Women can seem mysterious… especially to men. And to be honest, this is not so surprising.
There are a lot of understandable reasons for it. For one, the differences between the effects that estrogen and testosterone have on the human body are varied and diverse. Though men and women are both humans, they are also so different from each other that we often think of them as two distinct and separate groups all on their own.
Many men find the prospect of pursuing companionship with attractive women a pleasurable pastime. But at the same time, they are also often confused about exactly how to go about this process without messing it up!
How do you know if a woman is interested? How do you interpret her subtle social signals? How can you be yourself without letting nervousness and anxiety into your head?
We all know that acting confident is super-important to the dating/mating game. But at the same time, it can be difficult to act confident if you are not 100% sure what you are doing.
The most obvious solution to this problem is to just adopt the mantra ‘practice makes perfect.’ The more you try to spend time with attractive women, the more you will learn. The more effort you put into learning about attraction, the better off you will be in your life as a result.
But still… with that being said… there are some things that you can add to your portfolio to keep in mind right now that could do a lot to help you.
Learning to notice subtle, yet universal signals can be a great way to help improve your chances of success… and today, we are going to talk about a big one.
Why do women play with their hair?
What does it mean? Is it a good sign, or a bad one?
The Basics: Subtle Signals and What Women Are Thinking
It is important to understand that hair-touching can have a couple of different meanings. Women are often more subtle than men. When a man wants to be noticed by a lady, he may be more likely to walk up to her and try talking to her.
But ladies are often not quite so direct when they are trying to get a man’s attention.
If a woman wishes for a man to notice her, she may give him small glances and smiles. She may accidentally drop something near him, and apologize with a wink and a smile as she picks it up. She might walk by and ‘accidentally’ bump into him… and then be on her way.
It is often the case that women are more subtle because, subconsciously, they want the man to do the pursuing. But men often misinterpret these subtle signals, especially if they aren’t as accustomed to reading them.
Sometimes, men even miss them altogether, either because he didn’t see them, or because they were so low-key that the man, in noticing them, didn’t see them as important.
Men also don’t want to embarrass themselves or read between the lines when there is nothing to read… so if in doubt, they may avoid pursuing the matter, thinking instead that they are actually overthinking it.
But here is the truth. If a man wants to be successful in spending time with attractive women, he needs to know that…
- He will have to get better at picking up non-verbal cues
- He will have to be brave enough to break the ice when he spots them
So now, let’s talk about what a woman playing with her hair actually means.
Why Do Women Play With Their Hair? Here Is What Science Says
In a study called Nonverbal courtship patterns in women: Context and consequences, Monica M. Moore points out that there is ‘a class of nonverbal facial expressions and gestures, exhibited by human females, that are commonly labeled as “flirting behaviors.”’
To prepare for this study, Moore observed over 200 randomly selected adult female subjects, and constructed a catalog of ‘nonverbal solicitation behaviors.’
Among these behaviors was the ‘Hair flip.’ To be more specific, a woman would ‘raise up one hand and push it through her hair’ to signify that she was potentially interested in a partner.
There were 52 non-verbal behaviors catalogued in the study. But here, we see that playing with the hair is actually a scientifically-validated solicitation signal used by women.
So that makes it easy, right? If a woman plays with her hair, she is basically putting out the signal that she wants to get laid… right!?!
Well, slow down there, buckaroo… because there are a still a lot of variables to sort through. Yes, this is a well-documented signal that a woman is at least somewhat sexually interested in someone else… but that does not mean that there are no other factors to consider.
Let’s dig a big deeper into it.
The first thing to understand is that, while hair-play can be a signal of attraction, it can also be a sign of stress or anxiety. This could mean that a lady is anxious because she is in the presence of someone she finds very attractive… or, it could have nothing at all to do with attraction.
For example: if a woman is playing with her hair, making eye contact with you, and smiling… it is probably a sign that she wants the conversation to continue.
But if she is playing with her hair while looking down, scanning the room (avoiding eye contact), and frowning, it may be a signal that she is getting bored or losing interest. Worst case scenario is that she is just playing with her hair out of sheer boredom and frustration, and is secretly hoping you will leave.
