For all their bluff and bluster, men aren’t always as confident as they may seem. Sure, they’re noisy, pushy and often far too boisterous for their own good, but it can take a lot of forced bravado – as well as a little imbibing – to get them to act that way.
So when they’re out there in the dating wild, men are looking for any sign of encouragement to indicate that it’s safe to make an approach. And while many will be drawn to a woman who exudes a certain amount of confidence, there’s a fine line between self-assured and intimidating. What you may need to work out is whether you come across as a poised, confidant woman, or as just plain unapproachable. It could mean the difference between dating and intimidating.
But first, let’s dispel the number one cliché about dating intimidation: being too attractive. Sure, if you have the face of Angelina Jolie and the body of Pamela Anderson, it’s going to take a little extra courage for a man to make his move. But whether he’ll come your way or stay away has less to do with your body type and more to do with your body language.
To begin with, think about what your clothes say about you. The way you dress can speak volumes, but be careful about the story your clothes are telling. You want to feel comfortable and confident, but if you dress in a way that’s too overt and revealing, you may attract the kind of attention that you don’t want, while inadvertently scaring off the kind that you do. It may be something as simple as the difference between being sensual and sexual, but take a long, cold look at what you’re wearing before you leave the house, and think about the partner you’d like to see yourself with. If your look and your imagined partner match up, be confident that you’re heading in the right direction.
When you’re ready to make an entrance, the way you physically address the room can really influence the way you’re perceived. For example, a dramatic catwalk strut really just belongs on the catwalk, so strolling into your local bar or restaurant like you’re parading your outfit for the editor of Vogue is at best going to scream, “Keep away,” or at worst, “I’m self-obsessed.”
Try engaging the room as you walk in, casting your eyes around and welcoming it with a smile. If you’ve got your nose stuck in the air and your eyes squinted into the distance, you’ll look aloof. If you put out a “can’t-be-bothered” vibe, people will do exactly that – not bother.
Next, once settled into a cozy corner, it’s important to continue to engage with your surroundings. A little eye contact can go a very long way, a half-smile even further. If you’re with, say, a girlfriend, and you’re sitting with your backs to the room, singularly engrossed in each other’s conversation, you’re far less likely to get approached. This is perfectly fine if you don’t want to be approached, but if you’re hoping to get a little bit of outside attention, play to the room. Show your warmth, flash your smile, uncross your arms and give the room some love.
With any luck, such actions will send out enough signals that say you want to be approached. Once you have been, however, make sure that your conversation doesn’t make you seem too cool for school. There’s a good and a bad way to reveal your finer qualities without ramming them down your potential partner’s throat.
If, for example, you’re a high achiever at work, this is unlikely to be a threat if you can relay as much with a little humility. “I really like my work and I seem to be quite good at it” comes across much better than, say, “I’m the best department head they’ve ever had and I’ve constantly beaten all my targets.” Similarly, if you’re a super-brain, think twice before you whip out your MENSA membership card. Don’t hide what you’re proud of, but don’t make it all you’re about either, and make sure that you leave space for him to contribute.
Similarly, if you’re an opinionated person, it’s nothing you should hide – but do allow the conversation to flow in both directions. Being affirmative isn’t the same as being aggressive, and while plenty of men will appreciate and adore a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it, a prospective partner will need to feel that he’s able to contribute without being intimidated into submission.
Finally, take some time to ask yourself some questions: Is the person I’m talking with relaxed? Am I talking too much? Am I interrupting him? Am I showing an interest in him? What is my body language saying? Take a moment to appraise the situation and detach yourself from it enough to consider whether you’re coming across in the way you’re trying to. Once you get in the groove and you open yourself up to the kind of attention you deserve, you should find the world to be a much friendlier place.