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.
Recently, I got a rather heartbreaking email from one of my readers. He had a friend that he used to be very close to when he was younger, and he tried to reconnect with his friend, but unfortunately his friend no longer wanted anything to do with him.
Looking back on my childhood, I had a lot of friends that I thought I’d be close to forever. Back in freshman year of college, we had a small group that I always hung out with:
And back in senior year, it became a different group:
Today, most of these people I don’t even talk to anymore. What happened?
Back when I was in my early 20’s, I always felt that I didn’t need to make new friends because I was happy being alone. A typical weekend for me might have looked like this, and I loved it:
Also, I worried that if I made a bunch of friends then I would never have time for myself anymore. I always imagined those rowdy guys who lived nearby that would always go to bars at night, and I figured that I didn’t want to become like one of those dudes. Or, I worried that my friends would make me go out all the time and I’d never have any time to do things like this…
Turns out that’s not true either. If you receive an invitation to go to an event that sounds lame, or you already had that time reserved for yourself, then you can always just say “No thanks”. You don’t even have to give a reason why you don’t want to do! Or, if you feel so inclined, you can even say something like “That sounds fun, but unfortunately I have to force myself to say no”.
Getting inundated with so many invitations that you cannot accept them all is a good problem to have. Worry about crossing that bridge when you get to it. For now, we’ll focus on how to start making new friends.
Before we even get into that…why talk about making friends at all? Isn’t Quietly Romantic supposed to be a dating advice site? There’s a couple reasons.
First, meeting people through your networks is historically one of the best ways to meet a girlfriend. You can leverage your personal relationships to get into intimate relationships—and I’ll show you exactly how in a future post—but it all starts with making friends.
And second, many of the activities you currently enjoy are more fun when you’re doing them with someone else. I love playing Super Mario Bros. single-player, but gathering a few buddies and playing several rounds of Mario Kart is even more fun!
It’s been a while since my last newsletter, huh? Life’s been absolutely hectic these last few months. I’ve just moved from Milwaukee, WI to Chicago, IL to be closer to my family. It took several weeks of packing, cleaning, loading, unpacking, and cleaning again, but it’s finally done…mostly. There’s still several boxes of stuff sitting by the front door and I’ll get to it eventually.
Well, that’s still not a good excuse for missing so many weeks of newsletters. As per Quietly Romantic tradition, if I go too long without releasing a new blog post or newsletter then my next one needs to include an embarrassing story.
Here we go.
A few years ago, I was at a conference and I had the opportunity to meet one of my heroes in person. He was a huge source of writing inspiration for me and was someone that I really looked up to. Think along the lines of…meeting Stan Lee, if you’re a fan of the Marvel superhero movies…or meeting George R.R. Martin, if you’re a fan of the Game of Thrones series. Yeah, that huge.
He’s an intelligent person, and there are so many things I want to learn from him.
How does he write so well?
How did he attract so many fans?
How does he come up with such amazing topics to write about?
He arrives at the conference, gives a presentation, and afterwards starts interacting with some of the guests. I wait in line, fidgeting all the while. Finally, it’s my turn to talk to him. I stagger up to him and shake his hand.
“Hey, I’m Steven. I’m a huge fan of your work! It’s good to meet you”, I exclaim.
“It’s good to meet you too,” he replied. “What do you like to do?”
“Umm…I like…video games?” I mumble. He replies with a deafening silence. “…And I also like reading?” I continue.
His feet start to shuffle away from me. “Well, it’s good to meet you Steven. Best of luck.”
“Yeah…good to meet you too,” I reply, hiding behind a smile of feigned pleasure.
Welp. Something went wrong, but I didn’t understand why at the time. I paid a lot of money to attend this conference just so I could meet him in person. And this is what I get? For weeks after this encounter, I just told myself that I never should have met my hero in person because he was a jerk.
But now I’m older and wiser, and I realize that I was the awkward one in that conversation.
If I could go back in time, there are three ways I’d change the past:
Kill baby Hitler. This is a given for time travel, right?
I’d stop myself from watching the Chicago episode from Stranger Things season 2. I mean…I love Stranger Things, but what even was the point of that episode??
I’d tell myself what I’m going to share with you in this newsletter today:
Today, I’d like to share with you four social blunders that I used to make with women all the time. I’ve had women not want to go on dates with me specifically because I was doing these.
