Rejection Therapy Saved My Soul

Back in 2011, I participated in the 30 day Rejection Therapy challenge. In the past couple of months, it has gotten publicity.

I wanted to write about it one final time because its incredible concept changed my life for good.

Before, I used to be like many frustrated people unsure of how to meet people. Should I go to house parties? Should I join a hobby group? Meeting people confused me.

I hope my story will help you find a way to care less about what others think of you and allows you to request things that you’d want from others whether that is a date from a beautiful person or a job offer from a networking acquaintance.

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Around mid 2010, a defining moment absolutely shocked my world. For the rest of my life, I felt as if I had to live with regret.

My mood was in a regretful heap of lost hope.

Then I was introduced by to Rejection Therapy. For 30 days you’re forced to get rejected once a day. It is a form of exposure therapy by systematic desensitization to rejection.

The concept seemed simple enough. I promised myself that I would lift myself up by creating this blog and blogging about my daily rejections. It took me a couple of days to gain the courage to partake in any sort of social challenge but it finally clicked.

On the first day, I asked the post office at my university for a free stamp. The cashier replied with saying that I could use my credit card to pay for it. At this time I laughed because I didn’t have it on me. It was literally the one day I didn’t bring it. I said if I could have it for free. He shrugged and there it was. I got my first rejection.

I continued with these simple rejections for six days. They really humbled me and realized I could ask for whatever I chose to ask for.

The first major rejection that really changed my life

On the seventh day I was sitting on the bus going back to my apartment. A beautiful redhead walked into the bus and had to sit next to me because the bus was crowded. My vitals were going absolutely off the charts.

Nobody in the bus really noticed except me so I thought to myself that I might as well talk to her. I took out my notebook and wrote on a piece of paper, “cute girl next to me, would you want to get coffee? Write your # if yes, give the paper back if no.”

I mustered up all my courage and handed it to her. She looked at it, blushed profusely and handed it back to me because she had a boyfriend. In hindsight, I could tell she wasn’t interested but nothing really bad happened. She smiled and we ended up conversing on the bus for a good five minutes before my stop arrived.

The expression itself held all the joy

My soul was elated with joy. Finally, I expressed myself to somebody else and nothing really bad happened. I got rejected and it didn’t matter. I expressed myself. The joy was in expressing myself. It was one of the most gratifying moments of my life.

Once I realized that joy came from expression itself versus any external outcome, I focused more on expressing myself. If I expressed what I wanted to, that was what I could control. I cannot control other’s reactions because there are too many outside variables but I can control my expression.

Other challenges had me asking for gum, chatting with people in my classes, asking people to study with me, and asking for discounts from coffee shops. Some of them seemed very simple like asking an old lady for a pen to use for studying when I forgot to bring one.

Others were more difficult. For example, when a girl with a blank canvas was swiftly walking to her class, I respectfully asked her, “What’s going on with the blank canvas?”

She smiled, lit up, and talked to me about her art project for a minute. I told her it would be awesome to continue this later on but she said she had a boyfriend.

I would get better with conversation later on with my later experiments but for now, I was understanding that rejection wasn’t such a big deal.

Allowing myself to feel uncomfortable

If I felt my ego hurt from some particular outcome, I allowed myself to feel all the icky, awkward emotions in my brain. I would then find solace by thinking on how to improve which also helped my mood. By allowing myself to feel uncomfortable, I came to learn that opportunities were always around me. I only had to grow the courage to take those opportunities.

Once Rejection Therapy showed me that it was possible to talk to all sorts of people in most situations, I continued the blog to meet interesting people and learn how to take more risks socially.

My blog wants to reach out and do good outside the comfort zone. Some of that has to do with adding choice in my personal dating world but another aspect of it is to add good feelings and gestures out into the world.

I wouldn’t be where I am without Rejection Therapy, so it truly saved my soul.

[Disclosure: I made this post by my own free will and nothing monetary wise was given to me for this post. You can find more information here]

The Social Skydiving Game: Flirting with 77 Women in 14 Days


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Let’s define social skydiving. Social skydiving is the art of chatting and meeting strangers randomly in order to make a new friend, get a date, get over social anxiety, flirt with attractive people, or any other form of getting out of your social comfort zone.

Why would anyone want to do this?

Being shy for many years of my life cost me many opportunities to interact socially. After all those years, I wanted to do a social experiment that allowed me to have something anyone would want: Choice.

When it comes to meeting people through your social circle or a particular group (especially in college), the people are prone to be similar types of people. For example, imagine joining a Psychology club where all of the people in the group at Psychology majors.

Nothing is wrong with that but I wanted variety and choice. I also wanted a challenge to allow me to take risks. This ended up fitting both of those needs.

One of the most important learning lessons

You’re going to mess up and that’s okay. This was the first time that I approached strangers with the intent of flirting with attractive women.

