Why do I feel "creepy" about expressing attraction to someone? Won't that turn them off, piss them off or make them think I'm some kind of pervert?
Once I began dating in earnest, I discovered that I had somehow developed a shame around expressing attraction.
In my head, the story was that no woman wants to be treated like a piece of meat. And because I don't know really anything about her on the first meeting, except her physical characteristics, me walking up and expressing attraction immediately seemed sexual, and therefore somehow creepy.
In my head, the scenario played out like this...
I see a hot girl at the cafe. My dopamine fires up, I immediately want to say something nice to her. Compliment her, start a conversation somehow.
I immediately think, "what do I know about her, that I can compliment her on?"
I notice her hair, her face, her breasts, her slim attractively toned body.
None of that seems appropriate.
I imagine trying to compliment any of those things, maybe...
"You look very beautiful."
"Wow, you must go to the gym a lot."
"You're so fit, are you a dancer?"
"You're one of the most beautiful women I've seen today."
In my mind, all of these would be received poorly.
They might give me a suspicious grimace, at best. At worst, I get smacked or kicked in the nuts. Or doused in coffee.
In my head, it somehow seemed wrong to express attraction, and it seemed disrespectful or inappropriate.
But when I sat down and thought about it, I could clearly see that this was bullshit. I don't know exactly where it came from, but rationally... I could easily call bullshit on specific limiting beliefs.
Let's do that now.
BS #1. Women don't like to be appreciated sexually.
Every day, I see women spend hours on makeup, far more on clothing than I can bear. They wear high heels, do yoga classes, bust it at the gym, spend tons on their hair, nails, push up bras.
How about waxing? How keen are you on regular waxing?
( I'm looking at you, Dave ).
Women do it. And that's just the beginning. What about body modifications and plastic surgery?
If you think, for one second, that women do not want to be appreciated sexually, than you are blind. Don't feel bad, I was too. What's inside your head is always "stronger and more real-seeming" than reality itself.
BS #2. When I first notice a woman, I don't know anything about her, except physically.
Actually, I know a lot. I probably know a bit about her sense of fashion or style. Maybe where she's just been, or where she's just going- is she dressed for gym? work? study? I see who she's with. Maybe what coffee she's ordered. How her voice sounds. How she moves. How she smells. What she's reading. I actually know a lot of non-sexual things about her, that I may find interesting.
Just because my male mammal brain has firmly drawn my attention to certain physical characteristics, doesn't mean that's all I know.
Therefore, me expressing attraction and interest doesn't need to be centered directly on sexual points of interest. And even if I do choose to center it on those, will all women consider that offensive?
I guarantee, many will like it. And, you can deliver sexually-charged compliments very appropriately, with simple practice, awareness, and respect.
BS #3. Women are different from me, in their appreciation of sexual compliments.
Let's turn this around for a moment. Do you appreciate compliments about your body? How about directly sexual compliments?
"You've got a great body!"
( slap on the butt )
( direct, intense, sexually charged eye contact )
( a flirty smile )
I won't speak for you, but if you're like me then the answer is...
When someone expresses attraction to me, I love it.
The powerful gift of an honest compliment
It's a wonderful feeling to be noticed. It's a wonderful feeling to be complimented. As long as the intentions are true.
And giving if someone walks up to me and says,
Hey, man, you look great today ...
can you spare $1?
That would annoy me because I would clearly see that the compliment was fake and simply designed to get attention. Even if it was honest ( doubtful ), it was manipulative.
But an honest compliment that asks for nothing in return, has immense power.
I remember honest compliments even from when I was a teenager... silly, meaningless situations, that still stick with me.
Let me reminisce on a few to illustrate...
One time I was running outside, turned a corner and caught a guy by surprise. He just stopped and blurted out, "Wow, you look like a quarter horse."
Probably I did. I was decently muscly, had a nice sheen of sweat and was busting my butt on this run. It felt great. I felt alive. It was a great analogy. And I never forgot it. It gave me a new image to aspire to while I was running.
That was 30 years ago.
Another time, I was standing in a building lobby at work at Encyclopedia Britannica. And a huge guy backed into me by accident. Somehow he bounced off of me, and he turned around in shock and surprise, apologizing profusely.
And then he stopped and looked at me and he said, "Man, that was like running into a tree." I laughed. But I still remember it.
That was almost 20 years ago.
I still remember when a girl yelled at me from a car window, while I was running down the street. I didn't understand what she said, but her car got stopped at the light, so I walked up and said hi. Her car mate leaned over and said "she said she wants to sleep with you."
I remember when women make intense eye contact, which seems to say oh so much more about their level of interest.
If I remember these honest compliments, and expressions of honest attraction so fondly, why wouldn't a woman remember my honest expressions of attraction, just as fondly?
The realization that I can do this for someone with all of a second of effort is shocking.
I should absolutely be expressing attraction every moment I can to everyone who I feel it towards.
So I began exploring this to see if it was true.
How women react to my honest expressions of attraction
So far, my theory that women fully appreciate honest expressions of attraction has proven to be absolutely true.
I have never yet seen a negative reaction to my open, honest, respectful expression of attraction.
Even expressing attraction to someone who I then discover is married, and therefore entirely unavailable to me, has always been met with appreciation. Even in these situations, our relationship after that grows tremendously.
Several of my best friends now happen to be women who I initially expressed my attraction to.
Here's the key- I've learned to never expect anything. Most of the time, nothing will "happen". And that's totally fine.
She'll walk away with a smile on her lips, feeling appreciated.
And you'll walk away with a smile that she enjoyed it, and you were courageous.
Both of your lives are now, in some small way, better than they were 5 minutes ago.
It's that simple.
How has expressing attraction changed me?
Much more interesting though, is that how practicing honest expressions of attraction has changed me.
The internal reward.
First of all, I no longer feel expressing attraction is wrong. I've lost so much of my shame regarding it. I also lost the sense that it would somehow be unappreciated or could even be offensive.
My own smoothness and ease of communicating my attraction have improved greatly as my shame around it was worn away.
Now, sometimes, I realize that to not express what I'm feeling, is wrong.
If anything, not living by my values is the one thing I want to feel shame about.
Because for me to be inauthentic, is simply wrong for what I want in my life.
Now, if you ask my why I express attraction, I give two reasons;
- It's true, it's me, and I love being me. That means I need to embrace it, and be authentic.
- Courage has always brought wonders into my life. Step through the limiting beliefs and see whats on the other side.
- Almost every time, I make someone else's day better. Sometimes much, much better.
The reason I express attraction is because I love who I am. I like the thoughts that come into my head. I like practicing my values because they allow me to be me.
When I feel attraction to someone, the best way I can be me is by honestly expressing that. So far, this approach to life has never steered me wrong.
I'm not doing it to get their attention. And, honestly I don't really care what they think about my attraction for them. I just like sharing it.
Are you struggling to express attraction?
If you struggle with expressing attraction, the question you need to ask is...
Why am I expressing attraction to begin with?
If it's to get something from someone else, even a little bit, then you have already lost, and this is the basis of your shame.
No one wants needy, outcome-based, manipulative people in their world.
And you definitely don't want to BE that guy.
This is the shame you're feeling.
But - if you're expressing attraction purely to give from your own heart, and to get respect from yourself only - then you cannot lose.
When you are fully in this mindset, expressing attraction will always feel like the right thing to do because it is simply being the most authentic version of you.
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