How to Cold Approach Without Being Creepy/Harassing

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Post by Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:18 am

kath wrote:Yeah sorry, I meant just asking them out plainly, I wasn't trying to suggest specific wording.

Can anyone else suggest some specific wording that's pretty general but could actually be used? Mikey, could you give us some general info about the hypothetical person?

DNL has lots of suggestions on the blog, but the social appropriateness will be really tied to the contexts in which you'd want to approach.

After reading your post over a few times that was the conclusion I ended with.

I dunno what kind of specifics you guys are looking for exactly. To be honest there is no hypothetical person at all. What I do know is I need to figure out a way to get over my own anxieties with women I find myself attracted to. As well, a few days ago I was having one of these sorts of convos with a friend of mine and she told me I shouldn't be afraid of girls, I know I shouldn't (in fact it's rather stupid of me to be afraid anyway), but I don't fully know why (aside from my irrational fear of rejection).

I was listening to the Sex Nerd Sandra podcast with the Doc earlier today and he said something about "Owning Your Desires", and I thought, okay great, but that tends to alienate people I think. Or at least the ones I did ask out. To me that means ask them out etc., okay, great, done it and well... I'm still here.

You know, I've read those entries the Doc has multiple times, but I can't seem to muster up the courage to do it anymore than the few times I did some years ago.

Ugh, my brain hurts and my emotions are exhausted.


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Post by kath on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:33 am

In that case, I think GJ's and Jayce's advice from upthread is the way to go. First, you desentize yourself talking to people - all people, including attractive people. You get used to it. Hopefully it becomes less scary, and you get over any fear of social rejection.* Once you are good at that, you try asking people you want to date if they want to date you. Again, the specific words will be really specific to your situation, but it will involve proposing a specific date and time and location for something that you state is a romantic date. Getting used to that and being OK with the awkwardness

One of the huge hurdles to being successful at cold approaches (and warm approaches) is being comfortable with practicing them, so that you can improve them. If you dislike rejection a lot / can't power through the dislike and do it anyway, you can't find the best way to ask people out - it's going to be specific to you and take some finessing. Sounds like that might be where you're stuck - which is exactly where I'm stuck with talking to people I don't know for non-romantic ends.

Do you think a challenge thread, where we (and anyone else who's interested) works on practicing those social skills where the practicing makes them uncomfortable, and talks about how much they've practiced and how their attempts went, would be helpful?
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:44 am

Mikey, I'm kind of playing catch up here but I hope I've got the gist. Here's a thought/exercise for you. When you're out and about look for people, any people, who give you an obvious conversational opening. It could be a book they're carrying, a cool cusotm car, even just a jacket you like. These should not be people you're especially attractive to. They can be men, women, young, old, black white, chartreuse but they should not ping as potential dates. Walk up, say hi, comment on the thing that caught your attention. See if you can keep a conversation going as long as its interesting but don't force it, then move on. When you go to the mall or the club or some other public place where you'll be for hours, try to find two or three people to do this with.

When you can do that without sweating it TOO hard, then you can move up to doing the same thing with people you might want to date.

Basically, you have two separate anxieties, approaching strangers and talking to people you find attractive. Cut the issue in half and deal with the first part first.

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Post by Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2014 4:14 am

kath wrote:In that case, I think GJ's and Jayce's advice from upthread is the way to go. First, you desentize yourself talking to people - all people, including attractive people. You get used to it. Hopefully it becomes less scary, and you get over any fear of social rejection.* Once you are good at that, you try asking people you want to date if they want to date you. Again, the specific words will be really specific to your situation, but it will involve proposing a specific date and time and location for something that you state is a romantic date. Getting used to that and being OK with the awkwardness

Here's the irony, I can shoot the shit with people all the time if I'm not attracted to them. I've worked retail where I was forced to approach people ("Hey can I help you find something?"), and I work at a lab where I have to approach people ("Hi, you can't have you cup here, sorry, hon"). If I need something from someone it's whatever, I'll ask, if they can help, great; if not, who cares. I don't give two shits about social rejection. I have a problem with approaching girls I'm attracted to, I have a fear of romantic rejection.

I'm not socially stunted, I can talk to people just fine. The problem is that asking for a date is... a-whole-nother realm, a realm I have no idea how to traverse. One that's scary.

kath wrote:
One of the huge hurdles to being successful at cold approaches (and warm approaches) is being comfortable with practicing them, so that you can improve them. If you dislike rejection a lot / can't power through the dislike and do it anyway, you can't find the best way to ask people out - it's going to be specific to you and take some finessing. Sounds like that might be where you're stuck - which is exactly where I'm stuck with talking to people I don't know for non-romantic ends.

Yes, I'm stuck and I don't know what to do about it. It legitimately worries me and makes me wonder what the hell my parents think (I don't talk to them about this at all).

kath wrote:
Do you think a challenge thread, where we (and anyone else who's interested) works on practicing those social skills where the practicing makes them uncomfortable, and talks about how much they've practiced and how their attempts went, would be helpful?

May work for some, I dunno about myself to be frank. I'm terrible at journaling.

