Creating opportunity in the dating world has been challenging for me – obviously, my social anxiety problem doesnt help. However, I have managed some success by approaching the situation on my own terms. In other words, Ive given up trying the same methods most other guys use, and tried a little outside the box thinking.
For the longest time, I simply went with the flow and implemented the strategies I believed were necessary to meet other singles. However, I felt like a failure because I just couldnt compete in the highly competitive world of dating using the methods every other guy was using. Most of them seemed to be enjoying at least some success using the standard pickup lines in the usual venues, while I was a complete failure. Yes, I know that sounds negative, but it was true.
What I now realize is that I was putting too much pressure on myself to become a success using societys tried and true methods. There had to be something better. I needed a way to meet women without all that pressure. Was it even possible?
Around the same time I started seeing some success with my social anxiety, I realized that if I didnt want to be alone for the rest of my life, I would need to get out there in the dating world and make it happen. Traditional methods were out, but I still managed to slip in under the radar and make some progress.
I concentrated on trying to meet women outside of the normal pickup spots. In order to do this, I found that all I had to do was be in the right place at the right time. The social experiments I was already trying could easily be used to meet a potential date.
My strategy for the social experiments consisted of making eye-contact, smiling at people, forcing small-talk, and getting out in public more. Coincidently, this was exactly what I needed to gain a foothold in the dating world.
Ive always been just as shy around women as men, except when I was attracted to someone – then the wheels fell off. If I felt no attraction to a woman, I was perfectly fine.
One of the best decisions I ever made was to enrol in a photography night class at the local college. This expanded my social options beyond my usual circle of work friends, and I had no trouble talking to everyone in my class. Initially, I almost cancelled because of my fear of the unknown and anticipatory anxiety; but as it turned out, I made quite a few new friends using some of my newly found skills (eye contact, smiling). I often wondered what would have happened if I approached the situation while keeping my old habits.
One advantage I had here was that Im fairly experienced in photography and the course was for beginners. Maybe that was a little deceiving, but it certainly made me feel great when everyone kept coming up to me and asking questions about this and that. It also gave me a great opening to start general conversations not related to photography.
As it happens, I was able to meet other singles and the best part was that there was none of the pressure associated with the usual dating venues. Because we simply met as two people and not potential dates, the pressure was off and I felt I could be myself. There was none of the usual nervousness.
Ive also had good experiences outside of the classroom just by making eye contact and being a little chattier around people. I would make small-talk with cashiers, waitresses, and sales clerks; anyone I could practice on. As I mentioned earlier, these were the core techniques I was using to work on my social anxiety anyway, so the transition was pretty painless.
So, thats it – the big secret. While it may not seem groundbreaking to most, I think there is a lot to be said for finding a technique that works in your comfort zone. Once the pressure is off, you have a chance to let people see the real you.