Never Run Out Of Things To Talk About

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Normally on Wednesdays, I run your questions for Ask Dr. NerdLove and try to help you all out with your relationship issues. Sometimes, however, I get a letter that’s a perfect segue into a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for a while. Today’s writer, frequent commentator Ancom brings up a common set of problems that I hear about with great regularity from my readers: how you avoid running out of things to talk about with someone you’ve just met and – importantly – how to transition from “great conversation” to “getting the number” and  “asking them out on a date”.

Ancom provides some specific examples of what hasn’t been working, as well as an example of some of the game he’s been spinning, so we’re going to be taking this in more of a Post Mortem style than the usual Ask Dr. NerdLove’s.

Strap in folks, it’s gonna be a long one.

Hey Doc,

I recently found your site and I’m impressed by your tendency to cut to the chase. Let’s hope you can help me with something I’ve tried to resolve on numerous PUA sites prior to coming here, because I have a very big problem that I’d really appreciate some input on.

First off, I’m 28 and I’ve never really had a problem landing a relationship or a ONS. I have a pretty great job in addition to having a good life and taking good care of myself, so I always manage to bump into women who can sort of “sense” this from the way I carry myself, and they tend to be willing to meet me without me having to do all too much work.

For future reference: starting off a letter like this generally makes it sound like you’re trying to brag – and then when you get into your problem, it calls this part into question.

However, when it comes to actively carrying a conversation with women, I’m completely unable to do it regardless of the sitaution. It’s really frustrating for me because I feel like I’m missing out on an important part of life that everyone else seem to have no problem with, and it’s preventing me from hooking up with people I’m interested in.

Well, not to put too fine a point on it but… you are. If you’re going to be putting yourself out in the dating market, whether you’re looking to get laid that night or if you’re looking for something long-term, you need to be able to talk to women. I can’t over-emphasize the power of conversation as a tool for building attraction; it’s part of how we find commonalities with one another and how we bond on an intellectual and emotional level. There’s a lot to be said for pure physical attraction, but even the studliest of Studly GoodNights can only get so far before they have to open their damn mouths.

I’ve looked all over the web for a solution and feel like I’ve tried every suggestion in the book, but they all seem to have major flaws.

For example:

1) I’ve tried talking to women like I’d talk to a friend or any other person, but the social dynamics between two strangers are too different from the social dynamics between two friends, and I find that despite being friendly, inviting and making non-threatening casual observations, I never really get a reaction from women beside a courteous laughter or yet another question (which leaves me back at square one of having to keep talking). With a friend you’re just talking about boring day-to-day stuff. It’s not something you’d want to tell a stranger.

First of all: non-threatening casual observations? I’m going to presume that you mean “observations that aren’t of a pointedly sexual nature for fear of making the person I’m talking to uncomfortable” rather than “That’s a nice dress! I bet the material would absorb a LOT of blood if I were to stab you later.” It’s good to make a point of avoiding coming across as “creepy” by accident, but you’re making a classic mistake here.

You seem to assume that the social dynamics of the situation are binary: either you’re talking to a friend – in which case must stick to strictly boring, platonic topics – or you’re talking to someone whom you want to bone and therefore have license to flirt. Now, I don’t know about you, but my friends and I talk about a lot more than just boring “here’s what I did today” stuff. We swap stories, we bullshit, we commiserate about bad days, annoying co-workers, joke around, make plans, discuss philosophical ideas (which may look like geeking out about movies and comics, but I assure you carries weighty metaphorical subtext… weighty, I say!). Occasionally we talk about serious matters: relationship concerns, plans for the future, things we’re worried about. It’s almost never boring unless we need to talk about a boring topic; we wouldn’t be friends if we bored each other after all.

What this sounds like to me is that when you’re talking to a woman “like she’s a friend” is that you’re not expressing interest or flirting; you’re keeping it strictly to small talk, which is profoundly unsexy. If this is someone who might be interested in you, she’s going to be wondering why you’re not giving her anything to work with – it’s hard to figure out whether a guy likes you or not when he’s only talking about the weather or his job.

Second: If she’s asking you questions, that’s generally a good sign that she’s interested in what you have to say.  This is your opportunity to tell some stories to let this person know who you are and why she should want to get to know you. This is where you get to brag a little, in an amusing and charming fashion. You want to show off that you’re a cool person with a lot going on in his life and she would be crazy if she didn’t want to be a part of it.

"Wow, I had no idea library science could be that interesting! And did I mention I *love* tweed?"

2) I’ve tried using canned stories mixed with some questions and casual talk. This works to some extent, but that only gets me so far. How am I going to make that last for 3-6 hours?!

When you say “canned stories”, I’m assuming that you mean stories you’ve told enough times that you could tell them in your sleep, rather than using pre-generated routines that you’ve picked up from PUA sites. While there is some value to the canned routines that some PUA schools advocate – mostly in learning the rhythms and mechanics of a good story and how to hit certain emotional switches- trying to use somebody else’s material is usually a substitute for having a personality and lifestyle that women find attractive.

The way you make this last three to six hours is by being interesting to talk to. How do you do that?

Well, to start with, be interested in what she has to say. This means being an active listener; you need to do more than make the “uh huh” noises, you need to be asking questions and paraphrasing what she said in your own words to make sure you caught everything. You use what she says as a springboard to other topics, either through a transitionary phrase like “you know, that’s like this one time I…” or “So if you did X, have you ever done Y?” You can also ask open-ended questions like “So what are you passionate about?”

3) I’ve tried just speaking whatever comes to mind, but it tends to just dwindle into a lot of casual comments and it has the same drawback as method #1 (which is I get short answers and have to talk even more to make up for that).

There’s a lot to be said for observational topics, but only a) if it’s not obvious that you’re desperately casting about to find something to fill the silence with and b) you can use it to springboard to an actual conversation. Personally, I like people-watching; you have any number of ways of segueing into new subjects – fashion, lifestyle choices, even just commenting on their actions. I saved one date from a painfully awkward “what do we do now” moment followed by a good-night handshake by starting running commentary about another couple that was VERY clearly on a first date and using it as a parallel to our own. The trick is to bring the conversation to a place where the two of you can learn about each other.

Also: if all you’re getting are short, clipped responses, odds are that the person you’re talking to is just not that into you. Odds are good that she’s just trying to run down the clock until the social contract says that she can leave without causing offense. The more interested a person is in you, the more they’re going to have to say and the more they’re going to show interest in what you have to say.

"I'm fascinated. Really."

4) I’ve tried the chode way of just going interview mode on her, asking questions as well as answering hers. I’ve even tried being genuinely interested in what she says, practicing active listening and all, but in the end it’s just an exchange of questions going back and forth. BO-RING.

I have nothing to say here. I’m just going to pause for a moment and just marvel at the idea of “being genuinely interested in what she says” as a desperation tactic.

5) I live an interesting life and supposedly that is supposed to be the source of anecdotes you can tell people or the relations you can draw between what women are telling you and what you’ve previously experienced, but I don’t feel this way at all. As soon as I have done something, I don’t think about it anymore. I don’t feel a need to tell people about what I’ve done. There’s nothing interesting about having gone skiing, surfing, hiking, clubbing etc. What am I supposed to do? Chime in and go “Yeah I went clubbing too last weekend too! A drunk guy puked on me.” I’ve tried every imaginable variation of relating to what she’s saying, and there’s nothing interesting I can respond with. DOU-BLE BO-RING.

Well here’s your problem: you don’t seem engaged in your own life. If you’re living an interesting life, then why wouldn’t you think about the things you’ve done after you’ve done them? There’s more to an interesting life than just going down a checklist of “cool” activities – the point of collecting experiences and memories is to experience them and share them with other people afterwards. And you can’t do that if you never think about it again afterwards.

It’s about more than just having done something; it’s about how it made you feel and what it made you feel. To take an example from my life, I visited Cambodia a few years back and got a chance to do things I never thought I’d do, including exploring a ruined temple in the jungle. What I took away from it was more than just “yup, that was cool,” it was how humid it was in the jungle and how loud it was thanks to all the birds and insects. It was about feeling as though I was walking through every single adventure fantasy I had watching Indiana Jones as a kid and trying not to yell “Throw me the idol, I throw you the whip!”. It was about the way my stomach contracted and my nuts crawled up into my abdominal cavity when I realized that I’d walked into a live minefield and had to pick my way back very fucking carefully. It was about characters, like the little Cambodian urchin who kept trying to engage me in conversation and sell me cheap crap when I was busy trying to flirt with a cute backpacker while watching the sun set from the top of a ziggurat.

Now granted, this is a bit of an extreme example. Not everything has to be an epic tale of adventure and danger in exotic lands in order to be interesting. The seemingly mundane can be interesting, even enthralling if you sell it properly. This means being in touch with yourself and willing to share it with the person you’re talking to.

5b) Even though my life is full of events, not every activity is going to result in an interesting anecdote. In fact, I feel like they never do, and if they do, it’s only something mildly entertaining. I’ve also read that even if your stories aren’t that interesting to you, you can still deliver them with passion. I find this to not be true at all. Even if I convey an experience with both emotion and passion, the other person still won’t have much to say about it and you’ll be left with an “oh cool” or just another question fired back in your direction since she doesn’t have anything to say about your story.

It doesn’t always have to be about X thing happened while you were doing Y activity with Z.

To use one of your examples: let’s talk about skiing. If there’s nothing exciting or interesting about skiing, you’re doing it wrong.


Now, maybe there was something crazy that happened while you were on a ski-lift or you watched somebody have an epic wipeout. But let’s say it didn’t last time. What do you talk about then? Well, to start with, what is it that you like about skiing? How does it feel to be rushing down the side of a mountain with a couple of planks strapped to your feet and the only thing between you and sudden death is your ability to shift your weight? Do you like carving trails in fresh champagne powder, or do you prefer hurtling over moguls. Are you a moderate skiier or do you like taking on double black slopes? Or perhaps you like the effortless gliding of cross-country skiing, the silence of the snowy air and the way that you almost fall into a meditative trance while you’re traversing a field or forest.

Even the example you mentioned about going to a club and somebody getting drunk and puking on you is potentially a funny anecdote to share if you know how to sell it. Build the tension by describing what was happening before you got puked on and how you saw this person headed your way.Create characters – sway back and forth when you’re describing how the drunk walked, speak with an exaggerated slur. What happened afterwards? Did they fall over? Get ejected by the bouncer? Offer to buy you a drink then stumble into a crowd of onlookers?

So that about sums it up for what I’ve tried up until this point. In order to give you an idea of what I’m working with, let me also give you a personal example from last weekend:

And now we enter into Post Mortem territory. I’m going to break some of this down for the other readers – who would get some benefit from it – as well as pointing out where you dun goofed.

I’m at a small bar, and a woman walks up and accidently brushes against me. I jokingly tell her to keep her hands off. She laughs.

So this is a good way to start, For those of you keeping track at home, Ancom’s opener is to jokingly reframe this woman bumping into him as her as trying to get into his pants; she’s clearly willing to play along with it since she laughs instead of fighting it. This implies that she’s at least a little interested in him – or finds him amusing, which is actually close enough for government work. Now to be sure: this is something that requires a certain level of social calibration, because it’s incredibly easy to come off as a dickbag instead of somebody making a joke. But it does set up the situation as potentially sexual rather than, say, becoming platonic BFFs.

I take that as an all-clear for demanding that she at least buys me a drink before she starts groping me. Said and done. She gets me a drink, and I ask who she’s here with.

Now here’s where things get a little dodgy; what Ancom is doing is testing for compliance by demanding that she do something for him. This is a technique that PUAs use to reinforce the frame – she’s seeking his approval by doing what he asks – as well as check how into him she may be. The more interested someone is in you, the more likely they are to do something you ask; sometimes it’s as simple as “tell me something cool about yourself” or “keep me company while I get a drink”. Sometimes it’s “buy me a drink”.

