Have you ever wondered how to be more attractive? Attraction isn’t only about looks.

Attractive people have a certain primal magnetism.

Of course, we can be physically attracted to someone, but we are more often drawn to their confidence, passion, and personality. Being attractive is about more than just appearance.

Not only is attraction the basis of finding a romantic partner, but we are also…

  • attracted to work with certain people
  • attracted to certain friendships
  • attracted to certain types of ideas
  • attracted to certain coffee shops because we like their vibe, their menu, or their location

Attractiveness is an essential part of understanding what motivates people. But first, how good are you at reading body language? Reading attraction cues is just as important as being attractive.

Vanessa Van Edwards Research Lab

Can You Read Body Language? (Quiz)

How good are your body language skills? Take our free body language quiz to find out!

If you want to make people want you, if you want to be attractive, if you want to understand people, you need to learn:

The Law of Attraction

I want to redefine the law of attraction. Attraction is about being available and drawing the right people, ideas, and opportunities to you.

First, what is attraction? Attraction is when we are interested in, intrigued by, or feel the urge to gravitate toward something or someone.

When we feel attraction, we want to know more. We want to be around someone more. Attraction makes us feel engaged and alive - Vanessa Van Edwards Quote

Attraction is not only about looks, either. It is about availability + confidence.

Here are my best tips:

The Single Most Attractive Trait

What turns you on? Eyes? Humor? Legs?

Research shows that a person’s most attractive trait is their availability. Confidence is a plus, too, but availability wins, hands down.

  • In dating, it is about physical availability: “Will this person mate with me?”
  • With friends and long-term romantic partners, it is about emotional availability: “Will this person open up to me?”
  • For business, it is about economic and intellectual availability: “Will this person work with me?”

The best way to show availability—whether it is at a networking event, party, business meeting, or date—is by demonstrating availability.

Showing up is NOT enough! You have to show people you are emotionally available to connect.

Show people you want to connect, talk, and start a relationship. A woman at an event once asked me: “Isn’t it obvious that I’m available to connect? I’m here, aren’t I?”

Well, there’s a psychology term called signal amplification bias. In a nutshell, signal amplification bias is when people tend to think their flirting cues are obvious to others. But in fact, they are not.

This means you really have to make your nonverbals obvious, or it’s likely others won’t pick up on them.

Action Step: At your next social event, make a point of telling people why you are there and what you are looking for. Something like:

  • “I’m excited to meet you because I was hoping to make some really interesting connections at this event.”
  • “This event is going great. I came wanting to stir up some business, and I have already passed out a few business cards. May I give you one?”

We don’t realize that our availability isn’t as obvious as we think. Try showing it, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how welcoming and curious people are in return.

So how do you show availability? Read on…

Attraction Tip #1: Use Open Body Language

Are you closing yourself off to others? We might close our body language and seem unavailable without even realizing it:

  • crossed arms
  • clutching a wine glass in front of our stomach
  • checking a phone in front of our chest
  • hugging a purse to our center

We actually close our body language when we are feeling mentally closed off, and people can see this a mile away.

If you want to look more attractive, you don’t have to change your looks—you simply have to change your body language to be more open. Body language research has shown that keeping your torso, chest, and abdomen open to the world is the best way to show availability.

Open body language is more attractive than any outfit, hairstyle, or dance move.

Female and male body language also differ. Here is an overview of female body language to watch out for:

Female Body Language Analysis

An interesting story about how open body language and open-mindedness go hand in hand: I was people-watching at a networking event, and watched a man and woman chatting. At the beginning of the conversation, the woman was holding her purse in front of her chest, and the man was holding his wine glass in front of him. At one point, the man made a joke, and both of them began to laugh. You could see them emotionally relax and open up. At that moment, the woman swung her purse over her shoulder and opened up her body language. In the very next second, the man placed his glass on the cocktail table next to them and pulled out a business card. They continued speaking the rest of the night.

Image showing close body language cues on the left and open body language cues on the right

*If you want to add sexuality to your attractiveness you can also expose your neck (think Marilyn Monroe tilting her head back and laughing).

From a body language perspective, an open, exposed, or stroked neck is not only more sensual but also releases tantalizing pheromones. See more about this in the video above.

The Power of The Purse (and Cup)

Purse and cup behavior is a common form of blocking, too. It is how someone interacts with their environment, based on their emotions.

For example, if a woman is feeling uncomfortable or not attracted to someone, she will either clutch her bag tightly or place it in front of or covering her body. When a woman is attracted, she literally and figuratively wants nothing to stand in the way between her and her lover.

Both men and women will also do the same with their drinking cup, using it as a barrier to block out others.

If she loosely holds her purse, and it is not blocking her front, this shows she is at ease and feels more attraction. Better yet, if she puts it on the floor, on a nearby table, or on the back of the chair, she wants it out of the way for her interactions with you.*

*Please note context here: if you are in a very public or potentially dangerous location, she could be gripping her purse for safety concerns, but in a casual place or on a date, this can be a good indicator.

I was actually at a singles event the other night and watched a man and woman talking. The woman had her purse partially blocking her body and was gripping the handle tightly under her arm. Then the man told her he was a doctor, and the woman literally swung her purse up and over her shoulder, out of the way. It was amazing.

