Are You Tongue-Tied Around The Opposite Sex?

It’s no secret that for most single people, the thing that stands most in the way of dating and relationships stares back at you in the mirror each and every day.

I talked last week about meeting up with someone I talked to for hours, but just not being able to make the next step happen.  And I can’t forget my own follies in walking the walk when approaching a member of the opposite sex that I thought was kind of dreamy.  I decided some serious and professional action was necessary.  So I set up an appointment with Rachel Flehinger.

Most people know Rachel from her brassy awesomeness as one of The Snug’s best bartenders, others know her hilarious hijinks from her improv comedy troupe Running With Scissors.  What people DON’T know, however, is that right here in Portland we have the white girl version of Hitch.  Yes, Rachel is a confidence and self-image coach.  And she’ll help you figure out the crazy interpersonal world of dating along the way.

I’ll totally give away the spoiler of THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF INFORMATION Rachel gave me during our conversation at the very beginning.  Ready?  This one is earth shattering. Wait for it…


Photo Credit: Flickr – Kelly Bowden

Rachel explained to me that muscles hold memory, so by smiling more your muscles are going to relax, thus causing you to relax.  The muscles “remember” the good feelings associated with smiling and will make the experience much more enjoyable for you.  Plus, when the object of your affection sees you smiling they are going to smile back, and as Rachel says “Pretty soon you are smiling like idiots at each other.”

Obviously there’s got to be more to this human interpersonal talking-to-each-other-and-maybe-getting-a-date-out-of-it situation, right?

Well, every situation is different for every person. Rachel suggests the next piece to the puzzle is Lowering The Stakes.  We put so much “on the line’ when we are trying to ask someone out, like it’s all or nothing.  Instead consider you just want to get to know someone.  A first date does not necessarily a relationship make.  And, as she puts it, “Nothing is more awkward than trying to be romantic or flirting when you feel awkward.”

The next time you are with a person and having a great time, it’s as simple as saying “This is really a lot of fun.  We should do it again some time.”  A lot of the time people will ignore their instincts, and never bring such a thing up.  That seems innocent enough.  And remember, smile while you are doing it!

But with something so casual, isn’t it easy to end up in the dreaded Friend Zone.  “The Friend Zone is a disease you contract, it’s chronic,” explains Rachel.  “The only thing you can do is preventative care to make sure you DON’T end up there.  You need to make sure you take your communication vitamins beforehand.”  Some of the ways Rachel suggests that you do this are:

  • Compliment Them – Some something that someone who is romantically interested in a person would say.  “You’re looking very pretty/handsome today.”
  • Don’t Make Jokes Out of Awkward Situations – Being uncomfortable is your problem, not their problem.  If something is awkward, just smile and let the awkwardness pass.  (See, here we are with that smiling thing again!)
  • Set Realistic Goals For Yourself – Push yourself JUST A SMIDGE outside your comfort zone, to a level of flirtation you are comfortable with.
  • Trust That You Are Likeable – You don’t need to “figure yourself out.”  Just be honest with yourself, which is a pretty good rule of thumb for life in general.

There is about 100 tons more information and “secrets” Rachel shared with me so I encourage you to check out Rachel’s website: for more details on her coaching and acting services, and learn how to “live the potential” of the person you want to be.

Seriously, the woman is pretty darn good at this dating doctor thing, it’s worth a consult.

Her final thought to me was a quote that she had heard awhile back and loved: “If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.”

In other words, if something isn’t working, change it.

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