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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.

Dating Coach | Secrets to Flirting

Quick Access:
Dating Coach - Good Idea?
What are the Secrets to Flirting?

Is using a dating coach a good idea or a sign of failure?


It’s never sign of failure to ask for help when you need it. Asking for help is a sign of intelligence and resourcefulness. Likewise, using a dating coach can be a smart solution to enhancing your chances of success with both offline and online dating (to learn more, click here to read my recent interview with Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord). In fact, these services are of great interest to consumers judging by the hits we receive at Online Dating Magazine for articles that deal with dating guidance and advice. Consumers also seem to seize upon more formalized coaching services when they are made convenient, cost effective and credible. I call these “the three C’s.” Remember them.

The credibility facet of dating coaches is especially underemphasized, in my opinion. Credible dating coaches are not ones that draw from their own dating experience. After all, the knowledge or insights they’ve gained from their own dating experiences may or may not be accurate. And if they did learn something accurately from their experience, it may not even be relevant to another person. On the other hand, credible and knowledgeable coaches apply the available academic literature on love and attachment. A good coach knows how to translate such models and concepts to lay audiences and subsequently motivate them to put them into consistent practice. Coaching advice can also be automated to some degree if feedback systems are integrated with testing and assessment engines (like personality, compatibility, relationship needs, etc.). In fact, my own online testing team is working on this right now.

Thus, I urge people to conduct proper due diligence on dating coaches before selecting their services. Don't be overly impressed with credits that involve media appearances and the number of "books" they’ve written – incompetent people also have these items on their resumes. Instead, ask for professional references, cross-check any professional memberships and study the educational and training background of the available coaches. Finally, the interpersonal chemistry between a coach and a customer shouldn’t be overlooked – assuming a customer wants that one-on-one contact. If a customer neither connects with nor respects a dating coach, any guidance and motivation (as credible and solid as they may be) will be useless.

Are there any secrets to flirting?

Some people seem to have a natural knack for flirting and connecting with others. How they accomplish this is a combination of skills combined with their natural charisma. Some of the most well-known skills of success flirts include:

Use the person’s name in the conversation.
Don’t overdo it, but the occasional use of the person’s name has a strong impact on how well they will listen and respond to you. Hearing one’s own name is a powerful attractor.

Eye contact:
Consistent eye contact creates instant interest with someone and demonstrates you are focused only on them at that moment. Undivided attention is another powerful attractor.

Asking questions:
Most everyone likes to talk about things that they are knowledgeable about… as well as talk about themselves. Probing questions – as opposed to simple “yes or no” questions – is a great way to make someone feel appreciated and reinforce in them a sense that they’re very interesting and attractive.

Active listening:
Asking questions only works when you truly listen to what the other person says in reply. Besides adding to the feeling of undivided attention, active listening shows respect to the person. Everyone likes to feel respected.

Tell the truth:
When talking with someone – either asking questions or answering them – remember to always give honest answers. Coming across as gamey or overly boastful is incredibly unattractive to many people. Some topics of conversation may be too personal or uncomfortable to discuss with a stranger, and that is okay. But make that clear instead of making up some story.

Act the part:
It’s no secret that at least 60% of communication is non-verbal, which means that people form opinions about someone based on what they see, the demeanor and attitude of the person and how that person dresses and presents him/herself. The more confident a person, the sexier and attractive that person is perceived to be.

Don’t rush to judgment:
Individuals who live in judgment of others and form quick impressions tend to be very poor flirts and very poor at building rapport with anyone – period. Take time to get to know a person, rather than assuming things about that person.

Live a positive attitude:
The more you practice positive language and practice positive interpersonal skills, the more of a habit they become. One benefit is that you actually feel more positive and this comes across in your attitudes and behaviors. Positive people are fun and stimulating to be around.

Do what makes you feel attractive:
Being “attractive” is whatever that means to you. The point is… when you feel good, you look good, and the inner peace that you feel inside radiates out.

Have a real sense of humor:
There’s a saying that goes, “humor is the saving grace of gods.” Humor reflects intelligence, adaptability and a positive outlook on life. That’s not to say that anything can be made to be funny (or should be), but a good sense of humor is a major attractor.

Finally, I want to emphasize that this was a list of “skills.” Extroverts don’t have a monopoly on good-people skills – they can be learned. This brings me one of the best flirting secrets of all. It’s also one of the most simple and that’s “practice makes perfect.” The more you interact with others, the more adept and comfortable you’ll become. Get out there or go online and have fun practicing and learning from others.

Related Links:
» Flirtologist Gives Some Flirting Advice
» Flirting Online

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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