Some approaches had women look at me strange. Others smiled when I started talking. A few of them were stunned by my confidence. A couple of them were mocking me by my awkwardness. The ups and downs of these approaches allowed me to take positive reactions in stride and the negative reactions without offense. It taught me to focus on a stable, content mood throughout the experience.

The actual experiences

I spend a few hours walking around chatting with women. Just like anything else, it takes practice to improve your social skills and flirting skills. Many of them lasted less than a minute. Others had a duration of over an hour. I met a wide variety of women studying many different things. I met girls in their 1st year and girls in their 5th year. I met some of them waiting around for a few minutes for the next class and others walking into town.

Social skydiving doesn’t have to take that many hours of your day but it allows random encounters with people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Even if you took 10 minutes to chat to someone you found attractive or interesting, it could end up making a major difference. I consider it a valuable skill that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

What about creepiness?

The topic of creepiness would come up sooner or later. I have utmost empathy for people. I always made sure that the girl I approached had personal comfort and safety with the interaction. If she was getting fearful or she seemed like the type that didn’t like what I was doing, I would tell her it was nice meeting her and be on my way. If there was a major lull in the conversation, I would tell them that silence can be golden because both people are trying to figure out what to talk about. If we didn’t have much in common I would tell them it was nice meeting them and move on.

I opened up and told some of them that I had social anxiety and I wanted to talk to strangers to improve my social skills. They smiled and accepted to talk to me for 5-10 minutes. There was also a few approaches where I didn’t state my purpose and it made it weird in the long run. I learned to state your intent. It doesn’t always have to be right away. I learned to state it eventually or risk hovering around without a purpose.

Honest transparency delivered in a clear, confident tone eases the other person to start a conversation as well.

Redefine your definition of success

My definition of success during these approaches was to actually do them. No matter how difficult the task seemed, I got joy out of just partaking in the task, regardless of result. It was my personal zen-like activity to calm me down. Success was knowing that I passed through my own personal fear each and every time I went up to an attractive stranger. Then I noticed that many of my regrets disappeared as well when I took a chance to chat with somebody I wanted to. Much of the time, it made them feel really good too because flirting is fun.

The calm wave upon me had arrived.
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For the next couple of months, I’ll write about some of the more memorable approaches during this time and what you can learn from my experiences. If you liked this post, please subscribe to get quick updates.

[In ode to Niall, who wrote an fantastic post on flirting with women. Much of my inspiration to do this came from this post. He also helped me stay accountable for my efforts through e-mails. I participated in this for 14 days from March 1-March 15 2012.]

The Paradox of Reaching Out (Or Let Them Prefer Solitaire)

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” – A.A. Milne

Let’s go with the forest metaphor. When you’re attempting to reach out to someone without any previous knowledge or any idea what their likes or dislikes are, you’re going into a new territory of the forest.

You need a certain type of bravery to continue on the path, even when you have relatively few clues (clothing, other external items, environment) as to how someone will react when you attempt to go to them and actually try to interact.

Here’s my personal example:

September 1st, 2011. 10:37AM in the train tunnel that connects Oakland to San Francisco.

A woman that sat next to me was playing solitaire on her phone. I had no idea what her age was and no idea what her plans were.

I decided to write on my iPhone, “Let’s talk instead of having you play a boring game of solitaire.” She had earphones on, so I figured this was a compromise between my fear of actually doing it and having her to actually take the damn things off.

I tapped her on the shoulder and made her read the message.

Here’s the awkward part: She didn’t understand what was going on.

At this point, she took her earphone off and looked dazed and confused.

Then I had to explain to her that it was a light joke and I wanted to talk to her about anything really.

I ended up half-joking that, “Well I saw that you were playing solitaire there so maybe we could have a conversation that’s more interesting than that.”

She said, “Sorry.” and turned away. Then she continued playing solitaire.

I thought the iPhone message was funny and creative. It turns out I was wrong but I would’ve never known until I tried.

I was satisfied that I tried.

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The paradox of reaching out to people is that only those who are open enough to receive it will be willing to talk to you.

Some people are too shy themselves, others get nervous if you’re not perfect (and show nerves to actually try), even more think you’re a flat out creeper, and the rest don’t connect with that certain depth. Also, there’s probably a million other reasons.

Okay. So?

I’m welcoming them and giving them the chance to interact.

The rest is out of my control and outside the circle of influence.

Awkward Moments Experiment

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
Brian Tracy

I’ve decided to create this to help me take more risks because my final year of college is looming.

I’ll create situations everyday for 30 days where two things happen:
1. I’m feeling extremely awkward.
2. It benefits the other person or group.

I’m tired of avoiding “perceived danger.” I have to let the training wheels go. I’m down to one year, so the pressure is on.

