Skip the small talk
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An interesting way to kick off your first date is not, "How many siblings do you have?" So consider saving those basic questions for later.
In a 1997 study, State University of New York psychologist Arthur Aron separated two groups of people and paired them off, giving each duo 45 minutes to answer a set of questions.
One question set was small talk, and the other was immediately probing. The people who asked deeper questions felt more connected — and one couple even fell in love.
According to Harvard research, talking about yourself stimulates the same brain regions as sex or a good meal. Which isn't to say it's literally the same thing for you as sex or a good meal. But it does make you happy, and letting someone you like talk about themselves in a deep way will make them happy.
Keep an open posture
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In short, uncross your arms.
Researchers have shown that open, physically confident postures give you an attraction advantage when you first meet someone. And try standing comfortably, since that might help, too. (Also good advice for when you're not dating.)
Be a leader
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Most people are attracted to power.
A 2014 study found that people in a group think their group's leader is more attractive than do people who aren't in the group. For example, a company's CEO may seem more attractive to employees than to people outside the company.
"In contrast with research traditions that treat physical attractiveness as a static trait, our findings highlight the importance of group membership as a lens for perceiving familiar leaders' physical attractiveness," conclude lead author Kevin Kniffin and his colleagues.