Category Archives: Shyness

Dating For Dummies

If you are single, then you know how incredibly difficult and frustrating it can be to navigate the uncertain waters of dating and seduction.

Before we start, let me say that I’m not using seduction in any underhanded or manipulative sense. Whenever you are interacting with another person in hopes of eliciting any kind of romantic or sexual interest in them for you, you are trying to seduce them.

Women try (usually extremely successfully) to seduce men through their expert use of clothes, feminine behavior, conversation skills, and the attention they give to a man. Men try (many times unsuccessfully) to seduce women through buying dinners, taking them on expensive dates, and sometimes through dishonest promotion of themselves.

This doesn’t have to be so incredibly difficult and frustrating. People have been on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years, and at last count there are over six billion of us. Of all the things we are supposed to be doing, making more people seems to be high on our list of priorities. So it’s not like dating, seduction, and creating sexual relationships are any secret voodoo that breaks any moral code of society.

So how do we do it without destroying our ego in the process? First a couple of inner game tricks, and then a couple of outer game tricks.

Inner game is whatever goes on in your mind before you even talk to your love interest. The things you say to yourself, the things you believe about yourself, and what your capabilities are, everything in your history and the interpretation you give to those events.

The first thing to do is get rid of any guilt in wanting love and sex. You are human. You have needs. And the main needs or desires of humans are food and sex. Without those two main drives our planet would soon be populated by penguins and grasshoppers, and all the other animals. We’d be gone. So step one is to embrace your sexual desire. It’s normal, it’s natural, it’s expected.

Step two is to realize that everybody else has that same desire. But just like your desire for food, you are gonna like some things, and not like others. If you go to a buffet and scoop up a plate full of pizza instead of fried chicken, does the fried chicken get its feelings hurt?

By realizing that everybody has their own unique set of desires, likes and dislikes, it’s easier to understand the dating game for what it is: A huge numbers game. If you look at it as a numbers game, and have fun meeting as many people as possible in search for someone you click with, you’ll have much better results.

The problems come up with people have these deep fears that when they get rejected, it is because the other person has some kind of super human x-ran psychic vision. They look into your heart and soul, and can instantly judge you and everything about you. When you get rejected, they have quickly evaluated your whole existence. As a consequence most people are operating with about a 50 percent intention of finding someone, and a fifty percent intention of protecting their ego. This makes normal conversation difficult, as everyone is trying to protect themselves as much as possible from getting hurt.

The paradox is that when you really let it all hang out and be your true self, you will become more attractive than ever. One of the reasons people love babies so much is that they express themselves without giving a damn about how people will react to them. Think about the most attractive and charismatic people you’ve ever met, were they quite and reserved, or outgoing and gregarious?

So lets review your inner game. Step one is to realize that everybody wants some. (Just like that Van Halen song.) Step two is to realize that not everybody will like everybody. The goal is to find out if you are each others type, not to try and persuade each other that you are each others type. Big difference.

Ok, outer game time.

This is your behaviors, social skills and social intelligence. It helps to realize that these skills should always be thought of as works in process. You will never get to a point where you are socially eloquent enough, or can read another person or even a room well enough. Lifelong learning.

Step one is to meet people and give them a chance to get to know you. Take charge of the conversation, and give them a chance to find out about you. Go slow, and escalate only when they are ready.

Escalation is when you slowly move the relationship to the next level. Anywhere you are, you should always be testing, very carefully, to see if the other person is ready to kick it up a notch. Slower is better, but not too slow.

Escalation can be anything. If you are talking to an attractive person in line at the supermarket, ask for their phone number. If they hesitate, at all, that means they aren’t ready. No problem. Move on. Allow them to keep their comfort level and their own criteria intact. Don’t try and push them beyond their comfort level.

Or you’ve been talking to somebody in a bar for an hour. You might suggest going to a smaller venue, which is within walking distance.

Or maybe you’ve been messaging back and forth online, you might suggest and voice chat on Skype.

Or maybe you’ve passed by the same person every day at school. The next step would be to make eye contact and smile, or even say hi.

The thing to remember is whomever it is, think of the next step to move your potential relationship forward. Slow, and easy to accept for the other person. And keep moving slowly forward. Let them get used to the idea of you. Most people don’t like change. Unless you are a drop dead rich supermodel, people are likely to be put off if you come on too strong. When you give them time to get used to the idea of you, you will have a lot more chance of success.

