. It may seem like a kindergarden arts-and-crafts project, but a homemade card shows you actually care about her. Here’s some sage advice from a god among men:

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    A  transcript for those who forgot their headphones: “Take one sheet (of printer paper), fold it in half, draw a heart on it, sign your name, write I love you”.

    BOOM BABY! How’s that for some $0.05 insta-romance? It’d only take you four minutes of your time and you have no reason not to.

    Bonus tip: Glue a ‘piece of nature’ to your homemade card for extra points.

    3. Poetry

    A poem is like a text, but longer and with no Emojis. You don’t have to be French to grasp the basics of speaking romantically.The great thing about poetry is there are no rules, which makes it surprisingly simple to write! You don’t even have to rhyme, just describe her and swap out some words with a thesaurus.

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      Bonus Tip: Throw your poem in the card you made in hack #2 for maximum romantic synergy.

      4. Heat things up

      Turn off those new-fangled electric lights and go back to your caveman roots! The soft flicker of old fashioned fire is very alluring. She’ll agree that nothing is more romantic than cuddling in-front of a fireplace, or having a meaningful conversation by candlelight.

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        With fire, it can be easy to go overboard, make sure you’re keeping things practical. There’s no need to navigate the house with a big medieval torch.

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        Bonus tip: Avoid mixing scented candles. Pine+peach+peanutbutter is the smell of deer vomit, not romance.

        5. Play a Board Game

        You’ve been reliant on technology for so long, that you’ve completely forgotten how to act when it’s all taken away from you. Long before Facebook ruled your social life, board games acted as a crazy kind of analogue software.

        Thanks to the hipsters and geeks of the world, board games are having a comeback. You’ll want to be careful about which game you’re selecting, however. A 12-hour game of monopoly isn’t exactly what I had in mind. Here’s a hilarious game that was designed by couples, for couples:

        Bonus tip: The funnier the game, the better. Laughing releases oxytocin, the “love” chemical. SCIENCE!!

        6. Actually Dress Nice

        I wasn’t looking forward to having this talk with you, but it’s time.

        You’re a complete mess! Nobody taught guys how to properly dress-up without the use of youtube as a guide. On the rare occasion us guys do pull it together, it’s usually for the one profile pic and then it’s back to pajamas for the rest of the week. That’s just not going to fly this valentines day.

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          Dress in something form fitting. Regardless of your bodytype, you always look better with clothes that properly fit.If you’re a chubby guy and self-conscious about it, use layers for camouflage.

          Bonus Tip: If you’re reading this on the Valentine’s morning there’s still hope. Take your best clothes, apply a lint-roller, iron, and bottle of Fabreeze. Act confident and tell us how it turns out!

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          7. Romance On the Cheap

          Since you’re doing the homemade card throwback anyways, here’s another way a younger version of yourself was trying to get lucky with the ladies.

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            A single red rose is a romantic (and inexpensive) gift that will show her, you’re not just devilishly handsome, but also pretty thoughtful and junk, too.

            Bonus Tip: Serve the rose with the breakfast in step one. You’ll want to have a mop ready, because she’s going to melt.

            8. Nostalgia Like WOAH

            This is the one that will get you in trouble, if you don’t plan on popping the question.

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              Take her back to where you had your first date (or where you first met, if you can remember). Prepare some stories from the time you spent here. Look in the mirror beforehand and try to rehearse a single tear-drop rolling down your cheek. Let her know you remember the place like it was yesterday.

              Bonus tip: Don’t attempt the cry if you can’t master the single tear. A hint of sentimentality from an otherwise put-together guy is one thing. Snotface crying is much less attractive.

              9. Dinner

              If you can swing a home-cooked meal, you should eat dinner in the previously mentioned candlelight. If you feel like you’ll burn your house down, maybe a restaurant is a better idea.

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                From the moment you step foot inside the restaurant, cell phones are to be turned off. I didn’t say to set them to “silent”, you’ll actually be turning them OFF. No instagramming your food, no checking texts, no social media. You’ll be looking at each other’s faces and talking to each other using words that come from your mouths.

                Bonus tip: Be interesting. You have time to prepare for this, and now’s your time to impress her with things not directly related to video games.

                10. Romantic Coupons

                This takes the concept of the card an entire leap forward. You probably plan on doing little things here and there for her anyways right?

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                  So why not cash-in on those things by giving her coupons for them. Throw her a few footrub coupons, a few for doing the dishes, and a few a bit more exotic.

                  Bonus tip: You lose points for calling it a groupon.

                  Remember, valentines day takes place on a Saturday this year. Consider extending the technological hiatus throughout Sunday and see how you feel.Who knows, you might not want to go back!

                  Featured photo credit: Romantic Heart from Love Seeds via farm7.staticflickr.com

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                  Dennis Duty

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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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