How To Not Be Creepy, From A Female Dating Coach

Last updated
February 3, 2024
minutes to read
How To Not Be Creepy, From A Female Dating Coach


Ready to learn how to NEVER be creepy?

Today, we'll cover the 9 dating behaviors that girls find creepy.

For context, guys kept telling me things like, "I'm afraid to approach women because I don't want to come off as creepy..."

I surveyed 2,000+ U.S. men ages 18-44 to learn more, and learned that 72% of men said that fear of being perceived of being creepy impacts their interactions with women, and 45% said it reduces the likelihood they interact with women at all 😬

This made me realize:

  1. 'Creepy' lacks a clear definition in the context of dating.
  2. This lack of clarity causes normal guys to feel anxious.

To better define what is (and isn't!) creepy, I commissioned a census-style survey of 2,000+ U.S. women ages 18-40, and discovered 9 behavior women consistently called "creepy."

Some will be obvious, but others might be surprising. Let's dive in!


1. Staring

Man seated at desk, turning around to stare at a woman walking by's rear end

You're at a bar, or in a workout class, and she catches your eye.

She's stunning. You know better than to stare, but you have trouble looking away...

Checking out an attractive woman is natural, but staring can be creepy.

According to my survey of 2,000 women, 51% of all women and 55% of single women experienced creepy staring in the past 12 months, which makes it the #1 creepy behavior!

Want to avoid creepily staring at a woman you're attracted to?

  1. Commit to the "two look max" rule. When *anyone* enters your field of vision, it's natural and healthy to subconsciously look at them (e.g. is this person friend or foe?) which is no less true if the person entering your field of vision happens to be an attractive woman. It's also normal to consciously glance over again, if only to be aware of (and appreciate 😏) your surroundings. More than these two brief (i.e. <5 second) looks, though, and you risk being creepy.

  2. Commit to turning eye contact into a conversation. If you're having trouble taking your eyes off a beautiful woman nearby, rather than creepily continuing to look at her, approach and introduce yourself! Research shows eye contact can be an excellent way to communicate attraction, plus a key reason why staring is creepy is that the starer's intentions are unknown — by introducing yourself in a friendly way, you can both avoid problems, and make new connections 😃

Approaching women exceeds the scope of this article, but you can check out my guide on where to meet women for some tips!

2. Unwanted contact on social media

Man on couch looking at his phone, presumably scoping a woman on social media

You stopped by your client's office this afternoon, and you weren't expecting his new assistant to be so attractive, or so friendly!

It'd be easy to find out her name via LinkedIn, and then you could probably find her on Instagram...

Wanting to connect with an attractive woman is natural, but finding her on social media can be creepy.

According to my survey of 2,000 women, 43% of all women and 48% of single women experienced unwanted and creepy contact on social media in the past 12 months, which makes it the #2 creepy behavior.

Want to avoid crossing the creepy line on social media?

Best practice is to avoid contacting a woman you met in-person on social media without her express consent (i.e. you asked for her Instagram handle when you chatted, and she shared it with you).

This is a good rule of thumb for two reasons:

  1. Not contacting her will help you uplevel yourself. If you're chatting with a beautiful woman, and you part ways without asking for her contact info because of fear she'll turn you down, and you're overcome by burning regret hours later... this is a good thing! It's evolution's way of telling you to step up, get over yourself, and ask for what you want next time 🤗

  2. If it's meant to be, it will be. If the woman you're considering contacting on social media is *actually* destined to be your soulmate, you probably lead similar lifestyles, run in similar social circles, and spend time in the same places. You're likely to have another shot at connecting with her organically in-person... why risk being creepy by adding her online?

There are exceptions — sometimes there's good reason to contact a woman on social!

To cite a personal example, I might not be married to my husband today had he not added me on Instagram after we connected at a group fitness class 🥵

Here are three things to consider to help you avoid seeming creepy in these situations:

  1. Do you have mutual friends? It's a lot less creepy to contact a woman on social media if you have mutual friends, both because there will be fewer hoops to jump through to find her, and your shared connections will make you seem more trustworthy 🤝
  2. Does she have an easily discoverable profile? If she doesn't use her real name on social media, or her profile is otherwise difficult enough to discover that it requires more than 60 seconds of detective work to find, this is signal that contacting her might be creepy 🕵️‍♂️
  3. Do you have a specific reason to follow up? For example, it's almost certainly not creepy to contact a woman on social media if you're sharing the name of a restaurant you discussed in-person  that she said she'd love to check out, but the name evaded you. But it's more likely to be creepy to contact her if you're just trying to make generic small talk 🤐

3. Inappropriate comments

Man leaning on tree, talking to woman, who wears an uncomfortable expression on her face

You're leaving the gym, and your gym crush happens to be walking right next to you!

