Archive for the ‘Signals’ Category
In three separate conversations with three women from three completely different social circles this past week, they each used the word “banter” to describe a positive characteristic of the men they are attracted to.
Women are attracted to men who can banter with them because it feels good to banter. But why does it feel good? Because the ability to banter displays several attractive signals at the same time:
1) a certain form of mental skill / intelligence (banter is a mental dance between two people)
2) the ability and willingness to stand up to a woman (women are attracted to men who earn their dominance).
4) quickness of mind
Banter is a lighthearted interaction where you take mental jabs at each other.
Recently I was flirting with a girl and she said in a bragging kind of way: “I’m such a smart ass”
My response was: “So in other words, your smarts are located in a place other than your head.”
Notice what happens with this response: in a teasing, non-hurtful kind of way, I diminish her intelligence (and she knows I’m attracted to intelligence). That kind of dynamic is total chick crack.
In this particular girl, a simple instance of banter hit a nerve deep in her soul, made her laugh and one week later she was still referencing it as part of our relational history. It had haunted her in a good way. At the time, I hadn’t known that I’d hit a homerun. They seem to just come out of nowhere and when you least expect it… the important thing is to just be in a light, bantering mood…. and sooner or later something will come out that sticks.
Another girl I was flirting with has a sexy Southern draw. But I don’t let her know that I find it sexy. I tease her about it. Every once in a while if she texts me something and her phone’s autocorrect fucks up I’ll respond “Is that a Southern phrase? I’m not sure I understand.” or “Remember, I’m not from the South.” She knows I’m teasing, but she’s still sensitive about her Southern draw, and the combination is a wonderful elixir for good banter.
A few rules about banter:
1) banter works best by lightly picking on a perceived weakness or defect. and the whole goal is to drop her down a notch without coming off mean. believe it or not… that’s what she wants… for you to dominate her through light conversation.
2) some things will fall flat and not work. don’t let this phase you. keep looking for opportunities. learn her unique style. this is part of the mating dance you need to learn to enjoy.
3) once you’ve found something that makes her laugh, periodically re-introduce it (without overdoing it). she’ll like the way this feels because it’s a sign that the two of you are starting to build a history together.
4) don’t let any of her attempts to rile you work… don’t get embarrassed or feel rushed to respond… do things on your time. i for example am an early to bed kind of guy. girls almost universally tease me about this. rather than be defensive, i embrace it, laugh about it and turn things back on them… making them seem like the weird ones for staying up late (even though I’m fully aware that I do, on most nights, go to bed very early relative to most people).
5) practice makes perfect. 10 years ago i had no banter skill. today i can hold my own.
Here’s a video, admittedly from a movie, that shows how quickly and easily attraction can build simply through proximity and physical presence (which can communicate common interests, skills, confidence, etc… all psychological factors that are attractive to women). This is how the vast majority of my relationships have started… simple, innocent, physical interactions without words. Notice… this woman became so overwhelmed by Depp’s character that she would have have slept with him if he had decided to escalate after the second encounter (e.g. inviting her to grab some coffee). Maybe he had something more important to do. Or maybe he decided to honor the ring she was wearing. I’ve found myself in situations where I had to say no to obvious sexual opportunity. But the signs are all there. She’s fallen for the guy before he’s spoken a word.
Things that are attractive about Depp’s character:
1) he’s dressed well
2) he’s non-apologetic about standing close to her and doing what he came to do
3) he’s calm and composed
4) he makes eye contact, with a slight smile
5) he initiates non-verbal communication and an intentional connection (further eye contact, finger point and head nod)
6) slows down his movements like he’s in control of the situation (his gum chewing, his head movement, etc.)
7) he shows some passion for their shared interest as he’s listening to the music while communicating a slight vibe (bobs his head up and down like he’s enjoying it)
8) he stand his ground and then once he’s done with what he came to do, he moves on
9) when re-encountering each other, he reinforces their connection … shared choice
The guy has haunted the woman’s imaginating before speaking a single word… and he’s gotten her to start chasing him… simply by being himself, being attractive, being non-obsessively friendly and most importantly staying composed … being unphased.
Today I’m reminded of the significance of eye contact. I don’t know what it is about Valentine’s Day… but the girls are really smiling today.
