How The Halo Effect Ruins Your Chances With Women, According To Research

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man flirting with girl at coffee shop

Has this ever happened to you:

You meet a pretty girl. You somehow start talking to her, and then you proceed to make a complete fool of yourself because you’re nervous and feel tongue-tied. You try way too hard to impress her even if you don't know how to attract women?

It’s okay, I have, too.

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What’s going on here? 

Are we just needy insecure guys who are stuck in 8th grade or is there something else at work? 

This is called the Halo Effect. 

Incidentally, not being aware of the Halo Effect will make us act like needy insecure guys who never grew up past 8th grade. But as in all things, knowledge is freedom. Here’s how it works:

Researchers have discovered that when we see someone we find attractive, we automatically give them other attractive qualities, without any proof they have those qualities.

It’s why pretty people are paid more than average-looking people. It’s also why girls assume that the latest heartthrob is also an amazing lover, wildly romantic, and can speak 10 languages fluently while making them a perfect crème brulee from scratch.

How do you battle against this automatic and powerful process in your brain so you can act like a confident, composed man with high self-esteem? By using another automatic and even more powerful counterattack: Curiosity.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but only after he enjoyed satisfying his curiosity in all his nine lives. Curiosity is normal. As soon as you see something beautiful, interesting, or intriguing, your brain instantly becomes curious. And in the absence of information your brain will make it up. It goes like this:

When you see a woman who is beautiful, your brain is going to tell you she is also: smart, has high self-esteem, full of confidence, has dozens of guys blowing up her phone every day and dropping rose petals at her feet as she walks and she drives a brand-new Bentley her NBA star ex-boyfriend pays for it because he’s still in love with her,

She becomes, in a word: unattainable.

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However, you can stop all that before the train starts down the track. The answer is to be curious. Curious about who she really is beyond her beauty. In a word, curious about her values.

Let’s take my (ridiculous) example above.

If I were to meet a girl who was super-hot and we started talking, I might say something like:

“You know, the moment I saw you I had this impression that you’re smart, full of self-esteem, confident, honest, and probably drive a Bentley your NBA star ex-boyfriend pays for because he’s still in love with you. How close am I to the truth?"

This is devastatingly good because you’re being honest. And as your mom always said, honesty is the best policy.

She’s flattered by the compliments and accepts them by virtue of the last ridiculous comment.

She feels mildly surprised because you’ve been open and as a result, there’s a subtle bonding that takes place.

Note: This bonding takes place because of the vulnerability that comes from being honest. It works IF you show you aren’t embarrassed. In other words, it’s okay for her to “go there” with you. Make sense?

And it goes without saying that this is not to be exploited. The point is not to embarrass her; that’s a natural consequence. And used to build solidarity between the two of you.

By ending with a question, you share your vulnerability by allowing her easy access to respond.

If you didn’t end with a question, it’s like you gave her a conversational misshapen hot potato that she doesn’t really know what to do with. Because obviously your conversation with her is not one she’s had with many people, so she’s not really sure how to respond. That’s why you make it easy for her by ending with a question.

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How do you use this? Just notice the first (ridiculous) assumptions you make about her and tell them to her. In a light-hearted way that exposes your own ridiculousness.

You might wonder, what if she isn’t amused? If she’s not amused, then the Halo Effect has been conquered. And for me, I’m no longer interested and avoid making a tongue-tied fool of myself trying to impress a girl I wouldn’t like anyway.

Any woman that:

a. Is not smart enough to understand the question


b. too serious or full of herself or ignorant to find it funny

is not the kind of girl I want to talk to.

You see, the point of the conversation isn’t to “woo her.” Instead, it’s to find out if you’re really interested, without being taken in by her good looks and assuming the rest. That way you can be yourself with her, without feeling like she’s out of your league.

Of course, if you don’t like the above idea, you don’t have to use it. You can go an easier route. Instead of telling her your ridiculous and embarrassing assumptions, you can use those assumptions to ask questions.

By the way, questions are intoxicating. Who doesn’t like talking about themselves? So to use this method, do this:

You see a beautiful girl, you start talking to her, and you ask questions that let you know whether she is the kind of person you are interested in.

Think of her beauty as getting her in the door. After that, she has to show some credentials. The credentials that will hopefully will line up with your values.

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Michael Griswold is a relationship and life coach who uses his expertise to help men and women heal broken hearts and find love again.