Thursday, October 27, 2011

Learn How To Be Social

Flirting and being personable will definitely and significantly increase your chances with guys. While you need to rely mainly on your appearance to get a guy to approach you, your personality shoulders a sizeable portion of the responsibility for keeping him interested once he has. It matters even more for establishing a relationship, and more still for maintainting a relationship.

However, before you can learn how to flirt and be personable, you need to learn how to be social. Unless you are social, your attempts at making the intricate adjustments needed to turn a typical conversation into a flirty one, or to show off your personality, will be drowned out by the difficulty of simply participating in the conversation. This difficulty is normally caused by self-consciousness, which in turn is caused by being unused to the situations in which it occurs. Luckily, there is a solution to this problem.

If you are shy, becoming outgoing (i.e. overcoming your self-consciousness in social situations) is not an easy task, and you need to approach it accordingly. You wouldn't train for a marathon by running a full 26 miles on your first day, so neither should you try to jump into a conversation with an attractive guy and assume that you will immediately be able to transfix his attention. Instead you need to break the task into smaller steps, just like you would when training for a marathon: at first you would just run until you were tired, in order to gage your stamina and decide how to lay out your training program. Then you would gradually increase your distance until you were strong enough to run the whole race.

You need to do something similar to overcome shyness. First, find out where your nerves start, that is, where your self-consciousness sets in. Some girls only get nervous when they are talking to really attractive guys, while others get nervous talking to any guy at all. Maybe you get nervous only when you talk to guys you've never met before - or maybe you get nervous even when you talk to girls you've never met before. Wherever your nerves start, that is where you need to make your first step towards becoming more social. And the key is to make that first step a small one, one you can manage.

So, for example, if you start to get self-conscious or shy about talking to strangers, make it a goal to talk to three strangers a day. If that is too daunting a task, step it back a notch and just make a point of merely saying hello to three strangers a day, or maybe just one a day. Once you get comfortable (and I won't pretend this will happen overnight) with interacting with strangers, move on to growing comfortable interacting with guys. Put yourself in situations where you will talk to guys you don't know, even if it is just while you are checking out at a store.

Continue to take small steps, each time setting your next goal by gaging and re-gaging your comfort zone as you become more and more social. Eventually, you will stop worrying about being in the interaction, and start worrying about how to change the tone of the interactions. This is when you can start thinking about learning how to flirt and be more personable.


  1. I begin to get nervous when I realize I like someone. What can I do about that?

  2. When I was younger I was very shy. Although I was constantly working on overcoming that, my biggest strides happened when I became friends with an incredibly outgoing woman. She was completely unafraid of initiating conversation with anyone, anywhere. Whenever I was with her, I would see her simply being at ease with herself and engaged in what the other person was saying. I realized that many other people are also nervous socially to varying degrees, not knowing what to say or when to say it, and they really want other people to talk to them. They are delighted when an attractive woman shows interest in what they have to say. Observing my friend was a tremendous eye-opener, and after seeing what worked so well in her social interactions, I started practicing those same outgoing, comfortable-with-myself behaviors(tailored to my own personality, of course). The results were amazing, and when I became single I literally could not stop meeting men, anywhere I went. After awhile it became exhausting!

    This is an excellent post (as are all of your posts!) and I would add that a socially uncomfortable woman should befriend a highly outgoing one to learn from.

  3. "I begin to get nervous when I realize I like someone. What can I do about that?"

    I've always found that while nerves are largely uncontrollable in the moment, it can help to acknowledge the irrationality of them. So, you might try thinking to yourself: "I wasn't nervous before, but I am nervous now, even though he is the same person. He hasn't changed, it is only my perception of him that changed, so it is ridiculous to be nervous." Then try to think about him the way you did before you liked him, and behave accordingly. Not easy, but unfortunately the biggest strides towards confidence happen gradually (as I described in the post), they are rarely achievable in the moment.

    Over time, if you expose yourself to enough of these uncomfortable situations, you realize that you emerge from them unscathed, and you grow more comfortable with them. In fact this is a common technique in psychology, called "exposure therapy." By exposing yourself to a negative feeling (awkwardness, fear, anxiety, etc.) in manageable doses, you learn that it isn't all that bad, and begin to grow immune to it. Keep doing this and you should eventually be OK interacting with guys you like.