Because there's nothing sexier than someone demanding you bribe them for the privilege of their company.

Now, demanding that she buy him a drink right off the bat is actually pushing pretty damn hard pretty damn fast; he’s demanding a high level of compliance from someone he’s literally just met. This not something I would advocate trying 99.9% of the time. It takes a high level of social calibration to do something like this without being an asshole, and the situations where it would be socially appropriate are pretty thin on the ground. You can pretty much only get away with trying this in singles bars and clubs – places where it’s generally understood that the purpose of being there is to meet (and sleep with) new people.

I’d would run with saying that she should at least introduce herself before she starts groping me – still pinging for a certain amount of attraction and maintaining a frame that she was groping me rather than just trying to get to the bar. Same result, but far less likely to repulse someone who might otherwise be interested in you.

Now that being said, she does seem to be attracted, since she actually does buy a drink.

 She tells me she’s having an after work with some friends. I ask what she does for a living, and she says she’s a receptionist. I tell her that my mother always warned me about receptionists because they’re bad news.

OK Ancom, here you’re starting to push pretty hard on the sexual framing and it’s really unnecessary. She’s already leapt through a couple major hoops to show that she’s into you. It really starts coming across as trying too hard to establish a point and you start risking turning her off. Plus, “Mother always warned me about receptionists”? This isn’t even that clever as a frame; something like this is going to make even people who’re already attracted to you stop and think “What?” and kill any forward momentum dead.

She laughs again and asks me why I’m here. I tell her I came with some friends.


At this point I honestly don’t know how to proceed. I feel like I have zero information that I want to convey to her. I literally don’t know what to say. Can you please help me? This is driving me nuts, and it’s seriously keeping me from meeting a lot of women I would love to be in the company of.

Well, there’re two different issues here. First of all, you were pounding on the “you’re a sexual predator” button pretty hard, which was defining the conversation you were having; when she’s asking you why you’re here, she’s asking what your motivation (as though you hadn’t been telegraphing them pretty blatantly) was for being at that bar, that night. It’s an opportunity to flirt and keep the sexual charge going if she’s that into you already. You want to keep the thread going: “Well, I thought it might not be a bad night to be groped by an attractive stranger,” “Thought I’d get a few drinks and make some bad decisions.” That sort of thing.

Secondly, telling her that you’re here with friends is A) answering a question she didn’t ask B) pretty damn incongruous to the tone you were setting. You’ve gone from flirting to “Yup, here with my buddies.” Not even “my friends are taking me out for a drink because we’re celebrating $AWESOME_THING tonight.” Just “Out with friends.”

What do you want to say? Well, since you were looking to get laid that night, what you wanted to convey was enough about being a cool person to justify her being interested in potentially going home with you. You’d want to find out more about her in order to justify (to her mind, if nothing else) your attraction to her. You would want to find out the potential logistics for that night – did she drive her own car, or did she ride with somebody else? Does she have somewhere to be the next morning that would preclude going home with someone?

If this were someone you might’ve been interested in taking out for a date rather than banging right then and there, you might have wanted to look for common – or at least complimentary – interests by sharing some stories and experiences of your own and asking questions from her. You might want to seed a potential date early on by talking about a cool thing you like to do, then later on mentioning that you’re planning on doing $COOL_THING later that week and she should come with you, then get her number so you can follow up later.

The problem I’m seeing in what you’ve described to me is that you’re trying to get a lot of result for very little effort; you’re not really that interested in getting to know the people you’re talking to as much as progressing down the flow-chart to the desired end point. Hell, you don’t seem all that interested in your own life. Spend a little more time looking to connect on more than a surface level and you’ll find you’re having less of a problem with running out of things to say.

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  • Jess

    Okay, so as a girl, I agree with the Dr. here.

    The opening line about her feeling you up if you pulled it off right shows intent to flirt and engages her. Asking for a drink right after that would not have worked for me. Buying a drink is a high price of admission for a conversation that it only getting started. That she bought it means she had the super hots for you, but as a woman, I would have been listening to see how you were going to earn that drink through your conversation.

    The problem was, you didn't pay her back. For women, connections are currency. You didn't give her anything of yourself to work with, even though she was willing to be engaged. The only response you gave her about you was "I'm with my friends," which really says nothing at all other than a guy is trying to make it clear he's not there by himself.

    If I were a woman and wanted to script a good start to a conversation using this as a starting point, it would have gone something like this.

    She brushes up against him.

    Guy: Hey now, we're in public. I think there's a rule about keeping hands to yourself.

    She laughs: I'm sorry.

    Guy: That's alright, I was a kindergarten rebel myself. So, if you're going to grope me in public, can I at least have your name?

    She smiles: I'm Jen

    Guy: Hi Jen, I'm John, nice to meet you.

    Girl: Likewise

    Guy: So, are you here with anyone?

    Girl: I'm out after work with my friends.

    Guy: Really, what do you do?

    Girl: I'm a receptionist.

    Guy: A receptionist huh? What sort of firm do you work your amazing receptioning skills for?

    Girl: It's a law firm.

    Guy: I see. You know, being a receptionist strikes me as the perfect cover for superhero work. Are you sure you're not a superhero?

    Girl laughs: Only on my good days. What do you do?

    Guy: I'm in advertising, which isn't very good for superhero work. I think I'd rather be a receptionist so I could secretly fight crime. Of course, I'm really only interested in the cape, and maybe the tights, but I probably shouldn't be confessing that. We just met.

    She laughs: If you were a superhero, who would you be?

    Guy: I don't know, maybe "Would like to buy a cute girl a drink guy." What are you having?

    Girl: A beer is fine.

    Guy: What about you? What super power would you want?

    And away you go. You have to give her something to bounce off of. If she responds shyly to superheroes, ask if there was any office drama lately that she had to use her mad people skills to solve. Ask her what she thinks of a television show that features lawyers and if she feels it's realistic.

    • Ancom

      You are right that my strategy is asking the girl for too much, but I'd rather ask for instant compliance at the risk of getting shot down hard than having to waste time talking to someone who might never be able to feel attraction for me at all regardless of what I say. The success ratio is of course not working in my favor, but I get enough positive response for it to be worth it.

      As for your conversation piece, I could never pull that off. How am I going to relate any given comment into inane superhero jokes at a split second? I certainly don't make mental connections like that because that's not how I communicate with people, and quite frankly it strikes me as kind of childish.

      • Cat

        It's not about making superhero jokes; it's about making conversation. If superhero jokes aren't your thing, that's fine – it was just an example, not a script to be applied in every given situation.

        But I get the feeling that's exactly what you're looking for: a script. Life isn't scripted. If it were, I'd be quipping like Buffy, joking like Archer, and ranting like Julia Sugarbaker. (yes, I'm that old.) But it doesn't work that way.

        In a conversation, people have a give-and-take. You can't expect to be given an opening if you don't allow for one. It's like improv comedy: the rule is that when someone says something, you respond with "yes, and…" and never, "no." That is to say, you can't just shut down someone's statement and expect to keep the flow going. And when you respond with something like, "that's nice," or "oh, I'm just here with my friends," you're making it really difficult for them to keep the flow going.

        Regarding your comments below, Ancom:

        If you don't feel like "SHARING" then don't be surprised if people don't want to share with you. This doesn't just go for your toys when you're a kid; if you don't want to open up, even just a little (not like telling them your deep, dark secrets or anything), then don't expect anyone to open up to you.

        The fact that you don't engage in any kind of introspection or self-examination (which, by necessity, involves thinking about and mulling over your past experiences) is a huge red flag to me. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." And the unexamined self is not worth dating. I'm not surprised that you can't keep a girl's interest, it seems like you can barely keep your own. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but I get the feeling you need to hear it. You seem very resistant to change, despite the fact that you've reached out for help and advice. Your responses (so far) have been rather defensive of the very issues that are causing you trouble.

        I think your problems boil down to your lack of self-examination. If you never take the time (or never have the inclination) to reflect on your past, how it's shaped you, and what sorts of behaviors you have engaged in that have and have not worked, then you'll never be able to learn from your failures or your successes.

        And yes, most people DO engage in this sort of thought process and have an inherent urge to do so. That's why the human race has a history of telling stories, both fact and fiction. Without it we never would have gotten to where we are today.

        • Jess

          You are dead on, Cat.

          I put out the conversation for any readers who would like an example of back and forth that invites more back and forth. Since this is a Nerd blog, and I'm a geek, superheroes seemed a fun topic of conversation that I would find engaging. Even if it is not your cup of tea, it is playful and fun.

          If you are the super serious type, you can still have that give and take.

          When you ask where do you work?

          I'm a receptionist?

          Oh yeah, do you like working as a receptionist?

          Not really.

          What would you like to do instead?

          I'm in school to be an architect.

          Impressive. I don't know much about architecture. What's your favorite building from an architectural standpoint?

          The Guggenheim. What about you, what do you do?

          I'm in sales.

          What do you sell?


          Do you like selling software?

          Honestly, if there was a seventh layer of hell, I'm pretty sure the stairway down to the eighth layer of hell would be in the sales office.

          Well, what would you like to do?

          I've always wanted to own a pub.

          Be prepared to ask enough questions and answer enough questions with enough of yourself open that a woman doesn't feel like she's speaking to someone who is standing on the other side of a door with that little chain latched.

          It seems to me you are really afraid if you open up any part of you, you are going to be rejected for you. That's the part you have to get over. You can share, and if you get rejected, move on. If you don't demand a drink from every girl you talk to, you'll have plenty to talk to to find someone else willing to engage with you.

          We can't do much with a brick wall except bang our head against it.

        • Ancom

          "That is to say, you can’t just shut down someone’s statement and expect to keep the flow going. And when you respond with something like, “that’s nice,” or “oh, I’m just here with my friends,” you’re making it really difficult for them to keep the flow going. "

          Yes, this is the very problem that I am highlighting in my letter to Doc Nerdlove, and what you are mentioning there is pretty much what it all boils down to.

          I don't think it has anything to do with a lack of introspection though. My issue is that I just don't see the joy in talking to the women I approach in the way that they are expecting to be talked to. Why? Because I have zero interest in sharing any information with people that don't amount to more than pseudo-funny "you-had-to-be-there"-type memories.

          Who cares? Seriously? What does this information say about a person or anything at all for that matter? Nothing, that's what. The information is utterly boring and useless. I just don't get why anyone would want to share it.

          I honestly don't expect anyone to find my latest club adventure or ski trip particularly interesting, because it's not very stimulating information. It's just not very funny.

          Are you saying that I am wrong to think this way?

          • djteslarose

            yes, you are wrong. How you relay a story and/or the content/context of a story tells a lot about a person and what their interests are. People use this information to gauge their respective interest.

          • Jess

            Yes, Ancom, the next step is learning how to not just answer questions but how to add in personalized commentary as you answer questions so a woman feels like you want her to know what you think about the world, what you are interested in, and you are actually interested in what she thinks about the world, what she has experienced, and what she is interested in.

          • Cat

            And it doesn't have to be "funny," per se. It just has to be "interesting." (And I put those in quotes because people have different perspectives on what they consider "funny" or "interesting.)

            I'm a bit confused by your statement, "I have zero interest in sharing any information with people that don’t amount to more than pseudo-funny “you-had-to-be-there”-type memories."

            Why do you think all your stories are "you had to be there" types? Is your group of friends so very small and insular that nobody except your inner circle would find your activities interesting or at all relatable?

            I'm wondering if you're setting your own expectations of your conversation too high. That is, I think maybe you're afraid that what you have to talk about isn't as interesting as it "should be." Like, your life isn't "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," so it could never possibly be that interesting. News flash: NOBODY'S life is "MI: GP," and nobody's life is as funny as an episode of "Archer." But I can guarantee that you've had fun and exciting moments in your life (if you're going out to clubs, skiing, hiking, etc, then I can't imagine that you haven't had fun and interesting moments).

