Posts Tagged ‘social awkwardness’

Let’s just pretend I never went on a blogging hiatus.  Cool?  Cool.

Continuing our “Art of Conversation” series, last time I wrote about Deep Listening: The most scarce resource in a conversation is attention.  And once you’re in a conversation, what do you do?

The biggest mistake many make when in a conversation with a new person is that they worry too much about how they’re being perceived.  “Am I coming off interesting?”  “Do I sound smart?” “What should I talk about next?”  Now I challenge you to shift  your perspective, and focus entirely on the other person:

1)  What does this person want?

Let’s say on a first date, a girl brings up her dog Guido.

What she wants: She wants to brag about her dog and why she named him Guido.  So hey, you should ask her about her dog Guido.  Ask as many questions as possible.

2) What does this person need?

On the same first date, she tells you about her biggest pet peeve: loud eaters.

What she needs: Good manners.  So, you should ask her about how she realized this pet peeve.  How she feels when she’s in a noodle shop.  And how are Guido’s table manners?

3) What are her values?

She tells you how after playing Dance Central for 5 hours, she was impressed that her neighbor downstairs came by with cookies and a nice note kindly requesting her to “tread lightly.”

What’s important to her: Respect.  Mature communication.  Sensitivity.  And cookies.  It gives you an opportunity to ask her what she would do if the situation were reversed.  Also, what kind of cookies?

By putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, you not only get a better sense of that person, but it also takes the pressure off of trying too hard to impress.

This week’s challenge: Talk to a bartender and try to assess her needs.  Bartenders are 1) open to talking to strangers and 2) not used to talking too much about themselves.  It should be a fun challenge.  And even more fun if she has distracting teets.


P.S. In the class, we were given the scenario of when a cop pulls you over.  While most people shit their pants and try to come up with an excuse, it turns out that according to a survey of police officers, they want you to 1) have your hands on the wheel (Safety), 2) address them by “sir” (Respect), 3) admit your wrongdoing (Acknowledgement of Authority), and 4) say you’ll ever do it again (Job Accomplished).  Apparently, if you follow these 4 steps, you’ll most likely be let off on a warning.  And to think, all those years of faking “female problems,” or my favorite: “no speak English.”

I highly recommend this book by Dale Carnegie: How To Win Friends and Influence People

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it out to our Traffic Light Party.  For more party photos, check out our Facebook page.  It was a huge success and thanks to Stoli for sponsoring a couple rounds of free draaanks!  I wanted to create a different vibe this time than the No Pants Party, so it started earlier to attract the Happy Hour crowd and there was no dancing.  I noticed that this time, there were a lot more people who came alone, props to those lone wolves!  However, I noticed 2 very differing types of guys who came alone:

1) I’m a social wolf.  “I came to have a good time and to meet new people.  I knew I would have to make more of an effort but a couple drinks in me, I’m good to approach anybody.  You know what, I’m up for new experiences and I’m interested to see what tonight brings.”

2) I’m a brooding wolf.  “I didn’t want to come alone but it just worked out that way.  I don’t know anybody here so here I am, looking awkward by myself.  This sucks.  How come there are no ice breakers or introductions?  How am I suppose to meet anybody new here?  I’m just going to stand in the corner and slip out when no one’s looking.”

Guys, I know how hard it is to go to a social event by yourself and not know anybody.  But it is also great practice for you to overcome social awkwardness.  Here’s what you should do next time you find yourself in a similar situation:

1) Breathe.  When we get nervous, our heart beats faster and we have a tendency to hold our breath, which will lead to a pounding headache due to the lack of oxygen flow into your head.  Dude, if you have a massive headache, of course you’re not going to have a good time.  Take a deep breath in, then slowly exhale.  It’ll relax you and your pit stains won’t be as obvious.

2) Get a drink.  Whether you go hard with a Long Island Iced Tea or start slow with even a glass of water, just get something where your mouth and hands can be occupied.  A lot of times, awkwardness stems from not knowing what to do with our limbs, so we end up in these strange standing positions that aren’t sexy.  Girls want to see a guy who is relaxed and willing to have a good time.  A drink in hand is a good indication of that.

3) Assess the situation.  Observe the scene first.  Who’s the host?  Who came with friends?  Where’s the bathroom?  Who came alone?  Who’s coupled off?  Who’s single (which, at a Traffic Light Party, just watch for the GREEN’s)?  Familiarizing yourself with the environment will not only give you a better sense of what’s going on, but your brain will automatically adjust from “strange territory mode” to “familiar mode.”

4) Buddy up.  If you showed up alone, chances are, some other dude showed up alone too.  Spot one of those guys and chat him up.  Not like sexually, but, “Hey, how did you hear about this party?”  Finding a buddy will help you build your wolf pack mentality; building your confidence.  And later, when you tell a girl that you and your friend met for the first time tonight, she’ll be super impressed by your bold attitude.  Girls want to know that their man will be OK if left alone at a party while she’s catching up with her friends.  Believe it or not, most guys are not comfortable with this.

5) Find the gays.  I’ve always preached that the gays make the best wingmen.  Well, this is the perfect situation to use their powers.  They love it when straight men approach them, so find a group of gays and start a conversation.  No need to gay-up yourself or go extreme macho (like a lot of guys), just be yourself and act like you’re just hanging out with your buds.  Then, maybe ask them if they know the hot girl in the corner, or they have any girlfriends coming.  The gays love setting people up, so if they like you enough, they’ll find a way to have you meet the girl you’ve been digging.  And trust me, if the gays think you’re cute, that’s the ultimate compliment.

6) Talk to the host.  There’s always a host or promoter.  Talk to that person.  Ask to get on their mailing list or to keep you in mind for their next event.  Friend them on Facebook.  Connecting with the host is like connecting with everyone at the party.  If he/she likes you enough, you will be in really good hands.

Remember, don’t ever be ashamed of being a lone wolf, but it’s all about your attitude!   If you intend on being a brooding wolf, you might as well just stay home.

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