This is why context is incredibly important. Social acuity is actually really important in situations where you are spending time around attractive females, for exactly this reason. If you misread cues, you could end up making the wrong assumptions.
But even if she is playing with her hair because of anxiety, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t a good time to introduce yourself. She may be anxious because she wants to impress someone (possibly even you).
Introducing yourself and breaking the ice could even help to calm her anxiety… thereby making you look even more attractive to her.
What Does Evolution Say About Women Playing With Their Hair?
When we ask the question why do women play with their hair, is it possible that the answer is partly evolutionary?
As it turns it, it just may be!
Vanessa Van Edwards, author of the book Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, talked about this exact phenomenon in a YouTube interview, which you can find here. She actually breaks this behavior down quite a bit, explaining why women might play with their hair if they are attracted to someone.
As it turns out, the evolutionary reasons behind it are actually pretty interesting!
When it comes to playing with the hair, the action may actually be more about the neck and the side of the face than the locks of hair themselves.
It is also true that women may do this without even realizing that they are doing it, as it is quite instinctual and not always on purpose.
For one, the female face is much more distinctively feminine when viewed from the side. This is due to the influence of estrogen. It gives the face and neck a softer, more rounded appearance. This is also why women will tend to turn their head and display their neck/side profile when flirting.
So playing with their hair may actually have more to do with drawing attention to the side of the face and neck, which is a more ‘irresistible’ part of the woman’s body.
But science has also shown that hair-flips release pheromones as well. Plus, this rather ancient social cue, while inherently innocent, is also a sexual signal… like an unspoken sign that the conversation is going well, and that the female would like it to continue.
But there is also more to this that actually does have to do with the hair as well. As you probably know, women strive to maintain hair that is sleek, shiny, and healthy… and that is not an accident or a marketing trick.
The truth is that shiny, healthy, long hair is a sign of good health… and ultimately, fertility. So it is little wonder that women have been endowed with this innate, almost ‘latent’ habit to toss or play with their hair when they are talking to someone they are attracted to. It is, quite directly, a way of showing off the health of their hair.
It’s almost, in an evolutionary sense, like saying ‘hey, look at this… my hair is healthy. I could give you a lot of healthy children!’
Of course, it is not altogether just that simple. As stated previously, women may be playing with their hair for a number of reasons. But if a hair flip, or gentle hair play, is accompanied by other positive signals… she could be sending you some strong attraction messages.
At any rate, here are some tips for how to deal with a situation where an attractive woman is playing with her hair.
Step 1… Assess the Situation
What kind of setting are you in? Who is around? Who knows who? Are there any large social groups in this setting? Are you an outsider, or are you well-connected?
Is this a pretty fun and laid-back atmosphere? Is there sexual tension in this setting? If there is a lot of sexual energy, laughing, and joking going on… odds are good that attraction and sex are already on her mind, at least to a point.
Getting a feel for the situation is a great idea whenever you walk into a new setting. Order a drink, relax at the bar, and pay attention to what everyone is doing. Give yourself some time to get acclimated to the environment.
But at the same time, avoid looking like you are ‘scanning for tail.’ Don’t peer around the room like a wolf on the hunt! Be chill, confident, and cool. Try to engage someone in conversation, even if it is the bartender.
Try to look like you are your ‘own man.’ Not a man desperate to get laid or get a number!
Step 2… Pay Attention to How She Is Acting?
You spot a girl that you are potentially interested in. She’s beautiful, and she’s dressed like she was planning on impressing someone.
You may know her. If you do, that is actually to your advantage. But even if you’ve never met her before, that’s fine. She may very well be out and about to meet new people as well!
You would love to talk to her… but instead, you bide your time for a moment. You study her to see if she is giving off any signals.
This is a smart plan. If you walk up too soon, you might make the situation too abrupt. But at the same time, you don’t want to wait too long, either. A woman appreciates directness in a man. She is also attracted to a man who knows what he wants and takes charge.
This is a delicate balance, so try to absorb all of her potential signals and learn as much as possible.
