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 may look up advice on topics like how to flirt, write a better online dating profile, or places to meet potential partners.
They can 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:
- Women in nightclubs, especially good looking ones, have their guard up since they're constantly being hit on.
- If they're open to meeting a guy they have lots of options, so they're in a choosy, hard to impress, egotistical mindset.
- They can be flighty and distractible, because they've been drinking, they want to get back to their friends, it's loud, they may be on drugs, and so on.
- Even if she's open to talking to you, her friends or rival guys may get in your way.
To get around these issues they claim you have to do things like:
- Be super interesting, funny, and engaging, to stand out from the other dudes, and hold her limited attention. Whatever you do, you can't make boring small talk.
- Carry most of the conversation at first, as she may be skeptical or hesitant, and not willing to say much.
- Come across as really confident and high-status, again to make the cut over all everyone else.
- Use various techniques not to seem too interested or eager, so she doesn't immediately put her walls up.
- Use tricks to win over her friends, so they don't quickly shoo you away.
- Use tactics to outwit and disarm any competing or hostile guys who may try to derail your conversation.
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 advice, 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.
- You might think everyone is picky, judgmental, and leaning toward rejecting you unless you quickly change their mind.
- You may believe you have to put on an impressive, colorful song and dance routine for everyone you talk to.
- You may assume you have to pull all the weight to keep an exchange going.
- You may try too hard to seem high-status, or like you're unaffected, aloof, and above it all.
- You might start thinking of group conversations as tactical minefields you have to traverse, where everyone other person in it is a potential enemy or obstacle.
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.