Ok. Let’s talk about how to actually start a conversation with a woman who is a complete stranger in hopes of making her not a stranger without creeping her out. The intimidation factor puts guys into a weird head space and more or less forces them to adopt some bad habits.
The number one thing to watch out for is not being intimidating. The main thing guys can do to intimidated someone is to violate their personal space, which creeps everyone out, but especially women. In a perfect world you all would understand the concept of personal space but I have known enough nerds to realize I can’t make that assumption, so I will drop a couple guidelines on you. Basically, there are three different “zones” of personal space. The first is the space used by intimate couples. This zone is where they are more or less touching each other and could be wearing each others clothes. The second zone is the zone used by friends. This is approximately one full arms length away from each other. The third zone is what is considered appropriate for strangers and business associates to deal with. This is a double arms length away. In other words, if you and the person you are talking to were to put out your arms at the same time you could just touch fingers. THIS IS YOUR ZONE! I can’t stress this enough. When talking to a stranger you need to stay at this distance.
Now granted, if you are sitting next to someone on the bus or something you are already violating the zone, but this is OK as long as you don’t have the option of being at the appropriate distance.
Other creepy body language includes talking to someone shoulder first. In other words, leading sideways with one shoulder towards who you are talking about it a very aggressive attitude and extremely off putting. It is a combat position (if you don’t believe me check out Popeye’s body language (shirt from the cartoon t shirt section)) and you should always face directly at whomever you are talking to, man or woman.
Finally, and this is another point I really have to press, never stand or move between a woman you are talking to and the only exit of the room. Women tend to be pretty skittish when talking to a new guy and will feel really freaked out if they don’t know they can get out readily. I have seen guys actually move to block women and it is not only going to make sure she never wants to talk to you again but will also more or less ruin the day or evening for her, which is really an unfair disservice. It is not OK under any circumstance.
So try to not be creepy. More later.