Attraction Tip #2: Fronting

Fronting, or squaring up, is when you square up your body so you are directly facing a person. When you front someone, you are signaling attraction and interest. It says, “I am here, and you are the center of my attention.”

When you front someone, they are the center of your universe.

When fronting, keep in mind the 3 Ts:

  • Toes
  • Torso
  • Top (or head)

Pro Tip: Sometimes, you can’t front. Maybe you’re seated next to each other or in a crowded venue where your torsos are facing the same direction. If that’s the case, read on to find out how to show availability and openness without having to front…

Attraction Tip #3: Pick The Right Seat At Dinner

Picture this: You’ve got a dinner date coming up. Say you’re going to Chipotle, Olive Garden, or the Ritz (totally different price points, I know).

You’re with your partner, and there’s a table in front of you. They sit on one of the chairs. Where do you sit for optimum attraction?

Image showing a rectangular dinner table with 4 chairs
  1. Seat A
  2. Seat B
  3. Seat C
  4. None of the above
Click to Reveal

The answer is c) Seat C! Seat C offers the best direct contact opportunities, and removes the table as a physical barrier. Sometimes you might not have a choice. So if your partner is sitting directly in front of you at a table, try sitting a little to the side, and angle your belly button toward him or her, using open-palm gestures.1

Attraction Tip #4: Lean In to Show Engagement

Leaning toward someone is a nonverbal way of telling them you are engaged. This works especially well if you are in a group of people, and you are interested in one person in the group. This will subconsciously “pull” them in your direction and nonverbally say, “I like you the most!”

Pro Tip: Are there objects like a chair or desk in the way? Maneuver yourself or move the objects so you can lean forward without the clutter.

Heart Beat Patterns

“He makes my heart race” is no cliché. Studies have found that when someone is near an attractive person, their heart rate increases.

AND this works both ways. Researchers tried increasing someone’s heart rate, and then putting them near a stranger. This then artificially made the stranger seem even more attractive. People seem more attractive when our heart is racing.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend taking someone’s pulse on a date or in a bar, but if you can see someone’s breathing rate increase, and you can feel the heat of their palm when you are holding their hand, then you might want to go in for a kiss.

Attraction Tip #5: Eye Gazing

Eye gazing is the powerful, intimate act of staring into someone’s eyes for a long period of time. When they stare back at you, oxytocin, or the “love hormone,” increases.

In a study in the Journal of Research in Personality, random strangers were asked to stare into each other’s eyes for 2 minutes without breaking eye contact. They reported “increased feelings of passionate love for each other.”

Eye gaze is so powerful that it doesn’t only work in humans—it works with dogs, too. In another study, dogs were trained to gaze into their owners’ eyes. After receiving those gazes, both the owner and the dog had elevated oxytocin levels.

Cool, right? Eye gaze works for increasing attraction because oxytocin is literally produced in the heart.

When your body releases oxytocin, you literally feel it in the heart.

Pro Tip: Whatever you do, don’t stare TOO much. An intimacy equilibrium model by Argyle and Dean says if you stare too much, the other person will look less2. My favorite technique I used back in my college days is to make eye contact, hold the contact for 3 seconds, then give a wink and look away while smiling. During a conversation, the ideal amount of eye contact is between 60–70% of the time. You can even make less eye contact when you’re talking and more while listening.

Arrow showing the ideal eye contact level of 60% to 70%

Attraction Tip #6: The Wait-And-Smile

You might have heard that smiling is a good thing. And it is! I smile all the time because I’m genuinely happy and interested to meet new people. However, you CAN overdo it. There’s a spectrum of smiling that you should try to stay in. I call this the Smile-o-meter.

Image of a smile-o-meter for attraction, from 1 to 10 and red to green depending on the ideal spectrum to stay in

On a scale of 1–10, how much do you smile in a conversation? My sweet spot for smiling is a 7. Research shows that people who smile more often have less status and less power1.

Betas tend to smile. Alphas do not.

You usually want to smile more than not, but there’s a trick to the Smile-o-meter. Use the wait-and-smile approach:

  • Wait until you’ve been introduced in a conversation or are introducing yourself before smiling.
  • Then, as you shake your acquaintance’s hand and say their name, smile broadly, as if hearing their name brought a smile to your face.

In this way, others will feel as if their name was so appealing to you that it made you smile brightly. Others will “catch” your delight and happiness, causing a genuine ripple effect of attraction.

Action Step: Where is your smile on the Smile-o-meter? In your next conversation, rate yourself out of 10. Try to increase or decrease to make it an optimal 7.

Attraction Tip #7: Use a Vigilant Style

Wait, hold up… Are you planning on doing all these cues? There’s a trick to doing them…

to maximize your attraction…

and that is… to do them… sloooowly.

In a 2011 study, researchers found that it’s actually good to use a vigilant style of nonverbals when you first meet someone new. What does this mean? Vigilance means:

  • using smaller gestures with more precise movements
  • using slower talking speed and movements
  • leaning backward instead of forward

In other words, play it cool.

This might even go against some body language cues you’ve learned so far. However, think of it like the “testing phase” of a relationship. When you first meet someone, you’re a stranger to them. So you don’t want to come off too strong.

