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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

Being Approachable

One of the most daunting tasks a single person faces is approaching people they are interested in. This holds true for both men and women. Being socially available romantically involves making yourself known, visible, and approachable.

The other side of approachability is about being accessible, but not coming off "commitment desperate." There is a delicate balance between appearing interested, really being available and "safe" to approach; that is, being visibly interested, but not overly excited about someone when they actually show interest in you.


People who are at an age when most are not married generally have an easier time at appearing accessible. Usually, being younger than thirty makes one appealing and people tend to assume that you’re not married unless clear signs are evident.


However, if you are old enough that people might assume you are married, you could try giving some positive, clear hints about dating or single life so a person will know you aren't married.

Another tactic to increase your chances of appearing accessible is showing interest in what is happening around you. If you are at a social event, for example, take some time to assess those in attendance. Without being obvious, look around the room and observe who is there, if they may be with someone, etc. When the coast is clear on that issue, use body language such as facing someone you may want to chat with, looking their way, or attempting to hear what they are saying or watch what they are doing from time to time.

It’s also a good idea not to limit your conversations to the sex of the people you’re interested in romantically. Strike up conversations with anyone who seems amenable. Not only is this a great way to practice social skills, but it’s usually a lot easier initially to talk to someone you’re not interested in romantically, and takes the pressure off of “searching” for a potential future date. It also makes you appear socially active and interesting in general.

Getting practice talking to people you don't know will come in handy in many aspects of your life, from general social activities, to when you have the chance to meet someone who has a lot of potential in terms of romance. This is important because once you do find someone special, if you focus all your social life on them, it may be too easy to appear desperate.

Making contact with various individuals at a social event can be done without making anyone uncomfortable, including yourself, if you use your own intuition and read the visible signs around you. For example, if you’ve looked someone’s way several times and actually caught their eye, it should be evident to them that you are intrigued. If you get no response, it would probably be safe to assume there is either no interest on that person’s part or they are simply not available, for whatever the reason.

Sending the Right Signals
Once the hurdle of initial contact is crossed and you manage to get someone’s attention, it’s important to somehow make it obvious that you’re single so that it’s apparent that you’d like to have a conversation with someone to possibly get to know him or her, rather than just passing the time.

Again, it’s important to send straight, easy signals to those you would like to get to know.

So, what are some ways to make yourself appear accessible? Often, lack of confidence can be a killer when it comes to attracting the opposite sex. Is there any sure-fire way that a person can regain lost confidence or overcome shyness?

It has been thought that shyness often comes from being worried about what others think of you. So, if you can get past that mental block of worrying what others think, perhaps you will be able to focus more on showing interest in someone else. That’s really all it takes. The one tried and true simple yet effective "technique" for getting rid of shyness is to simply stop caring what others think of you.

If you can get out of your shell long enough to show interest in someone else, that will start the ball rolling, and whatever shyness anxiety you felt can disappear right away.

Think of something you may have in common with someone, or something to comment on that is happening at that moment, and like magic, as soon as the focus changes, you have discarded your anxiety like yesterday’s news.

Confidence has been cited as an enormously interesting and seductive attribute in people. Part of the reason for this is that people who are confident bring along with them exuberance for life and what is at the core of that is interest in others. It has nothing to do with being conceited or arrogant; it simply shows that you can focus on what is happening around you and in life. If you take a look at some of the more confident people we see in society, they all seem to have that same common denominator: they’re interesting because they are interested. Being interested shows a thoughtfulness and ultimately that one is not so self-centered that they can’t or don’t see what’s happening around them. And that trait usually is and can be extremely attractive to potential dating prospects within your range.

Whether you are generally confident or inherently shy, you still may struggle with exactly how to approach people. One method is to start in small steps. Make casual, small talk. Learn to relate with people first as human beings who make conversation, rather than always focusing on what your dating goal is. Realize that you must first get to know someone on a certain level before approaching him or her romantically.

The bottom line is to get over any fear of saying something and approaching someone. You will probably regret more not having said something than saying something that resulted in rejection. In any event, you’ll usually know instantly if someone is interested in talking to you. If you find that there is no interest, you can always politely move on.

Charm School

French classical author and cynical observer of Louis XIV's court Francois La Rochefoucauld said, “There are few women whose charm survives their beauty.” Charm is always fascinating. It can make attractive people stunning, while the lack of it can make beautiful people very unappealing. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1) Try to leave your worries elsewhere when you’re out in public. Focus on the activity at hand, and this shouldn’t be too hard to do. Remember that potential dating prospects are everywhere you are, not just at bars and nightclubs. Great single people are standing next to you at the grocery store, bookstore, etc., and may come up to talk to you – but not if it looks like you’re unhappy. Try thinking of positive things that will make you smile. There is often nothing more inviting or attractive than a smiling person.

2) Be as outgoing and upbeat as you can, within reason. Even if you’re an introvert at heart, you can exude a happy attitude in a quiet way. The key is to be positive. Positive attitude and behavior makes you approachable and people feel like they can make an attempt at connecting with you.

3) If you happen to catch the eye of someone you’re interested in and they aren’t making any move, show you’re approachable by talking to the people around you. This can make it clear that you are interested in engaging communication.

4) Try to avoid going out in packs of people, instead opting to go with a good friend or two whose company you really enjoy. Large groups of people can be intimidating. The more the two or three of you laugh and appear to be having a good time, the more approachable you’ll appear.

5) Be charming to all of those who approach you wherever you are, even if you’re not interested. This doesn’t mean that you have to accept their advances, just do it in a positive, polite way. Smile when you turn down an offer and always say “no thank you” to a dance or a drink. Remember, the chance is very good that someone you are interested in is watching your behavior. If you come across as tough and cold, they may lose the courage to come over and make contact with you.

6) Be interested enough to talk about things other than yourself. Ask pertinent questions. Show you’re paying attention to what is happening. Remember that people usually like to be helpful, ask for directions, recommendations on good restaurants, or wine suggestions. Common interests are also a great way to start a conversation, or even giving a small but sincere compliment can work like a charm.

Making a first contact with someone is the hardest part of acquainting people, because both parties don’t really know if the other one is available. On the other side, once getting past initial conversation, you’ll relax and find an opportunity to compel someone to continue to talk to you. The bottom line is that the more someone can find out about you on the initial contact, the better chance there is of a future meeting.

The sooner you accept that many of the people you’re interested in probably aren’t disinterested in you, they’re just too shy to make a move, the happier and less self conscious you’ll be. Being approachable is the key to both connecting, and keeping people interested in you. In addition, making yourself more approachable will do wonders for your social life in general!

Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.

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