How to Engage in Intellectual Foreplay 6 Simple tips on how you can be a better date this Valentine’s Day. BY JACQUELINE WHITMORE
Remember to put your phone away, smile, make good eye contact and listen.
“ A conversation is like a tennis match. It’s more stimulating if you keep the ball going in both directions.”
February 14th is the day couples show their love for one another, and it usually comes in the form of flowers, candy or a romantic dinner for just the two of you. While that’s all-important and shouldn’t be overlooked, if you really want to connect on a higher level, there is nothing sexier than a person who projects intelligence and confidence. I prefer to call it "intellectual foreplay," and it means making the connection on an emotional level through better conversation, intellect and body language.
If done properly, intellectual foreplay will strengthen a weak marriage and make a strong one even stronger. It should be the focus whether you’ve been married for two months or for two years. So how do you engage in intellectual foreplay?
Here are some tips.
1. Talk less, listen more. A conversation is like a tennis match. It’s more stimulating if you keep the ball going in both directions. However, if a conversation is one-sided and you focus more on yourself and your accomplishments and less on the other person, you’ll come across as an egotistical snob. True intelligence entails attentive listening and responding in a way that shows understanding.
2. Focus on the positive. No one likes a Debbie Downer. Resist the urge to talk about gloomy subjects including, your annoying co-workers, your impending layoff and your financial troubles. Optimism is an aphrodisiac. Keep the conversation light and upbeat. Also, stay away from controversial topics that might instigate a heated debate. An intellectual discussion is healthy, but an argument can leave a nasty taste in everyone’s mouth.
3. Be interested and interesting. Practice your conversation skills by talking about a variety of subjects. You run the risk of being a bore if you focus only on what you know, and you might just surprise your spouse by bringing up something new. Ask engaging questions. Start your sentences with phrases like, "Tell me," "How do you feel about that," and "What advice would you give." Respond thoughtfully to what your partner is saying. Respect the other person’s ideas and opinions, even if you don’t completely agree.
4. Maintain good eye contact. One of the strongest and most accurate signs of intelligence is looking at someone when you are speaking to them and when they are speaking to you. It shows respect and lets the other person know you are listening. Don’t forget to put away your phone. There is no one more important in your life than the person in front of your—your spouse—so act like it.
5. Smile. The smile is the most beautiful curve on the human body. A study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that smiling makes you more attractive to others. It makes you appear more personable and tells your spouse you are willing to talk and interact with them.
6. Don’t be a Know-it-All. If your spouse asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, admit it and say, "I don’t know." Someone who is honest and authentic is more appealing than someone who thinks he or she has an answer for everything.
Jacqueline Whitmore, CSP, has helped thousands of people around the world learn to be more confident and courteous in business and social situations. She is an etiquette expert, author and certified speaking professional. She is also the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, a premier business etiquette consulting firm dedicated to helping executives polish their professionalism, enhance their interpersonal skills, and improve their personal brand. For more information visit www.etiquetteexpert.com.