7 Ways To Get Someone's Attention On A Date, In A World Of Endless Potential Right-Swipes

Not everyone is a huge fan of being the center of attention, but even the most hermit-y of hermits can't deny that forming a lasting impression has its uses. Whether you're trying to impress your boss or just make sure your favorite barista calls you after you finally give him your number (get it, girl), the Harvard Business Review's list of seven ways to get someone's attention will undoubtedly come in handy sooner or later.

Considering it's published in the Harvard Business Review, chances are that author Ben Parr, whose new book Captivology: The Science Of Capturing Someone's Attention came out this week, intended his tips to be used in the name of... well, business. But why limit yourself to just getting the attention of everyone at work? (As if you haven't already impressed them all already.) The psychology behind Ben Parr's advice could be applied to pretty much any area of your life, and if you're anything like me, the area of your life that's in the direst need of advice is definitely dating. Girls might not be the definitive voice of a generation that it hopes to be, but in my opinion they have the whole "painful awkwardness that is dating in your twenties" thing down, because oh boy does it get cringeworthy sometimes. 

So next time you're going on a date and already agonizing about how you're going to keep his or her attention (the attention you DESERVE, dammit) for more than 10 minutes at a time in a world of endless potential right-swipes, take a deep breath and maybe give these tips a try.

1. Automaticity


According to the Business Review, "sensory cues" are a great way to attract someone's attention. This includes things like smelling good, although hopefully you're showering before a date anyway, or wearing eye-catching colors. Parr even cites a 2008 study that found that giving someone something warm to hold, like a cup of tea, makes them more disposed toward kindness, so having a date at a coffee shop is a great start.

Various other studies, dating all the way back to the 1960s, have found that colors affect how you're perceived. Specifically, study after study has found that red is associated with power and sexual attraction. If it's not your color, don't feel like you have to run out and buy a scarlet dress this very minute, but it can't hurt to wear one if you already own it.

2. Acknowledgment


Parr also writes that acknowledgment, or humanity's "need for validation and empathy from others," is hugely important as well, according to anthropologist Dr. Thomas de Zengotita. Basically, we're drawn to people who make us feel valued. Not only does being nice have health benefits, but a study last year found that it also makes us more attractive to other people. If you're genuinely interested in what someone has to say (or at least act like it out of sheer politeness), chances are they're going to have a pretty great impression of you. 

There is one exception: bronies. Nobody needs to pretend to be interested in a grown man's obsession with My Little Pony unless you're into it too.  

3. Mystery

james dean animated GIF

There's a reason we're all obsessed with Scandal, and it's not just because we'll watch anything Kerry Washington deigns to appear in. While that's a totally valid reason, it's also because of all the damn cliffhangers. According to the Business Review, the human brain hates to leave anything incomplete and will keep returning to the subject until it's resolved somehow. In psychology, this is known as the Zeigarnik effect. In his article, Parr writes that you can use this to your advantage in business by leaving a client hanging, promising you'll finish a story or task when he or she comes back. 

It's solid advice for dating as well; tempting as it may be to try and impress your date, try not to give away all your best stories on the first date. If you maintain a little mystery, they won't be able to stop thinking about you until you finish that story about the time you tried to keep your friend from hooking up with someone dressed as Ronald McDonald on the ill-fated Halloween of 2013. (Did she hook up with him anyway? You'll never know.)

To check out the rest of Parr's tips on catching someone's attention, head over to the original article at the Harvard Business Review website. Remember that these are just suggestions, but it can't hurt to try them out. And if your potential mate isn't paying attention to you, well, they clearly don't understand how cool you are and therefore don't deserve to date you, frankly.

Images: Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Giphy (3)

Must Reads