I have a friend—I’ll call her RM—who can enter a room and effortlessly have all the dudes eating out of her hand. On three occasions, three separate male friends contacted me within 24 hours of meeting her to ask if she is single. Thing is, RM isn’t a Priyanka Chopra look-alike or a bombshell with perma-blowout. She’s down-to-earth and adorable. She wears reading glasses, peasant dresses, and an open smile. A textbook sexpot she is not, yet everyone want to bask in her presence.
We all know it when we see it—that ineffable quality that seems to settle, fairy-dust-like, on certain people wherever they go. “It’s a genuine sexiness, not just ‘I’m trying to look like that hot girl on Instagram,” says Sari Cooper, a sex therapist in New York City. (She calls it sex esteem.) And as more flirting takes place within Tinder’s messaging system, face-to-face magnetism has become more rare. “We’ve become lazy and forgotten that charisma is still essential in dating,” says Mathew Hussey, the dating coach behind HowToGetTheGuy.com and a Cosmo columnist. What works online—quick and snarky humour—doesn’t always work in person. “Texting will only get you to the point of the date. After that, it’s up to you to actually charm someone.” That charisma can help your dating life-—you’ll get a leg up on the girls tucked in corners at parties, furiously swiping left—but it can also keep the spark strong in a relationship, and boost your success at work and in other aspects of your world. And while this appeal involves a level of cool that can seem indefinable, really, anyone can master it. As Hussey puts it: “If you can be good with people in a world where everybody else is getting worse, you’re going to win.”
Go out with a #GirlSquad
It’s funny asking RM what makes her so magnetic—its nothing she is aware of, so it’s like asking a tiger why it’s striped. “It only happens when I’m out with you guys,” she says. “Guys don’t come up to me when I’m sitting by myself.” She meant it as a deflection, but turns out, she’s on to something. People want to talk to the person everyone else wants to talk to. Seed a little attention around yourself, and it’ll spread. A study from the University of California at San Diego even found that people in a groups look more attractive than the same people on their own. Having fun—as opposed to staging carefully curated, broody press—is key.
Amit Joshi, 29, a musician in New Delhi, says, “When you see a woman in a group of people putting out a positive vibe and get a sense that that joy is genuine, that’s attractive.”
Channel Your Chatty Side
Rather than waiting around to spot and chat up someone you are strongly attracted to, make a habit of socialising with as many people as possible, Hussey suggests. “I encourage my clients to say ‘hi’ to as many people as possible in the first 10 minutes of the evening, so that an hour later, all those people feel that you’re the most approachable person in the room,” he says. Think about it: when a hot guy wants to flirt with someone, who is he going to approach—the girl he hasn’t said a word to or the girl he shared some fun banter with?
Know How to Really Connect
Ask emotional questions instead of logical ones (like, ‘What do you like best about being an engineer?’ versus ‘How long have you been doing that?’). This trick breeds a convo both of you will find more engaging and revealing. “Nobody cares to hear routine facts in the beginning,” Hussey points out. “What we care about is connecting.”
Let Your ‘You’ Flag Fly
Part of Rhea’s secret is that she is full of stories and interests you don’t see coming—she recently brought a kitten to a convenience store! And that surprise factor is sexy. “When someone brings up a hobby or experience that’s different from what I would have expected of them, that’s sexy and intriguing,” says Rohan Parekh, a 30-year-old attorney from Mumbai.
Another reason these admissions can turn men into heart-eyes emoji: they show vulnerability, a rare trait in an age of social media braggadocios. “Everyone goes out with their guard up in such a big way,” says Hussey. “When everyone else is trying to be somebody and play a role, the person who stands out is the one who is fun and playful, and doesn’t take herself too seriously.” n
5 more moves that make you the coolest Girl at the Party
Prep Your Answer to ‘How’s it Going?’
“Never go out without knowing the most interesting thing that’s happened to you all week,” says Hussey. Most of us hit the lowlights (‘You know, work...’), so have a few stories ready beforehand. Even, ‘I tried the best restaurant on Tuesday!’ gets the ball rolling.
Pre-Game With Your Funniest Friend
As you’re getting ready or heading over to the party, call a friend who cracks you up, Hussey advises. “You’ll arrive in the right state of mind.” Amused...and amusing.
Bust Out Some Trivia
I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve sparked with weird nuggets from the podcast Radiolab Invisibilia, and 99% Invisible. Interesting ephemera always beats out ‘So do you have siblings?’
Ask a Favour
Ask a guy to hold your coat while you grab a round, suggests Hussey, who points out research shows doing you a favour makes someone like you more.
Get his opinion on something you are passionate about, a la ‘My friend says The Hunger Games franchise is stupid, and I freaking love it. What do you think?’ That way, “you’re giving him an in on fun conversation,” Hussey says.