The dating industry is worth billions and some have got very, very rich indeed off the back of one of our greatest fears: remaining alone. There are literally thousands of books dedicated to teaching people how to 'pick up' - The little tricks and tactics to make you absolutely irresistible to all but the deceased.
I hate to ruin it for everyone, particularly with so much money at stake but I will tell you something absolutely unequivocal: It's all a lie.
You may groan that it's obvious, but it's clearly not. I know this from the questions I'm asked at every speed dating event I host in London that generally revolve around “what tips or tricks do you have?”
This is an impossible question to respond to because, in truth, there is no answer. Sure I can tell people to try this or that but these tips generally revolve around NOT doing something.
The question revolves around the misconception that there is a definitive way to approach people of the opposite sex. That the 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' dichotomy is true. It isn't. If it were, why do same sex folk have the same concerns around relationships as the straights?
The misconception is based on the idea that, with the right 'trick' we can make anyone like us. In reality there are some people we're simply not attracted to. This goes for everyone and there is no magic bullet that will change this.
All you really can do is improve your chances of showing the best that you have and entering situations where you're more likely to meet someone who finds such things attractive.
And this is why I'm so down on the dating industry. Most of the 'techniques' and 'advice' offered are based on basic psychological principles that we all utilise and display in everyday life. Which is fine. The problem is that in pathologising the 'problem' of dating and presenting step by step 'fixes' leads to people adopting pick up techniques that in fact mask their best traits. Instead of being ourselves we become a caricature of a dating guide character; a cartoon mimic of the tips and tricks dating writers have simplified.
So to return to the question of what 'tips' I offer, they revolve around the simple principles of being relaxed and being yourself.
So next time you find yourself looking for that quick fix solution to 'trick' someone into being attracted to you, move your focus away from the target of your desire. Take a deep breath, think about specifics of your own body language and how it represents you, think about how to make yourself feel more confident and above all think about how to relax and enjoy yourself.
There are plenty of guides out there on such things and many can be very helpful, but I guarantee none of them will be found on the 'dating guide' shelf.
If you want to get some advice from John first hand we hope to see you at an event very soon!
WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS