The Effectiveness Of A Woman’s Smile On Men’s Courtship – How Women Can Use A Simple Smile To Attract Men
Christopher Philip

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The results showed that more participants approached the confederate when she smiled than when she didn’t. Specifically, 11/50 men approached in the smile condition whereas only 2/50 approached in the no smile condition.

French researcher Nicolas Guéguen Université de Bretagne Sud, Lorient, France designed a simple study to determine the effectiveness of the female glance in garnering male attention.

It is known that women use a variety of techniques to gain the attention and affection of men. In fact, they have a full arsenal of sexual cues which showcases their sexuality and sexual appeal. They can use behaviours such as acting flirty but also dressing flirty.

While much is known about smiles and their ability to raise the mood of others, little is known about its power to elicit male approach in a real life setting. For example, previous research has shown that a broad smile helped waitresses gain more tips, and in another study, female hitchhikers received more help when they smiled. Interestingly, no such effect was found amongst men. Additional studies have found other similarly beneficial effects in varied situations – not just within courtship.

In the currently discussed experiment published in the Journal Social Behavior and Personality, French researcher Guéguen had women, in a bar setting, either smile at men or not smile. He then measured the propensity of men to approach the girls or not.

For his experiment, he selected a 20-year-old female confederate who was rated as average in attractiveness. She was instructed to perform a set of specific behaviours. According to a randomly set procedure, she was told to either smile at a man who was seated alone for two seconds, then look away or, as in the control condition, make and maintain eye contact for two seconds, but not smile.

An independent observe watched the confederate as well as the man whom she was interacting with. The observer was instructed to monitor the subject for a total of 10 minutes and if approach was made to stand up. This was a signal to have the female confederate end the interaction. She was told to say that she had an important meeting.

In total, 100 men where subjected to the procedure (50 with smile and 50 without).

The results showed that more participants approached the confederate when she smiled than when she didn’t. Specifically, 11/50 men approached in the smile condition whereas only 2/50 approached in the no smile condition. They also found that men, when they didn’t approach, glanced much more toward the female confederate when she smiled at him, than when she didn’t. The mean (middle number of glances) was 7.02 in the smile condition and 2.01 in the no smile condition.

BodyLanguageProjectCom - Coy SmileDiscussing The Findings

Does smiling increase the attractiveness of women? Impossible to tell based on this particular study. However, what the study does say is that an average looking woman can increase male approach with nothing more than a simple smile.

In fact, the success rate of approach shot up form 4% to 22%. These are results that are certainly not something to sneeze at!

And this is just with a smile!

With several dozen sexual cues at women’s disposal, I would assume that using an arsenal of nonverbal signals would certainly produce a rate nearing certainty.

The ways men and women get together – is, all sort-of – happening by happenstance?


With the knowledge from studies like this, women can seize control over relationships and their formation.

In other words, if you want a guy – for starters – smile at him. If you really want him, consider adding additional cues, from an arsenal of such cues, to solicit his attention.

Personal Throwback

This study reminds me of a girl I knew from University. She puzzled me because her affect was odd, yet alluring. She was flirty, but in a way that didn’t make sense to me. She was talkative yet shy, tilted her head, tossed her hair, made eye contact and used a myriad of other signals. It drew me closer. Then I noticed that her signals were possibly part of her “normal affect”, her baseline. Picture, perpetually nervous. The effect of her behaviour, I noticed, wasn’t just with me, but rather, had similar results with other men. I noticed this while waiting for a lecture one day when a couple of other guys taking the same class received the same sort of courtship-type signals – perhaps she fancied one of them as well?

While I was curious about the signals, they didn’t seem to match her interest. Her friend, at one point, made a comment about her “always getting the boys.” It was as if she didn’t quite understand exactly why her friend received so much extra attention. It’s quite likely too, that the girl herself didn’t understand, and for that matter, neither did the men she attracted. However, I never did bother to find out if her draw meant more than a general baseline affect, as I lost interest in the seemingly random and confusing signals.

In retrospect, it’s perhaps that she just acted this way all the time normally and the signals were not meant as sexual, or in contrast, perhaps even that her body was telling her to act this way to garner more attention. Either way though, it drew potential suitors closer to her, so sooner rather than later, she’d catch a fish – even if she didn’t understand that her hook was baited.


Guéguen, N. The Effect Of A Woman’s Smile On Men’s Courtship Behavior. Social Behavior and Personality. 2008. 36(9): 1233-1236.

Guéguen, N., & Fischer-Lokou, J. (2004). Hitchhiker’s Smiles And Receipt Of Help. Psychological Reports. 94: 756-760.

Lockard, J. S., McVittie, R. I., & Isaac, L. M. (1977). Functional Significance Of The Affiliative Smile. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 9, 367-370.

Tidd, K., & Lockard, J. (1978). Monetary Significance Of The Affiliative Smile: A Case For Reciprocal Altruism. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 11, 344-346.

Walsh, D. G., & Hewitt, J. (1985). Giving Men The Come-On: Effect Of Eye Contact And Smiling In A Bar Environment. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 61, 873-874.

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