You’re at home getting ready for a date. You’re concerned about many things: your clothes, outfit, being on time, and whether or not you’re going to get along with your date. My guess is that you’re not as concerned about your stance when you’re standing up and how you show interest in your date by your actions, not your words.
Let’s look at some strategies for how to come across as confident and interested, even in times when we’re nervous.
Tip #1: Stance
Open body language signals to a partner that you’re interested. This can be difficult to do when you’re nervous, so remember an easy tip. When we’re nervous, we are more likely to lock our knees and tense up. Keep a slight bend in your knees and you will feel more grounded. You might also try shifting your weight every once in a while from one foot to the other. Be careful not to shift your weight too often or you’ll end up swaying from side to side.
Tip #2: Eye Contact
Eye contact is one of the most challenging things to establish and maintain. When we’re nervous, we are more likely to look down or away, which may signal to your date that you’re not interested even when you actually are. Avoid staring by remembering to blink every once in a while.
Tip #3: Reaching Out
On a first date, it’s important to shake hands when you’re introducing yourselves. If you’ve talked on the phone or met before, it might be appropriate to hug the person hello. If you’re unsure, take your cues from your date. If they reach a hand out, reach yours out and shake. If they look like they’re about to hug you, hug back if you feel comfortable. Remember that not everyone is comfortable with physical touch, so do what feels right for you in the moment.
Tip #4: Smile
Smiling is an easy way to show someone you’re interested in talking with without saying a word. Smiling helps us feel better even if it’s temporary.
Tip #5: Be Perceptive
One of the skills I help people with is mastering the art of reading other people’s body language. To some degree, we have to bridge the gap between understanding other people’s body language and being aware of our own. Self -awareness takes patience and an ability to reflect on things we do well and things we need to work on.