After enough rapport is built up, and you start to get more comfortable, more forward and direct attraction cues can be used. You’ll notice, when it’s time to ramp up the intimacy, if their body language starts to open up.

Attraction Tip #8: Don’t Seek

How many times have you been at a big social event, and you’ve seen a couple of people standing around like this?

2 people seeking someone else to chat at a social event, instead of chatting with each other

Way to be a mood killer! Gazing out toward the crowd isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it conveys your interest lies elsewhere (aka not with yourself). Signaling this way shows to others that you’re actively NOT having fun or entertaining yourself.

Instead, imagine if you saw 2 people like this:

2 people, drinking beer, having fun and chatting with each other at a Social Event

Which group looks like the one you’d want to join? I’d definitely take the second one in a heartbeat. So to really effortlessly attract people to you, you’ve got to bring the fun to yourself.

  • Be engaged. No matter where you are, be truly engaged with whomever you’re with. Have a blast. Crack a joke. Others who notice you may want to join in on the fun, too!
  • Entertain yourself. Alone? No worries! You can entertain yourself by interacting with whoever’s nearby—the bartender, the staff, even random strangers. Or, you can even pull up your phone and find what’s interesting to you. I’ve had a couple conversations start this way, where I was simply browsing my phone, and people wanted to know why I was laughing so much.

Attraction Tip #9: Mirroring Body Language

Mirroring is when you subtly copy the body language of the other person. The consensus is that mirroring is H.O.T.

In one study, men rated a woman more sexually attractive if she had mimicked his verbal and nonverbal behavior during speed dating2. We tend to subconsciously mirror people if we like them. The key to mirroring is being subtle—obvious mirroring can actually break rapport and decrease attraction.

If someone leans back on the wall, lean back, too. If they prop up their leg in a figure 4, do that as well.

Action Step: Read our list of 16 Essential Body Language Examples and Their Meanings to get your nonverbal cues on track to open up.

Attraction Tip #10: Have Congruent Facial Expressions

What does your face look like when it’s resting? Unfortunately, mine is the classic resting bitch face (RBF). Others might have a “blank stare” that looks like they’re watching paint dry. But just imagine if someone’s looking around the room, ready and excited to talk to someone new, and they see this:

The Science of Resting Bitch Face and How to Prevent It

Look curious and interested in the environment, groove to the music, be starry eyed, and smile—these small cues will go a long way to becoming more approachable. But it’s not as simple as changing your facial expression. You’ve got to be congruent.

What is congruence? In a nutshell, congruence is being the same inside and out. Let me explain this important but simple concept with shapes. First, you know what a circle is. And you know what a triangle is. But if a circle tries to become a triangle…

Image of a circle shape drawing that pretends to be a triangle, to fit in with other triangles having fun

To be more attractive, your body language and facial expressions must be congruent.

For example, if you go up to a girl and give her an eyebrow flash and smile, but you’re sweating profusely from nervousness, and your feet are pointed toward the exit because you’re deathly afraid… you’re being totally incongruent!

We’ve got internal radars that go off whenever we’re around incongruent people:

  • the “tough guy” who tries to act confident but only comes off as uncaring and overcompensating
  • the girl who tries to act popular but deep down, she’s really insecure and unconfident
  • the friend who tries to act nice but is actually toxic and hates you

It’s much better to be honest about your nervousness. So if your face is just bleh, accept yourself, and you’ll come off as more genuine and likable. Trust me—I’ve been in the situation where I’ve tried to fake my confidence. It never worked.

Action Step: Who are you trying to portray? People can sniff out incongruency a mile away. Always try to act like yourself, and don’t assume an “ideal” version of yourself. The next time you’re out, try to express the emotions that you truly feel.

Attraction Tip #11: The 5 in 15 Rule

The 5 in 15 rule of flirting is to touch someone 5 times within 15 minutes1. The touch can be when you first approach someone, and you can sprinkle touches here and there when you make a joke or share laughter. Pick your area of touch:

  • The arm. This is a safe place that I like to start out with. The upper arm is the safest; going closer to the hand gets closer to intimacy.
  • The shoulder is a more vulnerable area since it’s closer to the neck, but can be used if it’s a quick tap. Touching here is best reserved for if you’ve built strong rapport.
  • The body. Avoid the body unless you’re ready to ramp up the intimacy.

The 5 in 15 rule is great because unexpected touch releases tiny doses of dopamine.

Dopamine molecule, the happy hormone

Touch is so necessary that even members of the lowest caste in India were called untouchables2. Unexpected touch is even better because it actually makes our heart rate increase.

Use unexpected touches to increase arousal and excitement throughout your conversation2.

Pro Tip: Gauge your touch. You don’t want to touch someone who isn’t welcoming it. Women indicated touch from a stranger is the greatest invasion of privacy, while men felt the same when it came from another man2. If their body language is relaxed and open and immediately closes after your touch, then it’s a good sign your touch is uninvited.

Attraction Tip #12: The Right Side

Did you know there is a preferred side we like people to be on1? It’s either our left side of our body or our right side. If people are on my WRONG side, I feel more awkward and clumsier than usual.

Why do we have a “preferred” side? The OLD theory states:

  • Handshake acts as an anchor.
  • When we shake hands, we create unconscious positive emotions, and typically, we are on the person’s right side when we shake hands.
  • Standing on this side recreates these emotions unconsciously.

