…And Keep Your Hands To Yourself.
Related to body language is touch and spatial awareness. You need to be aware of how close you are to people – especially women – and how this makes people feel. There are certain zones of personal space; the outer edges are known as public space, while the closer you come you pass through the social space, then into increasingly intimate personal space. The physically closer to someone you are, the more intimate the space. If you aren’t someone with intimate space privileges – family members, close friends, lovers, intruding into this space can be incredibly uncomfortable; it feels like a threat and triggers a threat response in the people you’re talking to. If you’re talking to someone and they’re stepping back from you, you can safely assume that you are too close. Do not make the mistake of stepping forward. This will inevitably be seen as threateningly aggressive. You’ve now gone from making them feel uncomfortable to making them feel pursued. And if you inadvertently back them into a wall or a corner you will have moved from uncomfortable to “actually fucking afraid”. The smaller the space you’re in – such as say, an elevator – the greater the distance you need to keep from her for her comfort. If she is comfortable with your coming closer to her, she will let you know.
Similarly, you need to be aware of touch. Touch and physical contact is incredibly important to humans; we have actual needs for physical contact. Touching, especially when flirting, can be a good thing. Too much touching, on the other hand, or touching for too long, sends the wrong message. It comes across as aggressive and dominant behavior. Leaving your hand on a girl for too long – even in a neutral place like the shoulder or middle of the arm – will read as though you’re claiming possession of her… or worse, that you’re going to drag her off somewhere. Too short and you can come across as nervous… and that nervous energy will make her nervous. You need to learn to break physical contact before she gets uncomfortable. Much like making eye contact, this is a case of learning how to calibrate your sense of what’s appropriate. It can take trial and error to go from “Creepy touchy guy” to “guy who’s physically expressive”.
This can be a tricky issue because it often comes down to cultural differences. What is natural to some cultures will seem scandalous to others. Some cultures are far more touchy-feely than American culture; the defined “personal” space is often smaller, and allows for greater intimacies between relative strangers. In American culture, greetings between strangers and acquaintances are frequently limited to handshakes at approximately half of arm’s length. Other cultures have higher levels of interpersonal contact; greetings can include hugs or kisses on the cheek. Some cultures require greater distance between people for their comfort; others allow for standing far closer.
You need to remember: nobody is going to give a damn where you grew up or what everybody does back home if you’re creeping them out. Being from another culture isn’t an excuse, and the longer you’ve been in their culture, the lamer that reason will seem. It is incumbent on you to make allowances for the culture you’re interacting with and to learn to adjust your behavior to what’s socially appropriate.
Watch Your Fucking Language
This is about more than just swearing… it’s about the implications behind what you say and how it comes across to others.
Look: there are certain things that will seem funny to you but will be incredibly off-putting in another context. Context such as, say, talking to a beautiful woman you’ve never met before. Women already have to fear for their safety on a daily basis… the last thing you need to do is remind her that, oh yes, you represent a potential threat to her. This means that there are certain jokes that you just shouldn’t make. Jokes about rape, abduction, physical assault or murder are off the table. Period. Too many women have experienced physical or sexual threats and violence for you to jokingly suggest that you might kidnap or rape her.
You may think you’re being funny when you walk up to girls holding a napkin and asking “Hey, does this smell like chloroform to you?”
You’re being creepy.
Now stop it.
Hey, I get it. Approaching beautiful women is nerve-wracking. You are putting yourself out there and deliberately making yourself vulnerable to the opinions of others. It can take a lot of courage to do this. But if you’re hovering around a girl while trying to work up the nerve to talk to her, you’re going to be creeping her out. Women are incredibly aware of their surroundings; they have to be. A guy who’s making a point of being in her general proximity without actually approaching her or talking to her is going to be seen as a potential threat. You may be waiting for an opening. You may be waiting for her to walk away from her friends so you can approach her by herself. You may just be trying to psych yourself up to deliver your opening line. You know that you’re perfectly harmless… in fact, you’d be willing to bet that you’re more afraid of her than she should be of you.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s going to read to her. You’re going to come across as a predator waiting for his moment. This is creepy behavior that needs to be avoided at all costs.
Avoid this by instituting what’s known as the “three second rule”. The three second rule is simple: if you see someone you’re attracted to, you have exactly three seconds from the moment you see her to walk up and introduce yourself. This rule prevents you from psyching yourself out of approaching the woman you like and keeps you from hovering. It can feel intimidating, but the three second rule is a great way to power through that initial nervousness that ends up sabotaging guys. The sooner you get comfortable approaching beautiful women without lurking and hovering, the better the results you’ll have.