> When asked about flirting, most people – particularly men – focus on the verbal element: the ‘chatting-up’, the problems of knowing what to say, finding the right words, etc. In fact, the non- verbal element – body-language, tone of voice, etc. – is much more important, particularly in the initial stages of a flirtation. When you first meet new people, their initial impression of you will be based 55% on your appearance and body-language, 38% on your style of speaking and only 7% on what you actually say.
I can't be the only hacker in here who has wondered why a slickly produced shallow essay got more interest than the substantive essay printed on a static HTMl file set to 12 pt. Times New Roman/100% width. How Apple managed to succeed despite the respect of many an intelligent hardware enthusiast is a classic example.
This is partially related to attractiveness, yes, but all things being even, the presentation that is more thoughtfully welcome, accommodating, and empathetic...regardless of content...will have a surprisingly higher reach than we might expect
AFAIK, the 7%-38%-55% rule has been debunked. See also:
"Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking. Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like–dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable. Also see references 286 and 305 in Silent Messages – these are the original sources of my findings."
My female friends tell me that if a guy comes up to talk to them - your body language gives away that you're interested whether you know it or not. You don't have to say it. In fact, it can be awkward if you do say it right away without justifying it (e.g. 'you are hot' v. 'i like your aloofness').
Even the nerdiest person has thousands of years of built-in intuition that trumps all conscious analysis.
The hardest step, for me, is just putting yourself out there.
If you try to start a conversation in fight-or-flight mode, your body language will betray you, and it will either end quickly or carry on awkwardly.
If you receive a positive response at 4ft, move in to ‘arm’s length’ (about 2ft 6in)."
Reminds me of the "How To" Goofy cartoons -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxeL9bdSu-A&t=102
This is one of the most impressive conclusions the text comes to, because though the social climate absolutely leads itself to be a great place to flirt, I can only imagine the kind of people who would hit on me at the racetrack (or someones reaction when I tell them where I met my love).
"If you are mainly looking for flirting opportunities, . . . . seek out clubs full of happy, sociable under-achievers."
It's pure comedy gold, Jerry!
Having said that: I hate to stereotype, but I find us geeks (men) to be pretty bad at flirting. I don't know if a 26-page tome will solve that problem or not....
"1. Do initiate flirtation with people of roughly the same level of attractiveness as yourself.
2. Don’t flirt with people who are unlikely to return your interest."
But on the other hand, there's really no easy way out (writing about it, I mean). I've yet to find a more "practical" approach that doesn't read like either semi-useless and somewhat obvious statistics ("try to position yourself between 3 and 4 feet away from your flirting partner"), or just oozes sleaze ("pickup artists", ESR etc.). Getting technical about human beings and our social interaction works quite well in a clinical, observing manner, but once it's meant as actual practical advise, it's very easy to cross boundaries.
I know I'm a bit of an outlier, but it's sometimes good to be reminded that yes, you can try to flirt in this or that situation, or that X or Y are a good sign of flirting.
EDIT: Of course, this is mostly still good as a reminder, introduction, or to shatter misconceptions. The only way to really learn flirting, I've found, is the same as one would learn any other culture: by immersion. As someone whose approach to such things is less intuitive, immersion may be followed by analysis to extract explicit lessons from my experiences.
For shorter-term relationships (not implying anything), I've found best success with flirting with women considerably more attractive than myself. I've asked a number of my more attractive girlfriends why they were with an ugly schlub like myself and I get two common answers: Personality/humor/laid-backness is one, and the other is that it seems that the best looking ladies either don't get approached, or don't get approached with anything better than tired old pickup lines.
I do agree with their findings on pickup lines though. Some friends and I spent a few weeks testing out different ones (in the name of science, naturally), and I had, by a large margin, the most success with "Hi, I'm Barry. Can I buy you a drink?" -- obviously varied if I'm not somewhere I can buy a drink from.
They may be sleazy, but they're basically right.
I'm the stereotypical reclusive, clinically shy geek, but I've gotten past puberty, and stopped considering penetration to be the "end game". Note that those douchebags seem to be exclusively care about that, there's no "relationship artist" trade that I'm aware of.
The reason those books recommend going out multiple times a week, isn't to have that lifestyle per say, it's because that's the only way to accumulate enough hours at practicing these social interactions to internalize it. Once most people reach that point, they stop going to clubs and spending all that money. Then they use the skills they learned through trial-and-error on strangers to date people in their social circles.
If it's from sleazoid to sleazoid, okay, let them simmer in their own subcultural juices. But as you say, a part of the reader demographics is oriented towards the socially insecure, and there this approach can be damaging (and seems inherently exploitative to me). There are other books about this, from targetign the shyness angle to basic social interaction ("shmoozing") to flirting – or to bedroom performance, if you're concerned about that. You don't really have to reach for the "seduction community" shenanigans.