            Try telling one of those stories or anecdotes that you think is just "middle of the road," and see what kind of a response you get. You'd probably be surprised at how interesting others might find it.

            I'm also rather confused by the statement "I just don’t see the joy in talking to the women I approach in the way that they are expecting to be talked to." How do you know what these women expect? I think, really, they just expect that a conversation will go back and forth, with them saying something, and then you saying something, and then them saying something, and you saying something. I think they just expect that you'll talk about stuff in general, with a bit of a flirty feel. That's really all you need to do.

            The more I read your comments, the more I think you're kind of psyching yourself out, and putting too much pressure on yourself, and telling yourself that your stories aren't interesting. Why not let the girl you're talking to decide if she thinks you're interesting? I know you said you don't want to "waste time," but, really, what's five or ten minutes' worth of conversation? If you aren't attracted to or interested in each other, you'll know it by then, and you can move on to the next girl, or the next bar, and try again.

          • achang2

            Cat, do you have like a blog that I can follow? I really like your views.

          • Ancom


            Thanks for your response.

            I don't tend to be very afraid in social situations, so I don't think I'm psyching myself out. It's just that I don't think it's fun to talk about stuff that is mostly only fun when experienced.

            You tell me to try to tell a woman I approach about a past experience, but I literally don't know where to start because I don't find any of it interesting to talk about.

            – I went hiking last weekend.

            – Oh cool. Where?

            – A forest just outside the city.

            For me to want to expand on that I need to think it's fun to convey, but I don't, because the conversation itself has zero value.

            What else would I want to relay about that experience that cannot as easily be summed up in a couple of words? Am I going to talk about what it looked like? How beautiful it was? How much it sucked trekking up that big hill and how it made me realize that I should probably lose a few pounds ha ha ha ha!

            Seriously, that stuff just doesn't come to me naturally because it's so damn boring. If I had to listen to myself talking like that I'd just zone out or fall asleep standing.

            I guess what I'm asking is, how do some people manage to internalize a mental process where they actually enjoy talking about stuff like this?

            And why do I manage to get along with guy friends, business partners and women who approach ME using a different mode of communication, while the women I approach myself almost always expect to have a conversation in the above mentioned manner?

            Is there some kind of reward center in the brain that releases dopamines whenever you tell people a house painting anecdote?

          • Dr. NerdLove

            This is the whole point of sharing these experiences: trying to share what it was like for you to have them.

            You're falling into a common trap that people who get caught up in pick-up run into on a regular basis: trying to rate everything as value exchanges. Sometimes you need to quit worrying about "bleeding social value" and just learn to accept human interaction for it's own sake. Not everything is a confrontation about who has higher social value and it's not always a performance where you don't have to end every story with "WACKETY-SCHMAKETY DOOOOO!". Sometimes telling stories is just about sharing experiences you've had and finding common interests.

            So if you talk to a woman you've approached about going hiking, then yes, of course you're supposed to talk about how beautiful it was and how exhausting it was when you got to the summit. If you're unable to express how cool it was or what it was you got out of that experience, it makes me wonder if you actually got anything out of it at all and why you bothered going in the first place.

            While I was on vacation a couple weeks ago, I went walking along a rocky beach. Saw some folks sunbathing. Met a local with a couple of dogs. Got to the other end of the beach, turned around, went back to my hotel and took a nap. Would I tell a story about that? Yes I would, even though nothing major happened. It's not about "AND THEN A GIANT WAVE CRASHED OVER ME AND TORE OFF MY BATHING SUIT!" it's about how blue the ocean was and the smell of the sea. It's about seeing the old people sunbathing on the rocks like a couple of beached seals, or coming across the ones who were CLEARLY fucking behind a rock. It was about the fact that those two dogs thought I was the most amazing person they'd ever met, which astounded their owner because they don't like strangers and from there I could segue into the fact that I have the lamest superpower ever: the ability to charm other people's pets.

            Then the person I'm talking to could tell a story about the time SHE went to the beach, or maybe she doesn't like the beach but is really into rock climbing and went to Enchanted Rock the other week, etc.

          • Cat

            Well, I'm not a biologist or psychologist, so I can't say anything about dopamine or whatnot…

            However, I'm wondering, if you don't see anything interesting about the experience of the hike (the beauty of the forest, the long hill, etc.), then why did you do it in the first place? In retelling the event, you relive it in a way – why wouldn't you want to relive (and share, via words and mental pictures) that cool experience? And yes, those things you listed are exactly the sorts of things that people would expect you to talk about if you were telling them about your day hiking.

            I also don't understand why you don't see any value in this conversation. If you're telling me those three things (how beautiful the forest was, how steep the hill was, and then the joke about losing weight), those three things give me, as a potential date, three critical (and POSITIVE!) pieces of information about you:

            1. You can appreciate the beauty of nature. I, personally, find this very important, and attractive. (It also tells me that you're the kind of person who is willing to get off the couch, get outside, and do something active; also very positive!)

            2. You made it up that steep hill, and even though it kinda sucked, you kept going and didn't give up. This tells me that you were willing to go through a bit of unpleasantness in order to enjoy your hike, and maybe challenge yourself a little bit.

            3. You have a sense of humor and can joke about something that many people find very personal (their weight).

            Can you start to see the value in this conversation, now?

          • Ancom

            @Dr. NerdLove

            "If you’re unable to express how cool it was or what it was you got out of that experience, it makes me wonder if you actually got anything out of it at all and why you bothered going in the first place."

            I don't think experiencing something is the same thing as talking about it. I love going clubbing, but I don't think it's particularly fun to describe the night in detail. Why would I? Everyone does the same thing, and I don't feel like talking about stuff that people already know.

            When I talk to my friends about past events, I literally only give them the facts. If something GENUINELY INTERESTING happened that I feel had an actual impact on me, then I'll share that as well, but everything else is totally interchangeable with anything anyone else has experienced, and it's completely uninteresting for me to talk about it.

            That story you just told? That's actually exactly how my closest business partner communicates. He'll just go on and on about stories containing the most uninteresting detials imaginable. I personally don't understand what's so interesting about doing that, and I personally get zero value out of doing so.

            This is not about me being stuck in some PUA value-gauging mode. I just don't think it's fun to talk about past events in a completely uninteresting manner, and I don't understand why anyone else would?

          • Ancom

            @Cat I don't see any value in the conversation because conversations are both false and predictable. When someone is talking you can see exactly what they're trying to communicate, what they're trying to hide, what kind of image they're trying to put up and what kind of responses they're fishing for. The kind of smalltalk I just gave you is the kind of constructed, canned BS I use in all social contexts. People love it and I understand what kind of "values" it's projecting, but in reality it has nothing to do with who I really am.

            The only thing a conversation reveals about a person is what they want you to see, not who they really are, so there's really no value in talking about uninteresting stuff like that.

          • djteslarose


            I'm starting to think you might actually have a brain that function's differently than the rest of us humans. Have you been tested for Asperger's syndrome or autism? You seem to have an inability to relate or connect to others in the way most humans do. And it also seems like you are faking your way through a lot of these above mentioned human interactions. I'm wondering if you really just function different on the brain level.

          • Ancom


            I can see why you'd say that based on the comments I've been making, but it's not like I have problems picking up social cues or holding a conversation with people. I'm a pretty sociable guy (or I wouldn't last in my line of work).

            I just find that when approaching women who are not inherently attracted to you you're expected to do storytelling, and I just don't think that storytelling is particularly fun or that it has any value at all.

          • djteslarose

            Do you enjoy movies, books, or theater? That's all storytelling that most of us enjoy. In fact, the whole of human history is one giant multi-faceted story. I seriously don't understand you at all. You've basically ignored all of our attempts at help and advice by saying, "No, no, storytelling is boring and i just don't want to engage in something so dull". Which is both defensive and condescending. You asked for help and now you are either choosing to ignore us because we can't possibly have a point or you honestly don't get the point of human conversational interaction, which usually involves some form of information exchange via stories, personal or otherwise. So therefore you are either a cad who can't be bothered with other people's lives or that interested in his own, or you have a different mental process than most other humans. Or maybe you are depressed/low self-esteem, etc, but I doubt that.

          • Cat

            I am inclined to agree with @djteslarose here… It seems like you, Ancom, are really unwilling to see any value in conversation, and perceive it as a roadblock in your dating life. And that makes me think, as she does, that maybe you're just somehow functioning on a different level than most people are.

            There seems to be some kind of a disconnect here: you seem to want to find a way to engage with women without having to actually make conversation. You see conversation as meaningless. But, that's the way most people communicate. I'm really at a loss to make any more suggestions, with one exception:

            Have you ever considered, after an introduction and an opening line or two, saying: "You know, I just don't get the point of conversation. It always seems so shallow and meaningless to me. Do you think you could convince me otherwise?" And see what happens. Any girl who engages with *that* opening, and whom you do not shut down automatically (that is, don't just say, "no, I don't accept your argument," say, "but I disagree because…" and make a good case for your point of view, while maintaining a light-hearted tone) is a girl worth having a conversation with. And, who knows, she might be able to change your mind in a way that we just can't…

          • Ancom


            "Do you enjoy movies, books, or theater? That’s all storytelling that most of us enjoy."

            Yes, and I pay to enjoy them because a room full of script writers sat down to craft a story that will keep me intellectually stimulated and on the edge of my seat. I don't think it justifies me having to tell boring stories about my visit to the beach. I don't see the connection. Nobody cares about the latter, and it's not stimulating or interesting (in my opinion).

            "[…]or you honestly don’t get the point of human conversational interaction, which usually involves some form of information exchange via stories, personal or otherwise."

            From where are you getting that this is how humans interact? I interact with a lot of people, but I never do it through stories. I communicate with people in a manner that is fun and natural, which means I exchange views, jokes, information and facts. I don't start making up long-winded stories. I think that's a really weird way of communicating.


            "It seems like you, Ancom, are really unwilling to see any value in conversation,"

            "you seem to want to find a way to engage with women without having to actually make conversation."

            No, I just fail to see the value in storytelling alone. I never communicate with guys through storytelling, nor do I communicate with women who are into me with storytelling. It is only strange girls who seem to expect storytelling from me, and I cannot do it because it's just not natural to start making up some long-winded story.

            "Have you ever considered, after an introduction and an opening line or two, saying: “You know, I just don’t get the point of conversation. It always seems so shallow and meaningless to me. Do you think you could convince me otherwise?”"

            Not to sound unappreciative when you're trying to be nice to me, but I think any woman would consider that weird and would most likely walk off. She already has the expectation that it's my job to chat her up, and me demanding that she should entertain me isn't going to help. =)

      • Jessica

        I suck at flirting.

        I get told fairly often that I flirt all the time. I also get told that I am good at it. Other women complain that guys don't run to do things for them like they do for me, and attribute it to the flirting. My guy friends joke about how guys find excuses to hang around me just because I'm fun to flirt with.

        I know very well that I suck at flirting.

        So why the dichotomy? I suck at flirting when I'm trying to flirt. It's painfully awkward for me. I feel like I'm trying to act a part that doesn't fit me. I had a hard time figuring out how I could be great at flirting when I wasn't trying to, and an utter failure when I was.

        So I was out with my boyfriend recently, and with an air of astonishment, he exclaimed, "Whoa, I just realized you FLIRT WITH WOMEN TOO!"

        We talked about it later, and he observed that the thing that makes me "such a good flirt" is that I always come across as really interested in the people I talk to, and that it seems like my default is to like everyone I meet.

        That's not flirting in my mind: I just like people. But the point is that everyone but me reads it as flirting, and effective flirting at that.

        So, in light of that, I read your statement:

        "You are right that my strategy is asking the girl for too much, but I’d rather ask for instant compliance at the risk of getting shot down hard than having to waste time talking to someone who might never be able to feel attraction for me at all regardless of what I say."