Gentleman Johnny wrote:Mikey, I'm kind of playing catch up here but I hope I've got the gist. Here's a thought/exercise for you. When you're out and about look for people, any people, who give you an obvious conversational opening. It could be a book they're carrying, a cool cusotm car, even just a jacket you like. These should not be people you're especially attractive to. They can be men, women, young, old, black white, chartreuse but they should not ping as potential dates. Walk up, say hi, comment on the thing that caught your attention. See if you can keep a conversation going as long as its interesting but don't force it, then move on. When you go to the mall or the club or some other public place where you'll be for hours, try to find two or three people to do this with.

No, that's not difficult. Like I said earlier in this post, I've worked in places where I have to approach people and I've approached people before for non-romantic stuff. I do it all the time, especially at work ("Hi do you need any help? Oh sure..."), in fact yesterday I had a near 10 minute conversation about Galaxy Tablets with an older student who couldn't figure the darn thing out.

Gentleman Johnny wrote:
When you can do that without sweating it TOO hard, then you can move up to doing the same thing with people you might want to date.

I think since I never dated during high school (or ever), I can't even get the words out that I'm attracted to someone lest someone embarrasses me about it. Oh yeah, that's another thing, I can't seem to express that I'm attracted to someone without feeling embarrassed about it either.

Again, I apologize if I'm being difficult. I'll be a good boy and go away real soon.


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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Sat Oct 04, 2014 4:51 am

You're not being difficult, my time's just been to restricted to get all the details. So, I guess my point is to keep dating off your mind. Just talk to people you're attracted to like you would anyone else as step one. Now yeah, you're going to be really nervous moving up from that to expressing attraction or setting up a date but that's your step two. Its going to be awkward. You're going to feel like an idiot. The only way to not feel like an idiot, though, is to fail and fail better until the sting gets taken out of it. Basically you have to ask yourself if the improvement is worth the embarrassment ten make the push yourself to go with what you decide.

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Post by Mel on Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:04 am

The Mikey wrote:All right, but how do I figure if she's open to dating without her thinking I'm suggesting that she should date me? Because I believe that if I asked those kinds of questions she'd suspect me of wanting to get in her pants or something even if I didn't want to.

Well, for example, if someone has a significant other, it's pretty common for that to come up in casual conversation about totally normal topics like "What did you do this weekend?" That's mainly what I meant. You don't need to know someone's open to dating before you ask them out, but you're more able to avoid asking out people who definitely aren't (and thus avoid some rejections) if you've gotten to know them a bit first rather than asking out a total stranger who you know absolutely nothing about.

The Mikey wrote:I find OLD just as scary because you could have crafted a message as though it were written by Hemingway himself with the wit and humor of Oscar Wilde... and still get diddly. I sent a message out once, I had to get a decent buzz to grow enough balls to do it. The message I sent was completely relevant to her profile, very friendly, nothing dirty or sexual in the message, nothing nasty. I expected either silence or a monosyllabic response, instead I got a block.

So I disabled my profile for a second time after that (and it's still disabled to this day).

Okay, but you realize that's not really a reasonable way of responding to the situation, right? You ran into one person who decided to block you for some reason (maybe she blocks all guys she decides she's not into because several have re-messaged her after non-responses in the past and that bothers her?), and let that make you decide it's impossible.

Yes, you can craft a wonderful message and someone can still not respond. Because crafting a wonderful message isn't anyone's sole criteria for whether they want to talk to you. They may not find your photos physically attractive. They may find something in your profile that's a dealbreaker. They may already be talking to guys who seem more compatible and not have time to talk to more people at the moment. Etc. I don't think focusing on writing a brilliant message is the best idea--you just write a few lines mentioning a point of commonality and giving an opening for discussion, and see what happens. You have to accept that not everyone you find interesting is going to feel the same about you, because... that's how life works for everyone. Everyone faces rejection. It doesn't make you a bad or not worthwhile person if you get rejected... unless we're all bad and not worthwhile. Razz

The Mikey wrote:I had the idea in mind that these women were also OLD for the same reason I was. But then I also realized that these are women on the internet and that they probably get a shit-ton of messages on an hourly basis. So, I figured I'd just be pissing in the wind and in the unlikely scenario that she'd respond, I'd get slapped with silence (or a block).

I would also like to avoid being on one of those hilarious Creepers of OKC tumblrs or whatever.

If women didn't want to be getting messages from guys, they wouldn't have a profile stating they're looking for dates on OKCupid. Any woman who does that is prepared to wade through a lot of messages. As long as you don't write something you should be able to tell is offensive, you're not going to somehow accidentally become a creeper. And as long as you write a little more than, "hey yur cute", you're going to be at the head of the pack. Still doesn't mean every woman you message will be into you (see above), but it's hardly hopeless.

Anyway, I'm not telling you that you have to use OLD. I just think that your response to your experience there illustrates exactly what I was talking about: your anxiety is getting in your way far too much, and you need to deal with that and figure out how not to catastrophize little set-backs before you're going to be able to interact with women you're interested in in a more relaxed way.

