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Ok, so I used to be a social butterfly, I used to be a great flirt with people whom I felt comfortable with, I used to talk to anyone and everyone about anything, I could make friends very easily and had a lot of romantic and sexual attention.

 

Along the way I’ve become cold and introverted and socially awkward. I’ve totally lost that side of me that was so bubbling with enthusiasm to get to know someone new, I knew I would get a positive reaction to a cold approach.

 

Times have changed since I was a vibrant outgoing teenager, people rarely make eye contact, they are stuck in their phones.

 

What are some sensible ways to approach people I don’t know to get to know them, particularly with a view to getting numbers for friendship and dates?

 

The best things I’ve come up with so far are commenting on someone’s outfit if I like it but that seems a bit lame. I do believe people dress in a way to show their personality and affinity with certain groups. I wear a T shirt with my favourite Marvel character on and my favourite classic car for example.

 

How can I indicate to someone I find attractive that I am receptive to being approached, without going and blatantly asking for their number? I don’t mind starting the conversation but I am more traditionally minded and tbh I don’t have the balls to ask a guy for his number in the same way I could ask for a woman’s.

 

Any suggestions for conversation starters and ways to indicate interest to others?

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Yes. Engage in activities where having conversations are a natural part of the activity. So it’s not a cold approach. I’ve given you many suggestions about types of activities. Here is an example. Last month I volunteered at the public radio station to help with fundraising. I sat down at my station a few minutes early. In that few minutes I chatted with the two ladies sitting in my row. When our phones were quiet we chatted some more. Had I wanted to it would have been perfectly natural to exchange contact info to stay in touch even though we only chatted briefly. That is because we met in context and we can assume we already have in common wanting to support the station plus we both presumably enjoy taking phone calls from donors.

Contrast: the other day I had a five minute conversation with a woman I had a lot in common with. She was sitting on he train platform and we continued chatting once on the train. It would have been weird for me to ask her for her personal information in that context. It was tempting so we could continue chatting but I didn’t want to create an awkward situation. See the difference?

I think the cold approach will make you feel even less motivated to meet people because it will feel too awkward and forced.

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Well, you know, any guy will talk with a woman for any reason. It's not true the other way around. So I think you have an advantage there. I've suggested before to people to carry some kind of candy with them. You can put a candy in your mouth and ask someone you're interested in if they would like a candy. They will say either yes or no, but it gives you an opening to comment on something. He answers you back, and now you've got a conversation going.

 

In my neighborhood, it's very easy to start a conversation with someone about the train being late, or the weather being cold, or if you've seen them walking a dog, ask how the dog is.

 

To tell you the truth, however, approaching total strangers is a numbers game. But if you know someone marginally, you might have a better chance. But you do have to deal with rejection because not every encounter is going to lead to a date. But keep your spirits up and give it a try.

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Holly I’m 31.

 

Batya, you just reminded me that I agreed to exchange numbers with a woman on a hike yesterday and was too knackered by the end I forgot to follow it up. I just messaged her on the group with my contact details. I don’t think it would be inappropriate to ask for the number of the woman at the train station if you were interested in dating her, but I think you would have to make that known during the conversation.

 

I think I might start off being awkward with cold approach until I get back into the swing of it. I never used to be awkward, I absolutely thrived off meeting new people and I feel like that is something I’m missing in my life now. I feel I need to challenge my feelings about myself and dating and approaching new people would be doing that.

 

Danzee, that is a brill idea! I actually had a woman do that very thing to me on Thursday and we got chatting after I took a sweet. It wasn’t forced or weird and it was a simple conversation starter.

 

FIO, I wouldn’t even consider getting a puppy so I think you’re confusing me with someone else. I suppose a specific person triggered it but I don’t need to approach anyone specific. This is about improving my confidence and self esteem, expanding my social circle and improving my ability to talk to others in a dating/flirting context. I very rarely get approached by anyone (that I’m aware of) for dating or to get my number etc. I think I ought to undo the barriers I’ve put up to make myself more approachable and also indicate my interest to others.

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The best thing you can do is continue to see your doctors for medical treatment of mood disorders and feeling down and withdrawn as well as continue supportive therapy for that. You'll feel better when you feel stable and not up and down like this...Comparing your more up state to your now more depressed anxious state.

