If you're curious about the new dude in your life but know better than to grill him with 20 questions, you're gonna love our sneaky read-him tips.
You don't have to date a guy for six months to get the lowdown on who he really is. With the right clues, you can size him up in 10 minutes. "A man's actions -- especially the ones you see in unguarded moments when he's not going out of his way to try to impress you (or doesn't realize you're watching) -- can speak volumes about his character and personality traits," says Rita Benasutti, PhD, a psychotherapist who specializes in couples' issues. To help you decode a guy you've just started seeing, Cosmo called on a team of experts to tell you how to assess his actions and tap into his boyfriend potential, pronto.
His Favorite Sport
"Solo sportsmen, like runners and swimmers, 1 savor their independence and relish spending a lot of time alone," says relationship-skills coach Steve Nakamoto, author of "Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Catching a Man." Men who are fans of mainstream team sports, like football, basketball, and baseball, 2 tend to be competitive -- on the field and in all aspects of their life -- and they like to hang with their entourage. As for the guy who's just not into sports at all, 3 "he's an independent thinker, usually on the sensitive side."
How Long He's Been Hanging With His Friends
A guy who has been friends with the same posse since he was 10 years old can certainly claim 4 loyalty as one of his strong suits. But "you better like what you see, because he's probably not great with change," says dating coach Liz H. Kelly, author of "Smart Man Hunting." "And be patient, because it will take a while for you to win his trust." If your date has buddies from all areas of his life -- i.e., college, the gym, work -- don't be afraid to drag him to your cousin's wedding. 5 "He has no problem schmoozing strangers and adapts to new situations easily."
Credit vs. Cash
A guy who likes to flash his plastic 6 craves status. "He may be ambitious and confident. He'll reach his financial goals," says Rob Ronin, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and registered financial consultant. "If he always pays in cash, 7 he's self-sufficient and independent," which might make him a difficult dude to corner. And if his wallet is dry? 8 Here's a guy who's dependent on others to take care of him.
His Bad Habits
Gambling men 9 are risk-takers, which can make them a lot of fun. "But their over-the-top optimism that they'll come out ahead makes it difficult for them to face reality," says Mitchell Parks, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. "Hard-core smokers 10 tend to be anxious," says Dr. Parks, so it can be hard to pin them down for couple-time. And if he's a boozer, 11 he could be hiding his insecurity behind his buzz.
His Communication Style
When your date opts to email you -- rather than call -- 12 he could be a hard nut to crack. "The fact that he chooses a communication method that allows him to edit what he says signals that he might not want to show his true self," says Jeff Bryson, PhD, professor of psychology at San Diego State University. An IM addict 13 craves your nonstop attention and needs that instant assurance that you're there for him. And the phone fan? 14 He might be a little old-fashioned and likes to do things by the book. But, according to Bryson, "he's not afraid of intimacy."
The Clothes You Wear That He Prefers
If your fave T-shirt and jeans or a cute little sundress do more for him than your slinky black number, 15 you're dating an earthy, laid-back guy who likes equally laid-back, low-maintenance chicks. A man who's wowed by a woman who likes to get dolled up in high-end designer duds 16 places a high priority on prestige. "He'll probably make a lot of money, but it also might play too important a role in his life," says Los Angeles clinical psychologist Nancy Irwin, PsyD. And a guy who wants a Carmen Electra-sensual girl on his arm 17 is looking for an ego boost. "He places a lot of value on being admired and envied."
How He Deals With Traffic
If he constantly weaves in and out of cars, tailgates slowpokes, and glares at other drivers, 18 "it's pretty clear that he has a problem with aggression," says Leon James, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and author of "Road Rage and Aggressive Driving." While a forceful personality might take him far in the workplace, it could be difficult to deal with this argumentative guy in a relationship. If he's able to exude Zen-like calm when stuck in gridlock, 19 "he's likely to have more self-control."
