Why Looking for Interest is a Waste of Time

by GK on June 17, 2011 · 22 comments

I’ve talked before about the benefits of making friends with women rather than just pursuing them, and I was reminded of it last night with some helpful feminine insight.

I was sucking down Malbec with Tre Tre and his female friend from out of town — she’s a lovely, outgoing woman with plenty of dating experience.  The topic that arose was whether a woman will make eye contact with a strange guy from across the bar if she finds him good-looking. It’s the kind of dramatic foreplay we’ve seen in countless movies and TV shows.

In the overworked minds of men, we’re often looking for such a sign as a green light to approach her. The industry term is an IOI, or indicator of interest. Some gurus will tell you that a man needs exactly three IOIs, divided by her height, multiplied by your hair color and subtracting the number of letters in her middle name, to determine if she likes you. Of course, I flunked high school math.

I’ve taught guys the importance of making and keeping eye contact with women — body language matters, remember? And I’d advise it for women, too. But I’m sure there have been times where I didn’t approach a girl because she looked away as soon as she caught me looking at her. Not because I lost interest, but because I incorrectly presumed there was none on her end.

Tre Tre’s friend, who is single and as confident a woman as you’ll want — actor Matt Dillon once hit on her in a bar, only she turned him down — pointed out that she usually isn’t making eye contact with guys she wants to meet. Because she’d be taking a risk by doing so. It’s a subtle risk, but to the female ego, it’s no small one.

“If I make eye contact with the guy and he looks away, I think he’s rejecting me,” she said.

As she mentioned it, Tre Tre and I both recalled that of all the women we’ve met in our years, few of them had made much eye contact before our approach. Often, they were just girls who were near us — though it was often intentional — and we started talking to them by making a comment or overhearing what they were saying. In fact, I can think of girls who I thought were looking at me with interest, only it turned out they weren’t.

(The big exception to this is on a dance floor, where there is a lot more staring down and I do think her eye contact means a lot before the approach.)

This game is meant to be challenging — and a little weird. If women would make more eye contact with us, they’d probably have a lot more of us calling them. But the same could be said about women approaching guys.  Men are expected to take the risks in seduction, and we cannot look for any flags to wave us in.

This isn’t all bad, though. Because if you damn the consequences and simply act, you’ll be exactly the kind of guy she’s looking for.


1 scn June 18, 2011 at 5:04 am

Yes, this maddening radio silence from girls has also been my experience. I’ve found many (American) women to be painfully passive when it comes to signaling romantic interest. Unless they’re drunk or desperate.

It’s bad enough most women won’t initiate anything, assuming a mushroom-on-a-log role when it comes to romantic pursuit (do they think this is attractive?). But it’s really bad when I’ve taken all the initial risks to indicate my interest and an interested girl won’t reciprocate my candor. I find that cowardly and precious.

But it’s commonplace. So our job becomes even harder and more surreal. In addition to taking all the initial risks we must develop the fortitude to just plow ahead throwing our romantic interest out at her even while she just stands there blinking or giving no meaningful response.

2 Tre Tre June 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

Something also mentioned, our lady friend said that not only does she not want to make eye contact with a guy because of the risk, but because she also WANTS to be pursued. I cannot tell you the hundreds of times I’ve heard this from almost every woman over the years: she wants him to chase her. Our friend is not just a pretty face either; she’s a confident and successful woman in her career and life.

SCN, I’m not so sure that it is a bad thing. GK can attest to this, most girls I know here in San Francisco are being driven crazy by guys NOT talking to them when they go out. Sure, you are going to end up getting turned down a few times, that’s just life. When you see someone, you have no idea what is going on with them (they might be in another relationship, had a bad day or, the horror of horrors, might just not be into you). Commit to the pursuit, be yourself and if she moves you along, get a little zen action going, dust your hands off and forget about it.

3 GK June 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I would also suggest that if the girl is still talking to you and has yet to tell you she’s NOT interested, just presume that she is. Women may not like to chase, but they’ll be happy to follow your lead if you let them.

4 scn June 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

My objection is not to being outright rejected which is fair enough and from which I can move on, but to being accepted via passivity after I have made my interest plain. I find that rude at minimum. It’s akin to her playing strip poker with a guy, eagerly watching him taking his clothes off, but refusing to take any clothes off when it’s her turn.

