relationships - dating - love - intimacy - health
The way you think about your relationships, the skills and attitudes you bring to them and the time and effort you put in can make all the difference. People are social creatures and relationships matter to us. We enjoy them, we cry over them and we're curious about how to get our relationships to be the way we want them. How well your relationships work can have a big impact on how satisfied you feel with life. Stimulating, resilient, satisfying relationships with partners, friends and family rank high on many people's wish list for a happy life.
There are loads of excuses for avoiding going out and meeting people, but it's easy to turn the anxiety about a first encounter into an enjoyable and fun way of making new friends - and maybe even getting a date.


Approach scenarios
You have to create opportunities where you can subtly talk to someone without it feeling like you're chatting them up!

This means thinking of 'approach scenarios' rather than just chat-up lines. Create a situation where you can start a conversation and be adventurous in the way you go about it. It doesn't have to be in a bar, party or club, supermarkets are also ideal places to meet people.

Make sure you're looking good; prepare yourself as if you are going out (dress accordingly, even if it's only a supermarket you still want to look the business).

Choose a trolley rather than a basket as this offers you more mobility. Scrutinise the trolleys and baskets of fellow shoppers - when you notice the frozen meal for one or a lone bottle of chardonnay make your approach.

The wine section is always a good choice. Ice breakers you could use are: "Excuse me, sorry to interrupt but I'm cooking pasta tonight and only usually drink white wine - my guests are all into red, can you recommend something?" or "Excuse me (again 'sorry to interrupt' shows good manners, another attractive quality) I wonder if you can help me, I know nothing about white wine could you recommend something to go with salmon steaks?".

Now you have instigated the conversation, the wheels are in motion!

A note for men
Take care when chatting women up that you don't come on too strong as a woman on her own could find this intimidating. Also, women are naturally more helpful and ready to assist and don't mind providing assistance altruistically without a need for gain or reward. While seeking advice make sure you're getting the 'she's interested signals' and not in 'general help mode'.

A note for women
It's important to remember that men function on a different level to women. If they're attracted to you or interested they'll not only talk about the wine, they'll enquire about the dish you're cooking and find any excuse to keep the conversation going.

Match your listener's mood
One third of initial impressions come from how we say things. The tone, inflection and delivery are very important.

One of the key things in initiating conversation is to match your listener's mood, even if it's just for a moment, because misreading this can kill the conversation from the outset.

When you approach someone who's caught your eye you have to make a quick judgement. Gauge whether they're buoyant, quiet or bored and then adjust your tone accordingly.

Also, your approach will have to be a little different, depending on where you are. In the park for instance, you need to have a light and easy banter - "Where's the café or pavilion?" whereas in a pub or club you can be a bit more cheeky and flirty.

Five tips for success

1. Avoid cheesy chat up lines and focus more on 'approach scenarios'.

2. Ask questions and show a genuine interest in what the other person is saying.

3. Match your listener's mood.

4. Having engaged your potential date in conversation don't over-stay your welcome. Remember less is more!

5. When you've secured the phone number of your potential date it's a good idea to text message them (if they have a mobile). Texting means there is no pressure on either side.