How to be charming on a date
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Going by the popular Twitter account Very British Problems (which went on to spawn a book and a television series) us Brits know a thing or two about social awkwardness. A celebration of the quintessential English cultural landmarks – the weather, tea, queuing – this humorous account is largely dedicated to highlighting the bumbling, overly polite behaviours that all Brits can painfully relate to. It is, in other words, a part of our culture to be lacking the easy confidence, directness and charm that tend to come in handy in a dating situation. Indeed, it is no surprise that – in contrast with our friends across the Atlantic – Brits naturally tend to incorporate drinking into a date situation. A dark bar and a bit of Dutch courage is generally thought of as a fantastic way to smooth over those date night nerves and summon up some charisma and confidence. Drinking aside, it’s less difficult than you might think to get in touch with your inner James (or Jane) Bond. Ask the experts and they’ll tell you that being truly charming has less to do with your mastery of the smoulder, and more to do with empathy and openness. Find out more by consulting our foolproof tips on how to be charming.
How to be charming tip 1: Be well-dressed
It may seem obvious, but our first tip for nailing the charm factor on a date is to look your best. Whether or not you’re interested in fashion, there’s no denying that the way we present ourselves on the outside says a lot about who we are on the inside. Dressing well for a date doesn’t necessitate following the hottest new style trends. It’s simply a case of finding some (event-appropriate) clothes that look good on you. Often, simple is best – if you’re a guy, it’s hard to beat a freshly ironed white shirt, smart jeans and a pair of brogues or boxfresh trainers. For those people who truly struggle with anything fashion related, it’s a good idea to call in the help of your most stylish friend. A person with a good eye for clothes will be able to tell you what suits you – and what should be avoided at all costs.
How to be charming tip 2: Be confident
If you’re someone who struggles in the charm department you’ve probably heard this piece of advice a thousand times and rolled your eyes. After all – if you were confident there wouldn’t be a problem, right? The truth is, you don’t truly have to be self-confident to give off the appearance of self-confidence. In fact, “faking it ’til you make it” is a great way to improve your self-esteem. According to business consultant Olivia Fox Cabane, who has a background in behavioural science, charisma can be achieved by adopting a powerful posture. Even if you’re not feeling at your most confident you can make yourself look confident with the right pose. Fox Cabane’s advice is tailored towards people in the business world – but on a date, an open, broad stance will definitely give the appearance of someone who feels confident and in control. In short: practise sitting up straight.
How to be charming tip 3: Be interested
You may have all the confidence in the world, but it won’t serve you well if you don’t appear to be interested in your date. Olivia Fox Cabane counsels that, in addition to exuding power through your posture, you should aim to exude warmth. She recommends that you do this by thinking of three things you really like about that other person, and focusing on those traits while you speak to them. Cultural critic and journalist Stephen Bayley gives similar advice, suggesting that it’s impossible to be charming unless you show interest in your date by being curious and inquisitive. In this article, he discusses how you can strike that all important balance between self-confidence and showing interest in your date, wryly acknowledging that “There is absolutely nothing that people enjoy more than the suggestion you find them fascinating.” He counsels to listen carefully and be quiet rather than loud but, at the same time, to avoid coming across as timid. Crucially, Bayley advises not to be too intrusive – ask questions about your date, but don’t pry or appear too curious about anything very personal, particularly if you’re only meeting for the first time. As a rough guide, if fifteen or so minutes have passed without your date saying something about him or herself, ask them a question. On the flip side, if you’ve been asking them questions solidly, give them a chance to get to know you.
How to be charming tip 4: Be vulnerable
You may think that charisma and vulnerability are mutually exclusive, but in fact, showing your human side is a brilliant way to charm the pants off a date. Fox Cabane suggests that “There’s a fine line between charismatic and intimidating” and encourages people to make a human connection “by revealing a weakness or sharing an embarrassing secret.” On a first date, an appropriate level of vulnerability might be to discuss an embarrassing guilty pleasure, to speak about a film that made you cry, or – if you feel comfortable – to reference, without launching into any great detail, a difficult period in your life from which you have now moved on. In an odd way, being prepared to discuss embarrassing, unexpected or difficult aspects of your life displays its own kind of confidence. Beyond that, it’s an excellent way of making your date feel comfortable – they’ll be reassured that they’re dating a real human, not a superhero.