    1. This is very helpful advice. I'm confident in small groups, but not in crowds, or when I am forced to take the lead.

      I have recently been placed in about 3 different situations where I had to take the lead or speak in front of a crowd. In all three situations I would say that my awkwardness was noticeable, but not overwhelming. I'm hoping that I can move past that awkwardness and gain confidence in public speaking. I guess the best way to do that is to embrace those opportunities.

  4. Since men are the ones doing the approaches, I assume it is more of a disadvantage for a man to be shy, than a woman?
    I can be shy around men I like, but it isn't usually an issue in everyday life. It is more so that I am introverted - I can also "fade out" into my own thoughts, which can cause me to appear arrogant, shy or uninterested. I know I need to work on being more present in conversation and take active interest.
    The only problem I've come across (once with a guy but several times with friends) is that I've come across as a bit "meek". I believe I attract guys who like sweet, very proper-looking and not outspoken girls. Since I am physically attractive, I can often rely on the men to come to me. But I am afraid that people sometimes see me as a "soft" person and not someone who easily gets their respect. Men often get rude towards me if I reject them and I sometimes feel like they demand a lot of me early on, e.g. for me to come and see them and make sacrifices. I don't come across as "easy", I don't have a flirtatious attitude or dress provocatively. I'm also educated with good grades. I make the obvious choices of not sleeping with a guy too soon, not reply to texts that arrive 2am and so on to earn their respect, but I want to know if there are things I can do to give clear signals that I am not a girl who can be messed about? I feel like men sometimes see me as a porcelain doll. They'll pay for dinner and open the car door, but not pay a lot of attention to my feelings (or my schedule). They don't seem to take it very well if I disagree to their plans, don't want to get intimate or whatever.

    1. "Since men are the ones doing the approaches, I assume it is more of a disadvantage for a man to be shy, than a woman?"

      Definitely, though women suffer from mens' shyness too, since it deprives you of "suitors."

      If you really are attractive, as you suggest, then you will need to filter more than less attractive women do. You will get a lot of guys trying to date you for sex, who are - as you say - unconcerned for your feelings or schedule. It is a good problem to have because it also means you have options. So don't be surprised when you encounter these guys who don't care about your feelings. They just want to get laid.

      Sounds like you are doing a lot of things right. If you want to command more respect from men, try flirting more and dress more provocatively BUT AT THE SAME TIME continue leaving 2am texts unanswered, not giving it up easily, etc. It is this combination that intimidates men: a woman that clearly has self-respect AND has some "swagger." Think about it from your perspective: men who are players and shitty dudes, or men who are nice guys with no game - they are both only half-way there in your eyes. You'd entertain a date with either one but probably not agree to be their girlfriend. It is the man who can get any girl he wants but remains single out of choice that commands your admiration. Likewise for you: be the woman who could attract any man - dress sexy, flirt, etc. - but simultaneously show them that you are much deeper than that and have boundaries that you are in control of.

  5. I had a discussion with a friend about being introverted, and I want to know if your opinion on this. It seems if you are introverted ad unattractive, you can be regarded as shy (or a loner). If you are attractive, especially if you have expensive clothes and all that, you are more likely to be seen as arrogant.
    I am an introverted person who has a tendency of 'fading out' and I'm not very initiative with conversation. At my last school, I think a lot of people saw me as 'the pretty girl'. A friend told me that the first time she saw me (before we made friends), she thought "who is that beautiful girl and why is she walking around alone?".
    I also heard from a friend that before she got to know me her roommate had seen me around and concluded that I was "not very nice".

    I was more of a geek when I was younger, so I'm not used to that much attention. It seems other people can walk around alone as they please, but when I do, everybody sees me. I am tall and blonde, so that also gets me noticed. I usually get a lot of attention from guys, but it takes time to make friends with girls. On a typical week, I have several invitations from guys to go out, and not that many options with girls (I say yes to the guys I find attractive, but I know part of me going out with them is also that it's easier than to find a female friend).

    I envy the girls who's been 'popular' all along. My parents, although wealthy, didn't believe in designer items when I was young, so I was one of the few who had very very boring and unfeminine clothes (as opposed to all the other wealthy kids I knew). I focused all my attention towards getting good grades. I've always been lucky with my looks, so I did get male attention, but it was limited due to the fact that I was simply not flirtatious or up for any kind of fun.
    I'm in my early twenties now, and for the past, say 3 years, things have changed. I've spent more time on my appearance, I also inherited a bundle of money which has given me a designer wardrobe and access to the best hairdressers etc. But I'm sort of halfway there - I don't have the attitude to go with it. I'm uncomfortable with people staring at me in the street. I feel like people always look at me at school, because girls with 'my appearance' should have people around them all the time. I can't just blend in.
    Do you have any advice on this? Do you think I can scare of guys by appearing shy or maybe yet arrogant?

