Directness (Or Finding Magical Connection)

Back in March 2012, I flirted with many girls to systematically desensitize my fear of talking and flirting with strangers I’m attracted to.

I reflected upon what I needed to improve.

The problem in those interactions was that I had a mental block. I didn’t allow myself to directly offer whatever I wanted. I would use context and converse with people extremely well but I would never state my intentions.

I never directly told them what I wanted, whether it was to be friends with them or date them. I never told them how long I’d stay around in the conversation and was unsure where I wanted to bring the successful interactions. This left a degree of ambiguity in the interactions.

Have you ever had that feeling of ambiguity in a certain situation? You feel as if the person is present with you and the conversation is going well but there is this nagging feeling that they are hiding something from you.

I knew that learning directness was the next step in my progress to become a risk-taker and somebody who could go into the uncharted lands outside of the comfort zone.

The first direct attempt

April 2nd 2012 3:00PM

I’ve been walking around nervously for half an hour trying to be brave enough to chat with a girl in a way that directly states my intention.

All of a sudden in front of me, a beautiful girl walked to her bike undoing her bike lock. I initially walked by her because I was too afraid.

Fear does not ever take a rest.

I took a deep breath and turned around and spoke up.

I said nervously, “Hi, you’re easily the prettiest girl I’ve seen all day. I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes.”

Mind you, I was incredibly nervous at this point, I could barely burt it out.

The girl blushed uncontrollably and smiled at me, “Wow thank you. I’m Claire, what’s your name?”

“I’m Matt”

“Anyways Matt, I have to get going and I have a boyfriend but thank you for making my day.”

I smiled back and went on my way.

Throughout that day, I had a few other attempts that were miserable, terrible, and downright awkward piles of hilarity.

I had a blonde girl look at me like I was a waste of existence through my nervousness and told me “Look I’m going to class, I have a boyfriend from LA, please go.” Another girl looked at me like I was messing around with her and she couldn’t believe what I was saying.

I also had a polite conversation with another girl for a few minutes before she told me, “I’m sorry. I don’t hand out my phone number to strangers outside of my dorm.”

It shocked me but some people need that systematic way to meet people, that’s fine for those who need it. We’re incompatible.

No problem.

——

The magical direct attempt

This would lead me to one of the most successful interactions I’ve ever had with a person to this date. This person made me learn a lot about myself and what I had to offer the world. She changed my idea of what it meant to approach the people that move you.

April 5th 2012 4:31PM

At this point I was feeling a little discouraged. I didn’t mind the rejection but I felt as though I wasn’t delivering my directness correctly.

I was walking towards the bus station to go back to my apartment when suddenly a stunning girl registered in the corner of my eye.

This was different. This was definitely different. I truly felt there was a magical vibe when she walked by for that split second. The feeling of wonderment and awe shook my soul into action. I had to talk to her and at least give myself a chance. I briskly walked towards the cafeteria to locate her. Luckily, she stopped at the cookie section in order to order a cookie.

I made eye contact with her and it was incredibly powerful. I could feel her welcoming gaze. I said to her absolutely confidently, “I saw you walk by and I found you way too interesting, so I had to come chat for a minute.” She smiled so wide and laughed with joy for many seconds. She couldn’t believe what just happened but I could sense her spirit woke up from the dreaded routine that washer day.

I asked her what she was listening to and she told me Flying Lotus. She took off one of her earphones and made me listen to it for a whole minute. She told me right off the bat she was allergic to peanuts so she obviously couldn’t get a cookie with that. I laughed and told her, “So you told me something right away that I could use against you?” We both laughed quite hard for a while.

That’s when I knew I finally found somebody I could really click with.

She ended up buying a snickerdoodle and halving it with me.

We walked toward her class that was about to start at 5PM while chatting about metaphysical ideas about the world like being able to give clean water to the rest of the world or being able to share mircochange into the world to make a difference. We both smiled, laughed, and had a magical connection.

After about five more minutes she had to get to class, so she put her number in my phone and told me we’d hang soon.

We did but we’ll get to that soon.

All this happened because I took the time and had the courage to say “I found you interesting.”

Why does directness work?

It forces the other person to polarize as a reaction. It increases their chance to be direct back towards you. There is no ambiguity because everything is truthful and upfront.

While it increases the chance for people to say no for any number of reasons, some in my control [like how I deliver myself and present myself], and others out of my control [boyfriend, not into my look, race, too short, bad mood], it enhances the intensity of interactions that are successful.

It makes them more magical.

——

If you liked this post, you should let me know via Twitter here or E-mail. You should also consider subscribing to my feed and newsletter on the sidebar. Thank you for reading.

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


Image Source

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.
——

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.]