Random dude: “You should let me take care of you. I can pay all your bills.”
Me: “No thanks, just want to finish pumping my gas.”
MEN. Quick question.
Where do you learn how to flirt?? Inquiring minds want to know, because if you’re going to approach a woman in your torn, paint-splattered jeans, you need to come correct.
I’m being hilariously hypocritical here - I’m the female version of “Ay, girl. What’s yo’ sign?”
But more awkward.
I’m the reason God created people like Matthew Hussey and blessed them with the secrets to successful Male-Female social interactions. Flirting doesn’t come naturally to me. Most days it feels like flirting is this foreign language that just about every woman BUT ME came out the womb speaking.
You’re made of sugar, spice, and everything nice?
I’m made up of questions, a dollop of pragmatism, and a sprinkle of sarcasm.
Unlike you flirtatious goddesses, I’m a special kind of introvert who would rather do The Biles over small talk and jump right into talking about dysfunctional family dynamics. When I talk to the cute guy at a bar, we usually end up becoming good friends or he walks away thinking I was laughing at him...which, maybe I was. #Single4Lyfe.
Thankfully, I’m trying to improve my flirting skills by listening to people who know better. Like Matthew Hussey, my secret English boyfriend. Also a popular dating coach and author of NYT bestseller, Get the Guy.
The more I practice being flirtatious, soft, and approachable *eye roll*, the more I’ve come to realize that flirting is a lot like what I do as a researcher.
According to Matthew, “Flirting is nuanced. Flirting is like putting a little bit of bait on the tackle and throwing it out there on the line to see who grabs at it.”
This same is true for research. When you send out a survey or prepare to interview someone, you’re crafting nuanced questions where each word is carefully thought out and executed. Then you cast your questions out into the world to see who bites.
I sit and think about the similarities between flirting and researching sometimes (because I’m weird). And I’ve grown even more convinced that the 3 most important rules I should be following while flirting are 3 very important rules I follow while conducting research. For you expert flirts, I’ll show you how you can use these 3 similarities to become a better researcher. For those of you who ride the struggle bus with me, I have 2 goals for you: (1) Flirt better this weekend and (2) Research better next week. Don’t say I never gave you anything ;).
Lines like “You heard about Pluto, that’s messed up right?” Don’t work. (Shout out to all the Psych lovers reading this!) We all know that guy - he’s the same one who asks you for your astrological sign. And all you want to say is, “Why? Do you have a celestial map in your Ed Hardy jeans pocket? Are you going to tell me my future? No.” It drives me insane, because I know all they really want to do is to start a conversation. But they’ve decided to do that by asking questions that make us gag.
What’s wrong with asking questions that can actually start meaningful conversations? Like “That book looks interesting, what’s it about?”, “Hey, I saw you cracking up earlier, mind letting me on the joke?”, or “I can’t decide which beer to get, what are you having?”.
The same goes for research. Think of every question you ask as an opportunity to make a great first impression. You’ve probably heard, oh a million times, that first impressions Don’t waste any questions, because you might lose the reader and never get them back.
Ask yourself these 2 questions each time you create a survey question:
- “Is this question necessary?”
- “Will the answer answer my ‘Why’?” (Read more about having a “Why” here)
If your answers to those 2 questions aren’t a strong “YES”. Delete the survey question and keep it moving.
Rule #2: Know how to follow up
He just made a joke and now he’s staring at you. It occurs to you to say or do something back. Should you make another joke? Should you compliment his shirt? Should you point out the food in his teeth?
This is where I fail at flirting.
When I have nothing to say to a guy, I will literally just sit there and stare at his nose.
Like flirtatious conversation, your surveys should follow some sort of logical order.
A good rule of thumb is to order your questions like this:
> Less gentle
> Not so gentle
Start your survey with easy, safe questions. Make the reader feel at ease. Then start asking more intense or personal questions. The survey should end back in the safe zone with easy, safe questions. Leave the reader feeling good. Make sure each survey question is followed by the right survey question. Here are some examples of safe and personal questions.
When you’re interviewing someone, know how to follow up after they’ve given an answer. Start your sentences with: “That’s really interesting., could you say more about…?” or “That brings me to my next question…” In an interview, much like flirting, the goal of the follow-up is to keep the conversation flowing. Awkward pauses are painful.
Rule #3: Know when to walk away
Have you ever had a conversation with a random that just wouldn’t end? It’s the worst! You’ve used every polite social cue you know, hinting that you’d like to leave - like angling your body away from the person or taking small steps toward freedom. You’ve even hinted at how rushed you are “Yup, gotta get back to my buddy Brenda. She’ll kill me if I’m not there to sing Happy Birthday hahaha.” But there are some people who, for some strange reason, take those cues as a hint that you want to hear about their ex-neighbor’s parrot named Brenda who escaped from her cage that one time. o__O
When you’re creating a survey, know when to end it. Long surveys are the number 1 response killer. Hear me now: people will not fill out your survey if it they can’t finish it in the time it takes to read this blog post. I tell no lies.
Here’s another drop of knowledge for you: you can create an exquisite survey with only 3 questions.
I often tell my clients that there really isn’t any need for more than 10 questions in a survey. If you do have more than 10, take a closer look at every question and the survey as a whole, then cut out the extra weight. For you overachievers, who are approaching 20 must-have questions, consider splitting the survey into two (or three) and sending them out at different times or to different groups of people.
See? Surveys… research... basically the same thing.
The next time you’re out with your girls, having a grand old time, and you see a Matthew Hussey look-alike looking right at you, remember these 3 rules and be sure to follow them. And the next time you sit down to create a brilliant survey or write up captivating interview questions, remember these 3 rules and be sure to follow them.
All that being said, I really am trying to be less anti-social...but I also really wish everybody would follow these 3 rules.
Have any funny or cringe-worthy flirt stories? Share them in the comments below... I can’t be the only one who needs professional help à la Matthew Hussey.
Practice these 3 rules with 9 made-for-you questions
Get instant access to my Survey Swipe File. Choose from 9 optimized survey questions
and start using them right away.