Here’s how to do it….guys, stop sucking at conversation. There’s a reason why your discussions always bleed dry. There’s a reason why you suck at talking to girls.
Learn this and apply this.
The excerpt below comes from a book published in 1875: A Gentleman’s Guide to Etiquette by Cecil B. Hartley. Hartley’s rules may be over 100 years old, but they’re just as true today as they ever were. There are some real gems here.
1. Even if convinced that your opponent is utterly wrong, yield gracefully, decline further discussion, or dexterously turn the conversation, but do not obstinately defend your own opinion until you become angry…Many there are who, giving their opinion, not as an opinion but as a law, will defend their position by such phrases, as: “Well, if I were president, or governor, I would,” — and while by the warmth of their argument they prove that they are utterly unable to govern their own temper, they will endeavor to persuade you that they are perfectly competent to take charge of the government of the nation.
2. Retain, if you will, a fixed political opinion, yet do not parade it upon all occasions, and, above all, do not endeavor to force others to agree with you. Listen calmly to their ideas upon the same subjects, and if you cannot agree, differ politely, and while your opponent may set you down as a bad politician, let him be obliged to admit that you are a gentleman.
3. Never interrupt anyone who is speaking; it is quite rude to officiously supply a name or date about which another hesitates, unless you are asked to do so. Another gross breach of etiquette is to anticipate the point of a story which another person is reciting, or to take it from his lips to finish it in your own language. Some persons plead as an excuse for this breach of etiquette, that the reciter was spoiling a good story by a bad manner, but this does not mend the matter. It is surely rude to give a man to understand that you do not consider him capable of finishing an anecdote that he has commenced.
4. It is ill-bred to put on an air of weariness during a long speech from another person, and quite as rude to look at a watch, read a letter, flirt the leaves of a book, or in any other action show that you are tired of the speaker or his subject.
5. In a general conversation, never speak when another person is speaking, and never try by raising your own voice to drown that of another. Never assume an air of haughtiness, or speak in a dictatorial manner; let your conversation be always amiable and frank, free from every affectation.
6. Never, unless you are requested to do so, speak of your own business or profession in society; to confine your conversation entirely to the subject or pursuit which is your own specialty is low-bred and vulgar. Make the subject for conversation suit the company in which you are placed. Joyous, light conversation will be at times as much out of place as a sermon would be at a dancing party. Let your conversation be grave or gay as suits the time or place.
7. In a dispute, if you cannot reconcile the parties, withdraw from them. You will surely make one enemy, perhaps two, by taking either side, in an argument when the speakers have lost their temper.
8. Never, during a general conversation, endeavor to concentrate the attention wholly upon yourself. It is quite as rude to enter into conversation with one of a group, and endeavor to draw him out of the circle of general conversation to talk with you alone.
9. A man of real intelligence and cultivated mind is generally modest. He may feel when in everyday society, that in intellectual acquirements he is above those around him; but he will not seek to make his companions feel their inferiority, nor try to display this advantage over them. He will discuss with frank simplicity the topics started by others, and endeavor to avoid starting such as they will not feel inclined to discuss. All that he says will be marked by politeness and deference to the feelings and opinions of others.
10. It is as great an accomplishment to listen with an air of interest and attention, as it is to speak well. To be a good listener is as indispensable as to be a good talker, and it is in the character of listener that you can most readily detect the man who is accustomed to good society.
11. Never listen to the conversation of two persons who have thus withdrawn from a group. If they are so near you that you cannot avoid hearing them, you may, with perfect propriety, change your seat.
12. Make your own share in conversation as modest and brief as is consistent with the subject under consideration, and avoid long speeches and tedious stories. If, however, another, particularly an old man, tells a long story, or one that is not new to you, listen respectfully until he has finished, before you speak again.
13. Speak of yourself but little. Your friends will find out your virtues without forcing you to tell them, and you may feel confident that it is equally unnecessary to expose your faults yourself.
