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“How to pick up men” – it sounds like the name of a rom-com with a stupidly idealistic ending and model-esque women who, somehow, can’t get a date. Jokes aside, there are some things in life we all need a little help with, and the dating minefield is one of them. Let me start by saying there is no shame in reaching out for help if you are struggling to successfully catch the attention of a man,(and yes, anonymously trawling the net for advice does count as “reaching out”).
Some women just have that knack for picking up men, whether it’s for a fleeting fling or a long-term romance. If you are not one of these women, despair not! I have had many friends over the years who attract men like moths to a flame, without even trying. I used to think that because I didn’t fall under this category, that I was less attractive, less interesting and less “date-worthy”. Age and experience have since taught me that this is simply rubbish. You are just as beautiful, intelligent, worthy and interesting as the lass next to you at the bar with half an army of men flexing their biceps at her.
I am sure you are thinking, that’s all very well and good, but how do I get the men?!
Let’s begin. Here are 5 tips and ideas to ponder and put into practice. These aren’t sure-fire, instant remedies, but they will certainly help you along your journey to catching that stud.
The “confidence myth”
I am sure you have heard or read many times, “confidence is the key to picking up men!”, “men are attracted to confidence!”. I used to panic when I heard this because I thought…but maybe I’m not that confident. I am naturally quite shy, reserved and don’t like the center of attention. I thought this meant that I was repelling men and that I was just generally a lesser person than those who breeze into a room with that achingly intriguing confidence. If you identify as a shy person without bucket-loads of confidence, guess what? THAT IS OKAY. Being shy is just as fine as being “confident”, because it’s who you are, and you want a man to be with you for who YOU are and not who you think you SHOULD be (whether that’s for a cheeky night or a lifelong love).
It’s an assumption that ALL men want a woman who is just ONE version of “confident”. Not all men are going to be attracted to the loudest or chattiest girl in the room, so trying to be “that girl” is pointless. What’s more, men can tell if you are trying too hard, or are pretending to be someone you are not. Just like you wouldn’t like an inauthentic man, men don’t like inauthentic women either.
But what does “confidence” really mean? Most people automatically assume it’s all about behavior and social prowess. Head held high, loud voice and laugh, comfortable talking to anyone, comfortable with showing skin…do these things mean “confidence”? Well, yes, and they are great traits to have if you have them. But if you don’t, you can still be confident, just in a different way, and you can still pick up a man if you wish to.
You might be very shy, very modest, quiet in social situations, and better at one-on-one than in a group – and you can still be confident! If you accept and own how you are, and conduct yourself according to your true self, then I promise you, men will notice. Confidence in all forms comes from the feeling that you are enough, you don’t need to change, you don’t need to guess what someone expects from you, and you certainly don’t need to pretend. If you can embody this, then you can bet your bottom dollar that your “man quota” will rise by miles.
- Relax into your natural confidence, whether it’s loud or quiet
- Play to your strengths! If you are confident one-on-one, then go for an intimate conversation in a quiet part of the room so your potential date can get to see your attractive traits
- Don’t try to force yourself to be “outgoing” or “bolshy” if it’s not natural for you, sometimes a seductive look or cute smile can be just as effective across a room
- Don’t try to guess what “men want”, the right ones want YOU!
Breaking the home-body habit
Look, this might seem stupid to mention, as it is common sense, but you won’t find a man sitting on your couch at home! Now, don’t get me wrong, watching NETFLIX in my pajamas on a Friday night is one of the most appealing things in the world, so I won’t take it away from you. However, you do need to get out into the world to meet the men who might take your fancy.
This doesn’t mean you have to knock back ten vodka shots and head to the club, (I mean, if that’s your thing, then I salute you), but you can make it work for you. Do you have any single friends who have also fallen into the stay-home rut? Get them together and make a weekly, Friday night drinks/coffee/gym class/anything date. You don’t have to sit around and peer over your drinks at potential man-friends, but you can at least be out and about, making yourself available for when the situation arises.
- Plan outings with your friends so you have to go, (you’ll get the “guilts” otherwise!)