I used to be a social butterfly, I used to be a great flirt with people whom I felt comfortable with, I used to talk to anyone and everyone about anything, I could make friends very easily and had a lot of romantic and sexual attention.

 

Along the way I’ve become cold and introverted and socially awkward. I’ve totally lost that side of me that was so bubbling with enthusiasm to get to know someone new

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I feel you but I was the opposite for a while.

 

When I was married I was open and talkative to anyone but there were numerous times when it was taken as flirting and being married I did not want to disrespect my wife or marriage so I backed it way off, almost to the point where I was told I was unfriendly.

 

I have been divorced for 10 years now and have really liked being talkative again but it seems it isn't as received as well as it used to be. Of course I am older and not as handsome as I once was but it also seems like people are less approachable now. I say hi and ask how they are doing pretty frequently, sometimes you get a nice reply and other time it seems like you take them by surprise being friendly and they don't know how to act.

 

I would say baby steps until you get back into your groove.

 

As far as guys go I agree if a woman walks up and starts chatting them up the guy will respond.

 

Sometimes the best medicine in these cases is to get out of your comfort zone and risk rejection. It isn't fatal by any means and can really teach you about yourself.

 

Lost

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Best answer to cover all answers is: you stay IN the moment (aka aren't in your head thinking about later, chores later, what you got going on later, and certainly not dug into your phone). You stay IN the moment of what's going on and noticing everything IN the moment - the light, the sites, the sounds, the people around you, and what's going on around you.

 

How do you let people know you are open to being approached? Stay IN the moment and notice them noticing you and reacting to it in a way that gives them confidence to approach you. BY APPROACHING THEM even... and being genuinely IN THE MOMENT with your interaction (be it looks, conversation, noticing something going on in the moment - noticing their attire and using that as a launch point is definitely one of those things... but how about weather, a weird sound or activity going on, an interesting observation about what's going on at the moment.. even joking about how awkward speaking to strangers can be?)

 

Endless things .. millions of things.

 

As an example. I clearly remember being in a drug store, near halloween.. and looking for last minute candy. This other lady was there (cute gal!) who was obviously looking for the same. It was clear both of us were being indecisive and so i joked, "its hard to choose sometimes and try to get into the heads of today's little kids and what they like isn't it?" And we both laughed and started a small conversation.

 

its just about starting conversations. conversations are organic, not forced. not a prepared line but.. you got it.. something IN THE MOMENT ...(observation, perspective or reaction to that thing in the moment, etc.)

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FIO, I wouldn’t even consider getting a puppy so I think you’re confusing me with someone else. I suppose a specific person triggered it but I don’t need to approach anyone specific. This is about improving my confidence and self esteem, expanding my social circle and improving my ability to talk to others in a dating/flirting context. I very rarely get approached by anyone (that I’m aware of) for dating or to get my number etc. I think I ought to undo the barriers I’ve put up to make myself more approachable and also indicate my interest to others.

 

You sure are quick to be passive aggressive with me, don’t get why... but it was your post where a pet or something for you to ‘give your love to.’ was discussed.so no confusion...

 

I am quite lonely, I will bring these up with therapist. I would love to have a dog but it is not fair to have one if you are not home to take care of it. I also don’t have a place to keep a pet. I have volunteered at a shelter previously and have looked for a local one to do so again but have had no success.

 

Cold approaching isn’t for the weak at heart. It’s even more brutal than online dating. Me personally, I’d go back to your core issue and try to solve it. That’s why I was asking if this was about someone specific or were you trying to solve your loneliness by dating which again is not the best idea in my humble opinion.

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Don't cold approach. Cold approach is randomly walking up to a stranger.

If you attend lectures or art talks or workshops about things you like, or a meetup, like the hiking thing - its not a totally cold approach because there are a million reasons why you have an opening to talk to someone else there just because they are there - there is already a common insterest/purpose. if you take a cooking class, you almost have to talk to people to ask them to pass some ingredient. any of those approaches are a at least a lukewarm and not a cold approach.

