Are you crushing on the guy at the coffee shop, but don’t know how to strike up a conversation? Or are you noticing that the men who seem attracted to you aren’t the ones to whom you’re attracted?
While even in this day and age, putting yourself forward as a woman can feel awkward, there is a lot you can do to ensure that you are capable of getting the guy you want. As any good fisherman will tell you, the right bait goes a long way toward landing the right guy, uh, fish.
Table of Contents
Confidence Is Key – Flirting and Authenticity
“Assume the answer is yes” – This is a powerful mind shift relationship advice. It moves you from someone who is mooning over a crush to a peer who can chat, converse, and joke as an equal. Confidence is one of the most potent aphrodisiacs, as long as it doesn’t escalate into arrogance, of course, he’ll like you! Even if you don’t quite believe this, adopting it as your basic operating system is very helpful.
Knowing that you deserve respect and acknowledgment is pretty basic to success in life, but it is nowhere more important than when it comes to relationships, especially in attracting the attention of worthy men.
You may have noticed that some men think you’re flirting with them when you’re not, simply because you’ve smiled, exchanged pleasantries, given a compliment, or asked a personal question. Armed with this information, you may find that flirting isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. It may simply entail allowing yourself to be less restrained with qualities and actions you might normally suppress. Giving cues that you’re genuinely interested can go a long way.
Let yourself smile, and let your natural curiosity and friendliness bubble up. Happy, friendly, relaxed people are naturally seen as more attractive. The two qualities men value most on first dates? Confidence and warmth.
“Be Yourself” is such a cliche in the dating game, but it’s a cliche for a reason. Think about the times when you’ve been approached by a guy who’s clearly putting on a performance. Maybe he’s conjured up some swagger and is bragging about accomplishments – that’s one end of the spectrum. Or, less obviously.
Maybe he’s that “just a friend” who stays by your side, loyal but secretly waiting for you to stop dating jerks. He’s waiting for you to notice how nice he is and become attracted to him, but somehow you never do. In both cases, the guy has not brought his authentic self to the table, and probably will not reap any rewards and be in a committed relationship.
See your behavior the same way. Are you being your natural, lively self? Are you so intimidated by his attractiveness that you mumble and keep your eyes down? Or do you go the other direction and become loud and boisterous as overcompensation for nerves?
Think about how you’d talk to the (not necessarily attractive) guy next to you on the plane, or someone waiting for their coffee order with you. You don’t have a big investment because you know you’re unlikely ever to see that person again, so you tend to be the real you, with your true personality, uninhibited by anxieties.
Let’s say you find yourself saddled with nerves, shaking or sweating – never a good look. What do you do to shake it off? When in doubt, authenticity is your go-to. I do a lot of public speaking, and if I find myself really feeling nervous, I’ll often lead with something like, “Whew, I have to admit I always have a little stage fright at these things.”
This actually accomplishes two things:
- There is magic in telling the truth. “To name it is to claim it” – you’ll often find telling the truth relaxes the tension.
- Your audience warms to you and feels an instant connection. They’re more likely to be kinder and more onboard with the rest of what you say.
There’s a way to do that with flirting or making contact as well. I actually saw a colleague who I knew to be completely infatuated with an attractive guy look at him at one point and straightforwardly say, “I’m sorry, I always just get kind of nervous around you,” Magic. The guy was simultaneously flattered and compassionate toward her fluster. They spend time together, one thing led to another, and they ended up dating.
There are other techniques, of course. A mini-meditation or just some calm, deep breathing before you know you’re going to see your crush can help.
The Next Step
Alright. So now we’re armed with confidence, authenticity, and the power of “assuming the yes.” How do you break the ice and not repeat the same mistake? Should you find out about his favorite sports team, take up rock climbing so you can see him at his wall, or think of a few compliments?
While you might be able to lure someone in with a few tricks (and I’m going to give you a few tricks), you don’t have to put on an act. Being attentive and present will more than likely give you plenty of material with which you can work.
Here’s an example: He’s wearing a sports t-shirt. You could research the team or sport, so you have something sport-smart to say about them. But instead, you say, “Hey, nice shirt – are you a fan, or did you just like the color?” with a big smile. This gives him a chance to talk about his favorite team or his roommate from whom he borrowed the shirt or the color orange!
If, of course, you do the equivalent of researching the team, catch it early in the relationship, and make it an endearing story.
How You Make Them Feel
It’s been said that people won’t remember what you did, they won’t remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them FEEL. When you give someone your undivided attention and are supportive of them, genuinely curious about them, and feeding them energy, it makes them feel great.
Alma, pictured below, was a composer and socialite, famous for being married to three of the heaviest hitters in her society in the early 1900s, and associated with a few more.
She’s been described as not particularly beautiful and a bit dumpy, but she had a secret weapon. Being a little hard of hearing, she would sit close to one man at parties and listen very carefully. These prominent men, just like most guys, were flattered and delighted that she hung on their every word, making them feel special!
When you’re listening and present you react with agility – quick reactions make people feel more connected to one another. An easy laugh makes your listener feel heard and amusing, but it also shows that you are generally a happy person.
Body Language – Dos and Don’ts
Experts agree that anywhere from 70 to 93% of communication is non-verbal. Apparently, talk really is cheap. Vocal tone, fidgeting, facial expression, head movement, hand gestures, body posture, and physical distance are the main components of non-verbal communication. We get our cues from someone much more from these factors than we do from the words they’re saying.
