Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What You Think About Strangers Is What You Think About Yourself




The women were dressed for a night on the town--two of them, early twenties maybe, simultaneously talking and texting, all legs and cleavage, tight little dresses and impractical shoes.

No question about it. They were hot.

I thought: stuck up bitches.

And then: Where did that come from? I don’t even KNOW these women.

I’m not proud of this, but there are times when the sight of a certain type of young, attractive woman fills me with resentment. They’re young, hot and carry themselves like they know it.

More than that, I believe they think they’re too good for me.

I know that’s not true. The truth is, I have no way of knowing what they’re thinking. It’s more likely they aren’t thinking of me at all.

They don’t think they’re too good for me. I think they’re too good for me.

But because I, especially as a self-proclaimed dating expert and all around doer-of-good-things-for-women can’t admit I think I’m not good enough for somebody, I have to pretend it’s THEM doing the thinking. I want them, but I don’t believe there’s any way I can have them. So I settle for pretending they’re rejecting me and then disliking them on sight.

Make sense?

So what? you say. What does this somewhat embarassing personal revelation of yours have to do with anything?

It's a reminder. For me, it's a reminder not to judge, but it also points out a habit a lot of us have.

It’s an interesting thing about human nature that our problems with other people often have to do with the way we see ourselves. We judge them not on who they are, but on who we are.

As you can guess, this has the potential to cause a lot of problems in our lives.

The great news is, it’s also an opportunity to learn. We can find out a lot about ourselves by looking at the things we dislike in others, especially those we dislike for no good reason. And the better you know yourself, the more successful you can be in a relationship.

Those women I saw have different lives from me, but we probably have more in common than we do differences. We’ve all had our hearts broken. We all want the best for ourselves. We all seem to have an eye for impractical footwear.

Those women also taught me something. They showed me something in myself, and while it’s something I’m not particularly proud of, I can’t help but be grateful to them for holding up the mirror for me.

They’re more than pretty faces; they helped me become a better man.

PRACTICE
1 - For the next couple of days, notice how you react to strangers. You are looking for sudden, emotional reactions that they trigger in you. Try and identify those emotional flares and what about the stranger sets them off in you.

What do you learn from doing this?

2 - Be grateful to these strangers for helping you learn more about yourself. They have helped you immensely and they don’t even know it. Give them a silent thank you.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Compliments Of The You

We’ve talked about receiving compliments before. Now let’s talk about giving them. Much of this is covered in Dating for Shy Guys, so we’ll keep things short and simple.

1 - Thou shalt not give a compliment for any reason other than to give a compliment. In other words, you’re doing it without expectation. The other person doesn’t ‘owe’ you a compliment back, a drink, a night of unbridled passion, or even a response. Sometimes--often, even--a compliment can be an icebreaker that leads to these things, but that should be the icing, not the cake.

2 - Thou shalt not give a compliment that…um..thee? Thou? Screw it---YOU don’t mean. In other words, don’t give a compliment to ‘be nice’ or just to say something. If you can’t find something nice to say…look harder. There’s always something there. In fact…

3 - Thou shalt make every attempt to make compliments specific and unique to the person. The less generic a compliment is, the better. You want something that is uniquely about them. That said, sincerity trumps creativity. If you really like their smile, compliment them on it.

4 - Don‘t overdo compliments with a stranger. One compliment is nice. Two in a row is uncomfortable. Three starts to feel like this person is sucking up to you for some reason. Not only that, the more compliments you give, the less each one means. Make each compliment mean more, by giving less. With a stranger, building trust and credibility is more important than over-praising.

5 - Of course, once you’re IN a relationship, the more compliments the better, provided they meet criterias 1 to 3. Psychologist John Gottman found the best ratio between positive and negative interactions in successful relationships was 5 to 1 normally and 8 to 1 in tough times. And while it’s hard to know what came first--do people happy with their relationships compliment each other more or to people who give compliments have happier relationships--I figure it never hurts to add more encouragement and positivity to an ongoing relationship. Treating people well is a habit, and the more you do it, the better you get at it and the easier it comes.

PRACTICE

Experiment with compliments this week. Look for unique things to sincerely compliment both strangers and people you know on. If you feel like it practice saying some of these compliments out loud…bonus points if it is out loud to the person themselves. Start where you’re comfortable, push to where you’re slightly uncomfortable, and be amazed at where the journey takes you.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Feelings Are Habits



Did You Know Feelings are Habits?

Neurologically speaking, each time you experience a feeling, your brain builds and reinforces the connections between neurons, allowing you to access that same emotion quicker and more efficiently next time, the same way the more you travel the same path through the woods, the easier that path becomes as the path becomes more worn in and the underbrush gets scraped away.


That means if you find yourself feeling blue or angry or fearful a lot, it’s a hard to change that habit because your brain is so good at finding its way to those particular destinations. In fact, it’s so good at getting there, there are times you’ll have arrived in, for example, Anxietytown, Population: You before you even realize you bought a ticket, let alone started the journey.

If you experience this, congratulate yourself. You’ve got a mighty fine, efficient brain working for you.

Now let’s look at teaching that brain a few new places to visit.


