Growing up, a lot of us are taught to avoid talking to strangers, and even to fear that critical moment when we are breaking the ice with someone new. Because of this, most people are socially awkward and not very well practiced at getting to know someone that they have just met. It is a common problem to not know what to say when it comes to a conversation with a stranger because, after all, what are you going to talk about if you don’t even know what the other person is into yet? There’s so much uncertainty involved so obviously you’re going to feel unsure about yourself on some level. Usually, the solution is to default to some kind of polite small talk, but is that really such a good idea? Maybe not.

You see, another frequent problem that people run into is that they get good at starting conversations and breaking through that initial barrier—by practicing with lots of different girls on the street, for example—but they don’t know how to transition from the superficial small talk into something more meaningful, or at the least something that will move things into more romantic or sexual territory. How can you get to know someone better if all you’re going to do is talk about the weather?

Skip the small talk

One of the best solutions to this problem is so obvious that very few people implement it: Skip the small talk. Get to the deep stuff immediately. If you’re on a date with a girl you only just met that week, don’t waste your time talking about sports, gossip, or how mean her boss is at work—get to the point and ask her about what she wants to do with her life, what her mission is, what she thinks human beings were put on this Earth to do.

Why should you do this?

Your goal should be first and foremost figuring out if you’re compatible, and these are some deeper questions that can reveal a lot, even if she doesn’t have an answer to them right away because she’s taken by surprise. If she’s willing to think the questions through and come up with something, then you’ll be able to learn a lot about her personality and character just by how she arrives at an answer. Even if you find out things that you don’t like about her through her answers, that’s actually good, because at least you know early on that there’s a mismatch and you’re both less likely to have wasted your time.

Another really good reason to forget the small talk is that she will get to know you faster. If you’re the kind of person who likes to build up a persona to keep people at a distance, then this probably won’t work too well for you, but there’s a lot to be said for showing your true self completely honestly. No matter what girls may claim they want, at the end of the day, most of them just want the truth. They don’t want you to present an image that they will become attracted to, only to learn that it was all a sham not long after. You really can’t keep up that kind of charade long-term. Will “being yourself,” guarantee that you will get the girl of your dreams? No. However, will it help ensure that you will find a girl who is actually compatible with you and not what she thinks you are? Absolutely. (Moreover, if you don’t like what you are currently, work on improving yourself!)

Now, what if she thinks that you are weird or feels awkward when you ask such questions up front? She certainly might—and if it really turns her off to talk about things that are not the usual superficialities, then you might just want to skip her and move on to the next girl. If a women refuses to deepen a conversation and fights all of your attempts to move past surface-level topics, she’s probably hiding something, is emotionally immature, or simply doesn’t want to get to know you that well and is resisting it. Whatever her reasons, do you really want to date someone who only wants to keep things superficial? Even if you only intend to maintain a casual sexual relationship with a woman, it is much more fun when she’s willing to talk with you honestly about things that are actually interesting. So sure, some girls will be turned off, but so what?

On the other hand, a lot of high-quality women will genuinely be intrigued by a guy who skips past all of the boring small talk and gets to the meat of things. At the very least, she’ll admire your fearlessness, because it does take some amount of courage to ignore social conventions and ask a girl things like, “What are the things you want to do before you die?” when you’ve only just met her.

Flirting in the Club

A caveat here of course is that you shouldn’t try this in a club or bar atmosphere, but that should go without saying. If a girl is out partying, she isn’t looking for depth; she’s looking for a casual interaction that will hopefully lead to sex, and she’s looking for you to help lead things there. However, even in this situation, it’s worth noting that you can make yourself stand out from other guys by skipping the pleasantries and, instead of getting into deep topics necessarily, transitioning smoothly into sexual or romantic topics instead. Instead of trying to dance around the topic like most guys do, be up front about what you want. A girl knows that you’re probably talking to her out of the blue because your end game is to get her into bed with you, and she’d probably respect you a lot more if you were clear about your intentions instead of trying to pretend like you want to be her best friend.

What all of these strategies have in common is that they are honest and obvious, rather than a superficial mask of small talk that is meant to socially protect you. It might feel a bit strange at first, but the more you practice getting into deep conversations as soon as possible, the easier it will get.

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