Thursday, December 22, 2011

The More Confident He Is, The Less He Likes You

I recently had the following conversation with a friend of mine:
"Dude, that girl I really liked - remember, the one from the beach? She resurfaced the other day. She texted me out of the blue. She is going to be in town for the holidays."
"Really? The half-Italian girl? She was pretty hot if I remember correctly. That's cool, but be careful with it - I've had girls I was into resurface like that before, and it's tough. This time you have to have complete control of the situation - show no weakness."
"Yeah man, I know. It's just hard to do that. I am trying to keeping my expectations low this time. I know I need to act around her the way I act around girls that are way into me. It's just so much more easily said than done..."
"I hear ya man. That's the irony of it all. When I am really into a girl, I somehow fuck it up. When I don't care at all, they fall in love with me. It sucks."
I am sure most people can identify with the sentiment, because the same phenomenon happens among women. It is partially the result of what one amusingly accurate website calls "ladder theory," whereby both sexes are constantly trying to attract the best possible mate of the opposite sex. In other words, it is a by-product of the fact that most single people are constantly trying to play out of their league. So maybe the girl that resurfaced in my life recently is simply too good for me, and my attempts to attract her are futile, even if I play my cards right.

However, irrespective of a guy's true value, there is no denying that there is also a large element of control involved: guys can either play their cards right, or "fuck it up," and their ability to do one or the other is closely linked to their confidence. So, for example, even though I might actually be out of this girl's league, the fact that I think she is a ten will initially make it harder for me to demonstrate my true value to her, since I will be less confident in her presence.

I don't think this is news to most people. What I really want to point out is the implication for women:
If a guy is genuinely very confident around you, he probably doesn't feel a strong attraction to you. If he is nervous or awkward around you, he is probably very attracted to you. These are the extremes of a linear scale, so that you can conclude that his confidence is proportional to his indifference.

This seems obvious, particularly the second point. But time and time again I see girls get their hopes up about the fact that a really hot guy gives her attention, even though the quality of that same attention should actually be a warning sign that he isn't that into her. (And anyway, if he is the rare exception to the rule and really is genuinely confident, even around women he really likes, playing a little hard to get won't dissuade him from trying again.)

The best way to judge his confidence is by contrasting his behavior towards you with his behavior towards others, since he could be generally confident, or generally shy. You should also be wary of false confidence, which some men put on when they are interacting with a girl they think is out of their league. Most women can pick up on this intuitively, but it usually manifests itself as excessive cockiness or excessive teasing, and frequently can be read in his body language. Finally, try to judge his actions when he is sober, since alcohol changes the way he acts and usually boosts his confidence.

(Note that over time, he may become comfortable around you and his confidence may grow. This post applies mostly to initial interactions.)

30 comments:

  1. What do you make of a situation where the confidence(I believe it was a false confidence to begin with, a show if you will) has waned. He now acts lesser confident/awkward: doesn't say hi, little to no eye contact, nervousness.

    I have resorted to pretty much ignoring him and being myself with everyone else. How do get the upper hand in the situation or at least get a gauge of his interest?

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  2. what would you say about a guy who seems like he is trying very hard to impress you, and acting cocky?

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  3. "What do you make of a situation where the confidence(I believe it was a false confidence to begin with, a show if you will) has waned... How do get the upper hand in the situation or at least get a gauge of his interest?"

    You already have the upper hand, and you know he is interested due to his nervousness around you.

    If you still like him, ignoring him is the wrong way to get him. You actually need to encourage him, and initiate yourself. The whole idea of not initiating is a defensive strategy, which usually is the natural trend of things, since men are normally on the offense. However, because you are (and IF you are) actually interested in a guy that is not taking the offensive position anymore, the rules actually change slightly. I wouldn't assume the offensive role indefinitely, tough; just encourage him enough to let him know that he can assume it again himself. Once he starts taking the initiative, you can fall back into being pursued, though don't make it difficult for him unless you start to get the impression that he might have changed his mind and might not like you anymore.