For how to reduce the anxiety, if you have options for therapy, that can always be helpful. You might want to check out MoodGYM (I liked to it in the freebies thread or just google it)--CBT can be very effective for anxiety. I think GJ's suggestions are good too.
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Post by Wondering on Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:31 pm

The Mikey wrote:Like I said earlier in this post, I've worked in places where I have to approach people and I've approached people before for non-romantic stuff. I do it all the time, especially at work ("Hi do you need any help? Oh sure..."), in fact yesterday I had a near 10 minute conversation about Galaxy Tablets with an older student who couldn't figure the darn thing out.

Have you approached people in a non-work related setting? I think being able to do things for work vs doing them socially can operate differently. For example, I'm not a big fan of speaking in front of people, but when I was teaching, it didn't bother me because it was part of my job.

If you haven't cold approached people socially like GJ suggests, maybe try some of that to see if it helps at all?

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Post by Enail on Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:45 pm

Mikey, it sounds like you feel like if you ask someone out and they say no, you've done it wrong and have probably ruined everything ever. But there is no way of asking people out, warm approach or cold, that guarantees they'll say yes. Some people will say no. That's okay.

It sounds like you may have run into the awkwardness problem when you've asked people out in the past. Sometimes, if you ask someone out and they say no, things get awkward between you. The dynamic has been thrown off, you're both sort of hyper-aware of everything and aren't sure how to just get back to being normal with them. So, here's a secret: sometimes things still get awkward if you ask someone out and they say yes!  

Things can get awkward around any sort of new information or change in a relationship where you or they are anxious about how the new awareness changes things. I was super-awkward around my parents for a while after I came out to them, because we were all hyper-conscious about the fact that it shouldn't make any difference to our relationship and everything would continue to be normal. Awkwardness doesn't mean everything is ruined. It's uncomfortable, but it fades. Sometimes it helps to just acknowledge it, to say "hey, I'm feeling kind of awkward about this, but it'll pass."

And the good news is that things get less awkward with more practice and more general social skills and maturity. I think one advantage to colder approaches is that they let you get used to the awkwardness in interactions that won't last very long or have an impact on your social life, so that you can feel more comfortable and less awkward with asking out people you know better, and thus have whatever aftermath be less jarring to the relationship.
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Post by Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:58 pm

Gentleman Johnny wrote:You're not being difficult, my time's just been to restricted to get all the details. So, I guess my point is to keep dating off your mind. Just talk to people you're attracted to like you would anyone else as step one. Now yeah, you're going to be really nervous moving up from that to expressing attraction or setting up a date but that's your step two. Its going to be awkward. You're going to feel like an idiot. The only way to not feel like an idiot, though, is to fail and fail better until the sting gets taken out of it. Basically you have to ask yourself if the improvement is worth the embarrassment ten make the push yourself to go with what you decide.

Well if I keep dating off my mind, the idea of dating is gonna go completely into the trash bin. I'll be honest I don't like embarrassing myself, I hate it because I feel awful about myself afterwards. :I "Ugh, why did I say that?"

Mel wrote:
Well, for example, if someone has a significant other, it's pretty common for that to come up in casual conversation about totally normal topics like "What did you do this weekend?"  That's mainly what I meant.  You don't need to know someone's open to dating before you ask them out, but you're more able to avoid asking out people who definitely aren't (and thus avoid some rejections) if you've gotten to know them a bit first rather than asking out a total stranger who you know absolutely nothing about.

That's typically what I aim for, I try to find if the girl in question is willing and able. Sometimes I can find out easier with some than others. For example, there's this girl at work who works in the same building as I do, but not the same department. Through no asking of my own she said she had a boyfriend when I asked what was going on for her birthday. :I

Mel wrote:
Okay, but you realize that's not really a reasonable way of responding to the situation, right?  You ran into one person who decided to block you for some reason (maybe she blocks all guys she decides she's not into because several have re-messaged her after non-responses in the past and that bothers her?), and let that make you decide it's impossible.

Granted I was also a little drunk, so yes, it was totally unreasonable; but that was still enough to discourage me from trying again.

Mel wrote:
Yes, you can craft a wonderful message and someone can still not respond.  Because crafting a wonderful message isn't anyone's sole criteria for whether they want to talk to you.  They may not find your photos physically attractive.  They may find something in your profile that's a dealbreaker.  They may already be talking to guys who seem more compatible and not have time to talk to more people at the moment.  Etc.  I don't think focusing on writing a brilliant message is the best idea--you just write a few lines mentioning a point of commonality and giving an opening for discussion, and see what happens.  You have to accept that not everyone you find interesting is going to feel the same about you, because... that's how life works for everyone.  Everyone faces rejection.  It doesn't make you a bad or not worthwhile person if you get rejected... unless we're all bad and not worthwhile.  Razz

You're absolutely right. I don't understand why I let it get to me so bad. No

Mel wrote:
If women didn't want to be getting messages from guys, they wouldn't have a profile stating they're looking for dates on OKCupid.  Any woman who does that is prepared to wade through a lot of messages.  As long as you don't write something you should be able to tell is offensive, you're not going to somehow accidentally become a creeper.  And as long as you write a little more than, "hey yur cute", you're going to be at the head of the pack.  Still doesn't mean every woman you message will be into you (see above), but it's hardly hopeless.