How do you use that to your advantage? Well, for starters, we tend to naturally change our vocal tone, facial expression, and body posture when we are attracted to someone. Good posture has also been shown to be found very attractive. Without exaggerating it, simply be aware of using open, expansive, and confident body language.
DON’T: There’s no need to talk in a special voice. That will likely backfire as you struggle to maintain it. But DO modulate your tone – when you smile while you’re talking, your tone changes; even on the phone.
DON’T: Fidgeting, whether it’s playing with your cell phone, tapping your foot, or looking around, shows that you’re not really in the conversation 100%. Be mindful of such little tics and keep them to a minimum.
DO: Turn toward him with a smile – a subtle cue that you’re open to his approach.
DO: Make eye contact. Maybe hold it for an extra second, or look away and then right back. The latter can be especially effective. It communicates that you’re maybe a little shy – so you looked away when your eyes met – but that he was important enough to check back in. Endearing in both its vulnerability and its boldness. And obviously, smile if he’s coming over.
DO: If he’s there, square your body so that it faces him, at least at first. Eventually, you may angle out a bit if it allows you to actually get closer, for instance, when you’re in a noisy space. SUBTLE mirroring of his body language can build connection as well.
DO: Touch him. Especially in an era with so much ambiguity about sexual contact, touch can be reassuring and intimate without necessarily seeming sexual. Pick a non-sexual area: Shoulder, elbow, or lower arm/hand is good. He won’t feel like you’re trying to assess his bicep or love handles, but he definitely knows he’s been touched.
DO…maybe: The movie tropes can work: touching the neckline of your blouse, applying some lip gloss, smoothing your hair… but like mirroring, if taken too far, it can just look silly. Hair-tossing and lip biting may be better saved for when you’re joking around.
DO know how to combine seductiveness with modesty. A friend met his wife when she leaned slightly forward to look at the display counter in a store while they were talking, and being a man, he naturally took advantage of her position to catch a peek down her blouse. Without missing a beat in the conversation, or saying a word, she simply gracefully placed her hand at her neckline, effectively blocking his view. He was smitten.
Looks Aren’t Everything, But They Are Something
Let’s face it, men are visual creatures. While you don’t necessarily have to go get a new haircut or pull out the 6″ high heels, a little effort toward your appearance will get a guy to pay attention.
Men will often say they “don’t like makeup.” What they mean is that they don’t like this:
Obvious, heavy, colorful makeup is not usually popular with men. But the very same men who say this nearly always show interest in women who are wearing some makeup as opposed to none – just generally in neutral tones with some subtlety.
Clean, shiny, good-smelling hair, good grooming, and fairly mainstream clothes – men don’t care about fashion fads or labels, and maybe a subtle hint of scent hidden under clothes can go a long way. (Where’s that fantastic smell coming from?)
Don’t be afraid to show a little skin, just not ALL of it all at once. Pick something. Accentuate positive features: great legs, a small waist, toned back or arms, or the perfect derriere can be highlighted to good advantage without looking like a porn star. But let the rest of your outfit be less revealing.
Using Your Words
Just because body language is so important doesn’t mean we should forget all about the content of our speech. Let him know what you’re thinking so he doesn’t have to guess.
While women receive compliments regularly, men are compliment-starved. Simply commenting on a man’s shirt could guarantee that he wears it non-stop for the next month!
Because guys love compliments but hear them so rarely, you’re likely to be safe, but think about things they may not have heard before, and that are unique to them.
Again, Keep It Real
It should go without saying that your compliment should be based on something you actually admire about them or have noticed. “I’m sorry, I can’t help staring, but what color are your eyes [leave time for answer]? Wow, those are amazing!” but also “You’re always so kind to everyone; it’s one of my favorite things about you.”
Subtlety works here too. Rather than “Dude, you’re yoked!”, “With how much you seem to work, how do you stay in such great shape?”. Working a compliment in, in an offhand way, can be a lot more effective than a more full-frontal approach.
Line of Inquiry
Asking questions is often mentioned as a great social skill. The only caveat here is that, as a psychologist once pointed out, questions can be aggressive or controlling. To get the guy talking, use his cues. He says he’s picking his parents up at the airport; you ask where they live, then “Is that where you grew up? How was it?” Let his answers dictate the next questions.
That way, it will feel less like an interrogation and more like a conversation. He probably won’t even notice that he’s doing most of the talking, with you skillfully leading him to chat fluently as well as revealing more about himself, increasing intimacy.
A lot of girls can take the greater attention they get for granted and can get a little princess-y. Thank him. Regularly. Thank him profusely if he’s actually asked you out, planned a date, picked you up, and grabbed the check.
Tell him you’re grateful that he’s….such a gentleman, so intelligent, so thoughtful, so good at something. Men love to hear that they are admired and useful.
Show That You’ve Been Listening
It’s one thing to be attentive while he’s talking, present, and focused. It’s another to remember what he said. Maybe he mentions a reunion coming up. A couple of weeks later, you ask how that went.
Maybe he mentions that he really loves to get a coffee in the afternoon, but doesn’t always have the time. Guess who shows up with one (and no fanfare about it) – just because? Four bucks well spent. Remembering what he says shows that you care about him and respect him enough to pay attention. That’s a good indicator of a later successful relationship.