I Tried It Tuesday: Eye Contact and A Smileby Erin Scottberg on August 23, 2011
The other day I asked Thomas Edwards, a good friend of HowAboutWe and a professional wingman (he “winged” Date Report writer Scott on a night out in New York recently) “What’s the best way to get a guy you think’s cute to talk to you?”
He looked at me like I was asking something absurdly easy. Like how to make ice.
“That’s simple,” he said. “Make eye contact and smile.”
To give you some context: that’s me, to the left, making eye contact.
It’s one of the most classic pieces of flirting “advice” out there. In theory, it’s not difficult: A smile’s easy to give, and eye contact isn’t hard to make. But both at the same time? To me, it’s like rubbing your belly and patting your head simultaneously. With enough thought, it’s possible, but it just feels so silly. And deliberate. And awkward. So why bother?
Because it works. Thomas explained why: “Remember, guys need the visual confirmation that it’s ok to go say hi so he can be encouraged to do so. Eye contact and a smile will let men know you are warm and approachable.”
Broken down like that, it made sense. So I gave it a shot. Here’s a play-by-play:
Scene: I’m at a very relaxed local bar, enjoying a beer on the back patio with some friends.
Target: A taller guy with dark hair in a white t-shirt. He was wearing his hair pushed back a bit, so we’ll call him Pony Boy.
The Ploy: He’s standing up talking to his friends across the patio. I make eye contact. This is where under normal circumstances, I’d awkwardly look away with a scowl — I’d been “caught.” But remembering Thomas’ advice, I locked eyes with Pony Boy for a full two seconds. I even managed to turn up a smile. This is a big deal for me. I can do the eye contact thing — I’m great at staring at people — but it’s controlling what’s going on with the rest of my face at the same time that I struggle with. But I somehow pulled it off.
And guess what. He smiled back! With a cute little eyebrow-raise, too. As if he was saying, “How did I get so lucky to catch your attention?”
With a smug smile — I was pretty proud of myself — I looked away and avoided so much as glancing in his general direction. Baby steps.
Now I could just end it here and call it a success, but not yet.
A bit later, I got up to get another round. As I climbed the patio stairs, Pony Boy got up from his table (it was obvious he’d been waiting for a chance like this), tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could buy me a drink.
So here’s the lesson: “Showing warmth” works. In actuality, smiling isn’t that hard and it’s super effective. Do it more often.
Now, let me ask you guys this:
Ladies — is this common knowledge that I just never knew? Like, have I been “making ice” the wrong way all this time? Or is this foreign to you, too?
Gents — Obviously, you’re not going to jump after just any girl who smiles and makes eye contact with you. There has to be some mutual attraction. And even then, you may not, by nature, be as forward as Pony Boy. So does this kind of non-verbal cue really have any affect on whether you approach a lady?