10 Ways to Get Inside His Head

January 6, 2009


“Never frown, because you never know when someone is falling in love with your smile.”


Many women make the mistake of thinking that if a guy finds them attractive, they are on the path to a relationship. Even though they understand that the path may be full of twists and turns, still they believe that attracting the male is the first step. It is not the first step. Attracting the male is the first step to hooking up. When a man finds you attractive, he wants to touch what he sees. That’s it. If the attraction is mutual, you may go for the hookup. Afterwards, what you’ve got is a notch on your bedpost, a hookup with a cute guy. You do not have the beginnings of a relationship.

So what is the first step to a relationship? The first step is getting inside his head. He needs to think about you. He needs to wonder about you. He needs to be intrigued, and he needs to feel an impulse or urge to connect with you. That can happen with or without a hookup, before or after.

An interesting thing I have found in my research is that while most girls experience difficulty in getting guys to commit, there are some young women who complain that every guy they hook up with wants more from them. They are looking for casual hookups and don’t want a relationship. Naturally, that makes them irresistible bait. Of course it’s human nature to want what we can’t have easily. To paraphrase Woody Allen, we don’t want to belong to any club that will have us as a member.

If not wanting a relationship is the best way of being offered one, then what should you do if you want one? What can you do to be successful?

1. Be complete.

One of the worst movie lines ever is in Jerry Maguire, when Tom Cruise tells Renee Zellweger, “You complete me.” Ew. I remember cringing at that. You do not need a guy to be complete. In fact, a guy cannot complete you. You must live your life right now, today, without a relationship. Live it the best you can. Be thankful for what you have. It’s OK to want a special relationship, but you don’t need it to be happy. You really don’t. If you think you need it, you won’t find it.

2. Display enormous self-confidence.

Your mantra: “I am the desired object.” This is so important that if you don’t believe it, you need to fake it ’till you make it. No one can think you are fabulous unless you do. It always starts with you. When you know your own worth, it shows. And it sells. You know that you would be an awesome girlfriend. You know that you could make a guy really happy. Don’t ever forget that you are a catch! You are not right for every guy. Some guys won’t be interested. Your job is to be your best, most confident self to attract the guy who might be. If you don’t believe that you are pure fabulousness, you need to address that. Take action. What do you hate about yourself? Improve it. Talk to someone. Do something. Just getting moving will make you feel stronger and better.

3. Be classy.

A 2008 Cosmopolitan survey showed that 67% of guys are most turned on by “the girl next door” look. The “sex bomb” look only appealed to 12%. Understand that you are beautiful in your natural state. Stop trying so hard to get the guys all hot and bothered. The only thing you’ll get out of that is a booty call. If you are lucky enough to have a great body, resist the temptation to display all of it at the same time. Focus on one asset at a time. Use makeup to enhance your looks, not give you the appearance of a heroin addict. I’m not telling you to go ahead and wear sweats; just be more subtle in your presentation. Guys like wholesome.

4. Have the right kind of expectations.

Expecting a guy to become your boyfriend is not strategic. Expecting a guy to like you a certain amount, or display a certain kind of affection, is not effective. On the other hand, expecting a guy to do what he says he is going to do is good strategy. Expecting him to show you some respect; that’s good too. Guys don’t want you demanding love from them. But they will totally get it if you demand respect for your feelings, your body and your time.

5. If he hasn’t committed, you’re a free agent.

Guys are amazed when I tell them that back in the day, when we dated in the traditional sense, it was totally legit to go out with one guy on a Friday night and make out (or more), and then do the same thing with someone else on Saturday. We were dating; dating was shopping. And the guy might be shopping around too. Nowadays, guys want to hook up without commitment, but they think it’s really shady if a girl is hooking up with someone else the same weekend. You have every right to be choosy. So shop around, and don’t take yourself off the market until a boy that you really like asks you to be his girlfriend.

6. Create a little mystery.

I always advise women to hold back 10%. Never give a guy 100% of yourself (even when you’re married!). In every relationship, there is a pursuer and a distancer. Don’t be the pursuer. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Guys worry about the emotional neediness of women (with good reason, let’s face it). Fight that. Keep your feelings to yourself, or share them with your girls for now. Eagerness is repellent. Whininess is repulsive. He doesn’t want you to cling. He wants to pursue you. He wants to wonder what you think. So let him.