If women consider themselves as socially capable as men and not helpless nor on a pedestal, then I am confused as to why they would feel entitled to shirk reciprocating expressing interest to a man they are interested in. And “because they can get away with it” is not a respectable reason.

5 GK June 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Well, if you’ve shown interest in the girl and she either sticks around you that night or sees you another time, I would say she IS reciprocating. It’s just that women do it differently from us. That has nothing to do with being equal to men and everything to do with biology. But hey, I’d rather be a guy — at least we can choose whom to show interest in and when to show it.

6 Tre Tre June 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm

scn, just my opinion here, but I’m not sure why a woman not demonstrating candor is “at a minimum rude” or “cowardly and precious.” This is dating, flirting we are talking about, right? 😉 These women don’t owe you, me or anyone else anything, especially if they’re the ones being approached. It is also safe to assume that many of these lovely women haven’t had the luxury of coming to cool blogs like this one to figure out how they can be better targets of attraction vs reading silly women’s mags with terrible advice.

I don’t mean this personally, but the vibe you are giving off here is a little defensive. There is no reason to take this so seriously. I’ve very rarely walked up to a girl with a good attitude and some humor and gotten blown out rudely by her; but I do get blown out and often, just not rudely ;). These reactions you are having are all choices you’ve made in response to a perceived grievance. Don’t let her/them get you down — even if they are being a raving bitch. Chin up, smile big and move on the next one–or get a stiff drink from the bar.

7 scn June 19, 2011 at 4:18 am

GK, that’s very Zen to say girls just communicate interest differently. Although I’m worried it’s self-delusional to presume a girl just silently sticking around after my SOI = she’s into me. I suppose the key is whether she would necessarily tell me or walk away after my SOI if she were not into me.

I recently SOIed a girl at a nightclub and she didn’t respond, continuing to chat with me as if I had said nothing. I waited five minutes and then SOIed again, stronger this time. She said she was digesting my statement, appreciated my boldness, and needed time to overcome her own shyness. This was what I was looking for – an honest and clear response to my SOI. Later at the club we made out.

I’ll do some field testing of your belief that a girl simply sticking around is her nonverbal equivalent of an SOI. You may have helped me address my concern through seeing it a new way. Thanks!

8 GK June 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm

One thing I’d like to point out, scn: There are no guarantees in this. The SOI is a concept guys created to give them some structure on showing interest to a woman, but remember that women have no idea what an SOI is. They’re not evaluating us that way. As the pie chart shows, they’re making snap judgments on us, but without telling us what their judgment is. What matters is whether she follows your lead. I’ve criticized guys’ overreliance on the SOI before.

I helped Tre Tre get a cute girl’s number Friday night over hookah, and I don’t recall him making a single SOI to her. But you know what? It didn’t matter. She was engaging him in conversation the whole time and didn’t hesitate to give her number when he asked for it. Even that is no guarantee she’ll see him again, but I bet she will.

Don’t use the SOI as some kind of video-game maneuver where you’re looking to make her jump in your lap after you say it. Often, they will give no reaction at all. But don’t take that as a sign of indifference on her part. Ultimately, if she follows your lead, she likes you. And if she doesn’t, then who cares?

9 Sal June 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm

GK, cool post. You say she’s not going to show interest by giving eye contact, but you also say that in your experience, the girls you meet are usually intentionally standing around you. That means those girls are showing interest, right? I’m guessing it’s less likely that you’ll go out of your way to approach a girl who is, say, on the exact opposite side of the bar. Would you recommend to a guy that he’s usually better off trying to talk to girls (or actually, just people in general) who are around him than to go out of his way to approach lots of groups of people? I guess the best place to be in a bar is a place where lots of people pass by, which makes it as easy as possible for girls who are into you to stand nearer to you.

Side note: I thought it was funny how you mentioned Matt Dillon. My friend’s super-cute sister-in-law also got hit on by Matt Dillon. She said he doesn’t come across as confident at all, and she thought he probably struggles with women.

10 scn June 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm

GK, thanks for the additional thoughts on SOI and warning not to treat it like a video-game power-up. I am not slavish to it in any formal sense. For me it just means to lead her view of our relationship into a sexual/romantic space by clearly letting her know I like her that way. For example, my SOI the other night was simply, “I have been thinking about kissing you.”

