I found this Neil Strauss article on some dating site and thought it was really good. Neil talks about a subject that hits home for me. Over coming shyness.
Get rid of shyness
Several years ago, a friend and I devised a plan to meet women. Since we were too intimidated to start conversations with the array of beautiful, interesting prospects constantly passing by on the street and in the subway, we thought wed start somewhere less advanced. So we met in the lobby of a youth hostel one Saturday afternoon. We figured the guests there would be more than excited to meet two nice guys who could show them around the city.
We sat there for almost two hours and talked to no one. As all manner of students, backpackers, and leggy Scandinavians went by, we knew everything we wanted to say to start a conversation in our minds. Yet our mouths wouldnt move. We left with our heads hung in shame, forced to a dreadful conclusion: Once a wallflower, always a wallflower.
But that was then; this is now.
A few years ago, I decided to take a more proactive approach to de-shying myself. I hunted down the so-called greatest â€œladies men in the world and begged for help. (Its funny how I could be so aggressive with men but so shy around women.) I called them, sent them emails, and signed up for any classes and seminars they offered, wherever that might be. When I found a few who seemed to have something substantial to offer, I began hanging out with them and picking their brains for everything they knew. And I was transformed from shy to socially comfortable. To save you the trouble of traveling the world and hanging out with some of the unsavory (and savory) characters I did, here are some tips on getting some guts.
Act confident (even if you dont feel that way). The two words of advice youll hear the most: Be confident, This is usually delivered as if its an easy-to-follow directive, like, Finish your meal. But one cant just be confident on command, right? Well, maybe you can be.
I once wrote a book with Marilyn Manson. And he shared his philosophy for success with me: If you act like a rock star, people will treat you like a rock star. The same applies to social interactions: Fake it till you make it. Act as if you were secure, attractive, charismatic, fun to be around, and deserving of peoples attention and time. Imagine yourself to be someone else if you have to I actually got hypnotized to believe I was 50 feet tall and made of indestructible steel. And I had a piece of paper full of cheesy suggestions for an improved attitude I deserve the best the world has to offer ” that Id look at from time to time. To be honest, saying and repeating these things doesnt make them true, but after you start to have a few successful interactions, you might just be surprised to find yourself actually starting to believe them.
Prepare a script
If youre not one of those guys who always says the perfect thing on the spot, then start thinking of the perfect thing in advance. Prepare a script, like a telemarketer making a sales call. Some of the ice-breakers I kept handy ” based on the idea that everyone likes to give their opinion ” included gathering suggestions for names. I’d say my friend rescued a three-legged cat from a shelter; what name should it be given? Or that a friend was opening a 70s memorabilia shop”what name should it go by? Before I even went out to meet women, Id practice the conversation-starters with friends, so that I was comfortable saying them.
When youre talking with your friends and tell a story that makes everyone laugh, write it down and keep it on a list. This way, youll never be stuck for something to say after your opener, when that conversation with someone new starts to wane. Oh my God! Guess what happened to me, you can interject, and then tell your story.
Push yourself through the pain period
When it comes to unlikely people to turn to for dating advice, Arnold Schwarzenegger would definitely be one of them. But while watching the movie Pumping Iron, I discovered the motivation I needed to get out of my head and into the real world. He said that what separates the competent bodybuilders from the true champions is that the champs are willing to go through what he calls the pain period. This means pushing yourself outside of your comfort one ” to a place your body and mind might not necessarily want to go ” and putting up with the pain because, in the long run, it will make you great.
So I applied the same technique to my interactions with women. Whenever I was scared to approach one, I tried to push myself through the fear. What helped was having a good friend with me, whom Id instruct at the beginning of the night to force me to approach strangers. For the first few nights, I actually told him that Id pay him a dollar every time I wussed out. This motivated him to make it hard for me, and it motivated me to work harder because I was running out of money.
So the next time you find yourself in a conversation with a new person, and things start to get awkward or you feel like youve run out of things to say, push yourself into the pain period. Try to keep the conversation going for at least five or ten minutes. Youll probably surprise yourself. If not, theres always another person with whom you can practice chatting.
Handle awkward moments with ease
Even if you find yourself stuttering, asking the same question three times or saying something stupid, theres a solution: Pretend its her “fault.” Take a deep breath, and say, with a big smile on your face Stop it. Youre making me nervous. I can see you undressing me with your eyes. Im not a piece of meat, you know. I have a brain. Shell know youre joking and appreciate your sense of humor. Its amazing what a womans smile will do for your confidence.
That said, if you feel awkward, if things arent going well or if the people youre talking to are rude, heres the last piece of advice you need. Say three words: Pleasure meeting you, and leave politely. You never know when you may be talking to them again. Occasionally, I found that even when someone was rude, if she later saw me having a fun, animated conversation with other people in the bar, shed come over and apologize, and Id have another chance with her.
For me, the interesting thing is that in two years of approaching thousands of women, nothing bad happened. As long as I wasnt rude, overbearing, or creepy ” and as long as I was considerate to the men in the group ” not only were there no fistfights, but even the rejections were polite. No one is going to hurt you. Chances are, your only enemy is yourself. So get out there, give it a try, and get social.