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I think the cold approach loses its charm once you get past the teenage years. You can probably pull it off into your mid 20s, but you probably shouldn't. I think most people find it annoying past a certain point because priorities tend to shift away from serendipitous social adventure. People are more focused on life goals. The cold approach stops being cute.

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Well unfortunately the therapy doesn’t feel beneficial after 5/6 sessions so I will bring this up with my therapist and the medication was a PITA.

 

I think the the advice to stay in the moment was great, just generally, not only for meeting new people.

 

Cold approach or lukewarm approach, I need to work on my social and conversational skills and self esteem. I think the chance of rejection might work in my favour if I’m confronting that fear. I have a very overbearing fear of rejection and abandonment, that holds me back a lot in life, I’m sure it’s not as bad in real life as it is in my head.

 

I’m going out tonight to celebrate a friend leaving two jobs, we will be watching boxing in the pub before we go out. Could be a good conversation starter, since I like contact sports.

 

I know a guy at work who can literally start a conversation with anyone, I have noticed however the conversations (at least the ones we have) don’t have any depth. I’d like to have his confidence and ability to meet new people but the vulnerability to develop some of those meetings into more meaningful discussions and relationships. I can only try. I hate online sites, which seems to be where I meet the majority of my new potential friends these days.

 

I was talking to a lot of new people and rapidly forming new relationships about a year ago but one of those fell apart dramatically, followed by a lot of the mutual friendships around it, which killed my social buzz and confidence. I was also told by someone around that time that I was over friendly and leading people on with my flirtyness and so I suppressed that side of me and became very serious and boring.

 

Think I’ve just had a mini epiphany. Suppressing my natural outgoing sociable side due to fear of being judged, misunderstood, rejected and hurt. But surpressing myself is only hurting me further and making me miserable. Time to find myself again and be proud and comfortable with my nature. If other people have a problem with it then EFF them!

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"Time to find myself again and be proud and comfortable with my nature. If other people have a problem with it then EFF them!"

 

So, especially if you want to do some sort of cold approach I would think the goal is to have the other person feel comfortable in his/her own skin when around you, not to be used as some sort of experiment on your part to practice social skills. No need to suppress but you have to be thoughtful about timing/context/and the vibes/energy you get from the other person which means being other-directed. It is valid if that person has a problem with it- all people are entitled to their personal space and to not be comfortable being approached or extending a conversation or having a conversation at all. If you're natural at being sociable -being sociable in a good way means it's reciprocated and mutual with the other side.

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The eff them was in reference to the person in particular who told me off for being outgoing and “leading people on” by being friendly. And anyone like them for that matter. If I got any inkling that someone I was talking to didn’t want to talk to me then I wouldn’t waste my time. The idea is to build connections and hopefully meaningful relationships not a social experiment.

 

A strange thing happened today, I was sat in Costa, being aware and in the moment as was recommended and was asked by a woman if I minded if she sat on the table next to me. That extended into an hour long conversation in which she totally opened up to me, telling me about her children (one of whom was with her) and even about one who passed away. We were saying how it’s strange sometimes you feel you can open up to certain people and not others.

 

I also made brief chitchat with 7 other people that night out from being aware and open to it, rather than being stuck in my head or phone, giving off the leave me alone vibe lol. I also had someone be very rude to me and I just brushed it off, which is very unlike me. I saw her behaviour as very rude instead of feeling like it was due to me being worthless and them treating me accordingly.

 

I’m feeling positive today. I don’t feel like a boring, hopeless loner who nobody will like.

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Good for you!

 

The eff them was in reference to the person in particular who told me off for being outgoing and “leading people on” by being friendly. And anyone like them for that matter.

 

Yes, eff people who judge that way.

 

I don’t feel like a boring, hopeless loner who nobody will like.

 

I doubt you appear this way to anyone else. You are a little hard on yourself.

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It's really simple to be polite and make small talk. Especially in your community in places you go to often. However someone sitting next to me on a plane, waiting room, coffee shop, etc chewing my ear off telling me their life story could be kind of annoying, depending. It's important to get out of your head and all the mindfulness books and be more aware of social nuances and the feelings and social norms of others. Don't be this invested in random people "liking you".

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