Apart from the moral/ethical angle, there's also little actual value in that part of the bookshelf, from what I have seen. It's bad self-help, coupled with huge amounts of self-promotion (to establish the required credibility of the author). I'm not saying that it doesn't work, mind you. Not necessarily because of the clever tricks and lingo, but because of the basic confidence boost. "You can do it!" is probably all a lot of people need. Just like lots of diets or GTD type of books work just by the customer deciding to watch what he's eating or trying to organize his life.
Still don't think you should hand your money to that sector of virtual wing men… Maybe all joking aside, we would benefit from a "advanced social skills" Hacker News (There's probably a subreddit for it already).
No one is advocating buying into their whole philosophy. But as I said in a parallel thread to this one, unfortunately those guys have developed the most accurate and detailed model for modern day social interactions that I've seen. After I knew what to look for in terms of body language, group dynamics, etc. the difference was night and day.
If you want to have a better understanding of all the intricacies of group dynamics, body language, etc. unfortunately I don't know of any other resource. Does it comes with a lot of BS and sleazy stuff attached? Yes, so just filter that out. But don't ignore it completely, you're doing yourself a disservice. A lot of the power dynamics and body language stuff applies to work situations as well btw...
Sorry, no citations here, just my personal experience, so believe what you want. But I can tell you its like night and day now that I know what to look for.
There is a newer "advanced" guide: http://www.sirc.org/publik/advanced_flirting.shtml
Note that the "advanced" guide almost doesn't have any of the HOWTO advice from the OP link, however I've read and would recommend to read both: the "advanced" guide helps put things in perspective.
Also, I think the following quote from the "advanced" version is brilliant:
The human species is addicted to rule-making. Every human
activity, without exception, including natural biological
functions such as eating and sex, is hedged about with
complex sets of rules and regulations, dictating where, when, with whom and what manner the activity may be performed. Animals just do these things; humans make an almighty song and dance about it: this is known as 'culture' or 'civilization'.
Once you do that, go out and use the body language you've learned to indicate flirting and assess other's reactions. Test, adjust, repeat. The hardest part is that you'll need to find a group of people whose opinion you don't care about until you're vaguely OK at it. I suggest parties, not bars or clubs, because they are the most conducive to the wide range of flirting you'll tend to want to master.
I had a very hard time with the ladies. Somethings that helped:
- Move to a place with a better male-female ratio.
- Move to a place where you seem like a good catch.
- Seek out women in different professions than tech (I am convinced there are too few geek girls to go around. I never realized how bad the odds were.)
That's it. Seriously. For me, it was about location-location-location. I firmly believe there are certain cities full of women who just tease - they string you along as friends but no more. If you have had no dating success in 1-2 years, you might be in a dating dead-zone.
Some things that helped (but I sucked at doing these):
- Good clothes (not by my definition but by a young woman's definition - these did not match at all. We're talking bright colors, shopping at Express ... this nearly brought a tear to my eye.)
- Good haircut (again, I thought I looked like an idiot ... the ladies really like it. Spiky hair=catnip?)
- Read "The Game" - it is not about pick ups. It is about confidence. Frankly, I think the same ideas described in this book for picking up women are used by so-called hustlers and suits in making business deals.
Heh ... maybe I should do a more detailed post on this one day. I clearly spent way too much thinking about this subject when I was single :p
Some important things:
a) DO NOT GET DEPRESSED! There are lots of losers out there. Getting with a loser is easy. One reason you are single is you want something better.
b) DON'T LOSE YOUR IDENTITY!! A lot of women described me as geeky when I was young. So what? I do what I love. That said, I'm okay compromising on clothes. However, when I dated women who wanted to change me completely, it was me who broke it off. That said, I do try to reduce my overall level of geekiness in front of strangers. Don't overwhelm them ;-)
c) DON'T GET DEPRESSED! When you are young, single and geeky, it might seems like the one thing you need to make life work is a mate. That's not true. Trust me. There are benefits to being single - like time to play video games, board games, travel on your own, hack around, read books, attend tech events, whatever you want. Never lose respect for yourself!
Best of luck to all my single, geeky HNers. I hope some of this will help.
tl;dr; Chrome's built-in PDF viewer has trouble with this file.
Their British Pub culture guide (http://www.sirc.org/publik/ptpintro.html) is the best and I think the only available research on the subject. It really helped me when I moved to the UK...
I wonder if there's somewhere out there where it's the reverse.
The "Countess Lovelace School of Young Ladies", where you learn proper ballroom etiquette and the language of the fan, plus a bit of SQL to work with your wardrobe database?
(Solving the "I've got nothing to wear" problem with a few self joins)