Are You Unapproachable?

January 17, 2012  |  

You and your girls decide to have a night out on the town. You wear your cute little black dress that always warrants compliments. Your hair that usually won’t cooperate is miraculously on-point, and you genuinely feel good about your appearance. Giving yourself a ‘one-over,’ you smile, knowing that you may just attract some good attention tonight from an eligible bachelor or two.

To further enhance your efforts, you and your friends decide to walk to the bar alone sporadically (inside of the establishment of course), so you won’t intimidate men with the ‘girlfriend crowd.’ While walking to the bar, you see plenty of men looking your way out of your peripheral, but you’re making no eye contact with any of them. And while you look all fierce and fabulous in your opinion, still, none of them approach you. Before you assume something negative about yourself or your appearance and what role it could be playing in the men who did and didn’t speak to you, take one second to think about if you even appear approachable or if you’re coming off as intimidating and closed-off.

Looking approachable has very little to do with material things and everything to do with nonverbal communication. Yes, even sometimes saying ‘hello’ but looking as if Jesus himself came down and forced you to do it, won’t make you more approachable. Appearing inviting usually has more to do with what you do and less to do with what you say.

Research suggests that around 90 percent of our communication is nonverbal. So that means that even though you gave a faint hello that you thought served as an invite, your nonverbal expressions may have suggested otherwise. As the old saying goes, “You cannot say nothing.” So even if you’re not verbally talking, through nonverbal communication you’re having a full conversation, whether you know it or not. If you want to be approachable, make sure that you’re conscious of what you’re saying without saying anything at all to rid people of the assumption that you’re cold as ice. Some women think that looks alone can attract guys. But if you look unapproachable, some men won’t bother approaching you out of fear of rejection or of you coming across as just plain rude.

There are three ways to check your approachability. We will call the the three ways your ‘approachability factors.’ First is access your body language. Is it open? Open body language means that you appear inviting. Folded arms suggest that you are stand-offish or don’t feel like being bothered, same with crouching over the bar looking bored. So make sure that your body language isn’t closed.

Another way to access your approachability is to check your facial expressions. Smiling is really important if you want to attract people to you. Not a silly grin that looks permanently plastered on your face but instead a natural, genuine smile every once in a while (you don’t have to hold one all night) that says “I’d like to meet you.”

In addition to smiling and ensuring that your body language is open, eye contact is equally as important. If you’re nervously looking down at your cell phone, pretending you’ve received a flurry of messages and calls, you appear preoccupied or not open to conversation. Make eye contact with people to show you’re interested or even interesting, and even feel free to float around the room so you don’t look stuck in one place.

Your lack of approachability could be a preventing factor in meeting new friends, extending your professional network, or even meeting Mr. Right. So before you assume that something as superficial as you wearing the wrong dress is keeping guys from approaching you, check your approachability factors.

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