My Interview With John Keegan

John Keegan is a New York City-based dating coach who has been features in various publications including New York Times, New York, and MarieClaire. His website is called The Awaked Lifestyle. I’ve talked to him at 2 conferences where we we both taught and coached. This interview I conducted with John was also featured in DC Life Magazine.


1) Cuisine: How does your coaching style differ from other dating coaches?

Rather than giving quick tips and fixes, I work with people over time to create a long lasting transformation. My focus is two fold: I focus on eliminating limiting beliefs that are stopping people from living they life they want AND instilling positive beliefs that help them take action to create the social/dating/relationship goals they desire.

2) Cuisine: How would you define flirting?

Stepping out on a limb and being vulnerable for a moment. Being light and playful while grounded in sincerity. Flirting is a perpetual improvisation of boy meets girl. 

3) Cuisine: How is flirting different for men than it is for women?

Once one gets into “the flirt” it takes on an improvisational element. The boy is often the initiator of the flirt. But as with any great improvisation the secret is to say yes. It’s the women’s job to say yes.

4) Cuisine: How do you help your clients become more confident and competent at flirting?

I teach people that being social and connecting to others is not only something you practice and rehearse, but it is an actual “practice,” much like yoga, meditation, or playing a musical instrument. It’s a way of being. Not only an external practice such as learning to be absurd, silly, and playful with others… literally practicing being fun. You also have an internal practice of validating yourself (patting yourself on the back) after each interaction no matter what the immediate outcome. The whole secret is to detach from the outcome, and learn to simply love the process

5) Cuisine: Are there certain mindsets (other than confidence) that help you try to instill in clients to make them better flirts? What are they?

He doesn’t need a mindset at all. He needs to get into the present moment, a playful state, a timeless state. That’s what happens when people flirt, they actually leave the confines of their minds. They stop worrying about the future and dwelling on the past. They feel light and easy in that moment, and this makes them want to be around the other person more.

6) Cuisine: What are some verbal signals men can send to women to show they are interested?What are some verbal signals women can send to men to show they are interested?

Verbal signals: at one point in every conversation we must be clear and direct in order to further the relationship beyond this moment.  The way to do that is through validation.  Simply state what it is you like about the person.  It can start as an external thing like “I like you’re style or even simpler I like something specific your wearing ( hat, shoes, bracelet, etc.) and move into more personality based compliments as simple as “you’re cool” or “you’re fun” or even deeper compliments about someone nature or essence.  The more specific, the better.  When delivered in the moment and in person with true sincerity it almost always lands.   The short answer is just tell people what you think is nice about them and don’t expect anything in return. 

7) Cuisine: What are some physical/body language signals men can send to women to show they are interested? What are some physical/body signals women can send to men to show they are interested?

For men:

It’s important not to be to imposing when first approaching women.  Always give them space to participate in the interaction on their own terms .  At the same time be relaxed in front of her.  If she’s seated sit down and be on her level.  It will make everyone more comfortable. 

For women:

Direct eye contact and smiling will let a man feel its safe to approach.  Also, relaxing around him and not giving signals like she is going to walk away or she’s in a hurry.  Most men will read the slightest signal that she wants to leave as such and exit the interaction.  Touching him when either a joke or compliment is exchanged is also effective at building rapport.  Also, I think the most important thing one can do is to hug during or at the end of each interaction.  It validates the experience and begins the physical relationship.

8) Cuisine: How can one become a more social person?

Look at being social not as a means to an end, but rather as an end unto itself. Stop looking for results and start enjoying the process, the joy of getting to know other people. Treat people as an end unto themselves, not as a means to an end. Treat the moment that you’re SHARING with them as an end unto itself, and not as a means to an end. Make it fun and enjoyable by giving compliments with the pure intention of making others feel good, but expecting nothing (not even a smile) in return.

9) Cuisine: What advice would you give someone who (unintentionally) says inappropriate things to people they are interested in of the opposite sex.

Typically if people are saying inappropriate things it means they are coming from a place of insecurity at which point they decide to knock the other people down to their level so they can exercise some kind of power. These people should work on letting go of fear based thinking and know that putting other people down to get want you want (approval, phone numbers, kisses, love connection) is no way to get what you want.

10) Cuisine: What advice do you have for shy people who want to meet people and flirt? Does this differ if the client is male or female?

Being social is something you actually practice.  Both men and women have to learn to play their part.  There’s many ways to improve yourself!  But there is truly only one way to become better at being social and flirting and that is by doing it!

11) Cuisine: How would you help a client who can’t tell when people are interested or disinterested in him/her?

I teach people to become more aware of their surroundings and the people in it.  When you make interacting with people part of your everyday you tune  into other people and what they are trying to communicate.

General guidelines are:  if someone is responding to your questions, asking their own questions, looking at you, smiling at you, complimenting you, it’s a sign that they are interested. Interested in what? Knowing more.  And it is your job to see how much the two of you want to know…

12) Cuisine: What advice would you give a man who is anxious about approaching women he does not already know?

1. It’s your job to approach women you do not know.

2.  It’s a good job.

3. Remind yourself that your intentions are good!  

4.  Remove any agenda and just initiate conversations for the sake of initiating them. 

5. Validate yourself for initiating each conversation no matter what the outcome. 

13) Cuisine: Any flirting tips for internet daters?

Take the time that you spend on the Internet looking at profiles or building one and go outside of your house and put yourself in situations where real life connections might occur.

14) Cuisine: Do you believe that “the man should lead”?

Yes!  I think the man should look at the whole of his life experience and all his friends’ life experience and realize no one is doing his job for him. He should own that and make himself masterful at connecting with women.

What I have discovered through experience is that is seems to be the man’s part to initiate the conversation and help guide it to a place where both the man and women feel like they know something about each other.  It’s her part to reciprocate.  Women that are good at their job help make it easy and are never lacking in men to date.

15) Cuisine: What do you think about women approaching men and women asking men for phone numbers or dates?

I think it’s great!  If there is a genuine connection.  She can validate him (say something to him that she finds unique about him ) and perhaps suggest an event that they may have in common.  Then exchange numbers as a way of firming up the next meeting.

16) Cuisine: Any flirting tips for speed dating?

Know yourself and know what you like.  Be as light as a feather and  as deep as ten thousand oceans ;  )

17) Cuisine: How important is who you have with you when you are out meeting people?

Making being social, meeting people and flirting a part of your everyday life is a practice. You don’t need to have anybody with you to say hi to someone while you stand on a street corner or are in line at the supermarket, or to give someone a compliment on a park bench.  In fact, relying on others in this area is often another excuse not to change.

18) Cuisine: Any tips for who to have with you?

The only social proof you need is the pleasure of your own company!

I asked John to make up his own question and here it is:

19) Cuisine: Do you believe in Love at first site? 

Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time!