Reddit is a fascinating place. If you get /r/bestof’d…Well, things can get pretty crazy. I made a response to Throwaway_d’s post about the meaning behind the advice people give to “be yourself” and “be confident”. I touched on it in a previous post here on Shakedownlab, but elaborated on it with this post. Anyway, someone posted it to /r/bestof and it reached the top of the subreddit with over 800 points in 6 hours. Shakedownlab.com has since had over 30,000 hits and the subreddit nearly doubled in subscribers. Truly remarkable. I think the only reason my site hasn’t crashed due to the classic Reddit DDOS is because I setup Cloudflare on the site a month ago, thinking that this might happen some day.
Two people have bought me Reddit gold, too.
Many people criticized the “Jessica” hypothetical situation I came up with, and that’s fine. I considered editing the example, but then decided not to. Many of the people defending my example conveyed my own thoughts better than I could. And I’m totally okay with all criticism. Below is my post, copy and pasted. Cheers.
Hearing, “Be confident” and “Just be yourself” is very frustrating. And I’ve written about what it really means to “be yourself”. But as unhelpful as those statements are, people say them because it is true. If you are confident and just being yourself, you are more attractive than the version of yourself that isn’t confident. Just a fact of life.
But that’s the goal, isn’t it? To be able to walk into any room and be completely comfortable and at ease. To walk into a room and instead of having anxiety about all of these new people, you are actually excited about the prospects of meeting them. It’s a total mental shift. And again, I can’t just tell you, “Don’t be anxious, be excited instead.” That’s not helpful, either. But that’s the goal, isn’t it?
You need to get out of the mindset of “if I do X, then Y will happen.” “If I join two bands and work out, I won’t be alone.” This is a fallacy, as you’ve obviously discovered. When people say “Get hobbies and work out”, I don’t actually believe that they think that is the solution. They just don’t know how to word it any differently.
So I will word it differently for them. “You need to foster a lifestyle that puts you out into the world and makes you feel good for you.” Don’t get hobbies and work out because you think it will solve your girl problems. You get hobbies and work out because it is something that you love doing. If you are doing it to get girls, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you are doing it to get girls, ironically, you are actually doing yourself a disservice. The idea is that confident men have things that they are passionate about. And they do them regardless of what anyone else thinks. Confident and strong men have obligations. They are busy. They have shit they need to get done and they do not forfeit those obligations.
Let’s take a hypothetical situation: It’s 3:52pm. You have plans to lift in the gym from 4pm to 5pm. All of a sudden your crush calls you up on the phone crying. She got into another fight with her boyfriend and instinctively called you because you’ve always been there for her during those times. You’re a sensitive guy, and girls like that, right? So you think, I need to be there for her right now. Maybe now she’ll realize I’m the guy she’s supposed to be with. You think you can skip this one workout and make it up on an off-day or something. You tell her everything is going to be okay and that you’ll be over to her place in 10 minutes.
Cue cycle of Forever Alone.
Let’s rewind to 3:52pm. You’ve been working on self improvement for two or three weeks now. You’ve read No More Mr. Nice Guy and the posts in the sidebar. You’ve started to see things a little differently — recognizing patterns in your own behavior that needs to change for the better. You’re about to tell her that you’ll be over there in 10 minutes, when you suddenly catch yourself. No, not this time. “That’s tough Jessica. I understand you’re going through a difficult time right now, but I’m running late to the gym. Afterwards, I’m headed out with Ryan and Chris for a jam session. I’m sure you and your boyfriend will get through this, but unfortunately I gotta go.” As a classic forever alone nice guy, it is almost impossible to wrap your head around this…But you are a better and more attractive man in this second scenario, than you are the first. And you are not being an asshole either. You are just a busy man with obligations, hobbies, interests that you love doing and that take precedence over some girl’s emotional distress.
So that was long-winded, but this is what this subreddit is about. It’s about changing your lifestyle, attitude, and just perspective on life, all the while learning the fundamentals of social interaction, body language, etc.. It’s a powerful combination.
So in conclusion, all those statements, while unhelpful, need to be deconstructed. When someone says “hello is the best opening line”, what they are really saying is when you are a confident and awesome man, saying hello is all you need to do, because the rest will come naturally to you. When someone says, “Just ask her out, what have you got to lose?”…what they are really saying is that instead of being fearful that a rejection will just “push you down further into the low self-esteem spiral”, you should feel so awesome about yourself that by asking a girl out, you are giving her the privilege of getting to know you. That no rejection can possibly hurt your ego because the girl is the one that is being socially awkward, not you. Do you see how this total shift in mentality is attractive?
You need to set specific goals for yourself, like “Next Friday night I will approach 5 people and not give a fuck about what happens.” It’s a learning experience.