In theory, this should be a problem so simply solved that it can be answered with one word: alcohol. But such is the burden of the bottle that, despite your best intentions, indulge in one drink too many and you’ll end up either overconfident or under the table.
On the other hand, drink too little and the picture is even bleaker. Nerves take hold, your entire body tenses up and your inhibitions will steer you towards the door faster than you can frantically order another neat double-measure of liquid confidence.
So, although alcohol is a good place to start, it’s not wise to hinge your night too heavily on Dutch courage. Instead, prepare accordingly using these tips and techniques and then simply use any available spirits to raise your own – a top-up tipple, if you will.
Studies have shown, again and again, that the biggest turn-off for women is a slovenly or dishevelled appearance. So shine your shoes, straighten your tie and run a comb through your hair – your chances of success will improve exponentially.
There’s no need to go over the top. Leave your tuxedo at home and steer clear of the razor – at least a little facial hair is usually a winner – but clean clothes, sharp lines and an air of self-respect can work wonders.
Dress in red
It may sound a little ‘matador’, but wearing scarlet threads is a scientifically-proven way to attract the opposite sex. Men in red are said to be perceived as socially accomplished, more likely to make money and higher in overall status.
It has also been suggested that the colour triggers something deep and biologically-ingrained in the fairer sex, putting animal instincts on your side. But don’t overdo it, prance into a bar in head-to-toe crimson and you’ll likely look like a fancy-dress devil – not a look that anyone will find appealing.
Don't hang around
Now that you’re dressed appropriately, and at the perfect level of tipsiness – we’d recommend two or three drinks in – it’s time to make your approach.
Stride over confidently, but try to avoid looking too militaristic – meandering beats out marching any day. The average woman takes three minutes to make up her mind about a prospective partner, weighing up such factors as facial attractiveness, scent, accent and physique. So try your utmost to showcase your best physical features, because next comes the minefield of personality…
The stoic and silent look tends to work more effectively than an upbeat and chatty one. The ‘bad boy’ is perennially and annoyingly successful, so even if you’re a hedge-fund manager by day, let your brooding inner-rogue out at night.
Studies have shown that looking proud and moody accentuates typically masculine characteristics such as upper body size and muscularity. But don’t go too far. If you don’t smile at all, you run the risk of looking like a sociopath. Like we said, a minefield – and it doesn’t end there…
Keep calm and carry on
Despite how quickly your mind may be racing and your heart beating, acting cooly and calmly is considerably more likely to win you partner points than shooting quick fire questions at your newfound girlfriend.
But don’t come across too relaxed. As with smiling, use common sense to know when you should perk up. Otherwise, you’re likely to spend the whole interaction looking as if you’ve overdosed on muscle relaxants.
Check your body language
As we know, playing hard to get is a great way to get got. But while hiding your true feelings may work in your favour, hiding your hands is likely to send her running.
It sounds strange, but trust us. Open body language is likely to suggest a trustworthy personality, so keep your hands on the table, uncross those arms and don’t hunch over – you’ll thank us later.
Get your opening line right
There are four categories of potential opening lines: humorous, complimentary, sexy and friendly.
First off, throw ‘sexy’ off the table. Chat-up lines and come-ons can make even the most handsome of men seem cheap and shallow. Also, don’t plump for humour – you don’t know her, so you don’t yet know what she finds funny.
Complimenting is a risky strategy, but it might pay off. Flatter her clothes, jokes or stories rather than physical appearance, however you don’t want to appear too try-hard.
But, above all, a friendly opening line is your best bet. Balance your conversation, engage with her ideas and interests and empathise. Whatever you do, don’t forget your end goal – get too pally and you’ll be lost in the black hole of the friend zone forever…