Not All Conversations Are Like Talking To Guarded Women In Nightclubs

Some straight guys first start trying to improve their social skills because they're not happy with their dating and sex lives. They might look up advice on topics like how to flirt, write a better online dating profile, or places to meet potential partners.

They may come across articles or videos with tactics on how to chat up women at nightclubs. These sources can paint a picture where talking to a woman at a club is a tricky puzzle. They'll say things like:

To get around these issues they claim you have to do things like:

Now not all the tips you'll find about hitting on women at bars suggest things like this, but some do. I also won't get onto a tangent about whether this school of advice, and the way it portrays women, is accurate and valid or not. That's beside the point I want to make.

What I do want to say is that if you've come across this type of information, and you don't have the overall social experience to put it in perspective, it can skew the way you approach other types of conversations. Even if you don't realize it, you can start to think of all your interactions as if you're trying to win over a wary, skeptical woman at a dance club.

It all feels like a high stakes challenge, so it's easy to see how this could increase the amount of anxiety and pressure you feel. You can end up at a loss for words because you think it's a death sentence to make routine small talk, but you can't think of anything ultra-unique and witty to say.

The fact is most day to day conversations are much more forgiving. Your co-workers or college classmates aren't poised to shoot you down the instant you say something a bit mundane. They don't expect you to put on an elaborate show for them. They don't care whether you're the most high-status person in the room. It's okay if you ask them "boring" questions, or can't think of something to say for a few seconds. If anything, trying to be an uber-entertaining, commanding presence may backfire, since it's not appropriate for every setting.

That's all I want to cover. Just knowing you don't need to treat every ho-hum interaction like it's some big test with a razor thin margin for error will hopefully help you relax and be more effective in them. That's the kind of thing that's clear to people with enough social experience, but may not be obvious to someone who hasn't had as much practice, and could have their views warped by the first type of advice they stumble on.