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  4. "what would you say about a guy who seems like he is trying very hard to impress you, and acting cocky?"

    I would say he likes you, but it is hard to say how much he likes you. This is what I meant when I said "You should also be wary of false confidence, which some men put on when they are interacting with a girl they think is out of their league."

    If you like him, follow the advice I give in the comment above: make it easy for him until he gets comfortable (you will probably see him start being less cocky but more naturally confident when this happens), and then start to gauge his interest by making him initiate, etc.

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  5. can you give me some good examples of offensive strategy things I can do to get his attention and make him feel comfortable? I mostly see him in peer settings or at his work. Is touching okay? We have hugged a few times before, his initiative. I thought about coming up behind him and scratching his back. Or maybe when I catch his attention, when we haven't had a chance to take yet and do a small wave. I want to do something sexy and alluring.

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  6. It depends so much on the situation (especially when it is in a professional setting) that I can't really say what would be appropriate/effective. I think it is more important that you embrace the message of this post

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  7. You make some pretty gross presumptions here.

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  8. Do you feel the same way about women?
    I get a tad shy around guys I like. If it's not serious, it's fine. Last year, I met a guy, and the first time we met he said something (a comment about how my name resembled a pet name), I blushed, he smiled and he still seemed interested. Later on, he mentioned how I seemed "shy" but I got the impression he found it attractive.
    But it bothers me that I get insecure around a guy I like. I care too much what he thinks of me, and if he's caught my interest, it doesn't matter if he's objectively "below my league". I find myself always being extremely self-conscious around a guy I like. I question if there is a remote possibility that he likes my friend more than me, even if he has shown no interest in her. If he has me on facebook, I'm worried he'll find my sister. She's 'objectively' about the same league as me, but there is a chance he'll find her more attractive.
    I don't know why I feel this way. I am known as a "hot girl" at school and I generally get a lot of attention in bars/clubs. I was a nerd growing up, and I feel like I'll never get the confidence of a girl who's been "hot" all along. Do you have any tips? Even if my shyness and insecurity doesn't directly affect my chances with men, it's an inconvenience for me personally.

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    1. Read this post: Learn How to Be Social

      Insecurity can affect your chances with men. Men don't need a woman to be socially dominant, but they do want someone who is fluid in social settings and can have fun. Extroversion and openness are female qualities that most men find attractive. If you can exercise them, do so. The post linked above should help.

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  9. Could you help me understand this one guy I know,please,as I need a little help on what to think.We met each other at the same time he went through a divorce and kinda became friendly,but we both seem to be attracted to each other.He has been divorced about a year now and I have to say does not seem to be taking it to well.About 6 months ago he said he just wanted to be friends with me when I asked him what was up with him talking to me.Well,6 months later he is still talking to me and even seems to be trying to spend time around me.There is still an attraction there,and I am pretty sure for us both.My question is,is he thinking about me maybe being dating potential,or is he just a friend?He knows very well that I am a long term kinda girl who has never been easy for anyone.

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    1. Your a rebound. Wtf is it with women who fall for the sad gutless divorced coward how is that hot ?

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  10. What if he doesn't talk to girls in general and acts awkward around most girls, but one? As in he teases this particular girl lightly and has a normal conversation with her without being as awkward as he is when he talks to all the other girls...

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    1. Then he feels comfortable with you because he views himself as better than you Unfortunatley. Nice friend to have but that's all don't hope for anything further unless you want to be the submissive lower type.

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  11. I like this guy at work. I'm a manager, he's not, and he's not directly a subordinate. He seems really cocky and is always joking and poking fun with other colleagues.He does this with other managers as well.
    With me he's always so formal or worse , ignores me. I find him staring at me, listing to my conversations. He seeks eye contact, but I like him so much that I avoid it for fear of it being seen by others. If we are in the same room we can't even get words out. If I say hello, he replies when he's already past me. The whole thing makes me want to cry. I just want to go up to him and shake him. I'm very sociable. I feel like writing him on Facebook, but it seems childish. Help!!

