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Why wait for the missed connection ad?
You rush down the escalator, hoping to catch the incoming train- and as you move along the platform you see him and think, "UMMM I wonder if he is single?"
You are sitting on the train reading an email as passengers get off and on. Suddenly, an interesting woman sits directly across the aisle from you. You feel an instant attraction and the urge to make a move--but what is an appropriate and non-threatening approach on a metro train?
You are waiting on the platform, pacing and looking at your watch when he/she comes walking by. You think, "wow" then "what now?"
If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, you are not alone. According to Craig List's missed connections ads, metro trains are the number one place that singles encounter other singles they would like to meet. Apparently Craig's List gets a lot of traffic on this page where people can go and write to that interesting stranger they saw or spoke to but missed making a connection with that could lead to a first meeting or date.
Almost everyone knows the basic rules that govern encounters with strangers. These include keeping your guard up, no staring, no inappropriate suggestions or language, don't come on too strong and most of all, don't come across as though you are on a familiar basis with someone you are not as this feels like stalking. Given these rules what is a perfectly decent, normal and well intentioned single to do when they encounter someone that captures their interest and attention? The answer lies in using nonverbal communication as the primary way to let that person know you are interested. The following are specific signals and gestures you can try the next time an attractive stranger happens by.
* Utilize proximity
Proximity refers to the physical space maintained between people. When you have an interest in someone, a good first move is to position yourself so that you are closer and they can see you clearly. It is important NOT to invade their intimate space, which is within a two to three foot radius--otherwise you could be perceived as threatening.
* Point your body towards the other person
This means that you will turn your foot or feet, legs or torso, so that you are facing them. Again, use this subtly. It sends a strong nonverbal message to them that you are aware of and interested in them.
* Utilize quick glances with a subtle smile but no staring
Brief but deliberate eye contact sends a strong message. It says I see you and want to connect. If this is accompanied by a subtle smile, it sends an even stronger message to the other person who may be concerned that they are misreading the eye contact because they are seeing what they want to see. Staring is always interpreted as threatening and sends the message that there is something not right about the person doing it.
* Ask a natural question or make a statement that fits into the context to the environment
Is this the train going to Vienna? I was in such a hurry I think I may have jumped on the wrong one. Is this seat taken? Would you like this seat, I can stand? I read that book, loved it, but I won't give the plot away by saying anything more. You get the picture, easy, non-threatening and not too personal.
The second part to utilizing nonverbal communication effectively is tuning into and correctly interpreting the responses you receive. You could be a master of expression, but if you misinterpret the signals coming back, you will not be successful. Does the other person move back or away when you get closer? Do they quickly look away when you try to make eye contact? Do they turn away from you if you are sitting or standing nearby? If you ask a question, do they offer a quick grunt or one word response, coupled with a frown and an avoidance of eye contact? If so, they are just not into you. However, if they return your glance and smile, if they point some part of their body towards you, if they attempt to make conversation after you break the ice- these are all signals that say "GO."
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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