11 GK June 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

Boy, someone might want to start a Fail Blog for Matt Dillon’s game!

Sal, it CAN mean they’re interested if they’re standing around you. But the whole point of my post is that you shouldn’t worry about that.

I do think it’s a good idea for a guy to talk to girls who are already around him, either at the bar or elsewhere. First, it’s less conspicuous if he flames out. Also, there are girls who don’t like the idea of being approached in a bar — they want it to feel “spontaneous.” Thus, if the guy has overheard something the girl next to him said and he comments on it, that can feel more real to her. It’s weird, but true.

12 Tre Tre June 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

GK and I were talking about this more over the weekend. Not pointing to anyone in particular, but I do think there is an over reliance on technique in the “Community,” and for most people, getting too far into the weeds not only complicates things, it can really constrain a person when they are doing something that is really rather simple: develop attraction with a girl you think is awesome. My experience tells me that this really not that complicated–not that it is easy…I just isn’t complicated.

I think an identification of things like SOIs or IOIs or those things are interesting to review after the fact, but I would be very wary of thinking about them when you are actually in the presence of a woman (aka the field: another term that should just die). In the real world, I cannot emphasize how important it is to have a flexible mind. Interpersonal relationships are not binary; something happens, you choose a response, it is right or wrong and your interaction survives on the basis of right choices. Not at all. Relationships and people are very dynamic and I think the only way a person can create a truly natural relationship is through a flexible mind.

GKs Big Four is a perfect example of that. Even then, I’m sure GK would admit an exception to these “rules.” What I like about GK’s approach is that he isn’t applying rules, but a forming a basic framework that allows for a person to be flexible instead of worrying about what phase they are in, is it time to neg yet, when to call her sexy (I really hate this one), or whatever “rule” some guru has cooked up that week. You can go crazy trying to put all that together and even if you were a master, these interactions don’t last because they don’t have any soul.

Lastly, an over reliance on technique produces tension. This might be what some in the community refer to as “being in your head.” If you interacting with a lady and you aren’t really listening, but doing Google searches in your brain about whether she’s SOIing you or what you should say after she says something to you, she can immediately feel that tension. Once she feels uncomfortable, game over. I’m always striving for simplicity when interacting with women and the easier I keep it, usually the better I do.

That and I drive a Porsche.

Just kidding. 😉

13 Pros June 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I’m a periodic reader of this blog.

GK Tre right on with this mantra! Since you come from the world of Juggler and CA, you would know that Giving a woman a what and a why when talking to her clears so much air vs trying to figure out IOI, indicator etc.. When in doubt state a what and a why? Create the desire for her to decide.

Waiting for IOI to approach can turn guys into staring zombies they are looking around the room for that approval to talk to someone. As the night goes on and they don’t get it, it builds. A good preable is a way to make someone aware of your presence and energy and they will give you the approach invitation with that in many cases. Most of the time a girl can be not looking or not noticing because she’s so self absorbed and self conscious herself. A charming guy comes along with good energy and boom she’s talking back. Do you all feel many guys don’t simply tell women what they want ??

14 GK June 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Thanks for the comment, Pros. Indeed, guys could have a lot more dates if they simply put their desires on the table. Too often they don’t. However, I think even the “why” is usually not necessary. Just starting a conversation and then leading is enough.

15 Barry O'Herlihy June 22, 2011 at 3:43 am

Firstly, a very interesting post Greg.

Personally, I too can relate to having chickened away from approaches because the IOI’s weren’t there. I believe, in a round-about way the community has confused us more with the lingo used today. Okay some of it is useful but most in my opinion is wasteful.

Anyway, I can relate in scn’s frustration that if I put myself out there, there’s that reluctance she will follow. It’s undeserved, unhelpful and confusing to say the least. Unfortunately or fortunately c’est la vie! You either take the bull by the horns or you don’t!

Ultimately, I don’t think it’s helpful discussing issues like this much. I cannot help but think like Gavin recently when he said she’ll either like you or she won’t. As you said before Greg, ultimately just make sure you’re enjoying yourself. Thinking too much beyond this doesn’t help!

16 Barry O'Herlihy June 22, 2011 at 8:08 am

Isn’t the easiest solution simply to Shut Up and Lead? No confusion thereafter!

