How to Talk to a Woman

These quick and easy steps primarily involve you being yourself

Photo by Tibor Pápai on Unsplash

When I hear men, particularly younger men, talk about the difficulties they have learning how to meet and talk to women, I often want to cringe. Too often they have internalized some strange beliefs about needing to be impressive, smooth, and super confident, or they think they need to develop and perfect some sort of pick-up patter. Maybe that works for some men on some women, but most of the ones I know roll their eyes at this sort of nonsense. In my experience what women want is a lot more authentic than that.

The women I know and hear from all of the time overwhelmingly want a guy to be real and himself, not some canned, pre-fab Pick-Up Artist version of a man. They don’t want the Czechoslovakian brothers that Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd played in the late 1970s on Saturday Night Live — two “wild and crazy guys” who just want to meet chicks and have a good time but who have no idea how to actually go about it. They’re all bluster and strut, but also completely repulsive (in a very hilarious way).

Yes, confidence is always a good thing and something that pretty much everyone finds attractive, but real confidence comes from knowing who you are and owning that, not from being fake suave, or cocky. It doesn’t come from buying into societal narratives about what is supposedly considered most desirable by women, because those are often pretty off base. Sure, tall, rich, and model handsome has its appeal, but that really isn’t the main thing that most women care about. Too many assholes fit into that category. Overwhelmingly, women are looking for someone who has basic good grooming and manners, who is interesting and engaged with life, and who will treat them like a real person.

Only a few very insecure women want to take on a project who has no thoughts on what they want to do or be when they grow up, who is not financially responsible or stable, and who otherwise hasn’t matured into an adult. Most women don’t want to be a guy’s second Mommy, they want to interact with a man who knows how to behave like a grown-up. Part of this means treating women as more than trophies to be acquired or prey to be conquered.

Not every woman is looking for a relationship. Sometimes women like to just hook up or keep it casual as well, but that doesn’t mean they want to be treated as disposable or made to feel unsafe. Women don’t want to be seen as a piece of meat and they do want someone who isn’t so busy trying to be impressive that they don’t even bother to try to actually get to know them. You wouldn’t believe how often I hear that one, about men who talk non-stop about themselves trying to show off their best peacock feathers without even attempting to actually interact with the woman as a fellow human being. Spoiler alert — it’s a huge turn-off.

Women spend so much of their lives not being listened to and being disrespected by men that the best dating catnip in the world is to simply show up and be genuinely interested in the other person, sharing authentic parts of yourself as well. That’s how you make a real connection with someone. That’s how you really get talking to a woman in a natural scenario. Ask her about what she’s passionate about in life, or what she’s an expert in, and then sit back and let her shine for a while. It will be such a breath of fresh air that she’ll probably find you really attractive based on that alone.

I used to be friendly with a kind of big-time ladies man and he agreed with this completely. His advice was to never ask a woman a question that you didn’t actually care about the answer to such as, “Have you lived here long?” What do you really want to know about her? Actually get to know her as a person. If you can’t make some sort of authentic connection, move on and find someone with whom you are more compatible.

Anything that shows some genuine interest in what she might think or know or believe.

Rather than focusing on showing a woman how impressive you are, why not demonstrate how much self-confidence you have by allowing her to teach you something or otherwise demonstrate her expertise somehow? I guarantee, she will be blown away. Stop trying to show her that you’re dominant and instead be friendly and collegial.

In the produce section — “Excuse me, do you know how to tell if this melon is ripe?” In line at the deli — “Do you mind if I ask you, but what’s your favorite thing to eat here?” Anything that shows some genuine interest in what she might think or know or believe. If she gives you a quick answer and moves away, leave her alone. If she picks up what you’ve put down and starts a conversation, pursue it in a natural way, like you were talking to a new friend.

You’re not going to click with everyone, but you’re also not going to come off as a creep doing that. When you interact with women in a friendly, open, non-predatory manner, as if they are people too just like you rather than as a mythical beast that you are trying to stun or manipulate into acquiescence, you’re a lot more likely to get somewhere.

But both men and women said that having a partner who was caring and compassionate was the most important thing.

No matter how often women say this, many men still don’t want to believe it. They’re too bought into the patriarchal dominance hierarchy aspects of our culture and convinced that they have to be millionaire model with a status job in order to have any sort of shot. Yes, there are women who are only looking for those guys, but they aren’t the majority and you probably don’t want someone that shallow anyhow. Just look out any window and you will see all shapes and sizes of people paired up. If women truly only wanted the “top 20% of men” the species would have died out long ago.

When Pew research asked both men and women about the importance of men as financial providers, men actually identified it as more important than women did, even as women’s financial contributions continue to grow in our culture. But both men and women identified being a loving person as the most important thing.

“However, the importance of being the financial provider ranks behind being caring and compassionate when it comes to being a good spouse or partner, in the public’s estimation. Overwhelming majorities say it is very important for men (86%) and women (90%) to have these qualities to be good spouses or partners.”

If you’re looking to date a status-conscious superficial woman don’t be surprised that you can’t get her attention unless you meet those metrics, but if you are looking to meet or date the typical woman, then treat her like a real person, and make an effort to actually get to know her. That’s the secret to success, right there.

True confession: I didn’t have any dates in high school. A friend told me later on that he and the other guys we knew were too intimidated — whatever that means. My first boyfriend was the summer after graduation and I met him at the place we both worked at after school. This guy was average-looking, had thick glasses, and was named Roger, but what he did have going for him was that he didn’t let any of that stop him. We got to know each other from being around each other on the job, and it was clear to me that he saw me as a whole person, and not just as a body, or a trophy. He was smart, and funny, and sweet, and he really liked me for me. I really liked him for who he was as well.

We finally kissed at a graduation party and the next thing you knew, we were inseparable, spending nearly every evening together (we’d both gotten different jobs by then). The only reason we broke up is that the summer ended and we went away to college on opposite sides of the country. Although we really liked each other a lot, there was no question of trying to maintain a long-distance relationship but that was one of the very best relationships I’ve ever had.

I feel really lucky to have had such a great first boyfriend but to be honest, I’ve never been attracted to the Chad sort of guy. I always wanted someone who was kind, and easy to talk to, and real, and that’s what most women I know want as well. Don’t buy into Red Pill bullshit about relationships being transactional and engaging in all sorts of mental gymnastics and power plays. You don’t need game, what you need is to work on developing yourself as a person who is reasonably satisfied with his life, and then inviting women to get to know you while you get to know them in return.

Be authentic, be human, and invite that from the women you want to talk to.

Most women want a mature adult who is secure in who he is, is engaged in things in life that he finds interesting and meaningful, and who values women as fellow human beings. You don’t have to know everything about who you are or who you are going to be, but at least be trying to figure some of that out so that you don’t come across as aimless or needy. Most women don’t want a big child in adult clothing, no matter how handsome or charming. They want a partner — one who can pull his own weight and who really cares about them as an equal (and not as some sort of accessory or side-kick).

Be authentic, be human, and invite that from the women you want to talk to. Be both interesting and genuinely interested in them as a whole person. Flirting is a dialogue and not a monologue. You are not a lion stalking your prey or a peacock trying to attract a mate with your plumage. Be a person. That’s what most women really want.

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We publish essays, and poetry about sex, sexuality and erotic relationships.

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Elle Beau ❇︎

Elle Beau ❇︎

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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