Relationship Tip #6 – Put A Smile On Your Face

Over Tex Mex with my friend, Kirk, we got on the subject of what makes a girl approachable.  He explained how smiling at a guy is not only disarming, but it also is inviting.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds too simple.  A smile?  I would be inclined to take this a step further and say the smile has to be genuine because everyone, whether they realize it or not, can recognize the difference between a smile that comes from the heart and one that’s forced.  If you don’t know what I mean, smile at yourself in the mirror and really force it.  After doing that, think of something that makes you so happy and see the difference.  Once you get in touch with your genuine smile, add eye contact.  I’m not talking about intense, bulging, stalker-type eye contact.  I mean just looking someone in the eyes gently, for lack of a better term.  It could be described as a gentle gaze.  Most of the time, what naturally follows is the word, “Hi!”  either by you or the other person –  the quintessential conversation starter.  Take a look around and you’ll notice how so many people walk around everywhere with the worries of the day showing all over their faces.  Imagine how you’ll set yourself apart any where you go if you just smile.

Here’s a real-life example.  As I was walking through Whole Foods on 5th Street, I was recalling a really, happy memory.  So caught up in reliving every detail of that event – the outfit I was wearing, the shoes on my feet, the way the wind was blowing, the shadows of the trees on the ground and the black dog beside me – I took a deep breath and smiled as if I were standing in that moment all over again.  In fact, I’m smiling right now as I write this.  Walking through the wine section to get myself a barbecue sandwich in the back of the store, my thoughts were interrupted when a random guy hollered at the barbecue workers that he was buying my lunch.  Meanwhile, I was still making my way past the wine shelves.  I was going to the back of the store to get lunch for sure, but I wasn’t even in line yet.  Before I could clearly comprehend what had just happened, there I was sitting at the barbecue bar with my pulled pork sandwich and lemonade that this guy bought for me.  Crazy.

If it seems far-fetched, it could possibly be because it’s so simple.  Try it for a week if you don’t believe me.  I’m not saying that men will holler across Whole Foods to buy your lunch, necessarily.  What I am saying is that it will likely open doors you never expected.  Of course, the opposite is true.  If you’d prefer to be closed off from others, don’t smile.  Both work equally well.  I advocate practicing your smile.

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19. Your Alma Mater Game Watches – Various Places

We all have a natural tendency to gravitate toward what is familiar.  With football season just around the corner, pretty soon every sports bar in town will be packed on Saturdays with people cheering on their college teams.  Here in Austin, if you’re not a University of Texas or Texas A&M alum, you’re grossly outnumbered – myself included as I went to University of Miami, Florida.  Chances are, if you went to a major university your school has an alumni group here in Austin.  That means that you could check with your alma mater to find out where the group meets for game watches.  Even if you went to UT or A&M you can get involved with your alumni group to tailgate before games.  What’s great about this is that there’s level of comfort you’ll have around people who share your alma mater.  You’ll end up having a lot in common and plenty to talk about right out the gate.  Games last about three hours, the perfect catalyst for light-hearted conversation over food and football plays (remember to keep the conversation light and drama-free).  Another thing is, although I know some girls like football, most guys love it.  Guys that love football really appreciate a girl who does too, or one who at least can get excited about a game or two.  One of the Bunnies, Carrie, was at an Ohio State Alumni gathering just like this where she saw her husband for the first time.  Maybe the man of your dreams went to school with you and you never knew it.  It’s entirely possible.

Relationship Tip #5: Don’t Kiss Your Friends

It’s sometimes funny how much we can complain about how complicated relationships can be.  This tip is all about keeping things simple:  Don’t kiss your friends.  In order for you to do this you actually have to define what you would do physically with your friends.  Do the two you hang out with other friends?  Spend time together alone?  Go shopping?  Cook dinner for each other?  Hold hands?  Snuggle on the couch?  I don’t kiss my friends, hold hands with them or snuggle with them.  These things, among a whole host of other things, are reserved for one special person.  That’s right, just one.  Therefore, if you see me with a man who is holding my hand and then wraps his arms around me for a long hug and a kiss, this man would be my boyfriend.

