Giving the Green Light


Q When I’m out socially, guys don’t tend to approach me. Is it a good idea for me to approach guys myself? To take it even further, what about actually asking a guy, who seems interesting, out? Does doing these things seem confident or desperate to guys?

A As a dating coach to both men and women, I believe that most guys will approach a woman they are interested in IF (and this can be a bigger “if” for some guys than others) the woman clearly gives the green light.

What do I mean by “giving the green light?” I mean giving the guy signs that you’re open to his approach—in other words, being approachable. Signs women give guys, which allow them to feel that their approach is unlikely to be rejected include eye contact, smiling, open body language, and initiating conversation.

Let’s discuss each of these in turn, beginning with the potent combination of eye contact and smiling. Signaling receptivity to approach via eye contact and smiling involves the woman first making eye contact with a guy, and then when the guy locks eyes with the woman in return, the woman continuing to hold his eye contact for a few more seconds, and then smiling.

Another signal of receptivity towards being approached involves “open” body language, including uncrossed arms and legs.

Sending a signal via initiating conversation may be as simple as just warmly greeting him with a friendly “hello;” asking for help of some sort, i.e. directions (a guy who’s interested will savor the opportunity to help); or observing him and making a playful comment about something you’ve observed.

While being more approachable may feel more natural to some women and less so to others, and many of the nonverbal signs mentioned above oftentimes actually occur at the unconscious level, conscious awareness and practice can make cultivating approachability second-nature (and fun).

As many guys are not as adept at reading people as women, generally speaking, a woman may, for instance, need to make eye contact and smile more than once and/or combine a few of the above signals to effectively give the green light.

Now once a woman gives the green light, there is typically no need to approach and/or ask most guys out. If a guy doesn’t approach or ask you out after clearly being given the green light, absent extenuating circumstances, he is unlikely to be interested.

An uninterested guy may be receptive to a woman asking him out, but his lack of interest is likely to foreclose any long-term potential, even if the two people end up going out. Many guys take the path of least resistance, and will be open to seeing where a woman asking him out may lead even if they don’t believe there’s any relationship potential.

Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio, a monthly lifestyle show.[email protected].

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