TV matchmaker Lara Asprey knows how to help the most hard-to-please singletons find love. Here are her top tips...
Bin the list of must-haves
People come up with endless lists of traits and qualities they think they need in a partner in order to be happy. However, this narrows the pool and can make it almost impossible to find someone.
Ultimately, those lists are absolute nonsense when you meet the right person. Think about your mental checklist and ask yourself whether it’s really necessary that the person you date has a particular job or dark hair, or whether it’s more important to find someone kind or funny.
Opposites don’t always attract
While it’s sometimes true that people who are very different are a good match, it’s not always the case. Introverts, for example, often believe they need to meet someone outgoing to compensate for their shyness. But a lot of the time, an introverted person will get on best with someone similar to them.
Sometimes it’s best to throw out the rule book and treat your dates as individuals instead of a set of character traits.
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Don’t let nerves spoil your fun
A lot of people get nervous when they go on a date. Because, let’s be honest, getting someone to go on a date can be hard. So when people do arrange to meet up, they start to think this is
their last chance to find happiness and that if the date doesn’t go well, it will be a disaster.
But the truth is, putting too much pressure on the date can stop you enjoying it and cloud your decision making. Instead, take a deep breath and have fun.
Beware of ‘Dutch courage’
Drinking too much on a date is always a bad idea, especially if it’s a first date. People often have a glass of wine while they’re getting ready to take the edge off their nerves.
Then, a bottle of wine later, they’re staggering home with their date and might end up doing or saying more than they wanted to. Instead, know your limits.
Try not to drink beforehand and don’t have more than a few glasses on the date itself.
Live in the moment
Often when people are on a date, they aren’t really present. They’re so hung up about how they look and how they’re coming across, they’re not listening to what the other person is saying.
But being in the moment is important. So make eye contact with your date, listen to what they’re saying and ask insightful questions.
You’ll make a far better impression than if you’re more concerned with your own appearance.
Get out of work mode
It’s common for people to arrange dates after work and go straight from the office. But you run the risk of arriving in work mode and the evening feeling like a business meeting. Change your top, apply fresh make-up, and spritz on some perfume before you leave the office. That way you’re more likely to treat the evening like a date.
Compliment with care
Compliments are key if you want to get on well with someone and they will give your date confidence to open up and be themselves.
However, avoid compliments about something the other person can’t control, for example their eye colour. Instead, compliment your date on a choice they’ve made. Tell them you love their belt, shoes or handbag. This is much more personal and helps to develop a bond.
90 minutes or less
Don’t stick around too long on a first date. On a third date it’s different, but a first date shouldn’t be longer than about 90 minutes.
That way, you leave the other person wanting more. You want your date to work hard to get to know you, so don’t give away too much information early on.
Look on the bright side
After a break-up, a lot of people mourn the end of their old relationship. They wear black and cover up their body because they’re afraid to reveal it to the world.
But it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of wearing dark clothing. When you start dating again, wear bright colours. It will make you feel much more positive.