        …and after I get over the ick factor of "instant compliance" (seriously?), I get stuck on this phrase: "waste time talking to someone who might never be able to feel attraction for me at all regardless of what I say."

        Talking to people of the opposite gender who aren't going to boff you isn't a waste of time. I would never sleep with someone whose *only* interest is in sleeping with me. Being uninterested in anything about a person but their genitals is pretty damn unsexy.

        But if you must approach it in such an ugly and results-oriented manner, think of it this way: as the good doctor points out, conversation is sexy. Great conversation is one of the best aphrodisiacs there is. If you read about most of the women that history considers to be great seductresses, you'll find that almost every single one of them was renowned for her ability to command a man's attention not through just her beauty (in fact, some of them weren't at all beautiful), but through her words.

        The same goes for men.

        If you think of having conversations with women only as a means to an end, you'll never get good at it. People are attracted to others who make them feel good about themselves. Learn to just enjoy interacting with people: if you make them feel good about themselves — and not just through cheap compliments, but through genuine interest — they'll find you attractive.

        • Ancom

          Women view good conversation as an aphrodisiac, men view sex as an aphrodisiac. You go after yours, and I go after mine. There's nothing wrong with either, and I've found that the stronger I go after what i want, the more likely I am to get.

          However, that doens't mean that all I'm interested in is scoring. I'm just saying that if I find a woman attractive, I'd rather get shot down sooner than get disappointed later.

          • Dr. NerdLove

            And pushing that hard that fast helps ensure a disappointed sooner rather than a "success" later.

            Long-term sacrifices for short-term gains.

          • Ancom

            Well, I never disagreed with that. I'm just saying that I'd prefer worse odds to the risk of being disappointed after finding someone I really like and realizing I can never be with them.

          • Jessica

            "Women view good conversation as an aphrodisiac, men view sex as an aphrodisiac."

            Not according to history. Men view plenty of things as aphrodisiacs. For some it's power. For some it's having a woman make them feel good about themselves. For some it's the thrill of seducing a woman who was hard to get. For some it's sensing desire from the woman. For some it's partnership.

            And for many — or at least, most of those who've chosen to write about seductive women — it's conversation. Maybe it's because the conversation reveals some of those other turn-ons (the woman uses it to show her attraction, or to play hard to get, or to make the man feel good about himself), but at least for those men who've chosen throughout history to articulate what turns them on, conversation is one of the biggest ones.

            From your letter and comments it really sounds like not only do you not really find your own life that interesting; it's also not clear whether you understand what turns *you* on other than your targets being female.

          • Ancom


            Well, even though the things you've mentioned can be arrousing to a man, I think male sexuality tends to be detached from everything else. I mean, I find that men are generally ready and willing to sleep with just about any attractive woman given the chance, and I don't think most people would argue against that.

          • Jessica

            I think young men tend (tend!) to view their sexuality as detached from everything else, just as young women tend (tend!) not to be comfortable with the fact that they are sexual beings (and not just sexualized beings) at all.

            But the point is while it might be natural at a certain age, it's a transitionary period that most people move through. Men get to know themselves better, understand what they actually want from relationships, and that gives them confidence and patience. Women come to be comfortable with the fact that they are agents as well as objects of desire, and that that's healthy, and become more confident and clear in expressing what they do and don't want.

            Will men take whatever sex they can get from an attractive woman whenever they can get it? Some, maybe even most.

            Is that the sum total of what they want? Not in most cases.

            And that's the crux of the matter. Most men — again, post-early 20s — *don't* fall into bed with whatever woman indicates she's willing. Every single guy I know has said no to an attractive woman at some point, because there will always be times when there are other things that you value more, whether it's your career, your marriage, the esteem of a woman you really care about, a conflicting opportunity, not getting entangled with someone you can tell is bad news, etc.

            Not to get all Abraham Maslow on you, but there's one of those hierarchies of needs for sex, too. Getting it at all is the lowest level. The better you know yourself, the more you'll understand what constitutes those upper levels for you, and the better equipped you'll be to both attain and enjoy them.

            And that will make you more confident and relaxed about getting what you want, which will make it a lot easier to talk to the people you want.

          • djteslarose


            Oh come on. " I think male sexuality tends to be detached from everything else. I mean, I find that men are generally ready and willing to sleep with just about any attractive woman given the chance," This is pure and utter bullsh*t. And I'm sorry DNL for the swearing. But at this point, I give up. @Ancom doesn't want our help and he doesn't want ideas to meet girls for long term relationships. He wants the "Fuck me" cheat code to unlock a girl's panties with minimal effort on his part. I tried to understand, I really did, but this is ridiculous. Ancom, you've shot down every idea and continue to tell us why our advice just won't work for you and then you continue make these really gross comments. Done. I wonder that any woman sleeps with you at all.

          • djteslarose


            I commend you on your patience and understanding in your replies to @Ancom. You are probably doing a better job at getting the message across than I and thank you! (And I'm serious about that!) 🙂

          • Ancom


            I think you're being very condescending by insinuating that male sexuality is something to "grow out of" while female sexuality is somehow a more mature state that men "transcend" into once they've grown up.

            I'm not saying that men will sleep with anything attractive that walks on two legs, and I'm certainly not saying that a man will put his job, marriage, health or wealth at risk just to sleep with a beautiful woman (because that's really quite an extreme), but I am saying that as a man who bonds with men of all shapes, ages, levels of education and backgrounds, I've found that if there's anything they've all got in common, it's that they'd like to get laid with an attractive woman regardless of whether they've shared a good conversation. They probably don't care!

            So my point is, if you think good conversations are sexy, more power to you! You should go for what you want, but you need to realize that so will I! =)

          • Jessica


            Reread. 🙂

            I said we each have things we have to grow out of.

          • Jess

            @djteslarose Thanks, I try.

          • Beardy

            "Women view good conversation as an aphrodisiac, men view sex as an aphrodisiac."

            I actually don't think people have pointed out how wrong this is enough in these comments. In fact, I think you framing your sexual experiences this way is 90% of your problem. You seem to have internalized the thought that you should only be looking for one night stands as many nights of the week as you can wrangle. And, from your other comments, specifically how prefer to not share anything with women you meet and your insistence that even the act of meeting people is numbingly boring, I believe that internalizing and living this way has caused you a lot of harm.

    • djteslarose

      @Jess, I would date you after that script!!!

      @Ancom: I think I know why girls don't want to talk to you after a few minutes. And I've definitely met your type in the bars before. First off, I've NEVER had a guy ask ME to buy him a drink, and any guy who did that would be watching me walk away really fast. It's a jerky move, as are most of the PUA moves. If you want a ONS and don't care much for who it is, then PUA away, but if you want to sleep with her more than once, you'd better figure out some more genuine game. Look, it seems like you want to walk up to a woman, get her to talk for hours with minimal response or genuine interest in what she is saying from you, and then sleep with her (or get her number, etc.). Do you really want a girl who is going to talk for hours to basically a wall? I can't imagine that will make for good sex. And let me tell you something, good brain sex leads to good sex sex. Jess is right, women want to make connections and nothing gets an intelligent girl hotter than some witty back and forth conversation. It's foreplay at the most basic level. (BTW, back and forth questions are basic "get to know you" social conversations.) Why would a woman choose to sleep with someone they can't get two words from? Why would a woman think you would be a passionate and dynamic lover if you view everything as "BOR-ING"? It doesn't even seem like it's nerves with you. It seems like you just want the means to an end. "What do I say to get her to fuck me that doesn't require much work or attention on my part?' Lame, lame, lame. Look, maybe you lead an interesting life, but you sure aren't interested in it, and you certainly don't seem to convey interest in the woman.

      Seriously, the vibe you gave off was and what she probably got was ,

      "I'll flirt with you!"

      "Now buy me a drink b**tch."

      "Oh I'm here with my friends,"


      "why are you still talking to me?"

      Dude, dial the whole thing back. You've gone so far in the wrong direction. How about changing tactics where instead of trying to score loads of chicks, attempt to make friends with random women? And take an interest in your life and in their's. That "genuine interest" thing? Not a desperation move. Your FIRST MOVE!

      Good luck Ancom but I don't think your problems with conversation will change until your mindset changes a bit.

      And DNL, I love your column (and read it all the time) and usually I agree with tolerance of everyone's sexual choices, but there does seem a lot of focus lately on how guys can get laid off meeting a random girl in a bar, rather than getting numbers, setting up good first dates, or building relationships. We are in an age with many young people are already having second adolescences. It starts to really suck for girls in their late 20s and 30s when we turn around and find a bunch of man-children still trying to get their rocks off with girl after girl instead of being interested or frankly capable (lack of practice?) in stable relationships. And yes, this is a biological clock thing, but man, it's rough out there for the ladies…. And I don't know the stats or the studies, only the anecdotes of myself and my friends, but it seems very few long lasting stable relationships come from a ONS. Perhaps we should be encouraging our nerdtastic men to stop focusing on end result=sex and instead end result=relationship (which usually means sex too!).

      Ladies? Gentlemen?

      • Ancom

        Wow, you are putting a lot of assumptions in your response, both regarding my personality and how the aforementioned situations I've been in have panned out.

        From where are you getting that women don't want to talk to me after a few minutes?

        Why did you insinuate that I think women are bitches?

        From where are you getting that all I'm after is a one night stand?

        My problem certainly isn't that women don't want to talk to me, nor is my attitude toward women a problem. My problem is that I feel forced to back out of certain conversations that I cannot maintain.

        So please, if anyone needs to tone things down, it's you. Geez.

        • djteslarose


          You came off that way in your letter, especially after detailing your interaction at the bar and your response to Jess. "I'd rather ask for compliance right away". Dude. Gross. That is showing respect for women???

          " I’ve tried the chode way of just going interview mode on her, asking questions as well as answering hers. I’ve even tried being genuinely interested in what she says, practicing active listening and all, but in the end it’s just an exchange of questions going back and forth. BO-RING"

          Hmmm…I'm not attempting to make a personal attack on you, but I would reread your letter and see how your conveyed attitude might look to a female. Your letter screams PUA in training not "I'd like to maintain conversation with women and actually get to know them but I find it difficult to keep talking". Even DNL mentioned that.

          Hey, I'm sure you are a good guy deep down. But that's not what you are conveying in writing. *shrug*

          • Ancom

            You are missing the point I'm making with the "interview mode" comment. It has nothing to do with not being interested in getting to know the woman. I'm describing the type of situation where a guy will keep asking women interview-style questions becasue he cannot think of anything else to say. This is a bad thing, because he's essentially just asking her to give him value without giving anything back himself.

            Regarding the asking for compliance right away, what's wrong with that exactly? As a guy I find myself having to do most of the approaching, which means I'd rather find out sooner than later if the woman I'm talking to finds me attractive or not.

          • Jess

            The problem is that you are setting the "price" of your compliance demand so high, you are going to have to be SO impressive to make up for that compliance demand that you are starting the game three feet in the hole instead of on even ground. For most women, even if they like you, you have to dig out from demanding so much so early.

            Asking for a name, or asking her to have a seat and chat for a while is much less of a price for a woman and she'll be willing to consider whether she likes you or not for longer. Essentially the lower the price of admission to the conversation the more gaffs she'll be willing to "let go" as she's talking to you if she likes you.

            If a girl is interested enough to buy YOU a drink, she would still be THAT interested if you only asked her to sit down and talk with you. EXCEPT, she'll also give you a lot more time and consideration before thinking, "this isn't worth it," because she's only invested her time instead of her time and money.

            If she paid to get into this information, it only needs to go south a little before she's going to think, "This is a guy that is just demanding and it isn't working." Even if she was initially interested in you enough to buy that drink.

