All posts by Steven Zawila

Become more confident by focusing on others over yourself

When I got married a couple years ago, one of the things that excited me was the idea of never having to go through the process of asking women out ever again. I wouldn’t have to put myself out there or face the fear of rejection anymore.

Turns out that’s not quite true. Even if I’m not asking women out romantically anymore, I’ve learned that having successful social and professional lives depends on your ability to ask people out. Asking your co-workers out to lunch, asking new friends out to grab drinks, or asking a potential professional networking contact out to coffee.

All of that involves overcoming that oh-so-familiar fear of rejection. Darn it.

So, how do you overcome that fear of rejection? How do you move past that nervousness and the “lemonade” feeling that always creeps up in your stomach when you’re talking to a woman you’re interested in?

Overcoming nervousness by focusing outside yourself

Back when I was single, talking to a woman I was interested in seemed like the scariest thing in the world. That and roller-coasters.

I still hate roller-coasters, by the way

Whenever I wanted to approach someone, my mind would start racing at a million miles per hour playing all the bad things that could possibly happen. For example,

  • “What if I look like a fool or embarrass myself in front of her?”
  • “If I ask her out, everything might become awkward between us.”
  • “How do I start a conversation with her that will lead in the right direction?”

Eventually, I found myself living the same story over and over again. I’d run into an interesting woman and find myself infatuated with her. I’d take forever to work up the nerve to ask her out. Invariably she’d turn me down, sometimes even telling me that she already had a boyfriend.

Of course, she did.

Every time this happened, I’d feel like a fool for even sticking my neck out in the first place. I felt less and less confident each time I got turned down until eventually I began to believe—unironically—that I was cursed.

Looking back, a lot of that nervousness and approach anxiety came from the fact that I was focusing on myself instead of herself. When I told myself, “What if I look like a fool or embarrass myself in front of her?”, I was focusing too much on making myself look good instead of focusing on brightening up her day.

Women can sense this, by the way.

Instead of telling myself all those things that I used to before, I learned to replace those thoughts with new ones such as…

  • “How can I brighten up her day?”
  • “How can I show her a good time?
  • “What can I talk to her about that she’d enjoy telling me?

Once I changed my mindset to focus more on herself instead of myself, I started to become more confident around women. Again, women can totally sense this and that’s why changing your mindset is at least (if not more) important than the actual words you use when talking to her!

The next time you’re talking to a woman you’re interested in (or any person you’d like to build a relationship with), try shifting your focus onto themselves instead of yourself. You might be surprised at what a difference this makes!

P.S. Okay, so what do you do if you end up making a fool of yourself in front of her? Well…chances are they’re not going to remember. Unless they like you. Which is a good thing!

What our favorite films can teach us about having deeper conversations

Wow, is it almost Autumn already? It seriously feels like Summer just flew by this year. Normally, we’d go outside around this time of year, meet up with friends, and just absorb some sunlight. But since we’re still stuck in lockdown, we haven’t really been able to do those things. Honestly, it just feels like we “skipped” summer this year.

On that note, I hope we’re all still staying safe from COVID-19.

Since we’re all staying inside and not going out without wearing a mask (right? Right?!), I have a fun experiment for you to try out.

Recently, I’ve been getting questions from some of my readers about having more intimate conversations with women. How do you move past small talk and start talking about the deeper, more emotional stuff to build a connection with her?

One of the ways that I’ve found really helpful is to re-watch some of my favorite movies.

Wait, seriously? By watching movies? Yep! Here’s what I mean…

Think of your favorite movie of all time. (Your favorite GOOD movie. I, too, love watching Nic Cage steal the Declaration of Independence. Doesn’t mean it’s a good movie.) I’m sure you vividly remember the action scenes. The daring rescues and punches being thrown. A lot of films end with a big action scene.

Can you remember what happens right before the big action scene?

Typically, the story slows down. There’s a few minutes where nothing crazy happens onscreen. Instead, the characters take a second to have some vulnerable conversations with each other. They’ll talk about what their thoughts are, what their backstories are, and/or what their feelings are on the events of the story.