Ok that was only one step, but here’s the review. Meet as many people as possible, and always look for opportunities to escalate, to see if they are as into you as you are into them.

So how do you know when you’ve found the right one? You have no more desire to go and meet other people. And they are escalating you as much as you are escalating them, if you catch my drift.

Now go and have fun.

Free Your Expression

I was out for my morning walk this morning, and I passed by an elementary school on my way. They were having a band practice, but it looked like the only people that were practicing were the clarinet players. They were all lined up against the fence, facing out towards the street. It sounded like they were warming up. I don’t know if somebody told them they had to go and practice where they wouldn’t bother anybody, but maybe that’s why they were aiming their clarinet sounds out towards the street, where it wouldn’t interfere with the students inside the school studying something important like plate tectonics or home economics.

I remembered I took a summer school class in fourth grade in home economics. My friend convinced me it would be a good idea, because we basically would be able to cook simple things (like a fourth grader could) like grilled cheeses and stuff. I remember that my friend and me were the only two guys in the class. It was a pity that we hadn’t discovered yet how cool girls were. We did learn how easy it was to cook a grilled cheese, so we wouldn’t have to bother our moms again. Except to yell at us to clean up our grilled cheese mess.

So as I was walking past this school, I looked over and thought I recognized one of the girls that was practicing clarinet. It was one of those times where you see somebody, and you can’t really place them immediately. But the circumstances don’t allow for you to go over and ask them where you know them from, either because you are too shy or they are on a bus going in the opposite direction. That is what it was like this morning. And I’m pretty sure she felt the same thing, because she was looking at me like she knew me.

As I kept turning my head back toward the group of girls, she raised her hand, but only about halfway. Like she wanted to wave, but she either didn’t know if I would reciprocate, or if her friends would think she was strange for waving at some weird guy walking by on the other side of the street. When she waved, I smiled and mimicked playing the clarinet, to signal my approval. Her friends all giggled at the exchange.

As I walked away, I realized that people go through three stages in life. The first stage, as children, we are outgoing and expressive and don’t hold anything back. Then when we go through those uncomfortable years, we learn that sometimes expressing ourselves is dangerous, scary, and brings much more emotional pain that pleasure. So we learn to have to choose when it’s safe to express ourselves, and when we’d better just stay silent. Then by the time we turn into adults, we have pretty much given up on freely expressing ourselves. We reserve that only for times we are with close friends, or inebriated, or both.

When you realize that everybody feels the same way, it can make it easier to be the first one. That young girl this morning, flanked by her clarinet-wielding friends, was the first to make a move, and look what happened. It turned into a positive, happy exchange. When you start to understand that all exchanges require that somebody make the first move, you can realize the power that comes from being that person. When you go first, and give the other person the wonderful gift of feeling the safety of self-expression, you will notice wonderful things happen. Your confidence will soar, your self-esteem will rise, and you happiness will skyrocket.

Whether you realize it or not, that little kid that wants to scream in pleasure whenever he or she sees something cool still lives inside you. When you remember to forget all those times it seemed like expressing yourself was emotionally painful, you can experience the joy of being totally and completely human. You will be able to let that little kid out again. And there is no fear in that.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Have you ever wanted something, but weren’t exactly sure how to get it? Like you had this thing in mind, and you knew that you really wanted this, but you really have any clue about how to even begin to go after this, and make this yours? I read this one book on persuasion that said that you need to develop super top secret covert manipulation skills to trick people into giving you what you want. But I don’t really think this is true, maybe, I don’t maybe this can be true for you, but then again, maybe not.

When I was a kid, I really wanted this really cool electronics kid from Radio Shack. It was a science geeks dream. You had this circuit board with all kind of electronic components on it. And depending how you connected things, you got a different result. At first it was really intimidating. It looked like if you hooked up something wrong it would blow up in your face. Like if you connected the wrong wire to the wrong piece of whatever, it looked as though if you made a mistake the results would be catastrophic. So despite wanting this thing for so long, when I finally opened the box, I was a bit intimidated.  And the instruction manual seemed to be filled with complex circuit diagrams meant for an electrical engineer.