7. Slow down.

The best relationships happen between soulmates. You cannot become soulmates through sex. Through pillow talk, maybe, but not through sex. You stand a much better chance of becoming really close to a guy if you allow plenty of time and space for friendship. That means not having sex too soon. Sex can make friendship complicated. It’s much harder to go from sex to friendship, than from friendship to sex. Take time to get to know him. Make him spend time getting to know you. Guys appreciate a slow win.

8. Don’t overreact.

Don’t go all gloom and doom the minute he takes a step back. In Mars and Venus On a Date, John Gray talks about how guys are like rubber bands. They withdraw for a bit, and then they return. If he needs some distance, give it to him. When he comes back, welcome him. Chill out. If he doesn’t text you for three days, just live your life. If he thinks you’re going to give him a really hard time when he does get back in touch, then guess what? He won’t get back in touch. Guys hate drama. There are only so many long talks a guy is willing to have. So save your allotment of heart-to-hearts for the really important stuff.

9. Don’t waste time.

Cultivate a reputation for being a woman who doesn’t waste precious time on fools. You are too good to get hung up on a boy who doesn’t like you. Every tear you cry for a jerk takes up valuable psychic energy and sets you back. If you are feeling crappy about some guy, you are not open to a new guy. You may think you are, but your emotional funk will be telegraphed to those around you in subtle ways. If things don’t go your way, go ahead and feel sorry for yourself for a day or two. Eat junk food, get wasted with the girls, whatever. Then pick yourself up and live your life.

10. Cultivate a positive attitude in the meantime.

Here’s where I get all The Secret on you. You can be strong and independent, you can take no prisoners, you can even be a hardass without sending out negative vibes. You are open and friendly, you just aren’t cheap. You expect good things to happen to you. A bad attitude is self-fulfilling; if you believe that no one will want you, then no one will want you. I guarantee it. If you believe that you deserve to be loved and are willing to wait for that special guy, then you will find him. You won’t find him sitting in your room, though. The more interactions you have in your day, the greater your chances of encountering someone new. Go out. Psych yourself up as often as you need to, but keep on getting out there. Don’t give up. You can have what you want if you will believe in it.

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  1. I absolutely loved reading this. This is just what I have been looking to find for a year: good advice. Plain and simple. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • susanawalsh says:

      Hey, letters2soulmate, happy to meet you! Love your blog too, btw. And it’s always nice to meet up with a fellow Bostonian. Thanks for commenting, please come back soon!

  2. 2 & 5 are the only ones I don't agree with.

    2 – Men are attracted to a certain level of vulnerability in a girl. It shouldn't be immediately obvious, but she needs to show me her weak side for me to even consider her for a LTR.

    5 – Girls who date around are a huge turn off. Girls can date around as much as guys can, but it hits a primitive trigger in a man's mind that tells him that girl isn't LTR material. We can argue all day about double standards, but at the end of the day, men will still judge women by this.
    My recent post Puja – Dana Pt. 2

    • Hmmm, re #2, I hear that, it makes sense. But do you want to see the vulnerability up front, or after a bit? Like she's tough to start, but then you get in there and work your magic and suddenly there's a glimmer of vulnerability? That's powerful.

      VI, haha I just spent time on your blog where you proudly describe hearing a girl say she wants sex in a monogamous relationship, then you bang her without making a commitment. Fair enough, that's on her. But come on, that girl is crazy to be doing that, especially since you have a couple of booty calls going on the side at all times. That girl should say NO. And she should be prepared to walk. Because, as it stands right now, you are a terrible risk for a LTR.

  3. A girl definitely shouldn't be tough during our first meeting. That's a huge red flag that she's either too manly, or has been hurt too many times. She should be confident without being tough. Julia Roberts is a good example.
    As for her vulnerability, you're right, it should come a bit later. But if it hasn't been revealed either before or immediately after I have sex with a girl, I assume she's not LTR material.

    I actually like that girl a lot and would consider making her #1, but the fact that she plays games is a huge strike against her. In her case, she should have shown me her vulnerability earlier and let me know that she was enthusiastic about us.
    My recent post Puja – Dana Pt. 2

    • Fair enough, but don't be too hard on her for game playing. Women understand sexual attraction, including their own, NOT AT ALL most of the time. We're striking out in all directions, trying to find a way to stay afloat. And you can bet she is getting absolutely terrible advice from her friends. If you give her some indication of your real feelings, my guess is that she will chill.

