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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 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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