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Her Gay Best Friend: Red Light, Green Light–Giving off the Right Signals to Let a Guy Know You’re Interested

We need to talk.

Yesterday I witnessed something that was about as concerning to me as that time my friend’s father “liked” a picture of her in a bikini. And I really wouldn’t feel right unless I said something about it.

Let me paint the picture for you. We were eating our usual lunch of deli sandwiches peppered with juicy, delicious gossip when he walked in. You know who I mean–tall, handsome, more delectable than one of those miniature apple pies from McDonald’s. Not my type really, but I’ve long seen how your eyes light up when he struts his fine self into the room. You want him. You need him. You yearn for his love like I yearn for the opportunity to eat one of the aforementioned pies without experiencing food guilt.

So when he passed our table, allowing you to come within mere inches of fulfilling your wildest dreams, you did the most logical thing: You stared straight at your plate and didn’t say a word.

Okay, you were a little nervous in front of the guy you like. It’s not like I expected you to mount him like the stallion that he is and ride him off into the sunset. But after he had passed, you said something that made the entire situation a little less understandable.

“How can he be so slow?” you scoffed. “ Am I going to have to handcuff myself naked to his bedpost before he realizes I’m interested?”

And that’s when I came to two realizations: 

1. I totally know what I’m getting you for your next birthday. 

But, more importantly, 

2. You don’t even realize that you’re not giving him any signals.

You see, while women are creatures of intuition, reflection, and gooey, girly feelings, men take things a little more at face value. So as you stare down into your roast beef on rye and kosher pickle, you may think he’ll sense your heart is pounding harder than the bass on a Timbaland track. But really all he’ll sense is a girl who’d much rather look at her food than look at him. 

It’s all about giving off the right signals. Just be certain that the signal you’re giving isn’t a bright red light. Otherwise, he may move on to a girl who he thinks is into him, and you’re going to have to rely on that kosher pickle to get you through the cold, lonely nights.

Whether you’re in class or the club, here are a few behaviors that will make a man feel like it’ll be easy riding on the road to your heart, and some others that will make him think he should proceed with caution.

Green Light: Eye contact

No matter how beady or brilliant, never underestimate the power of those two things chilling above your nose. Eye contact tells a guy that you think he’s more fun to look at than, for example, any kind of deli meat. And most men would like think they’re better than a hunk of salami. 

In more ways than one.

Red Light: Eye Assault

Shooting a guy a few flirty looks is always a good thing if you want him to get the picture, but make sure the look you’re shooting him isn’t shooting him down. Yes, eye contact is great, but unless you pair it with a smile or sultry smirk, it might look less like you’re interested and more like you’ve ID-ed the guy who ran over your puppy and you’re about to deliver sweet, canine vengeance.   

Green Light: Getting the Conversation Going

If a man actually builds up the nerve to talk to you, don’t think for a second that the mission has been accomplished. There are still a number of ways that you could send him off like a puppy-killer with his tail between his legs.  To make sure he knows you’re feeling him, expand the conversation. Answer his questions with a laugh and then ask him questions too. He’ll get the feeling that you actually want to talk to him.

Red Light: Cutting the Conversation Off

When a cute guy approaches you and those first words begin to leave his magnificent lips, you may find yourself in a panic. It’s a common phenomenon that I like to refer to as the OhmyGodhe’sactuallytalkingtomeIneedtomakesureIdon’tsayanythingspasticandmakehimthinkI’mhomeschooledorsomething Effect. But do not let it get the best of you! If he’s asking you about yourself and all you can muster are one-word answers before awkwardly shutting up, he’ll probably assume that you’re not saying much because you want the conversation to end.  

Triumph over your speaking anxiety. I promise–as long as you stay off the topic of the Iraq and such, nothing too bad will come out of your mouth. 

Green Light: Playful Teasing

Ah yes, if there’s one thing I love in this world, it’s some witty banter with an attractive man. It was a very close race between that and some under-the-shirt action with an attractive man, but banter managed to win out.

A little bit of back-and-forth is a great flirty foundation for a future relationship. You make a playful jab at him–he makes a playful jab at you. You poke a little fun at him–he pokes a little fun at you. Before long, all that poking and jabbing will get both of you in the mood for a different kind of poking and jabbing, if you catch my drift…

Sexual innuendo was a close third.

Red Light: Painful Teasing

There’s a very thin line between playful and mean. See if you can spot the difference.

Comment 1 (to a guy you’re dancing with): “Wow, you have some nice moves. You pick those up from a Justin Bieber video or something?” *giggle*


Comment 2 (to the same guy you’re dancing with in an alternate reality where comment 1 was never said): “Wow, you dance like an idiot. You look like Justin Bieber except more uncoordinated and without Ludacris nearby to give you street cred.” *no giggle*

Notice the difference? 

While a lighthearted comment can challenge a man to impress you, it’s important that what you say doesn’t knock him down a few pegs. Otherwise he may lose the confidence to try.

And in the end, that’s what attracting a man is all about: acting in a way that lets him know you’re interested, without making him wonder if what you’re interested in is inflicting pain.

Unless you’re both into S&M. Then you should probably make it known that you like inflicting pain.

Scott Rosenfeld is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a double major in Professional Writing and Psychology. Originally from the D.C metropolitan area, Scott grew up with a great passion for the written word. From the time he first read Dr. Seuss, he realized the overwhelming power of human language, as well as the limitless joy of making up words for the sake of rhyme. On campus, Scott keeps busy working as the prose editor for the Oakland Review Literary Journal and an editor for the Thought: Undergraduate Research Journal. He was also recently elected to the position of editor-in-chief for The Cut, Carnegie Mellon’s music magazine, for which he has worked as the copy manager for the past year. As editor-in-chief, he hopes to buy all of his staff a thneed. Because a thneed, he feels, is something that everyone needs.
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