Here’s what you need to know about eye contact:
- sustaining a gaze with a girl forces a reaction out of her and gives you most of the information you need to know whether she’s attracted at a visceral level (this doesn’t seal the deal, but it sets the table)
- girls who are ovulating tend to smile immediately upon eye contact if they are attracted to you
- girls who are attracted to you tend to smile soon after making eye contact if they feel positive about you
- the important part as a guy is to make eye contact with a light, positive vibe (a subtle smile works well) and to hold the gaze until she reacts
- let her be the one who gives the initial reaction. don’t move your gaze.
- the less you react to the eye contact, the more you are signalling confidence and “smoothness” under pressure… signals that attract women
- you can certainly signal your own attraction to her with sustained eye contact. but it’ll be up to you to escalate from that point: to approach. once you’ve initiated, she’s only going to give you so much time to approach before she gets disappointed.
- an easy approach is to say something like “hey, you look like you’re having a good time. what brings you to X?” or simply “Hi, I’m James.”
Eye contact is the most telling signal of attraction you can receive from a woman. Especially when accompanied by another positive signal (like a smile). It’s also an easy way to establish initial dominance over a woman and to signal to her your overall internal confidence.
The more I think about eye contact, the more I go back to the magnet analogy. During good contact, there is a pull on the woman that draws her attention to you. Good eye contact has the ability to do magical things. For example, if I’m sitting in a coffee shop or library and make good, positive eye contact with a girl, she almost inevitably positions herself at a nearby table, facing me. This, as I take it, is her way of passively signalling availability and interest. It takes a whole lot of pressure off for an easy, laid-back approach. And if I’m in the mood, I will approach. It can be an addictive little sport.
A PhaseFrame reader asks the following question:
i have a female friend for last 20 years..i wanted to marry her then but she refused and we stayed friends…and i got married.She is yet to marry. Now, she goes out with me for last 5 years..movies..lunches..dinners..shopping etc. Of late, she has been asking me to take her out for weekends..even overseas..for a 4-5 days trip.I do not understand what she expects from these trips..( we are yet to go out on a trip)..am very confused.How do i find out. Does she wish to get physical or no..because now i want to..but am unsure how to initiate this question.
First, I’m just going to tell you flat out: I’m a big believer in honoring commitments. I think that if you don’t intend to honor a commitment, then you shouldn’t make it, or you anull the commitment so that you are not breaking it. I’m not a traditionalist about this: I don’t have a sacred text that tells me what to do. Rather, I know that psychologically I feel a lot better, a lot more whole, a lot more complete as a human being when I am truthful and honest and keep commitments.
Having said that, I’m not suggesting that you need to honor your commitments. That’s for you to decide.
To address the rest of your question:
- If you’re shopping with her, that says “friend zone”
- In isolation, a movie would mean “attraction zone” – but that’s less clear to me given that you go shopping with her.
- Again, in isolation, a few lunches and dinners could be signals of “attraction zone” but the overall sense I’m getting is that you are being used for your resources
- As for he wanting to go on trips… this is about the best signal she’s giving you for wanting more. But you need to hedge against my intuition that she’s using you by escalating with her physically *before* you spend thousands of dollars taking her overseas.
- The most difficult part of your questions is that I don’t know how the two of you interact on a regular basis. Is there teasing? Do you just tag along? Do you do whatever she wants? Do you ever set the agenda? Is there playfulness? Do you laugh together? Is it stale? Vibrant?
If I was in your situation, here is what I would do.
First, decide what you want. Don’t worry about what she wants. You can only control what you want.
Second, be ready to deal with the consequences if she doesn’t want what you want (is she going to tell your wife and ruin your other relationship? does this matter to you?).
Third, if you want more than friendship, you have to be willing to hold back on the friendship part. Make her earn your energy. Use restraint. Friends do things together that lovers should not normally do (i.e. shopping). You need to be able to say no and to set the agenda in the relationship. If she’s into you… she’ll enjoy you setting the agenda. If she’s using you… she won’t.
Fourth, you need to become the leader of the relationship. You should be suggesting most of the activities that the two of you do together, and setting the agenda and pace for the relationship. Stop looking to her for approval.
Fifth, escalate things with her. I don’t know what the normal context of your relationship is, but an innocent attempt to hold her hand when the two of you are driving in the car together will give you immediate feedback and send a clear signal to her that you’re interested in more. The important thing is to not let rejection phase you.
