Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Word--If You Will--About Gratitude

A clarification, if you will.

Gratitude is a powerful thing, but there is a hidden trap that people sometimes either fall into or are pushed into by people around them.

That trap shows up when we hear--or tell ourselves things--like:

"You should be grateful. There are other people out there who have it a lot worse."

"You're lucky you have someone like me to look after you."

"You should count your blessings. Someone like you doesn't deserve everything you've been getting."

Gratitude is NOT servitude.

We don't want to slip into the kind of gratitude that leaves us feeling like we need to be taken care of, like we're incapable on our own, or that we're lucky because we don't deserve what we're given.

That kind of gratitude erodes who we are, leaving us feeling small and unworthy.

Thanks, but no thanks.

True gratitude makes us feel stronger and more connected to ourselves and those around us. It opens our eyes to the forces on our side--the people around us, our personal strengths, and our fortunate circumstances.

Anything less is a lie.

Questions? Clarifications? The comments section is open for your thoughts.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Got 20 Minutes? -- Help For Shy People

(An older version of this post originally appeared on the Hot Chicks & Strangers blog)

Shyness around strangers is inconsistent.

Even those of us who are on the quiet side notice times when we're positively chatty...sometimes even around people we don't know. Occasionally, those isolated events are enough to bust through shyness, but frequently the next day, we're back to our usual shy self thinking, "What happened? Yesterday I was able to DO this."

A while ago, I heard about something called the 20 minute rule. The idea is, if you can get yourself talking to people and being social for 20 minutes, after that, you're good for a few hours or until you start doing something that takes you out of "social" mode (reading, watching a show, etc.)

That definitely gibes with my experience. I've noticed that once I start talking to people, subsequent conversations get easier.

I've experimented with the 20 minute rule a number of times, often in the mornings to get myself going. The goal wasn't to get great conversations going. The goal was to break out of my shell, even if it was saying something as simple as "hello" or "good morning." Here are my thoughts:

-The more people I say "good morning" or "Hello" to, the easier it becomes to have longer conversations with strangers...unless I get bored, distracted by a book or magazine, or lost in my own thoughts. Then, depending on how long I let myself get distracted for, I have to start pretty much from scratch.

-20 minutes is a long time in the morning. Saying "good morning" takes half a second. 19:59:48 to go.

-When you talk to strangers, the majority react positively, but you also get people who either ignore you or think you're crazy. Interestingly, how people react doesn't make a difference to how outgoing you feel unless you let yourself 'dwell' on the reaction for any length of time...then you start going into thinking mode instead of talking mode and have to drag yourself back out.

- Thinking about the 20 minute rule gives your brain something to think about instead of the usual "What-if-this-person-doesn't-like-me?" and various other bad things that sometimes swirl through the brain.

All in all, I recommend giving it a try and seeing what happens.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Conduct a 20 minute experiment of your own. Take 20 minutes to walk down the street or through a mall and play with saying hello to each person that crosses your path. If the situation seems to call for it, experiment with extending the conversation. How the conversation goes isn't important--the important thing is that you are talking with people. Notice how you feel afterwards and for the rest of the day. What do you notice?

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Communication: Whose Responsibility Is It?

I’ve spent a lot of time about being able to talk about yourself and what you want. This post is just one example.

Lately, I’ve been thinking there’s more to it than that.

There are two kinds of cultures when it comes to communication--sender cultures and receiver cultures. The difference between them boils down to the answer to a simple question.

When communicating, whose job is it to make sure the message is understood?

In the case of sender cultures, such as the United States, the responsibility falls to the person speaking. It’s up to them to make things clear.

In receiver cultures, Japan, for example, it’s the person hearing the message who is responsible for parsing out what the sender is trying to say.

The sender culture appeals to my love of directness and clarity. The receiver culture appeals to my love of subtlety and the beauty of being able to read between the lines and pick up the unspoken message.

But these ideas don’t just apply to different societies. Often as individuals, we have different ideas about who is responsible for communication happening.

Have any of these ever crossed your mind or lips?

“I shouldn’t have to tell you these things. You should be able to figure them out.”

“No, what I meant was what I SAID. You keep reading all this other stuff into it.”

“I DID tell you. I told you three months ago.”

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of self-disclosure and letting people know what you want. The next step is making sure what you communicated is what the other person actually heard or--if you are the listener--making sure that what you heard is what the speaker intended to say.

Here are a few tips to help you.

If you’re the speaker, check in to see if you are being understood. Some questions you can try.

“Does that make sense?”

“How do you feel about what I just said?”

Another great trick is to ask the other person to repeat back what you’ve said in their own words. I’d use this one sparingly because it can feel awkward or like you’re being patronized, but it does the trick in a pinch, especially if you preface by saying, “I just want to make sure I made myself understandable, can you tell me what you got from what I just said?”

If you’re the listener, well we talk about paraphrase in the Dating for Shy Guys book. I’d encourage you to check it out. The basic concept though is making sure you understand what your partner is telling you by repeating back what they said.

Miscommunications happen all the time. A slip up here and there shouldn’t be the end of the world.

It’s when the slip-ups start to snowball or pile up unnoticed that problems arise. And while we can’t nip all of them in the bud, paying attention to whether the messages we are sending or being said are being properly received can prevent a lot of heartache and frustration down the road.


This week, explore listening. Notice in your conversations whether people get what you are saying. Notice also when you are listening the message you get. Do you think this message is the one the speaker intended? Experiment with the tips above and in other articles to improve your ability to conversationally connect with people.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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