The qualities that make a guy fall head over heels all have one intriguing thing in common.
By Robin Hilmantel
Glossy lips and amazing cleavage will inspire a guy to cross a crowded room, but when it comes to triggering that hit-by-a-truck (in a good way) feeling, less obvious factors are at play. "Although guys might not even realize it, they have several deep-seated fears about commitment that may stop them from pursuing a woman," says Diana Kirschner, PhD, author of Love in 90 Days. "And on a subconscious level, they're instantly attracted to personality traits that put those fears at ease." You likely already possess the tantalizing traits Kirschner is referring to. The trick is knowing how to play them up when you're face-to-face with a worthy guy. Put the following advice into action and the only thing he'll have to be afraid of is falling in love too fast.
Ignore Him After Five Minutes
You've just met an incredibly gorgeous guy, and he doesn't even have a Brody Jenner–size ego to match. "At this point, a lot of women want to shower the guy with attention because that's how we treat girlfriends we like," Kirschner says. "But that can make a guy feel pressured, and being pressured into a relationship is something many men worry about." The smarter move? Don't act so impressed.
Refusing to be wowed easily will send the message that not only are you not pressuring him, but you may even be slightly out of reach. "Because men are biologically hardwired to be competitive, they need to feel like they're making the choice to be with you and then working toward winning you over," says John Amodeo, PhD, author of The Authentic Heart. "You need to give a guy the space to do that." Instead of focusing on him, pay just as much (and, at times, even more) attention to others around you, advises clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich, PsyD, author of He's Got Potential.
And when he mentions having done something undeniably awesome, like studying abroad in Nepal, resist the urge to gush about how amazing that must have been. Play it cool by maintaining a low-key tone, and challenge him to prove how smart he is by saying "That's a curious choice. What made you decide to go there?" By questioning him (instead of going all awestruck), you'll trigger his competitive instincts.
Be Comfortable in Your Skin
It doesn't matter how drop-dead sexy your outfit is. If you're not confident about and comfortable with your body, a guy can tell — and be turned off — in a matter of minutes. "If you move with confidence and sensuality, it's a sign that you're going to be just as confident and sensual in the bedroom," Vranich says, "which squashes any worries he might have that he's going to date a hot girl only to find out she's never in the mood." In other words, a perfectly timed lip lick or sensual stretch might as well be catnip for men.
If you're a normally confident chick who can get nervous around guys — especially hot ones — try focusing on little details around you. You can't pay attention to how the bartender is constructing his signature cocktail and psych yourself out at the same time. "Projecting your attention outward instead of inward helps you relax," Kirschner says.
Once you're feeling more comfortable, try dragging your fingers slowly along your collarbone, massaging your neck, or arching your back while letting him see and/or hear (try letting out a little mmm...). When he sees how good you're making yourself feel, he'll subconsciously assume that you're someone who loves to give and get pleasure.
Show Off Your Playful Side
Okay, so you probably already know that guys go gaga for fun girls and steer clear of chicks who seem uptight. But you'll never guess why. "A lot of guys are afraid that the second they commit to a girl, they'll turn into one of those couples who fight all the time," Kirschner says. A playful attitude shows him you have a sense of humor, and he assumes that any woman who laughs easily is going to be a helluva lot more pleasant to break out the boxing gloves with.
"What do guys do with other guys when they're at odds? They have fun and make fun of each other," says dating coach Evan Marc Katz, author of Why You're Still Single. "Guys don't fight dirty with their male friends; they just mess around." Ideally, that's the way he wants it to be with you.
"Being playful shows that you can reframe bad things in a positive light and laugh at them, not get too worked up about them," Vranich says. If he's wearing a goofy shirt, tease him about it. Or if you spill your wine or say something stupid, laugh it off instead of freezing up. A guy will especially read into how you talk about other relationships, so show him that you're the type who doesn't freak out easily by telling him a funny story about the time your friend's BF totally botched the first meeting with her parents...and how it cracked you up.
Talk About What You Really Love
That initial conversation you have with him is the perfect time to mention that you just went to your first foreign-film festival or have suddenly become obsessed with running or cooking or whatever. You'll simultaneously be clueing him in to what you like and putting one of men's biggest relationship fears to rest: boredomphobia.
"Men are looking for excitement, they're looking for high energy, they're looking for passion in a relationship," Kirschner says. "So they're inherently more attracted to someone who's thrilled to try new things."
Whether a guy knows it or not, there's a scientific reason why his natural preference for passionate chicks pays off. Studies show that doing something you've never done before leads to the creation of the brain chemical dopamine, which creates feelings similar to romantic infatuation. So if he's with a girl who loves to do fun and interesting things every weekend, the dopamine will keep flowing and they're both more likely to stay madly in love.
To show him that life with you could never be boring, let him know that you're prepared to sell your soul for tickets to see your favorite band in concert next month or that you can make 10 kinds of salsa that are all 100 times better than what's on the bar. In other words, don't hold back when it comes to what you love. He'll be wowed by your enthusiasm — even if he couldn't care less about your obsession.