Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Do You Speak to Strangers

I know you probably get this question of how to speak with people in a romantic since every other day so that I’ll attempt to help you view it from my standpoint. Therefore, you’re out in about and you find a cute girl. The location and what she is doing does not really matter in this case, since this is exactly what goes through my mind:

“This is the most busy, most crucial moment of her life and if you go up to her and disrupt, one of these things will occur: a) she will shout at you and be angry. B) she will laugh and make fun of you. C) she will gut you like a fish.

I can already hear you and everybody I’ve ever known say that won’t ever occur, and the worst thing she could do is say no. But that is doesn’t help. I have gotten all the relationship advice: just be certain, they are just as nervous as you are (side note, telling a nervous individual the other person is anxious does not help, it makes it worse), etc..

I have tried your breathing and 3 second rule. Doesn’t help. The being convinced thing would be easier if I had some success as it came to dating; I have approached friends who I developed feelings for and have been rejected each time.

There is 1 outlier. 1 time I did approach a woman, it was 10 years ago in a comic store. My very best friend and I were just joking around. One of my jokes made this woman laugh, so after about thirty minutes of my friend practically begging me to speak to her, we approached her. We did a little small talk and we exchanged numbers.

(Actually, 2 men approaching a random girl is not really a good appearance )

However, I see that as the exception, not the rule. I think it’s pretty easy to guess that my self esteem is not the greatest, but to tell the truth, it is far better now than it was back then. I see myself so much better today I many ways, but I {} bring myself to approach girls. Is there anything else I can attempt to get past this?

One of the continuing themes of the column is the amount of individuals who do not really have the problem that they believe they have. Sometimes this is because they are asking the wrong questions. Other times, it is because the man searching for information has attributed the cause due to their dilemma to a totally irrelevant and unconnected issue.

You, on the other hand, have a case of”here is how you can take all the wrong lessons from your experience.”

SD, although your problems are indeed valid, the problem here is that you are taking your adventures and coming away with courses which are entirely inapplicable to the situation at hand. Let us begin with the fact that you are attributing your lack of confidence to your lack of relationship success.

First of allthe reason you are not having much amorous success is because you are trying to date exclusively on Nightmare difficulty. When the only people you are coming are platonic friends you have suddenly caught feels for I am entirely unsurprised you are striking out. Attempting to change a platonic relationship to a sexual one is difficult, particularly when there has not been some flirting, any chemistry or any indication of interest from another person. In cases like this, you’re not trying to start a connection from scratch, you are trying to recontextualize your complete relationship with this individual. It is certainly possible, but it needs a good amount of skill and societal calibration in addition to a pretty hefty quantity of experience. If the vast majority of your efforts at finding customs is hitting friends, I am not surprised that you are striking out each time.

Secondly: The lack of success is sort of irrelevant to the problem at hand, because you are misunderstanding just what optimism is. Confidence is not assuredness that you can not or won’t fail at something; it is the understanding that success is possible and that failure may suck… but it won’t ruin you. You do not build your confidence by achievement, you build confidence in making the effort in the first location. Stress + Survival = Confidence.

You have successfully chatted up a girl before! You even bring this up on your letter: that girl at the comic store who began laughing at your jokes. The issue is that, once more, you are taking all the wrong lessons from this interaction. That you are calling it an outlier is a prime example of this. You did not succeed here because of random chance; you triumphed here since you were doing lots of the things you should do when you are approaching someone. In this situation, you made a remark that made her laugh — a fantastic beginning — then turned and began a conversation with her which lead to your getting her phone number. The only difference here is that you did not do it intentionally… and that is fine. But that does not make this an outlier; it just means you haven’t processed how this worked so which you could replicate the results if you will need to.

So here is a quick primer on the best way best to approach somebody.

First is what people call”the opener”. This is how you initiate the conversation. Despite how it might feel, this is truly the least important part of the procedure. How you get the dialogue going is ultimately irrelevant. In actuality, the chances are high that the person you’re speaking to won’t recall precisely what it was you said. In your experience in the comic shop, you used a kind of an indirect opener — that is, you began the conversation in a manner that was not about your wanting to speak to them.

Next is the pivot: moving out of the opener into a real conversation. A great deal of people who concentrate on getting the best opening line to begin a conversation often get wrapped up here; they feel like they must adhere to whatever it was that they said to get another person beginning. Instead, you need to move things towards getting them to take part in the conversation with you. The simplest way to pivot to a dialog is to show interest in them. I am a fan of”so what is your story?” As a method of getting them engaged; you are leaving things open for them to discuss their daily life, about why they’re in that particular place or about what they are doing in life.

From that point, you need to get to know them and ask interesting questions. Not the typical interview questions, but getting their opinions and ideas and finding out what makes them tick. Find and highlight the things you have in common, take opportunities to flirt and generally concentrate on connecting together.

Then comes the near: leaving the conversation. In cases like this, if you are interested in them, then you are hoping to get their amount, or even a date. The simplest way to do this is simple: you say”Hey, I must go, but I am really enjoying talking to you and I would really like to do this again. Then you’ve got a variety of ways of connecting with her. Maybe she will give you her number.