Finally a chance to chat, but what to say? You consider complimenting her on her outfit...

Many men inadvertently come off as creepy when complimenting a woman.

Others deliberately come across as creepy! According to my survey of 2,000 women, 39% of all women and 36% of single women were subject to inappropriate and creepy comments in the past 12 months, which make them the #3 creepy behavior.

You probably know better than to creepily cat call women on the street, or make overtly sexual comments to women you don't have an intimate relationship with.

Still, want to avoid making an accidental creepy comment to women?

Exercise care with the following topics:

  1. Her body. If you have anything less than an intimate relationship with a woman, comments about her body are usually creepy. This is especially true of compliments that could be interpreted sexual (e.g. "you have amazing legs") or invasive (e.g. "have you lost weight?") — she might love to hear either from her boyfriend, but it's creepy coming from someone she's not as intimate with 😕
  2. Her outfit. Unless she's wearing something genuinely remarkable, comments about her outfit can be creepy. For example, you probably know that telling a woman you barely know that you like the black spandex she wears to the gym is creepy... but even a comment like "nice shirt" can be creepy if there's nothing unique about the shirt, because the woman might feel uncomfortable wondering (A) why you're paying attention to her shirt, and (B) if you're actually trying to say something else 😷

The following comments are generally safe, though!

  • Genuine compliments about her hair 💇‍♀️
  • Genuine compliments on something she's wearing that's intended to stand out (e.g. cowboy hat 🤠)
  • Light and general compliments about a woman's appearance (e.g. "you look amazing!"), assuming they're situation appropriate (i.e. you're not coworkers in a professional setting) ✨

4. Controlling behaviors

Woman seated on white couch looking upset, with man in background shouting and pointing finger at her

It's Saturday night, and a girl you've been seeing is out with her friends.

Or is she? You're feeling anxious, and you're tempted to text her to ask who she's with...

Controlling behaviors are creepy.

According to my survey of 2,000 women, 28% of all women and 23% of single women experienced creepy controlling behaviors in the past 12 months, which make them the #4 creepy behavior.

From years of experience coaching 1,000+ men, I'm willing to bet you don't exhibit creepy controlling behaviors if you're reading this article...

Still, want to be sure you're not controlling and creepy?

Just remember that even if you're married, her choices are her own to make, just as your choices are your own to make.

To illustrate this, imagine you're dating a woman who frequently travels and spends time with friends without you, and this makes you feel uncomfortable and jealous 😖

If you've discussed your feelings with her, and she's unwilling to make changes, the appropriate conclusion to draw is "this isn't the right partner for me," not "I must manipulate her into spending more time with me."

5. Won't accept "no"

Man with hands in a prayer position, clearly pleading with a woman who stands to his right, and looks disinterested

You met a cutie at a bar, and she's very flirty with you!

You suggested leaving to have a glass of wine back at your place, and she seemed interested, but she said she wanted to stay with her friends at the bar.

That was half an hour ago, and she's still being flirty, so you're tempted to ask again...

Many men don't realize it's creepy to push back when a woman tells them "no."

According to my survey of 2,000 women, 22% of all women and 30% of single women reported interacting with a guy who wouldn't accept that "no" means "no" in the past 12 months, which makes it the #5 creepy behavior.

Because you're reading this article, you probably generally respects that "no" means "no"...

Still, want to make sure you're not creepy guy who doesn't listen to "no"?

This one's straightforward.

👉 Simply take women at their word if they decline your invitation to escalate things.

It's true that women will sometimes send mixed signals (e.g. she says she doesn't want to do more than kiss, but she's rubbing you in a way that makes you think otherwise...)

At the end of the day, though, words carry the most weight.

Having the discipline and empathy to accept that "no" means "no" the first time she says it will reduce the likelihood women see you as creepy. Plus, it shows that you're not needy, which is very attractive 🥰

6. Unwanted physical contact‍

Woman's backside, with man's hands cupping her rear end

It's only halfway through your first date, but she's flirty, and it seems to be going well!

You read online that initiating touch is essential to creating romantic chemistry, so even though you just met, you're tempted to pull her in for a kiss right now...

Some men can't keep their hands to themselves, and creepily initiate unwanted physical contact.

According to my survey of 2,000+ women, 19% of all women and 25% of single women reported experiencing creepy unwanted physical contact in the past 12 months, which makes it the #6 creepy behavior.

You already know it's creepy (and illegal!) to grab a woman's ass as she walks by on the street...

Here are two tips to avoid being creepy whenever you initiate touch:

  1. Avoid invasive areas to start. Touch doesn't have to be intimate to be effective, particularly early in a relationship. Try touching a woman's hands, elbow, or arm to create a connection without risking being creepy or invasive. And if you want to learn more here, check out my article on the love language physical touch 🤗
  2. Ask for consent. If you want to kiss (or do more) with a woman, simply ask for her consent! It won't kill the mood if you ask the right way. Check out my article on kissing on a first date for tips and sample language you can use 😙

7. Pressure for sex

Woman in pajamas, seated on edge of bed, looking disappointed, with man looking away with possibly frustrated expression, also on bed, in background

She's back at your place, and things are getting hot and heavy in your bedroom.