When a person is honest and cooperative, stand to their right to build trust with them. When someone is closing down or being deceptive, stand to their left to break rapport and create tension and stress.

Action Step: Do you notice a person acting weirder or more insecure than usual when you’re standing on one side? Try switching over to the other side. Use transitions to make it less obvious:

  • Grab a napkin or drink.
  • Go to the bathroom.
  • Sip some water.

If they start perking right up, that’s a good sign you’re on their right side. Test each side for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then test again to confirm their right side.

You can even ask your partners or friends their seat preferences the next time you hang out at a restaurant or the movies. Move from one side to the other, and see if you notice nervous or tense gestures.

Their Feet Like You

The feet serve as a direct reflection of a person’s attitude. The key is recognizing where a person’s feet are pointed. When the feet are pointed directly toward another person, this is a sign of attraction, or at the very least, genuine interest. If, on the other hand, the feet are pointed away or toward the exit, that is a sign that attraction is probably not there.

Here’s the bottom line: Attraction isn’t just about looks. You become more attractive when you draw people in with your personality and your charisma. Attractive nonverbals help a lot as well! Be sure to use these cues to be more attractive to everyone you meet.

Want to know even more cues to look for when reading male and female body language? Head on over to our ultimate guides: Reading Female Body Language / Reading Male Body Language

Attraction Tip #13: Claiming Space

A great way to build your confidence and attraction is to take up space. Imagine the most attractive person in the room—are they likely hiding in the corner, curled up in a ball? Probably not.

The attractive and confident person is expansive. They’re big. And they take up a lot of visual space. Try expanding yourself:

  • Rest your arms on the armrests.
  • Widen your legs.
  • Put your belongings on objects to “claim them.”

You can also integrate space through your environment by the technique of keep moving. Think in your past to one of the longest, funnest days you’ve ever had. For me, that was when I took a recent trip to the beach with Sienna and my husband to a new beach house! And chances are, your experience also involves novelty and different experiences.

And here’s where the idea of keeping moving comes into play…

Different environments create different, novel experiences.

For example, have you ever been on a coffee date or business meeting, and it seemed to last for hours on end? This isn’t a bad sign, but you likely remember it as one distinct experience.

Now contrast that with another date where you move to 3 places:

  • First, you start in the office.
  • Then, you move to a coffee shop.
  • Afterward, you bring your partner to a dessert cafe.

Notice how in each of the 3 different locations, you can invite new feelings and emotions.

Perhaps you might have even noticed that car dealers do this a lot. They meet you at an open lot to discuss the features of a car. Then take you to the lobby to wait before the test drive. Then to the office, then to the car again. This gives you the feeling of considering purchasing for a long time1.

This works not only in business, but also in creating intimate relationships, as well. Singles on dates should do this to “feel” like they’ve known each other longer than they actually do.

Action Step: Before your next big date or business meeting, plan out 3 different locations you can move to. Pivot to new locations if there’s a lull in conversation, or you want to shift to a brand new topic of conversation. Keep them on their toes. Keep moving!

Attraction Tip #14: Gesture With Your Hands

We love to see people’s hands. Studies have found that when we can’t see people’s hands, we have trouble trusting them. When you put your hands in your pockets, tuck them under the table, or hide them behind a coat, your attractiveness decreases because you’re instantly creating warning signals to others.

A graphic showing closed and open palms. Closed palms creates fear in others, while an open palm signals trust.

Instead, always have your hands showing. Studies show the best gestures to use in dating situations are expansive ones. These gestures increase your perceived openness and even dominance, in some cases.

Action Step: Want to know the best hand gestures you can use right now? Head on over to the list of best hand gestures you should know.

Attraction Tip #15: Stop Being Boring

How to Stop Being Boring

Our brains are like really hungry toddlers. They are easily bored and they demand to be fed with entertaining nuggets. Being “hot” simply isn’t enough.

New York Times bestselling author and developmental molecular biologist John Medina discovered that the brain has a very short attention span. Our brains are attracted to people and things that are intriguing, interesting, and engaging. Luckily, you are an intriguing, interesting, and engaging person!

It’s attractive to be interesting.

Yes, I have met thousands of people at speaking events, conferences, and networking parties—and I have never met a single boring person.

Sometimes we act boring because we are afraid of being seen as “weird” or “different.” So we have the same mind-numbingly boring social scripts:

  • “What do you do?”
  • “Where are you from?”
  • “How’s the weather?”

We don’t share how we really feel, we hide our quirks, and we try to fit in. But you know what? Fitting in sucks! It’s dull and unattractive.

Our fear of not fitting in makes us boring.

Scientific research has shown us that there are tools we can use to fight the boring, increase our attractiveness, and make us more memorable. How do we do this? We learn how to be interesting.

Action Step: Learn the 5 Steps to Be More Interesting.

Bonus Attraction Tip: Become Likable

Are you a likable person? If not, learn to increase your likability.

Check out the science-backed course on how to increase likability:

How to Be Approached in a Bar

Have you ever been at a bar and stood there waiting… and waiting… and waiting some more? The thing is, your body language might not convey openness. Instead of blocking people out, try to turn your torso away from the bar and toward the center of the room or where most of the people are.

