Social skills in general and social skills in the dating game are completely two different animals. And understandably so.
As opposed to a one-on-one or gathering with the platonic individuals in your life, the dating environment poses new cues to catch with different rules and different outcomes.
Because this is so, it takes a completely different set of skills to be effective in these settings.
You see, when our feelings get involved we start to overthink because we’re too focused on trying to be perfect.
Unlike when we’re just shooting the breeze with our friends or strangers, when our romantic interest is in the vicinity, even the most eloquent dudes can become frozen and the most socially awkward person in the room.
Things like generating small talk, making the conversation personal, and knowing how to establish intimacy, are all skill sets at our disposal if we just tap into them, not to mention how they help us when we’re going after the woman we’re interested in.
Even picking up on what women are non-verbally communicating is a social skill that flies over our heads at times when normally we’re good at picking up on subtle messages.
A lot of times we pass the hard part — being someone she doesn’t mind looking at. It’s when we open our mouths, where we lose them.
So let’s look at some skills that we may have, but lose when it comes to courting and dating as well as why we have these behaviors.
The first impression is everything when it comes to dating, so being socially equipped from the jump is key to starting off on the right foot with whomever she may be. And it starts from the moment you spot her.
Walking up and standing near, glancing her way to get their attention, or even trying to make eye contact are all positive and effective ways of using your social skills in the world of dating. You know you have the green light to approach if she looks back.
And the social skills don’t stop there. It continues even when you finally get in front of her.
The main objective when you realize that you’re in front of and about to interact with someone that you’d be interested in is to get yourself relaxed and confident.
Stand an appropriately intimate, but respectful, distance, look directly at her, smile, then proceeded to speak to her. These body language dimensions communicate friendliness, interest, and confidence.
Too often we find ourselves on either side of the extreme: we’ll either be noticeably quiet, in fear of saying something stupid or we’ll just go for it and get all in her face trying to fend off all the other guys that didn’t know they were even competing for her.
The main objective during the introduction is communicating confidence. This is a social skill that we’ve mastered on the sporting fields, in the workplace, and even in the classroom.
It’s translating that confidence on the dating field where we seem to drop the ball.
In the 90’s classic Space Jam, elite basketball players lose their ‘basketball powers’ when aliens take them away for their own use.
When these players get back on the basketball court they are ineffective, awkward, and look like they never picked up a basketball in their life.
While fictional, many men experience something similar to those basketball players.
I’ve seen it happen time and time again when guys talk to women. Great conversationalist who can talk circles around anyone, people who manage to get inanimate objects to respond to them suddenly lose all such ability when talking to women.
If you have trouble activating your social skills around someone you have a romantic interest in try finding common ground between you two.
The moment you find something that you both relate to, your next step is to let that be the driving force of then entire conversation.
When we are communicating regularly and when we are striving like we normally do with our social skills, we’re operating at a high level — we’re zipping through information that we can’t relate to confidently, we’re spending significant time on the topics we do have in common and we use that to carry us into the next topic where a common interest lies.
You may panic or not know what to do during the moments where there is no common ground, but your job is to be cool.
Remember, she’s not speaking on something that’s interesting to you either — the burden of proof isn’t completely in your hands.
Hang tight and navigate through potential topics through your questions. The social butterfly in you will hatch when you find that connection.
Asking Questions Effectively
That leads me to another concept that, once mastered, will bring out social skills that you have.
Asking questions is a good way to show that you’re interested. It not only gathers information about her but it gets her talking.
What’s cool about this technique is that not only do you get to show that you care about her life (everyone wants someone to care about what they have going on) but it allows you to find out crucial information that you very well may be curious about which can also be helpful to a good conversation.
Now, the key is to be weary of closed-ended questions. Closed-ended questions only require short, simple answers. Open-ended questions, however, encourage giving free and intimate information.
An example of a closed-ended question is: what do you do for a living? Where are you from? Do you like that song? How old are you? Examples of open-ended questions include: How do you like your job?
Why did you decide to major in music? Can you tell me more about that? How did you do that? or What led you to do that?
Getting her talking will get you talking and you will be on your way to making smart and effective discourse in an environment where you thought you’d drown.
You have the social skills required for dating, it’s just a matter of setting yourself up in a way where you can bring them to light and conquer your nervousness.