How to Avoid Looking Desperate

Desperation is not a good look on anyone, in any circumstance. It literally begs for charity, which comes from a place of lack and often inability to get by without some outside assistance. None of that screams confident man, and it probably isn’t reflective of your actual life circumstances. But for some reason even guys who have everything going for them can come off as a little desperate when it comes to relationships and picking up women in general. That might be appealing to a certain type of girl, but probably not the kind you’re actually after. Here are some ways to reframe your game to avoid looking desperate.

Don’t get all up her space.

It is completely appropriate and normal to walk up to a woman and introduce yourself or ask her out. But it should never be done in a way that’s physically forceful. In the more extreme examples, sometimes men do things like literally yank an arm, which is only a step up in unwanted aggression from like catcalling across the street. But even pressing into her and talking too close to her face can be a turn off, because you’re a stranger.

She’s equipped with a personal space bubble and anytime a stranger tries to enter it she’ll switch to hyper alert move as opposed to good naturedly taking in the person in front of her. That doesn’t mean she thinks you’re dangerous, but she does think you’re presumptuous to jump on her without considering that she has some boundaries to respect. (Or a boyfriend nearby.)

It can be loud in bars so sometimes you do have to get a little close to people, but you can tell the difference if you pay attention. If someone backs away and turns their body to avoid giving direct impact, respect that. Being forceful in a physical way always comes off as desperate or pushy and it’s hard to get past that.

It might be that you’ve seen the most beautiful woman in the world and have no doubts that you should sweep her up in your arms. But give her a minute to size you up.

Don’t overstay your welcome.

You don’t want to overstay your welcome with a woman right from the first hello. If she happens to be out with friends at the time or something it might be a situation where joining them feels like a natural step after you meet, but if there’s any question you might be better off letting your intentions be known, exchanging numbers, and then saying goodnight to all of them.

You can usually tell if the group is out on the prowl with the intention of meeting guys or if they’re having a girl night. Sometimes these girl nights are planned well in advance and we have something that just must be discussed, so we can be pretty dedicated to finishing what we started.

If you meet a woman in some other public setting  where she’s alone you don’t want to overstay your welcome either. She’s at the gym because she needs to get in a workout, and she’s at the drugstore because she needs tampons and lipstick. It doesn’t take much, if you’re polite and seem like an interesting/good looking person, we’ll probably exchange information. If we don’t, we’re not interested.

If you approach a woman and she shuts you down right off the bat she probably won’t be changing her mind about it, but if she were going to change her opinion she would not be swayed you trying to goad her into it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people try and convince me that I’m wrong to turn them down, which only quickly proves that my initial reaction was totally the right one.

If you actually believe that she should give you a chance, just say “well if you change your mind, here’s my info” and then hand her your name/number/Instagram, whatever you want. And yes if she doesn’t seem interested it’s better if you can actually write it down and hand it to her, asking her to get out her phone and put your info in it that she doesn’t even want is going to make her feel even more pressed upon.

But if you can tell that her no is resolute don’t let it set you off and ignite the desire to change her mind and win the battle, that’s not a dating tactic. Walk away and move on to a different woman, because at the end of the day you don’t want to go out with someone who doesn’t want you anyway. Think about it. The rejection part is super annoying but it also just helps weed out the wrong people. Keep it moving and you’ll more quickly come upon the right people.

Take the lead about making a date.

Once you have the girl’s number, then its time to figure out when to make contact and what to say. To be clear, being forward and confident in setting a date is not desperate. It’s nice to be asked out to do something that sounds like you spent a moment thinking it through.

What comes off as desperate is when you text without making plans, and try to feel through what she wants. She might suggest a time to do something but she might be expecting you to take that lead. If you make it seem like you’re available any day and want her to let you know when she’s available, that makes it sound like you don’t have anything going on and are just going to be sitting round waiting for her. True or not, she doesn’t need to know that.

It can be a bit of a process getting together for the first time with someone because if you suggest a day and she’s busy you have to suggest another right, but it’s the best way to do it. Or offer her up a couple days that you have free and ask if any of those would be open for her as well, since you’d love to take her out.

Stay in contact without dominating her phone time. You don’t want to completely leave her hanging and wondering about your intentions, but you also don’t want to jump into the level of relationship texting if you don’t actually have a relationship. Cover the basics but leave the good getting to know you stuff for the first date, which hopefully can happen that first week.

Go with the flow but be mindful of your pace.

Once you have her out you’ve made it over a few hurdles and you know that she’s at least slightly interested, so don’t be too nervous about what happens next. First dates are kind of loaded, but it’s only going one of two directions so you might as well enjoy it while it’s happening. If you know right way that you want something this person be mindful about the fact that they might not be in that mindset yet.

Planning things for a month down the line while you’re still on the first date can work, but it can also freak people out because it seems like you’re in a fast gear. Keep the planning to the second date, but wait a while into the first date to bring it up. The faster you move the more quickly people have to make decisions about other people in their life, commitment in general, what they have time for, etc. You want her to come up with the idea that she wants you on her own, without feeling like the relationship is moving forward just because you already decided that it should.

If she doesn’t seem interested on the first date, you might be inclined to lock in the next one to try and get another chance before she can officially say no. But if that’s your tactic you might actually be better off backing off for a few days and then trying to ask her out again. If she knows that you like her and she’s unsure, she will be expecting you to move fast. Switch it up and give her a little space to breathe, during which she will think “wait, I thought that guy really liked me but he didn’t ask me out again. Hmm.” You don’t want to play games or make her feel insecure, but you should be strong with your own boundaries, which means not making desperate moves and chasing people when you should be keeping your own energy strong.

If you are guys on the same page from the first date onward it’s still a good idea to be mindful about pacing, because no matter what the faster you move the faster things come up. Sometimes it’s shocking what starts to come up, because someone who was perfectly happy can suddenly wake up panicked about how they accidentally got into a relationship when they weren’t looking and now they’re confused. You don’t want to go through that, and you don’t want her to either. If it’s actually going to develop into something, it will happen with communication, and without any pushing from either end.  

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