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6 Manipulative Things Every Girl Should Do When Dating

6 Manipulative Things Every Girl Should Do When Dating

That title does scream things out, doesn’t it? Let me explain.

The modern world of dating is simultaneously easier than ever before—we can message prospective partners from our phones, conduct webcam dates via Skype, and spend more time in the romantic entanglements of other people through reality television than we do our own.

Dating is a minefield and putting your heart out there for someone can be brutal, scary, and terrifying—as well as being wonderful, fulfilling and joyous. Besides, a bit of subterfuge is part and parcel of most successful relationships. Little white lies are told all the time by happy couples.

Manipulation is something that normally belongs to the world of psychopaths and Machiavellian types, so while this writer suggests these six tips that every girl should do while dating—or at least consider doing—there has to be a boundary and a line which you have to draw in the sand.

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Subterfuge to test out whether or not a relationship is worthy of your time and undivided effort can be a great thing, as long as you don’t cross the line into something dangerous. Check out our top tips.

1. Fake a crisis.

Faking a crisis is all a bit “The Hills,” but it can work wonders sometimes, and if it errs on the side of manipulative, it normally doesn’t harm anyone. Faking a crisis is something a girl should try out when she’s dating someone and she thinks it could be getting serious. Your date is smart, cute, funny, has adorably bad taste in movies, and a great sense of humor—but it’s only really when we’re put under pressure that the real person can emerge.

In terms of crises, pick something small—your friend’s boyfriend broke up with her, your sister’s dog ran away from home, your brother is drunk at a party—and see how your date reacts. If they get annoyed at you taking time out of the date—or even leaving the date early without the promise of a goodnight kiss—then they’re probably worth hitting the “delete” button on.

However, if they’re more than willing to drive you to where you need to go without you asking (which is rude and never should be done), and check in the next day to see how you are, with genuine concern, then you’re onto a clear winner and can feel confident that they’ll be there for you when the rain starts to fall.

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2. Arrive five minutes late.

Okay, normally we’re all the first to be extolling the virtues of being early and punctual, but when you’re dating a guy, it’s always best to arrive a little bit late. “Why?” you might ask. Let’s face it: the old adage absence makes the heart grow fonder really does apply, and while disappearing off the face of the Earth might be a little extreme for some, being a little late can achieve similar results; plus, it can lead to a potentially killer entrance which never goes amiss.

There’s also the added benefit of having an extra five or ten minutes in which you can double check your appearance, make sure that everything is as fantastic as can be, and if you’re nervous, it gives you a chance to calm down and psych yourself up for your big date. Arriving late certainly isn’t a way of life, but it’s something every girl should do when dating, if only for the first couple of dates. Your date’ll be thrilled to see you arriving, particularly when you’re at your most relaxed and gorgeous, and you’ll have a much better time as a result.

3. Wear heels.

Wearing heels used to be a big part of every girl’s outfit when she headed out on a date, and it has remained a big feminine cultural mainstay for decades, despite both men and women originally using the accessories centuries earlier. However, one of the best things a girl should do when dating, is to always wear heels on the first couple of dates. The reasons for this are simple: a height difference can sometimes make or break a relationship, and so much of society’s norms say that a man should be taller than his female significant other.

However, regardless of if you’re dating a man or a woman, wearing heels helps check your height against that of your prospective partner and sees whether or not the difference is something pleasing, acceptable, or something that’ll throw a spanner in the romance. Plus, wearing heels has the benefit of making your legs look longer and slimmer, so there’s no reason not to wear them for your date. Just don’t wear them all the time—your feet will thank you.

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4. Go only so far with the physical affection.

This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but is still worth including on the list. Take things slow on the list in terms of physical affection. It’s practically standard that a date can expect a kiss at the end of the first date and breakfast at the end of the third these days, which is fine, but if it goes by too quickly, you can lose your appeal and allure. The art of burlesque preaches a similar message—what is truly sexy can sometimes be what you choose to keep hidden and only flirt with.

It’s simple really: go a month or two without engaging in anything more than kissing. It’s so easy in today’s culture to have one-night-stands, which themselves are no bad thing; unfortunately they’ve lead to a culture where sex and sexuality can be disposable and women face a strong double standard for either having “too much sex” (not a real thing) or not having enough (equally not a thing or anyone’s business).

If you’re thinking long term, keep the dating partner waiting a little longer than a month for you to initiate sexual or physical affection or contact; this has the benefits of making you infinitely more desirable for what they haven’t seen, rather than what they have, and of weeding out the people who are only with you for sexual gratification. If by a couple of months in, they’re whining and calling you a “prude” or a “tease” for not having sex with them already, then you need to kick them to the curb and find someone who’ll wait as long as it takes—for that’s the kind of person you’ll enjoy being with, both in and out of the bedroom.

5. Don’t reply to every message.

This one primarily deals with the world of texting, emailing, and the prevalent idea of social media ensuring anyone at any time can be contacted, reached, and pestered through the double-edged sword that is modern technology. Say you’re dating someone and it’s going well; fantastic. However, every girl should try to keep a bit of mystery while dating, i.e. turning off your non-vital communication needs for a while.

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You don’t have to, nor should you, reply to every text, Facebook message, or tweet the person you’re dating sends you. If you’re having a relaxed weekend, turn off your phone and enjoy the weekend. Your significant other will get a little antsy and when you return the message, they’ll be all the happier and the relationship will be kept fresher. For example, it’s fine to keep texting throughout the day, but make it clear you’re doing something in the evening (seeing a movie with friends, going to the gym, doing that “Game of Throne” marathon, etcetera) and then don’t reply to any texts or messages that pop up during that specified time.

It’s really all about setting up boundaries and letting them know that while you love spending time with them, you’re not spending every waking minute by your phone, anxious for a text (even if you do a little bit). Keep them wanting without being rude or disrespectful, and you’ll be all the happier for it.

6. Don’t be exclusive (until it gets serious).

This last point is a potentially controversial one, but a thing every girl should do when dating is to remain open and non-exclusive, until the relationship has been cemented. A lot of modern dating hinges on people going on multiple dates with multiple partners until they find the person that they “click” with, and this is a valuable approach to take, if only because if a guy is truly into you, he will race to solidify the relationship.

Make sure it’s clear that you’ll see other people, and that you really like your dating partner, and then keep looking on the market. Not only will this strike at their ego and help make them consider you for a serious relationship, but if your partner agrees too readily to seeing other people, then they might not be the right person for you anyway. However, as soon as the primary person you’re dating talks about making this relationship serious, decide if it’s equally serious on your end, stop seeing any other people, and focus on having the best, most fulfilling relationship you can.

Good luck.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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