- Go places you enjoy and where you can relax and be yourself
- Don’t waste opportunities: if you see someone you like, make that first connection happen, even if it’s just a simple “hello”, with a smile – this way, you will imprint yourself in his mind and he will remember you next time he sees you
- Play to your physical strengths: if you love your eyes, keep your hair off your face and let them sparkle! If you love your legs…go ahead and show a little! You don’t need to slather yourself with makeup or dress out-of-character, but make sure you step out of the house feeling your best self
- Don’t go out with the mindset of “picking up” – go out with the mindset of “having fun”, and that zest for life and fun will speak volumes
Saying “no” leads to saying “OH YES”
Please, for the love of God, don’t go for the first man that gives you the go-ahead. If some guy who doesn’t appeal to you, makes an advance (perhaps due to your new confident inner self?), don’t feel like you have to accept just because you are looking. Be picky. Be choosy. We aren’t talking about buying a new toaster here, we are talking about YOU, your body, your thoughts, your feelings…you don’t want to scrimp on quality here. Splurge, and find yourself a top-notch man. If it sounds like I am objectifying men, and making assumptions on the “quality” of people…well, maybe I am. But this is the real world, and some people are nicer and worthier of your time than others. It’s not about looks, it’s not about money or status, it’s about how YOU feel in their company and how their values align with yours.
- Don’t reject men based on superficial factors, give them a chance! But don’t say yes if your gut is telling you “no”, or you don’t feel comfortable
- Target your efforts towards the men you would like to get to know…or “get to know” wink-wink! Spend time talking to them and working on that initial first solo date
To Tinder or not to Tinder? Love in the age of the app
There seems to be an expectation that if you are single and looking, then you have to be on Tinder, or you’re not trying hard enough. I say that’s rubbish. You do not need to be on Tinder to achieve the love-goal, (or lust-goal) you have. Sure, Tinder might make things quicker and more accessible, but people have met, dated, married and rendezvous-d for centuries before the word “app” even made sense.
Let’s say you’ve decided not to download that little fiery flame, but you still want to meet someone, good for you! But this does mean that you must use all of the other methods at your disposal: as mentioned above, GET OUT THERE!
Quick Tips for “Non-Tinder-users”
- Get out of the house and where the people are! (see above)
- Go old school and exchange phone numbers (or email addresses…I mean it’s 2017)
- Be prepared to be brave and speak IN PERSON, which can be scary these days, sadly enough (see below)
- Make use of your connections. Friends-of-friends are a dating gold mine! Ask your friends if they have any single men you could meet, I’m sure they’d be so happy to play Cupid for you!
- I would avoid using Facebook to communicate at the start (shock, horror!). You might end up down the rabbit hole of trawling his albums and history, looking for ex-girlfriends or red flags. Keep the communication between yourselves, via email, text, or phone – it’s more personal that way
Don’t be scared to be brave
If you would prefer the traditional “man asks a woman out”, then that’s okay, no judgments here. However, in saying that, asking out a man does not take away any of your femininity or womanly charm. I think that sometimes, a woman has it ingrained somewhere far in the back of our heads that we must take the back foot, we must wait, and we mustn’t “step out of our place”. Well, this too, is rubbish. Let’s say there’s a man at your work or your gym who you like.
You know he’s single, you’d like to take him out on a date. ASK HIM! Just ask. If the thought of this terrifies you, just remember, the only thing that people think when they are asked out is “wow! That is so flattering”, regardless if they accept your offer or not. If he says “no thanks”, then that sucks, but it’s not the end of the world and it’s not any reflection on you. That guy isn’t going to brag to his friends saying “this loser girl asked me out!”, he will be thinking “hey, I’ve still got it!”.
Don’t just go straight up and say “wanna go out with me?”. I mean, if this is how you want to go about it, and it feels right…then sure, give that a go! But a gentler approach is to naturally start a conversation about whatever you have in common i.e. work, gym, class, etc.
Then tell him you are thinking of trying out a new bar at the weekend, or going to a gallery show, or going for a walk because Summer has just begun! I know these sound a bit cliché and stock-standard, but they work! They allow you to open the dialogue about getting together one-on-one, without putting yourself on the line too much. Once you have identified the “activity”, then simply ask him, “would you like to join me?”.
- Make eye contact! This might even incite him to start the conversation
- Smile and relax, there are “bad” outcomes here, just asking is a triumph
- GET THE DIGITS! I mean…if it’s appropriate…but getting his number or email address can fast-track the process a lot
There is no secret recipe for picking up men, but there are things you can do to improve your chances. Start by ridding yourself of the pressure to be “outgoing”, and act according to your style of confidence. Get out into the world and meet people! Let yourself be seen and admired, and your beautiful energy will begin to attract the men you want. Be open-minded, without sacrificing your standards and your expectations! Lastly, I wish you all the luck in the world, because you can and deserve to find success in love and romance.