Catching someone's attention can be more difficult than you'd think, particularly in this day and age when so many people are constantly looking at a smartphone screen, listening to music, or attempting to multitask. It's not always as simple as giving them a look or a smile, or even just being kind to them. And whether it's a potential romantic partner, a colleague or boss you're trying to impress, or a stranger on the street, knowing some of the weird, but genius ways to get someone to pay attention to you might increase your odds of ultimate success.
There are a lot of reasons as to why you might need (or want) to get someone to pay attention to you. If you need help, are trying to impress someone, or are attempting to flirt, catching someone's eye is important. And, sure, you can simply strike up a conversation with someone (just say hello) or do something that makes a bit of a scene to make sure that people are paying attention, but there are a number of other, arguably more subtle things that might seem slightly strange or out-of-the-box, but that will work just as well, if not better. If you're willing to try something different, getting someone's attention just might not be as difficult as it sometimes may seem.
1. Stand In Silence
You might think that simply standing in silence would have the opposite effect of getting someone to notice you — that instead it would cause you to sort of blend into the background — but that might not be the case.
"This works because as you stand quietly with a pleasant expression your face you are making eye contact with participants, engaging them," Bianca L. Rodriguez, MA, EdM, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper by email. But it really only works if you're in a position of power or that people know that you command respect. If no one knows that you're in charge, they might not have the same response. They'll just think you're hanging out outside of the center of attention.
2. Consider Your Scent
Scent matters when you're trying to capture someone's attention. Think about how you respond when someone who's scent you like walks by. You take notice.
"The cologne or perfume you wear will draw attention to you," Fran Greene, LCSW, author of The Secret Rules of Flirting, tells Romper by email. "Remember less is more."
3. Use Their Name
"Using a person's name when you address them is an excellent way to get their attention because it's hard to ignore someone saying your name," Rodriguez says. "It also displays familiarity and directness. This is especially impactful with acquaintances and public figures that you don't have a close connection with. Having someone say your name feels personal and usually lowers defenses giving you an automatic in."
Think about when you were in class as a kid or in a college lecture hall and a teacher called you out by name. There's little doubt that you sat up and paid attention.
4. Treat Your Outfit As A Way To Start Conversation
One way to connect with someone and make them pay attention to you is to find common ground. Believe it or not, your clothes can help you do that.
"Have you ever started a conversation with someone wearing a T-shirt or baseball cap with the name of a place you visited or a school [that] you or a family member attended? Wearing clothing that reflects you gives the other person the green light to talk to you," Greene says. Even if you're not actively trying to talk to them, they'll still notice you.
Greene also recommends interesting pieces of jewelry, which can act as conversation-starters. "Unique, unusual, or even classic jewelry will encourage others to comment," she adds.
5. Disagree With Them
It may sound counter-productive to try to get someone's attention by disagreeing with them, but it really might work. In a piece that she wrote for Inc., Betty Liu, host and editor-at-large for Bloomberg Markets, said that the best way to capture attention is through something that her friend, Fred Teng, called "soft conflict." Disagreeing with someone about something means that you can both take a side and argue it out, which definitely means that they're paying attention. Don't get into a serious fight, but a little bit of back and forth might actually do some good for your connection.
6. Ask Surprising Questions
Asking surprising questions means catching people a little bit off-guard, but that's not a bad thing. It's easy to sort of let your attention drift when you're asked the same super-basic questions that you're asked all the time. But when someone asks an interesting question, you get interested as well.
"This creates disruption, which activates our attention as we are wired to notice things that violate our expectations," Rodriguez says. "Most people enjoy talking about themselves [and an] unanticipated question invites them to share in a fun and interesting new way."
7. Tell Them You Appreciate Them Or Give Them A Compliment
Even if it's hard for them to take a compliment or accept praise, people like to hear that they're appreciated or that you like something about them. "All people want to feel validated and acknowledged," Rodriguez says. "Expressing this makes a person feel special, which will absolutely capture their attention and their heart. Just make sure it's authentic or it could feel manipulative and backfire."
Getting someone to pay attention to you doesn't need to be difficult or confusing. Using some small, slightly-strange techniques might help you get people to notice you effectively without doing anything too over-the-top.