Eye Contact Part 2: The Secret Language of AttractionPosted: July 23, 2011
We’ve all seen it before. Two people meet eyes across a crowded room. All the distractions of the environment seem to fade out. The focus on each other is intense. A Carpenters song starts playing in the background. This is Hollywood’s cliché way of reproducing a moment that happens a million times a day all across the world. Yet when it actually does happen to us it feels magical and exclusive, a moment destined to be. What many of us don’t realize is that this moment is happening all the time, only we fail to recognize it.
Eye contact is traditionally how people first reveal their attraction towards each other. Sure there are plenty of interesting and clever, if not cheesy ways to meet that stranger we are attracted to, yet a dance of intimate glances followed by a basic introduction is still how most people connect. It works just as well today as it always has, and why shouldn’t it? The attraction mechanisms in our brains predate internet dating, singles mixers, happy hour, nightclubs, pickup lines, dowries, or even language by a long shot. Sometimes simple, tried and true traditions work best.
Why does eye contact work so well for attracting a mate? From a woman’s perspective your eye contact is the first revelation into your character, and more importantly your confidence. As we know, confidence is at the top of the list of traits women find sexy and attractive, but how are they able to accurately determine whether or not you have it? Confidence can easily be faked with your words and attitude, but not so easily with its physical manifestations in your body language and non-verbal communication, of which your eyes are a key component. These honest signals…overt yet unconscious traits that are difficult for the possessor to fake…are the “tells” that effectively reveal your internal state. Women recognize these signals and can instantly ascertain whether you are genuinely confident or simply faking it. Of all these honest signals, strong eye contact is arguably the quickest and most reliable in assessing a man’s confidence. If your mediocre eye contact reveals that you are awkward or insecure it won’t matter what you say to her…she knows everything she needs to and already put you into the “just friends” category at best. However, if your eyes reveal a strong, calm confidence then the interaction can take a very different turn.
A man that can hold the intensity of direct eye contact is attractive because he is rare. Most men will cave to the tension and look away, as strong eye contact is difficult to maintain if you do not have the confidence to back it up (thus making it an honest signal). If you can hold her gaze and relax into it you are showing her that you’re comfortable with sexual tension, and thus have the confidence to handle her. At times this confidence alone can get women to open up to you and even approach you. I will never forget the first time I experienced this. I was in a bar shooting pool as an attractive gal strolls through the doorway and our eyes immediately met. We both held our gaze as she walked past, all the while turning her head more toward me. By the time she was about to run into a wall she does this huge U-turn in the middle of the bar, proceeds to slink right up into my arms and a ask me what my name was. My friend looks up from his shot and starts scratching his head wondering what the hell just happened! It looked and felt like a powerful electromagnet was pulling her in, and all I did was hold her eye contact. No fancy lines or tricks…just a display of relaxed masculine confidence.
While most women will not approach you, or even lock eyes with you for that matter, they will make it known when they are interested in you. This happens far more often than most men think. Women are not only much more sensitive than men to the subtle emotional cues and nonverbal signals of others, they also have the ability to read social situations like Zen masters. For this reason they are very subtle when sending their own nonverbal communication. The disconnect here is that most men are not sensitive to reading these signals and commonly misinterpret social cues. What seems like a rescue flare lighting up the sky to a woman often barely makes a blip on most men’s radar. (Yes ladies, many of us are that oblivious!) The good news is that a little awareness goes a long way, and if you start looking for the subtle eye contact cues women are already sending you a whole new realm of possibilities will open up.
What exactly do these cues look like? With most women, she’ll meet your eyes with a slightly held glance, usually no more than a second or two, followed by her disengaging to release the tension created by the fact that you are strangers. What happens next is the most significant piece of the interaction: within the next 45 to 60 seconds she’ll look back at you. She does this as soon as she feels secure that the tension has cleared away, and more often than not you will look back at the same time and catch her eyes. This natural rhythm created in your glances is the two of you simultaneously feeling the tension dissipate, with you both going in for a second look once it has faded. At this point her expression will tell you if she wants to continue the interaction. Sometimes she will not be able to for various reasons…she’s with her boyfriend or children, married, doesn’t have time or is simply too nervous. It is up to you as a man to recognize what she is feeling and act accordingly. If she gives you the same look of curiosity (or an even more inviting one) this is the equivalent of her flashing you a big green light while shouting “Come over here and talk to me…I’m intrigued!” Few women go further out on the limb than that and rarely give out a third or fourth chance; to them this nonverbal communication couldn’t be clearer. By not approaching you essentially are rejecting her while simultaneously telling her “I’m not confident enough for you.” Many women use this as a way to filter men out, because they want a man who is not only confident enough to act in the face of this social pressure, but also sensitive enough to read her emotions. This is the socially programmed archetypal meeting that so many women have been imagining since they were little girls, the very same one that sells millions of movie tickets and romance novels every year. It also is the standard that you are being evaluated against.
Here are a few guidelines to increase your success in connecting via eye contact:
- It’s not about the words. Nonverbal communication is far more important than the words you use, for it is the context of your word’s content. This is especially true when talking to women because of their higher capacity for reading emotional cues.
- Always be relaxed. If you are not relaxed and don’t look somewhat friendly, you’ll come off as creepy and look like a stalker. The easiest way to avoid this is to smile. I myself prefer a half-smile, as it adds a hint of mystery and doesn’t release all of the sexual tension…all of which are good things.
- Congruence counts. Even though eye contact alone is very powerful, if the rest of your body language is not congruent with your confidence you will be sending very confusing mixed signals and look sketchy.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Avoid breaking eye contact first when possible. If you have to, never do so by looking down. This is a very submissive move and thus entirely unattractive. Shyness can be cute in the movies, but it rarely works in real life.
- Lose the shades. You can’t interact with another’s eyes if they can’t see yours in the first place. Many of the hottest women intentionally wear large dark glasses to keep guys from approaching them, so ladies, if that is not your intention this applies to you doubly so!
- Take action despite doubt. You think that cute gal there gave you a look, but you can’t be sure. Odds are your self-doubt is calling the shots here and keeping you from what you want. Act in the face of your fear and you will gain even more confidence as the payoff, even if you are wrong (and chances are you are not!)
The lesson to be learned here is that if you pay attention, pick up on these signals and approach the women who are giving you the green light then your success with meeting women will skyrocket. There are women out there already saying “yes” to you with their eyes. This is the secret language of attraction…you just have to be open and aware enough to be receptive to it and act on these invitations. Once you do the world will begin to look like a much better place!
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