23 Jan Flirting With the World Will Make Life Much More Fun
I’M SURE you’ve noticed that there’s a voice in your head that never quiets.
It’s like an annoying roommate that gives you life advice and tells you what you should do, how you should act, what you should say — but of course they’ll never have to go through with it, you do.
The voice in our heads will tell us, perhaps, what we need to hear to make life more exciting; I like to think of it as progressing the plot.
However, how often do we take our dear inner critic’s advice?
Last night I was in a Japanese market, and the simple act of asking the clerk next to me what the difference between genmaicha and sencha green tea felt intimidating.
Ask, went the still small voice; just do it. And I did.
Caught in the heat of this high-caliber exchange with the lights in my eyes and I think there was a dog barking — it’s all a blur — I thanked this gentleman with the Japanese onegaishimasu, instead of arigatogozaimasu, please, instead of thank you…
I walked out and embarrassingly laughed to myself in the parking lot.
And maybe that’s the point — was this apparent blunder a failure, or really a success?
Can we fail if we’re willing to adhere to that voice and look dumb?
If we give it a shot and speak up, ask that person out, raise our hand and ask or give the impromptu speech, can we only go forward?
I don’t have a significant other at the moment, (read: single) and dating apps are not my cup o’ tea.
I want to be open to them and I have tried, but something about them… anyway, how else am I going to meet anyone?
I like to call this acting “in the field,” which is how people have been meeting since the beginning of time, which seems to be a lost art.
But I’m inspired, particularly after listening to Charisma On Command founder Charlie Houpert on the Modern Wisdom Podcast:
I think that one of the thing that men do wrong is that they try to be these snipers, which is these boring people who walk through life, not talking to anyone, not engaging with the cashier, and then they’re going to see the most beautiful woman at the bar and they’re gonna go, now I’m going to turn it on.
This made me laugh, and it’s true.
We see that person at the bar or the coffee shop and the voice fires: say something, anything!
We have an idea, a damn good one! But feel unworthy of sharing.
Why? Because it’s scary to act the fool.
We stand there paralyzed in fear like a deer in the headlights because the same voice that tells us to speak up tells us they don’t care, it’s a bad idea, it will make you look like you don’t know.
So we walk away, disappointed, and chalk up another L.
But we can change, you and I, and it starts by flirting with the world.
I hope you’ve realized this isn’t just a tip for asking people out at the bar; flirting with the world is a way of life, a means of gaining more confidence, joy, and connection in every situation.
As the world becomes increasingly technology-driven, these human skills of interaction will separate us from the pack. If you’re a human being, you’ve probably entertained the thought: nobody wants to make small talk, I don’t want to waste their time. Or, I don’t have time for small talk — what’s the point, anyway?
This mode of thinking, I’m starting to realize, is a fallacy. The psychologist Jordan Peterson discusses the necessity for small talk on an episode of his podcast with evolutionary biologist power-couple Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying.
I was like this at one time: small talk, who has time for that,
But you probably don’t want to be around anyone who doesn’t have time for small talk, because small talk is an indication that the person has some social skills, they know how to just have an introductory conversation, and not jump into what’s dead serious, all those things we do to smooth the waters which something like Twitter just eliminates.
To which Heying responds:
I too have dismissed small talk in the past as something not worth my time. But small talk allows you to take the temperature of the mood and get a sense of, as we go deeper, how do I play this? Do I go in guns blazing, do I take it easy, what kinds of things is this person who I’m interacting with able and willing to engage right now?
So was was my life-changing blunder with the man in the tea aisle a failure, or a success?
Because I listened to the voice, and doing it once will make it easier the next time, and in my rather barren dating life I can use all the help I can get. Here’s Charlie Houpert again:
The person you should flirt with is the next person you interact with. It’s someone in your apartment building as you’re taking the elevator who is an older gentleman — being that outgoing, friendly person and setting a vibe, goofing off, and then just happening to be near the person you’re interested in is going to be much more powerful.
It’s not going to be something that you have to gear up for, it’s something that is going to be habituated into the way you’re used to speaking with people.
Work the muscle. Talk to people, give that compliment, dance when you feel like it, pet that dog!
Engage and flirt with life, and it won’t only make you a more interesting person, but it will make life a hell of a lot more fun.