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What to Do When: The Power of Perception

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I’ve been saying it for years, but the male brain seems unable to grasp this simple concept. If you could just understand this one little factoid, you could understand women, attraction, and dating. The golden nugget of wisdom of which I speak is this: no action is inherently attractive or unattractive (a.k.a. sexy or creepy) to a woman, only the context in which that behavior is viewed.

In other words, it’s all about timing. Take, for example, sending a bouquet of flowers to where a woman works. If you do this with a woman you’ve just met or hardly know, that behavior is very creepy (borderline stalkerish). Yet, however, if you send that same bouquet of flowers to your girlfriend of six months on her birthday, then that behavior would come off very attractive and romantic.

That example is extreme, yet the principle underlies every moment of an interaction. There’s nothing you can do or say that’s “right” or “wrong,” there’s only the right or wrong context. While much of dating advice tends to focus on identifying the “right” actions (and warning against the “wrong”), it’d be much more helpful to learn the right and wrong contexts.

Creepy or romantic?

To learn what that means you must understandperception. The way a woman perceives you dictates what’s appropriate, and what’s inappropriate. An example I often give is asking for a woman’s phone number. A guy who walks up to a woman and says, “Can I get your number?” is creepy because he’s perceived as a stranger; a guy who’s spent a half hour flirting with a woman and thenasks is attractive because he’s perceived as attractive.

It a lot of ways, attraction is all about perception.

Now this article could just be another airy-fairy, pie-in-the-sky treatise that makes plenty of sense, but yields no actual results. Understanding perception isn’t enough. You need to leverage perception, which means using perception to your benefit. To leverage that perception, though, a light bulb in your brain needs to click on. That light bulb is this:

Nothing you’ve ever done or said to a woman was unattractive, only the context under which you did it.

Get it? Good. So, rather than trying to identify the right and wrong behaviors, let’s identify the most common contexts under which an interaction flows:

1. Context of getting her attention
2. Context of getting her emotionally invest
3. Context of getting to know her
4. Context of getting her sexually aroused

These 4 contexts could also be considered “stages” through which an interaction with a woman moves. Initially the context of your communication is to get her attention. Therefore, it’s inappropriate to hit on her, chat with her, ask her questions, or speak in a sexually aggressive way. Her perception of you is that of a stranger, and so, therefore, the only appropriate context is getting her focused and attentive to you.

Once you have a woman’s attention, it’s not the time to get to know her or make a move. Too many guys ask a woman questions or try too hard to touch a woman early on. Not the right context! Instead, you want to shape her perception so that she goes from seeing you as a stranger to someone who’s emotionally relevant to her. And to do that you do the obvious: elicit her emotions!

Here’s where being funny, flirty, cocky, and a tease has its place. Whenever you’re joking around with a woman, you’re affecting her on an emotional level. Joking and flirting has no actual meaning or purpose other than to elicit emotions. Once she perceives you as an emotional significant person to her, then the context is appropriate for getting to know one another.

Here’s where “get-to-know-you”-style interview questions have their place. Since her perception of you is “attractive guy,” she wants to learn more about you. Also, she wants you to learn about her. So go for it!

Finally, once you’ve moved along the other 3 contextual stages, all that’s left is “closing the deal.” In this final phase, it’s appropriate to speak in a sexually charged way. Too often guys either do this too early, or not at all. Very few guys are adept at recognizing when it’s appropriate to turn a woman on sexually. You won’t make that mistake though, because now you understand perception.

Ultimately, perception may seem like an underwhelming concept to you, but make no mistake: every girl you’ve ever lost was lost because you did something at the wrong time. Whether she was expecting you to get to her, get her emotional, make her feel sexual, or just get her attention, your actions were out of order—and so you were perceived less than favorable.

Don’t make that mistake again. Learn the appropriate contexts, and let your behaviors match those contexts.

>>>To Learn More From Rob, Check Out “The 4 Elements of Game” where he breaks down game into four simple adjustments.

About Rob J.

Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.

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2 Comments

  1. jeremy

    September 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Cool tips thanks bobby

  2. Clinton

    September 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I’ve already gotten the girls attention. I’ve made an art folder with a picture of a toilet on it because that’s where my shit art work goes. What stage would you say I’m on?

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