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How To Cook Up Some Chemistry


These singles made small adjustments to their dating lives…and were amazed by the results. Below, their secrets revealed.

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

o you’ve picked a romantic venue to set the mood. You’ve shopped around for a cool new outfit. You’ve even reviewed your past e-mail exchanges with this person and come up with a few easy conversation-starters to keep things flowing. And yet, for some reason, you still seem to be missing that magic ingredient that sparks some chemistry. What exactly is going wrong? Many singles have been baffled by this very question, and the smart ones have done something about it—making small alterations to the way they dressed, what they talked about on dates, or even just what they were thinking about. What they learned is that little changes can make a huge difference and boost your chemistry quotient to a whole new level. Here’s how they did it (and you can, too!).

Don’t be afraid to show your soft side
“For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why I would go out and not get the attention I was hoping for from men. Then my friends helped me realize that I was acting too aloof
“I started making an effort to smile more and ask for people’s advice. I’m not saying I acted helpless, but a little vulnerability goes a long way.”
and not giving off a friendly vibe. The solution? For starters, I started making an effort to smile more at guys. Wow, what a difference that made: Suddenly men were coming up to me left and right. Second, instead of acting completely self-sufficient, I started asking men for advice on how to handle certain problems at work or otherwise, and they warmed up to me like never before. I’m not saying I acted helpless, but a little vulnerability goes a long way.”
—Lisa, 41, New York, NY

Quit making comparisons
“As soon as I stopped comparing my current date with previous ones, I found more chemistry than I’d ever known. I had been in a string of relationships that were all fire and passion with nothing else to back them up. Then I began dating a shy guy, and it was all too tempting to think ‘this guy isn’t half as exciting as my exes.’ I was so busy looking for what I’d had previously that I didn't appreciate what was right in front of me. But as soon as I just accepted a guy for who he was, that’s when chemistry began to develop between us.”
—Tina, 38, Baltimore, MD

Try teasing a little
"My golden rule for cooking up chemistry is to be playful: Teasing can be fun, and immediately create an aura of intimacy. In the past I was always afraid a woman would take offense if I gently poked fun at, say, the fact that she can’t stomach watching scary movies or has never tried sushi. But if done with a smile and a wink, they find it endearing, and take it as a sign that I feel comfortable around them—and that they should feel comfortable around me. And if she teases back, the chemistry seems to escalate as well."
—Robert, 39, Concordville, PA

Step out of your comfort zone
“Recently I stepped out of my usual box of activities and tried something new: fishing! Not only were there plenty of guys around, but they were comfortable since they were in
“My golden rule for cooking up chemistry is be playful: Teasing can be fun, and immediately create an aura of intimacy.”
their element. Plus since I was out of my element and had no idea what I was doing, there were so many things for me to ask questions about. My guess is, if women engage in activities that men can be a part of such as rock-climbing, bowling, or even watching football at the local bar, they will attract new people into their lives. The same principle would apply for men: Mix up your schedule to include activities the opposite sex enjoys, like yoga or a book club.”
—Joanna, 31, Sausalito, CA

Stop the internal chatter
“Basically I stopped over-thinking it all. In the past I’d spend most of my dates wondering What message does it give if I wear/do/say/ this? What's he thinking? Am I coming across as funny/witty? Realizing this was counterproductive, I made a conscious effort to ignore these thoughts rather than indulge them…and it worked! I was able to be more myself—more relaxed, more honest, and able to take it all much less seriously. This mental shift has allowed me to open the door to the possibility of chemistry instead of overanalyzing everything before a relationship even has a chance to start. I haven’t found Mr. Perfect yet, but I’ve had more dates and much better times while on them.”
—Jennifer, 33, Philadelphia, PA

Be sexy by yourself
“My chemistry on dates skyrocketed once I stopped waiting for a guy to make me feel sexy and attractive and started doing things that made me feel that way on my own. Living alone, I had long foregone lighting a fire in the fireplace, cooking a nice meal or enjoying a nice bottle of wine all because I didn't have anyone to share it with. One night I rebelled: I lit a fire, put on some lingerie, and lounged by myself on the rug in front of the flames with a glass of wine. I couldn't believe how alluring I felt! After several more such adventures, that feeling carried over into other areas of my life, including my dates—the men saw and felt it too! The results were immediate and undeniable in the number of follow-up phone calls I’d get.”
—Melanie, 36, San Diego, CA

Hit the gym before your date
"I found it made a world of difference to work out before a date. I went from feeling anxious and antsy to calm and confident. It became much easier to connect with people. Now, I always hit the gym before meeting up with someone.”
—Lance, 28, New York, NY

Play hard to get
“At some point, I decided to start refusing invitations for dates on the weekend unless they were made before Wednesday. I only wanted to date men who made an effort to see me—not just slide me into their Saturday night when their friends bailed on them earlier that day. The side effect of my new dating policy was that I was suddenly viewed as more alluring and more of a catch to men because I wasn’t available at their beck and call!”
—Sara, 28, New York, NY

Give dating a chance
”My chemistry-boosting strategy is to never turn down a date. This may sound odd, but by not putting all my eggs in one basket, I learned to relax more about dating. My theory is that at the least, it's a free dinner, so what do I have to lose? He may be a great guy once I get to know him. This isn't having low standards. If I don't like him after the first go-round, I give myself permission to deliver the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ speech. But my point is that you never know until you try. By accepting more dates, you find what works for you and because each one is not such a big deal, it’s easier to keep it casual and fun…which can actually increase your chemistry with someone because you’re enjoying yourself!”
—Kathryn, 23, Austin, TX


Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based freelance writer.

Want to find out what kind of person you’ll have great chemistry with? Take our free quiz and get a personalized profile at Chemistry.com.

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