Whether you’re dating online or IRL, the world is a playing ground for creating connection – when you know these four secrets
People often ask me how I’m so good at connecting with people, (aka why am I so flirtatious!?). The truth is, I’m good at dating because, in my old career in PR, I was highly trained in networking and sales. Now I use the same skills I learned then, like NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), body language and learning to ask open questions, as a dating coach and matchmaker. Whether it’s dating or business, all of us are selling something in one way or another!
Knowing how to connect with anyone will serve you in every single area of your life: whether it’s connecting with colleagues, clients, relatives, dates or yourself, when you understand the four key components of connection, your relationships become so much deeper and more fulfilling.
With dating, the stakes are raised, so I encourage you to start thinking of building connections as like practice for when you’re on that hot date.
Whether you want to connect more deeply on dates, with lovers, friends, family or colleagues, or you’ve found you’re great at professional networking but are more fearful and fumbling in casual interactions, read on for my biggest secrets to connecting with anyone.
1. Be open to connecting
I meet a lot of people who claim to be proactively looking for love and connection, simply because they’re on a few dating apps. If this is you, ask yourself if you’re really open to meeting someone and forming a real connection?
In my coaching practice, I hear so many people say things like, “I’m showing up and doing all the right things but it’s not working.” I understand the frustration, but I can tell with one look at their body language that they’re closed off and holding back. And with my matchmaking clients, many claim to be open but are so afraid of rejection it’s all they can think about.
Check in with yourself and ask:
How open to connection am I mentally? (Am I looking for tickbox reasons not to connect? How willing am I to show up with curiosity?)
How open to connection is my body language? How do I sit and hold myself? (A telltale sign of this is do you wear earphones when you’re out and about?)
How strong is my intention to open myself to connection? What would being 100 percent open feel like?
Moment to moment, we can either choose love or fear; make up your mind which one you want to show up in and set that intention.
2. Amplify the good you see
Whenever you’re interacting with anyone; from the man on the checkout in the supermarket, to your boss at work, that “difficult” family member, or on your next date, practice seeing the good in what they’re saying and amplify it.
I learned this from my “UK” Mum, who can connect with anyone – it doesn’t matter to her about looks, status, or education – she sees the positive in everyone and always assumes good intentions. Rather than looking at the negatives or making assumptions based on one tiny piece of information and attaching a story to that, look for the good.
In Tantra, this practice is called Transfiguration. Try it out by looking for the good and amplifying it x 100 and see how it changes your interactions. Practice out in the world first, and then watch what happens on your next date once the process has already become natural.
3. Turn yourself on
That elusive “spark” of chemistry is a two-ways street so ask yourself how YOU are showing up on dates. How open are you? Are you already deciding it’s another person who wants to interview you? Have you already decided they only want sex?
I can create a spark anywhere, in my relationship or my work because I take responsibility for the energy I create. When I meet someone, I always show an interest in them. Some people call that flirting, but I see it as making a choice to be open and genuinely engaged. People can really feel that.
When I left Sweden 14-years ago, I did so because I wanted to take control of my life and follow whatever lit me up and excited me.
If you want to create sparks, create a life that lights you up! If you approach dating as “My whole life is going to fall apart because I’m single at 30-years-old”, the energy you’re bringing is more likely to be one of desperation instead of excitement.
Consistently make choices that excite you and turn you on.
When do you feel really alive and most like you?
Who makes you feel alive and lit up?
What activities make you feel on fire?
What sparks your interest?
Does your physical environment turn you on?
Does what you wear make you feel sexy?
In the home I share with my partner, we consciously choose to create a beautiful energy by meditating, playing soothing music and lighting candles. Even in lockdown we are creating the spark for ourselves at home!
Take tiny steps towards what turns you on and excites you – and be prepared to move away from anything that turns you off and lowers your energy. Take that leap of faith, choose you and move towards your own authenticity.
4. Learn to hold space for others
You can only meet and connect with someone else on the level you have met and connected with yourself.
This means sitting with yourself enough to accept yourself fully: your abilities, your limitations, your turn-ons and your turn-offs.
When we’re happy with who we are, we don’t tend to be intimidated by others or seek to prove our worth. We can ask questions and trust ourselves to speak freely, not censoring or second-guessing ourselves.
Practically, holding space for another person (whether on a date, with a family member, at work) means letting people be themselves. It means not interrupting and allowing people to relax and open up. People connect with you when they feel they can be themselves because what we all really want is to feel seen.
If you feel nervous on dates or don’t know what to say, working with a coach can help you learn how to relax and lean back. It is possible to learn to be content with yourself and open up a genuine curiosity about others. Knowing who you are, your worth and what you’re contributing takes time and effort.
Here are a couple of affirmations you might like to repeat to yourself:
I make people feel great
I have connected conversations
Conversation is easy for me
It’s safe for me to relax and lean back
Asa Baav is a dating coach, relationship coach and matchmaker on a mission to help single Londoners over thirty to find love and sexual compatibility. Get in touch to schedule a free call to find out how our coaching and dating services can help you do just that.