Match Game: Should He Stay or Go?


One hundred and eighty seconds. That's all you need to determine how a relationship will progress, according to a recent University of Minnesota at Duluth study. Chemistry kicks in even before you speak with someone, which should help you distinguish the right guy from the goofy one across a crowded bar, gym, or farmers' market. And when two people click, the interaction escalates rapidly because both parties offer more personal information and ask more questions. Here, experts fine-tune your man-dar so you'll know almost immediately whether to land him or lose him.

Listen to his body talk. "Even unattractive men who present themselves as confident can be sexy and appealing," says Ann Demarais, Ph.D., author of First Impressions: What You Don't Know About How Others See You. Green lights: His hips are directed toward you, he's leaning in slightly, arms uncrossed, and he's relaxed.

Don't be left speechless. If even a short conversation is awkward, hit the head, says Samantha Daniels, author of Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern-Day Matchmaker. Either both of you are uninterested, or he's just dull.

Go with your gut. "Jump in, then take a break and reflect," says Oregon State University psychologist Frank Bernieri, Ph.D. But don't overthink it: If you walk away from your talk in a better mood, you've clicked. (Let's hope you exchanged numbers.)

Beware of wolves. If he claims to feel an immediate connection, take a giant step back, warns Sandra Brown, author of How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved. This guy probably wants intimacy — and we don't mean the emotional kind.

Avoid the lecture circuit. If he pontificates or talks only about himself, that may be all he wants to talk about. "He thinks [he's] smart and interesting, but he's actually tedious and self-absorbed," Dr. Demarais says.

Like the one who likes you. The guy who can deliver a genuine compliment is worth a follow-up date. How to tell it's not from a repertoire of cheeseball lines? He'll praise a specific feature, Daniels says, which shows he took the time to notice your contagious laugh or your killer biceps.
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