Most book lovers can’t even imagine dating someone who’s not also a book lover, so what better place to meet the person of your dreams than in a bookstore?
Think about it: a bookstore is romantic, and its whole purpose is to arouse curiosity and stir the heart. The atmosphere is generally calm, and it’s relatively easy to check out what someone else is reading and start a conversation by asking them about it.
To find people to meet, follow your own interests. Try sections you’d normally browse—and best to stay away from the divorce, bankruptcy, and self help sections.
So, while in theory meeting someone while browsing the shelves of your local bookstore sound fantastic. When someone catches your eye, what do you do?
- Act right away. Don’t overthink it! Take a deep breath and adopt a great attitude: curious, enthusiastic, calm—all are good, just pick the one that comes most easily to you. Make sure your body language is open (no crossed arms or hands in pockets). Then approach calmly.
- Say something. Use a prop, like a book, to direct attention away from yourself. Pick up the book and wait about ten seconds. Then say something linked to the book. If you’re in the gardening section you might casually ask a question like, “Do you know anything about indoor plants?” Or in another section you might solicit some advice, “What do you buy for the chef/handyman/cyclist/ballroom dancer who has everything?” You could also begin with a casual statement tailored to the situation (perhaps something about the store or the weather) followed by an open question (one that begins with who, what, why, where, when or how). Anything that directs attention away from the two of you.
- Build trust. Once you’ve opened a line of communication, you need to quickly gain credibility. The best way to build trust is by linking yourself to the neighborhood by talking about your work, school, or community involvement—something local and reliable. You might say “My office is next door, I come in here 2 or 3 times a week.” Hunt for common ground and be on the look out for opportunities to say “Me-too” (or ”what a coincidence”, “funny you should say that,” etc.). No matter what, be honest and sincere.
- Evaluate. A 10 second chat is long enough to tell if a person is interested; 30 seconds to tell if there’s potential; 90 seconds to tell if there’s chemistry. If it’s not going well, politely exit the conversation and don’t be discouraged. In meeting people there’s no such thing as rejection—there’s only selection. So be fearless and calm and detach yourself from the outcome.
- Synchronize. If you feel a connection, escalate the intensity by subtly mirroring the person’s overall body position and voice (tone, speed and volume). For example, if the person speaks slowly and quietly, do the same.
- Optional. If the connection really feels solid, you can introduce sexual overtones by simply letting your eyes drop down to his or her lips for a second then back to the eyes. Do this a couple of times and judge the reaction. (You might want to practise this with a friend first to gauge how you come off.)
- Engage. If you are still chatting after two minutes and you’re interested in the person, ask for a phone number or email address. This can be hard, so if you don’t feel like coming right out and asking, then pick up on something you’ve been talking about and offer to send a link or some information if he or she will give you an email address. When you ask for this info, be calm and look the person in the eye. If they say yes, suggest a coffee or something casual, then say goodbye and leave the store. If it’s an unmistakable “no,” then say politely, “It was nice chatting with you,” and go about your business.
You may not have set out to meet someone on your jaunt to the bookstore, but now that you realize what fertile territory this is and how natural and easy the process can be, try it. You can find out more about how to meet the love of your life in my book How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You in 90 Minutes or Less – available at your local bookstore!