    1. "Do you think I can scare of guys by appearing shy or maybe yet arrogant?"

      Yes, this can scare guys off, but it is more likely to disinterest them - either way, you end up with the same result: no men.

      It sounds like you've corrected your appearance but not your personality. The worst symptom of your situation is this: "I was simply not flirtatious or up for any kind of fun." If this is still the case, you need to focus primarily on changing it. Doing so shouldn't be too tough. you basically just need to relax and enjoy yourself and life. Beauty matters, but personality is a huge second - big enough that, without it, you will not attract men in the long term.

      In all situations, ask yourself what you could do that would make yourself smile. Then do that thing. It sounds cheesy, but this is the attitude you need to foster in order to become the kind of woman men want to spend time with.

      I harp a lot on appearance because I know that a lot of women neglect theirs. But if you are already attractive to men, your looks shouldn't be your focus. You can take the emphasis off your appearance by NOT wearing those designer clothes everywhere. When you go out without them, you will probably feel ugly. But if you soak in that feeling of ugliness or akwardness for a moment, you will (hopefully) feel how shallow or "thin" it is, how easy it is to ignore. Soon you will be able to refocus on the world around you, and the personality within you - both of which will be more effective than focusing on the shell of your appearance.

      Try it and let me know how it goes. Feel free to e-mail me if you'd rather not post.

    2. One more thing: in terms of how 'outgoing' you are, do you think opposites attract there too? I'm often attracted to men whom are outgoing and extroverted. By that I don't mean 'loud' or party guys, but guys whom are very secure and quite social.
      I've been dating a guy like that. Around me he can be nervous (which I believe is a good sign?) but with others he seem very confident. He's got a REALLY big network of friends.
      I became aware of the difference one day when he told me stories from when he was a teenager. He's done so much and has a bunch of funny and interesting stories. He asked if I had any fun stories from when I was a teenager. I could barely think of anything. I know the fact that I am well-behaved, not a party girl etc is something he likes about me, but he must notice I'm not very talkative in social situations, it takes time for me to open up and I don't have that large a network. I have a few close friends from back home, and I've made new friends at my new home, but still a handful (must add I prefer fewer close friends over many connections).

      I was wondering what's your take on those differences when dating? I can see his friends have girlfriends whom are very outgoing (most are also part of their network from back home, childhood friends etc.).
      I'm hoping it won't make us a bad match or that it can be a problem with future guys. I see friends of my parents where the husband is super extroverted and the wife is not, so maybe it works.

    3. Looking at the couples I know that are happily married, it is clear to me that opposites attract, and more importantly perhaps, stay attracted. I think this translates into dating as well.

      As a shy girl, you admire a man who is comfortable with himself. As an outgoing and confident man, you will appreciate the peacfulness of a quiet woman. As an outgoing and wild girl, you will admire the collected and composed nature of a quite or introverted man. And as quiet or shy man, you will be attracted to the vibrant life of a social and extroverted woman.

      This is not a comment on dating as much as it is one on human nature: I could just as easily point out that extroverted men will often admire other men who are cool and collected and quiet; and a calm, peaceful, quiet-spirited girl will sometimes envy or look up to her female friends who are more extroverted. In general we admire the qualities we lack, whether it is in a personal, professional, romantic or platonic manner.

    4. I used to definitely be attracted to those who had what I didn't...I'm generally described as extraverted and laid back, and I usually liked quiet serious guys. However, those relationships didn't work out because we weren't compatible and had very different attitudes and preferences. Since then I've started to find more outgoing upbeat guys more attractive...basically my experiences shaped my tastes. I wonder if I'm the anomaly though or if other people have had the same experience....

