How to Cold Approach Without Being Creepy/Harassing

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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:37 am

kleenestar wrote: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.

Sooo, then are you saying I need to ask myself questions? If so, what kind of questions? Like the ones you ask yourself or others that seem more pertinent to my own situations?


Enail wrote:
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.

I see what you mean, sorry about that. PUA seemed a little odd from the first time I had heard about it when I was 15. Seemed tempting, but I figured I was too young to try and practice the stuff, turns out I was right. I also I figured that eventually women would hear all the stories PUAs would dish out, so I thought, "Ehhh."

kath wrote: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.

I gotta pick one or the other, yes, you're correct and I agree; buuuuut, I can't choose which one. I'm obviously not okay with where I am, but I can't seem to put myself out there because it's terrifying and uncomfortable experiences really mess with my head after some time. It's an odd vicious and mentally exhausting circle. D:

kath wrote:
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.

Yes, you're correct, I suppose it wasn't a great failure. But it sure felt like it. I didn't expect it to go perfectly, I expected a "hello", an exacerbated "hello", or complete silence. Not the nuking of their entire profile, so, through sequential reasoning I thought, "Am I really this awful/boring of a dude? Well, shit, I'm sorry."

kath wrote:
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.

I'm insecure about the way I look more than anything sometimes. I've struggled with acne for about nine years, since I was 10 til I was 19 and when you have redhead genes in you too, the freckles don't help with the scarring (but hey look at Edward James Olmos!). Plus I've always been something of a husky kid and tried desperately to lose weight since I was a kid too, but eventually I grew to accept my body for what it is; it ain't my favorite -- not like my hair, it's godly -- but at least I got my height (I'm 5' 11")! If you're curious to see what I look like, PM me, I'll shoot ya a link to my Facebook. Razz

If you're interested, possible source of my insecurities:
I was already shy to begin with. However, when you take an acne-riddled husky kid who's more interested in nerdy shit, classic heavy metal music and toss him into a middle-school where there's a majority of Hispanic kids (I myself am Hispanic, but I'm totally whitewashed, not denying it anymore) that act like thugs and the results come out to me becoming more coy about who I am and what I like. The only reason I was rarely messed with was because of my stature, but the psychological/emotional abuse from peers, teachers and admins... that leaves quite an impression. I remember telling a female classmate (who I thought was quite cute) that I was so bored one afternoon that I figured out how to use the quadratic formula, the response I got was "You really have no life, do you?" :\

One of the worsts though was this girl saying "Oh, don't talk to him, Mikey's so weird" and this other girl said "I don't think he's that weird..." Which I appreciated quite a lot. I mean knew I was a little weird, but I mostly thought of being on the eccentric side...

I still don't know what stopped me from going Hulk and ripping people's heads off.

I think this is what really kinda messed with my head way back in the day that it's affected me to this day. I've tried putting it behind me but... well, you know. High school was much better, few assholes here & there, but nothing too bad. Middle school was like 'Nam though, I ain't going back there again. If I do by some freak accident Quantum Leap into my 12 to 14 year old body, I'll be sure to crack some skulls and ask out my then crush.

All of that is what's ultimately led to my low self-confidence with girls.

Anyway, I'm rambling now...

And I'll consider what I'm doing if the person who's criticizing me, I respect/value their opinion or if their criticism is constructive and/or not condescending.

kath wrote:
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?

Actually, I mentioned earlier that I started working with MoodGym and am hopeful I can gain better control of my anxieties that way. It's very interesting how thoughts affect our feelings and how we can change how we feel by the way we think, pretty amazing so far and this is only the first module.

kath wrote:
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 Sad.

Actually, I like to think if I do get into a relationship I could potentially be more vulnerable with them. I like to think, they chose me so they must like me even with my flaws, yes, there's a limit, but for the most part they love all of me. So, what's there to be insecure about? I could very well be wrong and I can accept that. But see, when I went out with this girl back in May, I really liked her and nothing else mattered. I wasn't concerned about how I looked or acted around her, I was mindful of what I said, but I felt at ease with her for the most part, not at all anxious. Sure I was nervous (first dates are always a little odd) but I powered through it and it was one of the few times I really, genuinely felt happy.

I'm rambling now, sorry. I feel a lot better now that I got out some of the stuff I've been carrying on my soul.

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Post by kath on Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:42 am

Great to hear it doesn't seem like the way your brain works would make insecurity stick around during a relationship!

And yes, it totally makes sense that you would carry those middle school experiences with you and that they would impact how yoiu feel and think later. (The criticism thing was just me talking giving context how I'm insecure, I didn't mean I thought you shared that or anything.)