This helps us get more emotionally invested in the characters. It makes us care about what happens next. Here are some of my favorite examples (of course, don’t click the links if you haven’t seen these already and don’t want to be spoiled):

In the same way, you can help move conversations into deeper and more emotional subject matter whenever you talk to people by discussing your opinions, backstories, and feelings while also inviting them to do the same.

Try out this neat little experiment next time you watch some of your favorite films. Who knows? You’ll have some fun, and you just might learn something at the same time.

The Flirting Styles That Work Best for Highly Sensitive People

Hey! Today’s newsletter contains a link to something I’ve written for ‘Highly Sensitive Refuge’. If you haven’t noticed already, I’m what’s called a “Highly Sensitive Person” or HSP (yes that’s a real thing!) The closest some of my male friends have ever come to crying is watching Spider-man get dusted in Infinity War. Me…on the other hand…I bawl my eyes out watching Monica and Chandler on Friends.

Sometimes it feels like the world is just so harsh and uncaring. And, for men in particular, we’re expected to just tough it out without showing any emotion at all. That’s why I love their website so much. It’s incredibly validating to see what’s been created by those who are unafraid to be sensitive. Check out their website below!

When I started looking for love, I noticed that one of my friends who always got dates had the opposite personality that I had. He was very assertive, even in situations I would find overwhelming. When he flirted, he was aggressive and made the conversation overtly sexual very quickly.

That’s not me at all. I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP), and my flirting is reserved and gentle. After watching my friend succeed time and time again while talking to women, I became afraid that I would have to change my personality to be more like his if I ever wanted to get a girlfriend.

So I tried to behave more like my more assertive friend. However, I didn’t achieve any success, even though I was basically doing the same thing he was. I also felt like I was acting — not being the real, true me — by going against my personality.

What was I doing wrong?

continue reading on Highly Sensitive Refuge…

Lessons about dating from my two-year anniversary

It’s been a while since my last newsletter, huh? At Quietly Romantic headquarters, it’s tradition that if I fail to write something new in a reasonable amount of time then I get to tell you something embarrassing about myself.

So, here’s a picture of me the last time I was at Disneyworld (before the pandemic started). The name of this photo: “Steve tries to understand dinosaurs better by becoming one.”

When I look at this picture, there’s three things that come to mind:

  1. Was I sober when I had this picture taken?
  2. I can’t believe that the woman who took this photo thought it was a good idea to marry me.
  3. Holy cow, my two-year anniversary is coming up! I’ve been married to this amazing woman for two years now.

Wow. Time goes by fast sometimes, doesn’t it?

During that time, I’ve discovered that I’m a pretty dense person. If there’s one thing that continues to amaze me about being married, it’s constantly realizing how little I do know about being a good husband and a good man.

Today, I’d like to share with you a few things that would have made my dating life a lot smoother had I known them earlier. In my infinite capacity for being a dumb person, I’ve learned these after already being married. I’m sharing these with you now so you can apply them to your own dating life right away.

Continue reading Lessons about dating from my two-year anniversary

Is online dating hard? Here’s my secret, go-to message!

The rules of dating are different now than they were before. When everything was “normal”, maybe you’d run into a woman you liked while you were out with some friends and then you’d get her phone number.

Maybe your first date was a double-date with friends, or dinner at a nice place, or even a fun activity such as mini-golf (one of my favorites!) Maybe your second date included going to the park where you’d “accidentally” brush up against her and somehow ended up holding hands. And, if you still liked her at this point, maybe your third date would involve drinks and a movie with some cuddling.

It’s different now. The old rules of dating no longer apply.

Just because we’re under lockdown, though, doesn’t mean that our dating lives have to come to a halt!

Today, more and more people are turning to the world of online dating to continue their dating lives. They have virtual dates over Skype/FaceTime/Zoom rather than in-person dates. And, hey, just because it’s a virtual date doesn’t mean it’s any less real!