          • Ancom


            Ok I see your point right now, but honestly, the drink thing was just something I did in this one instance because it seemed like a funny thing to do considering the cocky vibes I got from the girl. The conversation was pretty relaxed, and I doubt she expected anything grand from me. Rest assured though, it's not like I'm going around demanding people buy me drinks. When I talk about asking for compliance it's more just about being straight-forward with my intentions whenever I can, but in a way that seems appropriate for the mood and style of the given conversation.

        • Dr. NerdLove

          It's from the example you provide in your letter. You're starting off your interaction with this woman with some seriously heavy sexual framing and you keep slamming the "you're trying to seduce me" frame over and over again very early on in the interaction. This does not come across as "I am interested in possibly exploring a long-term relationship with you", it comes across as "I want to get laid tonight."

          Similarly, you mention that you don't want to have to endure a conversation if it's not going to be going where you want quickly. You're going to have to forgive people for thinking that this is what you're looking for when those are the examples you're choosing to run with.

          • Ancom

            Yeah maybe I worded it badly. Of course, sometimes I'll be looking for a ONS, but the letter I sent you is really about any type of situation where I find myself with a woman who is not inherently interested in me, i.e. who does not feel attraction right away or who did not approach me. It's not about instant sexual gratification or looking to score.

          • Dr. NerdLove

            I get that, but the fact is, just because a woman didn't approach you first or didn't light the "FUCK ME" signal into the night sky in the hopes that FratMan would rescue her from a boring night of Khloe and Lamar reruns doesn't mean that attraction can't be built. But building attraction requires being able to communicate, and having a conversation – and telling stories – is part of how that happens.

      • Jessica

        "Perhaps we should be encouraging our nerdtastic men to stop focusing on end result=sex and instead end result=relationship (which usually means sex too!)."

        Well, especially given that so many of DNL's letter-writers and commenters seem to be concerned that they're not good at sex. I don't think you learn much about sex from ONSs. People have to get comfortable with one another to have the sort of conversations that actually lead to better sex.

        • Ancom

          Why should you focus on a relationship if you don't want a relationship?

          To me, having sex with lots of women is wonderful. It's great to meet new people, and if sex is all you want at the moment then I think that's what you should try to indulge in.

          It's true that sex often gets better with time, but it can also get worse with time. Variation is nice, and sometimes all you want is some variation. =)

          • Ancom

            Of course, that's not to say that a relationship can't be pretty damn great. I'm just saying, it's comparing apples and oranges. =)

  • Ancom

    Thanks for the feedback Nerdlove. There was a lot of good pointers there.

    I'm not really trying to get into the pants of these women as much as you seem to imply though. Like I said in my opening, I don't really have a problem with meeting women who seem to appreciate my style. My problem lies in actively taking initiative to talk to specific women I want to get to know better, and I can't seem to get it to work right.

    You said that I don't seem very interested in my own life and that doing fun things isn't always about checking off cool things from a checklist, but my issue is that I just don't feel like SHARING funny events with other people. I don't have a mental index of "funny stories" in my brain that I draw from in social situations, because I inherently don't feel like there's ever a good reason to revisit past events and relaying them to others. Do people really have an inherent urge do to this?

    When I communicate with my friends it's about new things only. New observations, new ideas, new happenings and new jokes. I never, ever look back and tell stories about past events, unless it's to reference a quick "who," "what" and "where" to a friend who wondered what I did last weekend.

    Am I the only person who functions like that? Do people in general have an inherent interest in relaying old information to other people?


    • djteslarose


      Yes, most people connect by SHARING funny anecdotes or facts from their pasts. It's hard to make only NEW observations with people you've just met. There is no frame of reference and no connection to build upon. A person is the sum of their experiences. Why wouldn't someone who is interested in you want to know your past experiences? Also, of course you might not need to discuss them with your friends, they were probably there. But a stranger wouldn't know any of that.

      • Ancom

        Well, when I make new guy friends we never really relay old stories. We discuss matters or events at hand or future events. I'm not that interested in hearing anecdotes from their past, and it doesn't seem like they're very interested in hearing old anecdotes from me either.

        I'm not going to go as far as saying THIS IS A MALE/FEMALE thing because I honestly have no idea and it probably isn't a gender-based thing, but I disagree that people can only bond through anecdotes, because that's not how I've managed to bond with the people I know today.

        In either case though, it certainly seems like it's the only way to communicate with women, so I'm curious about the mental incentive behind the urge to tell anecdotes.

        What I'm mostly wondering about is whether poeple actually walk around thinking "hmmm… this is actually funny, I better memorize this for later" or if it somehow just happens automatically?

        • djteslarose

          A man without a past.

          I've never befriended anyone who didn't talk about their past experiences at all, not male, not female. You sir, are an anomaly in my experience.

          • Cat

            Indeed. I have never met anyone who didn't talk about *something* in their past. In fact, if someone didn't talk about their past, I'd wonder why…

            It doesn't have to be the first thing you talk about, but if you expect to build any kind of a long-term (or even medium-term) relationship, it's rather expected that you'll talk about your past.

          • Ancom

            Of course I share personal information with people. What I'm saying is that I don't feel an inherent need to tell people anecdotes, because I don't think anecdotes convey any interesting information that cannot as easily be summed up in a couple of words. There's nothing funny about it. There's no punchline, no interesting information. Just a person talking about a whole lot of nothing.

          • Rose Tyler

            Storytelling is very basic to the human experience. I think the first thing the first Neanderthal to the second Neanderthal was, "Hey, listen to this cool thing that happened to me today."
            Hearing information about a person through a story about a trip they took, a funny thing that happened to them or something really awesome that they did is a more interesting way of acquiring information and insight about that person. You learn how they react to things, if they have a sense of humor, what they enjoy and all in an entertaining little story. And by learning to tell an entertaining story, you demonstrate to the ladies that they won't be bored in your presence.
            I get that you're not a live in the past kind of guy, but storytelling is kind of important.

          • achang2

            Ancom, my head does work in the same way as yours. What I feel is happening is that we've taken a different path, and hit a dead-end. People from other paths can't really relate because they haven't been there. All their advice is about what you should do to join them in their path. They are not about finding the way out in the path you're actually at. Your path hasn't been mapped, so it's easier to just go back and join everybody else. I feel they are right. Maybe some day we'll meet someone who knows what to do in our situation, but in the present the advice contained here is all we have.

        • Cat

          It's really more of an automatic thing. At least, in my experience it is. (and, I assume, given the context and flow and unpredictability of conversations that I have with friends and family, they all do it automatically, too.)

          When someone says or does something that reminds you of something else, then you can bring it up and relate it to the current happening. If you have to go out of your way to memorize an event, filing it away for later, I'd actually (and I mean this genuinely, not trying to be glib) start to wonder if you've got memory issues.

          • Ancom

            I don't think I have memory issues, Cat, but my problem is your very assumption that one *must* relate to a statement with a story. It's NOT the only way to communicate with people, and in fact I find it to be the most alien and unnatural way you can convey a thought to someone else.

            I've noticed that girls tend to communicate by exchanging stories. I listened in on some female friends talking to each other the other day, and it was just story after story after story about stuff they had experienced.

            What I also realized is that this is not how I talk to my guy friends at all! And yet, we have lots to talk about.

            So if storytelling is "how you communicate," then how can I possibly communicate with my boys? =)

            Of course, this is a problem for me and I'm looking for some help, so I'm not trying to debate you. It's just that I'm trying to oppose the notion that storytelling is THE ONLY WAY and that I must be socially dysfunctional if I don't find it inherently fun or natural.

        • OhNoes


          If you're not into conversation (by which I think you actually mean "small talk") as a way to bond with or meet people, that's cool (I find it a little odd, but I'm married to a guy who majorly sux at small talk, has no interest in it, has no interest feigning it, etc. so I kind of get it), but I think it means that meeting people in bars isn't a good option for you, and you'd be better off meeting people while actively doing things or in situations where you're likely to share a common interest. E.g., you might look into Meet Up groups in your area that match your interests (hiking or whatever) and try to meet people while doing things you're interested in. You can often have a more "meaningful" conversation in these types of situations.

          • Ancom

            Well, I do have an OK success rate at bars, but my question isn't about picking up girls. It's about interacting with women who have a neutral view of me, because they're always expecting me to tell them stories. In fact, I find that they do this *outside* of bars more than they do at clubs and such.

    • Denny

      Do people have an inherent interest of sharing experiences about their lives that they can relate to connect with? Um…YEAH. I mean, that's why we watch movies and listen to music and spend time with other people having fun. Like the Doc is saying, it's more than just collecting a buncha stuff and charting them on a board like you're a robot simply collecting data. It's about the human emotional attraction and connection that we all long for and need in our livea. The former is what I'm getting from you; it seems like you're approaching things from this calculated logical manner, which based on what you're saying makes you seem cold and distant (you may not THINK that, but the writing's on the wall). Sure you may do this and that and that and this, but you also seem to have this barrier or this wall up that won't let other people in, so they really don't have anything to make any sort of connection/foundation with if there's no groundwork there.

    • Aurelia Verity

      Keep in mind, the girl wants a longer, more in depth conversation to get a "feel" for the guy, to make sure he's a safe person; they look for subtle cues. in your story you started the conversation with a strongly sexual slant, that will put most women, even ones looking for a ONS, on guard.

      is this guy just bold, exiting and forward? or is he a jerk who is going to kick me out of bed when the coitus is done with? or maybe he has human heads stashed in his freezer Dahmer style.

      extended conversations, your ability to keep a lightly flirtatious but not too aggressive and not too bored or strained conversation puts a woman at ease. sharing stories makes her more comfortable with you, helps her get to know you, helps her not feel like she's going home with (or giving a number to) a complete stranger.

      if you want to keep meeting women you might need to develop the ability to tell past stories, sharing anecdotes and being more open about yourself, because, as some people have mentioned, yes most people connect and relate to each other by sharing past experiences and you not having that ability, will hinder you. regardless of the kind of person you really are, being tight lipped around a woman you've just met makes you look a bit odd and that's enough for most to back away.

      So learn to talk, doesn't matter if it seems boring to you, because it is not about you.

  • Ancom

    Also, just to emphasize that I don't really tend to be predatory or threatening around strangers, regarding the exchange with the girl in the bar the whole conversation was kind of cocky and flirty from the get-go. There was nothing said by either of us that didn't have a joking and flirty undertone. I wouldn't really have referenced to our conversation the way I did or come on so strongly if this was not the case. I probably communicated this badly in my e-mail.

  • Denny

    Ancom, after reading through most of these comments and responses, I think I can safely say this:

    You need to work on YOU before trying to meet other people. Because I'm getting major bad- self-esteem vibes from you. "Who cares about my stories?" YOU SHOULD at the very least! You need to have a vested interest in yourself before anyone else seriously can. Again, people LIKE hearing about each other and getting to know each other. Believe it or not, what you do and how you live and how you convey it DOES tell a WHOLE LOT about a person; and everything so far is saying "I'm not really invested in my own life and I'm just existing." Again, it's that barrier you throw up that no one can get through and that you don't seem to be in any rush to take down. So if you find yourself boring, well guess what? So will everyone else you meet. Most conversations we have with each ither are usually about who we are, which are shaped by our actions, and if you're not willing to act like what you do matters to anyone or yourself, then no one is going to know who you are and you're going to stay stuck.

  • Aurelia Verity

    Hi Ancom,

    I hope you don't take this personally but could you possibly be depressed?

    I'm only saying this because my best friend was going through a similar thing. he wasn't displaying any "regular" signs of depression, he was a good student, he had friends, but he seemed completely unable to get enjoyment out of things. Anything he did, even if it was a really cool thing like taking a vacation in an exotic location or meeting someone exiting he was very "meh" about. After a two failed relationships in which "he just couldn't bring himself to care" (his words) he reluctantly went to a therapist and got diagnosed with Dysthymia.

    perhaps i'm wrong but your case really reminded me of him

    it's one thing to be "bad" with conversation but i think it goes deeper then that. you don't seem to have much enjoyment in the stuff you do. You state that you have a decent and even interesting life, you're young, you're capable of attracting women, but you just don't seem happy about any of it.