Re: OKC - her nuking her profile wasn't a response to you. You actually did get one of the things you expected - complete silence. She just happened to nuke her account for whatever reason (vanishingly unlikely to have anything to do with you, as detailed by nonA) just after you sent that message. It was a total coincidence, but you assumed it was because you are horrible and stopped using OKC alltogether when it had nothing to do with you.

TheMikey wrote:
I gotta pick one or the other, yes, you're correct and I agree; buuuuut, I can't choose which one. I'm obviously not okay with where I am, but I can't seem to put myself out there because it's terrifying and uncomfortable experiences really mess with my head after some time. It's an odd vicious and mentally exhausting circle. D:

I get it. A lot of people end up working up to it. We've suggested several ways to deal with it (MoodGym, bite the bullet, work up to it slowly, desensitize yourself), so you next step is trying some or maybe looking elsewhere for additional ideas?
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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:15 am

kath wrote:Great to hear it doesn't seem like the way your brain works would make insecurity stick around during a relationship!

Well yeah, I won't claim that I'll become boyfriend of the year, all years, I'm not perfect. I've been told that I'm actually a great catch, etc., so that does help a little.

kath wrote:
And yes, it totally makes sense that you would carry those middle school experiences with you and that they would impact how yoiu feel and think later. (The criticism thing was just me talking giving context how I'm insecure, I didn't mean I thought you shared that or anything.)

Yeah, middle-school sucked.

kath wrote:
Re: OKC - her nuking her profile wasn't a response to you. You actually did get one of the things you expected - complete silence. She just happened to nuke her account for whatever reason (vanishingly unlikely to have anything to do with you, as detailed by nonA) just after you sent that message. It was a total coincidence, but you assumed it was because you are horrible and stopped using OKC alltogether when it had nothing to do with you.

Yes, I understand that now. I was in a weird place, this woman nuking her site from orbit helped give me more of a reason to leave OKC since I wasn't getting anything out of it (although, to be fair I wasn't sending messages either, due to my previous assumptions).

kath wrote:
I get it. A lot of people end up working up to it. We've suggested several ways to deal with it (MoodGym, bite the bullet, work up to it slowly, desensitize yourself), so you next step is trying some or maybe looking elsewhere for additional ideas?

I'm trying out MoodGym, so we'll see where that leads me. ;D

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Post by IntelligentDice on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:22 pm

I'm going to toss this out here because I think people are advocating it but not precisely enough for my tastes.

Everyone suggesting you do cold approaches with random people are suggesting something called Exposure Therapy. Basically in order to conquer your fear you have to face it. But you do it gradually, incrementally.

Mikey, you're saying that your anxiety strikes around people you're attached to right? I don't think you need to do cold approaches to random people. I think you need to cold approach attractive women; but start with completely, utterly plutonic things. Ask for the time, if you're at the right train stop, if they know the name of the song on the radio or whatever. Nothing at all with dating, flirting or the like.

Try to build up from there to conversations. Once you can sit down and have a conversation with someone who makes your pants fit funny you'll be less anxious around them. They're people too with flaws just like you and me.

When you can do that then you'll be able to go to the next level as it were.

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Post by Guest on Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:52 pm

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I was pretty busy the last two days. D:

IntelligentDice wrote:
Mikey, you're saying that your anxiety strikes around people you're attached to right?  I don't think you need to do cold approaches to random people.  I think you need to cold approach attractive women; but start with completely, utterly plutonic things.  Ask for the time, if you're at the right train stop, if they know the name of the song on the radio or whatever.  Nothing at all with dating, flirting or the like.  

When you say attractive, you mean women that *I* find attractive, riiiiight? Razz Because what I find/think of as attractive may not be what you think. I just wanna be sure of that distinction. The reason I ask because while the model-types or bombshells may be fun for a night, I don't think our personalities/lifestyles would mesh terribly well, I could be wrong, but I don't picture myself with anyone like that.

IntelligentDice wrote:
Try to build up from there to conversations.  Once you can sit down and have a conversation with someone who makes your pants fit funny you'll be less anxious around them.  They're people too with flaws just like you and me.  

When you can do that then you'll be able to go to the next level as it were.

What's funny about that is, I'll be too anxious/nervous for my pants fit funny. ;D

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Post by kleenestar on Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:09 pm

Mikey, yes, I am suggesting you figure out some questions by which you can judge your behavior other than "Did it work?" or "Did I make her unhappy?" You can't control either of those things, and you often won't have particularly good information about the latter.