What He Orders in a Restaurant
A meat-and-potatoes-type guy 20 is usually steady and dependable, says image coach Dianne Daniels, author of "Polish and Presence: 31 Days to a New Image." "But he's also a little unadventurous." If your date goes for exotic dishes, 21 "you're with someone who makes spontaneity a priority and could easily get bored with the status quo."
Neat Freak or Messy Man
A guy who puts his dirty socks in the hamper is one thing; a guy who color-codes them in his drawer is something else. 22 "This man is way too fastidious to have fun," explains Daniels, "and he'll expect you to be just as neat." A mildly messy man 23 is looser and more open-minded. But if the inside of his shower has never seen a scrub brush, 24 he may be immature or just plain lazy.
Favorite TV Shows
Take note if he parks himself in front of one sitcom after another. 25 "Here's a guy who uses humor to defuse stress," says TV producer Hedda Muskat, author of "Dating Confidential: A Single's Guide to a Fun, Flirtatious and Possibly Meaningful Social Life." This can be a good thing, because he won't hold a grudge against you or lose his cool. But it also might be hard to get into a serious conversation with him, which can be frustrating. "The more you try to discuss something important, the more evasive he will become," says Muskat. A couch sleuth who's fascinated by CSI-type shows, on the other hand, 26 is analytical and thoughtful. "He prides himself on his problem-solving abilities and will be there for you when you need support," says Muskat.
His Birth Order
"The oldest child 27 is usually a responsible, take-charge kind of guy," says Nancy Fagan, author of "Desirable Men." If your babe is the baby of his brood, 28 "he's likely to be creative and a little rebellious." As for a middle man: 29 "He's a sensitive soul who needs loads of attention."
How He Approaches PDAs
When you're out in public and he's all over you like a rash, 30 "he's either trying to show you off or marking his territory, both of which are signs of insecurity," says Nakamoto. A guy who's allergic to body contact in public is 31 unsure about his feelings for you or your feelings for him. "PDAs are statements of togetherness," says Nakamoto. "If he has doubts, he'll keep his distance physically."
Whether He Always Drives or Wants You To
"A guy who doesn't automatically assume driving rights 32 is likely to let you steer the relationship at least some of the time," says Kelly. A man who hogs the wheel -- even in your car -- 33 is sweetly old-fashioned at best and, at worst, could be a control freak.
The Guy's Grooming MO
A guy who checks out his reflection in every store window you pass is obviously vain. But, interestingly, 34 it's also a sign of a dude who's intent on succeeding. "Presentation is everything to this kind of man," says Sheenah Hankin, PhD, author of "Complete Confidence." "He sees it as a measure of his self-respect and success." 35 The low-key, less conceited guy might be less ambitious, "but he's easier to connect with emotionally because he's not as superficial," says Hankin. "What counts on the inside matters more to him."
If He Looks You in the Eye
"A man who doesn't make eye contact during conversation 36 may not be trustworthy," says speech coach Diane DiResta, author of "Knockout Presentations." "Meanwhile, if his eyes bore into yours as he's talking, 37 he might be trying to intimidate you." But a smoldering gaze -- you know what that looks like -- 38 means he's immensely fond of you.
His Speaking Style
If your man moves his mouth a mile a minute, 39 you're with a spontaneous, high-energy guy who may be a little too self-absorbed. "Fast talkers get so wrapped up in making a good impression that they don't pay attention to their audience," says DiResta. Slow talkers 40 typically play it safe. "The way they deliberate every word before it comes out of their mouth is indicative of how they approach life: They look before they leap." So although you shouldn't expect a lot of surprises, at least you'll know he means what he says.
Things You'll Only Learn With Time
Your speedy profiling skills won't reveal these tidbits from psychotherapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of "Calling in 'The One'."
How loyal he'll be: Wait and see if you're shown the same allegiance as his buds are.
If he's a man of his word: Will he really keep those promises he made to you early on?
His little quirks: Time reveals the small details that really make a person tick.
If his parents' split haunts him: His broken home may have issued him some big-time emotional baggage.
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