Self-help gurus have bludgeoned us with the “fake it til you make it” message for so long now that it’s par for the course to see guys walking around the club holding two beers up above their chest, shoulders back, pecs out, and a trail of sticky booze and unimpressed women in their wake.
However, as we just alluded to, and as Chris Manak, one of Australia’s leading dating coaches, recently told us, pretending to be confident when dating (or when approaching someone at a bar) actually hurts your chances more than allowing your sweaty armpits and fragile self-confidence to show.
As Chris puts it: “You want to feel good on the inside, because your body language is going to reflect that.” However, he recognises that this a best-case scenario, of little use to those of us who live with a permanent sense of fear and self-loathing.
Chris says that if you are one of these people, the biggest mistake you can make is “trying to have confident body language” because if don’t really feel it, “you’re just going to look weird.”
“I can always spot those kind of guys.”
As for the guy we mentioned earlier? This is what Chris had to say: “A lot of men will walk around the bar holding their beer up over their chest. This is quite defensive behaviour.”
According to Chris, this kind of body language is “way worse” than looking a bit jittery: “If you look nervous you just look nervous. Whereas if you look nervous and you’re trying to cover it up; there’s a trust issue as well.”
“If a guy has read a book about holding his shoulders back and he’s walking around the club like that, shoulders back, chest puffed out, he just looks weird.”
Another common mistake a lot of us make when attempting to flirt, Chris told us, is eye contact: “A lot of guys don’t look at a girl when they’re talking to her.”
They also tend to ask the questions they think they should be asking, rather than asking about the things they really want to know about, or things that spontaneously come to mind, which often results in a boring, interview-like interaction.
“Guys will sit on dates, ask questions they think they are supposed to ask, and have very boring conversations that don’t spark any kind of interest.”
The solution? “Ask whatever you want to know about.” Be spontaneous. And remember: saying something “boring” in a playful manner can be more engaging than an “interesting” question delivered drearily.
In other words; don’t stress about coming up with clever questions. Just focus on casual conversation kickstarters combined with some honest and enthusiastic (though not too enthusiastic) body language.
Another tip is to position yourselves outside the much-despised “dating game” with something like, “So, how are you finding Tinder?” or by people watching together.
Conspiratorial feels await.