As intimidating as this might feel, you want to recognize that all you are doing is beginning a conversation. That’s it. You are not trying to convince this man to run away with you or have your kids; you are just trying to speak to them and see if you’re interested in them… and if they are interested in you.

Currently there are two ways of managing your fear of approaching people. The first is to watch for signs that someone is open to being approached or not busy. The woman who is reading intently, has her earbuds in or is working at her laptop in the coffeeshop is probably not up for talking to people. Somebody who’s distracted, staring out the window or not focusing on something? She is more likely to be amenable to speaking to somebody cool. The best alternative, however, are girls who are actively checking out you — who look at you and smile, who are standing much closer to you than is necessary or who are listening in on your conversation.

Y’know. Like the young woman from the comic shop.

Another is to stop seeing your curiosity about somebody as being negative. You have a right to find people attractive and to be interested in meeting people you are attracted to. Cultivating a more positive mindset will go a long way towards providing you with the courage and the confidence to become more social and start some discussions.

Very good luck.

Howdy Doc,

Among my closest long-time friends recently moved back to our hometown, from overseas, following a large break up. She was dating him for 3years and had started to consider marriage. Furthermore, she had an impressively large number of friends over there and a pretty good career path. All that blew up when they awakened as she’d moved there for him. The majority of our friends from here have moved away and another friend and I are really the only ones for her. Obviously, she is having a very difficult time with the alteration. Now here is the rub, we have hung out a few times the last week and I’m catching feelings HARD.

Some background, when we were first getting to know each other, her and I hooked up for about a month back in 2014. It was right after a bad breakup for me and that I was not even slightly prepared to get back out there. I had been in a bad place and have not felt like I could handle any type of relationship before late last year. I am really glad that we managed to get that friendship then. I believe her something like a kindred soul. I have a great deal of friends but very few that I believe really understand me. She is amazing and I treasure our friendship.

The issue now is that I have solved a lot of these problems that shut down my intimate life and my feelings for her are completely altered. I am heavily attracted to her whenever we have been together, something I have not experienced with another in years. We have always had good chemistry, and the sex was fantastic when we were hooking up, but I have not felt anything like this towards her till today. But with where she is in her life, I do not believe anything can happen. She’s in a really vulnerable place at the moment. I feel like she needs friends way more than she wants a boyfriend and I am one of two friends who could be present. Additionally, the other friend is not especially the nurturing kind so, really, I am kinda it in plenty of ways.

I feel a strong mutual attraction whenever we are together and it’s really freaking me out. My first idea is to put a little space between us {} feelings can run their course but I can not do this as she desires me to be there for her. Ultimately I trust myself and her to get through this somehow but this is pretty extreme and contradictory for me.

I don’t know whether I will be content with us only staying friends in the long term. I am asexual with a dash of demisexuality so I move fairly slowly and all my previous relationships have started out as friendships. Is it disingenuous to be the friend she needs while this seems like the beginning of something more? Do I want to broach this subject in the risk of endangering our friendship in a time she needs it most? If we only date, common sense be damned? I’m fully vexed.

Catching Feelings to your Sad Buddy

It is not disingenuous to be the friend she needs, even when you’re beginning to grab feels, CFYSF. The point at which it crosses the line is when you make the most of being the friend she desires.

The myth that attraction and sex gets in the way of friendship is just that: a fantasy. It places sexual interest — especially male sexual interest — as being this irresistible force that necessarily conflicts with a platonic friendship as people can not not act on it. However, the truth is: just because someone offers you a boner or the crying thigh sweats does not mean that you will need to do anything about it. It’s not that hard to let an appeal just be that: an attraction. You may notice it, name it and just let it be.

And to be truthful? That is the best option you have here, CFYSF. Right now, she is in a really vulnerable location. It has made all the worse by the fact that these all feed to the demise of her relationship. In all likelihood, she is feeling particularly lonely and isolated. Even if it does work and she decides to start dating you, the chances that it will last are not fantastic. It is not impossible… but it is not great. What she wants more than a boyfriend is someone on her side, who will help encourage her and prop her up while she is going through this stressful time. If she feels like you have been visiting this low point in her lifetime as your opportunity to hook up with her, then it is going to be a significant psychological blow… even if that is not what you were really intending.

Both have some serious history and chemistry together. You are fairly tight and this is the type of relationship which lines up perfectly with your attachment and attraction fashion. Y’are hanging out all of the time and the psychological connection is fairly intense at this time. And in other conditions, this could be a perfect storm for beginning something awesome. But that is not what she needs at this time.

So put those ideas of love aside for now. Help her get her feet back under her, get some stability and begin figuring out what the next phase of her life will be. That is going to be the very best and most loving thing you can do for her right now.

The fantastic thing is that if the both of you’re appropriate for each other? You’ll still be ideal for every other months down the line when she has had an opportunity to heal.

Very good luck.


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