14. If you submit to flattery, you must also submit to the imputation of folly and self-conceit.
15. In speaking of your friends, do not compare them, one with another. Speak of the merits of each one, but do not try to heighten the virtues of one by contrasting them with the vices of another.
16. Avoid, in conversation all subjects which can injure the absent. A gentleman will never calumniate or listen to calumny.
17. The wittiest man becomes tedious and ill-bred when he endeavors to engross entirely the attention of the company in which he should take a more modest part.
18. Avoid set phrases, and use quotations but rarely. They sometimes make a very piquant addition to conversation, but when they become a constant habit, they are exceedingly tedious, and in bad taste.
19. Avoid pedantry; it is a mark, not of intelligence, but stupidity.
20. Speak your own language correctly; at the same time do not be too great a stickler for formal correctness of phrases.
21. Never notice it if others make mistakes in language. To notice by word or look such errors in those around you is excessively ill-bred.
22. If you are a professional or scientific man, avoid the use of technical terms. They are in bad taste, because many will not understand them. If, however, you unconsciously use such a term or phrase, do not then commit the still greater error of explaining its meaning. No one will thank you for thus implying their ignorance.
23. In conversing with a foreigner who speaks imperfect English, listen with strict attention, yet do not supply a word, or phrase, if he hesitates. Above all, do not by a word or gesture show impatience if he makes pauses or blunders. If you understand his language, say so when you first speak to him; this is not making a display of your own knowledge, but is a kindness, as a foreigner will be pleased to hear and speak his own language when in a strange country.
24. Be careful in society never to play the part of buffoon, for you will soon become known as the “funny” man of the party, and no character is so perilous to your dignity as a gentleman. You lay yourself open to both censure and bad ridicule, and you may feel sure that, for every person who laughs with you, two are laughing at you, and for one who admires you, two will watch your antics with secret contempt.
25. Avoid boasting. To speak of your money, connections, or the luxuries at your command is in very bad taste. It is quite as ill-bred to boast of your intimacy with distinguished people. If their names occur naturally in the course of conversation, it is very well; but to be constantly quoting, “my friend, Gov. C ,” or, “my intimate friend, the president,” is pompous and in bad taste.
26. While refusing the part of jester yourself, do not, by stiff manners, or cold, contemptuous looks, endeavor to check the innocent mirth of others. It is in excessively bad taste to drag in a grave subject of conversation when pleasant, bantering talk is going on around you. Join in pleasantly and forget your graver thoughts for the time, and you will win more popularity than if you chill the merry circle or turn their innocent gayety to grave discussions.
27. When thrown into the society of literary people, do not question them about their works. To speak in terms of admiration of any work to the author is in bad taste; but you may give pleasure, if, by a quotation from their writings, or a happy reference to them, you prove that you have read and appreciated them.
28. It is extremely rude and pedantic, when engaged in general conversation, to make quotations in a foreign language.
29. To use phrases which admit of a double meaning, is ungentlemanly.
30. If you find you are becoming angry in a conversation, either turn to another subject or keep silence. You may utter, in the heat of passion, words which you would never use in a calmer moment, and which you would bitterly repent when they were once said.
31. “Never talk of ropes to a man whose father was hanged” is a vulgar but popular proverb. Avoid carefully subjects which may be construed into personalities, and keep a strict reserve upon family matters. Avoid, if you can, seeing the skeleton in your friend’s closet, but if it is paraded for your special benefit, regard it as a sacred confidence, and never betray your knowledge to a third party.
32. If you have traveled, although you will endeavor to improve your mind in such travel, do not be constantly speaking of your journeyings. Nothing is more tiresome than a man who commences every phrase with, “When I was in Paris,” or, “In Italy I saw…”
33. When asking questions about persons who are not known to you, in a drawing-room, avoid using adjectives; or you may enquire of a mother, “Who is that awkward, ugly girl?” and be answered, “Sir, that is my daughter.”