Remember, you also want to avoid seeking behaviors, so don’t go searching the room for someone to come approach you. Look like you’re having fun, even if you’re all alone!

How to Be Attractive As a Man

How do you rate your own attractiveness as a man? Here are some tips to maximize your attraction:

#1: Look Smart

Long gone are the days of looking like you just came back from a war with lions. Or looking like Rambo.

In a survey of 5,500 singles between 21 and 76, a whopping 63% of people said an unclean appearance was their biggest relationship deal breaker. Before even considering approaching anyone, you’ve got to be groomed and prepared:

  • Get fresh breath. Want to know one of MY biggest turnoffs? A horrible case of halitosis. Make sure to brush your tongue before going out, and always carry a couple mints in your back pocket. Some mints with sugars leave your mouth even stinkier afterward, so make sure to invest in quality lozenges like TheraBreath mints.
  • Clean those fingernails. Check your nails right now. Do you bite them? Is there gunk from last night’s mud wrestling match? How do your cuticles look? You may not care, but others might. Consider using a nail file to trim those rough nails, and consider kicking the habit of nail biting.
  • Prep your clothes. You don’t have to suit up, but if you’re dressing to impress, it might be a good idea to iron your shirt, clean your shoes (baby wipes work wonders!), and use a lint roller to get rid of those random pieces of lint.
  • Style your hair. Depending on your hair, you can slick it back for a clean/professional look, or add some gel to give it some volume and texture. And yes, washing your hair is a must.

#2: Be The Center of Attention

When approaching a group, how do you approach them?

  1. directly, confident and assured
  2. skittishly, nervous and awkward
  3. not at all

You might think a) is the best answer, and you’re right! But there’s a caveat…

Approaching directly may not be the best choice. This is a mistake men often make.

Why? Because you’re literally pitting yourself against them.

Instead, go inside the group (by ordering a drink and turning around, excusing yourself in, etc.), and be in the middle1. This accomplishes 2 things:

  1. You’ll look like a leader and appear with others, not against them.
  2. Other people who see you in a bar will see you as having increased value.

Going inside the group takes a lot of courage, so if you don’t have the confidence to do that yet, no worries! Slowly work your way up, and one day, you will get there.

#3: Guiding Touch

You can put a hand on the small of your partner’s back, just above the pants, if they are your romantic interest. You can use the guiding touch as long as you are moving toward a door. Hold your hand on the small of their back for up to 7 seconds, and use a solid/firm pressure—the same pressure you’d use to push a shopping cart1.

Pro Tip: Use the guiding touch sparingly, and don’t use it more than once in a short period of time.

#4: Use Calm Scents

Which scents are women attracted to the most? The smell of adventure, pine trees, and manly perspiration? Think again. According to research, women are actually attracted to baby powder and cucumber. Unfortunately, you might be a little weird carrying around a cucumber. However, baby powder can be used as a great underarm antiperspirant!

How to Be Attractive As a Woman

To be attractive as a woman, you’ve got to send the right signals. Here are some cues you can use to your advantage:

#1: Wear Heels

Both men and women love heels (although, sometimes we don’t love to wear them!). People love the look of them and the hard “clicking” sound they make when you walk on hard flooring. Wearing heels creates the illusion of height while arching the back, elongating the legs, and improving posture. Also, heels add swing to a woman’s step by strengthening the core and pelvic floor1.

#2: The Push-Pull

When you’re joking around and having a good time, don’t go in for the play hit. I see this one a lot, especially in teens. Some women even hit hard, but this is an instant rapport breaker for many people since it signals aggression.

Instead, grab their arm and push them away, slowly releasing their arm. The push-pull should last a minimum of 3 seconds. It’s a great way to build your touch connection without hurting them. However, the push-pull can also be rapport breaking, depending on the situation, especially if you haven’t developed enough rapport yet.

#3: Flash The Goods

No, not those goods! There is a much more subtle way of signaling attraction: the palms and wrist. To ramp up attraction and femininity, make sure your palms and wrists are exposed. Many women opt for the limp wrist cue, which signals submissiveness and a willingness to be dominated.

#4: Use Yummy Scents

Do you use scents in your attraction arsenal? According to the previous research, there are specific scents that men are attracted to. Men had the highest arousal increase of 40% when they smelled pumpkin pie combined with a lavender scent. Cinnamon also works well. However, perfume does not work well, with the highest of only a 3% increase.

Action Step: To maximize this research, try applying a natural lavender oil to your wrists and neck area. Stock up your car and purse with pumpkin pie air fresheners, and order any desserts that have cinnamon, for maximum effectiveness.

#5: Flushed and Blushed

When we are attracted to someone, blood will flow to our face, causing our cheeks to get red. This happens to mimic the orgasm effect where we get flushed. It is an evolutionary way the body tries to attract the opposite sex. This is why women wear blush. This blood flow also happens with lips and eyes. The redder the lips and the whiter the eyes, the more fertile and attractive someone is.

Action Step: Wear red lipstick. Red is the color that has been shown to attract the most invitations.

Be The Durian

If you’re worried that your genetics screwed your chances for attraction success, don’t worry! I’m going to let you in on a secret…

What is the most important way to be attractive? I prefer being the durian.

