The Dating Game You’ve probably heard that the most common traits in successful relationships are compatibility and trust. If you’re lucky, you’ll fall in love with someone who is also incredibly compatible with you. They’ll understand you, your dreams, and your flaws—something that probably won’t be the case when it comes to your previous relationships. But, you want a relationship that feels like a natural fit. No, this isn’t a relationship where you’re playing dress up; this is someone who will help you live your life to the fullest. Let’s face it: The dating game is a lot of fun, but how are you supposed to know who is right for you if you don’t actually get to know them? More and more, online dating is replacing romance—or, at least, it’s helping people avoid taking risks with meeting people in real life. Why go through the hassle of meeting someone, learning about them, and falling in love if you’re only going to end up heartbroken if things don’t work out? You’re better off playing the odds on dating sites, where the matches are more likely to be compatible and successful. Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to fall in love with someone you’re compatible with, and you’ll be able to devote more time and energy into those relationships that are most successful. (And if you do wind up meeting someone in real life, you’ll get more options than if you were only able to meet someone through a dating site.) But it’s still true that you need to put some effort into making a first impression, and you’re going to be showing people a lot of yourself, even if you’re on a dating site. You might feel like you’re making a huge sacrifice, but it’s time to get comfortable with showing your best self. In most cases, it will pay off in the long run. How to show off your best self If you want to avoid awkward situations, it’s best to just be yourself. You’re the person who knows you the best, and if you’re not prepared to show off your best self, then it’s impossible to know how well you’d be able to perform for someone else. But, it can be hard to be yourself when you have to present yourself in a certain way for someone else to be interested. You can’t pick up flirting lessons on a dating site. You’re going to have to learn these skills on your own. Here are some tips to help you
Bring on the self-esteem! If you’re a woman, just spend as much time as you can on yourself. Put yourself first, do your own personal workout plan. (Even if it’s just pretending that you are giving yourself a personal workout by staring at the mirror and imagining that you’re getting a personal fitness trainer who is giving you positive reinforcement.) If you’re a man, try looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking about how your best qualities make you unique. The more you focus on your accomplishments, the more it will stand out to a potential match. Consider wearing a good-looking outfit and going through all the time-consuming, seemingly pointless details of getting ready—including blow-drying your hair until it’s perfect. (And if you can’t get in the shower until the last minute, find yourself a sympathetic mirror.) Take your time styling your hair. Don’t leave the house without your makeup. And don’t leave the house without your purse. And if you’re feeling a bit insecure, spend a little money on a couple of new pairs of shoes or a new outfit. (Whatever it takes to get your glam on.) Be sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the situation—it can make a big difference between getting a second date or a “Sorry, I have to go.” When it’s time to go out, don’t just grab your phone and drive. Sit down and call ahead to make sure that everyone you are going out with is ready to go too, and you’re able to get to the location on time. When you’re approaching someone you’re interested in, lock eyes with them. Hold eye contact for as long as you can; you want to make sure that they have the same positive impression of you that you do of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re shy or out of practice, just make sure to look as good as you can and make a good first impression. When you’re out, take it easy, but don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. Say hello or excuse yourself from the group and strike up a conversation with the person you’d like to see again. Just avoid the “Why are you here?” question. Instead, say something like, “I would love to go for coffee with you sometime.” On dates that go well, don’t be afraid to share some of your thoughts and feelings. If you’re interested in the other person, tell them about it. It’s perfectly


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