Well, if that's the case then how come a lot of the profiles I found wanted to be friends and nothing else? Another example would be on Tinder where a bunch of profiles said "Only looking for new friends", I understand why they'd do that, but what I don't understand why not do that somewhere else? It's not a bad thing, nor are they wrong, but it's certainly something that throws off my train of thought.

Mel wrote:
Anyway, I'm not telling you that you have to use OLD.  I just think that your response to your experience there illustrates exactly what I was talking about: your anxiety is getting in your way far too much, and you need to deal with that and figure out how not to catastrophize little set-backs before you're going to be able to interact with women you're interested in in a more relaxed way.

It's not even the type of anxiety where I begin to panic uncontrollably and collapse, but I do begin to tremble and my heart begins beating itself against my sternum (hyperbole, it doesn't actually do that).

Mel wrote:
For how to reduce the anxiety, if you have options for therapy, that can always be helpful.  You might want to check out MoodGYM (I liked to it in the freebies thread or just google it)--CBT can be very effective for anxiety.  I think GJ's suggestions are good too.

I'll have to look into that. I don't think I need therapy (although I may), but maybe MoodGYM willl be the way to go...

Thank you. :3

Wondering wrote:
Have you approached people in a non-work related setting? I think being able to do things for work vs doing them socially can operate differently. For example, I'm not a big fan of speaking in front of people, but when I was teaching, it didn't bother me because it was part of my job.

If you haven't cold approached people socially like GJ suggests, maybe try some of that to see if it helps at all?

Why yes I have. The times I did it for non-work, non-romantic situations it went just fine. Last year at San Diego Comic-Con I asked a woman if I could borrow her Programming Guide Book for a second to look for a booth, got the Guide Book thumbed through it for the booth and the booth was nowhere to be found. I gave the book back and made nothing of it.

Another time I was looking for an address in Downtown San Diego, asked a dude working on fence where I could find the address, pointed me in the right direction. No big deal.

But the times I did approach for romantic interest/attraction/because I thought they were cute, are very few and I personally found myself feeling like an asshole every time. I don't know why afterwards I'd kick myself in the head.

Enail wrote:Mikey, it sounds like you feel like if you ask someone out and they say no, you've done it wrong and have probably ruined everything ever. But there is no way of asking people out, warm approach or cold, that guarantees they'll say yes. Some people will say no. That's okay.

Yeah, aside from being terrified of rejection, I'm also afraid that I've ruined whatever friendship I had if it was a warm approach or that I'd ostracized if it was a cold approach. So, of course it's okay for them to say no, I simply don't want to lose their friendship if I had one with them previously. So I'd rather avoid that and keep it to myself than face the repercussions of me acting on my attraction as well.

Enail wrote:
It sounds like you may have run into the awkwardness problem when you've asked people out in the past. Sometimes, if you ask someone out and they say no, things get awkward between you. The dynamic has been thrown off, you're both sort of hyper-aware of everything and aren't sure how to just get back to being normal with them. So, here's a secret: sometimes things still get awkward if you ask someone out and they say yes!  

I've definitely run into the awkwardness problem more times than I care to count. And it suuuucks. But at least I'm hyper-aware of everything and the only way for me to get things being back to normal with them would be to leave them alone for awhile and never mention asking them out again ever. Now what I don't understand is, how can things still get awkward even when they say yes? The only time I felt awkward during a yes was when I had no plan because I didn't expect a yes (course, she flaked on me later, but that's an old tired story).

Enail wrote:
Things can get awkward around any sort of new information or change in a relationship where you or they are anxious about how the new awareness changes things. I was super-awkward around my parents for a while after I came out to them, because we were all hyper-conscious about the fact that it shouldn't make any difference to our relationship and everything would continue to be normal. Awkwardness doesn't mean everything is ruined. It's uncomfortable, but it fades. Sometimes it helps to just acknowledge it, to say "hey, I'm feeling kind of awkward about this, but it'll pass."

And the good news is that things get less awkward with more practice and more general social skills and maturity. I think one advantage to colder approaches is that they let you get used to the awkwardness in interactions that won't last very long or have an impact on your social life, so that you can feel more comfortable and less awkward with asking out people you know better, and thus have whatever aftermath be less jarring to the relationship.

I'll take your word for it. I just don't like the awkwardness of it all especially when they don't wanna talk to me when I know the person in question and it makes me feel bad too. "I'm sorry I found you attractive enough to ask you out... I'll leave you alone now. :I" Just, ugh.

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Post by Enail on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:10 pm

The Mikey wrote:
I've definitely run into the awkwardness problem more times than I care to count. And it suuuucks. But at least I'm hyper-aware of everything and the only way for me to get things being back to normal with them would be to leave them alone for awhile and never mention asking them out again ever.

Agreed, awkwardness sucks!  If you need some time away from them to get over it, I think it would probably help preserve the friendship if you could let them know that that's what you're doing and you'll be back to friending with them again soon.

The Mikey wrote:
Now what I don't understand is, how can things still get awkward even when they say yes? The only time I felt awkward during a yes was when I had no plan because I didn't expect a yes (course, she flaked on me later, but that's an old tired story).