34. Avoid gossip; in a woman it is detestable, but in a man it is utterly despicable.
35. Do not officiously offer assistance or advice in general society. Nobody will thank you for it.
36. Avoid flattery. A delicate compliment is permissible in conversation, but flattery is broad, coarse, and to sensible people, disgusting. If you flatter your superiors, they will distrust you, thinking you have some selfish end; if you flatter ladies, they will despise you, thinking you have no other conversation.
37. A lady of sense will feel more complimented if you converse with her upon instructive, high subjects, than if you address to her only the language of compliment. In the latter case she will conclude that you consider her incapable of discussing higher subjects, and you cannot expect her to be pleased at being considered merely a silly, vain person, who must be flattered into good humor.
I’ve known her for almost 13 years. She was my best friend in high school and was always there for me. She was always kind to me when I was down, and always there to help when I needed.
A year ago, she invited me to an out-of-town trip to celebrate her birthday. It was to be a great celebration with many of our close friends. I told her beforehand that I would definitely attend. Come the day of the event, I did not show - the reason that I did not show is justifiable but not important. The fact is that I told her I would be there and I wasn’t. And for over a year, I have put off apologizing to her. Tonight, I apologize.
As the previous year progressed, there were accountabilities and responsibilities that were put upon me and I kept putting her off. These are not justifiable reasons for waiting a year to speak to her. I suppose it was a matter of not being able to have that tough conversation with her. Ya know those tough conversations that you know are gonna suck, or the ones that really forces you to step back and learn the multitudes of humility. This is one of them.
In retrospect, I was an idiot. I’ve known her for over 10 years - this shouldn’t be a difficult conversation to have. It was a matter of me simply owning up to my mistake. And as I write this, I can’t help but feel stupid, I mean really stupid to the point where I’m incredibly disappointed in myself for not owning up to my actions. All it would have taken was a simple phone or a text message to schedule a meetup. Of course, I did eventually, but what I’m disappointed about is waiting so long to do so.
I don’t think the conversation will go badly tonight, in fact, I’m sure things will be much better after. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that people will forgive, but they will never forget.
Guys, there’s an important lesson to be learned here: always have those tough conversations. Never ever put them off. The longer you put off having those tough conversations, the more painful it will be, and even in some scenarios….it might be just too damn late, trust me, I know.
At any given point in time, I’m quite sure that everyone has a ‘tough conversation’ to face. Do yourself and those you love a favour, take action now and have that face-to-face with that person you care about. Do the right thing and do it now…before it’s too late.
Be not afraid to face the consequences for your actions. Be brave in your discord, rather than cowardly in your comfort. Be a better person today.
They will love and appreciate you for it.
Don’t do it. It makes you look desperate. It makes you look pathetic. And frankly, it’s a really sad way of supplication. Just don’t do it. What is One-upmanship?
This past week, a female friend of mine got into into a dispute with her boyfriend. Here’s the story. She partakes in weekly sports activities on a regular basis - sports are a pretty big part of her life. He insisted on watching her at a few of these events, however, she declined because she did not feel comfortable having an audience, also because none of the other competitors had an audience watching. For her, she just felt a bit awkward and uncomfortable having an audience. For him, he wanted to spend time with her, he just wanted to see her - how sweet, right? Now, normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. He asks, she says no - okay cool, maybe next time? Or conversely, he asks, she says yes - okay still cool.
Instead, the conversation basically went as follows (and this is based on visual evidence, so I could not make this up):
Girl: I just don’t feel comfortable having people watch me play sports
Guy: Well, I don’t feel comfortable feeling like you’re hiding me and not wanting me around, I just want to see you and spend time with you
Girl: I don’t think it’s fair that you’re pressuring me to say yes
Guy: I don’t think it’s fair that you’re stressing me out and I can’t sleep
And on and on the pattern goes - you’re starting to see the pattern, right?