She said she doesn't want to have sex yet, but you're both undressed, and you can't get sex off your mind...

Many men pressure women for sex, and it's creepy.

According to my survey of 2,000+ women, 18% of all women and 25% of single women reported experiencing creepy pressure for sex the past 12 months, which makes it the #7 creepy behavior.

Want to avoid creepily pressuring women for sex?

This one's a lot like "no" means "no."

  • Follow the "one ask" rule. You can express desire to have sex once during an intimate situation, but accept her answer at face value and move on once she's given it.
  • Don't complain. If she's made it clear she wants to wait to have sex until you're in an exclusive relationship, or for marriage, or for any other reason... it's creepy to continue asking for sex, and even complaining about how you don't want to wait can be creepy, because it can her feel like you don't respect her boundaries.

Incidentally, holding your horses may work in your favor 🤠

By not pressuring her for sex, she'll trust you more, which will probably make her want to have sex with you more!

8. Clinginess

Man holding onto woman's leg in an apartment living room, with pained expression, while woman holding suitcase, presumably leaving, looks annoyed

You're at your friend Andrew's housewarming, and you met his cute coworker, Jenny.

She was flirty when you chatted, but now she's talking with her friends. You don't want to let this one slip away.

You grab a beer, and walk over to the circle Jenny is chatting in, so you can get her attention again...

Being clingy can be creepy.

According to my survey of 2,000+ women, 18% of all women and 23% of single women reported experiencing creepy clinginess in the past 12 months, which makes it the #8 creepy behavior.

Many of my clients struggle with clinginess (if not quite the creepy variety), so I want to give it special attention.

Want to avoid being clingy, and creepy?

Two tips:

  1. Give her space in social settings. If you meet a woman in a social setting, you don't need to monopolize her attention throughout the entire event to get her number. In fact, it's creepy if you try to! Chat with her for a few minutes, and when there's a natural break in the conversation, part ways. If you want to get her number, simply find her before you leave (or keep an eye on the door so you can catch her on her way out), and go mingle 🕺
  2. Move on when a woman doesn't make an effort. Let's say you're texting a woman who *almost* seems interested. She always responds to your messages, but she usually has an excuse for why she can't meet up in-person (e.g. "sorry I just saw this" or "that sounds fun, but I'm out with friends tonight")... This may be tough to hear, but this woman isn't interested in you. In dating and life, interest is directly proportional to effort. If you keep pursuing her, you risk being clingy, and creepy. Onward 🚀

9. Physical stalking

Photograph of a street in daylight, with man's back in foreground, with woman in background facing toward the lens, with a confused look on her face

You've gone on two dates with a girl. You thought they went well, but suddenly she stops responding to your texts.

You're worried, and you remember she works in an office just a few blocks from yours. You're tempted to leave work a little early, so you can wait outside and see if she's OK...

Physical stalking is creepy, and often dangerous and illegal.

According to my survey of 2,000+ women, 10% of all women and 14% of single women reported experiencing creepy physical stalking in the past 12 months, which makes it the #9 creepy behavior.

You know better than to initiate in-person contact with a woman when she's clearly communicated she's not interested. But sometimes guys with good intentions will unintentionally cross the creepy line when circumstances are less clear.

Want to never accidentally give women creepy stalker vibes?

Two tips:

  • Don't surprise her with in-person gestures until you've been on 3+ dates. When you're crushing on someone new, it may be tempting to send flowers to her apartment, bring her lunch at her workplace, or surprise her with a hug at her subway stop. No matter how good your intentions are, though, these gestures can be creepy if she's not 100% comfortable with your uninvited presence in these spaces that are central to her personal life. Wait until you're past your third date for any in-person surprises, and even then, err on the side of caution. If you're not 100% sure she'll appreciate the gesture you're planning (e.g. you haven't chatted in a few days, and your goal is to rekindle things), skip it ❤️
  • Avoid hyper location-specific questions before you've met in-person. For example, even if your intentions are good, it can be creepy to offer to pick her up from her apartment for a first date. It can also be creepy to ask for details about locations she spends time before you've been on a date (e.g. "is that the yoga studio on 5th and Pine?") 📍

However, convenience is king, and it's not creepy (and is often smart!) to ask about relevant general locations when planning a first date (e.g. "what part of town are you in?")

Wrap up & next steps

Now that you know how to not be creepy, let's talk about how to approach and attract women you like!

Here are three ideas...

Idea #1: Unlock my best free guides

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