  4. dhurka says:

    I would suggest that 99% of modern women will have great trouble points 2, 5 and 7. I am not saying that this is bad advice, just a little context from a male perspective is required.
    2. Most modern women are completely incapable of distinguishing confidence and b*tchiness. Nothing will make a worthwhile man turn off faster.
    5. This point is completely wrong. If a woman I am dating goes out with another man I will assume she is not interested and its over. This isn’t the 50’s anymore and women who want worthwhile men must signal that they are loyal and that they value him more than the next guy BEFORE the man commits. I believe over 90% of men will feel this way. I also believe that this percentage will be heavily skewed towards the men you think are worth marrying.
    7. Nearly every worthwhile man has been wasted months of his life chasing a woman who used his sexual interest to extract money and favours. Slow down is excellent advice however it must be accompanied with UNAMBIGUOUS (i.e. not female ;)) signals of sexual interest. Otherwise I will assume that she has no sexual interest and is just stringing him along.

    • dhurka, thanks for leaving a comment. It sounds like you are not into playing any games whatsoever, and I give you a lot of credit for that. Re #5, this is a tough one, because men and women have different goals. Women want men to commit before sex, and men want sex before committing. I guess I feel that if a guy does not want to be exclusive, the woman should take him at his word and keep her options open. However, when a couple has just started dating and things are going well, I wouldn’t suggest rocking the boat by playing the field. I agree that the last thing a woman should do is make a man feel insecure when she is hoping for a relationship.
      Re #7, I agree. Telegraph sexual attraction, but don’t have sex until you feel ready. I’ve come to learn through writing this blog, and reading many comments from guys, that sexual loyalty is CRUCIAL. So I hear you – a woman should be sexual for one man.

  5. whoah says:

    dhurka: thankfully if all women decide to not play loyal to a man who is essentially playing the field until he decides when to settle or with who, a man will have no choice but to start considering women who still play the field while men do too…..your advice is why so many women become bitter and angry…forever waiting for a guy to come around until HE decides to cut the strings and repeating the cycle until she is worn down and accepts any permanent male interest or becomes so bitter that she prefers the company of cats. To you and men who seriously believe this is exactly how it SHOULD be and advice women to do so….. (explicative you!)

    • Hi whoah, welcome! I don’t think dhurka is a player who is looking to score, but your point is valid. This is the balance that is so tricky to find. A woman should not even consider being sexually loyal to a man who shows signs (red flags) of playing the field.

  6. Gloria Noir says:

    Your advice is fantastic and makes me feel better. I’ve been single for so long and I’ve been wondering why.
    My only concern is when you say guys like wholesome. I don’t consider myself the girl next door nor do I like to dress like the girl next door. I never had. My inclination has always been retro/artsy (pencil skirts and kitten heels are wonderful!) Maybe it would be better to say to dress for yourself and not just for a guy?
    I just dislike being told that men like only wholesome girls when I like wearing winged eyeliner and feel very uncomfortable in GAP clothing. It makes me feel, and probably other girls like me, like I barely got a shot.

  7. @Gloria Noir

    By wholesome, I really don’t mean virginal. Having a style of your own is awesome – I love the vintage look! Being able to pull it off means that you are very comfortable in your own skin, and that’s the kind of self-confidence that will attract other people to you. By all means, go for the eyeliner and leave the baggy Gap clothing!


  8. Amy says:

    Your mantra: “I am the desired object.”

    I don’t think it’s advisable to have people think of themselves (or others) as objects.

    Every tear you cry for a jerk takes up valuable psychic energy and sets you back.

    I know I shouldn’t expect scientific rigor from a business/marketing strategist, but this new-agey garbage? Really?

    I appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish with this blog, but things like these (not to mention all the feminist-bashing) only serve to undermine your mission.

    • @Amy
      How do you feel about sex-positive feminism encouraging women to totally objectify themselves?

      I also wonder if you feel that it is a good use of a woman’s time and emotional energy to cry over jerks.

      Why would you not expect scientific rigor from a business person? Have you no respect for economists? As a strategic analyst, I had to provide evidence to back up my conclusions – clients paying a million bucks a year for consulting services prefer it.

