Have you ever been on a first date when you run out of topics to discuss, were late or caught your date being distant? If so, you could be stuck in an awkward situation.
Having had awkward encounters or dates, here are my thoughts on 5 ways you could turn awkwardness into a romantic attraction.
1. Mirroring their actions
Have you ever found yourself or others imitating the actions of their company? This could be a sign that the imitator shows a liking towards them.
Studies have shown that subtly imitating another person’s actions and behaviours increases social affiliation and rapport with others (Dignath, Lotze-Hermes, Farmer & Pfister, 2018). This helps to create social bonds (and maybe even romantic ones!)
People tend to find their partners more attractive if the other mimics their own verbal or non-verbal behaviour (Knapp & Hall, 2014). For example, sipping a glass of water or leaning against the wall when your partner does it.
So, the next time you get stuck in an awkward conversation, subtly mirroring your partner’s actions could help release any tensions and make you feel comfortable with each other.
2. Engage in eye contact
In romantic movies, couples are usually portrayed gazing into each other’s eyes, thinking ‘what did I do to deserve this beautiful human being’.
This is no different than in real life. Occasional eye gazing between two individuals has also been known to bring people closer together. This goes for romantic encounters too!
Williams & Kleinke (1993) found that unacquainted men and women who were paired randomly and were asked to engage in mutual gaze reported higher levels of romantic feelings for each other.
So, when you feel like a conversation is going nowhere, gaze into your partner’s eyes occasionally to show them you are interested and attentive. Who knows? It could be the start of a long-lasting romantic relationship!
3. Use Open Body Language
Often, body language can tell a lot about a person and affect how the other person behaves in your company.
Closed body language like crossing your arms, may give off a feeling that you are mentally closed off, making conversations difficult and awkward. This could lead your partner to think that you are not interested in them.
Keeping your abdomen, torso, or chest open are examples of open body language that can increase your attractiveness as it portrays availability and confidence (Van Edwards, 2013). Thus, making others more comfortable and trust being around you.
4. Laugh off the situation
Has your first date ever made an awkward remark which caused a heavy atmosphere around you?
If so, joking and laughing off the remark can help turn the situation around because humour is believed to be a highly valued quality in others. In fact, such humour could be considered a powerful tool to overcome dissimilarities in attitudes between two individuals (Cann, Calhoun & Banks, 1997). Therefore, helping to maintain a relationship despite differences of opinion,
Not only does this make things less tensed, but it also creates a loving bond between both individuals and an increase loving and liking towards another (Murstein & Brust, 1985).
Remember, the use of jokes is no laughing matter!
5. Apologise and make amends when necessary
Have you ever been late to a date and left your partner waiting? If so, this could be the start of an awkward dinner ahead.
These can make situations awkward as such behaviour could be viewed negatively. But apologising when needed demonstrates accountability and responsibility. Both of which, are important traits when it comes to romantic relationships. This gives your partner a sense of trust and assurance, making you seem more attractive in the process.
Cann, A., Calhoun, L. G., & Banks J. S. (1997). On the role of humour appreciation in interpersonal attraction. Humour, 10(1), 77-89.
Dignath, D., Lotze-Hermes, P., Farmer, H. & Pfister, R. (2018). Contingency and contiguity of imitative behaviour affect social affiliation. Psychological Research, 82, 819-831. doi: 10.1007/s00426-017-0854-x
Knapp, M. L., & Hall, J. A. (2014). Nonverbal communication in human interaction. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Murstein, B. I., & Brust, R. G. (1985). Humor and interpersonal attraction. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(6), 637-640. Doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa4906_12
Van Edwards, V. (2013). Human Lie Detection and Body Language 101: Your Guide to Reading People’s Nonverbal Behaviour. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Williams, G. P., & Kleinke, C. L. (1993). Effects of mutual gaze and touch on attraction, mood, and cardiovascular reactivity. Journal of Research in Personality, 27(2), 170-183. doi: 10.1006/jrpe.1993.1012