To make it as easy as possible for you, I’ve put together a Q&A of some questions that I’ve received from my readers:

Continue reading Is online dating hard? Here’s my secret, go-to message!

How to continue dating during the COVID-19 pandemic

Imagine that you’re on a Zoom call with a woman that you’ve started to connect with…

Initially, you met her on an online dating website. You check out her profile and, turns out, you both have many of the same hobbies! She seems like a cool person, so you decide to send her a message.

A few anxious moments pass. Did she even read your message? Your computer beeps, causing your heart to skip a beat.

It’s her! She responds to your message, and you have a little back-and-forth conversation before you have to log off. You tell her that you had a great time talking to her and you’d like to get to know her better. She agrees, and gives you her contact info.

That was several days ago.

Tonight, you’ve got your first date planned with her. Of course, you can’t meet up physically during social distancing, so you both decide to have your first date over Zoom instead. You plan to begin the night by having dinner together—that is, you’ve cooked some dinner for yourself, she’s cooked some food for herself, and you both plan to eat together virtually.

After dinner is drinks and a movie. She’s poured herself a glass of wine, you’ve poured yourself a glass as well, and you both turn the lights down as you both fire up Netflix simultaneously and watch a cheesy romantic comedy together.

Hey, it’s a virtual date, but it’s no less real than any other date!

I’ve decided that our dating lives don’t have to come to a halt just because of a global pandemic. In the immortal words of Patrick Star…

Continue reading How to continue dating during the COVID-19 pandemic

Okay, our dating lives don’t have to stop just because of COVID

So…COVID-19 sucks, amirite? I mean, that’s pretty much the understatement of the year at this point.

When this first started back in December 2019, I think everyone just believed that it was all just going to blow over really quickly—just like the Bird Flu or Swine Flu panics that were supposed to be a big deal but just fizzled out.

I’ll admit, I didn’t really mind being stuck inside at first. I’m an introvert at heart, so being inside and spending my free time doing this was right up my alley…

…but after a while, it sucks not having the option to go out anymore. It sucks not being able to go to new places, or try new things, or even meet new people. There are several areas of our lives that are currently being put on hold because of the pandemic.

Dating doesn’t have to be one of them.

More and more people are finding love via online dating these days. I’d like to help you do the same. Over the next couple days, I’m going to cover the essential ingredients for a great online profile including:

  • The secret ingredient for a great online profile – get this wrong and you may get zero responses
  • The EXACT word-for-word message I use to close the conversation and get her number
  • How to date even during a global pandemic

Stay tuned. This is going to be fun!

Please stay safe from Covid-19, okay?

It looks like some parts of the world are loosening up on quarantine restrictions. It’s nice that we’re finally starting to be able to go outside again, but I’m also worried that there may be another wave of infections if we come out of lockdown too early.

If it were up to me, we’d all continue to stay inside. And I know that’s easy for me to say since I’m already married and have someone to be holed up inside with. But I’m going to say it anyway.

Just…stay safe, okay? Keep washing your hands whenever you go outside. Limit contact with people you don’t know. And make sure you’ve got something covering your nose and mouth. I’d hate to learn that any of my readers got sick.

Be careful out there!

But then, somehow I ended up dead

Once upon a time, I lived in an apartment building for about 4 years. It was a great building: the location was good, the rent was reasonable, and the room had an amazing view of the lake!

If there was one thing that I thought was amiss about that building, though, it would be that the shower water was way too cold during the winter. It wasn’t that much of an issue anyway…it only happened during the winter, and a cold shower never killed anyone, right? So, I just kinda dealt with it for almost half a decade.

Well, I recently happened to run into the new tenant who moved into my old apartment. I asked him what he thought of the apartment. You know what he told me?

“It’s a great room but the shower water was a bit too cold when I moved in, so I asked the manager about it and he fixed it right up.”

Wait, what? You can do that!?!?

Continue reading But then, somehow I ended up dead