    As i said, please don't take offense, i'm not saying you have Dysthymia, but there are some not very known mood disorders which a person may not even know they have but that could be at the root of the problem.

    good luck

    • Ancom

      Hi Aurelia, and thanks for your reply. Please don't feel a need to sugarcoat your words. I'm a big boy and can take it. =)

      I really don't have as dark of an outlook of life as it may seem in my responses. It's just that people keep assuming the worst, and it requires me to constantly repeat and clarify my thoughts, which of course makes it seem like I am extremely negative if these specific thoughts and sentiments are negative too.

      I understand what you are referring to, but you won't meet a guy who's more passionate about life than I am. I love my job and I love the stuff I do. I'd say I belong to the 0.00000001% of poeple who are actually excited to go to work in the mornings. If that's being depressed, then I sure am enjoying it! =)

      What I find annoying – and what my entire problem revolves around – is that strange women seem to require of me to communicate with them through stories. I cannot do it because this is not how I communicate with anyone else. I like when a conversation conveys value, such as through jokes, interesting observations, information or just to hear about curious, alien and interesting experiences. What I DON'T like to hear are long and boring every-day anecdotes about experiences that are completely interchangeable with anyone elses.

      And of course, this makes me utterly unable to tell these stories, since I don't have an inherent passion for them.

      So really, I want to learn more about the mental process behind telling these stories, and how I can somehow solve my problem by learning more about how other people do it.

      • Beardy

        "I like when a conversation conveys value, such as through jokes, interesting observations, information or just to hear about curious, alien and interesting experiences. What I DON’T like to hear are long and boring every-day anecdotes about experiences that are completely interchangeable with anyone elses."

        The first part is exactly what the women are you talking to are looking for. The second part is what makes people thing you might have depression or be autism-spectrum. Earlier today my friend told a story about the first LARP practice he went to (the cops showed up and pulled guns on them because someone said there was a gang-fight with baseball bats, this is a surprisingly common occurrence for LARPers). I was told his part of the story. There are at least 10 other people I could talk to about that exact same situation and get an interesting story each time because they had something else go through their mind when the cops showed up. One guy just ran. Another had some less than legal plants in his equipment bag. So on and so forth.

        Why can I talk to the others, get a story about the situation and have it be interesting? Because it's a unique story from each person. Because each person is unique. The stories are not interchange-able with anyone else's because the person is not interchange-able with anyone else (if you think they are, you're wrong).

        I hope you can see where when people are saying that you don't find your stories interesting that you are saying you don't find yourself interesting.

  • Ancom

    Err, to clarify, I'm talking about shallow conversations and storytelling.

  • Someone Else

    Basically, you're overthinking this, Ancom. Human conversation is not a video game, where a certain combination of actions yields the highest score; it's both incredibly more complex and incredibly simple.

    The secret? Don't think about it, just do it. If you get stuck, ask a question. Any question, really. Your brain instinctively knows how to have a conversation, so just let it do its thing.

    It's like walking. Once you start thinking about how you walk, you will inevitably start walking goofily and awkwardly. But if you don't think about it, and just do it, you'll walk normally. I get that this is hard for guys like us, who like to be inside our own heads, but once you learn to trust yourself, it gets easier.

  • Barry


    You do understand that the point of all this conversation is so that the other person in the conversation can learn something about you, right? It's difficult to paint a picture about what sort of person you are without pulling up some prior experiences and at the *very* least indicating which ones you liked and which you didn't. It sounds (as others have opined) that you have a lot of emotional detachment from your prior experiences which makes it difficult to try to get a picture of who you are through those experiences ("went to a club" doesn't say anything, "went to x club to see y because z" gives three waypoints to continue the conversation). In addition to the raw content of these stories, that you decided to tell a particular story at a particular point and how you related it (including body language) says a lot about your outlook on the world, your attitude, your mental state, and (of course) your ability to carry on conversation. The time you spend doing this, also, is an investment of your attention and that's something that is precious in any sort of interpersonal interaction. By giving your undivided attention and investing yourself with active listening you're demonstrating that she is interesting to you and worth your time.

    Not all of this has to be entirely reflected through anecdotes or past experiences, though. Skiing, for example: you indicated that you've done it. Can you rate a few experiences from the ones you like most to the ones you like least? Could this be a catalyst to talk about "future events", possibly? If you can't entirely paint a picture of yourself through past experience, maybe you can start to fill in some blanks by talking about future events that interest you. Skiing you'd like to do, places you'd like to go to ski, things related to skiing you'd like to try. This might make it easier for you to keep the conversation going, at least. Here we're trying to take a topic like skiing and put as much of you into it as possible.

    Or maybe you have some past experiences which were not so good? You don't really want to be Debbie Downer all the time but sometimes it's easier to remember and relate stories that are more catastrophic (if it's done in a humorous light). Sharing these stories isn't conveying factual truth in the simplest manner possible (i.e. "went to a club"), it's indirectly talking about yourself without having to try to fill out an online profile or have an interview.

    Some people are natural at conversation and some are not. It doesn't sound like you have specific issues with carrying on smaller-talk conversations (e.g. you don't come up with a witty joke two minutes after the time that it's appropriate), it sounds like you are just hesitant to invest yourself in it…and really, isn't that the point? She wants to see you investing yourself in her so that she can be sure it's worth her time and effort to invest in you.

    • Ancom

      Thanks for your reply Barry.

      I *completely* understand the purpose of storytelling that you are trying to explain to me, so please don't feel that I am disregarding your message, but the benefits of storytelling are also inherent in just talking to people WITHOUT storytelling.

      So to me, storytelling does not feel natural. You are literally making up a long story for someone to listen to. That's not casual smalltalk, nor is it fun. It's just WORK.


      • Beardy

        Sorry for the barrage of comments.

        I am now beginning to see the disconnect (I think). You consider storytelling to be a big production. And it is, for writers. For flirting? Not so much. Or any other everyday communication. Take for example:

        "Earlier today my friend told a story about the first LARP practice he went to (the cops showed up and pulled guns on them because someone said there was a gang-fight with baseball bats, this is a surprisingly common occurrence for LARPers). I was told his part of the story. There are at least 10 other people I could talk to about that exact same situation and get an interesting story each time because they had something else go through their mind when the cops showed up. One guy just ran. Another had some less than legal plants in his equipment bag. So on and so forth."

        I just told a story. In fact, I told a story within a story (story-ception). I told the story to illustrate my point. I didn't get long-winded and knock you over the head with details. If this was out at a bar and I told that story, there are a very large number of branches from that story because the details are left vague: "Who was my friend?" "Where did this happen?" "Who called the cops?" "What, exactly, was in the bag?" "Why did the one guy run from the cops?" "What happened as the situation unfolded?"

        Basically, you are not writing for a newspaper when you tell a story at a bar. You do not need to put in everything in boring detail. Nor are you penning the next great novel. You don't have to work to make sure all your ducks are lined up to avoid plot-holes and flat characters. You're presenting a basic, interesting, situation (or a basic situation in an interesting way "So, I got pulled over by the cops last week, and the police around Fowlerville are dicks").

        One last thought: The novel analogy might not be so far off, but you want to scale it down. A lot. Keep in mind two things: vary sentence length, and your first sentence should have them asking questions.

  • Ancom

    @Cat, djteslarose and Doc Nerdlove

    You're assuming that I'm finding all and any form of conversation or interpretation of human experience completely useless, but that's not the case. This problem I'm having is exclusively isolated to social interaction with strange women, because I've generally found that the way women tend to communicate with me is completely different from how a man, a friend or a girl approaching me will communicate with me.

    For example.

    When I'm talking to other males, regardless of our level of familiarity, the conversation will ALWAYS be easy-going and casual. There's no emphasis on storytelling, and we're just making some casual observations which is almost instantly segued into an interesting topic or issue/event we have in common. I've walked up to guys in bars, said "what's up" and have generally had some pretty good times with them throughout the whole night without having to tell a single story. Anything they want to know about me they ask, and I just tell them straight up. No problem there, and we have a great time.

    When I'm talking to a woman who is approaching me, the situation is also pretty much the same. She's clearly interested, and I'll just give her the basics of my perosnality, my interests, and then I'll talk about pretty much whatever I like and she won't care because she's already decided that I'm interesting and attractive before I even started talking.

    So that's all fine and dandy. Now let's look at where I'm having problems.

    Imagine any social situation where I'm with a strange woman who is not familiar with me. It can either be a situationally threatening scenario like me approaching her in a bar, or it can be a less threatening and non-sexual situation such as a business lunch with a female client, where we are both simply trying to get to know each other for the sake of business. Heck, it could even be a scenario like the one I described in my original letter to Doc, where a woman is responding very well to my flirting and we get a good cocky and flirty undertone to our conversation going.

    These situations are ALWAYS social catastrophes from my side, and I always find myself having to eject from them (if possible) due to the social expectations coming from the woman. They almost always follow the same pattern:

    – First the smalltalk and casual jokes (as with anyone else).

    – Then the initial questions (why are you here, who are you, what do you do etc) coming from her.

    – Then a reply from my side, and some questions fired back.

    – A short reply from her, then a follow-up question from her expecting me to segue into a story.

    – BLANK.

    The issue here is that with anyone else – like a man, a friend, or a woman who approaches me – I don't have to communicate through series of stories, where every story is a continuation of or segue from the previous one. But every time I talk to strange women, it appears as if this is how they want me to communicate with them, and it's just so very, very unnatural, boring and weird to me.

    Now before you tell me that me viewing these interactions with women differently is the problem itself, and that talking to strange women really is no different from talking to anyone else, PLEASE believe me when I say that I've tried to communicate with them in just about any way imaginable, and that it simply hasn't worked, because they've always fallen back into the same "story-seeking" behavior.

    This is why I have been visiting PUA sites, and this is why I've been trying the methods listed in my letter to Doc Nerdlove. I've been trying to *break free* of my idea that talking to strange women is different, and I've told myself that it's just a mental construct at the result of cognitive bias, but honestly, no matter how much I've tried to approach these social situations with strange women, they always fall back into the same story-seeking behavior.

    I love to flirt, I love to meet people, but I hate having to talk to women in the format of stringed-together stories or inane, childish jokes that are segued into each other, because it's not a natrual or fun conversation pattern.

    So in closing to this rather long continuation of my original question, I don't view storytelling as a fun way to communicate with women. I draw zero pleasure from describing events that have passed. I enjoyed the events when I experienced them, but if they contain zero information worth mentioning I WILL SIMPLY NOT ENJOY TALKING ABOUT THEM. It's totally useless and boring to me, and makes me want to seek out more exciting conversations.

    But of course, this problem all lies with me since nobody else is appearing to be having these problems, and that's why I'd like some input.

    I'd first like to know if anyone else understands where I'm coming from (like, if you understand the problem and situation itself), but also if there are any potential solutions to this, because there's obviously quite a lot of women I'll be missing out on due to this problem.


    • James (Thortok2000)

      @Ancom –

      What's so bad about sharing stories? Why do you see it as shallow and boring? Do you not watch movies? Do you not read books? Fiction or non-fiction?

      After all, you told a story in your e-mail. Talking about how you failed to have a conversation with this girl. Was writing that e-mail completely boring to you?

      It's one thing to not be a particularly good story teller or feeling like you have nothing to tell a story about, both of those are fixable. But to just not want to tell them at all because you just don't want to, and even worse, not wanting to listen to the other person tell a story, it's like you're cutting your nose off to spite your face.

      Is it possible to have conversations and interactions without it? Yes. Is it going to be possible to completely steer the conversation away from stories? Maybe, but you're gonna come off as weird.

