The #1 Theory to Enhance Your Dating Life - Guest Post by Ryan Stephens

Editor's Note: I was blown away by the response and diversity of opinions on my post last month: Dating - Do You Go For Quantity or Quality? With 43 responses, it was by far my most commented-on post to-date. Beyond the comments, the post sparked MANY conversations over email, phone, and in my head. I know, I'm weird like that. I've run several guest posts from guys on dating (Low Stakes First Dates by Benjy Feen and The Golden Rule of Dating by Jeremy Orr). Given that dating is a team sport (okay well it at least involves two people), I really appreciate the additional perspective - particularly from the opposite sex - that guest posts provide. I'm sure there will be more to come! The following is a guest post from Ryan Stephens, master of the universe - okay, well for now, the Top 10 Gen Y Blogs list and his marketing blog. Speaking of which, if you haven't yet voted for your favorite Top 10 Gen Y blogs for October's round-up, click here to read the ballot and submit your vote by choosing five blogs via email (ryanstephensmarketing[at] The deadline is Monday, September 28.

The #1 Theory to Enhance Your Dating Life - By Ryan Stephens

I don’t even know if I’m qualified to write this piece. I don’t read pick-up artist material (with the exception of The Game because I think Neil Strauss is an awesome storyteller and writer), though I’m familiar with some of the theories on dating and game that people subscribe to.

I’m not a serial dater, and I don’t sleep with countless women, but I have my own dating strategy - one that has worked for me on numerous occasions - and I’ve probably had more luck "dating up" (girls more attractive than me) than I should have. Also, everyone (both male and female) that I’ve shared this strategy with has increased their "luck" as well. What follows won’t necessarily work 100% of the time for everyone - but if your current approach isn't getting you the results you want, hear me out.

So what's my secret?

I like to call it the “Pretend You’re In a Great Relationship Strategy.” (Please think of a better name for me).

If every night that you go out to the bar, coffee shop, grocery store, art gallery, etc. you pretend you’re in a relationship it immediately takes away all the apprehension. Instead of being nervous and trying too hard to impress the opposite sex you relax, be yourself, and let everything develop naturally.

Besides, if you’re anything like me, you know that you get hit on way more often when you’re actually in a relationship. Why do you think that is? It’s because you’re happy, you’re smiling, and you’re not stumbling over your words or acting fidgety. You’re in a relationship, you’re happy, you don’t care!

Scenario #1: I haven't kissed a guy I've liked in 6 months (This works for BOTH male and females, but I didn't want to do two additional scenarios and make this post so long you don't read it.)

You’re at the bar with a couple of your friends and a guy is staring at you from across the room. You keep exchanging glances with him, and you see him get up to approach. You begin to feel your palms sweat, and you get nervous. He comes up to the group and introduces himself to everyone. He’s chatting with your friends and not paying you too much mind.

You wonder why he’s not paying attention to you since he’s been staring at you seductively all night long and start to get antsy. You interrupt him and he’s talking to your male friend, and you go on an incessant nervous rant asking him if he’s from around here, and what he’s up to tonight.  He smiles, asks your friends if you’re always like this, thanks everyone politely for the conversation and wanders back to his table.

It’s driving you nuts, so just as the lights are coming on you act like you have to go to the bathroom, scurry over to his table and take one more shot. You up your "flirting" game even more. He acts aloof and indifferent, but takes your number. You think you’ve succeeded, and wait the entire next week for him not to call.

Scenario #2: My ridiculously hot, smart, wealthy, witty boyfriend is waiting for me at home

Same scene, but this time when he approaches you lock eyes, smile, and turn your shoulder away from him. After all, your boyfriend back home probably wouldn’t appreciate you talking to this guy who’s been staring you down all night. Discouraged you’ve been paying attention to him all night, but not now when he’s trying to make his move, he taps you on the shoulder.

“Hey there. I was just asking your friends’ opinion on something, and you’re the tiebreaker. Do you mind?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there. You’ve got 30 seconds before my bladder busts.”

While your pseudo boyfriend back home would be glad you’re taking yourself out of the situation, this guy is baffled that you’re not interested after the two of you have been exchanging looks half the night. You’re in control. Flustered, he spits something out semi-clever.

“Interesting. I’ll have to give it some thought.” You turn to go to the restroom, and say calmly over your shoulder, “It was nice meeting you.”

This time, he’ll be the one wandering back looking for you near the end of the night, and you can play it how you want. Tell him it’s late and you need to get home but that he’s welcome to call if he wants to hear your answer later. This time you won’t have to wait. He’ll call.

Using Your Newfound "I'm Taken Approach"

This is the first time I’ve ever penned relationship scenarios so try not to criticize them for their validity, and trust in the underlying message I’m trying to get across. Pretend you’re in a solid relationship when engaging with the opposite sex and you’ll have significantly more luck.

  • Oh my gosh he didn’t call. Who cares?
  • She blew me off after I bought her a drink. Duh. And why would you buy another girl a drink if you’re in a relationship anyway? (Buying girls' drinks is a lame strategy.)
  • He was a great dancer, why didn’t he try to kiss me? He was probably scared. Your imaginary boyfriend will kiss you when you get home.
  • I can’t talk to her, she’s a 10. You can talk to anyone you want without getting nervous because you’re already in a great relationship.

The most important thing to remember:

Unlike most "gaming techniques" this isn't about manipulation or playing games with someone else's emotions. It is about playing a game with yourself. You ARE that person, you're just employing a mindset that allows you to relax instead of getting nervous, uptight, and stumbling over your words. You're not being a phony, you're empowering yourself to let things happen.

You can't fake it either, you genuinely have to convince yourself you're in a solid relationship and none of 'this' matters because you're going home to that person at the end of the night. Think about it from this perspective: Anything worth having is worth working for. I'd venture most of us want someone who is self assured, confident and proud of who they are. Ideally this strategy ensures both!

What do you think? Could this strategy work? Am I full of it? Give it a genuine try (field test anyone?) and see what you think. If it works, I want to hear your success stories. If you crash and burn, tell me I’m full of it. That’s okay too. This is the first time I’ve ever shared dating advice, but if there’s any demand for it (tell us in the comments), maybe Jenny will let me share stuff like this with you more often.


More about Ryan: Ryan is the Director of Community for a Sports Media firm by day, and business consultant by night. He writes about relationship marketing, the cultivation of conversations, and the spread of ideas at Ryan Stephens Marketing. He likes to play any sport, drink cold beer, listen to live Texas Country music, get dominated by p90x, and is way too critical of movies. Sometimes he mistakes himself for a ladies’ man.