When you finally meet someone you like—really, really LIKE—it’s just too exciting.
You start to talk faster. Your voice goes up in pitch. You smile so hard your cheeks hurt.
And he backs away slooooowly.
Liking someone makes you shoot yourself in the foot.
Ever noticed how you never say stupid things around someone you don’t really care about? No, you reserve the biggest bloopers for guys you really want to impress.
Is there a way to stop doing that?
To make sure he sees your cool side, rather than those please-please-please-like-me puppy dog eyes?
Here are three suggestions.
See it from his point of view.
It’s uncomfortable to be liked.
Or perhaps I should qualify:
It’s uncomfortable when someone you barely know jumps to the conclusion that you’re the love of their life.
Have you ever been in that position?
Online daters are particularly guilty of going overboard. From nothing more than a picture and a few sentences, some men will claim they know you’re a match made in heaven. Don’t indulge their fantasy. Save your attention for men who want to get to know you better.
First impressions don’t tell you anything more than that someone has potential. It takes time to get to know the real person underneath.
I know, I know. We grow up on stories of love at first sight. But wait until your wedding day to share the story about how you knew he was the one from the moment you laid eyes on him.
We don’t often hear about love at first sight that ends in rejection or an unhappy relationship. It’s not that misleading first impressions never happen. It’s that no one wants to talk about those situations. It’s embarrassing. It doesn’t make a good story.
So recognize that the lust you feel when you catch sight of him is nothing more than a pleasing feeling telling you to pay attention. It’s not a promise of future bliss.
Let him earn your affection, rather than giving him your undying love as a free gift.
Ask yourself, “What am I seeing in him?”
Liking someone isn’t actually what shoots you in the foot.
What shoots you in the foot is trying to make him like you.
Unfortunately, we can’t help it. It’s our default response. “Oooo, he’s cute. How can I make him fall in love with me?”
But has that ever worked for you?
Trying to make someone like you is a waste of time. Either he will or he won’t. Accept that his feelings are out of your control, and focus on what you can control:
How YOU feel.
When you get that gut sense of attraction towards a man, investigate it. Ask him questions. Be curious about what’s causing you to feel pulled towards him.
Although men feel awkward around women who’ve cast them in the role of Mr. Perfect, they feel flattered by women who’ve decided they’re interesting enough to learn more about. Curiosity isn’t threatening.
Finding someone interesting doesn’t give away your power, either. It’s not the same thing as liking someone. It’s a neutral emotion.
Keeping your focus on him also helps you divert your attention from your own performance. Worrying about how he sees you is what makes you do or say stupid things. You second-guess yourself. You slip up.
So forget about what he’s thinking about you. Focus on what you’re thinking about him. Use those feelings of attraction to drive your curiosity about him.
Pay attention to other people.
When you walk into a room and see someone you really like, you can’t help but watch him out of the corner of your eye.
You notice everything he’s doing. Everyone he’s talking to. Every laugh, every gesture, every wink.
No matter how well you think you’re hiding it, he’ll notice you watching him. Human beings have a sixth sense about those things.
That feeling of being watched is uncomfortable. It’s not flattering. It feels vaguely stalker-ish.
So briefly indulge your desire to gaze upon him, then turn your attention to the people you’re with. Focus as much as you can on your friends. Lose yourself in conversation. Be in the present moment.
Here’s why this works:
Men are as attuned to social status as we are. They notice when someone has a lot of friends. They pay attention to women who are well-liked.
When a woman is having a great deal of fun, a man’s “hot woman radar” dings. He gravitates towards her. He can’t help it. Fun is irresistible.
You’re at your most radiant when you’re having fun.
Feeling self-conscious dims your light. Feeling accepted and happy turns up the wattage.
If sneaking gazes of him makes you feel self-conscious or wistful, then don’t indulge yourself. Turn your attention to the people who know you and love you. When you feel confident and happy in the presence of your friends, or when you’re laughing your head off, look boldly in his direction and catch his eye.
No man can resist a happy woman who’s caught his eye. It’s a clear invitation to join the party.
Because there’s nothing about you that turns off men. You’re not doomed to scare away the best guys you meet. It’s just that, sometimes, you want something too much. You let your yearning trip you up.
Be cool, girlfriend. See if he can earn your respect.
P.S. Be wary if your friends are giving you well-meaning advice on how to make him like you. Your Brilliance expert author James Bauer explains why this common but misguided dating advice can actually backfire on you. He also gives some fantastic advice on how to banish those nervous habits.