Tips for approaching men or women in everyday life
In the article Steps for finding the perfect partner, one of the points was that to increase your chances of meeting the perfect partner, you have to be willing to meet as many people as you reasonably can.
Just think how many people pass you by every day without you taking a second glance. Call me a whimsical romantic but every single member of the opposite sex that you nonchalantly pass by each day could be your future soul mate!
Make a commitment:
One of the biggest barriers that inhibits people from approaching members of the opposite sex is excuses. Even men who have paid me sizeable amounts of money to teach them how to meet women still give me a barrage of excuses when it comes to actually doing it:
“I’m not really attracted to her.”
“She looks busy.”
“I’m not feeling it.”
“I’ve hesitated too long.”
The cause of these excuses stems partly from evolutionary origins and partly from cultural ones. I won’t go into details on those explnations here but having “don’t talk to strangers” drummed into us by parents and other influential figures at a young age, as well as an irrational fear of rejection, both play a part in this.
The only way you are going to start to counteract these instinctual excuses is if you make a firm commitment to yourself to do so. Humans are creatures of habit after all.
If you want to be in charge of your dating life… If you want to CHOOSE who you are in a relationship with… If you want to find someone who not only meets your standards but goes far beyond them… then you need to make a commitment to yourself to be proactive. Your commitment could be something like the following:
“I am going to approach every person I see who I am attracted to unless there is a realistic constraint”, the only realistic constraint being that you are in such a rush that you cannot stop for even thirty seconds.
Having said that, try not to become a tyrant for approaching strangers. It should be an extra thing that you can casually implement into your life, not the sole way you meet people.
Get outside your head:
All the excuses mentioned above, plus any others you can think of, emanate from being too inside your own head, or thinking too much. Being in the moment and not overanalysing situations is pivotal to being spontaneous, interesting and confident… All extremely attractive traits!
If you want to really get this part of your psyche handled then I highly recommend reading the works of Eckhart Tolle. His best-selling book The Power of Now is a great place to start.
Don’t jump ahead of yourself:
So many times people shoot themselves in the foot regarding dating, by pre-empting too much…
Giving someone your phone-number does not mean you are definitely going on a date together!
Going on a date with someone does not mean you have to sleep with them!
Sleeping with someone does not necessarily mean you are boyfriend and girlfriend!
All of these are real thoughts people have that restrict relationships from growing organically. In the same vein, approaching a stranger that you are physically attracted to does not mean that a relationship is guaranteed to manifest between the two of you. In fact, you’re not even guaranteed to like the person, or connect with them at all!
Treat meeting someone new simply as meeting someone who you might like to get to know and nothing more at first.
This section is primarily for people who have an intense fear of meeting strangers. There are many people like that out there. I was one of the worst when I first started out!
If the thought of having a friendly interaction with a random stranger is too much for you, simply break it down into smaller chunks or steps. Make it a goal to simply smile and greet someone new each day as you pass. Then perhaps you can extend that greeting into a short conversation the next time. If you do these exercises regularly, I guarantee you will reduce your fear of approaching strangers dramatically.
Have something default to say:
By far the biggest excuse I get from clients about approaching someone of the opposite sex is “I don’t know what to say”. There is a simple solution: have something default to say for the times you can’t think of anything spontaneous.
I hate to give advice that might make someone sound contrived or disingenuous but a simple line that helps you become more sociable is really helpful for a lot of people. Try to think of something that will work for you. One example that works almost anywhere is along the lines of…
“Hi, you look interesting so I thought I would come and say hi; I’m Samuel”, said with a genuine smile. Obviously swap Samuel for whatever your name is… unless your name is Samuel, in which case you have an awesome name!
If all this seems completely alien to you, remember that new skills only become comfortable with practice. Eventually you will be able to interact confidently with anyone who passes through your life and as a result you will meet so many more interesting people, including potential romantic partners. 🙂
on a plane today i was constantly thinking of things to say to the person sitting next to me. i would turn towards them, then decide not to say anything, and then feel embarassed for halfway looking at them. it was a compLETE drama that was going on inside my head about how i should just freakin ask the person if they wanted a piece of gum or if they just got a huge adrenaline rush with all that turbulence like i did. point is, i always fight with myself on whether or not i should say something in manymany situations throughout the day.
i like your advice though. nike. just do it.
ps- they finally asked for a piece of gum and started up a convo. and then i wished i had started the conversation first. sigh.
I know EXACTLY what you mean. The irony of these situations is that the longer you leave it, the more the little voices inside our heads antagonise us and the more awkward it actually becomes! As you said, you just have to act on these scenarios straight away before thinking too much and talking yourself out of it, or worrying about whether what you are going to say is ‘cool enough’.
As a specific example, on somewhere like a plane (or anywhere else you’re going to be sat next to a random person for a while), I always make a point of saying hello right from the off. I won’t necessarily carry on a conversation there and then but it means later on if I want to spark up a conversation, it doesn’t seem weird as we’ve already casually introduced ourselves.
Mind you, if I was in a particularly annoying and bizarre mood I would probably say something like “Hi. I’m really tired so I hope you don’t mind me using your shoulder as a pillow for most of the flight… I have to warn you, I snore pretty loudly too” and then just after take-off say “I’m just going to get some fresh air quickly before my nap” and proceed to lock myself in the toilet for the remainder of the flight! 🙂 hmm although I’m just being silly here, it does highlight a point that the less you worry about what you’re saying and how you’ll come across specifically, the more congruent with your personality you actually become. (note: I wouldn’t actually lock myself in the toilet!!) 🙂
Thanks for your comment Louise,
I just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed this post. I’ve met someone and have started dating him. I am trying to take baby steps because if this is going to turn into something meaningful, I want to do things at the right pace and not overanalyze the situation. We are pretty much opposites so it’s refreshing to be around someone very different than myself.
This is a nice blog you have. I found it through Problogger. Keep up the good work. Have a nice weekend.
Thanks for the support. That’s great you’ve met someone you like. I definitely agree about finding a balance between not rushing things and equally making sure it does progress.
I’ve put a lot of thought into the question of ‘do opposites attract when it comes to dating’ and I think as with any relationship, it can if both parties embrace it and work at it. It’s clearly the case with you so I wish you all the best. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by.