Your Step-By-Step, Science-Backed Guide To Approaching Women
Face-to-face flirting can feel a bit like dial-up internet – there are faster, more efficient technologies to get your point across (without anyone else listening in and sniggering). Yet here’s the kicker: only 13% of Tinder-born relationships make it past a month. Which means your in-person seduction skills still count. But are they as sharp as Thierry Henry in a cardigan? Consider this a refresher course in chat.
Refresher course? You obviously haven’t heard me down the pub
Yeah, thing is, mate, the line between friendly banter and flirtatious banter is like tennis pre-Hawk-Eye – the call could go either way. When the University of Kansas got 104 strangers to chat, only 28% could correctly identify whether their partner had been flirting with them. So, while you know you’re sweet-talking, in almost three quarters of cases the other person will not.
But “Can I buy you a drink?” is a sure-fire winner, right?
Psychologist Chris Kleinke compared 100 opening lines and most men favoured this direct approach. Women? Not so much. They preferred open-ended, innocent questions, such as “What do you think of this band?” or “Bit crowded, isn’t it?”. It’s called the Impersonal Interrogative Comment, although that makes it sound like a creepy PUA move. But science’s magic formula is to comment on the event/surroundings with a rising intonation or “isn’t it?”). What to look for in a response? The word “I” (“I love this band”) and a question back at you.
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That works when she’s next to me – what if she’s across the room?
Let your eyes do the talking. According to the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC), eye contact is so powerful that even among friends we keep it to a one-second maximum; with strangers, less still – a fraction of a second or none. Why is this a good thing? Because attempting to hold someone’s gaze for over a second is a strong signal you’re keen. If they reciprocate, things are looking good – particularly if they look away, then back again. Just don’t overdo the eyes. To you, it’s intimate, to her, you’re weird staring guy.
RELATED: 10 Signs A Girl Likes You
I’ve made eyes and I’m moving over. What next?
Keep a ‘safe’ space. Like stopping distances when driving, there’s a proximity sweet spot that keeps things flowing without risk of crashing and burning – and it’s 4ft (1.2m). That’s the border between what experts call the Social Zone (12-4ft) and the Personal Zone (4ft to 18inches). Receive positive signals at 4ft and you can move to arm’s length (about 2ft 6in / 0.8m). Don’t go too close – the Intimate Zone (under 18inches / 45cm) is for partners and close friends/family (or unwelcome assailants). Tip: if you’re close enough to whisper and be heard, you’re likely too close. If she turns away, avoids eye contact or rubs her neck with her elbow out towards you, you definitely are, advises the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC).
I think it’s going well. But, is it? Help a man out here.
You’re right to ask. A study in Evolution & Human Behaviour found that even with positive initial signs, like eye contact, it was only in the fourth to tenth minute of conversation that women’s behaviour fully matched their interest level. Look for her tilting or nodding her head, using more hand gestures, smiling in a suggestive way or playing with her clothing. But the surprise sign is feet, because we’re less aware what we’re doing with them. Psychologist Professor Geoffrey Beattie found that if a woman moves her feet away from her body while giggling, adopting a more open-legged stance, she’s likely to be attracted to you. Legs crossed or tucked under the body is a stealth signal of repulsion.
I’m a touchy-feely kind of guy, what’s too much?
Well, contact can be good. Experiments show that even asking for directions is more effective with a light arm touch, according to the SIRC. And the arm is your best bet: back pats can be patronising or space-encroaching, touching a hand is very personal. Women are less comfortable with physical contact from an opposite-sex stranger than men – so err on the side of caution.
Conversation’s flowing and I want to keep it that way. Are there any no-gos besides the obvious politics/religion?
Yes, being negative – nothing induces boredom more than listening to someone’s gripes. Also, don’t talk too much about yourself, take too long to make a point, overdo the slang or use a monotone, emotion-less voice. Compliments, however, are your friend. The most effective ones use the words “nice” or “you” – i.e. “that’s a nice watch, it looks great on you”.
Roger that. How do I seal the deal?
Simple, with a clear request: “Could I have your phone number?” or “Would you like to meet for a drink sometime?” Job done.