Now if you’ve ever had a durian, then you either love durian or hate it. If you have NO idea what the heck a durian is, let me explain: it’s a tropical fruit grown in Asian countries. It has a spiky exterior shell and soft, yellow flesh on the inside. It also has a reputation for being absolutely pungent and similar in smell to a trash can.

So here’s a funny durian story…

Back in my college traveling days, I was waiting at the American embassy and saw a rather strange tattoo on the calf muscle of the guy in front of me. Upon looking closer… it was a tattoo of a durian! We talked, and he said durian was his absolute favorite food in the world—he loved it so much he one day said, “Yep! I’m getting a durian tattoo.”

Now that right there is dedication! I actually love durian (but my husband despises it). But the moral of the story is…

Whoever you are, someone will love you, Durian fruit quote
Whoever you are, someone will love you.

So if you’ve done everything in this guide:

  • You’ve worked on your approach.
  • You’ve nailed your attractive body language.
  • You’ve mastered your social skills.

… but you STILL can’t find someone…

Be patient, and be yourself!

It’s just a matter of finding the right person, not the most people!

A facial expressions chart detailing the 7 universal expressions

Crack The Code on Facial Expressions

The human face is constantly sending signals, and we use it to understand the person’s intentions when we speak to them. 

In Decode, we dive deep into these microexpressions to teach you how to instantly pick up on them and understand the meaning behind what is said to you. 

Don’t spend another day living in the dark.


1 Driver, J. & van Aalst, M (2011): You Say More Than You Think: The 7-day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get what You Want. New York 2 Knapp, M. L., & Hall, J. A. (2014). Nonverbal communication in human interaction. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Side Note: As much as possible we tried to use academic research or expert opinion for this master body language guide. Occasionally, when we could not find research we include anecdotes that are helpful. As more research comes out on nonverbal behavior we will be sure to add it!

24 replies on “How to Be More Attractive: 15 Rules to Increase Attraction”

  1. Rob

    Yes, I can read body language, but seeing is not the same as believing what one ‘sees’. To act on what one sees, one must accept that one is seeing something for what it actually is and or intends to convey. I know that no woman could be interested in me because I am fundamentally unattractive. As such whenever I see a woman’s actions congruent with the signs described here – and from time to time I do – I automatically dismiss whatever it is my eyes tell me I’m seeing as by default something else.

  2. Peter

    Hi Vanessa – could you please explain what being “open and available” to others means? I just cannot even picture it being possible for me… Thanks.

  3. Paul

    I have been told I’m definitely not ‘creepy’ by everyone I’ve asked. That said, I’ve literally never been invited to a party or other social event. Even when I was a child, I was the only kid in the class who never got invited to birthday parties or other kid-focused social events. That was upsetting but it was what it was. I was never bullied or bothered by anyone – others simply didn’t (and mostly still don’t) interact with me. I’m not blaming anyone for this, nor do I feel entitled to it – but I honestly have no idea why I am invisible to others. Nobody I’ve asked about this (including male and female friends and a couple of therapists) has given me a reason either. I have many hobbies (including sailing, climbing waterfalls, hiking and cooking), am well travelled (86 countries) and speak seven languages. I’m well educated, have a great job and own four properties – all mortgage-free – I live in one and rent the others. My women friends tell me I am one of the kindest, funniest and most interesting people they’ve met. In spite of all this, I have never been on a date – literally every woman I have asked has responded with an immediate unqualified no. I’ve asked my women friends whether they have thoughts on my 0% success rate – they honestly have no idea. Do you have any thoughts what it might be?

  4. Henry

    Allen, read this. I just read all these comments and it reminds me of “The Perks of being a wallflower”. You and the main character are similiar but a little different. You both have a problem with yourselves. Not a medical disorder that is called something but a mental limit. You can’t open up. So many people have showed you that you are special but you still don’t believe it. I know a bunch of guys at school who are handsome but total jerks. And then I am no different then you. I won the most awards in the grade, I’m “smart”. But I have no idea what to do with girls! IDK what to do, and I’m going on my first date in a few days. I will probably never visit this website again in my life but I just hope that you can to open up and get a girl. You are already forty, (maybe forty-one by the time I am writing this) and you haven’t been loved yet, or even had a girlfriend! You can’t give up yet, maybe you are as handsome as a wall, but that doesn’t mean your unattractive!! No one cares about how you look it is all about your attitude and positivity and personality. Your BRAIN! STOP being negative and get yourself out there. If your so worried about your looks try blind-dating. Just try OK? You could get in a car crash in a month and die. You will have had an incomplete life and for what? Your own cowardice? It is an illusion, You just need to try and you can do it! Just try, that is all I ask.

  5. Mark

    “How do you rate your own attractiveness as a man?” That’s easy – I’m a zero. If an attractive man approaches a woman in the right way and in the appropriate circumstances, she appreciates it and reciprocates his interest. Unfortunately, there has never been an occasion when a woman has been attracted to me, indicating that – realistically speaking – there are no circumstances when I should express interest in any woman, even though I am very attracted to some. I really am that fundamentally unattractive.