I'd suggest developing no more than three questions. Ideally one is a values question - mine is "Did I treat this person with respect for who they are rather than for who I want them to be?" One can be a behavior question, like "Did I always give her a comfortable way to say no, and did I respect it right away?" Finally, one can be a style or outcomes question, like "Did I find out something new about this person?"

Does that make any sense?
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Post by IntelligentDice on Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:38 pm

The Mikey wrote:When you say attractive, you mean women that *I* find attractive, riiiiight? Razz Because what I find/think of as attractive may not be what you think. I just wanna be sure of that distinction. The reason I ask because while the model-types or bombshells may be fun for a night, I don't think our personalities/lifestyles would mesh terribly well, I could be wrong, but I don't picture myself with anyone like that.

Yes.

Yes to both...? I'm more focused on the 'face your fear' angle. But if the person that matches this distinction is *insert starlet that revs your engine here* then hell yeah go for it Laughing

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Post by Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:43 am

kleenestar wrote:Mikey, yes, I am suggesting you figure out some questions by which you can judge your behavior other than "Did it work?" or "Did I make her unhappy?" You can't control either of those things, and you often won't have particularly good information about the latter.

I'd suggest developing no more than three questions. Ideally one is a values question - mine is "Did I treat this person with respect for who they are rather than for who I want them to be?" One can be a behavior question, like "Did I always give her a comfortable way to say no, and did I respect it right away?" Finally, one can be a style or outcomes question, like "Did I find out something new about this person?"

Does that make any sense?

I had to go back and re-read your original post where you suggested I ask myself questions. Yes, it does make sense, but I don't exactly see myself going that deep into self-analysis because I have a tendency to overthink things. I need to simplify my train of thought to real basic stuff sometimes when it comes to people and interactions. I know things can get complex with people, but at the same time, it needn't be so.

The way I go about it now that I can think clearly -- I'll be honest, when I was writing the previous posts I was feeling depressed -- is: I tend to think about what I'm gonna do or say beforehand, granted that doesn't always work because I'll either think or speak faster than the other (as in my mouth can't catch up to my thoughts, or my thoughts can't keep up with my mouth). Much like your questions I ask myself depending on the situation stuff like, "Is what I'm gonna say/do offensive or obscene? Does this person's opinion matter to me? Does this feel right to say?" and so on and so forth.

Maybe I should learn to ask those questions afterwards? What do you think?

IntelligentDice wrote:

Yes.  

Yes to both...?  I'm more focused on the 'face your fear' angle.  But if the person that matches this distinction is *insert starlet that revs your engine here* then hell yeah go for it Laughing

No I know, you could have ignored the third sentence, I just wanted to be clear on if you meant I should go for girls *I* want. Razz

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Post by kleenestar on Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:43 am

Right, I'm saying two things. First, REDUCE the number of questions you are asking yourself to three. Or, hell, just one. Second, ask them afterwards. Smile
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Post by Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:06 am

kleenestar wrote:Right, I'm saying two things. First, REDUCE the number of questions you are asking yourself to three. Or, hell, just one. Second, ask them afterwards. Smile

May I at least think of my interaction beforehand, act/do my thing and then ask myself questions? Razz

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Post by kleenestar on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:49 am

Sure, that's actually a good technique - use the questions to make your plan, then execute, then reflect. Among other things, that will radically accelerate your learning.
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Post by Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:22 pm

The Mikey wrote:
kleenestar wrote:Right, I'm saying two things. First, REDUCE the number of questions you are asking yourself to three. Or, hell, just one. Second, ask them afterwards. Smile

May I at least think of my interaction beforehand, act/do my thing and then ask myself questions? Razz

The important part here is "don't think them during."

Another thing I'll add -- I am a planner. And I don't like to feel out of control. As a result, I like to try to script things like encounters with people, to plan what I'll say if they...

smile politely
ignore me completely
seem genuinely interested
seem way too interested
say something racist
say something sexist
nonobadtouch
swear at me
propose marriage
try to convert me
try to hire me
...

The problem with this is that the number of possibilities are literally infinite. I spiral down this "planning" path forever. Literally. There are some conversations I've been planning for 5+ years, and never been able to have, because I feel like the number of uncertainties is too high. But the longer I think about it, the more uncertainties I wind up with. It's like trying to drive to the store and starting to panic about the weather. "What if it rains? I should bring an umbrella. And a shovel! It snowed earlier than this a few years ago. We could also get hail. Or a hurricane! Do I have bottled water in the trunk? What if there's a flash flood? Where's the highest-ground path home?" You'll never leave the house!