    5. I must add that I can occasionally feel a bit threatened by this. I have realized over time how many connections he has.
      He has 500+ connections on linkedin and over 1000 friends on facebook. I know you may think those are just online numbers, but I assure you that IS his network. He has no problems gathering a huge group for his bday party. He grew up with several brothers, they're all popular guys - successful businessmen, artists. I think he's social in the sense that he's good with people and to make connections, but like I said he's no loudmouth. I think he's just one of those guys who are both naturally connected (family), successful (rich) and genuinely nice, which causes everybody to like him. He is not one bit arrogant. In fact, he's perfect.
      I grew up with one sister in a quiet house. We were taught to be well-mannered, humble and nice. But my parents never really encouraged having people around the house. They were strict with me as a teenager and my "party experience" became very limited. My parents say I'm "easy to like", I come across as sweet, but I've never really been a centre of social connections.
      I both admire this guy's social position and am jealous of it. I'm even a little bit anxious to date someone so 'popular'. There has to be many other girls whom are into him. I know I may exaggerate this, but the popularity of a guy can make me insecure, and I wonder if there is something to it?

    6. I am not surprised that this popularity makes you insecure, this is normal feeling for people who are more introverted. What do you mean by your last question?

      I still think he is probably more attracted to his counterpart (i.e. a girl on the quieter side) than by a girl who matches his extroversion.

  6. So if a girl should focus on some social things to focus on, maybe:
    - Be socially available, go out to bars etc.
    - Be friendly and open in conversation

    I think for girls it's important to surround yourself with the right people. Girls can be manipulative, jealous and difficult. Girls ruin things for each other in social interaction, and I've experienced more than once that a female friend has been putting me down and made me insecure about myself. You need to be out with the right girls, otherwise they can actually crush your self-esteem in front of a guy! What is passed of as "advice" can easily be something they're saying to rise above you. I don't think guys are aware of how much this influence girls.

    1. Yes.

      Also, I agree with your point but make sure you don't surround yourself with men - you will never get hit on.


    2. I often find I get hit on a lot when I go out for a drink with my brothers or my gay male friend - maybe even more - (all three are very sociable and quite laddish, even the gay one), for example as long as the guys you're out with are not sexually interested at all I think maybe being out with some guys could help,

      Perhaps other guys can sometimes use them as a way in more easily than with other women, or maybe just get talking to you as a result of hitting it off with the guys?

      Plus obviously no other women so attention is not as diffused, but I'm sure it's not just that,
      it also seems like those interactions seem to lead to more dates and genuine interest (although I'm aware this could just be coincidence)

      I'd be curious if you though there was something in it?


    3. Interesting. I can't think of why this would matter. Maybe it is just coincidence for you?

  7. I was always thought that it was a feminine and as such very attractive quality for a woman to be shy and modest. What do you think?

    1. Depends on the guy. Some men like that, others don't. Shyness and modesty are not sexual qualities - i.e. they can apply in various degrees to either sex without the person being any more or less masculine or feminine; so it won't attract or distract the opposite sex categorically.

  8. Is it normal for guys to 'tease' a girl they're seeing? I'm dating a guy who has that type of persona, that he makes little remarks, nothing rude, but you know teasing me about girly things. I know guys do that with each other and that it's their type of humor. But I'm not used to it at all, and sometimes it can make me uneasy as I'm a typical overthinker. Is it a way of trying to become more easy-going around each other?

    1. I would guess that at least 20% of men have read on the internet, or in "The Game" or elsewhere that they SHOULD tease women. It is possible that your guy is in this subset, and thinks it is a good way to flirt or attract you. In fact, it is a good way to flirt, if it is done in moderation. He might just be over-doing it.

      Try calling him out next time he teases you inappropriately. Ask him "What is with all this teasing? Did you read in a book that girls like that or something?"

      If he did, he will probably be embarrassed, deny it, but then stop (or slow down). If he didn't, then at least you've started to voice your discontent. If he continues, dump him.

  9. Hi Andrew

    I'm prone to blushing frequently, I'm considering looking into surgical options for it as it does hold me back and I feel has kind of stopped me from becoming more social past a certain point (red face gives you away,stinging eyes can't make eye contact)
    I'd be curious to hear what extent you think it puts men off?


    1. I actually had the same problem in my late teens. It was horrible; I'd get into this vicious cycle where the more I wanted to avoid blushing, the more conscious of myself I was, and therefore the more prone to it occurring.

      I naturally grew out of it eventually. Hopefully the same will happen to you. But I know how to fix it anyway; whenever it happens, stop trying to hide it. Instead, raise your head and make eye contact with the person you are interacting with. Stand tall in the face of your embarrassment and own it. After doing this several times, you'll get the hang of it and it will get easier to handle, then eventually go away altogether. I've done this with other insecurities in my life and it really helps.