When you get in the pattern of ‘one-upping’ someone, it makes you look desperate. If you’re saying things just for the sake of saying something just to trump someone else, it makes you look you’re needing something. It’s like you’re trying to qualify yourself to the audience. To you, it might seem like you’re controlling the conversation or you’re leading it, to others, you seem like a needy drip. Instead of always having the need to talk…just listen. Listen to what your counterparts are saying. Take the time to absorb and comprehend what they’re trying to convey. When you do this, you can take a moment to form your thoughts and your own relevant points so you can actually contribute to the conversation instead of just saying something for the sake of saying it.
Conversation isn’t competition. It’s an exchange - it’s about listening to your audience and reciprocating with your ideas. Yes, at times there will be difference of opinions and rebuttals but only relevant points should be brought up to support your existing discussions - don’t bring sh*t up just for the sake of bringing it up.
So you’ve gone on a few first dates. Sometimes, you get a second one, but for the most part, you don’t get a call or you’re gently rejected when you ask for a second date. In your eyes, things go well on the first date and you’re anticipating your second date…but it doesn’t happen.
If you find yourself looking for a second date but you’re being ignored until they disappear, it’s probably you. In fact, it is you. Actually, to blame anyone else but yourself is just lame. Why? Because to look to anyone/anything else isn’t taking accountability. And if you don’t take accountability, who will?
Here are some thoughts….both from experience, observations and failed dates (sorry girls, the bad is mine).
YOU WERE CHEAP
Though it is nice that you believe in equality for women, the truth is that most, if not all, women expect you to PAY ON THE FIRST DATE. And if you’re going to bitch and whine about how expensive the restaurant was then perhaps you should choose a more reasonably priced place.
The point is that women view CHEAP MEN in a very negative fashion because it not only says that you don’t like to spend money - it also indicates that you may be cheap in other departments of your life.
You pay on the first date, even if she offers, say no, and pay the entire bill. And if you don’t want to spend too much money, then perhaps your first date should take place at a cafe. If she still insists on paying (it’s a test by the way - so you better not fail) try this: you pay for the bill itself, but tell her to give tip. Personally, I think this is a fair compromise. It shows that you’re not cheap, but at the same time, it shows you’re a little more liberated than to insist on paying for the entire bill. Remember, even though she insists that you pay for the first date, you can still show that you’re enough of an evolved male to understand equality and chivalry.
YOU GOT TOO DRUNK (SH*TFACED, SHMAMMERED, WASTED)
Really?! Do I really have to tell you this? The answer is yes. This is the mother of all f*ck ups. What the hell were you thinking getting wasted and getting overly stupid? Even on a tenth date, it wouldn’t be acceptable!
A guy who cannot handle his liquor is a man that no woman (or anyone) wants to be around. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who can maintain a great demeanor when they drink. In fact, some people function better under the influence…this is directed to those who can’t.
Drink slowly, eat your food, and enjoy a good conversation. And if you just drink out of habit and not because it’s alcohol, then order a bottle of water to go with.
I’m not saying that you have to stay dry all night, in fact, alcohol is a good idea. After all, alcohol is ‘courage in a bottle’ for you and likely for her. It’s great for loosening up and dropping defenses. However, if you drink to the point where you’re clearly acting the fool, being obnoxious, not walking properly, etc etc, then you’ve gone too far. Keep an eye on her body language - suddenly crossing her arms, not making eye contact, shoulders turned away from you, legs crossed and pointed away from you. These are all signs of defensive body language. If she’s exhibiting any of these, you’re doing it wrong. And….if you think you need alcohol to function better - well, then dating is clearly not your biggest problem.
YOU TRIED TO GET HER DRUNK (SH*TFACED, SHMAMMERED, WASTED)
Not only is this a major turn off, it might come off as cowardly. Not only will you make her nervous if you keep insisting that she drink more, you will likely never see her again because she’ll think of you as the creepy guy who thinks she’ll be a sure thing if she’s wasted.
Remember the defensive body language I described previously? Keep an eye out for it when you offer drinks. If she gets the remote impression that you have an ulterior motive to getting her drunk - you’re done. Remember, this is the first date. You should hardly know each other…and if your intention is to pursue a relationship with this person, getting them wasted on the first date can either be really good (makes for great stories?) or really bad.
