The Bedpost — 29 August 2011
What message are you sending?

by Teresa J. Holmes

Last week, I decided to try out a new gym and by try out, I of course mean visit and never go back. Let’s just say I am not much of a work out queen. Pushing onward in the list of errands for the day, I needed to eat a quick snack before grocery shopping and accidentally purchasing the entire store. So, I pulled into a local fast food restaurant for a snack.

Picture this- I am an average looking gal standing in line without any make up on. I am sweaty and dressed in grubby workout clothes. I noticed a guy looking over and I smile. Sure I might be thinking silently, “why am I out in public looking like this?” but my body language says a confident “hello”.  I am no longer single, but I am naturally a friendly person.

Not two minutes after making eye contact, I sat down to eat and he sat at the table next to me. He struck up a conversation and we made small talk for a bit. I found out that he is an Electrical Engineer at a company nearby and yada-yada.  By the time I finished my snack, he politely expressed that he didn’t mean to be too forward but that he would like to take me to dinner sometime.

There I was, looking a complete mess at a fast food restaurant while being asked out by an attractive, smart man. My single girlfriends would kill to have been in my shoes that day. I would ask why this happens to me regularly, but I know why and it certainly isn’t because I am a super hot babe or always dressed to the nines. It is because I am APPROACHABLE.

If you are single and never get asked out, keep these things in mind:

1.)    Be aware of the message you are sending with your body language—it is so important! Do you have your arms crossed as you stand? Do you look pissed off? Do you look like you are in a rush to be somewhere? Just like any bad habits, it takes recognizing what they are to be fixed.

Challenge: If you have a difficult time visualizing what you look like to others, ask a friend to sneak a few camera shots of you when you are out in public. Upon review, ask yourself “would I feel fearless approaching this person?”

2.)    Don’t fidget. Imagine that you are Julia Robert’s in Pretty Woman, walking through the lobby of a luxurious hotel. Everyone is looking at you. Keep your hands by your side, back straightened, chin up and mosey along, exuding confidence and class. No nail biting, lip chewing, playing with your hair, fiddling with anything you can find in sight, or giggling like someone who should be on meds. Be still and be calm. This is harder than you think.

3.)    Technology is a “date”-blocker.  If you are at a coffee shop by yourself and you have a laptop in front of you, the opposite sex will generally think you are busy. In other words, you cannot be approached. Same goes for cell phones. If I were standing in line that day, staring at my phone the entire time, I would never have been approached.

Put your devices away! Try sitting at a table and enjoying the scenery. You can people watch, nature watch, but don’t watch your watch. Look comfortable being there by yourself and open to having a conversation. Don’t be afraid to look at people when they look at you, which brings me to my next point…

4.)    A smile and eye contact is like sending an invitation to converse.  Whether you smile and bat your lashes, smile and look away shyly, smile and shoulder shrug… make sure that he or she knows you are smiling at them by locking in with those eyes. If you find this difficult to do, practice make perfect and just generally looking like a happy person goes a long way regardless.

You never know where Mr. or Mrs. Right might be; don’t sabotage the opportunity. Be aware of your environment and the message you are sending out into the world. Self-awareness is very difficult when you are wrapped up in your thoughts, reliving a bad day, etc but make it a habit to check yourself before you wreck your chances and you won’t regret it.

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Teresa J. Holmes is a freelance writer based in Austin, TX. To see more of her work or contact her, visit http://www.textologyonline.com/ 

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