Dr. NerdLove is on vacation this week. Rather than just giving you nothing but dead air or running a “Best Of” column, I bring you this excellent guest post from my friend, confidant and occasional provider of much needed corrections: Kira.
When we left off on Part 1, we were talking about how to flirt with intent and send unambiguous signals to guys know that you’re interested. To recap:
1: Showing That You’re Interested –
The selective, toothy smile wherein your face lights up with interest and intrigue, followed up with classic eye-contact. Meet their gaze for two seconds, look away and look back with that slightly pleased, slightly shy smile. When you’re talking to them, use classic active-listening techniques to make sure that they know that you’re not just paying attention, but that you’re into what they’re saying.
2: The Strategic Ego Stroke –
Guys appreciate it when you make them feel good – we’re simple creatures after all. A well timed compliment with just a hint of pushing away will intrigue him. The push-pull/come here-go away dynamic keeps the ego appeal from being too cloying or seeming as though you’re trying too hard. Similarly, a carefully chosen moment of seeking his approval will make him feel both appreciated and desired. Even some carefully framed role reversal – making him have to win your approval will capture his attention… and his imagination.
And now that we’re all on the same page, it’s time for Kira to provide part 2 of Flirting With Intent – Advanced Flirting for Nerd Women…
Step 3: Demonstrate that you’ll follow
To set the scene for following, show off your best lady-side a bit. Be your most fun, funny, lively, interesting, amused and enthusiastic self. It’s like entrance music.
Eventually in the conversation your man-of-interest will have something to say. Respond to it. In fact, almost every time he has something to say, respond to that.
See, most of the time we’re really bad at responding to people. We say something half-ass, or we forget to respond entirely, or we change the subject without responding, or we get so busy with our own reaction that we don’t notice we didn’t acknowledge what was said. When following, you need to really respond. That means two things.
First, on the verbal or intellectual side you need to listen carefully to what he said – and how he said it – and acknowledge it with a nod or a glance or by leaning toward him a tiny bit or a laugh or an “I see your point” before you say something back.
Then, you need to say something back. The Something should address what he was getting at, instead of what he said: If he’s getting pissed off about the Return of Superman, you don’t need to give your opinion of the comic so much as acknowledge the fact that he’s pissed off. It doesn’t need to be a direct response, either: If he says something outrageous, “I shouldn’t encourage you” is a response to how he’s acting instead of what he said.
Your response doesn’t necessarily have to be verbal, even – sometimes the only appropriate response is a shake of the head.
If a guy notices and is interested, he’ll enjoy it. He’ll smile more, his voice will get louder, he’ll spend more time with his eyes on your face. Reward him for this by focusing more on him – leaning more toward him, smiling more, looking more closely at him.
If not, it’s a toss-up as to whether he’s not interested or he’s just not getting it. Invade his personal space a bit – reach across him for something on a table or shelf, or gesture near him – and see what he does. An anxious response might be OK, as long as he smiles and/or focuses more on you afterwards. Keep up with the response until he starts to warm up. If he instead looks away and gets more serious, detached or casual, find another guy.
A note on mirroring, i.e. the practice of doing what your target does: It’s less effective for women than it is for men. Standing hip-shot when he does is fine; as the Doctor points out, people assume that people who move like they do think like they do. But if you lean away when he leans away, you’re ruining the follow – and possibly also making him think you’re not interested.
Think about dancing again for a second. When the man moves backward, he is drawing the woman toward him. If you want to establish a follow, instead of mirroring you might need a complementary instead of a symmetrical action. If he makes fun of you for being the only girl on the block who plays Mass Effect 3, don’t make fun of him back! Pretend to be wounded.
In short, if he leans away, lean in. Maintain a consistent distance between the two of you, both physical and verbal. If you suddenly worry that maybe you’re going to fall into his lap, he probably isn’t interested.
After repeated responding, you’re beginning to establish a pattern of call and response. Progress! Especially if your target is enjoying it. Gradually at this point you want to stop ‘leaning in’ – i.e., doing all that work to get his attention. Now it’s his turn. “Lean back”, putting in gradually less effort. If you have a chance to demonstrate your independence or your uniqueness, take it.
At this point you can establish a reward system: Any time he says something particularly interesting or acceptable or sexy to you, brighten up, lean in, look more directly at him. Any time he says something you don’t like, or distracts himself from you, dial it down. Some women pout effectively at this point.
Step 4: Escalate
The first thing to do is to remove any external barriers. If he’s got a friend who’s trying to participate in the conversation, physically turn away from that friend. If there’s a vase on the table in front of you, move it out of the way. Tune out the rest of the world.
Now, shift your posture. Remember how people used to say that you could find your good posture by imagining a string extending upward through the top of your head? Go find a mirror again and try it. Then try imagining that string extending upward through your chest instead. You’ll see that your chest moves forward, and your head falls back. That’s the posture you want. It’s a bit receptive, a bit encouraging, and will remind him visually that hello, you’re a woman.
People generally have an ‘envelope’ of personal space around them. In the US, it’s about two feet. Casually leave your hand in that space, where he could pick it up if he chose.
After a bit, if he’s still smiling, decrease the distance between you. Move your chair a little closer, lean on a convenient shelf or tree near him, etcetera. Now you’re all up in his personal space, and I haven’t yet met the guy who had no reaction at all to that. Now give him some time to get used to that. It can be a bit tense having someone invade your space, after all. Wait for his shoulders to drop a bit.
A lot of people talk about touching as an all-purpose flirt signal. It is, but I find if you save touching for last, it can be a hell of an escalation tool. If I’m flirting with intent I generally don’t touch a guy (on purpose, that is) until I’m very sure I want to escalate, so that when I actually do touch a man, it has a bit of a charge to it. Any casual touch will do – grazing his forearm, tapping his shoulder when you exit for the ladies’, a playful push with a slightly challenging statement, etc. Apparently a common move among models is to pick imaginary lint off a guy’s jacket. It’s a rare guy who is single and doesn’t touch back.
I generally give a guy some time to get used to the escalation. Eventually he generally asks for my number. If not, I wait till he seems like he’s settling comfortably in to the escalated situation, expecting it almost, and I have one more exchange with him. At the end of that, I ask him out and settle the matter.