I used to work with several engineers, and they seemed to be an interesting bunch of people. I should be careful here, because I was one of  them, living among them like a human lives with wolves. However, I did learn something from them. When they were in their element, they can be an aggressive bunch. If you give a group of engineers a goal, they will make it happen, by hook or by crook. In fact, many of our technological marvels that we enjoy today in large part come from byproducts of the work of engineers during the space race. It’s amazing what happens when you develop a clear goal. It’s like when you see this, and you know that you really want this, magical things can happen.

Which is what happened with my all in one electronics kit from radio shack. I really wanted it, but I didn’t have any money. So I asked my dad what I should do. He suggested I go up and down the street and knock on the neighbors doors and see if they needed any odd jobs done around the house. After I was able to develop a clear goal with an accompanying plan of action, I was all set. It was like I was able to find extra motivation to get what I wanted.

And normally, I thought it would have been scary to go knocking on the neighbors doors asking for money. But when I was able to hold a clear goal in mind, it made being able to ask for things much easier. And it’s remarkable when you do this. You think of a goal, and then when you imagine that goal as the other side of the person you are asking for whatever you want, it becomes really easy to simply ask for and get what you want.


The Magic of Conversation

I had a friend once who was telling about his brother in law. His brother in law was the kind of guy that didn’t really talk much, but you had this feeling that there was something really deep inside. Like when you were to look at this person, you were to get this feeling that there is something really special here. He never seemed to get upset. Anyways, he said that there was this problem he was having at work. He had noticed a problem on the production line where he worked, and it seemed that he was the only person to notice this. And he was kind of afraid to tell his boss, because she had a reputation for being kind of strict and by the book. He was really afraid to approach her, and start a conversation with her.

I had another friend that was a really good salesman. He worked for some really interesting modeling agency. His job was to go out and walk up to any girl he saw that he thought qualified as a model. He said at first that it was really nerve racking. He thought that he would receive a lot of rejection, approaching attractive women all. He had this imagination that they might misunderstand his motives, and not realize that he was offering them an opportunity rather than taking advantage of them. I loaned him a book of mine that I’d read on the subject.

Which is interesting when you think about it. Everywhere you go; there are all kinds of people walking around. All with different histories, backgrounds, and stories about what they see around them. Some of them can be really interesting, and some can even be fascination. It’s awe-inspiring when you look around you and when you see this person, you can imagine the treasure that is inside them. A friend and I were talking once about this subject. When the topic of being able to approach new people came up, he merely stated what he thought was the obvious. There is treasure! And when you think about it, how many ways can you imagine discovering treasure inside others, and sharing it with them? Imagine how you can make them feel incredibly happy. And the cool thing is they probably won’t even know what’s going on, so they’ll probably think this new happiness is coming from you.

After my friend read the book I loaned him, he was able to go out and approach many women every day. A large percentage said they weren’t interested, but even the ones that said “no thank you,” were polite to him, and thanked him, anyways. Even on days when he went out and didn’t get any contact information for his company to follow up on, he still was able to feel a boost to the ego, just for the experience.

So when he finally approached his boss to tell her about the problem on the production line, she was amazed at his perception. She was so happy, that he got a promotion, and at their semi-annual meeting, she gave him additional thanks in front of all his coworkers, because he’d saved the company so much money. Amazing things happen when you use your ability to communicate.


Speak Your Mind – And Achieve Your Desires

I was waiting downtown in the hospital recently. It wasn’t the emergency section of the hospital, it was the place where people needed to see a doctor for things that weren’t life threatening. I was holding a number, one of those numbers that you grab like when you go to the post office. There was a big electronic board up and it showed the numbers changing as people went into the office. The peculiar thing was that the numbers weren’t really changing according to how many people went into the room where the doctor was. It didn’t take me long to figure out that people were just crowding their way in, instead of patiently waiting for their numbers to be called. I wanted to speak up, but for some reason I didn’t. Maybe because I was sick, or maybe because I was new in town and didn’t really know anybody there.