How confusing would it be if I did these things with every handsome man with whom I spent my time?  The answer to that is also simple, yet is what makes things complicated:  heartbreak.  If you’re not serious about dating a guy enough to call him your “boyfriend,” the acts of kissing and getting physical with him tell him that you are.  The same goes for him.  If you’re falling for a guy and yet he doesn’t think enough of you to call you his “girlfriend,” why would you want to get your heart even more entangled by kissing him?  Girl, if he’s not in love with you for the woman you are he’s not going to fall in love with you for your kiss.  So, don’t think you’re going to kiss him and win him over (that’s a post for another day).  Plus, if he kisses you and then says you’re just “friends,” you have to wonder how many other “friends” he is kissing when you’re not around.  By the way, the same thing goes for you.

Here’s how it usually goes.  You hang out with a guy, you enjoy spending time with him and you love talking with him.  You look forward to seeing him and spending time with him.  You guys go out a few times, you’re giddy, he sits really close to you, calls and sends frequent text messages and email.  Finally, the two of you stand face-to-face, he pulls you close to embrace you and then kisses you.  A few days later he says, “I told you I just wanted to be friends.”  Unfortunately, every girl I know has been through this exact scenario, including myself.  I’ve also had a handful of guy friends who had been dealt that blow from the girls they were dating.  It’s certainly something that both genders do.

Some of you might say, “What’s the big deal?  It’s only a kiss.”  Okay.  When you’re on your date be up front about it.  As your date leans in to kiss you, be sure to be honest with him in advance by saying, “Your kiss doesn’t mean anything to me,” (yes, that sounds harsh, but how can you tell this truth nicely?).    Then you can watch how that destroys his mood.  That the person you’re kissing means something to you is what makes kissing so great.  Without that connection between you both, your kisses will be disappointing anyway.  So, why bother?

Of course, if you would like to complicate things go right ahead.  It’s called “sending mixed signals.”  Before you do that it would be wise to consider how crappy you feel when someone sends you mixed signals.  You can also allow yourself to fall into the trap of his mixed signals.  If that’s the case, be sure to tell your friends in advance so they can be on standby when your heart breaks.  The other option is, if you’re interested in a guy, get to know him well before you cross the line and kiss him.  You owe it to yourself and your future to get to know a guy really well so you can determine if he’s a guy to whom you can or want to give your heart.  Until you know, keep it simple and hold on to your kiss.

18. The Apple Store At The Domain (Mon – Thur after 4pm)

For some time I’ve had the idea that the Apple Store would be a Hot Spot.  When I brought it up in conversation with a couple of the Bunnies, it was met with a mixed response.  Jane held the point of view that it’s a place “where the odds are good but the goods are odd.”  I almost fell out of my chair laughing.  That was something that I never heard before and will not soon forget.  On the converse point of view, Katy and I believe that plenty of “cool” people (not just men) own iPhones, iPods and MacBooks (I’m using one right now).  That the store appeals to those hungering for the cutting edge of technology would make it nerdy was something I felt inclined to explore.

While waiting for a friend on a Friday evening, I decided to go check it out for myself.  The place was packed with families and was pretty much making me crazy with so many people standing in line and kids running around.  I was ready to head for the door when a female salesperson asked if there was anything she could do to help me.  Very directly, I told her about the conversation I had with the Bunnies.  Then I continued, saying that by looking around on this particular day and time, Katy and I could be mistaken.  As she laughed, she responded without hesitation.  She explained that Apple products in general appeal to upscale men interested in the latest and greatest in sleek, innovative products.  After about 4pm during the week is when the guys come by this store after work.  The store’s layout encourages visitors to hang out and try the products first-hand.  We talked about how easy it would be to strike up a conversation this way.  The weekends, starting on Friday, is when the families come by – hence the craziness I was experiencing at that moment.  Those are the days I would avoid at all costs but, that’s just me.  With a huge smile on her face, she went on to say even the nice, single guys working at the Apple Store would be thrilled to chat it up with a single girl over a MacBook there.  Apple Store At The Domain