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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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Sophie Lizard

A writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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