      "That's a funny story" or "To make a long story short" are just the first two examples to come to mind. Even if you find a way to manipulate conversation to avoid telling stories yourself (and that's what you're doing, manipulating), chances are you're still going to come across stories from the person you're talking to now and then, if you keep talking with strangers.

      I can think of one friend I know who's always telling stories. At social gatherings and such for the group we're both members of, I can often hear him rattling on some tale to the attention of a small crowd. Sometimes I'm part of that attentive crowd. He's a good story teller and he's funny.

      If someone else is telling you a story and you just go blank and are completely uninterested, that's going to tell, and they're not going to want to talk to you at all anymore, even without stories.

      I think your efforts would be best served at learning to appreciate stories and getting over this dislike of them. Second best effort would be to learn how to engage in conversation avoiding stories yourself. But with that, you still need to learn how to actively listen to someone else's story and not try to interrupt or break them of story mode and not find it desperately boring.

      But learning to appreciate stories would be a whole lot better. They're a form of communication with a specific purpose and utility that can be sort of brushed around with other forms of communication but not exactly matched. You're completely missing out on establishing connections that only sharing (and enjoying the sharing of) stories can accomplish.

      • Ancom


        "What’s so bad about sharing stories? Why do you see it as shallow and boring? Do you not watch movies? Do you not read books? Fiction or non-fiction?"

        It's not BAD per se, but it's just unnatural. Why would I ever want to tell a story to someone if there was no real reason to?

        Yesterday I told my friend a story. I told him about how at a club (the same day as I met the girl in my opening letter to Doc), I met a really socially awkward guy. He looked really sad, so I hung out with him for a bit. I described every detail to my friend; what the guy looked like, what he did, how I felt about the situation, what the guy must've felt, and so on.

        Why did I tell him the story with all of these details? BECAUSE IT MATTERED.

        I was trying to convey a really important idea about compassion, and how messed up it is that some people have to live their whole lives like this socially isolated guy. I wanted to plant a very important thought in my friend's head, so I took him to the same mental place as I was back at the club, in order to help him relive the exact mental process as I experienced back then.

        In other words, I was inspired to tell him a passionate story because I felt that maybe it would have some signifiance, or that moral of my story would be stimulating to him.


        When it comes to just socializing with people in a shallow manner, there is no real incentive for me to tell a story! I don't want to talk about my beach visit because everybody's been to a beach. It's not important for them to know how I experienced the weather, because who cares? Everyone's done it.

        Do you see why I don't feel comfortable with telling stories, or why it feels unnatural to me? There's just no good reason to ever do it unless you want to convey something that *truly matters*. And mind you, it doesn't need to be anything deep in order to matter, but this empty, shallow soapbox-style talk that is expected of me? I feel no inspiration whatsoever to do it!

        "But learning to appreciate stories would be a whole lot better. They’re a form of communication with a specific purpose and utility that can be sort of brushed around with other forms of communication but not exactly matched."

        You are right about that, James. I think my situation would be much easier if I could learn to appreciate stories. But in order to do that, I must first understand why people even care to tell them in the first place, and why *I* should enjoy telling them.

        And that's what I'm here to find out today. =)

        • James (Thortok2000)

          Why do they have to 'matter'? Why can't they just be funny or entertaining? After all, that's what most people tell stories for.

          • Ancom

            Because a conversation is for expressing thoughts or ideas, whether funny or not. You talk to people in order to transfer something to them.

            When I see people telling stories to other or when I talk to women and they start telling me stories, I just think, "where the heck is all of this coming from? Why are you detailing this? How is this relevant? There's no point, no punchline, no purpose. It's just you spending too much time building a scenario and describing events that are completely irrelevant and uninteresting, and that can easily be summed up in a single sentence. This is not telling me anything about you. This is empty filler talk."

            I really don't understand where I am supposed to SUMMON information for a story. When I'm with a strange woman and she throws me one of the classic "story cues," I just draw a blank, because I have nothing I want to tell her other than genuinely interesting things, and those things don't come in story format.

            Yet, a story is what she expects. =)

          • slowpoke

            hiiiii… ok i know this whole thread happened 97 weeks ago and maybe it's no longer relevant for you at all but i just felt like nobody here was really able to relate to your problem in the slightest so i was hoping maybe something i have to say could help you out.

            first of all i think i understand your sentiment about storytelling being irrelevant and i sometimes have a similar problem of not being able to talk to people and just finding myself with nothing to say. i have come to realize that one factor is that there are simply some people i can not converse with on a deeper level. there just isnt any common ground or we are too different or we communicate in different ways. i dont know what exactly the reason is but im just not compatible with some people. there may be people (like my brother) who are able to easily connect with everyone and keep the conversation flowing without a problem. i think those people may just be more socially adaptable than me. this is not a good or bad thing. i think its just a talent some people have or dont have. now i just stick to the people i can actually keep up a conversation with because anything else would be a waste of energy and also insincere towards the other person.

            now i understand you have to be able to talk to people and keep up conversations with all kinds of people due to your job (or at least you had to 97 weeks ago…) so that is not an option for you. for me honestly it would be too draining to deal with this all the time and id just get a different kind of job and accept that my talents are not fit for this line of work. the only other thing i could suggest is a course in communication where they teach you tricks how to deal with situations like those.

            anyway i know this may not be super helpful for you but i find that when i have a problem and ask for advice about it its nice to have at least one person actually be able to relate or at least acknowledge that this problem exists and doesnt try to blame it on my attitude.
            at the moment im dating a guy who hardly ever does this 'storytelling' thing and, frankly, i myself dont get how everyone on this thread is giving it that much importance. i do like talking about things i did and retelling fun experiences but i found that my current bf doesnt really know how to respond when i talk to him like that so i talk about other things with him, no big deal, right? i can do my storytelling with my friends later on. like you said there are other ways to get to know someone. and the way you communicate is one way so if you find that a girl is not compatible with you or expects you to tell a story then there is no shame in moving on to a person who youre comfortable talking to.
            because it really sucks to feel under pressure to keep a conversation going and not knowing how. i had a flat mate i had to make the biggest efforts to talk to and his gf who was my friend would be SO offended whenever i wasnt in the mood to make that effort and it just made me resentful that i was forced into this situation.

            by the way, there is also nothing wrong with sharing a bit of silence once in a while. i sit in silence all the time with my bf while were just doing each our own thing or were sitting together staring into the blue. i know its not something everyone enjoys but we do so what do we care if someone might think were boring?

            ok this is a super long post already but i think what im trying to say is that for some people (and as it seems those are the majority) conversation does not always have to be about exchanging information. those people like to talk about nonsense and for no purpose at all. thats how they bond and get to know each other. while other people find senseless talking useless and boring. either view is a core part of someones personality and to feel pressured into the opposite mode of communication can be stressful and i think it would be good if we all understood that. but its hard to understand something we hardly ever get in contact with. therefore people like you who seem to be in the minority may end up being misunderstood and i know how that sucks!

            i hope you find a way to deal with your job either finding a way to communicate that works for both parties or consider changing your career or maybe you find its not that big of a deal to go through some awkward silences. but i think in a romantic relationship you shouldnt settle for a woman who you have to make an effort with. if you like a girl but still have that talk-barrier maybe try to explain to her what your problem is and find ways to communicate. thats how i did it with my bf and now were closer than ever.

          • James (Thortok2000)

            @Ancom –

            I don't think I've ever heard a story that didn't express a thought or idea, whether funny or not.

            Care to give an example?

    • Hae

      I think I see where you're coming from. I don't banter much with strangers either, and talking about something that doesn't relate to either you or your conversation partner get boring or lead to dead ends easily.

      But in places like clubs or when you're in a situation where you're expected to talk for hours (jesus christ), you're not going to discover an amazing topic easily. Maybe you feel more comfortable with doing something fun than talking about it, which is the way it is for me. I usually find that conversation about shared activity, whether it's a problem we've run into or a theory one of us came up with, comes naturally.

      Don't you think you're fun to hang out with. And sometimes, you might run into people you feel more talkative towards. But when it comes to holding conversations with a stranger, I'm kind of at a loss too.

  • Mike

    Ancom, you are a strange bird. I'm not one to judge, but you come into this with a lot of misconceptions about interpersonal relationships and how they usually work. I'm wondering how accurate your observations about yourself and your relationships with your friends can be. Your aversion to anecdotes, for example: telling each other stories about ourselves is how we learn about each other. "I went on vacation" might not be all that informative but "I went on a hike " conveys far more information about you than merely the fact that you once went on a hike – for starters, it indicates that you might be interested in exercise or nature or both, and this information in the hands of a person who is interested in one or both of those things might then be the beginning of a relationship based on mutual interests.

    Similarly, when you tell a story to a potential one night stand, your story tells her much more than simply that this is an event that occured in your life. As you tell the story the feelings that you had in response to it and even the things you learned from it tell her about your character. in such an instance you would be wise to tell stories that indicate you might be a good lover without just coming out and saying it. tell her about an instance that required you to be very skillful with your hands. tell her about other sexy experiences you had so she can see how much fun you are.

    Our experiences make us who we are. what you have done and what you learn from it and how it affected you are all of large part of your personality. your unwillingness to invest time in talking about yourself, and allowing women you are interested in the same courtesy tell me that you might have some personal philosophy work that needs to be done before you're really ready. The matters we're talking about are of course skills to be learned and mastered, but your unfamiliarity with even the concept makes me think you would do yourself a favor if you went back to basics on this. forget about dating, just go out and make some new friends. everybody has room in their life for new friends. while you're starting from scratch with these new people you might want to observe how they interact with you.

    I hope this isn't coming across as harsh or overly critical, because this really is something that all of us have to put some effort into, but your confusion here seems almost alien, as though your next letter to the doctor will be asking him to explain this earth custom known as kissing.

  • Jess

    Okay, Ancom, I think I got where you are coming from, and I think you can work with it. You are definitely an outlier on the spectrum of human communication, but not so far out that what you want is out of reach.

    You don't like telling stories. Got it.

    In a conversation, there is one thing you will HAVE to accept.

    The girl you are talking to will probably want to tell you stories. This is where you have to suck it up a little and listen. If you want to steer away from stories, you need to subtly direct the conversation toward more opinions on things and observations of things, and there will be less stories.

    A woman will accept that you are a man of few words, though for some women it will be very frustrating. You need to keep an eye out for women who fall naturally into opinion and observation sharing vs. heavy on story telling.

    The point is, with every thing you say, you have to do two things. You have to give her an element of information that is personal and significant to you, and you have to give her a lead to where to go next with it.

    It seems like small talk is okay because it is all these short answer things. What you need to do is find a way to open up a little without relying on the stories so much.

    So, if you get a question like, "So, what was your childhood like?"

    Instead of saying, "Good." *crickets*

    You need to do something like, "It was alright, nothing much to report. Mom was a teacher, Dad was a cop, that sort of thing. Honestly, things are much more interesting now. I'm going hiking this weekend."

    "Where are you hiking?"

    "The Tahoe area, have you been there?"

    "No, never. What's it like?"

    "Well, there are mountains, and trees, and rocks… What do you like to do when you have a weekend free?"

    Basically, you have to show to her that you want to be conversing by giving her something about yourself, then lead the conversation where you want it to go with your own questions and observations.

    As a woman I'm not expecting a guy to tell me a bunch of stories. Most guys I know tend to be a little reserved and that is fine with me. I just want to know he's engaged in the conversation, because as a woman if I'm answering questions with short terse answers, that's my way of saying, I want you to leave. Using completely impersonal answers with NO elaboration at all is woman speak for "move along."

    So, you just need to find a way to elaborate in your own way, that meshes with your comfort zone of "I'd rather not dwell on that," and "I'm a man of few words."

    • Ancom

      Thanks. This is a really good response, and I guess those are some good techniques. I will probably not really enjoy these conversations, but at least it will help make them less awkward.