  9. Marie says:

    I just got back “out there” a little over a year ago and man let me tell you, it is so hard. Im 38 years old and i’ve just discovered i’m not the booty call type of person. I had to learn that the hard way. I thought i was a big enough girl to handle that but im not. These suggestions are all good advice. Having a positive attitude is very invaluable but probably the most difficult when your experiences all point to more confusion.

    My girlfriend and I were just discussing the lost of old fashioned courting versus today’s hooking up’s. We were also discussing if accepting open relationships at our age was a form of settling or acceptance of most men’s lack of true committment?

    At this point in my life i’m pretty busy with graduate school, finding better employment and being a single mom. Sometimes however i get a little lonely and would find it refreshing to be able have a little intimacy (with protection)with someone on a regular basis without it leading to total committment. I mean, if he wanted to see other women, it would be fine with me because im a busy person and not quite sure how or when i will be ready to dive back in to marriage. But dont broadcast it to me. Is this too much to ask for?

    • @Marie
      Honestly, I think a lot of guys would welcome such an arrangement. I’m sure you’ve tried online dating, which can be a good way to meet people.

  10. CSPB says:


    Maintain your sense of humor because guys find that attractive. Enjoy!

  11. marie says:


    Yes i’ve tried online dating. It’s weird but im private and would prefer someone that i already know. I guess it’s because i want to feel comfortable with them. Also, in relationships i like to take things slow. Im very affectionate and personable but I like to make people feel comfortable and laugh and have a good time and I think that takes time. So it seems like im contradicting myself. I know what i want; i just dont know how to explain it to a guy without coming off as just a booty call or wanting to have a committment.

    Yes guys welcome it but they usually have girlfriends and I don’t want to be “the other woman”.

    But I may give online another shot to see what happens.

  12. Rockstdy says:

    ‘Jerry McGuire’ is the loser in that movie you’re referencing because he showed moral characteristics. He ended with deceiving other people that he had their best interest in mind and not their dollars. This is completely 180 degrees from the US social norm of money money money, and he basically went AWOL. It’s very rare a person would have a moral epiphany when the money is good. His situation is very rare to say the least, and the use of the line ‘You complete me’ was meant to reflect that. The movie connected with the target audience in a way and established something that is missed here.

  13. Shannon says:

    wow. that’s some real good advise! wasn’t expecting that. best article on this site. thanks for the help, i needed that! lol. guess sumtimes it’s nice to learn the truth about how guys think and operate. if u have anymore tips on how guys think, let us know!

  14. Resheka says:

    Thank u so much for that it tought me a lot. I did wear my heart on my sleeves in was emotional about guys at times…but do to ur tips im much better in i have steped up my game. Thanks again!!

  15. Andrew says:

    This is some good advice. However, the most important aspect of getting a guy is not covered: improve your appearance. Men are attracted to what they see primarily. This should be the top of the list.

    I’ve seen lists like this before without any tips for looking hotter, and I think it is left off because women tend to think you are either born with looks or not; but appearance is about 50% presentation. Grooming, clothes, (a little) makeup, etc. can dramatically improve a girl’s look, and help her get the guy she wants.

    Check out my new blog for more: http://therulesrevisited.blogspot.com/

  16. amanda needle says:

    okay so i met this guy ( btw we are 16) and it was like an instant click and we flirted and everything and he always asked me to hang out and he talked to me on Facebook. and it was literally amazing because he’s the most popular guy and i was like ohmygod this can’t be happening to me.. so anyways i hung out with him and we made out. then we like kinda talked after that but we didn’t see each other since it was summer. anyways over summer he hkup with this girl from camp and then once school started we hung out again but we weren’t texting or anything like that. and then we hooked up but since then we haunt talked like at all. and we arnt mad at each other or anything. so i was just wondering what i should do because i don’t wanna wait for him for like a really long time and then him asking me to hang out then we make out and then we don’t talk for a few months and then he texts me to hang, then we hang and make out and then we don’t talk for another few months. like its this weird cycle that keeps on happening and its really annoying. also one time that i was with him i over heard him saying that once he makes out witth a girl he doesn’t like her as much.. is that true for all guys?

    • @amanda needle
      No, that is not true for all guys! A guy who likes you is going to want to make out with you as much as he can, and also spend time with you getting to know you better. It sounds like this guy is interested in just making out with as many girls as he can, always moving on to the next, and not getting attached to anyone. My advice is to not be available the next time you hear from him. It is a vicious cycle, and there’s really nothing in it for you, unless you want to be one of his harem. If he cared about you in any way he’d be letting you know, and he’d be in touch more often.

