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How to Exude Confidence on a Date

Don't be shy!
Don't be shy!
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

In high school, dating might seem daunting. The mere thought of in-depth socializing with a romantic interest, away from the claustrophobia-inducing yet comforting school hallways, can be enough to inspire panic. Will you say all the right things on your date, or will you stumble your way through awkward conversation?

But whether you've been on a few dates already, or if it's a completely new experience, there are ways to make dating more enjoyable and less stressful.

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As everyday forms of communication become increasingly casual, formal dates might seem too serious or antiquated. However, a special date can be fun, and it's a great way to brush up on your social skills and find out a few things about someone else. Even if your date doesn't lead to a romantic match, at least you've learned something new, right?

As you read, keep in mind that you'll notice opportunities to practice these skills all day long, whether or not you're interacting with your romantic interest. Even if you make the inevitable blunder, don't give up. Mastering the social techniques crucial to successful dating will help you navigate every aspect of adulthood with charm and confidence.

Although you might be worried about what exactly you'll talk about with your date, there's another important angle a lot of guys forget about: body language. How you communicate with eye contact and gestures make or break a night out -- read more about it on the next page.

 

 

 

If you're having a good time and it shows, your date will pick up on this in a positive way.
If you're having a good time and it shows, your date will pick up on this in a positive way.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

If you've already asked someone out and gotten a positive response, the hardest part's already behind you -- at least you know your date is interested in you! But faced with the prospect of an afternoon or evening together, it'll be a bit more challenging to keep your composure.

Don't yield to nervous habits -- some annoying behaviors make anyone look like an amateur. Keep your hands still at the table. Don't wring them constantly, and don't shred paper napkins or straw wrappers. Not only does it make you look unsure of yourself, there'll be a mess on the table as a reminder.

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Walk smoothly and deliberately, and you'll look as calm as can be. Don't shuffle your feet while you're walking or standing. These are the affectations of much younger, inexperienced guys. Make eye contact when you're talking and listening. It signals that you're confident, but it shows that you respect your date, too. And most of all, smile. Don't force it, but if you're enjoying yourself, it should come naturally.

Another way to show your date you're interested? You should be listening more than you should be talking -- but what you say, and how you say it, is also very important. On the next page, we'll discuss how to get the most from every word out of your mouth.

Be yourself, and the date will go naturally if it's a good fit.
Be yourself, and the date will go naturally if it's a good fit.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

On a date, especially early in a relationship, it's important to not dominate the conversation. It'll show that you're confident enough to let things progress naturally, and reassure your companion that you don't need constant attention.

Also, if you listen, you'll have the opportunity to get to know your date better, which is the whole point, isn't it? But there are times when the conversation picks up pace and you can enjoy some interesting back-and-forth chatter. Here's how to make the most of it.

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When you speak clearly, it'll make your whole date go more smoothly. Conversation will flow better, which will make your date feel like you're easy to talk to. If you have sloppy speech habits (like a lot of young men), it'll take some practice to develop better enunciation. It helps to force yourself to slow down -- rushing will make you hard to understand. This is a skill that takes time to develop, so practice speaking clearly whenever you can.

Remember what we said before about smiling? It also applies here. If you smile when you're talking, it helps your voice sound more confident and happy. (This is hard to get used to, and might be uncomfortable at first. Practice in front of a mirror at home.)

Also, sounding confident depends on what you actually say. Give yourself a bit of credit up front -- assume your date is enjoying herself (unless she does something to indicate otherwise). Don't ask multiple times if she's satisfied with the restaurant or activity you've planned, which can be annoying and insulting. Don't apologize for being nervous, because it just makes you look more nervous.

Learning to modulate your voice will take time, but it's worth the effort to become a suave conversationalist. Need a confidence boost with quicker results? Continue on to the next page.

While you're practicing the tough stuff, here are a few things you can do immediately.

  • Don't worry about impressing her or being suave -- just be yourself.
  • Get to know her interests so you have something to talk about.
  • Wear what you know looks good on you. This isn't the time to experiment with trends that might make you insecure or uncomfortable.
  • "Be comfortable" isn't an excuse for being sloppy -- always make sure your clothes are clean and well-kept.
  • Don't confuse confidence with arrogance. Obnoxious behavior won't make you look more sure of yourself.
  • Put your cell phone away, but don't make a big deal of it. This will make your date feel like the most important person in your orbit for a few crucial hours, and it'll make you look more mature than most of your peers.

And on a more serious note, make sure you're clean. Your mouth is often an overlooked part of your daily routine. You're probably already brushing, but you really need to floss, especially if you're a regular drinker of coffee or energy drinks. Chemicals in these beverages will cause odors that linger around your mouth, steadily getting worse for hours. Chase a non-water beverage with a glass of water whenever possible, and at the very least, discreetly chew sugar-free or whitening gum. (Mint flavors will smell subtly fresher than sweet or fruit varieties.)

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Some doctors believe that teen guys are more prone to poor hygiene -- it's just sloppy habits, they say, based on a general unawareness of proper procedure and how that affects appearance [source: Griffin]. If your hygiene skills have been below par so far, it's not too late to get a fresh start. You should be proud to take care of yourself.

Chances are you'll be dating for years before you find the right person, but that's not supposed to be discouraging -- this is exciting! There's lots more information on the page with links to articles about socializing and navigating the romantic landscape.

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More Great Links

Sources

  • BusinessWeek. "Secrets of the Male Shopper." Sept. 4, 2006. (Sept. 20, 2010)http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_36/b3999001.htm
  • Discovery Health. "Teens and dating." (Sept. 22, 2010)https://health.howstuffworks.com/relationships/dating/teens-and-dating.htm
  • Griffin, R. Morgan. "Hygiene For Kids: Tips For Your Teen." WebMD. (Sept. 20, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/germ-fighting-guide-10/teen-hygiene
  • Jonna, M. "One Teen's Perspective on Dating." Discovery Health. (Sept. 22, 2010)https://health.howstuffworks.com/relationships/dating/teen-perspective-on-dating.htm
  • Today.com. "Five tips for teen dating." (Sept. 20, 2010)http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3088174

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