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Parallax - Advice

January 27, 2003

Communication

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This week, our bag is full of letters that focus on communication issues. One guy can't talk to women and two couples fail to communicate. Why is it so hard for two people to talk to each other? And why, when love is involved, do so many people turn 'stupid.' They say things they don't mean; they mean things they don't say; or they don't say anything meaningful at all. Meet this week's communicators: One is tongue-tied; one is hog-tied; and one is fit to be tied. Can our literati find words of wisdom?


Cueless & clueless.
Communication 101.
 Date: 01/27/03

Marry her?
Only if he's merrier!
 Date: 01/27/03

Chivvied by a Chevy?
He's dodging the truth.
 Date: 01/27/03

More from last week...
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Cueless & Clueless

Dear Conversely,

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I have searched your archives, and want to know how can one tell whether a girl is attracted to you? What kind of cues can one search for to know whether a girl wants you to ask her out? I can't tell when someone is interested in me. People say I'm attractive, and I feel I am, too. Yet, I'm single and I haven't dated anyone in over a year. It's not by choice: I want to meet someone. I know that I'm not dating because I'm not asking, but it's because I can't sense any interest. I don't want to just start asking anyone and everyone, because I will look and feel desperate. One article on your site mentioned being 'subtle.' Can you explain further?


Her view:

Dear Cueless,

I think you need to learn to engage in the art of flirting. This is the tried and true 'toe in the water' approach. Which means you introduce yourself to some target, yap it up about anything you can think of, try and be funny, and—if all goes well—you swoop in for the lunch or coffee invitation. And you can make the offer vague, so if she says no thanks it won't appear to have been a date offer on your part.

Signs of her interest will include eye contact, smiling or laughing (or both) and a clear lack of desire on her part to leave the conversation. This means she will introduce new topics and help maintain the banter level.

You'll have to learn to judge these cues over time. Unfortunately, the only way you will learn is to give it a go and remember that rejection is simply part of the deal.

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His view:

Dear Cueless,

If you can't tell whether someone is interested or not, odds are she's not. Unless you are an optimist, in which case you will tend to interpret the least hint of attention (a mistaken glance, a toss of the head, the scratching of the nose) as an invitation.

But you strike me as more of a pessimist.

There is a wide gulf between pursuing here and there...or asking everyone and anyone. The latter is one extreme form of behavior, and you are way, way at the other end of the spectrum. Fear not, I find it hard to believe you'll end up looking desperate.

As a pessimist, you'll have to take a few risks. You say you feel attractive; that should give you some self-confidence to take risks. My colleague will surely describe those 'cues' you can't seem to find, but remember you, too, will have to show some interest before the ladies will reciprocate.

And in the end, if you still can't see any signs, you may have to risk outright rejection by stepping up and saying hello.

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83% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 17% with HIS VIEW.

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