Sometimes, you really just need to do it. "Will she feel cornered if I go to talk to her? What about her makes me want to talk to her?" And then just... go. Embrace the lack of an umbrella. If it rains, you get wet, and you dry off. It's all part of being alive. Smile

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Post by Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:19 pm

ElizaJane wrote:
The important part here is "don't think them during."

Another thing I'll add -- I am a planner.  And I don't like to feel out of control.  As a result, I like to try to script things like encounters with people, to plan what I'll say if they...

smile politely
ignore me completely
seem genuinely interested
seem way too interested
say something racist
say something sexist
nonobadtouch
swear at me
propose marriage
try to convert me
try to hire me
...

The problem with this is that the number of possibilities are literally infinite.  I spiral down this "planning" path forever.  Literally.  There are some conversations I've been planning for 5+ years, and never been able to have, because I feel like the number of uncertainties is too high. But the longer I think about it, the more uncertainties I wind up with.  It's like trying to drive to the store and starting to panic about the weather.  "What if it rains?  I should bring an umbrella.  And a shovel!  It snowed earlier than this a few years ago.  We could also get hail.  Or a hurricane!  Do I have bottled water in the trunk?  What if there's a flash flood?  Where's the highest-ground path home?"  You'll never leave the house!

Sometimes, you really just need to do it.  "Will she feel cornered if I go to talk to her?  What about her makes me want to talk to her?"  And then just... go.  Embrace the lack of an umbrella.  If it rains, you get wet, and you dry off.  It's all part of being alive. Smile

I'm the same way, I tend to script as well, but I don't have one for every encounter, I script prior to an encounter with whatever info I have or don't have so to speak and then I'll wing it if I can manage it.

I appreciate the analogy, it certainly makes sense. :3 And I don't ever wanna make a girl feel like she's cornered, but if I wanna talk to her it's usually because I think she's cute. Smile

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Post by Nerdator on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:50 pm

ElizaJane wrote:
The Mikey wrote:
kleenestar wrote:Right, I'm saying two things. First, REDUCE the number of questions you are asking yourself to three. Or, hell, just one. Second, ask them afterwards. Smile

May I at least think of my interaction beforehand, act/do my thing and then ask myself questions? Razz

The important part here is "don't think them during."

Another thing I'll add -- I am a planner.  And I don't like to feel out of control.  As a result, I like to try to script things like encounters with people, to plan what I'll say if they...

smile politely
ignore me completely
seem genuinely interested
seem way too interested
say something racist
say something sexist
nonobadtouch
swear at me
propose marriage
try to convert me
try to hire me
...

I don't know if it's the intention, but most of these items can be quite reasonably answered with a 'fuck you!'. Efficiency!
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Post by Robjection on Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:20 pm

Nerdator wrote:I don't know if it's the intention, but most of these items can be quite reasonably answered with a 'fuck you!'. Efficiency!
I don't know, some folks might take a lot less kindly to 'fuck you' than other negative responses to the point that it makes the difference between walking away from the interaction largely intact and ... not walking away from the interaction largely intact.
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Post by Nerdator on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:25 pm

Robjection wrote:
Nerdator wrote:I don't know if it's the intention, but most of these items can be quite reasonably answered with a 'fuck you!'. Efficiency!
I don't know, some folks might take a lot less kindly to 'fuck you' than other negative responses to the point that it makes the difference between walking away from the interaction largely intact and ... not walking away from the interaction largely intact.

Well, I meant the approach whereby you limit your responses and categorise all the possibilities. This way, you can memorise only a small limited set of phrases, like 'I'm back' or 'here's Johnny' or 'fuck you' or 'my hovercraft is full of eels'. Assign situations to categories (i.e. phrases) according to a certain algorithm – and don't forget to draw flowcharts. This might be a bit rigid, but it could be a way to manage the impossible.

And if that's what you're implying, acquiring pepper spray and the skills to punch faces for those kinds of situations is far easier and rewarding than subjecting yourself to the ignominy of learning social skills.
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Post by Autumnflame on Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:37 am

I thought there was a thread to relate tales about good approaches, but this seems to be the closest I can find. Maybe it was on the old forums?

At any rate, was reminded of this due to an approach today. I was working a table at a convention, and while closing up and hauling things outside, I smiled at and exchanged a few casual pleasantries with a guy standing outside smoking, who had stopped by my table a couple of times to look at my stuff. On my way out, he stopped me briefly, said, "I'm sure you get this a lot, but, uh, here," handed me a card with his number on it (my own card, as it so happened), smiled and vanished before I could quite get my head together to respond. (I was pretty focused on breaking things down and planning my schedule for the rest of the day.)