  10. I get very nervous and go quiet when I think the guy is judging me or doesn't like/approve of me, something I said, or some aspect of my life. At that point, I get it in my head that he doesn't like me anyways so why should I even bother. So I totally lose interest. Poor guy hasn't even said anything, but I don't like him anymore.

  11. So to become more confident in social situations (for a girl) -
    - Expose yourself to social situations
    - Improve posture

    Is that what's important? Is there anything to add or do you think if I do this often enough, it will come along?

  12. This is the most pertinent post for me. I really need to get out there a bit. I'm the type of person to say "screw it" to nerves and get some dutch courage every so often. The problem is that as a naturally shy girl, it can seem more desperate if I'm trying a "non-move move" by talking socially with a man. Something about it looks less smooth because my default state is not going to be one of infectious sociability. In that case, is it better to treat men as friends? How can a shy girl become more social without it looking forced?

    I think it's easy to read this blog the wrong way and assume that when it says "no contact", it involves waiting around for a man. I know for a fact that a woman needs to show unambiguous signs of interest so the man if interested knows that he has a way in. I am trying to not look unapproachable. It is difficult because most men don't seem great at reading subtleties. Sometimes I'm friendly with a man and he assumes romantic interest. Sometimes I can't put across my romantic interest at all because I don't come across strong enough. I wish there was a sure sign to make it obvious but with enough mystery not to seem too available. It can be very difficult to communicate interest with some men. If any of you guys can offer insight into that, it would be really helpful. Thanks. :)

  13. Hiya,
    I just wanted to say something about attracting guys that may help. Im not super attractive. I dont dress that girly either and im not super extroverted. But I get guys interested in me ALOT. I think it has something to do with the fact im lesbian. Around guys I can joke around and am calm and chill because in my mind im not looking to take them home. Guys love this. I think its important to remember guys are nervous as well (yes even the extroverts). And if u make it less awkward by just relaxing, being yourself and making eye contact you'll have no problem and you'll end up attracting the peefect guy for YOU. Its not about extro vs intro...forgetabout that! It can be faked or learnt or cultural. Its about two people connecting while both being honest to themselves. If u feel this with a guy, and your both looking in each others eyes, believe me he's feeling it too. So take the bull by the horns and seize that opportunity!

  14. Help! I need advice on how to flirt.
    I was just at a party today and basically every man in there, except one who was in a relationship, tried to hit on me. But I just can't flirt back when I can tell the guy's trying to hook up with me.

    But today I was like, fuck it, let's try to do this. So I was talking to this guy who was flirting with me but whom I was comfortable around, and the conversation was going well. But eventually he asked me if I wanted to go "somewhere quiet to drink." I just said no thanks and left. Guys trying to kiss me or asking me if I want to go somewhere quiet happen literally all the time and it just makes me extremely uncomfortable, it makes me not want to talk to any guy at all. I know that by doing this I'm turning them off, because I end up acting like a bitch and not showing my real personality. I wish I didn't act this way.

    Later, this guy approached me again and asked me if I hated him. I said I didn't, and asked if I was coming off that way. He said that my body language signaled that. I told him that I always did that but that I didn't hate him at all. I actually kind of liked him, but I wasn't looking to hook up so I was acting a bit distant (I didn't say this, though). He replied with a "you're not that type of girl, right?" and he took it really well. He was nice to me afterwards.

    It's not that I don't like the guys at all, usually they're really good at flirting and make me laugh and all that, but for some reason I always feel uncomfortable when they're flirting because I know that what they want is not what I'm looking for.

    Also, when a guy's good at flirting they ask all of the questions and make it all about me and then I forget that I'm supposed to ask stuff about them too, but I already have their full interest, so I forget.

    Any advice on how to flirt better?

  15. Trust your first impressions and your gut feelings. Do not flirt with men who (you feel) just want sex. Sometimes their have a high social status (doctors, etc.). Do not be fooled by their position. There is no point to flirt with someone who just want sex and nothing else.

  16. If a man sees an attractive woman out alone, is this a turn off? It seems that would make the approach easier on his end (since she is not surrounded by girlfriends), but is it perceived as strange for an attractive woman to be out alone to some extent?

    1. In my experience as a single woman who gets a lot of IOIs, when at school or out with family/friends guys will notice me but generally not make any moves. When I am out running errands guys will flirt with me. When I was roaming around SF alone for a few days, I got hit on constantly. So to answer your question, it hasn't been a problem for me.


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