You know all that advice about not acting too eager to please on a first date? Well, according to new research, you may want to throw that approach out the window.
A study out today by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology shows that during a potentially romantic first encounter, men perceived "responsive" women—those who said things like, "I completely understand"—to be more attractive than those who said things like, "Doesn't sound so bad to me." Responsiveness was seen as "niceness"—and was associated with higher sexual arousal, and geater desire for a long-term relationship.
What gives? Sexual desire thrives on intimacy—and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time, explains study author Gurit E. Birnbaum, Ph.D.
The takeaway: Instead of worrying about being cool and aloof, use your first date as a chance to show that you're interested (and interesting for that matter), because no one wants to have a conversation with themselves. Focus on engaging in mutual conversation, and listening—really listening—with an open mind, without interrupting, pre-judging, or showing off, Birnbaum says. It's like mom always said: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Just know that there is an important distinction between being responsive and sexually aggressive, warns relationship expert Wendy Walsh, Ph.D. "Being responsive simply means reading men's cues and responding to them. Women who are coy and quietly flirtatious are doing that—but they are also adding the allure of acting a little hard to get." An interesting side note: The study concluded that while this proposition holds true for men, women didn't find responsive dudes to be more sexually attractive. (Maybe nice guys really do finish last?)
What do you think of this study? What is your go-to demeanor on a first date? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.