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11 First Date Tips for Modern Relationships

11 First Date Tips for Modern Relationships

It doesn’t matter where or how you got one, first dates are awesome. And terrifying.

Whether you’re meeting up with your hairdresser’s cousin’s single friend, or you’ve decided to choose an unusual date on HowAboutWe, there are more ‘first world problems’ in the world of dating now than ever. On your first date, they can be deal-breakers, so check out these 11 first date tips for modern love lives.

1. Know when it’s a date (and when it isn’t)

There are no hard rules any more when it comes to what counts as a date. You could go for nachos with several friends and still make that your first date if you both want to. Or you could meet one-on-one, have dinner, sleep together, and call it “friends with benefits”. That being so, your safest bet is to be clear by calling it a date when you agree where and when to meet up.

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2. Talk, don’t text

Asking someone on a date by text or IM might seem like a great way to dodge confidence issues, but it loses a lot of your message. Instead, make the arrangements the old-fashioned way by phone or in person so that you can hear each other’s voices. And if you’re invited on a date via SMS, text back, “Sounds good. Give me a call when you’re free to talk about it!”

3. Don’t do dinner

Dinner takes a while and if you’re desperate to escape after the first drink, you’ll wish you’d arranged a shorter date! Go for a lunch date instead, or choose a non-food situation like a walk in the park. That way you can leave early if you want, or make it last all afternoon if you’re having fun.

4. Agree a connectivity policy

Do you hate it when people answer phone calls during a date? Or are you too busy tweeting to notice? Agree with your date from the start about what’s OK and what’s rude so that you won’t get annoyed with each other’s mobile interruptions.

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5. Smell nice

Smell is one of the most complex human senses; it triggers emotions, memories, and physical feelings. If you smell nice to your date, they’ll find you more attractive; if you smell nice to yourself, you’ll feel more confident and attractive, too. Scents that most people (male or female) like include fruits, vanilla, and clean human skin.

6. Ask them to do you a favour

It may sound backwards, but it’s true. Research shows that asking somebody to do you a personal favour tends to make them like you more, so ask for something small like their help to choose a gift for a friend. Then thank them plenty and show your gratitude by inviting them on a second date!

7. Pick up your own tab

It’s so much less complicated than negotiating any other payment arrangement with someone you barely know. And because it’s fair, neither of you will feel owed or owing.

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8. No humblebragging

Yes, it’s impressive that you compete in triathlons/run your own business/know that DJ. It’s so impressive that pretending to be humble or embarrassed when you’re actually pretty damn proud is just silly. Brag openly and briefly, as in, “Yeah, I do triathlons. I won the Example Triathlon last year,” then get back to whatever you were talking about before that.

9. Eat mint

Do this not just to make sure your breath smells OK, but also because it perks you up. Mint helps you feel fresh, alert and ready for conversation. Plus, eating something minty prevents your mouth getting too dry if you’re nervous.

10. Be prepared

No matter who you are, there’s always a possibility that your first date could lead to sex, perhaps sooner than you thought. Be prepared with protection against pregnancy and STIs, of course, but it’s also important to prepare for the hormonal rush you’ll feel if there’s strong sexual chemistry between you and your date. Those hormones affect your judgement, so don’t take any unnecessary risks like driving too fast or drinking too much alcohol.

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11. Smile!

A genuine smile makes everyone look more attractive, without exception, so give your date a big smile when you see them. Because smiling triggers your nervous system to release serotonin, it improves your mood at the same time to help you enjoy the date.

Don’t worry about minor mishaps on a first date. The less you fret about it, the more relaxed and confident you’ll feel. Keep these first date tips in mind to boost your date from average to awesome, and remember: this isn’t a job interview. It’s supposed to be fun!

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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