The prospect of a first date can be nerve-racking enough — planning a first date can be worse. Most people play it safe with dinner or drinks, but this Harvard social psychologist's advice is to keep it simple: Go for a walk.
In an interview with 92Y, Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, expounded on the link between the mind and the body. Her theories, she said, apply well to those struggling with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, but can also apply to the everyday minutiae of our lives, and that includes dating.
Cuddy said she first realized this when she started dating her husband. "We met on Facebook and he posted this picture of himself in the most extreme power pose imaginable," she laughed. "We were 10,000 miles apart and when it showed up in my newsfeed I thought 'What a jerk,' or 'He must have a good sense of humor.'" Cuddy decided to take her chances and met up with him in Paris, when they were both in Europe for work.
Cuddy joked that it was a bad idea, but it ended up working out in a way neither of them expected. "We were shaking with anxiety and ... we walked all over Paris. And it was so much better than sitting in a restaurant, sitting still and trying to get to know each other. Walking allowed us to move and to expand." When people feel comfortable, she said, it shows in their stride: They'll take bigger steps and move their arms more.
And once the connection was solidified, the rest was a walk in the park. The two are now married.