Sixth, if you’ve got her in a good, laughing vibe, skip the hand holding completely and go for the kiss. Make sure she’s in a comfortable, safe place.
At the end of the day, you really need to be willing to sacrifice the friendship if you’re going to take bold, decisive action towards getting the relationship you want. The good news is: if she’s not interested in you, then she’s using you. So you can kill two birds with one stone: remove the possibility that she’s a parasite and maximize the potential of her being your mate.
There’s some value to this video.
1. Low cortisol levels (the stress hormone) seem nearly as correlative with confidence and dominance as high testosterone levels. Take home point: spend some time lowering your stress levels, getting rid of things in your life that cause you anxiety. Cortisol suppresses expression and keeps you inward. Lowering cortisol will help you be maximally expressive and people are attracted to people who express themselves confidently.
2. Practice being confident: since confidence is chick crack, if you struggle with confidence, you most likely struggle with women. If you want confidence, you’ll need to fake confidence until it becomes natural and part of your very being.
3. Body language matters. In general, the more open you are, the more confidence you exude. One body hack she introduces is the idea of lifting your arms in an outstretched manner, while opening your chest up, can increase testosterone levels and lower cortisol levels. Something to consider as a confidence boost before a high-stakes interaction.
One a personal note I’ve found the following tricks useful:
4. Before a big event (such as an interaction with a hottie) slow everything down in your body. Walk a little slower, breathe a little slower, react a little slower.
5. Keeping your head up, chest open, maintaining eye contact, keeping a slight smirk/smile is a great way to gain control of an environment.
6. Not being reactive to everything the other person says or does is a sign that they are not controlling you. Use restraint and discretion in your reactions.
Human beings are programmed to value displays of confidence in a social setting. The ability to command an environment. Low-anxiety. High-command. This ability comes more naturally to some than others, but the take home point here is very simple:
The more you practice confidence and the body language of confidence, the more you internalize confidence and truly become confidence. It’s another one of those “get out there and start practicing if you want to get better” situations in life.
There is an instinct in men to protect what is theirs. In modern society, among some men, this manifests as frequent PDA (public displays of affection). Hand holding. Arm around the back.
As an observer, what I’ve seen over the last few years, especially on college campuses, is that it’s the most insecure guys who gravitate towards frequent PDA. This leads me to believe that frequent PDA is a coping mechanism for insecurity.
I asked two of my female colleagues about this and they agree that this is how women perceive frequent PDA: a sign of insecurity and neediness.
Sending subtle signals of interest without fully tipping your hand is a safe way to pursue women without dealing with straight-out rejection or social castigation. You’re not going to get as many “successes” as the guy who’s ultra-bold and just doesn’t give a fuck about rejection. But for some men, the slow and steady race is the race they want to run. And at the foundation of PhaseFrame is the idea that ultimately you need to be in control of your own happiness, and choose your own path among many good options. And you don’t have to be that cocky guy to get the girl. There are more subtle ways.
A few days ago I covered the subtle but advancing line I was just thinking about you. One that I’ve basically reverse engineered from the women I’ve been with (and truthfully, the most universal sign I’ve encountered of romantic/sexual interest … it’s like all the girls I’ve been with had a secret cabal and chose this as their secret password… or maybe they were all just being honest, who would have imagined!). It’s subtle enough to not be creepy, but clear enough that it should catch an open woman in your attraction net.
If you’re a little more bold, and looking to up the risk factor* a bit, you can send a clearer message of “significance” – and the one that comes to my mind that’s probably way overused at this point is “I had a dream about you last night” – Again, I’m borrowing this line from girls I’ve been with who have used it as a coy way of saying *sometimes truthfully* that they are currently consumed by me. As a side note, there’s something magical and special about dreams in the female imagination. If she’s dreaming about you, that’s the only signal you need to plough forward.
Now, here’s the deal. I don’t really do the courting of new women these days. So I don’t know the marketplace. I don’t know what’s being way overused. And I imagine the dream thing is so powerful (it has been in my experience) that it’s fairly risky. You might sound like a try-hard. I don’t know. That’s homework that you’ll need to do.