It reminded me once when I was in first grade. I used to be really shy. Once I had to go to the bathroom really bad. Back in first grade, you were always supposed to do what the teachers said. It wasn’t recess, so I was afraid I’d get in trouble if I asked to go to the bathroom. So I sat there with my hand on my crotch, I don’t even know if I knew when recess came. I was just a kid, I hadn’t realized that the most general rule in life yet.

It’s interesting when you look at some kids. They just scream out whenever they want something. They haven’t learned to be shy when asking for what they want. i was studying a book on persuasion, and it said the most natural persuaders and manipulators there are little kids. They scream and people ten times their own size scramble to take care of them. It’s like if you are a little kid, you when you want something, you just ask for it. You don’t wait for permission. When you are hungry, you scream for food. When you want something, you don’t rest until you get it. And when you are a kid, the only rule in life is keep screaming until you get what you want.

Finally the teacher saw me and told me to go to the bathroom. When I came back, she told me that it’s ok to ask for things that you want, it’s ok to ask somebody in authority to let you do something. Because if you wait until they notice you need something, it might be too late. I thought that was a particularly nice lesson for a first grade teacher to teach a little kid.

So finally I stood, and walked over to the door. I noticed the people sitting next to the door, and I asked them in a fairly loud voice if there was some kind of line, or do you just push your way in. And maybe it was because I was a little impatient, but I said it loud enough so that most people heard me. And after I said it, I noticed that people started looking at their own numbers and obeying the rules. As it turns out, the nurse that was supposed to be taking care of the number system had a last minute emergency, and wasn’t able to come in until later. I’m glad I spoke up when I did, I might have been waiting there all day.


Transfer Skills To Dance Through Life

I had an interesting experience this evening. I was invited to a dance performance by a friend of mine. He is part of a dance group, and they put on performance several times a year. He is a junior high school student, and whenever I speak with him he is incredibly shy. I gave me the ticket to his performance, and asked me if I’d come. Of course I said yes. I had no idea how big his group was, or how extravagant the performance was going to be.

It was incredible. I was expecting a small show, with perhaps parents and friends coming to see. It was in a large hall, downtown in the city where I live. I was surprised to see a large, long snaking line waiting for the doors to open. It was raining today, so the line had to form inside. The reception area of the hall itself is quite large, but it wasn’t built to accommodate a long, slinking line. So there was a lady holding a sign that identified the end of the line.

Finally the doors opened, and I walked in, and was lucky to get a seat. The place was packed, both levels. Before the lights dimmed, I found my friends picture, and figured out which group he was in. (Which was kind of difficult, as it was all written in Japanese.) The amount of moves and choreography presented was amazing. It was truly a professionally done show, that had obviously been well rehearsed.

That wasn’t quite what amazed me the most. This shy kid, who is almost too embarrassed to make eye contact during a normal conversation, was on fire on stage in front of thousands. In his particular group, he was the lead dancer. I remember back on Valentines day, when here in Japan it’s traditional for girls to give guys chocolates, he was lamenting that no girls had given him any chocolate. One of the performances his group did was him and about twenty girls doing a number on stage with him being the lead dancer.

Then when it came time when each group lined up and waited for their name to be called by the announcer, so they could take their bow, he blew me away. Instead of just saying “Hai!” and taking a bow like the rest of his fellow dancers, he did a quick dance move, and then blew several kisses to the crowd. Not the shy junior high kid that I imagined.

Which got me thinking, all of us have different resources for different situations. I think it’s important to realize this when we say things to ourselves like “I’m shy,” or “I’m not a good public speaker,” or “I’m not very smart.” All of us can be all things, in some context or another. The trick is to figure out how to transfer skills in one area of life into other areas. Up until now, I’ve been taking this kids statements of his being shy at face value. Never again. Maybe when I remind him how brave and relaxed he was in front of over a thousand people, he’ll convince himself as well.


Increase Confidence and Shed Shyness

I had a friend that used to be really, really shy. Like he wasn’t even able to make eye contact with other people. Not even for a split second. I don’t know if you’ve ever known a friend like that, but it kind of makes it hard to plan to do things. People that are incredibly shy find it difficult to relax over a few beers.  His girlfriend always shared with me how difficult it was when she had work parties,where it was kind of expected to bring your significant other.

