All Flirting is Interpretation

Beautiful romantic couple of lovers

A friend of mine recently showed me his online conversations with women and asked me what I thought. He was good at the basic skills of banter (which I wrote about earlier) but his conversations would devolve into exchanging facts – and women would soon grow bored and respond less often.  What he was missing was the act of interpretation.

For women, all flirting in the early stages is really about one thing:  she’s interpreting the things you do and say to figure out what kind of guy are you?  What are you made of? Are you fun? Are you ambitious?  Are you honorable?  Do you appreciate sensual pleasures enough to please her in bed?  Will it be awkward if she introduces you to her friends? Are you a gentleman? Will you be fun at first and then later be unreliable?

Women approach dating the way men approach investing:  they scrutinize everything for clues about the future before they jump in.  For women, flirting is a constant state of interpreting what you show her.  Further, it goes both ways:  they carefully do and say certain things so that you interpret who they are (and want to date them).  This desire to see the future is based on not wanting to waste their time or be hurt.  It’s why fortune tellers and horoscopes are so powerful for women:  they promise to interpret something hidden and reveal what the future might look like.

How to Connect

The correct interpretation of what a woman is really telling you, as well as telling stories she can interpret in your favor, creates opportunities for a gentleman to connect with a woman.  Here are my tips:

  • When she tells you a fact about herself, try to interpret it yourself.  If she tells you she loves bungee jumping, don’t tell your own story about bungee jumping.  Ask her if she likes taking risks.  Interpret what she’s telling you and you’ll find yourself connecting very quickly.
  • After you interpret something she says/does, don’t assume you got it right. Ask her if she likes taking risks.  Don’t tell her, “I knew you were the kind of person who likes to take risks.”  It cuts off conversation – and you might be wrong.
  • Tell her stories from your life that she can interpret to understand who you are – not just random stories to keep the conversation going.
  • Interpret your own stories for her.  In my blog post about creating stories I talk about how to do this.
  • With practice, you can jokingly misinterpret what she tells you.  If she tells you she went to graduate school but doesn’t mention what she studied, you can say something like, “I’m going to assume that was graduate school to become a secret agent. Do you look good in a ninja outfit?”  This can be very risky online because there’s little context – if it’s not over-the-top outrageous and obviously a joke, she may take you seriously.  It’s also complicated when you’re crossing cultural and linguistic boundaries, like with women in Russia, for instance they seem so serious, but can melt and laugh so easily.  So proceed carefully, but see if you can find ways to interpret in funny ways.
  • When you interpret something she tells you into a personality trait of hers – and it’s a trait you respect – tell her so.  Something as simple as “I respect that” or “I think that’s awesome” can really help build a connection.  She will like this because this is a compliment that she earned – not just you saying she’s pretty.

Once you understand the underlying nature of flirting as constant two-way interpretation, you start to see conversations differently.  And, like my friend is finding since our conversation, interpretation gets you beyond exchanging facts and into real connection.