So we’re talking about chemistry – that ineffable “spark” that theoretically you either feel or you don’t when you meet someone.
The idea of chemistry-as-fate, this moment when two compatible people meet has taken on the level of myth in our culture. It’s become another way of saying “love at first sight” or “soul mates”… the idea that by random chance, you have found someone with whom you just click, something you just “feel in your bones”.
The problem of course, is that it’s not fate that’s pulled you together, it’s a combination of factors including sexual tension, intellectual engagement and emotional connections… and you can make it happen in the people you meet.
Now last time, we talked about the physical aspect: taking attraction and ratcheting it up via sexual tension. This time we’re going to talk about the other side of chemistry: the emotional and intellectual connections that make up that elusive, mythical “connection”.
I Love You For Your Mind…
Physical desire is all well and good, but for true chemistry, you need more than just sexual attraction. Even when you’re burning up the sheets every night and twice on Sundays, the hottest of relationship can be brought down when the two of you simply can’t hold a conversation afterwards or agree on what to watch on Netflix. While “hot and dumb” does have it’s appeal for both genders, most people are looking for more than just animal attraction. They also want to feel that they connect with someone on an emotional and intellectual level.
To that end when we talk about chemistry, we often talk about how “it felt like we had an instant connection,” or “we just had so much to talk about,” or “I just had so much fun I lost track of time!”
In other words: you want to do more than just get inside your date’s pants, you want to get inside their heads.
You Must Communicate Your Passion
Passion is attractive. We are drawn to people who have passion for something in their lives; it indicates that the person we are talking to has depth and interests outside of the hum drum day to day “get up, go to work/school, come home, eat, go to bed”. We are drawn to passion in others because it kindles our own emotions. Passionate people have a certainty about them and when they can talk about the things they are passionate about, it’s hard not to get caught up in their emotional rhythm.
Tom Cruise remains one of my go-to references for how passion can create connections: even if you think he’s a couch-jumping nutjob, you can’t deny the man’s charisma picks you up and carries you along when he gets excited about something… because he can express his passion clearly and without restraint, even when talking about something painfully boring and mundane.
This clip from Mission Impossible 3 is one of my favorite examples of how he communicates his passion for something that is ultimately pretty goddamned dull. He’s unapologetic – he doesn’t say “yeah, my job kind of sucks”, he speaks with pride and enthusiasm. He has a firm gaze and a light tone, speaking with a smile, as opposed to looking down and away, shuffling his feet or otherwise giving an indication that he really isn’t that enthused about his work. He doesn’t get bogged down in technicalities about how traffic is responds like fluid or the history of freeways or dip into insider jargon – cutting straight to the aspects that he finds fascinating in a clear and concise manner.
When you feel passionate about something and you can communicate that passion to other people, they can’t help but feel connected to it.
Interested Is Interesting
Want to get someone interested in you? Show them that you find them fascinating.
We like to think that we’re all special snowflakes with a rich inner core of wonder and beauty waiting for other people to discover it. This is part of why we instinctively like the people who like us and who show interest in our lives; it validates our belief that we are, in fact, awesome.
This isn’t to say that the path to a person’s heart is by shoving your nose as far as possible up their rectum; being a suck-up isn’t going to get you far with anyone who isn’t holding open auditions for the role of “toady”. Instead, you want to make a point of getting to know them by being an active listener.
One of my best friends networks the way other people breathe and can make friends with just about anyone. Her trick is that she immediately shows that she’s interested in hearing what they have to say about any topic that comes up by asking questions, then using those answers as a springboard to getting deeper into what they think. She makes a point to relate to them, pointing out how their experiences or interests intertwine or contrast, and then moves on to asking about another conversational subject. Repeat the process a few times and she comes away with a valuable new contact who thinks she’s a cool person to know.
Most conversations tend to be profoundly one-sided: one person talking, with the other making occasional monosyllabic “yes, I’m still listening” noises while they wait for their opportunity to talk. Active listening, on the other hand, means not just paying attention to what your date has to say, but making a point of engaging them – making sure that you understand and asking questions in order to prompt them to expand upon the topic.
By asking follow up questions, asking to explain something you weren’t sure of or to expand on a subject, you’re showing them that you’re interested in what they have to say.
Making a point to show that you’re listening to them and wanting to know more about what they have to say makes people feel more connected to you. And building chemistry is all about building connections.
Engage Her Emotionally
Part of what makes for good chemistry is to affect someone on an emotional level. We’ve all been on dates where the strongest emotion we felt was apathy and we were hoping for something to catch on fire, if only to relieve the boredom.
The worst dates aren’t the ones where you actively dislike someone, they’re the ones where you don’t feel anything the realization that you’re watching precious seconds of your life drain away and you’ll never recover them. It’s all well and good to be able to engage someone intellectually, but you need to spur an emotional reaction as well.
You want to elicit emotions from your dates; we appreciate people who can make us feel excitement, curiosity or the warm-and-fuzzies.
Part of the reason why women rate “a sense of humor” so high on attractive features is because being able to make her laugh is part of being able to make her feel. A guy who can entertain a woman and make her laugh is someone who can get an emotional reaction out of her.
Now getting a reaction out of someone is pretty simple – act like a giant cock and you’ll get them to respond to you. You may also get slapped, insulted and or have pastries thrown at you, but it’s still a reaction.
Getting the reactions you want on the other hand: laughter, excitement, “that’s interesting” or “awwww” are tougher. One of the best ways of taking your date on an emotional journey is through telling stories. Stories are incredible tools when it comes to dating – they keep people entertained, they are a chance to show how awesome your life is without appearing conceited and, critically, when done right, they make people feel. You capture their interest and lead them on an emotional journey while conveying who you are as a person.
It’s easy to make an opportunity to tell some stories about yourself; if you’ve already been making a point to ask questions, you can use those as a springboard to set up information about yourself. If you’re talking about travelling, you have an opportunity to transition into a story about something cool that happened to you the last time you travelled. Don’t have any cool travelling stories? Pick an aspect of travel and relate that to a different area of your life.
Just remember: your ultimate goal is to make your date feel good. This is not the time to talk about when your puppy died or the last bit of wisdom Me-Maw had to offer. Save that for later.