I’ll just say it up front– I give off a lot of sexual energy. Guys, hell, even girls, have said that it’s obvious and palpable so I promise it’s not me being full of myself. It mainly comes from the fact that when I talk to someone, I really talk to them: I look them in the eye, I focus solely on them, I ask them real questions about themselves, I lean in, I laugh a lot, and I tell them if think they’re awesome. How is this an issue? It’s an issue when it leads to these situations:
a) They think I’m “interested” but I’m really not beyond friendship.
b) I am interested but I worry that I’m being too obviously interested or coming on too strongly
c) My interest fades and it becomes obvious fast in the way I talk with them, leading to some messy and abrupt endings
d) We seem to have an awesome connection but its actually me doing all the work and by the time I realize it, we’re a couple months in and all sorts of tangled up (in my bed and in my heart).
Sometimes I don’t know what to do because I genuinely like getting to know people and I don’t want to feel like I’m responsible for everyone who’s ever going to be attracted to me just because I am a good conversationalist. But I’m worried that I can’t be myself in this aspect because it leads to more trouble than good when it comes to dating. Any advice on how to handle this?
Dear Talented Tonguestress?
First of all, I just have to say that I think many people out there would like to have this issue of yours. So before I begin writing, I have to say, you go girl! However, I can definitely see the down side of giving off too much sexual energy, and more specifically, misdirected sexual energy. I think the way you talk to people (and the body language you seem to be using) can be interpreted as sexual in nature, especially when it’s a female leaning into a male, laughing at his jokes, etc. We all teach men, including myself, that these are tell-tale signs that a woman is interested in them. If you are doing this every time you meet a new guy, no wonder he think you’re interested! In your mind you are being yourself and engaging in the conversation, but in HIS mind you are flirting and are interested.
I think the most important theme to touch on with this is the boundary issue at hand. While I would never tell you to change your personality or your genuine interest in getting to know other human beings, I will ask you to hone it in. By that I mean to be more selective with who you flirt with, or if you just have a flirty personality, be selective with who you give your number to. If you are out at a bar or playing on an intramural sports team, wherever it is you usually meet and attract new men, try just taking it down a notch with the leaning in and try not to touch them (unless, of course, you are interested). If you are laughing at every joke he makes (funny or not), leaning in just a little too much when talking, or casually putting your hand on his shoulder when you are talking, these are all signals to his testosterone filled brain that you are not only interested and flirting, but you are almost a “sure thing”. I almost hate myself for writing this because I think women should act they way they want and screw what men think, BUT if this sexual energy is becoming an issue in your life (as it seems to have because you would not be writing to me otherwise), then you should be aware of how men perceive this kind of body language.
In the second part of your question, I must repeat myself. Be more picky with who you give your number out to. If you are just giving it away to every bro who chats you up, then it is easy to get caught up and tangled up into dating someone you never even knew if you liked. Or even if you decide to give a guy a chance even though you know you’re not into, then learn how to say that you’re not interested after a date or two, instead of letting it go on for a while and either let it fizzle out or end up being in a relationship you didn’t want to be in.
It basically sounds like you should try to learn how to say no, how to end it when you’re not interested, and most importantly, trust yourself when you know it’s not right. You know that excited feeling you get when you meet someone you’re really interested in? Or when you can feel that sexual tension with someone new? Wait for those kind of feelings when you’re meeting new guys. Try not to get involved with people just because you know they’re into it. Wait for a guy who is worth your time, and most importantly, worth all that sexual energy of yours!
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more questions!