The worst part about being socially awkward is that when you’re making a social blunder, people tend not to tell you. It’s considered rude or impolite to let someone know that their behavior is coming off as weird. Instead, people will do their best to act like nothing is out of the ordinary and secretly continue to let you come off as weird.
That’s why for a long time, I didn’t even know that I was being socially awkward or weird! Ah, well.
I’ve never been a fan of cold approaches. Back when I was single, I always worried that I needed to “get good” at doing cold approaches in the same way that James Bond or Han Solo was if I ever wanted to find love. And I never liked that idea. I never wanted to be that guy who approaches every woman he sees in public places.
Cold approaches can work for those people who are more extroverted or who frequently hang out at bars and clubs. But for introverts, I don’t believe it’s the best way to get a date.
Usually when we think of flirting, we think of innuendos and playful touches with plausible deniability. You know, the kind of things people do when they’re trying to take home someone that they just met for the first time at the club or bar. And that’s fine, but it’s never been my cup of tea.
Instead, I propose my new HSP approach. This is good if you’re an introvert or a Highly Sensitive Person (see what I did there??) It’s inspired by Jeffrey Hall’s book, The Five Flirting Styles. In his book, Hall identifies Sincerity and Politeness as two perfectly valid forms of flirting—especially suited for introverts.
Recently I got an email from one of my readers telling me that some girls he knows are jokingly calling him gay and he was wondering what was going on. Why on Earth would a girl call him a gay? Were they flirting with him by calling him that? Or, were they just being rude and immature?
Back when I was first looking for love, I often heard a lot of dating advice that made me feel uncomfortable. I always heard that “nice guys finish last” and that in order to be attractive you needed to act like a jerk or an “alpha”. Supposedly, women secretly love men who mistreat them even if they tell you otherwise. To get her attention, you should “neg” her by giving her an insult disguised as a compliment. And then after the first date you should wait…um, how long was it…three days before you call her? That way she won’t think you’re needy and she’ll start to miss you. Or something like that.
Hearing this really terrified me. I did not want to act that way in order to make myself more attractive. I could never intentionally act in a way to hurt someone else. And I was scared because I was afraid that that was the type of person I would have to become if I wanted to find love.
It’s not true, is it? Do women really prefer to date jerks? Do nice guys finish last?
I’m just going to come out and say this straight…2019 has basically been the worst year of my life. Whenever I say something along the lines of “God, this day sucks” or “This is the worst day ever,” it’s usually an exaggeration.
This time I really mean it.
My little sister passed away after battling cancer this year. And that honest-to-goodness sucks. You never figure that you’re going to bury family members who are younger than you. It’s been a rough few months for the rest of my family, and this whole experience has me rethinking several of the things I used to think were true.
Let’s talk about the difference between real confidence and fake confidence.
Fake confidence is about pretending to be indifferent. It’s about going up to a woman and just acting like you don’t care. Like she doesn’t even matter to you. This is what a lot of “nice guys” do. I’m not talking about guys who are genuinely kind and wholesome. I’m talking about guys who strut and act as if they’re so cool while they talk to her, pretending to be indifferent…and then suddenly becoming all angry if they get turned down for sex.
Just like a petulant toddler who’s sad because he can’t eat ice cream for dinner.
That’s what fake confidence looks like.
Real confidence is different. It isn’t about “not caring” or being indifferent when you talk to her. It’s about knowing that getting turned down by a woman sucks—and being okay with that! Sure, getting rejected stings. A lot. But you know that even if you get rejected, everything is going to be just fine.
There isn’t a magic switch that you flip to create this type of confidence overnight.
Instead, you develop this confidence over time by filling your cup of life. With fulfilling hobbies. With good friends. With something that makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning.
What if you don’t have these things?
Then, just get started. I certainly don’t have a lot of those things. Sure, I could have a bigger social group. Or more hobbies. But as I’ve always told myself, life is a work in progress. There’s never truly an “end” to filling the cup of life. Find something you would like to fill it with and just get started.
After all, women don’t want a man whose cup of life is half-empty and that she has to fill. Instead, she wants to find someone who’s also working on filling their cup so the two of you can go down the journey of life so you both have two full cups to share with each other.