How to Win People Over as an Introvert
A few years ago, I got fed up with my social skills.
I sucked at talking to girls. It was horrible. For years, I did everything I could to be funnier, look smarter, and be more interesting.
I practiced my storytelling skills, with no results. One time, my buddy and I hung out with a girl. We were all chilling and enjoying each others’ company. I saw the perfect opportunity to launch into a great story. I got off to a great start. The first joke hit, with just the right amount of pause. Laughter. Second joke… Boom. They were rolling. Yet, something felt awfully wrong.
I started feeling like a clown. An entertainer for a date. The more I performed, the worse it got.
Later that night she approached me, confessing how hot she thought my buddy was. What the hell? That didn’t even make sense. I was the one with the great stories! All he did was enjoy the stories. How did that happen? What did I do wrong?
This happened in other ways too. One summer, I worked out like crazy with a good friend. We got ripped. That same summer I spent a month in the foothills of the Himalayas, exploring my faith and spirituality. I came back home fit, spiritually enlightened, and on top of my game. Nothing could stop me.
One weekend, a few girls came up to Seattle to hang with me and my friends. I had a HUGE crush on one of the girls. All of us were hanging out. Just after telling a good joke, I looked off to the side and noticed her sitting by herself. Hell yeah.
I excused myself and walked over to her. She looked up and smiled. I smiled back. Within seconds, I launched into my best material. I asked if she heard the story of the two guys. She giggled and said no. I was off to the races. She ate it all up. Sensing I was on a roll, I kept going. As the story wound down, I frantically thought of another one to tell. Had she heard about what happened to my friend last month? She looked a little less interested this time. She said no, she hadn’t. I put more energy and emotion into telling this one. I could tell I was losing her. I stopped the story as I noticed her looking around.
I started talking about interesting things in my life. “That’s cool,” she said. She was obviously disinterested. I scraped my head for things to say. My heart started pounding against my chest. I felt my palms get clammy with sweat. My mind went blank. I had nothing. The girl I crushed on for more than a month. And I ran out of material. We both sat in silence and looked around.
Crash. And. Burn.
I hated having that experience over and over. Something needed to change.
It got pretty intense over the next year. I started tracking how many times I approached a woman, whether I got her number, and how many times I followed up with her. I remembered reading that what gets measured get managed. So I measured the shit out of my day to day interactions.
Then, suddenly, I stumbled onto the secret.
In 2010, the Winter Olympics came to Vancouver. I drove up a few times to get the full experience. I had just finished taking my LSAT. The 8 months of intense studying was finally over. The Olympics came at the perfect time.
My cousin and I went out into town each night. I watched in awe as his friends approached women left and right. Girls looked over at our group and swooned, regularly. I figured I’d learn a thing or two while hanging out with these guys. I paid attention to their approach, the things they said, and their body language. It seemed easy enough. I watched, then started making moves of my own. Saw a girl. Made a move. She turned the other way. No worries, I thought. I saw this happen to them too, and they just powered forward. I kept going a few more times, with more crash and burns. The same emotions rose up. I felt I’d never change.
I needed to do something. I couldn’t go on like this.
One day, while hanging at my cousin’s place, I aimlessly clicked around my computer. Somehow I stumbled on a book called “How to Be A Pickup Artist”. I remembered picking it up a few months earlier. For whatever reason, it sat on my computer, unread. Can’t get any worse, I thought. I opened it and had a peek around.
My eyes darted around the pages. I paused here and there in my skimming. Every time I investigated a passage, things started to click.
Even if she looks like a goddess, she knows she’s imperfect. Her self-image tells her that. Only insane people think they’re perfect. She knows that she needs to work for adoration, and it isn’t an instant thing. That’s why she appreciates and is attracted to you for holding off your sexual attraction.
Ok Wayne Elise. Makes sense.
While a player schemes and hides and sneaks around to get in an extra bit on his girlfriend or wife, the pick-up artist has neither the inkling nor time to do that. He seeks to be straight with the women who are involved with him.
Something about this book seemed different. I had read “The Game”, but this stood out.
You will bowl a woman over by acting warm. When you focus on a woman it should feel as if the sun is shining down on her. When you shift away it should feel as if she is left in cold, dark shadow.
I nodded as things fell into place.
Showing her that you like and accept other people is a huge part of being an attractive man. Try to greet everyone with warmth. Touch, hug and compliment people in front of her. She will learn that you are a confident and friendly person and not just acting that way towards her.
And then the story that changed everything.
One day, not long ago, I was asked to accompany a woman to a
wedding reception. She was looking forward to her friends and
family meeting her date. But on the day of the wedding I was not
feeling particularly social. My extroverted side comes and goes in
streaks. But I wanted to make a good impression and be a good
date. Socialization was impossible to avoid.
I formulated a plan. I would act over-the-top warm and
friendly upon meeting people. I theorized that maybe this would
excuse me from the responsibility of being involved in
That night I followed my plan. I didn’t just shake hands
with strangers; I clasped them on the shoulder. I hugged
grandmas, nieces and trophy wives. I told people that I liked
them and then I shut up.
This produced surprising results. A few days later I was told
that I was the hit of the wedding. My date said, “All the guests
thought you were a great conversationalist.” I was dumbfounded.
I hadn’t said much of anything.
This was both insightful and humbling. I used to think
people liked me for my witty remarks and intelligent
conversation. But it turns out they mostly like me for accepting
and loving them.
This single page imprinted itself on my memory. Such a profound and powerful statement. In a book about picking girls up, of all places.
In the following months, I focused on being warm, loving, and accepting of others. The results blew me away. People loved it. I enjoyed deeper connections with everyone in my life, almost instantly. A few interactions led me to tears, just by the pure depth of the interaction. I felt a true joy from loving someone as a human being.
Still, the next few years were hardly a walk in the park. A few times, I didn’t know what to say or focus on with people I just met. With important people in my life, like my mom, I figured I gave her enough love and acceptance. I learned that relationships needed to be maintained. Each successful relationship took regular work and commitment.
Listening to other people proved to be another piece of the puzzle. I gave people warmth and acceptance, while wondering why that didn’t work all the time. A number of times, my mom was distressed, and sought an ear to listen. I struggled, trying to give her love and guidance. Over a few months, I learned the importance of listening to her fully. I stopped thinking about what she should do. Instead, I focused on trying to understand how she felt. It proved to be one of the biggest pieces to being warm, accepting, and loving toward other people.
Everything made sense.
My whole life, I had struggled to impress other people. I was doing it all wrong. By listening, being warm, and accepting other people, their talents began to shine. I took notice. I noticed how some people close to me shone in their own regards. I recognized how hard my parents worked to give me a good life. To provide for me.
With this new method of interacting with other people, I had many more interactions filled with beauty and joy.
Just the other night, a man waited in the lobby of a Cheesecake factory. His 2 year old daughter ran around, giving a new light to life around her. She held doors open for people like the future of her career depended on it. Every time I looked up from my book, I couldn’t help but smile.
“She’s soo cute,” I commented.
“Haha, thanks!” He smiled.
We chatted a bit longer. I asked him about what it’s like being a new father. He talked about his wife and his second child. He mentioned never expecting to have children so soon, until he met his wife. I saw his eyes sparkle as he spoke. He shared the beauty of meeting a woman, of knowing he loved her. He described the partnership between them, passion etched in his features.
All those years. That’s exactly what I wanted.
Follow your dreams and become comfortable with being misunderstood.