One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.
– Dale Carnegie
It’s Friday night and you’re getting ready to go out. You shower, brush your teeth, put on some good music, crack open a beer, then spend some time trying on different outfits to find just the right look for the party tonight. It’s your buddy’s birthday, and it’s being held at a popular nightspot downtown.
“Why wait any longer for the world to begin? You can have your cake and eat it tooooo…” Ah, Bob Dylan. The ultimate warmup aphrodisiac. There’s going to be so many hot women there tonight man. It’s gonna be crazy.
9:30 PM and it’s time to roll. You turn the music off, kill the lights, set the alarm, and head out to catch the metro to downtown. When you get there, you’ve sobered up a little, which is making you slightly uncomfortable. You walk into the place and immediately order a drink. Aaaahhh, that’s better.
A minute later, you spot your buddy surrounded by a bunch of people you don’t know, along with a few familiar faces.
“What’s up man! Happy Birthday!” you say confidently as you slap him on the shoulder.
“How’s it going bro! Glad you came! So many hot women here tonight eh!”
“Oh YEAH baby”, you confirm, your voice giving off more than a hint of sexual famine.
A few hours pass and you haven’t managed to leave the corner of the room where your comfort zone is seated. In fact, you’ve hardly said much to anyone in the birthday group other than the people you already knew before you got there. Oh, except that one straight-faced, logical, almost scientific exchange you had with this one girl in the group. She is currently on a six-month break from her nutrition studies, and happily answered all your questions about her work experience job at an old folks home, with occasional breaks in the convo while she snuggled up to her boyfriend and made out with him.
Finally, end of evening nigh, the beer attempting to pry open the doors of your self-confidence, you saunter down the steps outside and look back at the crowd fanning out onto the sidewalk as the place closes down.
“Man, it’s fucking crazy how many hot chicks are here tonight!” you tell your buddy.
“Yeah. Too bad they all have boyfriends.”
Another night surrounded by a sea of fun and opportunity, floating in a lonely lifeboat, desperately trying to plug the leaks sprung by excuses.
Pursuing vs. Being
If you’re anything like me, you’ve had countless experiences like the one above. Great expectations; cowardly, pathetic outcomes.
What went wrong? Why does this always happen? Why do we keep imagining that tonight we will be King, yet we constantly sabotage our own efforts and walk away empty-handed?
First, the best way to screw up any social adventure is to go out with the intent of meeting women. It’s like starting a business with your primary goal being to make money. It focusses you on the wrong things and actually makes you less likely to achieve your objective. Desperation emits a high-pitched, annoying shriek that women can pick up from great distances. At the very least, going out to meet girls makes socializing much more stressful than fun.
Of course, this is no excuse to wrap yourself in a social cocoon and let your insecurities rule you either.
When I go out, I have only one goal in mind: radioactive fun. Any effort to convince someone that I’m worthy of their attention works against the natural laws of social polarity and dilutes my authenticity. My main concern is whether the person I’m talking to is worth my attention, because the best way for everyone around me to enjoy themselves is ultimately for me to have an amazing time too.
Last weekend was an example of the problems caused by pursuing rather than just being. On Saturday night, I was out with some good friends having a few drinks. Eventually the group whittled down to just me and a buddy, who was dressed up as Batman. His Halloween costume was so impressive that I could almost feel the protective shield of his superpowers. It was pretty late, and he wanted to head next door to meet some girls.
Pretty harmless, right?
But when we got out there, I froze up. The thought of actually trying to pick up girls put me in this totally incongruent, subordinate frame of mind. I got stuck in my head and couldn’t think of anything to say. It’s been ages since I felt like that, because it’s been several months since I last went “sarging”, i.e., chasing women. (As always, I take full responsibility for my outcomes. I’m not blaming my buddy for anything, just using this experience to illustrate a point.)
Rewind to the night before and it was a completely different story.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
Friday night was radioactive fun.
I was out with a few friends, a different group than Saturday night. I choose to spend time with these friends because they are always fun, not just because they give me a group to latch onto at the bar. One of them is a fellow web entrepreneur, another is a brilliant Open Source geek, and another is this girl who fascinates me with her cultural and literary depth.
This is important. Creating your own fun means consciously choosing who you spend your time with. If your friends regularly exert a downward pull on your emotions, you’ve got to be willing to let go and replace them with people that elevate you.
If, for example, you’re a guy trying to better himself by practicing social skydiving, you might find your friends in awe of your ability to push through the fear and approach. But they may instead tease you when you get blown out, or for how “lame” it is that you go out alone, as a way to compensate for knowing that they don’t have the balls to take that risk themselves. Criticism gives their ego a safe shelter that protects them from the challenges inherent in going for exactly what you want.
Firing your friends can be really awkward and hard. I know because I’ve done it a few times in recent memory. You might try to convince yourself that you can’t let a friend go because they’ve been there for you through so many hard times. But ask yourself this: How many of those “hard times” in your life have been caused by associating with someone you should have let go?
Also, realize that firing a friend isn’t about judging or disrespecting that person. It’s about raising your social standards and having the courage to accept that you’ll both be better off by going your separate ways.
So after some interesting, multi-threaded pub conversation on Friday night, we went to the same place that Batman wanted to go girl-cruising on Saturday. But this time, my intentions were focussed entirely on having fun.
At one point while I was dancing, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I turned around and saw this girl I had been with earlier this summer. Initially, I was happy to see her.
“What’s new?” I said, making conversation.
“Nothing”, she responded aloofly, clearly having a chip on her shoulder.
Think about this for a second before reading further: What would you do in this situation? Even better, if you have some experiences like this to draw on, what have you done in this situation in the past? (Because, let’s face it, what we say we’d do is often not what we actually do when it happens.)
A lot of guys would try to smooth things over and suck up to the girl. Rather, they’re not so much trying to smooth things over as to regain the validation they got from her before. Why is she being so standoffish? What did I do? Why doesn’t she like me now? What can I do to neutralize this threat to my ego?
Instead of trying to use this girl to validate myself, I opted for the sane route: I immediately unplugged. I didn’t snub her back, pass judgement, or look down on her because of how she reacted. I know that we are all wounded, it’s only a matter of degree.
I just deleted the possibility of saying anything else to her. I had already met a bunch of people by that point and I wasn’t going to let someone else’s problems slow me down. If you want to have the most fun when you go out, don’t try to change people’s minds. Down that path lies chodeness. This is what social polarity feels like in the real world.
Be unshakeable in your intent to savour the Now, regardless of what’s happening around you. I was approaching girls right in front of this girl who blew me off, because making myself vulnerable by being social was my intent when I got there. If other people exert a strong influence over how you behave, then you’re still trying to feed the ego.
Unshakeable intent, like almost every other empowering character trait, is a learnable skill. Through consistent practice, you can immunize yourself from negative energy and move forward on a path of your own choosing, instead of allowing yourself to be dragged down by energy vampires. In the broad scale of humanity, even the worst possible reactions are completely insignificant.
Later that (Friday) night, I got to chatting with this cute blonde, whose friend I had actually talked to earlier in the evening. We got together for coffee last night and had a great time. What will happen next? Who knows? Who cares? What matters is this: Women will come and go, but effortless authenticity, a deep self-respect, and a complete commitment to living life on your own terms are the necessary ingredients to having fun wherever you go.
Share on Facebook
Tweet this post
Other Articles You Might Like