    1. Gia

      Something in your comment makes it clear that you think physical beauty and attractiveness are equivalent. Speaking as a woman… you could not be more mistaken! I’ve found some guys who were hot to be the epitome of boredom and self-involvement, whereas others who were not ‘much to look at’ in the conventional sense rather interesting and so very engaging… You’re sure of yourself as a guy because you’re so very handsome? Bleeech! You tell me about how you liked La Traviata at The Met, braved fugu in Shinjuku, are paragliding next week, and expound a bit on something obscure that shows your intelligence, yeah, a bit nerd territory… Which guy you think I’m gonna wanna talk to!? You break a few confident moves on that dance floor? Unless I’m the shallowest woman ever, I’ve already forgotten the ‘hot’ guy. Moral of this story: you can’t be ‘not hot’ AND be boring me stiff. Develop an interesting personality- and good luck.

      1. Mark

        Hello Gia – thank you for your response. Actually I have no issues with my looks, physical health, or any other external aspect – I just cannot attract women other than in a platonic way. I also [believe I do] have an interesting personality – though whether others agree is up to them. I hold 4 degrees including a PhD, work in a position I enjoy in a highly-paid profession and prior to the imposition of pandemic restrictions, travelled internationally a lot for work and hobbies, which include parasailing and climbing waterfalls. I have lived in or visited 96 countries and speak 6 languages.

        None of these things appears to matter one iota when it comes to attracting women as more than friends. I am profoundly shy and find social interaction, and as such am categorically useless at ‘small talk’ – and of course I am entirely incapable of flirting. No woman has ever shown the slightest interest in me, so I have never shown any interest in a woman – because I simply can’t. This is why I feel I am fundamentally unattractive. I hope this clarifies.

  6. Paul

    Why are scenarios for meeting women so often set in bars? I have been to a bars maybe 3 times in my life and I was extremely uncomfortable every time – I find crowded places literally suffocating. As well, I am very shy and introverted and so find initiating conversations painfully stressful. I’m in my early 40s and even though I’ve been to counselling, I am still far from the point where I can visualize myself approaching woman I find attractive, let alone actually doing it. I do have many [male and female] friends that I’ve met through work or hobbies, but there has never been any indication that any woman sees me in a sexual way. It goes without saying that I’ve never gone on a date. Am I just too far behind most people (+/- 25 years) to get this? Should I just accept that I’m going to be alone forever because I just can’t be attractive in *that* way?

  7. Teeney

    Allen, as long as you believe no woman could be attracted to you and no woman will ever see you so there’s no point in trying to be seen and there’s no point in trying to invest any time in conversation or acknowledgement, regardless of setting and time- you will be correct in your “reality”. What you believe and how you view yourself and others is very apparent whether said verbally or not. Work on how you speak to yourself (especially if that’s the only person you’re speaking to) and be nice! Then work on being open and available to others. All your experience has led you to draw conclusions and all your future experiences will be based on that conclusion if you are never allowing yourself to genuinely look inward and change that self sabotage.

    1. Allen

      Hi Teeny – thank you for your insights. I actually don’t have anyone to talk to other than myself. You suggest I “work on being open and available to others” – but I have no idea how to do that. Any advice?

  8. Justin T Montgomery

    Allen + whomever else it may concern: As a man I can say the majority of what makes a woman attracted to you is character traits that are non-visual… Many women May initially be attracted(or unattracted) to the way you look or your body language but after the first few seconds you have to capture their interest in the way you communicate with them. Confidence is huge if you don’t find a way to develop that then you are just about hopeless with any woman. This applies to many other areas of life as well. Women want a man who is confident(but not cocky), strong, intriguing, interesting, fun, funny, who also has drive, courage, is optimistic about the future and who knows what he wants. This is masculinity.

  9. Anonymous

    Allen, it’s a number game with self improvement. Be yourself. Own your strengths and opportunities of improvement and put yourself out there. Someone told me that you lose when you stop trying.

    1) Have a positive mindset. You will find a gal who likes you for you.
    2) Talk to women around you. Start with cashiers and waitresses. Talk to strangers with no expectation in elevator, grocery store normal day to day living.
    3) Every day move forward. Start with casual talk weather, store item etc. Then move to asking about them . Then ask about their fav part of town etc. You goal is to increase the duration and content of conversation. Finally when you start having longer conversation just say. I have to do/go to … whatever you have to do/go. But I liked talking to you, can We exchange numbers and talk later. Heck if you are going to pick a sandwich, invite them to join you to continue the conversation. The goal is no expectation judging the fit. 4) Next when have mini/casual/elaborate dates keep tab of what you like and didn’t like in the person. Also what you did/reacted and how you would like to react. This is similar to learning for your phds. Read and see videos about dating and relationships (relationships are key as people learn dating but forget that relationship needs another set of skills like boundary’s flexibility assertiveness)
    5) if you go through above steps fix mindset, connect socially, personal growth and evaluate/feedback loop, I am sure you will find a suitable gal naturally during this journey.

