Guys: Do You Come On Too Strong?
By Kimberly Dawn Neumann
Hey, guys, here’s a little hint. You may think that playing the alpha male will have women falling at your feet, but guess what? Push it too far, and you’re more likely to see our 3-inch heels running in the opposite direction. Why? Blame it on our gentler personalities, or the fact that we have less testosterone running through our veins. But the bottom line is coming on too strong can kill your chances of winning women over. So, how can you tell if you should curb your enthusiasm? Here are some of the top mistakes you can make, and better ways to win our affection instead of defection.
Too Strong: Phone/text/email overload
Flooding your new interest with technological messages is a definite don’t. “I went out with this guy one time but after our first meeting it was call, call, email, call, text, call, email, text, blah, blah, and it freaked me out,” says Jennifer, 33, from Dallas, TX. “It was just so desperate and needy that I had no desire to go out with him again!”
Just right: “If you suffocate her with phone calls/texts/emails too soon, her response is likely going to be ‘Get the heck away from me!’” says David Wygant, dating guru and author of Always Talk to Strangers. The best way to gauge what amount is OK is to ask yourself these questions: 1) Is your message necessary to set up or confirm plans? If so, fine to proceed. 2) Does she respond to your communications quickly? That’s also a green light. If she doesn’t respond or it takes her awhile to do so, lay off. 3) Has it been more than three days since you’ve been in touch? At that point, it’ll seem sweet – not creepy – to send her a “How are you doing? How was your day?”
Too strong: Premature weekend/vacation talk
Mentioning that you want to take her away for the weekend may seem romantic, but say it too soon and it’ll be seen as “I want to get in your pants as soon as possible.” I once had a date mention how much he wanted to take me to Italy within about 15 minutes of our first sip of coffee! Needless to say, he never got the chance to travel with me.
Just right: We’re not saying you can’t talk about places you’d like to go. Just don’t use “we” while doing it. “I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and plan on seeing Tuscany this summer” is nice, idle chit-chat. “Wouldn’t it be great if we went to Tuscany this summer?” is not. And if she does mention places she’d love to go, silently file that away for future reference. Then, after being together for a month or two, you can spring the idea on her of traveling together.
Too strong: Gratuitous money/card flaunting
You’ve worked hard for your money, and you’re proud of it. Good for you! But keep it quiet. “If a guy starts bragging about what he makes too fast, he has about three minutes to show me he has any other kind of depth or he’s gone,” says Kristen, 24, from New Brunswick, NJ. Whipping out your bottom line too soon will make many women think you’re just trying to “buy” them.
Just right: Instead of trying to win someone over with your bank roll, try to impress her with your personality or interests instead. “Talk about things that you like to do, not things that you can buy,” says Wygant. “Spend more time focusing on the book you just read or talking about an activity you enjoy instead of the $20,000 vacation you took and the Jaguar you just ordered.” The most important thing to most non-gold-digging women early on is to determine if you two are compatible on a non-financial level.
Too strong: Being overly eager
Some guys are so worried about sealing the deal that they kill any chance they have by trying too hard. “There was this guy who kept saying during our date ‘When are we going out again? When? When? But it was maybe mid-bite on our first date,” says Jenny, 33, from New York City. “Then he went on to say things like ‘I just really want to get to know you.’ He never got the chance because I felt so pressured!” Putting a woman on the spot is never a good move. Other over-eager questions to avoid: “Are you having fun?” and “Aren’t we cute together?”
Just right: Instead of practically begging a woman to like you, invite her interest. “If things have gone well, you can suggest something like ‘Wow, I’m impressed that you love jazz too, and you know what, there is a jazz concert in the park this weekend – we should go!” says Wygant. “If she’s interested she’ll pick up on it, but you have to let the woman determine whether or not you fit with her.” Trying to force it will only convince her that you’re definitely not a match.
Too strong: Staging a pop-in
You’ve gone out a couple times with this woman and you really like her, so you decide to drop by her job unannounced or surprise her at her apartment some morning with flowers. Guess what? Can you say stalker-in-training? You just shot yourself in the foot. “There are no pop-ins until you are in an extreme romantic relationship,” says Wygant. “Don’t ever break her personal space until you are invited.”
Just right: You’ve been given the green light as soon as she starts calling you and saying “I miss you. I’ve been thinking about you today. I can’t wait to see you.” Only then do you know for sure you have permission to surprise her, because she’ll actually be happy to see you. “You have to be on this wavelength before you can do a pop over and not have her think ‘Who is this guy in my office?’” says Wygant. “It’s all about the cues – take them from her.”
Too strong: Dropping “future” plans too soon
Maybe you do want a wife and kids. But letting your date in on your plans too soon is not a good move. “I went out with this guy who immediately started telling me that he could picture us together forever and had a vision of me in the kitchen with our toddlers running around,” says Carey, 28, Nashville, TN. “Sure, I want to find someone and maybe have a family some day, but don’t plan out ‘our future’ during our first dinner out!” Same thing goes for saying you want her to meet your parents, brother, sister, aunt, etc., too soon. You know if a woman tried that, you’d go screaming in the opposite direction. Guess what? Same rules apply!
Just right: Feel free to tell someone you’re looking for a commitment on a first date, but that’s it! Don’t elaborate. Otherwise you can appear desperate. “Women can tell when you’re looking at them as a real person, or if you’re just seeing them as the fantasy girl to fit into your fantasy life,” says Wygant. “Even if marriage and kids is your goal, you need to learn about and enjoy someone for the first couple months without bringing it up.” Take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t try to predict the future, or you may not be in hers.
Too strong: Getting too sexual, too fast
Flirting is good. It’s fun, it’s a turn-on, it’s what dating is about. But start talking in sexual innuendo or getting touchy-feely too fast and you’ll probably never find out if she prefers thongs or French-cut bikinis. “I was on a first date with this guy who kept trying to get too close and I kept scooting away,” says Stephanie, 25, from Oklahoma City, OK. “Then when I answered his question about my best feature saying ‘my smile,’ he said ‘I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve been told I’m very well hung.’ I ended that date quickly and never spoke to him again!”
Just right: Better plan? Seduce her subtly. “Don’t tell her about your physical attributes, that you’re an amazing lover or how talented you are with your tongue,” says Wygant. “Instead, be a little mysterious. Listen to her, stare at her, maybe take her hair and move it off her face, or sort of lean in for a kiss but don’t give it to her.” If you make her wonder what you’re like, she’s going to want you more than if you throw yourself at her, guaranteed.
Kimberly Dawn Neumann, a New York City-based freelance writer, has contributed to Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Marie Claire and Fitness.