Many guys I work with as a coach are terrified of creeping women out. It goes so far that they try to stay extra safe just so they don’t run any chance of being perceived as creepy.
- They don’t hold eye contact in order to avoid the risk of staring.
- They wait for the perfect moment before starting a conversation with a woman they like.
- They don’t touch their date even when they flirt.
- They avoid talking about sex because it could make her uncomfortable.
- They are standing at a “safe distance” while talking to a girl they like so they don’t invade her personal space.
The above examples are all common ways men try to avoid coming across as creepy or rude. And by behaving like that they creep women the fuck out.
Creepy is a safety mechanism
Different women find different things creepy, but there is a common denominator: Creepy is what poses a potential rape or murder threat to us. Clearly, a nice guy who is so concerned about a woman’s feelings that he’s trying hard not to creep her out is probably not dangerous in any way, but that doesn’t matter.
Our friend Howie Reith explains the phenomenon beautifully in his brilliant book The Hot Guyde:
Imagine you’re in a world filled with men, but not the men you’re used to. Every man in this world is a seven-foot-tall, 270-pound linebacker. Despite your smaller frame, your culture encourages you to dress in skin-tight, constricting clothing and walk in shoes that put you off balance.
As you walk into a bar, all of these massive men turn their heads and stare at you. You know from experience that most of them want to sleep with you, and chances are you want to sleep with some of them too, but not all of them.
You order a drink, and several of these guys come talk to you. Some of them stumble over their words and have shifty eyes. Some of them blurt out canned routines. Some of them insult you. When you reject them, some of them call you a bitch.
You’re also aware that under the right circumstances, even though such men are reviled, and even though there are laws to protect you, some of these men would rape you. This dynamic characterizes your entire life— at work, in coffee shops, on the street, and at school. How does this make you feel?
You see, if a woman wants to stay safe, she better finds a trusty system to weed out the potentially harmful guys. This sophisticated system is called intuition and women have got heaps of it.
Intuition surfaces as this strange feeling in your stomach that tells you to get the fuck away from the drunk loner at the bar who keeps looking over but shies away as soon as you look at him.
The main reason men trigger this uncomfortable feeling in women is by behaving incongruently. In other words, it creeps women out when a guy is interested in them but tries to hide it. Plus, it’s unattractive.
Imagine you just spotted a cute girl at an event. You want to get to know her but are too shy to talk to her right away. To feel better, you tell yourself that it’s rude to cold approach someone in this situation, so you’ll just wait for the right moment: “I’ll maybe talk to her when she is getting her coat or when she is waiting for a cab,” you think. So you stay close and observe her in order to not let your chance pass by.
Congrats! You are officially acting super creepy.
Paradoxically, by trying not to be rude and creepy you acted like a stalker with rape tendencies. Good intentions often yield horrible results.
What is the cure?
If hiding your intentions can come across as creepy to women, obviously, openly showing your intentions is a better strategy.
In more practical terms:
A guy who tells a woman he just met, “I want to take you home tonight,” is probably an asshole, but he is an asshole she knows about and can decide to stay clear from – or not.
A guy who follows her around all night like the main character from Assassin’s Creed just to approach her with, “I noticed you at the party. You look so gorgeous,” is much more difficult to size up and thus triggers the ‘creep response’ in her.
So from now on, make your intentions clear.
You don’t have to be over direct and throw out all manners and social protocol, like the guy in the first example. But if you like a girl and can’t help but look at her because she is just so damn beautiful, then you better make sure you talk to her before she releases the safety on the pepper spray in her coat pocket.
Of course, just because you see a beautiful woman somewhere doesn’t mean you have to act on it. It’s perfectly fine to not chase after every hot girl. But if you decide against doing something about it, then you also decide against constantly looking over and against searching her on Facebook. Either act on your attraction by showing intent or leave it be altogether.
I realize that a lot of guys have intense anxiety around showing intent. Putting your cards on the table can be scary – for men and women, by the way. So how can you communicate intent despite these unwanted emotions?
Intent despite anxiety
Your main vehicle for showing intent is speaking your mind.
When you are struck by a woman’s beauty and can’t muster up any clever words to say, you can just talk frankly and tell her: “Damn, I’m usually not lost for words, but you are so incredibly beautiful.”
Speaking your mind like that requires some practice. At first, many guys don’t even know what is going on in their mind. If that is you then this is your starting point. Practice becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions and express them verbally.
A good exercise for this is setting a reminder a few times a day and every time it goes off you say out loud what you are thinking and how you are feeling in the moment.
Once you have become good at this (shouldn’t take you more than a week or so) all that’s left to do is practice. So get social, go to a speed dating event, book a cruise, do some wine tasting, join a class,… Training your ability to speak your mind will improve the results you get in dating like few other things.
What else can you do to eliminate creepiness?
Look people in the eyes. Eye contact can be a great way to show intent. But it can also be easily misunderstood. That’s why I recommend that you always follow up eye contact with conversation.
Look over to her and smile when she looks back at you. Then walk over and say what comes to mind. Seriously! Try to have nothing prepared before you open your mouth. Trust me, she will be impressed! Few guys have the guts to do this, so you’ll have a big bonus even before you have said a single word.
Most guys look at beautiful women but never do anything about it. This makes us really uncomfortable! Imagine people looking at you all the time, observing your every single move.
So ask yourself when you make eye contact with someone: Do I want to get to know this person? If yes, act immediately and start a conversation. If no, stop looking at her!
I’ve got one last piece of advice: Stop yourself from being afraid of acting creepy! You have come to this site, which probably means you are a nice and intelligent guy who truly loves and respects women. Thus, chances are that no matter what you do you’ll never come across as creepy as long as you don’t hide your intentions.
Often, in psychological matters, what we try to avoid is what we create. This is especially true for creepiness. So make sure you prevent yourself from constantly thinking about whether or not you are creeping others out and, instead, try to stay in the moment by conversing and having fun.