Montreal Gazette, Life section

Saturday, December 20th, 2003

 

DON’T JUST SAY “HI”, TURN A HOLIDAY ENCOUNTER INTO A DATE

 

Turn off the TV and get out there – for Pete’s sake, don’t slouch

 

Monique Polak

Special to the Gazette

 

You won’t meet the man – or woman – of your dreams if you’re sprawled on the couch watching re-runs of Sex and the City.

 

‘This the season to party, so dust off your dancing shoes and get out there.

 

But, says Ottawa-based dating coach Irene Yarkoni, attending parties isn’t enough. Singles looking to hook up with someone special need tools for turning casual encounters into dates.

 

Prepare yourself. Go for a hair-cut, put on some new lipstick. More important, make sure you feel good about yourself. Focus on your positive qualities. “If you’re in a negative mood, who’ll want to meet you?” Yarkoni says.

 

Consider your body language once you’re at the party. Slouching or standing with your arms crossed are no-no’s. “Keep your wine glass at chest level, not covering your mouth. This shows you’re open to conversation”.

 

Identify someone you like. This usually takes about 20 seconds. If your eyes lock with someone else’s and you look away, you’ve missed an opportunity to connect. The right thing to do? Why, smile of course.

 

Start a conversation. For most people, this is the hardest part. Don’t just say “hi”. Ask a question. Better still, pay a compliment.

 

Keep talking. Now’s the time to move from general to more personal topics. “You have to get personal if you’re aiming for a personal connection”, Yarkoni said. Avoid what she calls taboo subjects: religion, politics, death and sex. This also isn’t the time for bragging, or venting about your ex.

 

End the conversation. It’s a party, so you can’t monopolize someone all night. Give them a chance to mingle. But before you part ways, say “I really enjoyed talking to you”. Watch for the other person’s reaction. If they make eye contact or smile, chances are they might be interested in you, too. Suggest getting together to continue your conversation, or ask for their phone number.

 

Leave a lasting impression. There’s no one way to do this, Yarkoni says. Be funny or charming or just plain nice. “There’s nothing wrong with flirting. It’s a way of creating personal communication”, Yarkoni said.

 

To learn more about Irene Yarkoni’s work, visit her Web Site at www.canadiansingles.com

THE SINGLE OPTION I Helping singles meet and connect I 613-596-6533