We worry a lot about being attractive. After all, most of you’re reading this site for dating advice and there’s no question that being attractive gives people a leg up when it comes to dating. But what people seldom realize is that there’s a difference between “good looks” and “being attractive”.
To give a concrete example: Serge Gainsbourg was nobody’s idea of a male model, but he was attractive as all hell. For a man who looks like the love-child of Steve Buscemi and Droopy Dog, he got more famous ass than a drunk man with a stolen credit card at a celebrity donkey auction who then escaped by crashing through a plate-ass window.
Gainsbourg understood what it meant to be attractive. Good looks are purely physical attributes – in men, it’s a matter of facial symmetry, shoulder-to-waist ratio, height and outward signs of physical health. Attractiveness on the other hand, is about the mind, and how people respond to you. Being attractive is about charisma and the way you make people feel; in fact, a study from Webster University found that it was behavior that attracted people rather than just physical looks.
One of the most interesting things about being attractive is that it’s the little things that make up the difference – things that are easily overlooked, but powerful when utilized properly. Here are five subtle attributes you can use to make yourself much more attractive… instantly.
Want To Be More Attractive? Take Up Space
One of the quickest ways to make yourself more attractive is one of the simplest: take up more room.
I’m being serious. There’s a direct correlation between how attractive someone is perceived as being and what’s known as “space maximization”. Let’s look at this image for an idea of what that entails:
Yes, this is a posed photo, but it illustrates space maximization rather nicely. Notice how the man is sitting: his legs are spread apart. His arm’s draped over the back of the couch. He’s taking up space, claiming his territory. It’s a subtle way of communicating via body-language. He’s displaying confidence and assertiveness – even a little attitude – by being willing to spread out. He’s making himself more of a presence.
People who aren’t confident are afraid to take up space; they huddle in on themselves, as though they’re afraid to offend others with their presence. It also changes the message your body language is sending. When you take up space you are, by necessity, opening up your body. You become immediately more inviting and approachable when your open up your torso. Crossing your arms, slouching and curling in on yourself, on the other hand, makes you look unfriendly and unapproachable; you’re putting actual barriers between you and the people you want to talk to. Leave your torso open and your legs un-crossed and you’ll seem more attractive and friendly.
Just remember there’s a difference between “taking up space” and “sprawling”. Preventing other people from sitting down because you look like you’re airing out your balls is pretty much the antithesis of attractive.
Clothes Make The Man
I go on and on about clothes because frankly, this is such a simple thing that guys get wrong all the goddamn time. From Mystery’s peacocking to the faux tough-guys in Affliction1 to the guys I see rolling into the VIP section of clubs looking like they just came from Dunder-Mifflin, men seem to perpetually misunderstand the power that a very simple upgrade in wardrobe can bring you. Clothes are an outward extension of your identity. Clothes are the first thing people will notice about you, and that will color their first impressions of you. The right outfit – or the wrong one, for that matter – can utterly transform you. Hell, a woman mistook Richard Gere – a world famous Hollywood heart-throb – for a homeless man, going so far as to offer him food out of pity.
Coco Chanel famously said that when you dress shabbily, people notice your clothes. When you dress properly, people notice you. If you want to be more attractive, you need to dress more attractively.
Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that you need to be rocking a suit, 24/7.
What it does mean is that you want to dress right. Fit is the most obvious place to start – you want clothes that flatter and support your body; trying to hide it behind oversized clothing just makes you look sloppy and unkempt. But just as important as fit is the style. If you want to stand out and be more attractive, you want clothes that look right, clothes that reflect who you are and make you stand out the right way. Let’s go back to Serge Gainsbourg.
Gainsbourg was a style icon. He had a very distinct look – the artful dishevelment, with the pushed up sleeves of his blazer and the rumpled-yet-high-quality shirt unbuttoned just so, the five-o’clock shadow, even the “just got fucked” hair – that radiated his personality. And yet despite looking like he rolled out of somebody else’s bed five minutes ago, it only takes a glance to let you know this is all all carefully cultivated. He puts thought and effort into how he looks, even if he’s just going about his day.
Part of the idea behind your style is that you want to choose a style that makes you feel attractive. A razor-sharp suit is great if you’re a Don Draper type, but if you’re not… well, it’s just going to look wrong on you because you won’t feel right. Find the clothes that you feel like you look like a million bucks in and it will start to affect your mentality and the way you carry yourself – and these will all measurably affect how people see you.
Your general rule of thumb should be to aim for just a little cooler than everyone else. And trust me: it’s not that hard. Go to the mall and have a look around: this is what you’re wanting to stand out from. Even if you’re just a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, you can be a little more awesome than the people around you – little touches from shoes to the cut and quality of your jeans and shirt will help set you above the people around you.
One thing that too many guys do that makes them less attractive is that they fidget. They squirm. They constantly shift their weight from foot to foot. Their eyes dart all over the place, they twitch like they’re about to vibrate through space and time, their hands flap about wildly when they talk, and and they speak so rapidly they sound like The Micro-Machines guy just discovered the joys of a triple espresso.
