Boys 101: Writer offers teen girls a crash course
Book gives tips for navigating new relationships, making smart choices
A teen girl’s guide to boys
June 3: TODAY’s Al Roker talks to Sarah O’Leary Burningham, author of “Boyology,” and parenting expert Michele Borba about how teen girls can protect themselves from broken hearts.
Relationships with boys are tricky — especially for teen girls who are still figuring out who they are themselves. In her book “Boyology,” Sarah O’Leary Burningham offers a crash course in understanding boys.
Chapter 3: I ♥ You: When You’re Head-Over-Heels In Like
You’ve finally met that one-in-a-mil guy. He’s smart and sexy, and every time he turns around and meets your eyes during chem class, your heart practically stops and you realize you’re holding your breath. He’s definitely the guy for you. Only he doesn’t know it yet.
In the animal kingdom, flirting is an intricate dance — sometimes literally. One bird, the male rainbow lorikeet (a really colorful parakeet), woos his mate with a series of wobbly steps that resemble footwork from “Saturday Night Fever.” As soon as he sees a potential girlfriend, he busts a move. If the female bird is into it, she’ll nuzzle up against him and let him smooth her feathers. If she’s not interested, she moves on and he finds someone else to flirt with.
It’s the same thing with you. You’re dancing around your feelings, opening up a little but not completely, and testing the waters with the other bird. If he’s interested, he might let you smooth his feathers. And if not, at least you know so you can move on to a different, worthier dance partner.
Get Your Flirt On
Since bird-mating moves aren’t likely to work on McDreamy, you’ll need some other ways to let the flirting fly. And as with all things, some ways are better than others. Here are a few good and bad ways to perfect your “dance.”
BAD: Making eye contact by staring at him.
GOOD: Catch his eye and hold his glance just a little longer than usual. Then give him a little smile.
The key to eye flirting is keeping it light. If you stare at a guy, it will seem like you’re either staring him down or acting stalker-ish. Neither is good. Just a quick glance (with the essential grin) is flirting — even without saying a word!
BAD: Laugh at every word that comes out of his mouth. You want him to know you like his jokes, right?
GOOD: Laugh when you think he says something funny.
Laughing hysterically every time your crush says something is a surefire way to come across as insincere. Fake laughter is as transparent as clear lip gloss; he’ll be able to tell that you don’t mean it. Instead, smile at him when you think he’s being cute, and when he says something funny, feel free to give him a wholehearted, utterly sincere giggle.
BAD: Hanging on him every time you’re together. You have to touch him to show you’re interested.
GOOD: Occasionally brushing up against his shoulder or touching his arm.
In flirting, a little contact goes a long way. You want to show your crush that you’re into him and get a sense of how he feels about you. Does he smile back when you flash your pearly whites? Does he step closer to you when you whisper something? Draping yourself all over him does not constitute flirting because you really won’t be able to gauge his feelings if you’re suffocating him (or vice versa). Instead, stay cool and keep it playful — flirting is meant to be fun!
BAD: Gush over every little detail, like his sweater, hat, jeans, shoes, socks—you get the picture.
GOOD: Compliment him on something specific, like his new iPod. You love the green color.
Guys love a little flattery (who doesn’t?), but keep it sincere if you want to make an impression. Going overboard and complimenting every little thing about him makes it sound like you’re putting him on a pedestal, which can be totally overwhelming. Focus on one or two things you really like about him. Considering he’s your crush, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding something!
1. Find out what you have in common. If he spends time after school at the gym and you’re a total yoga buff, suggest you start working out together. Hanging out in the same places and doing things you both enjoy will give you more time to get to know each other.
2. Start a real conversation by asking him a semi-personal question. Don’t ask him something he’d only share in therapy, mind you, but something to get him talking about his interests and what he likes to do. A basic question that requires more than a “yes” or “no” answer, like, “What did you do last weekend?” is a good way to get things rolling.
3. Stand closer to him than you have to. Don’t stand so close that you’re going to lose your balance and fall over, but close enough that he can feel you there. Believe me, he’ll notice!
4. Do something spontaneous (but not crazy). Did it just snow? Suggest you go make snow angels. Is it superhot? What about taking a run through the school sprinklers? Guys love it when girls are willing to try new, silly things.
5. Be a good friend. By being there if he needs to talk or wants a study-buddy, you’re showing him that you really care. Just remember not to forfeit your own life for his. You don’t want to be the kind of person who is always hanging around, like the third wheel.
6. The good-ole music mix. Make him an iPod mix or burn a CD with some of your favorite songs. As DJ AM says, “The best way to get closer to a guy you have a crush on is to have a music-listening session together.”