PRACTICE

1 - Pick an emotion you’d like to feel more of. It can be joy, confidence, hope, sexiness, self-acceptance. Whatever you’d like more of in your life.

2 - Take a few minutes now for “practicing” that emotion. What do you feel in your body when that emotion is in you? Practice wearing the face of that emotion in the mirror. Display that emotion with your body posture. Remember times you felt it and re-experience them. Use props if it helps: Write in a journal about how that emotion feels. Put on music that inspires it in you. Experiment until you can bring that emotion forward.

3 - Consciously hold on to that emotion for ten breaths. This might take some time, especially if you aren’t used to it. If you can’t do ten, do five. If you can’t do five, try three, or even one.

4 - Take five minutes or so each morning for the rest of the week to repeat steps 2 and 3. I’d encourage you for this first week to use the same emotion each day. Once the week is over, if you want to experiment with different feelings and see how they are different, or if you there’s a specific emotion you think you need more of on any given day, play with that.

5 - Throughout the day for the week, when you remember (set an alarm, if you’d like, or have a visual or environmental reminder, eg - “Every time I see a guy in a blue shirt”), call that feeling to mind and consciously hold on to it for five breaths.

Write down what you notice in a journal or in the comments section below.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Short But Sweet

Forgive yourself.

That is all.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Commitments



(This is a re-edit of an article that originally appeared on the Suicide Girls website)

Last column we looked at the importance of being willing to walk away from a relationship when you aren't getting what you want. Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of choosing to stay.

It‘s a paradox, but relationships are all about opposing forces. Desire and restraint. Tension and comfort. Anticipation and release. Those forces need to be balanced, but it’s a dynamic, ever-shifting balance.

Relationships are like kisses in that respect -- the tension is steady, but never static. There are constant changes in mood and pressure, explorations and withdrawals, give and take, tenderness and aggression. Lips moving, tongues dancing, hands skimming along backs, soft sighs as bodies press together, fitting perfectly as time seems to disappear and all that remains is an endless now of sensation, until -- unable to hold back -- you grab her hair, drive her against the wall and…

Um…what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, commitment.

Now, keep in mind we aren’t talking about giving the other person the sun, moon, and stars. In fact, early in the relationship, that kind of devotion is creepy. But you do need to demonstrate enough commitment to be trustworthy. A simple example would be a lone gentleman who is flirting with a trio of women at the bar. Nothing can happen until either a) he decides which woman he‘s going to hit on or b)until one of the women signals her friends via Girl ESP or a strategic washroom conference that she‘s into this one.

I often think of commitment as romantic currency. When you‘re going into business with a new partner, you want to each have the same amount of Devotion-Dollars © on the table. He buys a drink; She tells him about herself. She drops a hint about a play she’d like to see; he suggests they go together. He takes care of her cat for the weekend; she helps him understand the importance of furnishing his apartment with decent drapes.

Of course, for things to move forward, the level of Commitment-Bux ™ in the pot has to increase.

Theoretically, in heterosexual relationships, it works like this: the female signals receptivity; the man reads the signal and leads in a forward direction accordingly; the female follows.

Sometimes that’s even the way it happens in the real world.

Most often though, romantic reality follows a rigid and scientifically verifiable pattern that we in the professional dating community refer to as “a clusterfuck.” Yet somehow, some way, you crazy amateurs make it work(*) --which makes me wonder why you need our expert advice in the first place.

I digress.

There’s another kind of commitment. I call it the Switch, and it isn’t measured in phone calls, dinners, or blowjobs. It doesn‘t happen in every relationship, but if you can recognize it in yourself when it happens, it will bring you a lot of clarity.

The Switch is the moment your desire to stay in the relationship outweighs your willingness to walk away. It’s lying awake annoyed in bed thinking, “This human being snores like Darth Vader with a chest cold…and I’m going to stay with them anyway.”

The Switch can be exhilarating. It can be scary. It can also happen without you even realizing, so it’s important to pay attention. If your Switch has been flipped, it’s time to have a talk with the other person about taking the relationship to the next level.

If you don’t feel the Switch, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together, you are fooling yourself if you think you can fake it. The Switch is a powerful internal commitment, but if it isn’t there, it can’t be forced. Similarly, if it IS there, it’s a hard thing to turn off.

All this is complicated enough on it's own. But the difficulties are compounded by the fact this other person also has a Switch. And you have no control over if or when it goes off. There are also no reliable clues to tell you if the person has Switched. Some people have a habit of hiding their attachment to a person until they know their feelings will be reciprocated. Others pretend to have emotions they aren’t feeling.

It can be messy. Which is why I recommend a) staying true to your own feelings, and b) letting the other person know what those feelings are. Maybe they share your level of commitment. Maybe they want more…or less. Or maybe they don’t know. Maybe they need an indication of where you‘re at before they make a decision about how much to invest emotionally.

They will do what they are going to do, but at least they won’t be able to use “I didn‘t know you felt that way” as an excuse.

Neither should you. Now go out and make somebody happy.

(*) One of the things that makes being a dating geek so much fun is just as you think you have relationships figured out, you see or experience something that makes you throw your hands up and go, “I have no idea what‘s going on.” My favorites are couples that beat the odds. It’s wonderful to hear a story that lets you still believe in magic.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.