March 19, 2014 / Don’t Compliment Her Looks
Because she's heard "you have beautiful eyes" from literally every other guy.
Time for a confession: Back in my AFC days, there was a girl I was really into and I wrote a poem for her. We had gone out a couple times, I thought she was pretty into me, and Valentine’s Day was coming up. And I thought she’d really appreciate a poem from me. Fortunately for me, this was around the time I met Josh, and I told him what I was planning on doing and showed him the poem. He told me it was a bad idea, but it wasn’t for the reason I expected.
Josh finally schooled me one day about why this was stupid. It actually wasn’t because I was playing it way too eager, although I’m sure it came off that way. But he said something I remember to this day.
Josh: "This is a bad poem. Also, ‘this’ and ‘desk’ don’t rhyme."
Me: "Yeah, but… okay, so the poem isn’t Shakespeare. Won’t she appreciate the thought, though?"
Him: "Oh? And what’s that thought? ‘You’re hot, and I like you. The end.’ She’s heard that from every guy she’s ever met her entire life. And all your poem is doing is repeating that, but with a bad rhyme scheme."
Shit. I re-read the poem. I had verses that described her eyes as "emerald pools" and her hair as "onyx locks," but it was all effectively about her looks. My poem was pretty much: "You’re hot, and I like you."
Also, my rhyme scheme was, in fact, terrible.
Why This Is a Problem
Complimenting a woman on her looks is what everyone does. It’s done because it’s easy, and it’s obvious, and lots of bad movies have conditioned us to think "it will make her day." But it won’t, because you won’t be telling her anything she hasn’t heard before. You’re not breaking any patterns, so you’re not establishing yourself as any different than the countless number of guys that have tried to talk to her in the past. You’re also immediately conveying interest, potentially coming across as needy because you haven’t done anything to actually get her to be attracted to you.
By complimenting her looks, all you’ve essentially done is announce that you’re willing to be another face in her crowd of
If you approached a woman and complimented her looks as part of an opener (e.g. "I just wanted to say hi and tell you that you’re beautiful"), she may still be receptive to this. Approaching her and complimenting her looks is better than not approaching at all. But if you do like opening with some sort of compliment, then there are a lot of variations you can use. These variations are superior because you’re complimenting her, and not just how she looks.
Compliment Her Taste, Not Her Looks
There’s a technique I call the "taste opener," which is where you approach a girl and say you like something about her taste. If she has a piece of cool jewelry like a bracelet or an anklet, compliment that. If she has a unique tattoo, compliment that. If she’s drinking something like a single malt scotch, compliment that. Yes, things like accessories and tattoos are part of her physical appearance, but those are different than her looks. She didn’t choose her eye color, but she did choose to wear that bracelet or order than Macallan 12. Those choices reflect her taste and so they reflect her, so when you’re complimenting those things, you’re giving her a much deeper compliment than "you have beautiful eyes."
Even better, complimenting her taste often provides a much better bridge to continue talking. You can ask her where she got that bracelet from, or what her tattoo means, or how she got into scotch. Her answers will tell you a lot more about who she is, giving you all sorts of possible connections to continue talking and build a rapport. If it’s going well, you can even talk about how serendipitous the situation is. Something like: "it’s crazy, if you had decided to not wear that bracelet, we may have never even met."
None of this happens if you compliment her looks. You’ll tell her she has beautiful eyes, and there’s literally one response you’ll get back 99% of the time, which is some variation of "thanks." Then what?
Why This Works
Let’s sum up why approaching a girl and complimenting her taste and superior to complimenting her looks:
- You’ve given her a unique compliment compared to saying something about her looks.
- You’re not blatantly announcing "I LIKE YOU," allowing you to build attraction before you start conveying interest.
- By complimenting her taste, you’re complimenting who she is and not just what she looks like. You’re also indicating you have similar taste.
- It’s much easier to use the item or feature you’re complimenting to ‘bridge’ to other conversation topics.
Also, this doesn’t only apply to the opener. Once you’ve started talking to her, there are other things you can compliment besides her taste. For example, if she’s good at something, you can compliment that. If she tells you she ran a marathon, you can say, "that’s impressive, I’m sure that was a crazy amount of training." If she tells you about decisions she made in the past, you can compliment that as well: "I think it’s great you moved to New York City. Most of my friends from high school still live in the same crappy town." Again, these are good compliments because they are complimenting who she
Don’t Go Overboard
Like everything else, use compliments sparingly. Complimenting a woman’s looks conveys interest pretty much immediately, but constantly complimenting everything else will do so as well. Even worse, at a certain point you’ll start to sound insincere. It’s impossible for someone to be that impressed by someone’s taste, talents, and decisions, so she’ll start to question if you even mean everything you’re saying.
Lastly, doing this too often can make it hard to for you to