We wrote previously about how you should always be yourself in a relationship. While we stand by the points we made, we should put forth a disclaimer that there are some exceptions to the rule. We are strong advocates of the phrase, “everything in moderation,” and this is especially true when it comes to how you behave.
When claiming that you should always be yourself, it is important to understand that there’s always room to improve in your life. Your life style, behaviors, attitudes, work ethic, and relationships all have room to improve. To believe otherwise is simply a refusal to admit that you’re an imperfect human. We are, unfortunately, creatures of fragile flesh and bone.
That said, read on for some guidelines about when to think about improving how you go about things. Keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means.
Look presentable and appropriate
The keyword there is “presentable.” You don’t have to have expensive clothing or high-end jewelry, but you do need to at least look like you care about yourself. Don’t wear ripped up clothes with dirt smudges on your face. Clean your clothes and take a shower at the very least. Nobody likes wandering smells which could easily be avoided by simply taking care of yourself.
Cater your appearance to the venue of your date or meeting. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to go outside of your normal clothing zone, but it’s necessary to meet certain requirements. A good piece of advice is to own at least one outfit for each type of occasion. This includes:
- Formal: high-end weddings or funerals, banquets, balls, dinner parties
- Professional: business meetings, board meetings, presentations, interviews
- Business Casual: daily business activities, academic presentations, interviews
- Casual: simple dates, coffee shops, parks, recreation, daily wear
- Beach: sports, hot weather, parks, recreation, beaches
We think you’ll be surprised at how far a simple clean look can go towards impressing others in a relationship. Often the first impression that people get when meeting you is how your face and clothes appear. It’s unfortunate that your other qualities can’t shine, but as evolved humans, we’re very good at sizing up our companions and competitions for survival and relationship purposes.
Be passionate about something, anything
Now you’ve got your wardrobe figured out, but that’s only the beginning. First impressions only go so far. They go a long way, but in order to capture someone’s attention and keep it for the duration of a relationship, you have to be passionate about something or have an interest in something. That’s a vague statement on purpose. What people find interesting is entirely up to them.
Conversation usually revolves around an interesting topic for both parties. If at least one person is interested, there’s a chance that the other person is interested as well. What this means is that you need to pick something that you’re good at and talk about it. Eventually you’ll find someone who shares that interest resulting in a friendship.
To be honest, there aren’t very many limits on what you can be interested in and still manage to gain friends. Obviously, interests in violence, racism, sexism, and other nasty -isms will probably turn off a majority of people, but there are actually entire groups out there that value these things. We aren’t advocates of such behaviors, but the factual point remains that even the most extreme of interest groups have members and subscribers.
Here’s a list of some easy, inexpensive interests that you can start with right now to prepare for your next adventure:
- Pick a book genre and finish reading some books
- Pick a topic and read about it online enough to hold a conversation
- Learn how to program
- Complete some video games
- Work on your cooking skills
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Practice your gardening skills
- Become an expert at some part of your job or academic program
Be friendly and approachable
Nobody likes a grumpy person and even less so an angry person. It’s important to understand that negative attitudes spread quickly to those around you. If you exude negativity, you should expect others to reflect that back to you and others. Why spread this type of behavior when it’s easy enough to be friendly?
You don’t necessarily have to be a jumping bundle of joy responsible for all the world’s rainbows, but you do need to not be a jerk. Remain calm, use rational behaviors, and always appeal to logic when in doubt. Hmm, that sounds a little bit like Spock. Unlike Spock, you have the freedom to show your emotions and spread them to others. Spread the good ones!
Being approachable involves building a trusting relationship with someone in which they know they can come to you for advice and discussions. Maybe you’ve heard of an “open door policy” that some people maintain. This is simply a way of publicly stating that someone is available for assistance and friendship at any given time. Try practicing it yourself, and you may be surprised at how many unexpected relationships you end up building.