It’s a distant cousin of Rejection Therapy.
The major difference is that I don’t have to ask for anything.

Some examples:
1. Giving hi-fives to random people.
2. Going to a party, even if I don’t talk much. (I tend to avoid them, so that’s awkward.)
3. Wearing my shirt backwards the whole day.

The starting date is:
Sept 19.

Who’s with me?

In the comments below:
-Give me some ideas (reminder: It’s a University Campus)
-Tell me if you want to participate in this too or wish me luck.
-Anything else that’s in your awesome mind.

How I Made 50 Friends in One Month

I’m not huge on crowds, so how did I make 50 friends in one month? My example is below.

As the years with the internet has progressed, it has made it easier to meet people online. People can find potential dates, people can sell things to one another, people can Couchsurf to make travel cheaper, etc.

As you know I’m a connector. I want to meet as many people as I possibly can.

Since I’m not the type to go to parties, I’m grateful for the internet.

The reason for this is that I like conversations with ridiculous amount of depth.

There are three types of conversation levels:
1. Small talk. When you talk to a stranger or have to talk to someone politely (just imagine that relative you aren’t close to.), then you have this. You ask them “How’s the weather?” or “How’s it going?” I don’t like going through it often because it’s boring and not that rewarding.
2. Interests. When you find a common interest, then the conversation gets better. If they like blogs and you do too, then you can talk about your favorite blogs, their favorite blogs, what type of blogs both of you like, etc. It’s nice to relate to someone but not quite where I’d like to be.
3. Passions, life-goals, visions, metaphysics, crazy relationship stuff that no one shares with anyone anymore. Now this is where I’d like to land with people because this is the most satisfying type of conversation. It can be difficult to reach this level when you’re not already close with someone but that’s what I strive to reach. I feel that the internet makes it easier for that when you’re just focusing on someone’s words rather than all the outside influence of clothes, appearances, and other activities.

All I did was find a site where there were thousands of people. You can do this with a forum or any other online site. Then I personally sent them messages based on their taste (music, movies, books, philosophy).

The 90-9-1 rule (by Sebastian Marshall*) applied here in a different way.
-Around 90% of people I talked to didn’t click. They wouldn’t reply or either party would stop replying after a couple of exchanges.
-9% of people I ended up talking to about interests, their culture, anything that caused good conversation. I still talk to them to this day.
-The magical 1% wavelength are those few people where you have free reign. There are almost no limits as to what you two can talk about because you have the same type of humor and a huge depth of commonality that nothing is taboo. These are the people I look for.

But that’s 1%. It holds true. Here’s my personal example:

During March 2010, I sent messages to around 400 people. I already knew that the percentages would end up being 90-9-1.
Around half replied to me. Then I replied back to them.
-Around another half replied to me. After a few rounds of talking to people I came down to around 50 people. I was about to connect with that many through many rounds of messages. They’re great to talk to about passions and interests. (It held true that around 9% of people will connect with you in a great way.) This is my definition of an awesome friend.
-However, out of those 50, I’ve only had the magical 1% wavelength with 4 people. So it goes to show how many people I had to initiate contact with in order to find the people who I could really connect with. This is the type of interaction I look for ideally because there are no limits. You can almost free flow to the person about what you’re feeling and thinking.

Of course, there are pros and cons to meeting people online.

Pros:
-For people who can’t take rejection well, it’s somewhere easy to start.
If someone doesn’t reply to you, then it’s totally fine to take. I like being able to find people with similar tastes on forums, twitter, and other websites very quickly.
-People are able to past through the waste of time that is ‘small talk’ extremely quickly. It makes it easier for me to get through to someone’s passion right away.
-You can talk to someone’s mind (see their words visually) rather than having to see their outer appearance visually. You can see their interests in text (through profiles, blogs, social media, etc.), rather than have to cold guess when you’re meeting a stranger in the real world.
-You can analyze what someone said and give more thought to how you want to reply. It isn’t awkward to be a bit more introspective and give more time between replies when you do reply.

Bonus: -Half the adrenaline rush is trying to figure out how to meet them in real life.
*I’ll get more into this soon in a future post.

Cons:
-People can easily fake their identity. You can filter out many of the fakes by the general rule, “If it’s too good to be true, then it’s definitely a fake.” You can also feel the pushy atmosphere and something about them is off. I block those people quickly because they don’t deserve the time.
-People you meet can be far away. The only other unfortunate situation is if people you meet are far away. I’ve had this happen to me a lot of the time. Luckily, Skype makes it possible to get close to the real-life depth of talking to someone face to face.

The internet gives another option on being able to meet people. That’s the genius behind it. All ways of meeting people are great (offline, online, online –> offline) but meeting people online breaks the location barrier, breaks the group influence barrier, and creates a way to go around the small talk.

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*Here’s Sebastian Marshall’s post on the 90-9-1 rule.