3 Ways to Gain Power (By Granting Approval) in a Flirtation

3 Ways to Gain Power (By Granting Approval) in a Flirtation


I’m grouchy today: I didn’t sleep too well, I’ve got deadlines up the wazoo (including a huge one on Monday), blah blah. Plus, I went to a relatively fun kick-off-the-holidays-early party last night at Housing Works–a very cool bookstore in NYC–but then, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, I declined to go to the National Book Awards after-party at the Cipriani Wall Street … and I just got a report from Dairy Milliner about how fun it was, how she met all these great people, how much I missed out, etc. Grrrr.

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I’m going to make today a DAY OF REST from any discussion of Hot Band Guy–though I think he and I will probably hang out over the weekend, if we (by which I mean I) can squeeze it in.

Instead, let’s discuss the topic that’s been on my dating coach’s mind:


As dating coach John Keegan points out, it’s normal that we want people to like us–even people we’ve only just met, whom we don’t know too much about. In fact, sometimes we’re such approval-junkies that we start working to get strangers’ approval before we’ve even decided if the strangers in question are worth our time. And when we’re in that kind of state–willy-nilly seeking approval, even from a person who might not deserve to have that much power over us–we put ourselves in a weakened position.

How do we weaken ourselves?

John points out that there are THREE COMMON WAYS IN WHICH WE SEEK APPROVAL.

  1. We brag–by talking too much about our accomplishments or name-dropping, for example.
  2. We put too much of a spotlight on the other person–by over-complimenting or by asking him/her too many get-to-know-you questions.
  3. We become non-stop entertainers–always cracking jokes or saying one painfully witty thing after the other.

But, as John points out, there are also THREE WAYS TO MAKE SURE YOU DON’T FALL INTO THE APPROVAL-TRAP.

  1. Stay focused on having a good time. Be playful because it feels good to you. Enjoy flirting because flirting is fun. If someone seems bored or disinterested, don’t take it as a reflection of you as much as proof that that person is a dud–and move on to where the good time are rolling.

  2. Figure out if the person you’re talking to has good values. To do this, first know what your values are. So ask yourself what qualities you admire in yourself and others. (Maybe you like people who are kind, ambitious, industrious, kind, health-conscious, and so on.) Once you are aware of the things that are important to you, ask playful questions to determine if the person in question measures up to your standards. Like: “You seem so sweet … or are you just trying to impress me?” or “You seem creative; are you an artist?” or “You seem very responsible–are you somebody’s older brother?”

  3. Become a validater. Give yourself the role of approval-granter. It’s easy to do this; just lay down some positive affirmations. Like: “You’re very funny–I like that.” Or “You have great taste.” Or even, simply, “You have a great laugh.” Stay away from anything that’s too overtly sexual or flirtatious, when you’re complimenting someone. (For instance, you do NOT want to say, “You have a really impressively-sized penis–I can see it right through your trousers.” Or even just, “Wow, dude, has anyone ever told you, you’re totally hot?”) … If you feel like you’ve overdone it a little with the praise, reel it back in. For instance, let’s say you were like, “Wow! You’re the coolest person I’ve met in years!” You might want to follow-up with something like, “Too bad you’re from Jersey,* though. Because that’s just not so cool.” Then reassure the person that you’re only kidding. … Or you might have said, “That suit you’re wearing is killer–you’re sharper than James Bond.” Then you might want to pull back with: “In fact, now I’m worried that you’re some kind of secret agent. Maybe I should stop talking to you, because–are you wire-tapping me on the sly?”


Lovelies–all of John’s advice makes intuitive sense to me. What do you think? Are you going to try this out?

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