According to social scientist Jeremy Nicholson, fear of acquaintance is a natural human attitude that is completely reasonable from a psychological standpoint. Ultimately, by initiating communication with a stranger, we put ourselves in a vulnerable position. We non-verbally inform the person: “I like you,” thereby opening up for evaluation on his part. But what if the interest is not mutual?
This question logically following from the situation becomes a trigger for other fears that may live in our subconscious. For example, a painful dependence on the opinions of others or the fear of rejection. Therefore, many women try to avoid dating initiatives, waiting for the first step from a man.
Men, like us, don’t like to feel rejected. This means that even if he likes you, he may hesitate for a long time whether it’s worth getting to know you. So, how can you take the initial step with the least amount of risk?
Ask for a service
Ask the man you admire for a favor instead of “flaunting yourself.” This may be a very minor favor. “Can you watch my things while I order coffee?” The interlocutor may subconsciously find you more attractive than other women in the room after he does you a small favor.
Our brain is programmed in such a way that it is important for us to find explanations for all events that occur, including our own actions. If the brain does not have enough information about what is happening, it automatically completes the necessary cause-and-effect relationships. Why are you helping this person? Because you like him – the brain thinks.
Of course, this is a kind of manipulation. But it really works.
Shift the focus of attention to the interlocutor
Many dating attempts end in fiasco because the initiator desperately wants to make a good impression on the other person. Don’t promote yourself to “earn” the interest of the person you like. This usually backfires because we are acting unnaturally, trying to control our speech, movement, and conversation. Shifting your focus can help ease the awkwardness. Instead of “promoting yourself” (which suggests a vulnerable position), let the other person speak up.
In fact, all people – extroverts and introverts alike – love to talk about themselves (Harvard studies shows that we get pleasure from this, comparable to a delicious dinner or monetary reward). Our own stories help us to recognize our exclusivity and the interest of an interlocutor in our lives. So, if you want to please someone, ask them a question about their activities, habits, or views. Attention to detail and the environment will help you come up with a topic for a question.
Your question must have a positive meaning and need a thorough response (rather than a monosyllabic “yes” or “no”). Don’t start a conversation by complaining about bad weather or a novice barista taking too long to make your coffee. Instead, ask a stranger what he thinks of the city’s New Year’s street decorations, or for a dessert recommendation, etc.
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Listen to the interlocutor
In addition to listening carefully to the answer from the interlocutor, it is also important not to let your smartphone notifications or others in the room distract you. Listening to others is generally an art. Forget the situation, do not calculate what you would say next, but simply concentrate on what the speaker is saying.
Avoid criticism and value judgments
Of course, when we hear a different point of view from ours, with which we disagree, we instinctively want to object. When a person tells you something that you disagree with, or don’t understand, don’t start judging it. Instead, react in this way: “Oh, this is really curious. How did you come to this opinion? ” This way, you avoid criticizing the other person, but rather show interest, keeping the dialogue constructive.
Finally, the safest way to get to know each other is to break the ice with a positive phrase. Just express your opinion about the situation, environment, or phenomenon. For example: “I’ve always been captivated with Edvard Munch’s art. It’s incredible how well a color pallet can represent an emotional state.”
According to psychologist Jeremy Nicholson, this method of engaging in conversation will work in any situation. And if a stranger is interested in you, then he himself will keep the conversation going.