Part of not being creepy means being socially calibrated. Part of socially calibrated means knowing when you’re not wanted and learning when it’s time to walk away. If a woman isn’t interested in you, proximity isn’t going to change her mind. In fact, the longer it takes for you to get the hint that you’re not wanted, the creepier you’re going to seem. Creepy guys will stick around long past the time when they were supposed to leave. You may be honestly missing the clues that it’s time to go; she’s going to see it as you ignoring what she sees as very clear signs that you’re not wanted.
If the conversation is starting to die off – as opposed to a natural lull – you don’t want to try stick around desperately trying to keep things going. Make your excuses and bow out of the conversation gracefully. Similarly, if you notice that her eyes are starting to dart around to the sides – as though she were looking around for someone – you need to realize that she’s looking for someone to rescue her from you. Most women are socially conditioned not to give offense or hurt men’s feelings and so they’ll rarely break off a conversation directly. Instead they’ll be looking for a socially relevant reason to leave. Once you start getting the signs that she’s trying to exit the conversation, you need to take the initiative, end things first and walk away.
It’s entirely natural to want to talk to the girl you like… after all, you want to learn more about her. You’re going to want to make plans. You’re going to want to confirm those plans. You’re going to want to advise her when plans have changed, when you’re going to be late, when you’re actually a little early…
However, when you’re sending email after email and filling up her voice mail with dozens of messages, you will have caused her spider-sense to start tingling. You may feel that you’ve got a perfectly good reason to send her several texts throughout the day, but she’s never going to see that. She’s going to assume that – at best – you’re almost pathetically needy. At the worst, she’s going to think you’re possessive and controlling, possibly even a stalker-in-training. Either way, she’s going to be losing your number very quickly.
You need to avoid creepy levels of contact. Keep yourself to a strict limit; no more than two or three attempts to contact her without hearing back. Remember: one unreturned message is happenstance; it could be anything. Two is cause for concern. Three means she’s trying to tell you something.
Don’t Be An Accidental Stalker
It’s only natural that when you like someone, you want to see them as often as possible. If you’re trying to charm a woman, it can be tempting to “accidentally” run into her… at work, at the grocery store, at the fitness club. But you need to remember that there are only so many coincidences before she’s going to think that you’re following her.
In the age of Google, instant messages and social networking, it’s easier to find people and stay in contact with them than ever before. For women, this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s never been simpler for old friends to find you and get in touch. On the other, it’s never been simpler for the wrong people to find you as well. Google and Facebook have made it easier for men to stalk women than it has ever been; privacy as we used to know it has changed in radical ways and we’re still racing to keep up with the changes.
You may swear up and down that you’re not a stalker. You’d never try to track her down or follow her. But if you aren’t careful about how you act online and in person, that’s exactly how you’re going to seem. Girls are acutely aware of guys who seem to be following them, even when it’s via cyberspace. If you’re not careful, your innocent attempts at social networking are going to read as someone who’s intent on following her wherever she goes.
This can be problematic if you frequent certain places at the same time; there’s only so many times you can bump into her at the gym before she will think something’s up. If the barrista doesn’t know that your 8:15 stop for a vanilla latte is part of your regular routine on the way to work, she’s going to begin to think that you’re coming specifically to see her. At first, this can be flattering. If it goes on for too long, it becomes creepy.
This also applies for being online. For women, this means that the threat to their safety has grown dramatically as well – and women are well aware of it. Social networks are a great tool for keeping in touch, but they’re also a haven for finding out all kinds of personal information, including phone numbers and home addresess.
Trying to friend her on Facebook, adding her on AIM, following her on Twitter, asking to be connected via LinkedIn… if you aren’t very aware of the level of your relationship, you could seem as though you’re cyberstalking her.
Being friends on Facebook isn’t proof against this either. Many women have been creeped out by guys who insist on “liking” or commenting on EVERYTHING they post, who post repeatedly on their wall, or send chat request after request. They may have had the most innocent of intentions, but their creepy behavior got them blocked and de-friended without a chance to explain.
The answer to this is to deliberately ignore her. Just because you’re at the gym together doesn’t mean that you have to stop and talk to her every time. Sometimes it’s good to be too involved in something else to even know that she’s there. Be a little too distracted to do more than give your regular order at Starbucks. Don’t snub her, just be “unaware” of her presence… which means you don’t walk past her then stare at her when you think she’s not looking.
Online, be similarly sparing in your attention. Just because she’s popped onto AIM doesn’t mean you have to say hi. Keep your comments, likes, @ replies and retweets sparing and strategic. Less is frequently more when it comes to avoiding creepy behavior.
Obviously, avoiding creepy behavior can be a tricky balancing act. But once you’ve learned to be aware of how your behavior appears to others, you’ll be better equipped to avoid giving the creepy vibe to the women you meet and enjoy meeting and dating beautiful women.
Do you have advice for how guys can avoid being creepy that I missed? Let me know in the comments!