When I first started dating I had issues with being creepy. I was pretty socially awkward and I needed to learn how to behave the hard way. I'm very grateful to all those who put up with me and somewhat regret they had to. All the advice I found on how to "not be creepy" sucked. No one could define it very well, no one could explain it, and hardly anyone had any useful advice on how to not be it. It was simply how people described me and I was powerless to change it.
The best definition of "creepy" I found was basically "below her standards plus persistent." That's actually not a bad one. But the core of "creepiness" is really an emotional thing. You evoke the feeling of "creeped out" in her. I don't think most guys understand what this means because I would wager a lot of men have never felt this emotion. It isn't fear, though fear is a part. It's sort of a mix of fear, disgust, and worry. I have been creeped out by women, but my first experiences being creeped out were with much older gay men pursuing me. If you haven't felt this emotion I might encourage you to put yourself in a situation where you will be aggressively approached by people you are not interested in - perhaps much older women, or men, or whoever, just to feel the emotion, though you must be careful to distinguish "creeped out" from homophobia.
Creepy people have a few things in common:
- They are inauthentic in expressing their interest
- They portray themselves as extremely low social value
- They are persistent
- Their body language communicates they are not trustworthy
To not be creepy, you basically have to stop doing these things. How?
SET NEW BODY LANGUAGE HABITS
The body language of creepy people communicates discomfort in themselves, which communicates to other people they they should be uncomfortable with them. Being comfortable making eye contact communicates honesty. Avoiding eye contact suggests you are lying. Shoulders rolled forward communicates you are protecting yourself from other people. Rolling them back makes you vulnerable, and communicates you are a friend who can be trusted. Bending over forward suggests poor health and low status. Standing up tall and even leaning back suggests comfort and high status.
Generally speaking, exercising body language that is engaging and takes up space is less creepy than being small and defensive. Think of a typical douchbag at a bar. He takes up a lot of space when he sits, he plows through people, he's loud. These are all obnoxious qualities, but they are not creepy. You don't want to be that douchebag, but you want to take note of the things he's doing right.
If you have an emotion, express it and be authentic with it. Smile when you're having fun. Give genuine compliments. Share your emotions as you're feeling them. Honesty makes you vulnerable, and making yourself vulnerable to people lets them trust you. Moreover, being comfortable with being vulnerable is extremely attractive.
CHANGE WHAT YOU WEAR
People trust people who look good. Watch any Disney movie. The heroes you're supposed to like are beautiful and well dressed. The evil people are ugly and dressed poorly. Disney didn't invent this, it's how people are, for better or for worse. You can fight against this or you can use it to your advantage. I suggest the latter. Wear clothes that fit you well. Look into fashion. Wear more color. Invest in your wardrobe, at least a little bit, for when you go out.
SPEAK MORE SLOWLY
People who are threatened and afraid speak quickly. People who are comfortable and in control speak slowly. Practice speaking slowly.
MOVE MORE SLOWLY
As with speaking, if you're comfortable and in your own territory, you can be relaxed and move slowly. If you're up to something, you're going to be moving quickly. Furthermore, people of high status move slowly, while people of low status move quickly to accommodate them. Don't be obnoxiously slow, but take your time and never rush.
UNDERSTAND PERSONAL SPACE
What constitutes comfortable personal boundaries varies from culture to culture. People in cities tend to be comfortable with being much closer than people in rural areas. The easiest way to address this issue is to stand next to people rather than directly across from them. You don't want to stand too close even then, but it's far less threatening to be next to someone than staring at them.
This also applies to touching. Touching someone's hand or arm when appropriate is usually socially acceptable. Legs and torso are more intimate and require some comfort. Hair and face are extremely intimate and should not be touched until you're effectively ready to make out. Don't linger with your touching, but follow the "move slowly" rule.