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  12. Ask him for his personal email and then ask him in an email out for a drink. At the cafe, say, "Sorry for the subterfuge, but it's not appropriate for me to say this at the office. I would like to explore a dating relationship with you, and I think you feel the same way. What do you think about that?" He'll either fall over with shock, or you'll watch him exhale and immediately start to transition into the guy he is with others. If he mans up and starts acting in the way you like, tell him to ask you out for a second date. On the second date he should pick you up at home. You have to transition him from his office-subordinate role to dating-superordinate role.

    Be very careful you aren't violating company HR policies. Normally these are only enforced against men, but you never know. Your guy may be terrified of violating policy, incidentally, in addition to crushing on you. Because a single sexual harassment charge by your HR people will ruin him in his current job. Companies regularly ruin men for precisely the interest that you, as a woman, are expressing. So aside from not wanting to embarrass himself by misreading your interest in him, he may be doubly shy because your company kicks the crap out of guys who get involved in office romances.

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  13. I know he likes me. He gets nervouse and his face goes bright red. Hes then embarrassed about his Red face.
    He looks at me and if I see him he turns away quickly and his face is bright red. He is also aware of how I feel/look. He said *you are tiered tonight* in the middle of a class. He texts to see if Im okay if I have had a bad day. He has also started to place his hands on me. Not in any Pervy way. The problem is im so shy and do into him I crumble when he's near me. Hedis usually very confident around others but he crumbles near me. I don't know how to move on from here.

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    1. I would say, spend as much time with each other as possible - "force" yourselves to do it. See it as a "fear" that you have to face and overcome - and you will overcome it if both of you are willing to. This way, you will get more and more comfortable with each other with time.
      Good luck!! :-)

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  14. I think it all depends on the way you approach the situation, lowering one's expectation might not be right approach to it.

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  15. This is on the dot. I've misread awkward and nervous guys as uninterested when they were incredibly so and misread confident guys as being super interested. Rarely do guys respond with very natural confidence when they give a crap. Wondering if he doesn't care at all or is nervous and awkward because he likes you? My favorite way to tell is shown by this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qcr9r15rXo. Men are just as confusing as we are.

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  16. Can you please help me and answer to your best knowledge.
    There is this guy and we were talkin, and we also met. He told me that I make him feel nervous and uncomfortable. After that there was no communication. He was trying to totally ignore me. (and I did like the guy)
    After some time(months) we started communicating again.
    Can you please explain why would he be nervous and uncomfortable around me that he even accepts it? and why would he ignore me. Is it a possible dislike?
    Please answer.

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  17. Would you consider a man making extended eye contact indicating a wish for conversation/ instant attraction a confident gesture or a nervous one if he never speaks to you? This is also in classroom settings in a collegiate environment.

    Also, how do you make it easier for a man attracted to you at the gym to approach you? For instance, if they make fleeting yet purposeful eye contact numerous times and follow you from a gym room to the next, how are you supposed to indicate you'd be amenable to conversation?

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  18. So Theres a guy in my math class. We hit it off pretty well. We started flirting a lot actually he always tried to get my attention. I really really liked him until he got a new phone. Well, He got the iphone 5s and on his homescreen background i saw a girl most likely posing in the mirror as his background. it seemed to me it was his gf? well after i saw that, i didnt think i was supposed to see it. After that, it became very awkward, we talk less, its kinda hard to even greet each other in class anymore, it takes time to say hi to each other because we're both waiting on each other to say hi first. He even sits next to me. i don't know what's happening. I don't want to ask him because i don't want him to know that I "care". Any advice? did i read mixed signals wrong? should I friendzone him first? or keep trying?

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    1. it's probably all in your head that it's now awkward. like it's only awkward on your end but you're projecting your awkward feelings onto him, so he's vibing awk off of your awkward vibes. he probably has no clue that you even saw his home screen and even if he knew, and you kept acting normally, he would have kept acting normally too (flirting etc.). he sounds like a player type, keep flirting with him if you want to be one of like five girls, or his side chick.

