“We had this insanely intense eye contact. Should I have walked over to him?? I knew one of his friends and I could have made it look natural. “
— Kyra (age 26), on an encounter that took place over 10 months ago
“He’s a friend of my brother. He always looks at me like he’s interested in something more. I found a way to be alone with him over the weekend but he didn’t make a move…. Should I just ask him [out] myself?”
— [Name withheld] (age 32), on a man she has known casually for over 2 years
When a woman returns a man’s gaze, it’s a primal exchange that can nudge two strangers out of the friendzone. In fact, sustained eye contact is one of the most reliable indicators of female interest. Even in 2017, publicly locking eyes with a man is such an obvious move that it carries some social risk for a woman. Therefore, as you can tell from the questions above, we ladies tend to think deep eye contact MUST be just as significant for men. Practically step #1 on the path toward a ring and an exchange of vows…
By contrast, a man can flash Blue Steel all evening, without needing to stretch far from his comfort zone. He’s not risking anything socially. In fact, if a man is REALLY motivated to meet a woman, he can’t rely on eye flirting alone. He pretty much has to walk up to her and say something. A full-on approach carries social risk — that’s why women admire its directness — but it’s a man’s most efficient and successful strategy for getting the job done.
- For women, holding eye contact is a provocative sign of receptiveness. Because it’s a socially risky behavior for her, and makes her feel vulnerable, a woman sometimes mistakenly assumes that eye contact signals an equally deep level of connection in a man.
- For men, walking up to a woman and talking to her is the equivalent major move. He risks public rejection. That is what is socially risky for him, and therefore that is the action that demonstrates actual intent.
So here’s our blind spot. Men easily recognize a green light when a woman displays “guy” courtship behaviors (approaching; initiating conversation). Women see deep meaning when a man displays BFF or “girl” behaviors (eye contact; instant-connection conversation). Unfortunately, that means our expectations aren’t always appropriate when applied to the opposite sex.
Men who are sitting around waiting for women to approach first are limiting their dating pool to a small subset of women who enjoy taking the “guy” role. Likewise, women who get all hung up on nonverbal flirting signals are wasting mental energy on a fantasy that may never go anywhere.
If a man weighs the risk/reward of approaching you and decides against it, then it really doesn’t matter why. That’s his business. Shy guys with approach anxiety miraculously get over their fears when they are motivated — like a house on fire — to do so.
If he hasn’t asked you out on a date — taken the social risk to separate you from the pack and spend time alone with you — then he’s not fired up enough about meeting you.
If you, as a woman, decide to make the next move yourself, you risk getting into an entanglement with a man who is either unavailable, sees you only as a “good enough for now” option, or who decided you weren’t worth approaching in the first place. Don’t settle for any of those scenarios!
It may be disappointing to hear that “the smolder” doesn’t count as a first move. But look at the bright side: at least you know to make other plans for Saturday night. Remember: If he treats you like eye candy only, then he doesn’t have a burning need to change his relationship status. And that’s cool. Let him go. You want the guy who brings you his BEST game, and that always involves a direct approach.
How To Make A “Bad Boy” Commit To You… If you’re sick of “Bad Boys,” “Players” and guys who just won’t commit, you need to go watch this new educational presentation Michael Fiore put up… CLICK HERE!