What’s Wrong With the SIRC Guide to Flirting

June 19th, 2012 by Nick Notas 4 Comments

A friend messaged me yesterday and told me about the The Social Issues Research Centre Guide to Flirting he saw posted on HackerNews. For years, it’s been one of the most shared and referenced flirting PDFs online.

The guide is a great concept with good intentions. I think a lot of what it says is spot on but I also feel there are glaring issues that need to be corrected.

In pubs, for example, the area around the bar counter is universally understood to be the ‘public zone’, where initiating conversation with a stranger is acceptable, whereas sitting at a table usually indicates a greater desire for privacy. Tables furthest from the bar counter are the most ‘private’ zones.

I agree that these specific “zones” are accepted by most people. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only approaching women in “designated areas”. If you do, you’ll find yourself missing out on a lot of opportunities.

You should be going after women that you’re interested in, period. It doesn’t matter where they’re sitting at the moment.

I’ve had plenty of interactions that were in more private areas without issue. In fact, sitting and asking to join a group is usually well-received and leads to successful interactions. It works in your favor to approach girls who are off to the side because they aren’t getting talked to as much.

Do initiate flirtation with people of roughly the same level of attractiveness as yourself.

The SIRC argues that you should choose people that are relatively as attractive as you are. They back it up with studies that claim relationships are more likely to last when partners are of similar physical beauty.

How exactly do you judge attractiveness over a long term relationship? Is it BMI? Is it height? Does the girl look different with or without makeup? This is such an easy thing to skew and there’s way more going on underneath the surface.

This harmful idea makes you question your “attractiveness level” and give yourself more excuses why you can’t talk to someone.

For men, physical beauty is our primary attraction switch. But for women, looks aren’t everything and physical appearance is more based on your overall presentation. That includes your fitness level, grooming, fashion, and even the way you carry yourself (body language, eye contact, voice). Those things are all under your control.

Women value personality, humor, confidence, respect, and internal qualities in the highest. Being stunningly handsome will help you get your foot in the door, but it’s not going to sustain a relationship.

I know tons of men who are not “attractive” by normal standards and date gorgeous women consistently. Conversely, I’ve worked with lots of “gorgeous men” who can’t keep a woman’s interest.

It’s ridiculous to classify women as “out of your league”. Focus on being the most attractive man you can be and flirt with any girl you find interesting. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Don’t flirt with people who are unlikely to return your interest.

…It makes sense to approach people who are likely to see you as at least a possible partner, rather than those likely to dismiss you as unsuitable.

Again, this is counterproductive and gives guys more reasons to talk themselves out of approaching. The SIRC lists qualities that most women look for and if you don’t fit those, you’re out of luck.

How are you supposed to know who’s unlikely to return your interest if you don’t try? Why would you weed out potential women before you’ve even taken a shot? I guess we should all just settle for whatever falls in our lap.

They elaborate further and say you should only approach girls who give you specific signals.

If, on the other hand, your target avoids making eye contact with you, or looks away after a fraction of a second and does not look back again, you should probably assume that your interest is not returned. There is still the possibility that your target is just a very shy person – and some females may be understandably wary of signaling any interest in male strangers.

The only way to find out is by close observation of your target’s behavior towards others. Does she consistently avoid direct eye-contact with men?

What about all the times she doesn’t signal? What if she didn’t see you or thought you were looking at someone else? What’s if she’s not attracted initially, but once you’ve come over and talked, she’s intrigued by your confidence? There are an infinite number of variables.

Additionally, when a man holds powerful eye contact with a woman, she often looks away, especially if she’s interested. It’s such a confident move that girls get flustered and don’t know how to react.

Are you really going to watch her make eye contact with other men for 20 minutes? That sounds creepy as hell to me. And while you’re sitting there lurking, some other guy is going to come up to her and hit it off.

Yes, you shouldn’t waste time with women who aren’t into you. But, you can’t know until you talk to her and see how she responds. As I say, always assume every women is interested in you until proven otherwise.