I don't know how exactly, just a thing that my magical powers of awkwardness allow me to do? Razz  I find any change in a relationship where you're not quite sure what the new normal is yet has the potential to have a lot of awkward over-awareness.  The point is that awkward is just a thing that can happen if you're an awkward kind of person, but it doesn't have to mean anything more than "okay, things are awkward. I'm going to say something dumb now, hope that's cool with you," for a bit.

The Mikey wrote:
I'll take your word for it. I just don't like the awkwardness of it all especially when they don't wanna talk to me when I know the person in question and it makes me feel bad too. "I'm sorry I found you attractive enough to ask you out... I'll leave you alone now. :I" Just, ugh.

Yeah, that does suck. If it's any comfort, I think it tends to happen less often as you get more comfortable with it yourself and so less likely to make things uncomfortable for them, and as people get older and better at negotiating situations like being friends with someone with a crush on you and vice versa. The less you make it a Big Thing, the less it will land up being a Big Thing.
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:29 pm

I guess I'm a bit confused. You don't have any problem meeting people you're not attracted to but you do have problems with meeting people you are attracted to even if you're just talking about normal stuff? I mean, I get that could be the case, I just want to be sure that's what you're saying.

Again, the only thing I can really recommend is practice. Practice means failure and awkwardness but it also means getting better at it.

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Post by Guest on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:34 pm

Enail wrote:
I don't know how exactly, just a thing that my magical powers of awkwardness allow me to do? Razz  I find any change in a relationship where you're not quite sure what the new normal is yet has the potential to have a lot of awkward over-awareness.  The point is that awkward is just a thing that can happen if you're an awkward kind of person, but it doesn't have to mean anything more than "okay, things are awkward. I'm going to say something dumb now, hope that's cool with you," for a bit.

If there's an awkward moment or I say something stupid, I'll usually say, "Oh my bad, that was dumb."

Enail wrote:
Yeah, that does suck. If it's any comfort, I think it tends to happen less often as you get more comfortable with it yourself and so less likely to make things uncomfortable for them, and as people get older and better at negotiating situations like being friends with someone with a crush on you and vice versa. The less you make it a Big Thing, the less it will land up being a Big Thing.

I'm a purveyor of "It's only awkward if you make it awkward", which many people don't seem to understand. I usually try to not make a big deal out of it, if only to make myself not feel like shit. :\

Gentleman Johnny wrote:I guess I'm a bit confused. You don't have any problem meeting people you're not attracted to but you do have problems with meeting people you are attracted to even if you're just talking about normal stuff? I mean, I get that could be the case, I just want to be sure that's what you're saying.

Again, the only thing I can really recommend is practice. Practice means failure and awkwardness but it also means getting better at it.

Yeah, that's pretty much it. I don't know how I managed to compartmentalize meeting people that way, but that's how my stupid brain operates. I once walked past this nerdy girl who I thought was real cute and I didn't necessarily freeze up but I did feel a little silly when I exchanged a few words and made my escape.

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Post by nonA on Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:58 pm

Normal, sane women don't get upset at someone simply approaching them.  Many even enjoy the opportunity for simple conversation/flirtation for its own sake.  Unreasonable ones may get their panties in a twist, and many of the unreasonable ones have blogs, but do you really want to live so that you never upset any unreasonable people?

Two things to keep in mind;

  • Being mindful of boundaries, including when to take your leave, is more important than being hyper-conscious of boundaries by never approaching at all.  Most people will understand so long as you make a good-faith effort.  And calibrating yourself better does require practice.
  • Like other people are saying, the best way to get over your nerves is to put yourself out there and realize that nothing disastrous has happened.  This will require putting yourself out there and stretching your comfort zone at first.

Well, if that's the case then how come a lot of the profiles I found wanted to be friends and nothing else? Another example would be on Tinder where a bunch of profiles said "Only looking for new friends", I understand why they'd do that, but what I don't understand why not do that somewhere else? It's not a bad thing, nor are they wrong, but it's certainly something that throws off my train of thought.
People don't often know what they actually want.  They certainly don't usually know what they respond well to.  And women are people instead of vulcans.

What "friends only" usually means is "I want the benefits of a relationship without the expectations/pressures of early dating".  What they actually respond best to is often a whole 'nother ball of wax.

Incidentally, when you mentioned being blocked, was this from OKC?  I know that for them, if you're blocked, there's no way to know.  If her profile disappeared, she either deleted or disabled it.  It's staggeringly unlikely that someone quit the whole service just because of one message you sent them.

(
And as long as you write a little more than, "hey yur cute", you're going to be at the head of the pack.
Disagree with this, though.  Swing by the in-house OKC profile advice forum.  They'll often ask people to share sample messages.  Most aren't illiterate or crude so much as they're boring and don't lead to proper conversations that well.  Thinking that boring is okay because you're not being illiterate or crude does you a disservice.)