  10. George Gray

    @Allen – dude you’re alive and breathing, so there’s hope. Maybe try learning more social skills. Try some improv classes, they’ll increase confidence, and if you do some comedy improv you’ll learn how to roll with stuff a bit more. So if a girl turns you do down you’ll jiu-jitsu roll out of it and come back stronger 🙂 Your time here is short mate, make self-development a lifelong activity. If you want to meet someone your current skills are not getting the job done, so time to learn some more. If you have the attitude of ‘take it or leave it’ you won’t develop. When you go fishing you bait your hook with what the fish likes, not what you like 🙂 Best wishes dude 🙂

    By the way Vanessa, you absolutely rock!!! Your material is incredible, and you have the most uplifting personality!! You truly live what you’ve learned and teach, because 5 seconds into one of your videos I’m ready to trust you 100% Thanks Vanessa!!

  11. Ann

    Wow, Allen, are you always a downer? Have you ever shown interest in someone else? Some people are interested in super casual dates, I’m sure someone would take a swing with you if you asked a bunch of people. Love yourself a little! Buck up, put on your big boy pants and put yourself out there! If this is really important to you then you can make it happen. And if not, who knows, maybe it’s just up to God’s timing.

    1. Allen

      Hello Ann – thank you for your response. The short answer to whether I have ever shown [sexual/romantic] interest in any woman is no. I observe other men and it’s clear I simply do not have what it takes to compete for women’s attention on those levels. Women enjoy receiving attention from attractive men and not from those, who – like me – are unattractive. As such, I have many women friends but have never expressed romantic/sexual interest in anyone – even though I have been very attracted to several women – because I’m certain doing so would be offensive.

  12. Allen

    Nobody has ever shown the slightest interest in me. I don’t socialize because it’s a waste of time – I know I’ll go home alone feeling even worse about myself. I spent 12 years at university but never asked any woman on a date – rejection (or worse) was always guaranteed so there was no point. I have 2 PhDs and am in a highly paid role in a great profession. I take good care of myself and have a lot of interests and hobbies – but nobody ever seems to want to get to know me – I’m invisible. Women are attracted to outgoing guys – which I am not. I have never had a relationship or sex and have never approached any woman because there is no way they could be attracted to me no matter what I do. For some of us there is no hope.

    1. Claire

      Your problem is your attitude and expecting these women to make you feel good about yourself. Speaking as a woman, NO, I don’t want a man who is closed off and lacks any confidence. You don’t have to be the outgoing life of the party, you just have to be self-assured. Are you naturally quiet? Embrace that. Don’t beat yourself up for it. It’s YOU. Women are attracted to men who are themselves, whether that’s outgoing or reserved. The worst thing you can do for yourself is think you or anyone else “should” be different.
      You are setting yourself up to fail by thinking that no woman would be interested in you. How can they be if you don’t make yourself available? There’s no trick to getting ALL women, but if you like yourself for who you are, women who like the type of person you are will be attracted. Just stop worrying about how to socialize “right.” Be you. He IS under there, under all the self doubt and shame.

      1. Allen

        Hello Claire – thanks for your response. It makes sense but I do not know what you mean when you say I need to make myself “available”. I have never tried to be anything but myself – extremely shy, very introverted and with interests shared by very few – and certainly not by anyone I’ve met in person. I have literally no interest in movies of any genre or sports of any kind so I never had much in common with my peers. I ask people about themselves and we converse for a bit and then the other person invariably says they need to go – and they do. As a result, I don’t put much effort into socializing – I’m always the one asking about the other person, and nobody ever asks about me. On the romantic front, because I’ve never sensed any interest in me from a woman, I see no point in asking them out. Added to this, there has never been any evidence that a girl/woman has had the slightest romantic interest in me. People say I need to find myself attractive. OK – but on would I base that conclusion given my experience, which has told me – very clearly – for years that I am unattractive.

    2. Mellody

      Hi Allen, I’m not sure what kind of woman you are attracted to, but I know there are women who like your type. I’m married to a guy just like you. Women who have been cheated on by the “outgoing” guy, soon discover guys like you are the real diamonds. I get why you say there is no hope, because so far that is your reality. Don’t let mean girls reinforce that because it’s not true. If I were single, you would be my exact type, because you understand pain, you are open, and yet, your shy quiet manner probably blooms in private. Not to mention, you are smart, and lots of girls are sapiosexual. Make the effort to look at girls and smile. It will pay off.

      1. Allen

        Hi Mellody – Thanks – it makes no difference what type of woman I’m attracted to because no woman could ever be interested in me. There is no point looking at / smiling at any woman as all that could happen is her being offended so I mind my own business, make as little eye contact as possible and leave people alone. If you were single, I guarantee you wouldn’t even see me – I really am that introverted as to be almost invisible. There is no point in trying to be seen because every other guy around me is by default 100% more attractive than me. I am not attractive – and I cannot be.

      2. Justin T Montgomery

        starting to workout again 5 days a week has boosted my confidence back up in an extreme way that’s another piece of advice for you that i TRULY believe as well Allen. Most people who are mentally unhealthy or not in a good place as far as self-esteem just need physical activity !!

      3. Allen

        Justin – like most people you assume I’m a slob who never moves. I work out 5x per week and climb mountains as a hobby – so I am in great physical shape. I also dress well, take care of myself, etc. – in short all the prerequisites a guy is supposed to have / do / be in order to attract women I have in droves. In my case there is zero connection between feeling good physically or any / all of these other attributes and having confidence with women. There is no evidence that any woman could ever be interested in me other than as a friend – so the logical conclusion is that I am fundamentally unattractive.

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