prescriptions for the soul

Friday, September 23, 2005

If At First You Don't Succeed, You're Trying Too Hard

Dear George:

I'm writing for advice on how best to approach this girl I really like at school. I just can't seem to find the right words or moment.

-- Jim, Chicago

Jim:

Just be yourself. Easier said then done, right? Relaxed, confident, shy, clumsy, aggressive and stupid are all acceptable approaches my female friends said, as long as it reflects your true personality. Women have that special radar that beeps whenever they sense a guy is trying too hard -- unless of course you're dating or married to them and then you can never try hard enough.

Once you figure out how to be yourself, you're ready to attempt conversation. Try to put yourself in her general vicinity without looking like you're approaching her. I've witnessed women use this successfully on numerous occasions in bars. They move right behind a good-looking guy and stand there with their girlfriends in tow, hoping the guy will turn around and make conversation. If the girl you like is hanging out somewhere by herself, you simply go sit near her. After a few minutes of silence you can ask her a harmless question that will hopefully lead to a conversation. If she's talking with friends, you strike up a conversation with anyone in the group, hoping they'll introduce you. Don't fall into the trap of trying to be funny right off the bat. If your joke falls flat, your chances might too. Simple small talk is enough for her to see your true personality. After the initial contact has been made, I suggest several more such encounters before asking her out. Each conversation will reduce her anxiety and allow her to see you as a normal guy. By giving her time to get to know you (even if the conversations are only for a few minutes each), she won't be so taken aback when you suggest a date. Coffee or drinks are always good. Dinner should be saved for the second date, unless your flying her to Paris.

It takes courage to talk to the girl of your dreams. Don't over-think the negative. My mother always said, "What's the worst thing that could happen? She says no?" You might be embarrassed for half a minute but that'll pass and you'll be agonizing about the best approach for the next girl of your dreams. If she says yes, congratulations Jim. I knew you could do it.

-- George

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