I can tell you this: if you established the proper context… a good reason to be having dreams of the girl … and you do have a dream about her … tell her. Especially if the dream is ambiguous. “Hey, I had this crazy dream about you last night. You were standing on the ground and I was floating through this watery airy stuff. The wind was blowing at hurricane force speeds which was scary and exhilarating at the same time. I was looking down at you and pretty soon you lifted off the ground and then we both just took off in different directions and it was like we faded into the atmosphere. I don’t really know what to think of dreams, but it definitely stuck with me.”
A dream is a safe way to start taking her on that journey… that ride… that the two of you are going to go on. The one that takes her out of her reality and into a fun, exciting place.
*Risk factor basically means “the probability of looking like a fool and being socially castigated as a creep.”
I’ve found over the years that a variation on this phrase is one of the most reliable indicators of coy female sexual interest:
I was thinking about you
I was thinking about you last night
I was just thinking about you
I was thinking about you just now
I was thinking about you a few minutes ago
I was thinking about you this morning
I was thinking about you during my coffee break
I was thinking about you at the concert
Now there are some false positives that you should be aware of (imagine these as texts or emails):
Hey! I was just thinking about you. Remember that time all of us were out hiking in November and you fell in the creek and got cold soaking wet and no one could stop laughing? I just walked by that spot again:)
James, I was just randomly thinking about you and that time that guy offered you some shrooms at the concert and you had no idea what he was talking about.
Dude. I was thinking about you last night. (coming from a guy, you can ignore it)
Bro. I was just thinking about you. What are you up to this weekend? (coming from a guy, you can ignore it)
Hi! I was just thinking about you. Remember that guy Brian you were with at the bar? Can you send me his number? (girls will often pivot into asking for favors off a flirtatious vibe)
As a general rule, the “I was thinking about you” signal is reliable so long as it’s not attached to anything. If it stands on its own… she’s most likely saying “I’m waiting for you to get us together and make a move.”
You learn something every day.
So I was having one of my weekly coffee shop conversations with a friend this past week, and these often delve into serious philosophical topics like theories of human motivation and action, etc. Sometimes, though, we talk about practical stuff, like how there needs to be a science class taught to boys … “the science of attraction” – because so much pent up frustration would go out the window if guys were taught to see the obviousness of female attraction, prior to rational or linguistic consent.
There is so much about attraction that is subconscious. So much that is just pure mechanics. Like the laws of science. And learning these rules allows you to accurately infer whether a woman is attracted to you before there’s any rational assent. You know, if her eyes are wide and she can’t help but smile when she’s around you. Stuff like that. When you are able to *assume attraction* based on subtle behavioral clues, it does wonders for your confidence and you can proceed to interact with the empowering knowledge that *she wants you* – in other words, knowing the signals takes you from the negative frame of having to win her, to the positive frame of knowing she’s already into you. Once you know she’s into you, you can give her opportunities to win you over. But make her work a little for it.
So enough prologue. This past week, my friend informed me that when a woman is really into you. Really, really into you. She’ll almost inevitably get a nervous twitch in her leg. It’s almost spastic.
So a day or two after talking with my friend, I was interacting with this girl I had recognized from a social gathering from a few months ago. Without any intention of hitting on this girl, I approached her out of social curiosity and inquired “Hey, do you by any chance go to those local food dinner meetings in South Hampton? You look familiar.” She lit right up. We talked for I’d say a total of 10 minutes, with her doing most of the talking (a sign that she was trying to impress me). During that time here’s what transpired:
1) She blushed a few times
2) I held steady eye contact with her (which is my default social frame)
3) She smiled at me a bunch
4) Her eyes took several submissive turns downward
5) She stroked her hair with her hand a few times
and here’s the behavior I wouldn’t have noticed before my friend tipped me off
6) One time as she was running her hand through her hair I noticed her legs twitching, almost like they would buckle and then recover, really fast for a few seconds.
So there you have it. This girl was attracted to me. I didn’t do anything with it. I don’t want to do anything with it. But I’m not going to deny that it feels great to know with confidence that someone you find attractive is also attracted to you. Before you can experience this, you’ve got to learn to perceive (and send) the signals.
One of the most attractive psychological features a man can display is decisiveness that manifests in action. Get in the habit of making decisive choices, and then acting upon them. Whether your choice is where to go to dinner tonight, or something more serious like making a critical financial decision.
One way to increase your comfort level with decisive action, especially split second decision making, is to train in a martial art: