As an emotion, pride has a horrible reputation. But wield it wisely and it can be a turn-on. Outward projections of pride signal competence and high status, says psychologist Jessica Tracy, PhD. Just don’t overdo it. “Women want men who can function socially,” she says, “and excessive male dominance can lower a man’s likeability and detract from his ability to keep a group together.”
“What do you like to do on weekends?” “Do you have a favourite restaurant?” Posing such questions usually results in the same questions being fired back at you. It’s a perfect way to learn about someone – and if you do it right, you’ll sneak in some intel about yourself. New research from Israel’s University of Haifa found that self-promoters receive more positive responses if the boasts seem natural in the context of a conversation.
You’re on a date, wondering when to reel her in with some impressive data. But when it comes to deft self-promotion, pace yourself. Researcher Dianne Tice, PhD, recommends splitting it into two phases: A shot of “I’m kind of a big deal” followed by a humility chaser to keep things light. “If you run marathons, just mention that you’ve run some races in the self-promoting phase,” says Tice. “Then when the subject comes up again later, say: ‘I’ve run a couple of marathons, but they’re really hard!’ She’ll probably follow up by noting how impressive simply finishing is.” You’ve outsourced the singing of your praises to her. Shrewd.
Men and women constantly display and interpret an array of nonverbal signals. “Not only can you communicate status more subtly and acceptably with posture, clothing and gestures,” says Dana Carney, PhD, an assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, “but you can also signal these attributes to a large number of people.” If you’re displaying a dominant posture among other men, for instance, women will sense that you enjoy good standing within the group. That’s an indication that you’re a successful, socially adept person – and it sends their hormones into overdrive.
A dab of self-deprecation can billboard your better qualities. “The ability to laugh at one’s foibles is attractive,” says Demarais. “It shows that you have the confidence to be vulnerable.”