  17. M says:

    I am not too sure about this.  I think it depends on the guy.  Some guys are a bit avoidant and when things get close they tend to back off for a little while, those are the guys who you probably dont want to wear your heart on your sleeve with.  There are guys however who are comfortable with having someone depend on them and depending on somebody else.  May I suggest, that girls don’t wear their heart on their sleeves not for the comfort of the guy but for their own comfort?  Then when you have an idea of how capable he is of meeting your needs (legitimate ones, that is) you can begin to show your feelings for him.   I also think that it’s unfair to make the guys do ALL the pursuing, you cant generalize that every single guy likes doing all the work while having absolutely no idea of how much the girl  likes him back.  I think its absolutely okay to text him first occasionally.  Or even occasionally ask to hang out.  Alot of people think that doing this makes him not like you.  I disagree, he either likes you or he doesn’t and you texting him first that one or two times has nothing to do with why he hasn’t called in 2 weeks.  Now if you are always the one doing all the work and he is making no effort whatsoever, then its bad to keep bothering him because lets face it if he likes you he will make an effort to see you, especially if you indicate your interest by talking to him first.  I just don’t see it all as black and white.  Pursuing needs to be at least 50-50, if its 40-60 then someones feelings are probably getting hurt.

  18. Leela says:

    So i met this guy and we have been talking for about a month and a half…hes an aries and i am a libra. Hes 30 and im 28, he is such a sweetheart, very affectionate and claims eh really likes me and blah blah blah. One day im at dinner and he calls, i pick up we get into our first lil tiff or almost argument nd i dismiss him not only because he was pissin me off but also its rude to have a full blown convo at the dinner table. He askes me “do you really want to this is like that”? or sumthing..anywho its been going on three days that he hasnt textd or called me….was it that serious that he claimed he “liked” me but just stopped talking to me like that?….im confused…

  19. WJ says:

    And the last rule: don’t expect any of that to work universally. With some guys (even some who might be “worth it”), several or more of those tips might be the worst possible approach. Believe it.

    But when were there rules for interacting with humans that applied in every case? “Don’t poke out his eyes with uncooked spaghetti,” maybe. The above are a lot more hit and miss.

  20. This post was a lot of fun to read… That mantra rocks the casbah!


  21. Dee says:

    Just loved the article as well as the added advice from the males…whether we agree with everything or not, insight from all areas and experiences can only help us all to think, learn and grow.

  22. the "absurd" man says:

    This is EVIL. Saddest of all, it’s true. These concepts make relationships so manipulative. What a twisted condition it is to be human.
    This is why my friend only dates younger women, before they learn about tips like these and become these independent women who are just as bad as the men they try to avoid.
    I just want someone who’s real. Not all guys take advantage of that. Sadly I don’t think our gender relations can be fixed.

  23. inkytea says:

    as someone who often falls on the “guys want more from me than i want from them” side of the spectrum, the easiest piece of advice i can give is this: don’t be afraid to present a few flaws and vulnerabilities. by no means should you feel the need to appear “weak”, nor that mr. big, strong & handsome has to rescue or, heaven forbid, try to FIX you…nor do you have to tell him all about your glaring character flaws or tragic past right off the bat…but what i mean is that being imperfect makes you appear, well, human. a lot of my female friends try much too hard to be cool, seductive, and fantastically witty, but oftentimes it backfires (especially because of the hyperfocus…) and even when it does succeed it only leads to a nice fling or two. it’s okay to be awkward, and to be a little self-deprecating, as long as you still carry yourself with confidence and most importantly SMILE! gradually admit to your flaws…don’t try to be a mannequin for him XD and if he feels like he’s the only one who is privy to this side of you – the unvarnished, vulnerable, slightly awkward person within – that no one else truly gets to see, he’ll want to see more of it. it’s important, of course, not to abuse this…reserve this for only someone you could see yourself actually being with 🙂

    so, to sum it up: be confident, but honest. don’t try to be perfect or someone you’re not. allow him to see just a little bit of your vulnerable moments, just a little bit of your vulnerable side. if he’s not averse to you, and isn’t a total jackass, he’ll value that trust and want to know more.

    then again, maybe that’s just my experience? i honestly find that the easiest way to get into a man’s head, and stay there, is to be a real person…not a caricature XD