How To Tell Stories

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When it comes to being attractive to women, you have to know how to talk to them. Nobody wants to just answer the same ten questions that they get on every date that they have ever been on: what do you do for a living, where do you live, what do you do for fun… you want to have an actual conversation. You want to be able to tell them about yourself and your awesome life. You want to be able to show off your wit and even to humblebrag just a little.

And to do that, you’re going to have to be able to tell stories.

People who are good with women are good at telling stories. Full stop. It’s one of the most important parts of being able to carry on an interesting conversation. When you can captivate a woman’s attention, you can touch her emotionally. If you can touch her emotionally, you can touch her… well, you know. It’s an essential skill to have when you’re trying to get better with women, and frankly, most guys are just doing it wrong.

You see, telling stories seems like it should be instinctual; A happens, followed by B which causes C, which leads to D. Simple, logical, easy.

And completely incorrect.

Storytelling, especially when it relates to meeting women, has a structure and a rhythm to it. Do it correctly and you can have people eating out of the palm of your hand. Do it wrong and you’ll see girls checking their watches and wondering how much longer they can politely be expected to put up with you before they’re allowed to get up and walk away.

"The social contract says I can leave in 5... 4... 3..."

If you’re going to want to be a master storyteller, you’re going to have to learn the basics.

The End Is The Beginning

Before you even start telling your story, you need to know how and where it ends. A good story is like a good joke: it’s all a lead-up to the punchline. The last thing you ever want to hear when you’re telling the story is “And then what happened?” when you reach the end. This is your number one indicator that you’ve messed up; all you have done is ramble on for five minutes, ten minutes, what have you  and wasted everybody’s time. It means that your story doesn’t have a definite ending, and you need to go back to the drawing board.

The reactions you do want are simple. You want a laugh, a “Oh, that’s so cool!” or “That’s interesting!”, an “aaaaawww”  or “That’s adorable!”

What do these all have in common? They’re positive emotional reactions to your story, and by transference, to you. You’ve made someone else feel good, which in turn makes you more attractive.

The Transition

The transition is what lets you launch into the story. Just leaping in is an option, but it can feel forced and awkward; it can be done, but you’ll have to hook immediately, otherwise it comes across as random. There’s phrasal lead in, where you say “Hey, that reminds me of this time…” or “Wow, that’s like when I…” “Check this out…” “The funniest thing happened…”. There’s the cold read of the person you’re talking to, where you use them as the transition: “You remind me of my buddy So-And-So. Actually, it’s funny,  I was hanging out with So-And-So yesterday when…” Then there’s the observational transition, where you use someone else as a springboard into your story. Observational transitions can be incredibly useful because you can bank them in advance; with practices, you can make a canned observation sound natural. Otherwise, you use your environment, or even the person you’re talking to to transition into your storyIf someone at the party has an absurd hairstyle, you can use it as a lead-in. If the woman you’re talking to mentions she went skiing in Vale, you can say “You know, I never did like skiing. The last time I went…” and you’re off.

The Hook

This is the part that makes the listener’s ears perk up. You want to seed this as close to the beginning as you can in order to capture their attention early. The longer you take to insert the hook into the story, the less of a chance you have of capturing people’s attention; take too long and the hook becomes part of the background noise. If you’re going to tell the story about something crazy that happened to you while you were on vacation, you need to lead with it.

“Yeah, the last time we went on vacation, we went on this photo safari in Tanzania. It was kinda awesome; I mean, you’re running around in the savannah in this open-top car, just, like, right there in the middle of it. The thing is, being so close to all the animals can be kinda risky. At one point, this elephant decided it didn’t like us, so it chased us all the way down a hill. It was trying to kill us, y’know?”

This is an example of a poorly set hook. Your target’s attention is already wavering before you ever get to the fact that you were staring down death in the form of a two thousand pound pachyderm.

“Last time I went on vacation, I nearly got killed by a rampaging elephant.”

MUCH better. Launching into your story like this will make people take notice early on. The hook is akin to Alfred Hitchcock’s Bomb Theory.:If a bomb suddenly goes off in a scene, you’re surprised. But if you know the bomb is there in advance, you remain in in anticipation, waiting for it to explode and wondering whether the heroes will escape it in time.

Your hook is the bomb; you want your audience to know it’s there, waiting to go off.

"40 years of revolutionizing modern cinema and my only use to you is to help you get laid. I am so pleased."

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  • JB

    As a nerd-dating girl, I have to add: I avoid guys who do nothing but tell stories. If I feel like they aren't interested in my life, but they're busy trying to entertain me, I'm going to bail ASAP. Most girls I know feel the same way. Stories are great, but in limited number: for every one told, expect to listen (or try and bait out) one from the other person.

    I have several friends with REALLY entertaining lives, who are great storytellers, and I rarely talk to any of them because it's all about them. No matter how amusing the story is, I want to feel like I'm just as interesting to listen to, or I'm going to feel like the guy really doesn't care about me, as a person, but rather just impressing me, as a hot chick.

    So, yeah, stories are important, but in limited number!


    • mrcartoonster

      Good advice. Stories should only be told on a date when both are contributing one. I usually like to bait or steer the woman I'm dating to tell her story first and if I have a story in the same situation I'll then share mine if I don't, I don't. So if she tells a story about countries she's traveled to I'll tell a similar quirky travel story. But if she tells a story about bungi jumping or some other extreme sport that I haven't done I don't turn the conversation around and go to my quirky travel stories. I just ask questions about the story she's just given and explore the awesomeness of it.

      But yeah, if you tell too many stories of your own you can quickly alienate your company. Oh, and when trading stories with your company/date don't play the "one up" game. Let them be the judge if the story is awesome.

  • Unknownymmous

    Really Great advice here, Thanks a lot for this. It just help today!

  • Kan

    This actually sounds like pretty sound writing advice

  • Jetstream

    Gah! Dammit! Could'a done with a little warning before running into a picture of Leslie, man!

    • Dr. NerdLove

      Imagine seeing it in person. One of my first encounters with him after moving to Austin involved his pressing his be-thonged ass up against the window next to where I was eating (Katz', for the record) to adjust his sandals.

  • snackynak

    Man, this is one of the things that I struggle with. I've got stories, but unfortunately they're war stories. Sad and depressing mostly, not something I would want to tell anyone, especially someone I just met.

  • adamhunter1223

    Whelp, the one single thing I'm good at in a social context is telling a story, so I don't feel quite so bad now.