I’ve seen a couple of funny youtube videos where people are at Christmas parties, and they are recorded saying things about their boss that they will likely later regret. But they are pretty funny. The thing about those parties, is that you have to behave kind of differently. It’s like you are in a party atmosphere, complete with food, alcohol, and music, but you still have to behave like you are at work. It’s almost as if you are supposed to pretend to have fun. Pretending can be good sometimes, but many people have said that the biggest trouble with telling lie is keeping everything straight.

This book I was reading on evolution was talking about the reason peoples brains became so big. This guy in the book was quoting this other guy who did a bunch of research at this university, along with a team of anthropologists. He said that one of the driving forces in the development of the human brain was the ability to not only detect deception in other people, but to deceive others and ourselves as well. Because you can’t very well catch others in deception of you don’t know hot to imagine what it would be like to be in the other persons shoes who is doing the deceiving. It is all somehow tied into the importance of knowing your place in the social structure. Of course there is no evidence for any of this, but it’s is an interesting theory nonetheless. It’s funny when think about things that you are only beginning to understand. It’s like you have an idea of what is going, but until you play different scenarios in your mind, you really can’t start to appreciate the complexity that is under all human life.

There was this one youtube video, where a girl that was apparently really drunk started telling her boss off. She said some pretty mean things. And her boss was standing right behind her. She turned around at the end of her tirade, and he said something like “I want to see you in my office first thing on Monday.” But it turned out to be a joke. Everybody was in on it, and it was all staged. Except the drunk part. I’m pretty sure that part was real.

And my friend eventually overcame his shyness with his girlfriend, because she finally coaxed him into attending a few assertiveness workshops together. Not only did he shed his shyness, and develop a really outgoing personality, but their relationship really improved. They’ve been married for six years, I think, with at least a couple of kids last I checked. And a large part of his job involves public speaking, so he really did develop strong confidence, which is always good.


Overcome Shyness Through Friendly Conversation

I ran into a friend the other day on the train. I didn’t notice her at first, because she looked different. You know when you see somebody you are pretty sure that you know, but it takes a few moments for you to remember exactly where you know them from? This was one of those times. She was sitting directly across from me, and was reading some book. It didn’t look like a novel, rather it looked like some kind of trade paperback or something. It was actually her that recognized me, as I was craning my neck around to try and see the title she was reading.

She said my name, and could tell by my expression that I couldn’t remember exactly who she was. I think it is fascinating that women are much better at this kind of thing that men are. I played a game once with a group of people called ‘liars.’ People got into groups of three, and then decided amongst themselves which one would tell a true story, and which would tell a lie. There was always one liar and two truth tellers. The game was to keep asking questions until you could catch the liar in a lie. The women are almost always better at this than men.

I read an interesting book once that I think explained it. It said that this was a leftover trait of our hunter/gatherer past. Men would generally go out and look for things to kill (hunt) and women would stay home at the caves, and take care of the kids and collect fruit and stuff (gather.) And this book was saying that women were able to develop a skill that allowed them to really be able to read peoples emotions a lot better than men. I guess this is a lot easier when you can understand your own emotions. And since women are much better at this than men, they are better at being able to read facial expressions much better.

And as it turns out, my friend was reading the classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. She said that she was enrolled in a public speaking class through her company, and the book was required reading. She said that she decided to read this book a long time ago, and did, but since she forgot a lot of the important stuff, she made the decision to read this again. She told me that when you find something that is of value, it’s important to read this over and over to make sure you can squeeze every useful thing out of it.

And it turns out that is why I didn’t recognize her. She used to be a really shy person. When she walked, she never really was ever able to make eye contact with people, and usually had her shoulders slumped. You had to get to know her before she was comfortable in expressing herself. It was only then that you could discover what a great person she was. Now she is really enthusiastic about public speaking. She says that when you don’t express your true self to others, you really are doing yourself and others a disservice. Because when you can really feel comfortable to be able to express yourself without any fear or anxiety, people can have a chance to get to know you for who you really are. Which is likely a pretty cool person when you think of all the good stuff you’ve done in your life.

Come to think of it, she’s always been a pretty supportive person. And now she’s happy that she doesn’t have to wade through her shyness to let people discover her. Kind of cool when you think about it.

Unfortunately, she was getting off at the next stop, and I had a few stops to go. But it was good that I saw her. We’ll have to get together sometime in the future.