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  19. Hi i need advice !, it doesnt mibd who can help me, i give u guys a background of this, im a average a bit ugly girl, i would say ugly, and this guy who is totally hot, sseems to be always uncomfortable around me, he even asked somebody else, didnt work out, hes always nice to me, when we talked gets red, he blushes n stuff, when we when out once, and i came closer and he was soo awkard it hurts, one more thing remeber that move twiligth when the wolf sees da baby that is supose to be his bride, he gaveme that look!!, so my question is can someone like u for who u r, or is he a retard???, thanxss

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  20. I loooove your blog in general and this post in particular. Soo helpful. I have a question though. The ladder theory applies to me exactly...I'm a girl who is talkative around everyone but shy around guys I like.

    I've met this guy who really seemed to like me. He was "chasing" me, and I snubbed him...three times. He was very awkward around me but obviously interested, and I sort of thought he was a loser.
    I didn't realize I liked him back until after I had snubbed him the third time. I basically gave off the message that I never wanted to see him again.
    Well, I then added him on Facebook (we have mutual friends), and he immediately accepted. I 'liked' someof his posts [and an old photo...oops?]. Meaning to (indirectly) apologize for my earlier behavior, I messaged him on Chat. I was slightly tipsy at the time.
    It was VERY awkward. Because I now liked him, I was very embarassed, and I think I said the wrong thing acouple of times. At the start I thought he acted a bit offended but then he seemed kind of excited (lots of exclamation marks). I was very formal. There were awkward silences in between, I think he wasn't sure what to say to me so I took his 'excitement' as fake. Soon after I said I had to go and he was very nice but didn't try to stop me. I figured he'd lost interest.
    BUT when I was sober I looked at the conversation again and realized he made a couple of blunders himself -- like apologizing for saying the wrong thing (he thought) when it took me a few minutes to reply and thanking me for saying something nice to him that wasn't actually meant as a compliment. He was definitely nervous.
    Does that mean he might still like me? Even though I was as awkward as he was and maybe came off as a creep? Or was he just scared of me because he thinks I'm a creepy stalker?
    Thanks in advance. XXX

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  21. What if a guy was very confident when we first met, and now after a few dates, is more nervous? Met this guy, very smooth from the get-go. Hung out a few times and this last time he seemed a little more self-concious and physically awkward (tripping, clumsy).

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    1. Probably because he was trying his hardest to mask his faults so that you would like him. However people can't help but reveal their faults the more you hangout with someone. More opportunities to to reveal their faults and you catch them off guard. I think we all do this because we want to impress the people that we see as impressive in our eyes.

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  22. I just found this post and it's so true!! This guy I dated, when I first met him, he seemed so shy and awkward. I'm a shy person and I didn't think I wanna be in a relationship with someone so much like me. He even told me how he used to be quite the bad boy when he was younger and the whole time I thought, "You?! Really?! You're not outgoing enough for that stuff."

    Anyway, I came to realize that he was indeed quite outgoing. He was very talkative (I would say he talked about 70% of our relationship and I stayed quiet a lot) and he was so comfortable striking a conversation with just about anyone. He admitted that he doesn't get nervous easily but I did it to him and I was actually very flattered. It is definitely the biggest sign I look for when meeting a new guy.

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  23. I need some advice! There is this guy who is talkative and quite flirty around other girls, but when he comes around me, he gets all stiffened up. He knows me well, but whenever he is around me, he gets fidgety, quiet, hands in his pockets and sways back and forth (when standing), and sometimes he will say hi to me, and other times, he ignores me. He can talk to (and flirt with) my friends just fine as well, but I can be a ghost to him at times. At some points in time, I catch him looking at me, but I'll look a diffrent way, but when I look back, he could either be looking at me, or already looking a diffrent direction. So what's the deal? Does he like me.....or nah?

    *Btw, he has a gf (she doesnt go to our school), but he still acts like this around me.

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