Dating Tips
For Men

Five Ways to Avoid Looking Weird

September 6, 2011
▪ 3 mins read

Five simple behaviour tweaks to get across as someone more socially intelligent

I believe virtually everyone is cool, funny and interesting. So how come some people are labeled as `geeks’ and advised to avoid looking weird, whilst other people always get to be `awesome’ and `popular’?

Well, that’s a massive question: and not one I can fully answer in this article. It sounds more like a good premise for a thesis.

What I can tell you though is that there are a few tweaks you can make today to your behaviour that will help you come across better. If you regularly get (wrongly) pigeon-holed as `a bit odd’ then I’d focus now, as these tips will help you to avoid looking weird.

1. Make Eye Contact

It sounds like the most basic principle, but the fact is, lots of us find it difficult: it can be intimidating staring directly at someone, especially when you're attracted to them.

Not making eye contact is defensive. Yet it is a behaviour that is going to be misinterpreted: you may seem secretive instead of shy; deranged and not defensive. So next time maintain eye gentle eye contact, and if you’re in a group, make sure you look at every member and don’t excessively focus on one person.

2. Avoid Staring

Excessively focusing on one person, aka staring, can create a distinctly `stalkerish’ vibe. People tend to look where they want to be: so if you spend a long time gazing at one person, group, or pair of legs, you’ll come across in a slightly obsessive manner.

Instead, focus on what’s in front of you and having fun within the moment: if you see someone you want to approach, do just that. Don’t hesitate and don’t stare.

3. Keep your Body Language Open

Sounds simple but what does open mean? It means trying to avoid crossing your arms in front of your body, or any other gesture that would obstruct the other person becoming closer to you. Keep drinks down by your side, and bags out of the way.

Putting barriers between us and other people is one of the key ways that we suggest social discomfort. Ditch these blockades and you’ll appear instantly more confident.

4. Be Still

Twitching, fidgeting and fiddling all show that we’re self-conscious of being observed. That’s not how you want to come across! You want to seem totally cool, calm and confident in your opinions.

So relax! When you’re talking about your passions it’s fine to be expressive; but when the other person is speaking focus on remaining still, and don’t reveal your opinions of them too quickly.

5. Keep Upright

Not only is good posture great for your physique, but the degree we lean in (or out) from interactions is quite telling. If you’re chatting to a girl in a noisy club don’t pander to her by leaning in, or crouching.

Instead, project your voice more so it’s easier for her to hear, and encourage her to lean into you. Leaning back is also a typical `playboy’ technique to seem `alpha’ and `cool’. Most of the time this works just fine, but just don’t move back as you’re expressing something that you would like to come across as sincere. It will seem like you’re lying!

If you don’t believe me try saying `Can you loan me a million bucks’ to a friend as you begin to lean backwards; it’ll appear like you’re trying to con them.. which of course you are!

Make these five tweaks to your body language and I promise your interactions are going to appear more sincere; in turn, you’ll appear a way cooler and much greater success.

Lock these non-verbal gestures down and then you can start fine-tuning what you’re actually saying; so that you can start having the interactions and dates that you want.

To create a direct feedback loop on how you're coming across and make sure to avoid looking weird when approaching people, take a Practice Date with a member of my team and make sure you're presenting yourself in the best way possible

Hayley Quinn smiling profile
About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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