Don’t Flip the Switch

Don’t Flip the Switch

In the latest Dr. NerdLove podcasthe give a great breakdown covering speaking apprehension in dating (i.e. when the girl is really hot). Great listen. Highly recommend. It helped rekindle some thoughts I’ve sat on for awhile, so this post is finally happening in part to Dr. NerdLove.

Have you ever been starstruck?

I’m going to define “starstruck” as that moment when you’re at a loss for words because you’re so wowed.

Being starstruck is kind of crazy. Your jaw might drop. You might stutter. But it’s unlikely you’ll run into traffic to grab a selfie when you’re starstruck. You can think of it as a type of fandom, but more crippling than erratic.

And the crazy thing is we like that feeling. In fact, a lot of us come to expect it.

In the dating world, we’re looking for that person to take our breath away. We want to feel butterflies in the stomach. We want to get floored. It’s a weird, but hypnotic kind of experience.

It is fun. Just… don’t buy too much into the hype. That sort of “chemistry” is a terrible way to gauge your actual connection with a person. Plus, it makes it harder to actually connect.

I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve seen it happen to plenty of friends: when they’re with their buds, they’re cool. Really cool. There was one friend in Japan who looked like he ought to be on TV, so I was surprised to hear he had a hard time getting a girlfriend. And then, I saw how her interacted with the opposite sex.

He changed into a completely different person.

Some people become a doofus (i.e. get starstruck). Others go to the other extreme and get unnecessarily vulgar. Said friend suddenly only wanted to talk about sex. He didn’t have any finesse. He wasn’t having a conversation anymore. It was like he was just slapping the topic around.

And, it was such a strange switch. With his friends he was smooth. Which was the real persona? If he could’ve kept the calm and collectedness held then, and carry that to the dating context, I had no doubt he’d be successful.

But he chose to flip the switch. Or who knows, maybe it’s subconscious. Even if that’s the case, I think it’s a part of human nature that can be trained and conditioned.

To sidestep the dating talk for a moment, people unnecessarily flip the switch in other environments too. Take an interview for example. Sure, there’s a certain amount of prep that needs to be done. If you’re kind of a slob, you’ll want to clean up and raise the air of professionalism. But too often we overthink it, and we handle the conversation in a way that doesn’t sound like our normal self at all.

We turn it into something bigger than it is. Yes, there might be higher stakes (i.e. income, bills to pay, etc.) but you can’t bring that baggage into the interview.

Just like you can’t bring the baggage of finding your soulmate, happiness, or whatever when you’re talking to the opposite sex. You can definitely be hopeful. Feel free to indulge the fantasy (that’s always the fun part). It’s just that in the moment, you don’t know. You can’t know. And the path to being in the know takes a calm, cool conversation. Real talk. Making a real connection.

And you can’t do any of that if you’re being a starstruck doofus.

Stop Focusing on Body Language

Stop Focusing on Body Language

You guys see those sponsored ads on your Facebook feed? There’s one by LinkedIN that really caught my eye. I didn’t screencap it then, but here’s the clip via YouTube:

I’m familiar with Vanessa Van Edwards. Her site, the Science of People, is all about interpreting and maximizing body language.

I think learning these aspects in order to improve your expressions and what you can convey is a good thing. However, I draw the line when it comes to trying to use body language to read people.

It’s a dark rabbit hole that I don’t recommend for most people.

Sure, the FBI uses body language interpretation to profile people. If you’re in the military, you probably want to read body language to assess potential threat.

But for your everyday person, I think you’re always going to have a bias that skews either too positively or too negatively. For instance, some guys are just going to read it that the girls are always into them. On the flipside, some people are just going to interpret every movement as a sign that things are going bad.

When you get caught up in trying to read these movements, you’re engrossed in the idea of certain communication. And that stops you from having actual communication.

Body language can be a good thing to be aware of and adjust, but don’t read too deeply into it.

Stop Focusing on Vocabulary

Stop Focusing on Vocabulary

The funny thing about apologies:

  • the people who really need to, don’t
  • the people who don’t need to, do

The way I see this play out with my clients and for students? They’re always super sorry about not knowing words. For some reason, a lack of vocabulary feels like a huge disgrace. They really beat themselves up over it. The look on their faces and the shame… you’d think they just found out they had cancer.

I’m sick of it.

Increasing your set of vocabulary is a good thing, but nobody knows all the words.

When you don’t know, you don’t know.

When you don’t know, that’s not exclusive to language learning. Native speakers experience the same thing. And while it can be embarrassing in the moment, it should be just that: a single moment.

You have the moment, move on, and try to remember better.