Hey everyone, just wanted to give a quick shout out to my fellow participants for reading and commenting on my journal. Hearing from you guys is extremely motivating. Overall, I was really excited to respond to your comments, so excited that I was propelled to make another approach! More on that soon, but I just wanted to let you know that although I may not respond to individual comments, I'm still very much reading and drawing inspiration from your comments. That said, I'm looking forward to loosening the "only update/post when I've taken action" rule for the weekend, so look forward to communicating with you guys.
Second Approach (2014/03/28 Fri)
In spite of the success I had pushing myself last week, I found myself still fairly nervous about approaching. Although there were a few opportunities to interact with girls throughout the week, I've found that it's dangerously easy to take the safe route and not be clear with intentions. Probably the most embarrassing episode was this past Wednesday when I'm (90%) sure that this girl opened me and I didn't drive the interaction. But I'll save that account for another time.
Full context, I woke up this morning pretty late and headed towards my professor's office hours. The previous night I had got some horrible acne (sorry for the image) all over my left cheek, and it wasn't looking too hot. Going about my duties, I came to realize that there was about an hour till my class, and that this was an opportune time to approach girls and gain more practice. I got up from my seat in the department and went to the dining hall.
Upon entering the dining hall, I did a quick search for girls sitting by themselves. None of them struck me overwhelmingly, so I grabbed my hot water and left. Outside, I began to doubt myself (were none of the girls appealing to me, or was I just justifying my inaction?) and came to reflect on my journey thus far. Although the weight of an approach had lightened (I've done it once, so I can do it again right?) the challenge was still very sizable. I walked through another academic building while sipping my water, and neglected to approach yet again. By now it was 20 minutes past the hour.
On my way towards another academic building, I saw a girl sitting on a bench, reading a book. In all aspects, this girl presented a good opportunity to approach, but I couldn't do it. I walked past her into the academic building, did some loops while talking to myself, and went outside yet again. Just as before, she sat there, and in an attempt to be inconspicuous, I walked inside the building again from another entrance (from a bystander view I must have looked very lost.) With the opportunity pretty obvious, I sat down and tried to still myself.
Opening my trusty journal, I began to write down the things I doubted about myself. Among them included the unsightly acne on the left side of my face, the a-symmetry of my eyes, concerns about my weight that have carried over from growing up fat, and what then struck me as the dumbness of my haircut. After dumping those ideas on paper I tried to think from her perspective, this time drawing a big arrow from my doubts about myself to what she was thinking about (similarly her doubts about herself.) I set the timer for three minutes, texted some friends, and when the time went up, I went outside.
Bracing for myself, I reminded myself to mind my posture, prepare a natural smile (which I always get from laughing about how silly this all can seem,) and walk. As the sunlight came into view, I prepared my gait towards her direction yet again...
...only to find that the book-reading girl had left. In her place was some undergraduate guy with a curly afro sleeping with his mouth agape. I could barely hold down the ridiculousness of the situation and sat down on the bench to recompose myself. "Of course, what else should I expect." I thought to myself. As I sipped on my hot water and regained my surroundings, I noticed there was another cute girl sitting on another bench, with earphones plugged in and studying. As much as I wanted to approach her, I chickened out in the end and went back to the dining hall to refill my water.
The time was now twenty minutes before my class started, and I was feeling pretty defeated. Walking into the building where my class was located, I saw a girl sitting by herself in front of the honors library. At that moment, I knew that I was being another chance, and yet I still wasn't ready. One lap around the hall, making sure I wasn't holding my cup of water too high, and this time when I reached the library commons I went in.
M: "Hey! I thought you were cute so I came to say hi."
H: "Oh! Hi!" (She was definitely caught off guard, but a surprised smile creeped up I think)
M: (Minding my smile) "Do you mind if I join you?"
H: "Sure, yeah, but I don't actually go here!"
M: "Really? Where do you go?" (Having taken a seat across from her.)