It was simple, brief, he kept it to a time when I was clearly on my way out and didn't have to be nice to him to sell things/wasn't trapped at the table, happened after we'd already acknowledged each other a few minutes ago and had talked a bit before that, and left the ball in my court. Pretty much a picture-perfect lukewarm approach. If I'd been strongly attracted to him, it would have worked. (As it is, he was cute and the politeness of the approach put a smile on my face, but right now I've got too many things on my plate.)

...Well, and if he'd made sure to write his number legibly. A few of the numbers were smudged and difficult to decipher. :p So a slight stumble on the dismount.
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Post by LadyIkaros on Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:58 am

Okay, I may be a bit uptight about this, but I'd recommend cold approaching only in contexts where mingling is already kind of a given - especially if, like me, you're not exactly a natural social butterfly - and where you might strike up a conversation with someone not of your preferred gender too. Like if you're attending some nerdy convention or a board game night or something. This should also give you some starting point subject to talk about that isn't a stilted line or an obvious come on. Those really put people on the spot and instantly make the situation higher stakes.
Don't trap anyone - physically or socially - and keep it light at first; be prepared to just exchange a few pleasantries and move on if conversation doesn't naturally flow from there. Then things should be alright I think, and not too awkward for anyone involved.

Edit: Oh, and this was a general observation, not a reply to Mikey specifically. I somehow managed to overlook that the thread was more than one page long scratch
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Post by Jayce on Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:28 am

Yes timing and context are important parts of approaching. Like Ikaros I suggest that the appropriate context for an approach is a place where it is seen as normal or ok for people to be talking/interacting. Here is an example: Today I cold approached a woman in my math class, but here's the thing, in math class in my university NOBODY and I mean nobody, ever talks to anybody else. Everybody just sits there in their own corner, solving their maths problems. If you had issues with getting the answer, it was the norm to ask the tutorial teacher. There is never class discussions or any interaction between students themselves (I wished there was!!) . So she was sitting behind me. I could make some conversation with her during class time but my intuition thought it was probably not a good idea, because it was not the norm for people to talk to each other and since everybody is focusing on their work, it might seemed unusual. So what do I do? I conveniently pack my things at the same time she packed hers, and we almost walked out the door at the same time, when we were out I asked her what she thought about class. And now after talking a little bit we at least know each other.

She was happy to interact with me, we both don't know anybody else in class so now at least we both have some company and I was not possibly distracting her from her work in class.

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Post by Guest on Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:33 am

LadyIkaros wrote:Okay, I may be a bit uptight about this, but I'd recommend cold approaching only in contexts where mingling is already kind of a given - especially if, like me, you're not exactly a natural social butterfly - and where you might strike up a conversation with someone not of your preferred gender too. Like if you're attending some nerdy convention or a board game night or something. This should also give you some starting point subject to talk about that isn't a stilted line or an obvious come on. Those really put people on the spot and instantly make the situation higher stakes.
Don't trap anyone - physically or socially - and keep it light at first; be prepared to just exchange a few pleasantries and move on if conversation doesn't naturally flow from there. Then things should be alright I think, and not too awkward for anyone involved.

Edit: Oh, and this was a general observation, not a reply to Mikey specifically. I somehow managed to overlook that the thread was more than one page long scratch

Teehee, that's okay, I still can't approach for shit unless you get me drunk.

even drunk im still terrible with girls

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Post by LadyIkaros on Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:46 am

Nothing wrong with a bit of Dutch courage Smile
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:07 am

As a Dutch person, I find that phrasing kind of offensive. Lingo like a Dutch treat, Dutch wife and Dutch disease just perpetuates gross national stereotypes, it would be the same as me making remarks about fast food and rednecks when running into tourists.

Anyhow, take care to give yourself a hard limit were you slip from bold into obviously drunk(4-5 or so units max).

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Post by LadyIkaros on Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:43 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:As a Dutch person, I find that phrasing kind of offensive. Lingo like a Dutch treat, Dutch wife and Dutch disease just perpetuates gross national stereotypes, it would be the same as me making remarks about fast food and rednecks when running into tourists.
I
How about Dutch oven? Wink I've actually never heard the other ones. Is a Dutch disease an STI? Because those pretty much have all the nationalities that somebody else was once hostile to, I think. Like gonorrhea was the French disease in Spain, and the Spanish disease in France.
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