And that’s why yoga scares me more than tarantulas

You know, I used to be an unconfident socially anxious person in the past. I’d meet women that I wanted to talk to but I’d always be afraid to approach her. I’d see Meetup groups that looked super fun but I was afraid to go. Heck, I’d even be afraid to talk to my co-workers at work!

I was that guy who was always picked last in gym class. I was that guy who would hide in the bathroom and pretend to be playing on my phone at parties while everyone else was having fun. I was that guy who sat at the corner of the lunch table because nobody wanted to eat with me.

This is where you’d find me at a party

The worst part about being that guy is that – when you look around and see everyone else having fun, making friends, and getting into relationships – you begin to wonder if you’re the only one who doesn’t get it.

Yeah. It sucks to be that guy.

Of course, I didn’t want to be that guy. I’d always get advice from well-meaning relatives like…

  • “You should be more confident”
  • “Steven, you should speak up more”
  • “You should break out of your shell”

…and, I mean, I wanted to!! I desperately wanted to break out of my shell. To make friends and talk to people just as easily as everyone else did.

I even tried to break out of my shell a few times. I would ask my classmates if they wanted to grab lunch. I asked a few women that I liked out on dates. Invariably, they all turned me down. And eventually, I just started to wonder if it was because something was wrong with me. If it was because I was a bad person.

That was not an emotionally fun place to be.

If you’ve ever felt this way, then I’m not going to try and talk you out of it. Instead, I’ll just tell you what I wish I knew back then whenever I felt that way.

Continue reading And that’s why yoga scares me more than tarantulas

Don’t leave the ball in her court

Ever had an Uber ride was off-the-rails crazy?

I have. It had neon lights, a freaking disco ball, and some sort of weird glasses on the driver’s face that, in hindsight, I sure hope to God wasn’t covering up a lack of sobriety.

At the end of the ride, the driver turned to me and asked “Hey! Did you know I’m also a rapper?’

“No. Really!?” I reply with feigned surprise. Given all the wacky stuff in this guy’s car, the fact that this guy creates rap music was perhaps the least shocking thing that night.

“Yeah! You should check out my channel,” he says and gives me the name of his channel.

“Will do. Thanks!” I reply, stumbling out of this strange car.

(In the words of Stephen Colbert, “Guess which state this happened in? Never mind, it’s Florida.”)

Well, I have to confess that I never did check out that guy’s rap channel. I wanted to, I swear! But as soon as I got to my destination, I went about the rest of my night and the events of that Uber ride fell out of my brain about 30 seconds after I stepped out of the car. I wish I could tell you what it was called so you could check it out for yourself but I’ve totally forgotten what the name of that guy’s channel was.

When that Uber-driver-slash-rapper was telling me about his channel, he made one fatal mistake. Can you guess what it is?

His mistake was that he left the ball in my court.

Of course, I wanted to check out his channel! But once I stepped out of the car, about a thousand other things started vying for my attention and I just totally forgot about it. He could have prompted me to pull up his channel and subscribe to it while I was still in the car. Or, at the very least, he could have written the name of his channel down on a piece of paper and handed it to me.

But he didn’t. He committed what Ramit Sethi calls a “failure of the last mile” and left me to do it on my own. This cost him not just one potential follower (myself), but many potential followers since I could have recommended you the name of his channel if I thought it was any good.

It’s easy to point out how he screwed up by leaving the ball in my court.

How many of us are doing the same thing when it comes to women?

Continue reading Don’t leave the ball in her court

I still get nervous all the time, too

I’m perhaps one of the least confident people I know.

You’d think I’d be one of the most confident people out there. But I still get social anxiety when I’m around people.

This is me in my comfort zone…

And this is me outside of my comfort zone…

That’s me on the far right. It looks like I’m having a good time, right? I cracked a few jokes, told a few stories, and basically became the life of the party. But if you could look inside my head, you’d see that my emotions basically looked like this:

Life would be so much easier if you could take the part of your brain that feels anxiety and just…flip a switch so you don’t feel unconfident anymore, right?

Well, I haven’t found that switch yet. But until I do, here’s how I deal with those times I feel nervous or unconfident.