Offer politely, don’t take ‘no’ personally, and most importantly, REMEMBER THE PREVIOUS GUIDELINE - that guideline goes both ways. If she gets wasted to the point where she can’t walk, it’s your responsibility. Just like she doesn’t want to be burdened by your lack of control, you probably don’t want to be burdened by hers. Be the evolved male, know where the limit is, get there and cruise from there.
YOU WERE TOO INTERESTED
She’ll likely smile when you tell her head is proportional to her body. She’ll appreciate that you think she’s beautiful. But if you say it more than once and she’ll be turned off.
Girls like to complimented, who doesn’t? But it’s a complete turn off to be overwhelmed with empty compliments - it’s downright cheesy for a guy to over-compliment a girl. Moderate your compliments, let her know what you appreciate but remember that she doesn’t need know everything you appreciate. Be so bold as to tell her why you felt the need to let her know - it shows character and thought rather than just superficiality.
For example, you could compliment her on how her earrings match her other accessories. She’ll blush and be flattered that you notice. Then you could go one step further and tell her that you noticed because her earrings happen to be your favourite colour…and that pink has a significant meaning to you. And that you like pink flowers because… (you know what I mean). If it’s interesting enough, she’ll carry the conversation by asking why pink is your favourite colour or why you have a thing for pink flowers. And if she’s asking questions, she’s showing interest!
Make any mention of the future, marriage or children, and she’ll be running faster than a fat kid after an ice cream truck. Remember:
a) this is the first date
b) that kind of crazy conversation is for the crazily desperate who are reaching deep
Keep the conversation light and interesting, and don’t dwell into anything that remotely resembles a commitment beyond a second date. If you do talk about the future, don’t be too heavy. Use humour to buffer and to get a reaction to see where she’s at in the conversation. If she doesn’t respond positively, it’s time to change topics.
Conversely, if she starts getting into marriage, what to name your kids, how to pay for the house, etc, it’s a red flag - proceed with caution if you’re ready for that. She might be testing you - she might be crazy. If you show your discomfort, she’ll know. Keep your cool, change the topic, and create a distraction (order drinks/food).
YOU GOT TOO SEXUAL TOO FAST
So she wore a low-cut top with ridiculously tight fitting jeans. Maybe she went with the short skirt that leaves little to the imagination. Either way, it’s your right to glance, but not stare. Remember, you are the evolved male - you are beyond deeper than simple superficiality. You’re smarter than to fall for simple tricks like that. No one will fault you for letting her know what you appreciate, but don’t overdo it.
What’s the alternative to staring at her chest? Eye-contact. You’ll score big points if you keep non-creepy eye-contact. It lets her know that you’re paying attention and you have interest in what she’s saying. How do you avoid the creepy eye contact - break eye contact once in a while of course! When she asks you a question, take a second to come up with a clever answer. Before you give your opinion, take a second to give it a thought. It’s that simple. It’s rude to stare, but it’s also rude to not pay attention.
If she starts the sex talk first, go for it. But don’t go overboard. Just because she makes a joke about doing the deed in the washroom doesn’t mean she’s giving you the greenlight! It’s likely that she’s testing and teasing you. She wants you to take the bait and get into the topic. You, being the evolved male, will comply of course. After all, sex is an awesome topic. You’ll use words to play and tease. Give her enough of what she wants (your attention) but show enough control so that she asks more of it - if she’s trying harder to get your attention, she’s yours.
Remember that just because she feels comfortable talking about sex doesn’t mean you’re gonna score tonight. She’s not greenlighting anything - she just feels comfortable talking about it. Keep it at that and use it to your advantage. Build the anticipation for the next date (assuming you get another one). Sex talk is like cologne - use enough and you’ll get the attention and the attraction, use too much and the girls will run.
So there you have it - some ideas and some guidelines to hopefully get you a second date.