PORTLAND, Ore. – A recent study has brought to my attention that we men are clueless.
Conducted out of the University of Toronto and led by researcher Kathryn Graham, the study, published in March, suggested that men who make sexual advances toward women in bars are not always aware their advances are unwanted.
Behavioral Investigator Vanessa Van Edwards analyzed the study.
“Of the people who had unwanted sexual advances, one-third were very obviously unwanted. But two-thirds came from miscommunications or misinterpretations from the male to the female,” Van Edwards said.
She added: “Men didn’t realize [the women they were hitting on] weren’t interested, or they thought there was some wiggle room there, that maybe they could convince [the women]. They thought they had to try a little bit harder or try something different.”
So how do you let a guy (or lady) know he’s barking up the wrong tree, without making a scene?
Van Edwards offered four tips.
“The easiest thing you can do right away is turn your torso away from them,” Van Edwards said. “When we’re engaged with someone, we aim our torso towards them as a sign of respect. So if you’re like, I’m not feeling this, I don’t want this – an easy way you can show that is by aiming your torso away.
“That says two things: First, it makes the distance between the two of you bigger, and it non-verbally says to them, uh-oh, she’s disengaged.”
“If that doesn’t work, the second thing you can try is shaking your head ‘no.’
“We shake our head from left to right when we don’t want something,” Van Edwards said. “You can do this while you’re speaking as a way to emphasize or bold your no. You can say I’m not into that or I don’t want to dance.
“You can also do it while they’re speaking. So if they say hey, you want to dance or I’d love to get your number, you can start shaking your head no right away and that already says to them ah, I’ve crossed a line.”
“You can actually hold your drink in front of you so that they can’t lean forward. The drink blocks them. You can also do this with your purse,” Van Edwards said.
“That’s a non-verbal sign of take a step back, I need more space. And women especially get very uncomfortable when someone comes into their physical space.”
“Sometimes when women are nervous they use the question inflection – going up at the end of a sentence. So instead of saying ‘I don’t want to dance,’ they say ‘I don’t want to dance?’
“This tells a man: I’m not sure about that no. So if you’re going to say no, say it like you mean it. And use the authoritative tone.”