Simple Ways to Leave Your First Date Wanting More

Dawn Bevier

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I’ve been watching a lot of shallow reality television to fill my days since this pandemic began, and one particular show that I have been sucked back into after a long hiatus is The Bachelor. For some reason, seeing these poor women fight for the love of one man through a series of not so private romantic interludes takes me back in time to all the dating drama I endured before I finally met my prince.

And being that I didn’t find my knight in shining armor until the ripe old age of twenty-eight, you could say I’ve had more than my share of the dating experience. Those “cringy” high school dates, those loud and rowdy college dates, and those more “mature” adult dates when you finally realize you’re looking for a real partner and not the next “hottie” to hang out with until you get bored.

And over the years, I’ve heard countless stories from numerous friends on the dreamy or nightmarish dates they’ve experienced. I’ve also been advised by many well-meaning persons of both sexes (all experts of course) on all the different techniques required to make a date magical. And their advice usually falls into two distinct categories.

Category one: Play hard to get.

Category Two: Treat him or her like a king or queen.

Based on my hard-earned experience, I’ve personally come to believe both techniques are flawed.

For example, a lot of people say that playing hard to get is the way to a person’s heart. But it can backfire. Being too standoffish and pretending to care less about whether or not the object of your romantic interest returns your feelings can often be disastrous.

After sitting at a restaurant and artfully acting as if you would just as soon be at home watching Netflix, the effect on your date is not intrigue, it’s anger. Your crush is thinking that if you didn’t care, why did you waste their time and ask them to be with you in the first place.

Just as awful as playing hard to get is fawning. I’ve been on a number of outings with men who showed up on the first date with a bouquet of roses that would only be appropriate for a first-year wedding anniversary, who were so complimentary, so flattering, and so obviously “all-in” that it was overkill instead of magical and scary instead of seductive.

So, what kind of date really wins a person’s interest? The truth is those whose behavior lies in the sweet spot between total disinterest and total adoration. Especially on the first few dates.

The allure of a bit of mystery concerning a date’s total level of interest is magical. One where your date thinks you are interested, but isn’t quite sure exactly what you’re thinking.

So here are some do’s and don’t concerning first date behavior and some suggestions on how to achieve this enchanting mixture that will leave him or her longing for a second date.

Be flirtatious but not transparent

Take your date to an intimate place but keep the conversation light

Take your date to a cozy and subtly romantic place. Don’t take him or her to the coolest burger joint that just opened up or a bar with loud music and crowds. It throws off mixed signals-and not the good kind which I recommend.

For example, one date took me to a restaurant in town that had low lighting and a roaring fireplace in the middle of the restaurant. It was the kind of setting that made me infer that he must be interested in me romantically.

But when we ordered and began to talk, the conversation was more light and friendly than flirtatious. There was no talk about future dates, no questions about my vision of the perfect partner, or what kind of relationship I was looking for. Instead, the talk revolved around our daily lives, television series we had each been bingeing, and funny things that happened in our jobs or daily lives.

This is the type of exciting ambiguity in dates that makes a person wonder things such as, “Did they ask me out on a whim and then perhaps decide that they just wanted to be friends?” or “Maybe they are not really as interested as I thought.” These mixed messages will leave your date fascinated and longing to know more about your feelings and intentions.

Compliment your date but refrain from overt praise

Show your date your interest by giving words of praise but not those of a sexual nature. For example, you might tell him or her that they look really nice tonight and you might even use words like “pretty” or “handsome,” but don’t say things such as “That skirt shows off your long sexy legs” or “That five o clock shadow is really hot.”

There’s no mystery about where your mind is when you utter these words, and depending on the way you say these things, your date may think your intentions are more sexual than romantic. By approaching them instead with subtle compliments, they know you find them attractive, but they don’t know exactly how deep that attraction is.

This sort of uncertainty is bewitching because truly, even if your date doesn’t say it, they likely want you to think a bit more heated thoughts. Who doesn’t actually want to be thought of in terms such as “stunning” or

“sexy?”

But even if those exact words are running rampant in your brain concerning your date, don’t actually state them. This leaves your partner thinking ahead about what next steps they can take to get your mind headed in this direction. And these next steps would usually require another date.

Use body language and gestures to show interest but not touch

Gestures like massaging your date’s neck, stroking their hands, or even hand-holding may be too forward at this point. Let your date know you are interested with your eyes and your body.

Now that doesn’t mean that you stare at them for thirty seconds using your best bedroom eyes. When you are engaging in conversation, hold eye contact with them for a few moments then look away. Also, let them in on your interest by leaning forward when you talk to them. And no matter what, if you get a text or call, don’t answer it.

This lets your date know that you are their sole focus, but your lack of touch creates a mystery about your level of attraction that becomes a puzzle they will want to unravel.

Be attentive but not needy

Throughout the date, reveal your interest in your partner through small behaviors that show you are both focused on their happiness and observant of their needs. Open the car door for them and the doors to a restaurant. Ask them questions such as “Is this table okay?” or if the date is held outside, ask them if they are cold or hot and offer to rectify the situation in ways such as giving them your coat or suggesting the both of you head somewhere inside to cool off for a moment.

In other words, show them that you are aware of their feelings, perceptive of their wishes, and protective of their welfare.

And even if the date is going great, put a time limit on it. Don’t try to drag it out. As a matter of fact, plan a set time to end the outing before the actual date. But don’t state the time to them until the moment is right.

In the middle of a great date, perhaps you say to your date that you hate to cut the evening short, but you have an obligation to be up early the next morning to help a friend move or you’ve promised to drive a friend to the airport. This leaves your time together ending on a note of mystery.

At the end of the date, walk your interest to their door and maybe give them a hug or a peck on the check and state that you had a wonderful time. But no “I’ll call you tomorrow” or “What are you doing next Saturday?” Let him or her wonder just a bit about your true feelings moving forward.

This leaves your time together at a delicious pause, like a television series that ends with such an exciting cliffhanger that you find yourself dying to watch the next episode.

The bottom line

An article in Psychology Today article entitled “The Seduction of Secret — How Intrigue Sparks Attraction” states that “ lack of knowledge about someone allows the imagination to run wild, augmenting the few known facts about an acquaintance with arousing, exciting details.”

By giving your date small undeniable hints of interest but withholding concrete knowledge from them of your true level of attachment, you accomplish what author Robert Green says in his book The Art of Seduction is the most paramount way to seduce someone: to “delay their satisfaction.”

And when you slowly begin to unveil your true feelings in subsequent dates, your love interest will feel extra rewarded. That’s what you want, right? To give your date the next episode of “you” after the cliff you left them on, and to thus make the next airing extra exciting and explosive.

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Sanford, NC
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