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Post by kath on Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:33 pm

Darn, I've been thinking I was a Vulcan these twenty-seven years at least. Wink

Mikey, one thing I noticed was how you characterized the interactions you did have:

The Mikey wrote:
Why yes I have. The times I did it for non-work, non-romantic situations it went just fine. Last year at San Diego Comic-Con I asked a woman if I could borrow her Programming Guide Book for a second to look for a booth, got the Guide Book thumbed through it for the booth and the booth was nowhere to be found. I gave the book back and made nothing of it.

Another time I was looking for an address in Downtown San Diego, asked a dude working on fence where I could find the address, pointed me in the right direction. No big deal.

But the times I did approach for romantic interest/attraction/because I thought they were cute, are very few and I personally found myself feeling like an asshole every time. I don't know why afterwards I'd kick myself in the head.

These are very perfunctory cold approaches, and they aren't cold approaches that leas to a conversation or to make a friend (even a con-friend you talk to for a few days or when you run into them), which I think is more what GJ was talking about and what will help make approaching attractive people easier. These approaches teach you how to ask for a very specific thing that you want, and which socially, the other person is pretty likely to be willing to provide. But they don't teach you how to have a conversation or create strong rapport, which would be needed for cold approaching a potential date.

Do you have trouble cold-approaching people to have an ongoing conversation with them?

The Mikey wrote:
I'll take your word for it. I just don't like the awkwardness of it all especially when they don't wanna talk to me when I know the person in question and it makes me feel bad too. "I'm sorry I found you attractive enough to ask you out... I'll leave you alone now. :I" Just, ugh.

The thing is, it seems like there are lots of things you won't do because they are awkward or might be awkward. And while that's completely understandable, it raises a problem: you avoid potentially awkward situations, so the only awkward situations you do have to deal with are ones where things are really going off the rails (or are really out-of-the-blue) because if you had had any idea it was going that way, you would have avoided it. Those really awkward situations then DO seem like the end of the world and something you should avoid at all costs. But then you get no practice doing what Enail mentioned - being awkward, sitting with it, experiencing it, and not having it be a big thing to you. If you can sit with the awkward,  eventually it won't be so scary, and you won't be worried about feeling awkward, so you won't be nearly so awkward. One of the things we're most afraid of is what it feels like to be afraid, and  a way to diffuse that is to be afraid, and then show yourself that it wasn't the end of the world. Then you don't have to be afraid. So trying to find ways to avoid awkwardness might not have the effect you want and might not be super possible.

I think very popular and charismatic people, who seem super smooth - some may just totally not notice the awkward, but there are probably lots of others who feel the awkward and power right on through, because they've felt awkward so many times and in so many situations and their social circle didn't implode that they just focus on being respectful and not worrying about being embarrassed or awkward or seeming silly anymore.
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Post by Autumnflame on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:15 am

I must not fear awkwardness.
Fear is the spirit-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total avoidance.
I will face the awkward.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the awkward has gone there will be nothing....only I will remain.

my apologies to frank herbert
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Post by Guest on Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:43 am

nonA wrote:Normal, sane women don't get upset at someone simply approaching them.  Many even enjoy the opportunity for simple conversation/flirtation for its own sake.

They don't get upset and they do enjoy that? I can, in good faith say I've never seen that, or at the very least I think they're being polite.

nonA wrote:
Unreasonable ones may get their panties in a twist, and many of the unreasonable ones have blogs, but do you really want to live so that you never upset any unreasonable people?

Frankly, I don't wanna upset anyone. :I

nonA wrote:

  • Like other people are saying, the best way to get over your nerves is to put yourself out there and realize that nothing disastrous has happened.  This will require putting yourself out there and stretching your comfort zone at first.


That's what a friend of mine told me, to put myself out there, but it's scary and I can't exactly do it. Not only does my anxiety in regards to that kick in, but I have nothing to say! I feel like my tongue would most likely tumble out of my jaw.

nonA wrote:
What "friends only" usually means is "I want the benefits of a relationship without the expectations/pressures of early dating".  What they actually respond best to is often a whole 'nother ball of wax.

All right, but I cannot possibly be the judge of that. I have no clue and I don't want to assume anything so I generally pass them up.

nonA wrote:
Incidentally, when you mentioned being blocked, was this from OKC?  I know that for them, if you're blocked, there's no way to know.  If her profile disappeared, she either deleted or disabled it.  It's staggeringly unlikely that someone quit the whole service just because of one message you sent them.

Yes, it was OKC. I'm almost certain that they blocked me, I found the same person on Tinder a day later.

nonA wrote:
Disagree with this, though.  Swing by the in-house OKC profile advice forum.  They'll often ask people to share sample messages.  Most aren't illiterate or crude so much as they're boring and don't lead to proper conversations that well.  Thinking that boring is okay because you're not being illiterate or crude does you a disservice.

Well... that goes back to what I said originally, doesn't matter if you write as simply as Hemingway with the wit of Oscar Wilde, you can still get jack-shit.

kath wrote:
Do you have trouble cold-approaching people to have an ongoing conversation with them?

