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Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Being More Attractive Online

Quick Access:
Attractiveness and Chemistry Different Online

How can I come across as more attractive over the computer?

One downfall of online dating – be it communicating through IM, email or webcam – is that two people can’t truly assess the interpersonal “vibe” or level of physical “chemistry” between them. I know some online dating sites offer tests that claim to estimate if two people will have that physical chemistry, but I don’t buy into that since there’s no scientific evidence of which I am aware that substantiates that claim.

Having said that, there are some ways that people can come across more attractive online. For instance, you should be as enthusiastic and energetic as possible while communicating online. Some of the best advice I’ve seen on the subject of maintaining energy and positive thinking has come from executive coaches. These are people who help high-performing professionals maintain peak performance in their personal and professional lives. One such coach is Scott Ginsberg, and I admire his pragmatic writings. Here are some suggestions I’ve seen Ginsberg give to others that I think are on the money and which can help online daters maintain an attractive level of energy and enthusiasm online:

» When someone asks you, “So, what do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself” offer an unforgettable answer in less than five to ten seconds that makes them say, “Really…?” “Cool!” or “Oh yeah, that sounds interesting.” Remember, even the most boring job or childhood in the world can sound magnetic, cool and unique if you have the eye for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

» Stop telling people that you’re terrible at remembering names and actually start practicing remembering names, and unsurprisingly you’ll become amazing at remembering people’s names. People’s names are like magical incantations.

» Don’t try to be different. In fact, don’t “try” to be anything. Just be. Be yourself. Be the world’s expert on yourself, and be that person every day. Nothing is more approachable or attractive than authenticity.

» Don’t be afraid to interrupt someone by saying, “Wait, I don’t know what that means.” It shows you’re listening and shows you’re human.

» Share your knowledge from your successes and failures. And, don’t others what you’ve done but rather what you’ve learned.

» Most people avert their eyes from oncoming strangers when they get within 10 feet of each other. See how many of them you can get to acknowledge you in a week. Then try to double that number the next week.

» Put a mirror by your computer (and phone). Every time you answer it, you’ll catch a glimpse of yourself and either smile or laugh. And customers will hear your smile come through the line when you communicate.

» Stop saying, “No problem” and “You’re welcome.” Instead, try “Absolutely!” “You got it!” and “My pleasure!” Use action words that exude a positive outlook on life.

» In the event that you actually remember someone’s name, always say it back to that person upon exiting a conversation.

» Once a month, read 10 magazines you wouldn’t normally read. It’s called an Eclectic Education, and it’s the stuff great conversationalists are made of.

» Discover the CPI, or Common Point of Interest, between you and another person as soon as possible. Similarity helps the bonding process. Also ask the other person creative, unique, interesting, thought provoking and challenging questions like, “Can you describe the best day you had at work last year?”

» Become a great storyteller. If you’re no good, rent a few stand-up DVD’s and learn from the pros. After all, people don’t remember things, they remember stories.

And here are some tips for maintaining energy and enthusiasm if you meet that special Internet someone (or are just mingling) offline:

» Smile for ten seconds every time you walk into a room.

» Keep your hands away from your nose or mouth while talking. It’s distracting and sends negative nonverbal vibes.

» Make eye contact for two extra seconds when being introduced (and saying goodbye) to someone new. One-one-thousand…two-one-thousand…

» Walk slower. Make it easy for people to get your attention.

» If you’re not sure whether you should hug or shake hands with someone, high fives usually suffice as a happy medium.

» If the only reason you’re crossing your arms is because you’re cold, that’s exactly what others will think you are: cold. And if the only reason you’re crossing your arms is because it’s comfortable for you; that means it’s probably uncomfortable for others.

» Sit with your toes pointing directly at your conversation partner. Toes pointed away = resistance.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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