The problem with all of this is that it betrays a sense of nervousness and a lack of self-control. If you want to be more attractive, you want to learn how to do more with less. Cultivating a certain level of stillness and control is seen as being cool and composed. Being less fidgety and twitchy makes you look more collected and more at ease with yourself and with the people you’re talking to. As with taking up space, this helps make you look more confident, and confidence – as we all know – is sexy.
So to start with, get those nervous little gestures under control. To start with, learn to fidget less; don’t continually play with your hair, adjust your clothes or flutter your hands. It can take conscious effort at first – you have to be aware of the times you’re being fidgety and force your hands back to your side – but with time and practice, it becomes second nature. Sometimes it can help to adopt techniques that will force you to slow your roll. If you have a tendency to shift your weight constantly, make a point of leaning on something – leaning up against a wall or the bar helps convey an air of nonchalance as well as keeping you from swaying from side to side. Stick your hands in your back pockets if necessary. If you do move, you want to move with precision. Don’t gesticulate or flop around. Have a specific purpose to each gesture that you make, even if it’s just to illustrate a point. Consider it as using an economy of motion.
Doing less includes when you speak as well. To start with, you want to speak slower and more deliberately. Avoid hemming and hawwing when you start off with a thought; if you don’t know what you’re going to say right off the bat, pause for two seconds to collect your thoughts. Not only does this make you seem more composed, but pausing before you speak can actually make you a more persuasive and compelling speaker. You want to speak at a moderate rate. You don’t want to speak like you’re running an auction, but at the same time you… don’t… want… to talk… like… the Swamp Thing.
Eliminating fillers from your speech like “umm”, “errr” and “well…” is also useful. The fewer fillers you use, the more intelligent and suave you seem. If you’re about to use one of those fillers, pause instead.
Use Your Eyes
Eye contact is an incredibly important part of attraction. We all know the feeling of somebody looking through us or looking past us when we try to talk to them – it’s incredibly alienating and makes us like that person less. Eye contact is powerful. In fact, it’s so powerful that studies have shown that two minutes of gazing into somebody’s eyes can inspire deep feelings of passion and romantic love in complete strangers. Of course, you can’t exactly just randomly challenge strangers to staring contests in hopes of getting lucky, but you do need to learn how to harness the power of eye contact.
Making strong eye contact is a critical part of forming a connection with somebody; if you can’t meet somebody’s eyes, you’re drastically limiting your ability to build trust and rapport with them. And when it comes to making yourself more attractive… well, you want to maximize the power of your gaze. To start with, making frequent eye contact prior to an approach is a classic way of building attraction – glancing at her, letting her see you looking at her, then breaking contact by looking to the side (NOT down; looking down to break eye contact is a submissive posture. Don’t do this.) is a strong start. Don’t look away quickly: that makes you look like you were trying to get away with something. Look then casually look away… then look back again.
Another approach that helps make people more attractive are using “bedroom eyes” – letting your pupils dilate and your gaze soften as you imagine all of the things you want to do together with her. It’s a very subtle way of building sexual chemistry and when done right can be incredibly powerful.
But above all else, when you make eye contact, you need to smile. Strong eye contact without a smile comes off as though you’re evaluating whether her flesh would make a fetching lampshade. Making eye contact, giving her a slow smile and opening up your body language on the other hand… well, there’s a reason why this is the one universal flirting technique used by both men and women.
I should note that you need to make actual eye contact. The trick of looking at their eyebrows or the bridge of their nose works from a distance, but gets obvious when you’re close up. If you have problems making eye contact with people, practice in the mirror. I’m being serious; look into your own eyes through the mirror. It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but practice holding your own gaze for as long as possible.
One of the subtlest ways of being more attractive to somebody is to reinforce how alike you are. No matter what people have told you, opposites only attract if you happen to be a pair of magnets. In fact, the more similarities two people share, the more likely they are to like one another. If two people share similar backgrounds and values, they’re going to feel more comfortable with one another and that comfort is going to increase their sense of compatibility.
In fact, one of the most common sales techniques people learn is to fake commonalities in order to make a sale – that car dealer will let “slip” that they’re big fans of Social Distortion too or that they grew up in the same town you did. You end up feeling a greater rapport with them, so you end up more likely to buy what they’re pitching. And if you know what you’re doing, you can use this to your advantage.
One of the quickest ways to increase a sense of similarity is to mirror their body language back to them. Matching another person’s body language and synchronizing with them – known as mirroring and leading – is a well-known technique for getting people to like you. Just don’t be obvious about it – otherwise they’ll think you’re mocking them.
But beyond just mirroring their body language, you want to verbally reinforce your commonalities. This is why you want to be looking for chances to show your agreement or say “oh, hey, me too!” – it’s a sign to them that you’re really in tune with one another, that you really get each other. It cements a common bond between the two of you and the more you have… well, the more attractive you’re going to be.
Just make sure you’re actually telling the truth when you’re reinforcing those similarities. Women aren’t stupid, and they’re going to smell a faker like a fart in church.
- Seriously, how is this still a thing? [↩]