I... don't really know. I don't think so? See, I've also met people in my college classed and have since become pretty good buddies with some of them. Otherwise, I don't always go about to meet someone new everyday, that ain't exactly my style since I'm not always interested in meeting new people.

kath wrote:
The thing is, it seems like there are lots of things you won't do because they are awkward or might be awkward. And while that's completely understandable, it raises a problem: you avoid potentially awkward situations, so the only awkward situations you do have to deal with are ones where things are really going off the rails (or are really out-of-the-blue) because if you had had any idea it was going that way, you would have avoided it.

Well of course, I'm not about to go into a conversation for the sole purpose of awkwardness. I'd blow a gasket from the stress if I knew that was gonna happen.

kath wrote:
Those really awkward situations then DO seem like the end of the world and something you should avoid at all costs. But then you get no practice doing what Enail mentioned - being awkward, sitting with it, experiencing it, and not having it be a big thing to you.

One of my motto's is "It's only awkward if you make it awkward" and that's worked quite a bit. But it's only weird and awkward when I want to do a cold approach which my fear just keeps me from doing so.

kath wrote:
One of the things we're most afraid of is what it feels like to be afraid, and  a way to diffuse that is to be afraid, and then show yourself that it wasn't the end of the world. Then you don't have to be afraid. So trying to find ways to avoid awkwardness might not have the effect you want and might not be super possible.

I feel like the anticipation is what fucks me up. But then I think the fear would lead me to... I dunno do something more idiotic than originally anticipated, I feel like I'd prolly pee myself (or maybe that's the beer talking currently). I know it's not the end of the world, but it could be the end of a friendship and I sure as hell don't want that to happen. That's another thing that keeps me from asking people out using a warm approach.

Autumnflame wrote:I must not fear awkwardness.
Fear is the spirit-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total avoidance.
I will face the awkward.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the awkward has gone there will be nothing....only I will remain.

my apologies to frank herbert

When I asked out this one girl back in May I had to look up Herbert's litany on my phone and repeat it to myself out loud while some of my friends were like "Wut is he saying?"

I dunno, I started working on the MoodGYM and will continue in the next few weeks to see if that'll help. Otherwise, despite being horny as a rabbit, I don't think dating may quite be for me if I keep having these issues. I'm turning 23 next January and hopefully graduating that spring, which means, no more school and I'll be entering the working world; with that outta the way, the chances of meeting anyone new are low, so, I'm kinda scared/screwed. D:

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Post by Wondering on Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:52 am

I... don't really know. I don't think so? See, I've also met people in my college classed and have since become pretty good buddies with some of them.
But, see, I wouldn't call meeting people from college classes a cold approach. I would call that lukewarm to warm. You're in class together. You already know each other from that context.

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Post by Guest on Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:56 am

Wondering wrote:
But, see, I wouldn't call meeting people from college classes a cold approach. I would call that lukewarm to warm. You're in class together. You already know each other from that context.

Sort of, but see there's been people in my classes that I've never uttered a word to ever. Sure we've sat in the same gorram classroom for 16 weeks, but I never learned their name because I wasn't there to make friends. D:

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Post by Wondering on Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:01 am

But they still know you and recognize you. Maybe they don't know your name, but they know you're in their class. Which means they know a few other things about you, too, such as that you're a college student. You have something in common to talk about already as a conversation starter: The class.

I'm not open to cold approaches at all. But if some guy in one of my college classes had approached me, I would have been more comfortable with that.

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Post by nonA on Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:19 am

Frankly, I don't wanna upset anyone. :I
Then renounce your wicked western ways!

Seriously.  Keeping crazy people happy is a fool's errand.  Don't do it.

That's what a friend of mine told me, to put myself out there, but it's scary and I can't exactly do it.

Somebody put this clip up on Youtube.  It makes me happy.  I also have a feeling I'll be using it a fair amount.

Yes, it was OKC. I'm almost certain that they blocked me, I found the same person on Tinder a day later.

Being OKC sage for a minute here.  There are two things she could have done to you individually.

She could have blocked your messages.  In which case, you would have seen nothing different on your end.  You could message her until the cows came home, it's just that they'd disappear instead of hitting her inbox.

She could've hidden you.  You two wouldn't have shown up on each others' searches, but you'd still be able to view her profile if you directly searched her name or otherwise had a link.  Most notably, if you mailed her, she'd still show as active if you looked at the message and you'd still be able to click through to her profile from that.

If her profile was gone, it was gone to everybody.  That's a tad nuclear for just one guy.  It's more likely that you caught her as she was either getting serious with someone else, or as she was getting fed up with the site.


And yes.  There is no guarantee that you'll get a response.  No matter how hot you are, no matter how good your message, no matter how good your on-paper qualifications look.  If you limit yourself to only sure things, you'll wind up missing out on a crapton of opportunities.

Instead, look at it as a cost/benefit analysis.  If you're able to keep expectations reasonable, the risks are negligible and the chance of something nice happening are high.  If you allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear of all the ways that things could go wrong or be even slightly awkward, you need a more active PUA community to help you desensitize yourself.

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Post by Guest on Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:57 am

nonA wrote:
Then renounce your wicked western ways!

Seriously.  Keeping crazy people happy is a fool's errand.  Don't do it.

What the hell are you talking about? I'm not trying to keep anyone happy, I'm trying to avoid crazy people and trying to NOT hit their buttons unintentionally.

nonA wrote:
Being OKC sage for a minute here.  There are two things she could have done to you individually.