If she follows, good for her.
If she doesn’t, her loss!

17 scn June 23, 2011 at 7:25 am

Speaking for myself, I won’t disparage game, terminology, and thinking carefully about interactions with girls. Prior to my studying seduction I just went with my gut. Like most typical guys, I thought interactions with girls were simple and their attraction to me just happened or it didn’t. I got absolutely nowhere.

It seems to me the whole point of this blog is to study how to successfully get women (aka game), with an analytical eye (yes, there are distinct behavioral principles in play), using terminology that aptly captures the unique elements of what we’re doing (kino, SOI, etc.). I see no reason to look askance at that.

18 Gavin June 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I recently had a first-hand experience with this.

In late May, I was out having some drinks with a couple friends when I noticed a very cute girl (with glasses; I love girls with glasses!) sitting a few tables down. I kept glancing in her direction, hoping to make eye contact. I figured if I made eye contact with her, I would be able to determine her level of interest. Would she confidently hold my gaze? Would she smile shyly and look away? Would she cringe in disgust and turn her back on me? Whatever she did, surely I would get some sort of definitive answer and based on that answer, I would either approach or not.

Well, guess what happened? None of the above. Oh, we made eye contact. Twice. But it was completely unreadable. It was brief and seemed almost accidental on her part. Our eyes locked for maybe half a second, her expression did not change in the slightest, and she carried on talking to her friends like nothing had happened.

I was stumped. I made glances in her direction for a while longer hoping that maybe more eye contact would give me the answer I needed before finally being dragged off to another part of the bar by a friend.

Some time later, I was at the bar getting a drink when I turned around to find my Bespectacled Beauty standing in line behind me. Figuring this was my chance, I said hello and introduced myself. We ended up talking for several minutes until she got her drink, at which point we went and sat down together. I did SOI in a sense – after she went on a long rant about her hatred of cubism, I asked her to marry me, which I guess counts as a statement of interest – and we ended up talking for close to an hour. After a while, my Inner GK was practically screaming “LEAD, GAVIN, LEEEEAAAD!” so I asked her if she wanted to get some air, took her hand, and led her outside. We ended up leaving the bar pretty much straight away and spent the next god-knows-how-long climbing on fountains and statues before making our way to the beach where we made out on a rock.

I later asked her if she had noticed me staring at her from across the room and she said she had but she didn’t really register my presence until I turned around and said hello to her in the drink line.

So yeah, I’ve learned my lesson about waiting for definitive greenlights or IOIs or what have you.

19 barryoherlihy June 27, 2011 at 4:56 am

Hey Tre tre,
Have you got a blog?

20 Tre Tre June 27, 2011 at 10:43 am

scn, I don’t want to disparage Game either. This is GK’s blog, so my opinions are only my own, but my point is that — wherever our starting points were — we all studied Game to make us better. I think, though, at some point you have to move beyond it.

My interactions REALLY took off when I got out of my head and just let things flow. Now, if you were watching me, you’d probably notice me “practicing game,” but the difference is that I’m doing it unconsciously. I’m “feeling” what is happening around me rather than thinking. My experience tells me that thinking actually becomes a hinderance after a certain point. Once I got to a place were my mind got out of the way, I got beyond the “structure” that at one point was very helpful, and I’m able to flow and really be in the moment. Being in your head takes you out of the moment. It was a liberation.

This might be a little too philosophical, but important: going with your gut without structure in the first place is bad, because you are formless, but the good is that you are purely human. Once you get your structure in place, you learn the importance and the root of social interactions. However, because you are interacting within this structure, you become mechanical. Moving beyond the structure gets you to a place where you bring the humanity BACK to what you know works. A harmony between the two, if you will.

BTW, this is beyond just talking to women. This is sort of an axiom I live my life through. Bruce Lee called it unnatural naturalness, or natural unnaturalness.

This is hard to articulate, but I hope you understand that I’m not disparaging game.

21 Tre Tre June 27, 2011 at 10:45 am

Gavin, that was rad. I think you nailed it. IOI’s just aren’t that big of a think for girls.


barry, no blog from me. I’m just a close friend of GK’s and he lets me squat here every once and a while. :)

22 Latrice January 7, 2016 at 10:33 am

It’s good to get a fresh way of loikong at it.

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