Approach and find out if she’s into you. If you’re getting no signs of interest after a couple of minutes, then you can leave.

If you are indoors – say at a party or in a bar – and nowhere near a window, some equally innocuous general comment on your surroundings (“Bit crowded, isn’t it?”, “Not very lively here to- night, eh?”) or on the food, drink, music, etc. …Just make a vague, impersonal comment, either phrased as a question or with a rising intonation as though you were asking a question.

The biggest mistake most people make with opening lines is to try to start a flirtation, rather than simply trying to start a conversation. If you think about your opening line as initiating a conversation, rather than starting a flirtation, use the IIC (Impersonal Interrogative Comment) formula and pay close attention to the verbal and non-verbal response, you cannot go wrong. Even if your target does not find you attractive and declines your invitation to talk, you will avoid causing offense and you will avoid the humiliation of a direct rejection.

This is a terrible mindset and once again convinces you that showing intent is wrong. While I agree that casual, situational comments are a good way to open, they’re not the only way to start a conversation with a stranger.

In these situations, being direct works incredibly well. It cuts through any BS and indicates you are interested in getting to know her. This is powerful and most women aren’t used to a guy with the confidence to be bold.


Examples of direct openers:

  • “You guys look fun/friendly/interesting, I had to come say Hi”
  • “You look like the only girls enjoying themselves, can we join you?”
  • “Cheers!” *clink glasses* “I’m Nick, what’s your name?”

When you go direct, the interaction begins on a more personal note. She knows why you’re there and if she accepts, the chemistry is on. The dynamic of the conversation changes and can be more playful and flirtatious off the bat.

Embrace rejection, it’s going to happen sometimes. Avoiding rejection and “playing it safe” is one of the major reasons why nice guys don’t have success with women. They’re afraid to take the necessary chances and let loose to create powerful sexual connections.

Males should, however, avoid paying women embarrassing or potentially offensive compliments. This is not a matter of ‘political correctness’, but of basic social skills. Some men need to learn that it is entirely possible to convey to a female friend or acquaintance that you find her physically attractive, without being crass or intrusive.

A simple, admiring comment such as “You look lovely (or pretty, or stunning)” is enough. Anything more explicit will only cause embarrassment or offense.

This is incorrect. This somehow assumes that a slightly risqué compliment is inappropriate or will turn a girl off. It’s very situational: it depends on your delivery and the type of woman you’re going for. Many women love and get turned on by a man who can be so honest.

I’m extremely flirtatious and I don’t hide my feelings. When I make a racy comment, it usually lands well. And while you don’t want to be insanely forward right away, a well placed come-on can take the interaction to the next level.

Here are just a few enticing compliments that have worked wonders:

  • “By the way, that dress is hot/sexy.
  • “Your jacket is so ’80s music video gangster, I love it.”
  • “Your curves are slamming in that outfit.”
  • “I have to be honest, those heels make your legs look stunning.”

After reading through the SIRC guide, the underlying theme is to flirt while protecting yourself at all costs. But the funny thing is, to be really good at flirting, you need to open up. You need to face rejection. You need to be daring at times.

An attractive gentleman is honest with who he is and what he wants.

Have a free 60-minute strategy session with me.

  1. Zac on June 21, 2012

    You should nail this article to the SIRC door. Because it clearly needs reform.

    • Nick Notas on June 21, 2012

      Haha, there definitely needs to be some adjustments in the guide.

  2. Jay on June 22, 2012

    Skimmed through the guide. I get that it’s not a dealbreaker, but do you recommend still trying to make eye contact before approaching to see if she’s into it?

    • Nick Notas on June 22, 2012

      You can definitely make eye contact before approaching, I just wouldn’t rely on it. If you don’t get it, you can still go up and say hi.

      But, if you smile at her and she smiles back, it’s an even stronger “in”.