She could have blocked your messages.  In which case, you would have seen nothing different on your end.  You could message her until the cows came home, it's just that they'd disappear instead of hitting her inbox.

She could've hidden you.  You two wouldn't have shown up on each others' searches, but you'd still be able to view her profile if you directly searched her name or otherwise had a link.  Most notably, if you mailed her, she'd still show as active if you looked at the message and you'd still be able to click through to her profile from that.

If her profile was gone, it was gone to everybody.  That's a tad nuclear for just one guy.  It's more likely that you caught her as she was either getting serious with someone else, or as she was getting fed up with the site.

Alas, I cannot say for certain seeing as they disappeared and I couldn't see their profile anymore.

nonA wrote:
And yes.  There is no guarantee that you'll get a response.  No matter how hot you are, no matter how good your message, no matter how good your on-paper qualifications look.  If you limit yourself to only sure things, you'll wind up missing out on a crapton of opportunities.

See, that's what I thought too about missing out. But... why would I waste my time doing that if the opportunities are slim to none?

nonA wrote:
Instead, look at it as a cost/benefit analysis.  If you're able to keep expectations reasonable, the risks are negligible and the chance of something nice happening are high.

My expectations were never high to begin with and I knew some of the risks.

But...


Sorry if that sounds a touch aggressive, but goddamn it that's how frustrating it gets for me.

nonA wrote:
 If you allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear of all the ways that things could go wrong or be even slightly awkward, you need a more active PUA community to help you desensitize yourself.

And then there's the confusing stuff, I thought PUA was bad and hokey?

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Post by nearly_takuan on Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:04 am

The Mikey wrote:
nonA wrote:
And yes.  There is no guarantee that you'll get a response.  No matter how hot you are, no matter how good your message, no matter how good your on-paper qualifications look.  If you limit yourself to only sure things, you'll wind up missing out on a crapton of opportunities.

See, that's what I thought too about missing out. But... why would I waste my time doing that if the opportunities are slim to none?

What else would you do with all that time? Complain on message boards? Wink

The Mikey wrote:
nonA wrote:
 If you allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear of all the ways that things could go wrong or be even slightly awkward, you need a more active PUA community to help you desensitize yourself.

And then there's the confusing stuff, I thought PUA was bad and hokey?

Rupert Giles wrote:Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
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Post by kleenestar on Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:24 am

Mikey, my advice to you would be to shift your focus from outcomes to process. In my job, I have to do all kinds of potentially awkward or uncomfortable things. Often I have to make someone unhappy, and I hate that! But I ask myself, "Did I conduct myself ethically? Did I use my best judgment? Did I learn something I can use to do better next time?" Those are internally focused questions that are about having me develop a way of judging myself that isn't depending on whether or not I got the result I want.

nearly_takuan, let me know if you want to talk sometime about dating within a very limited dating pool. I grew up in a community with an extremely limited dating pool - more so than asexuals if I'm reading the relative numbers right - but there was all kinds of infrastructure set up to make sure that people met each other in dating contexts. I also had my ideas of what an "abundance of options" looked like set pretty different from the mainstream, which helped on the psychological front. I don't know if it would be helpful or frustrating to hear about but it might suggest some ways forward for you.
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Post by Enail on Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:24 am

The Mikey wrote:
nonA wrote:
 If you allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear of all the ways that things could go wrong or be even slightly awkward, you need a more active PUA community to help you desensitize yourself.

And then there's the confusing stuff, I thought PUA was bad and hokey?

Just a reminder, different people have different opinions on things, including the people on this forum. Ultimately, you need to make your own decisions on this stuff.
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Post by kath on Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:00 pm

Mikey, I think this is the things.

You either have to be OK with where you are now, so you're down with not changing it.

Or you have to accept that you will have to continue putting yourself out there and having some experiences that are a little bad.

You can try to think baout the bad experiences differently - for example, nonA's made a pretty convincing case that the woman on OKC probably deleted her whole account. Since she could have blocked you in a way that would look like she had just ignored your message to you, that would have made more sense if she had thought "ugh, I really dislike that TheMikey guy". For her to delete her account, it's actually pretty unreasonable to think you would send her a message she didn't like, but didn't include any harassing or threatening content, that she would then nuke her account. That you continue to credit that as an option indicates that you are reading situations that don't go perfectly as actually humongous failures, when in fact, they aren't.

I think that may (?) come down to insecurity? I have a pretty good self-image (like, I like myself), but I don't necessarily trust myself - so when people criticise me or are upset at me, I really really consider how I might actually be horribly wrong. Even if I think - or know - I was actually being totally reasonable. I think that's pretty common. I also think that with ongoing training, its' something one can conquer (right now I'm not doing anything really structured about it), and there probably are streuctured approahces one can take. I would suggest maybe starting with MoodGym? I'm looking on Captain Awkward but not finding anything, Kleenestar, do you have suggestions?

Because the thing that sucks is, getting into a relationship doesn't fix the insecurities. Then they've said yes, but you're still scared you'll offend them or do something to mess it up :(.
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