Back when the world was less populated and we lived in small villages, it was considered normal to approach someone who you had never seen before. “Oh hi! Are you new in town? I don’t believe we’ve met yet. My name is Megan…” Now, with over 4 billion people in the world, it is simply impossible to know everyone, so we have chosen to focus on the people we already know… and on our smart phones. We seem to be stepping into a very lonely time. With the ability to connect at our fingertips, quite literally, we are forgetting to connect face to face, with real people, in the real world.
The divorce rate in the US is about 50%.
People prefer to spend a night at home watching Netflix and perusing their Facebook news feed to check in on what their “friends” are doing. Kids stay inside playing Minecraft instead of meeting their neighbors at the park. Adults work longer hours, spending more time at work, which then becomes their new “village”.
Having spent the last 9 years of my life coaching men on how to connect with women in the real world (i.e. not online), I have come across 5 common excuses people make that lead to loneliness. Below, I’ll share what these 5 excuses are and why they are actually BS. Once you get rid of your excuses, you can start to change your results. How would your life improve if you felt comfortable meeting and connecting with new people, anytime, anywhere? The love of your life, your new best friend, and your ideal business connection are all out there… it’s up to you to break free from these excuses so you can go meet them!
#1 — People don’t want to be “bothered”
Here is the thing… most people DON’T want to be bothered by a pushy salesman or someone who is trying to get something from them. Most people are ok, however, with being interrupted for a positive interaction. It’s up to you (the person approaching) to make it clear that that is what you are there for. Intention is everything. If you approach with good intentions and the person blows you off, it likely says more about them than it does about you.
So what is a “good intention”? If your intention is to get a phone number, a date, or to get laid… then you are trying to “get” something from the person. This will not go over well. If, instead, your intention is to MEET the person, to see what they are like and if you have a connection with them, then that will be well received. Generally, I like to assume that people would like to meet me. If I put myself out there and someone demonstrates that that is not the case, then that is not the person for me. No harm done, no hurt feelings. There are LOTS of people out there, many of whom will be very happy to meet me. Better to focus my time and efforts there.
#2 — They are probably already taken
Wait, what? You have a crystal ball?? Oh, no, you don’t? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Then why are you assuming anything about a complete stranger’s romantic life? Further, why are you even considering their relationship status before you know ANYTHING about them? Isn’t THAT a little bit creepy?
Instead of thinking, “I’d like to take that person out… wait… they probably already have a significant other,” change your thinking to, “I wonder what that person is like?” Be curious! If you intend to find out more about the person, and you approach and find out that they are married, great! Intention fulfilled! You got all the info you needed about them to know that you will likely not date that person. If you build a connection, though, they might have a cute friend that they could set you up with! No need to assume anything, just be curious.
#3 — They look busy
Oh my I am just so BUSY! We are all so BUSY! And yet, despite this crazy busy life we are all leading, we somehow find the time to check our Facebook news feed 5 times a day, Tweet a pic of what we ate for lunch, and binge watch Game of Thrones. Do you have 5 minutes to meet someone new and charming? Absolutely. I, personally, am too busy for small talk. When a man approaches me and says, “hey, it’s a nice day outside,” I usually respond with, “yeah, do you want to know my name?” I know what he’s there for, but he chooses to beat around the bush to make an indirect excuse to talk to me. I don’t want to talk about the weather. I don’t want to tell you if the food is good here.
If it’s clear, however, that you are interested in getting to know me, then I do have 5 minutes to see if we can connect. I am a people person. I like to meet other people who like people. There are many of these people out there. If I made the excuse that people “look busy” and avoided approaching because of this, I would likely miss lots of opportunities to meet like-minded people. If you do approach someone who tells you that they are “too busy” to talk, it’s possible that they are! Maybe they are late for an appointment. No harm done. At least you tried to connect. Again, there are LOTS of other people out there who might not be so busy. It’s worth finding out.
#4 — Someone like THAT would not talk to me
Again, are you consulting your crystal ball? If so, you are all set. If not, it’s impossible to know what someone is “like” until you have met them. Everyone hates to be stereotyped. This is something we can all relate to. People assume that pretty girls are stupid, that businessmen are boring, that guys with Southern accents are slow… We have all been the victim of stereotypes. Placing people on some sort of nonexistent “level” before you even meet them will only lead you to meet less people. It’s easier for our brains to lump people together into categories.
If we break free from this, we create the opportunity to let people surprise us. If you approach someone who you would normally assume is “out of your league” or “not your type”, maybe you’ll find out something that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Again, being curious instead of assuming that you already know will open you up to meeting a lot more interesting people. Don’t miss the chance to connect, or prevent someone else from missing that chance with you!
#5 — I don’t have a reason to talk to them
I’ve worked with journalists, police officers, sales people… all of whom tell me, “at work, I approach people all the time because I have a REASON to. I have to talk to them because it’s my job, and it’s expected.” When they have a clear reason to approach someone because of their work, they do it without hesitation. What if their reason for approaching is personal? This leads to the assumption that personal reasons are not acceptable. If I need to approach you for an interview, that’s okay. If I’m curious about you and want to get to know you, for some reason we view that as socially unacceptable. Here’s the thing: it’s not unacceptable to approach people for personal reasons, but it does feel like more of a risk. When a journalist approaches a person for an interview and the person says, “No”, it doesn’t feel like rejection because it was just the job, or the situation that they were rejecting.
When you walk up to someone with a personal intention to meet them and they say, “No”, this feels more like them rejecting you as a person. Many people will not take this risk. Once you realize, though, that the kind of people that you will likely connect with will be receptive to meeting you on a personal level, you’ll be willing to admit your “reason” for talking to them… you are curious and want to meet them! Your curiosity IS your reason. No need to come up with a fake one. “oh, hey… do you know what time it is?” “Is there a Starbucks near here?” You can go online and find thousands of silly “openers” that give you a false reason for approaching. Instead, try owning your intention and just admitting why you are talking to them. The right people will respond well to this, and those are the people you are in it for.
Can you relate to any of these 5 excuses? Can you think of times that you’ve talked yourself out of meeting someone because of one of these ideas? If you answered “yes” to either of these, you are not alone. So what can you do to break free from these beliefs and live a more connected life? The best way to change limiting beliefs is to prove the theory wrong in the real world.