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How to Plan A Romantic Valentine’s Day Date for Your Loved One

How to Plan A Romantic Valentine’s Day Date for Your Loved One

Here we are at that time of year again—romance is in the air, Valentine’s Day gifts and cards are all over stores and the online world is buzzing with search queries by nervous boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives looking to find the right way to show their significant other how much they care about them. No matter how much love they feel inside, some people just aren’t that romantic and don’t know how to show their feelings in a way that will impress their loved one and melt their hearts. There is no shame in looking for help when it comes to romance—we all have much to learn about love and the many different ways of expressing it.

Couple kissing during sunset

    In fact, those more experienced in the ways of love, veterans of 10+ years of marriage, will tell you that the more you get to know someone the more you are aware of the fact that there is a vast sea of things you don’t know about love and relationships, a sea that can easily drown those who are unprepared. Luckily, planning a great romantic Valentine’s Day date is something that you can research and prepare for, even if you are lacking in the romance department. Here are several somewhat generalized steps that work across the board and will help you create the perfect romantic experience for your loved one.

    1. Develop your strategy well in advance.

    The worst thing you can do is to wait until you only have a day or two until Valentine’s Day and then start frantically throwing together some sort of gift and trying to find a restaurant that isn’t booked solid. Give yourself enough time to plan the date and think about all the little details that make the difference between a pretty good date and a heart-melting super-date. Reservations need to be made pretty early on since good restaurants can be booked a month in advance and you’ll want to do some shopping at least a week earlier to avoid the holiday rush. If you already have a plan you will also be a lot less stressed out when the actual day comes.

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    2. Prepare all the little things first.

    Apart from making restaurant reservations or ordering a gift online pretty early on so everything is ready by Valentine’s Day, the most important thing you should focus on are the details or finishing touches. A card, or better yet, a fancy love letter is something you can work on for about 30 minutes a day in the week leading to V-day, and you can also start working early on things like:

    • Candles
    • Massage oil
    • A romantic music playlist
    • Cute boxes and gift wraps
    • Flowers and chocolate
    • Sexy lingerie or role-playing costumes
    • Small gift basket items like perfumes and soaps

    Romantic gift basket

      Having these important items ready a few days in advance will allow you to focus on more important things come Valentine’s Day, things like making sure your date is having fun and that everything is going smoothly and according plan.

      3. Craft the perfect gift for your loved one.

      There are a whole bunch of generic gifts out there, but try and avoid clichés and focus on something your significant other really cares about. You can use standard Valentine’s Day gifts like heart-shaped items, teddy bears, flowers and chocolate as part of gift basket, but be sure to include something related to the activities, ideals and concepts your partner holds dear.

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      4. Dining out vs. preparing a romantic dinner.

      Each of these two options has its strengths and weaknesses, so the right choice will depend on the person and the situation. Dining in a fancy restaurant will require you to make reservations well in advance and will cost you quite a bit, but the atmosphere and the meals are truly incredible. On the other hand, a home-cooked dinner is much more personal and allows you a lot of creative freedom, but unless you know your way around a kitchen, it can easily turn into a disaster. Whatever choice you make, you should give some thought to the choice of food and focus on dessert—all bad jokes and stupid comments about your partner being as sweet as chocolate aside, sugary snacks do actually cause hormones related to feeling pleasure to be released by the brain and will leave a wonderful taste in your mouth.

      5. Dress to impress.

      This point is very important. Whether you are a young couple just starting out your relationship or mature lovers who have gone through the good and the bad and stuck by each other for years, being presentable is a major part of showing that you care about another person.

      James Bond looking cool

        Although some may link this to basic primate grooming rituals, the fact is that trying to look your best shows the other person that you care about how they perceive you, which means that you are being emphatic and trying to please them. Of course, looking handsome as hell will also help ignite the passion between the two of you.

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        6. Make it a whole-day, multi-tiered experience rather than just dinner.

        Start off the romantic experience by meeting up a bit earlier in the day—for couples living together this means starting the day with a nice breakfast in bed—and going through a set of fun, romantic activities before eventually heading off to dinner and ending the day in the expertly decorated bedroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on hot air balloon rides across a valley, horseback riding or similar Hollywood clichés. It can be as simple as doing something you both enjoy, visiting a location where you first met or shared a special moment together or trying out some activities you always talked about, but never got the chance to do.

        7. Set up the perfect mood using correct lighting, decoration, music and scents.

        Chances are you are going to be ending the night somewhere quiet and private—back at your place or the hotel room if you’ve gone somewhere special for the occasion—so you are going to need to set the mood just right. You can use scented candles to provide romantic lighting and create a tantalizing aroma, or set up some beautiful decorations (think hearts, flowers, stuffed versions of her favorite animal, decorative pillows, etc). It’s best to set everything up early in the day so that it won’t take more than a few minutes get ready once the time comes (you should tell your date to wait a couple of minutes before coming up to the room so you can light the candles and make minor adjustments).

        8. Prepare a relaxing and exiting experience for your loved one back at the house.

        Once you have everything set up and ready, you will want to focus on making your partner feel good. This is where things like massage oils, wine, chocolate, fruit, music and comfortable clothes come into play. Have a romantic activity planed and give each other a few minutes to slip into more comfortable clothes before moving things to the next level. Slow dancing, followed by a glass or two of wine and some sweet snacks like cream-covered strawberries and chocolate-based desserts, then slowly transitioning into a massage on the bed seems to work wonders for just about anyone.

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        Setting the mood

          9. Have some fun in the bedroom and explore your erotic fantasies.

          This should be a very special night for the both of you, and after all the fun you had during your Valentine’s Day date, romantic gestures that brought you closer together and the gradual erotic build up in the privacy of your home, you will be eager to fall into each other’s arms and give in to your desires. Take this opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level and explore your erotic fantasies. Be very open with one another and discuss your turn-ons. Don’t be afraid to engage in some role playing or other activities that your partner may enjoy, but take things slow and make sure you are both comfortable and happy with how things are going.

          10. Get up the next morning (or early afternoon), make breakfast and put on a romantic movie.

          Your Valentine’s Day date doesn’t end the moment you hit the hay after your romantic night. The morning after, or whichever part of the day you manage to get up at, should be a natural extension to the exiting romantic experience of the day before. Make a tasty breakfast, spend some time on presentation and serve it to your partner in bed. You can put on a romantic movie and enjoy it with your food and as you cuddle up together, forgetting about life’s woes for a few relaxing hours.

          There are certain things that can be applied to most people across the board when it comes to romance and great dates, but keep in mind that we are all different in some way and try to create the perfect Valentine’s Day experience based on your partner’s character, preferences and lifestyle. Use these tips as a good template, but be sure to customize some parts based on what you know about you significant other.

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          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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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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