Continue reading I still get nervous all the time, too

And that’s why I play Super Mario instead of Fortnite

If there’s one thing my friends seem to enjoy doing too much of, it’s giving me crap about the fact that I love playing old Nintendo games instead of more “serious” games like Fortnite or PUBG. The reason why is that I always found those old Super Mario games therapeutic…

…while those shooter games have a way of making me rage and wanting to throw my controller at the screen. Every time I get killed, I start yelling at the game like…

“WHY!? Why did that kill me?”

…and then I come up with a million reasons—other than the fact that I suck—as to why I got killed.

  • Was my opponent probably cheating? Yep!
  • Does he have better skills than I do? Nope.
  • Was it probably the lag that got me killed? Yep!
  • Is it possible that my opponent had a better strategy? Nope.

And that’s why I play Mario instead of Fortnite.

This sort of behavior is relatively harmless (and mildly amusing) when it comes to video gaming. When it comes to other areas of our lives, though, mindsets like these can often hold us back in very real ways.

Continue reading And that’s why I play Super Mario instead of Fortnite

Potato chips and life lessons

Looking back on 2019, one of the biggest accomplishments I’m proud of this year is making a career change into my dream industry (yep, I work a full-time job just like everybody else). This is something that I’ve wanted to do for the past few years, but I’ve never gotten around to actually doing it.

It was always one of those “important, not urgent” things in the back of my mind. The fancy scientific term for this is cognitive dissonance—basically, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re doing something you know you shouldn’t (or when you’re not doing something you know you should.)

An example of cognitive dissonance that we can all relate to is eating a bag of potato chips even though you “know” it’s unhealthy. Whenever I do this, I always end up telling myself things such as:

  • “Ah, it’s just one bag of potato chips”
  • “I don’t eat potato chips that often anyway”
  • “I’ll work it off later”

Take a wild guess at how many times I’ve actually “worked off” a bag of potato chips after eating it.


Yep, that’s correct.

Sure, it’s easy to identify this sort of self-defeating self-talk when someone else says it. But how many of us are guilty of sabotaging ourselves through our own self-talk, especially around women?

Continue reading Potato chips and life lessons

How to become confidently outcome-independent around women

The holidays are coming! It’s the time of year when you start seeing Christmas lights and other festive decorations.

It’s also the time of year that used to stress me out the most.

You see, I always used to put a lot of pressure on myself to find a girlfriend in time for the holidays. It’s the time of year that you spend with people you love, and I always wanted to find a nice woman and take her home to meet my parents during the holiday season.

What I didn’t realize is that I was actually making it harder on myself by doing this. Since I was putting all these arbitrary deadlines around when I “had” to find a girlfriend, I was starting to come off as desperate to the women that I talked to. As I’ve written before, women don’t want a man whose cup of life is only half full.

After trying to talk to women and striking out a few times, I began to ask myself…

“How do I stop coming across as desperate when talking to women?”

…which was a good start, but it was still the wrong question. Eventually, I started having more luck talking to women when I stopped asking myself that question and started asking this one:

“How do I stop being desperate when talking to women?”

Continue reading How to become confidently outcome-independent around women

That one time a dead fish kicked my butt

It’s been a while since my last article, huh? Looks like the last time I’ve written something was…let me check…

…back in October 16, 2019…


As per Quietly Romantic tradition, anytime I go too long without publishing something new, I get to post something embarrassing about myself. So, here’s a picture of me eating sushi that has WAY too much wasabi on it:

Yep, that’s me getting my butt kicked by a dead fish. I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight knowing that a picture of myself literally crying now exists on the internet.

I’m unapologetic about the fact that I’m a crier, and the idea that men can be emotionally sensitive is an example of something that I’d love to see talked about more in today’s world. There are a lot of men’s issues in the world that deserve much more attention than they currently get. On that note, here are a few links to people doing a beautiful job of talking about these issues.

Continue reading That one time a dead fish kicked my butt

The ABC’s of being confident

I was never a confident person.

If I had a crush on a woman, I’d always wish that I could be confident enough to go up to her and just start talking to her. I could never bring myself to do it, though. My hands would get clammy, I’d get that sinking feeling in my stomach, and I’d suddenly find myself stuttering like crazy.

Meanwhile, I’d watch other guys go up to women and just start talking to her. And the most fascinating part was that, if they asked her out and she ended up turning them down, then they just shrugged it off as if it were no big deal!

How were other men able to talk to her so easily and take rejection in stride, while I couldn’t muster up the courage to even begin a conversation?!

Here’s what I know now about being confident that I wish I’d known back then.

Continue reading The ABC’s of being confident