H: "I go to Miami, I'm here visiting my boyfriend, he's actually in class around here somewhere..." (And so on and so forth)
The conversation went on for a minute or so, where I found out where she was from, and that she was in the area visiting her friend as well. Her facial expression seemed to imply that the conversation was going well, and we made some more smalltalk before I graciously ducked out.
Reflection & Takeaways
Straight up, I think I've been in a high all afternoon following this interaction. The feeling that I got another approach in before the end of the month is great, especially as I envision my next approach. With that said, now that I have my first two direct approaches down, I thought I'd reflect on what helped me make that change.
When I was on the move, I was quick to make judgments and default to the "fight or flight" instinct. A common theme between both of my first approaches is the intentional slowing down of circumstances, whether that included journaling, texting some friends, or just sitting and stilling myself. The timer method kept me in check so that I didn't overstay my pause, but your mileage may vary.
Balancing Goals Vs. Being Present
As I've said previously, one of the goals that I had set up with Nick for the first week of our call was to make two approaches in a week. That obviously failed, and I credit that to inexperience. When I began the process, I was setting up this expectation of "two approaches a week" and "eight new girls a month" Not only was that not actionable (You cannot make eight approaches at once... it's all an accumulation of individual approaches) but it was intimidating and contributed to my inability to get out of my own head. When I made it my goal to just make one approach, without worrying about how fast I was improving or my "rate" per say, I think it made it easier.
Overall, I'd also add that as a mentality, this is an intensely intimate process. Some of you who are reading this may find it absurd how much internal monologue takes place before a minute of approach, and that's totally fair. Others (I hope) can sympathize with parallels from your own life. Ultimately, I think maintaining a balance between hard discipline (holding yourself accountable to concrete goals) and soft empathy (towards yourself and your individual struggle/circumstances) will pay off in the long run. What are your experiences making the gap from pre-approach lifestyle to post-approach lifestyle? Looking forward to reading about your experiences and the weekend.
Hello everyone, I'm hansolo, and this is my progress journal. As some of you (many of you?) may experience, there is a lot of thought that precursors change in terms of how we interact with women. For me personally, I'm interested in how to channel that propensity of over-thinking into factors that lead up to taking action. I'm hoping to use this journal as a commitment tool as well; the goal is to only write updates after taking action. Looking forward to reading and learning from your experiences; I hope my reflections can do the same for you.
First Approach (2014/03/21 Fri)
I walked into a dining hall on campus and sat down towards the end of the room. Looking at the swath of people engaging and out and about with their own lives, I was certainly very intimidated. I had committed to a goal in a chat with Nick about making two approaches within a week of our first call, and I was filled with anxiety and shame about not having made any. Sitting there in my chair, I noticed a girl studying by herself towards the center of the room. I proceeded to write down some thoughts, doing my best to visualize what her day was going like, what things she was undergoing. I wrote down what I imagined must be pressure from her family, from the media, and from herself about dating. After attempting to empathize better with her situation (and get out of my own head,) I set a timer for three minutes on my cellphone. After writing down some other things I had to do that day, the timer went off, and I packed my bags and got up.
Moving mechanically in her direction was not too bad, as the distance to cover was only several meters. Before getting up, I had reminded myself to be mindful of posture, speaking volume, and smile. After getting in within distance, I said:
M: "Excuse me, I saw you and thought you looked cute, so I came to
say hi. Mind if I join you?"
H: "Uhh..." Face looking fairly confused, eyes looking to the
M: "OK, thanks." Wearing a big self-amused grin at how awkward
that was and quickly darted away
And that was that. A pretty mundane approach, but I'm proud to call it my first. Truthfully, while I'm not at all deterred by this first approach, I certainly do not anticipate the second being an easier. With that said, I'll hold off on reflection and making a decision on what helped/what didn't for after my next approach. Until then, looking forward to reading about your experiences.