HOW TO WORK YOUR SOCIAL MUSCLES
The other week I attended a big party / gala. It was what you might expect: successful people dressed to the 9s, in an art gallery, drinking sponsored alcohol in support of a charity.
While perhaps not exactly my scene, I had fun. The people were cool and the vibe was classy, even if it was a bit overcrowded.
I had only a few regrets about one thing… and it had nothing to do with the even itself.
I’d lost some of my… how might you put it… edge.
Probably no one else noticed, but I felt stale in conversations. Like I couldn’t “flirt” or captivate like I used to. I was less clever and overall less dynamic (a big faux pas for the dynamic man!).
The day after I went to a cafe to work, and thought about what had happened.
It was simple, really.
I was rusty.
Back in my single days, every pretty girl was a potential love interest. And every person potentially knew a pretty girl. So I became friendly by default, even though I generally preferred to keep to myself.
Now with that I’d lost that incentive, I had begun getting “complacent,” avoiding conversations I didn’t need to have.
The result was social atrophy.
I had let my social muscles waste away, and I didn’t like the results.
It was time to get back in the gym.
Why You Should Work Out Your Social Muscles
“Social muscles” may be a symbolic term, but it’s also a realistic and effective one.
Just as you need a baseline of physical fitness to be able to maneuver throughout the physical world, you need a minimum amount of social fitness to navigate the social one.
If you don’t go out and “exercise” by interacting with people, you start to lose your ability to do so with finesse.
Like with physical resistance training, building up your social muscles is not a linear progression. If you’ve “worked out” a lot over the years yet stopped socializing for a few weeks, you’re going to be able to jump back into the social environment much faster than if you’ve been absent for years… or have hardly ever talked to people at all.
You have, in other words, “muscle memory” when it comes to socializing. It might take time for you to see results when you start “working out,” but once you’ve achieved results they’ll take a long time to disappear.
Which is great, if you’re willing to put the work in to developing them.
The benefits of strong social muscles is that you’ll be able to enter an interaction with random people and navigate it like a pro.
The stronger your social muscles, the more smooth and natural you will be; the weaker your social muscles, the more awkward and uninteresting.
So when it comes to women, social muscles are important if not more important than the real ones. The question is: how do we go about building them up?
How To Work Out Your Social Muscles – Basic
The answer to this question at first brush is obvious: go talk to people, preferably people you don’t know and who intimidate you.
But from a practical standpoint that’s basically like telling a guy who’s about to go to the gym to just go and “pick up shit” to get in shape.
True, perhaps, but not particularly helpful.
So let’s get a bit more tactical here.
The first thing to realize is that it’s not going to be a pleasant journey at first.
At least, not in the conventional sense.
Personally, I have come to enjoy when I mildly embarrass myself in social situations because my social muscles are not fully calibrated. I realize it’s just part of the process. Whatevs.
But you better believe I didn’t feel that way at first.
Fucking up around people, especially beautiful women, hurt. Not getting their attention and interest sucked.
It takes perspective to realize that this is not only not a big deal but inevitable.
Most guys would kill for a formula that stops women women from rejecting them.
It doesn’t exist.
Rejection is part and parcel with leading a growth-oriented life.
(Read: The Truth About Rejection)
When you get good all that happens is it occurs a bit less and you start doing most of the rejecting yourself.
So expect some rough bits.
Even guys with fully exercised social muscles often stumble through their first interactions with women. Rather than get upset over this reality, stop looking at each interaction as your defining “one rep max” and look at them as warm-up sets at the gym. You need to do a few “low weight,” not-so-impressive rounds to get the juices flowing.
And the best way to do this is to say hello to the first person you see in a social situation.
Doesn’t matter if this is a bar or a house party, the second you walk through the door, say hello and start up a brief conversation with someone.
Will it go well? Maybe. Probably not.
But it’s important for three reasons:
- It sets the frame for everybody else paying attention that you’re a social person. You immediately entered a social environment and began talking to people. Few do this. It says a lot about you.
- It sets your own attitude throughout the rest of the night. Because the first thing you did there was socialize, and (presumably) you didn’t die, you not only “broke the ice” but told yourself subconsciously you’re a person who socializes at parties. Psychological mumbo-jumbo my ass: try it for yourself and you’ll see what happens.
- You warmed yourself up. Most likely the interaction was mediocre; that’s par for the course. But you’ve gotten your uncalibrated, slightly awkward comments out of the way. Now you’re tuned into the environment. Each interaction for the next hour or so at least is going to be a good one.
This is especially important for guys who are more “inward oriented” and prone to analyzing rather than “being” in social situations. Being present is the most important thing in dating; this makes sure it happens immediately.
But how to warm up in the day to day?
How To Work Out Your Social Muscles – Advanced
Although I’ve preached the inevitability of rejection in dating, the technique above actually reduces your chances of rejection because it helps to manipulate both your environment and yourself to view you as social.
If you’re looking for a real challenging “work out,” start striking up conversations with people wherever you go.
Coffee shop. Bar. Park. Subway.
It doesn’t have to be a serious. It can just be chit-chat.
The point is to expose yourself to possible rejection and to make your default behavior in general talking to people.
And if you want to take this “exercise” even further?
I highly recommend you get the book “As You Are” by Nick Sparks.
(Book Review: As You Are)
It’s a book on dating and socializing that is simple yet breathtakingly profound at the same time.
It’s basically the go-to resource for guys who want natural results with women, not complicated routines.
It changed my life, and owe the teachings in the book for most of my romances (including my marriage) and my current level of expertise.
For whatever reason it’s priced for a song, but I suspect it won’t be for long.