Hostility and flirtatiousness as cover-ups

Believe it or not, hostility between you and a man can be a sign of secret attraction. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Why? Because many men and women find that their immediate response when they first meet someone who attracts them sexually–especially if they’re in a situation where it’s not cool to be attracted to that person–is to be hostile to them.

This is not as weird as you might think. It’s actually quite usual and very natural. What’s going on here? Well, it’s a way of concealing our true feelings and of protecting ourselves if we feel like we’re not ready to let someone know we’re attracted to them.

How does this happen? It can happen if one of the two people is already with someone else, or if they recently broke up and aren’t ready to get involved yet, or they don’t feel comfortable at the party…or maybe they’re just afraid or somewhat shy.

Try it out for yourself. Go to a party or dinner gathering and listen to the conversations around you. Do some serious people-watching. If you look around long enough, you’ll probably see a man and a woman who are verbally attacking each other, going at it hammer and tongs, having a full-blown argument that’s getting very emotional and heated.

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Want to know a secret, though? They’re not doing that because they dislike each other–far from it. They’re actually doing that because they are secretly attracted to each other, more than to anyone else in the room. They are actually completely and utterly fascinated with each other but they are either too scared, too scarred, or consider it too much of a sign of weakness to show it. So they bicker and banter back and forth.

Think I’m wrong? OK, go over there and try to horn your way into their argument. Just try. They won’t let you in, won’t have any of it. They’ll probably dismiss you with a brusque comment, then get right back to their very animated discussion.

The point is, their attention is riveted upon each other.

If you’ll think back to childhood, you’ll realize you’ve seen this movie before. Remember the boy who teased you, maybe even knocked you down? You know the one I’m talking about, hostile all the way. He probably played practical jokes on you, some of them maybe even mean-spirited.

And later on you probably found out he’d had a crush on you the whole time and just didn’t know how to deal with it. The problem wasn’t you, you see–it was HIM. Or more accurately, his feelings for you. He didn’t know what to do with them, so he got angry with you about it.

Of course, true hostility does happen. There are men and women who instinctively clash. Not all arguments are friendly or flirtatious. So take a good look at their faces. Are they smiling as they argue and banter and trade insults? That’s a sure sign that they’re just playing.

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So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation, face to face with the man of your dreams and you two are going at it in a heated argument right in front of everyone? Take stock of the situation.

* Is he smiling most of the time? It’s attraction.
* When you move away, does he follow? It’s either attraction or stalking.
* When others try to join in, does he brush them off? A sure sign of attraction!
* At the end of the night, does he ask for your number or make plans? Attraction!

The flip side to hostility is over-the-top flirtatiousness. You know the kind I mean. The kind that has everyone around you coughing in disbelief behind their hands. For example, does the guy take your hand and kiss it, old school style? Or does he encircle your drinking arm so that your arms entwine as you drink? Or try to get you to do body shots?

When you see outrageous flirting gestures like this that are completely bold and beyond the pale, watch out. That man sees you as a conquest. He’s not being real with you because he doesn’t want a real relationship, he just wants sex.

And thus, he’ll use tactics that he wouldn’t dare use on a woman he really respected and wanted to try to get to know as a human being. To make matters worse, this outrageous behavior is probably something he learned in one of those cheesy books for guys that tell them how to pick up women.

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What you need to understand when you see tactics like this is that you’re being seen as a pick-up. If you just want sex yourself, you can go along with him. But if you’re looking for a real relationship, this is not the guy.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that he’s drunk, particularly if you’re at a party. So you’ll have to gauge whether or not you think he’s drunk or sober and take that into account. Oftentimes when people are drunk they act in ways they never would when they’re sober.

So what do you do?

* Ignore him. If he’s not drunk, this may work.
* Politely decline, and keep declining. If he doesn’t get the message…
* Laugh at him. This is a last resort, though.

The reason laughing at him should be a very last resort is that a woman laughing at a man is a very hurtful thing to him. There was a famous study done once where they asked men and women what they each feared most from the opposite sex.

Women answered that their worst fears about men were that the men would harm them physically–hit them, beat them, rape them. The mens’ worst fears were that the women would laugh at them. Never, ever laugh at a man unless you want him to leave you alone and there is no other way to do it.

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