Has she noticed you? The only way you can really know this for sure is if she has made eye contact with you.
Is she glancing at anyone repeatedly? If so, she may be attracted to that person, and wishing for a chance to break the ice.
Step 3… Playing With Her Hair
Alright. So you’ve entered the social gathering and you see her. So far, everything looks good. Now, all you have to do is figure out if she may potentially be interested in you.
Here are some signals to look out for.
- Is she playing with her hair?
- Is she moving her body to the music?
- Does she look around the room occasionally without making eye contact with anyone (scanning the room)?
- Is she doing a lot of laughing/giggling?
These are all signals that she is interested in speaking to someone.
Has she made eye contact with you and smiled? If so, she has already noticed you!
It may be time to find a way to break the ice.
Once You Walk Up to Her
So, what happens when you do walk up to her?
First of all, let’s talk about the fear of rejection for a moment. A lot of men never approach the woman they are the most attracted to for fear of being rejected. But we only live once! If you never step up to the plate, you will never hit a homerun!
If you want to succeed, you have to put yourself out there. So even if you don’t feel totally confident, walk up to her and introduce yourself. Be kind, smile, shake her hand, and ask her how her night is going.
Don’t worry… she will let you know very quickly if she doesn’t want you around. You will be able to sense it.
But on the other hand, she may welcome the attention!
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) December 14, 2018
Here are some signals to look out for.
- Is she smiling at you?
- Is she nodding while you are talking?
- Is she leaning-in toward you and trying to find more reasons to get closer to you?
- Is she making and maintaining eye contact for more than 2 to 3 seconds at a time?
- Is she turning her head to expose the side of her neck to you?
- Is she laughing or giggling a lot during the conversation?
- Is she raising her eyebrows at you?
- And finally… is she playing with her hair?
These are all very good signs… because any one of them could be a display of interest. They could very well mean that she is attracted to you, and secretly hoping that more will happen.
Don’t Overthink It, Either
Some men really overthink nonverbal cues as well. In their desire to understand how women think, they will sometimes look at information surrounding small details like this and put a lot more stock into them than they probably should.
The truth is that men can never be mind-readers. We can look at information like this and use it to try to understand how women think and act a little bit better, but we must also understand that being proactive, vulnerable, and honest will do far more for us than a thorough understanding of female non-verbal cues.
For example… if you see a woman playing with her hair and instantly think that you know exactly what she is thinking, you may actually be doing both her and yourself a great disservice. You can guess, speculate, and understand that she is feeling some kind of way about something, but the truth is that you cannot know 100% for sure.
And in the end, the only way to really know what she is thinking is to walk up to her and ask her.
So if you notice her giving off non-verbal cues, like playing with her hair, pay attention to them and use what knowledge you have to back-engineer what she might be thinking… but only do this to a certain point. Remember that context is everything, and that you will never be 100% certain what is actually going on in her mind.
And remember… you miss 100% of the shots you never take. So do your best to get a decent handle on the situation, but never forget that there is no substitute for just doing your best and giving it a try.
Just walk up to her and talk. There is really no better way to understand where you stand with her!
How to Spot the Most Obvious Non-Verbal Cues
If you are a man and are wondering how to do your best to tell if a woman may be interested in you, then here are some of the most obvious cues to look for.
If a woman is interested in you and is trying to make it obvious, she will usually look around and flip her hair, glancing at you and smiling pretty much whenever she gets the chance to. If you notice these signals, and the glancing/smiling seems to be aimed at you, there is a good chance that she wants you to talk to her.
If you talk to her and the conversation reinforces her attraction to you, she will likely look for excuses to touch you. She will also usually act very interested in what you are saying, will lean in, and will act like she is excited about the conversation. She will also continue to make eye contact.
You may want to make your move/ask her out if you are getting strong signs like this!
Of course, you cannot 100% know what a woman is thinking just by watching her non-verbal cues. But you don’t want to miss obvious signals, either.
The more adept you can be at doing both, the better your odds will be of making the most of every situation.
Why do women play with their hair?
Well, if she is smiling at you and acting in a welcoming manner… let’s just say that there is a good chance that it means she is interested!