      I suppose I could use some canned material to help me in situaitons where I find myself having to "present information" through storiytelling, and use that as a crutch until it all comes naturally.

      Thanks for the suggestion. I'll let you know how it turns out with a follow-up. =)

      • Jess

        I'm just curious, what do you like in a conversation? Or do you not like talking at all? I'm trying to understand the attitude of all conversations with women are useless and boring. Because how it is coming off on the thread is that you really don't want to get to know a woman at all. You are painting it as a chore, and the only reason you go through the motions at all is for sex.

        If that is the case, that you have no real interest in women you just want them to be quiet and strip, well, I suppose that is one path to tread, but be prepared to get strapped with the "shallow player" label.

        If you are actually interested in women without the goal of sex all the time, and the problem is that you find random stories pointless in conversation, well, that gives you more to work with. However, you do need to practice directing a conversation where you are acting like the lead in a dance. No matter what, even if you keep things short and sweet, and remain a man of mystery, you still need to give enough pearls of information and lead into the next subject for her to know you aren't blowing her off.

        • Ancom

          "I’m just curious, what do you like in a conversation?"

          I like when women are open, funny and easy-going, and don't follow the contrived formal exchange of stories where I have to act "like the lead in a dance" because honestly, it's just unnatural and fake to me, and I don't think it's a natural and fun way to talk to people, which makes me completely uninspired to even talk to them.

          "Because how it is coming off on the thread is that you really don’t want to get to know a woman at all. You are painting it as a chore, and the only reason you go through the motions at all is for sex."

          I've actually never said a word about talking to women just to get into their panties, and if I did it was a mistake. This regards interaction with strange women who are not attracted to me, which could be at work or when talking to a female friend of a friend, because I feel that these women tend to expect me to follow the above mentioned "story-based" pattern that I consider unnatural and boring.

          • Jess

            Okay, I wasn't accusing you of such, I'm just saying some of the responses in the thread could be read that way, which is why some people have been thinking you are looking for shortcuts to sex, and such.

            What I mean by taking the lead in a dance is answering a question, but then adding a comment or an additional question to keep the momentum going.

            You can think of it like a tennis match. If the girl asks you a question, and you give a short answer with no followup comment or question that gives her something to respond to, it is akin to her serving you the ball, you catching it, and putting it in a bucket beside you.

            So she asks another question. And you answer, but you don't expand on that answer, (not a story mind you, just a piece of connected information) or lead her to a new question you do find interesting that is related to the topic. Again, you catch the ball and put it in the bucket.

            Your bucket won't have to get very full before she thinks. "Fine, I'm not going to play, this is pointless!"

            You have to lob the ball back into her side of the court. Or she has nothing to work with. In fact, and this is what I mean by leading. You get to decide HOW you are going to hit it back into her court. If she asks how your hiking trip went, you can say. "It was fun. I got some good exercise. You know, I read an article that exercise can actually kill you."

            Take what you find interesting, and lob it back, and you'll start to have that conversation dynamic that you like.

            I think the problem, or the reason that it might be unnatural for you is that I suspect you are in introvert and any sort of social interaction like this is draining and work for you. So when faced with "telling a story" it feels like a job and a dumb one at that.

            You have to accept that a playing tennis where you never get a ball coming back at you is no fun and not a natural way to play the game, and then find a way to get the ball back over the net so the girl can respond to you.

            Even if you toss out the racket and throw the ball back over the net, you have to get the ball back in her court.

  • Beth

    Well gosh, I know that I just want to fling my panties off when a man deigns to be interested in what li'l ol' me has to say. You're doing us women such a favor, Ancom!

  • djteslarose


    I'm trying to understand your point of view, I really am, but it is completely alien to my experience. But one element I see over and over again, is that if the woman approaches you, you say you are fine, but if you approach a woman, you see "story seeking behavior". You also mention that if a woman approaches you, you already know she is interested but in approaching a woman, you want to find out as fast as possible if she is interested or not and with as little investment of your time or conversation as possible.

    Am I on point?

    Ok, a couple of things. Just because a woman doesn't approach you doesn't mean she isn't interested. She may have given off signals that she was open to approach/interested and she may have given neutral body language which basically means she doesn't find you offensive on sight. Ok, you approach her and she doesn't immediately reject you. This is your moment to impress, whether for a ONS or for a number or whatever. The way to impress is to HAVE A CONVERSATION that is interesting and engages her. You don't want to tell stories, fine, then talk about an interesting science article you just read, or art or the people around you. You have the opportunity to direct the conversation that can still say things about you. Jess is dead on in this regard. But YOU NEED TO TAKE THE LEAD in the conversation. She's not waiting for a story, she's waiting for you to give her something, anything she can use to continue the conversation.

    Secondly, this wanting to find out if she is interested in your or not as fast is possible is setting yourself up for failure at the start. You are going to come off as way aggressive and fratboy, like the story in your letter conveyed, and kill any budding interest she might have or at worst you come off as threatening. You want a girl? You have to invest at least a little time in conversation. (10-20min, you'll get an idea on her interest level). I'm not sure why you are so reluctant to take a little risk and spend some time getting to know a girl.

    Also, 'Women view good conversation as an aphrodisiac, men view sex as an aphrodisiac. You go after yours, and I go after mine. There’s nothing wrong with either, and I’ve found that the stronger I go after what i want, the more likely I am to get.". Apparently not in this case or you wouldnt' be writing to DNL. In this case, a little finesse and flexibility on your part could go a really long way.

    • Ancom

      You're mixing two different points into one, but that's probably on me for not being clear enough.

      When I said I tend to filter out women who are not attracted to me, it's mostly about being up-front about my intentions. For instance, I might approach a woman with "Hi. This is probably weird, but I think you're cute and I'd beat myself up all night if I didn't gather the courage to come talk to you. My name is…"

      Does it always work? Yes. Because she'll either let me know that she's not interested, or she'll warm up to me becaue she finds it flattering, friendly and possibly attractive. Even if it lowers my chances with some women, I'd rather not deal with them anyway as I'd prefer to talk to someone who is positive and open to communication with me. It's a preference really!

      Regarding your quoting me on "going for sex if that's what I'm interested in," I'm merely saying that I don't think guys should be shamed for – gasp – wanting to have sex with women if that's all they want at the time, just like women shouldn't be shamed for wanting good conversations out of a guy.

      I don't beat around the bush about my intentions, and if some girl accuses me of only wanting sex when I am, I'll tell her the truth (through a joke or remark so as to not appear creepy). This helps both parties get what they want, and she's free to eject herself from my presence if we're not on the same page. Again, I don't see anything wrong with this, and this has honestly helped my hitrate on the ONS side of things more than anything else. Apparently girls like when guys are honest about their intentions! =)

      However! Don't get any of this confused with my asking Doc Nerdlove for advice on how to deal with talking to women in the scenarios I've described in my original letter, because that's not at all related to my romantic- or sex life as much as it regards my interactions with strange women in just about any kind of every-day situation, romantic or not.

      • Beth

        It's super cute how you equate looking at women as sex objects with some women wanting to form intellectual/emotional connections with prospective partners.

        Your problem seems to be your inability to view women as anything but soft penis receptacles. Women are people just like you and your buddies with anxieties and insecurities just like you. What you need to do is stop with the creepy-ass PUA shit and learn to talk to and relate to women as human beings. Get comfortable with them on a friendish level. Learn that talking to them doesn't have to be any different from talking to your friends.

        I had to actively make friends with men and get over my own anxieties about talking to

        them before I was able to even attempt to interact with guys on a romantic level. It's a work in progress, but every day I get a little more confident. Issues like this can't be overcome in a day and you need to put serious work into your views of women, the manner in which you relate to women, and your own self-esteem before you can hope to deal with your communicative problems.

        • Ancom

          What exactly about my attitude is wrong?

          The only thing I've learned from PUA communities is how to get better at reading social cues and how to not be creepy. Everything else is just me being a guy who's looking to a) make friends b) get a relationship or c) get laid. I don't think either of those things are wrong, and depending on the day and the person I'm talking to I'll be looking for either or all of those three things. I don't think that makes me a misogynist.

          • Beth

            And nothing "makes" you a misogynist. That's purely on you. You have the power to think and engage with ideas that might make you angry or defensive, you have the power to think critically about yourself, and you have the privilege to be able to evaluate whether or not you are, in fact, a misogynist.

            The very fact that you put that word in my mouth indicates that you are feeling defensive about your views of women. Maybe you should ask yourself why.

        • Ancom

          And yeah I do equate visual stimulation with emotional connections, because what exactly is an emotional connection and why is it so much better than a physical connection?

          It's not exactly like having a good conversation is an act of magic that far transcends and surpasses the act of visual stimulation.

          • Beth

            Tbh I should have known better than to engage with you after last time. But hey I don't feel like studying so I'll try one last time.

            I was pretty explicit in my response. I'll try to be even more so now. Looking at women purely as erection fodder (or "visual stimulation") is gross and dehumanizing. Looking to men partially as conversational partners indicates a respect for men as human beings with thoughts and interests and desires. One of these things is not like the other.

            If you still can't comprehend anything I'm saying, then have fun trying to fuck random women you don't give a shit about and dehumanizing 50% of the world's population, I guess.

          • Ancom

            Well, I don't see why validating someone as a conversational partner shows more respect for them as a human being than being attracted to them for their beauty?

            I mean, you can dismiss somoene based on their personality as easily as you can dismiss them for their looks. They're both important variables, and depending on the context either will be more important than the other.

            If I'm out to sleep with an attractive woman, that's what I'll do. I don't think it dehumanizes women more than it dehumanizes men when they're expected to be good talkers. What I find attractive is my own business, and it doesn't mean I'm going to value women less than men.

          • Beth

            I find it really disturbing that you don't get the difference. Some other commenters have suggested it, and I will too: you might want to consider seeing a therapist.

          • Ancom

            Well I'm sorry if I'm triggering something with you that makes you feel that my mentality is perpetuating a social injustice, because I try to be as aware of these things as I can.

            But I consider beauty one of many facets of attraction, and I really see nothing wrong with it. I don't feel like sex needs to be prefixed with conversations, and I'll gladly sleep with anyone I consider attractive. I'm hardwired to enjoy it, and my partners seem to feel the same way, so I don't think anyone involved feels particularly devalued.

          • Jess

            There's nothing wrong with finding a woman beautiful, or being attracted to a woman because she is beautiful. Not caring about anything else about her to the point where you don't care if you converse with her at all makes her a sexual thing, and not a full human whose thoughts and feelings you have considered.

            Most women don't want to be objects. We like to feel beautiful, but we don't want to be reduced to "pretty things."

            Some women reduce themselves to a pretty thing. That is heartbreaking for other women to watch, because we know there could be so much more and we see women do it all the time with very little in return. In the end of their lives, they cling to fading beauty through more and more horrific methods and turn into crazy panicked people because they realize they have nothing else.

            I do think you have a little disconnect with this concept.

            Again, it is okay to appreciate beauty. It is not okay to use people. Even if they make it easy to do so. Now if you're with a beautiful woman who is large and in charge of her sexuality and wants sex for her because it would be fun and she's into you. More power to you.

            If she needs your attention like a drug because she has no other self worth. It doesn't matter how pretty she is, saying "yeah, I'd do that, because I don't care if she's dead inside" is skeevy.

            I think that is what Beth is trying to point out.

          • Ancom


            I don't understand why it needs to be turned into two extremes. I'm not going to sleep with someone who has issues with their self-worth, but I'm also not going to care about prefixing sex with conversation if my partner is sane and I find them attractive. It's frivolous pleasure from both sides, and I once again don't think it devalues the person if they've made the informed decision to be intimate with me.

            I mean, you can pretty much feel when sleeping with someone is the wrong thing to do. If the person in question has issues, there's no way you could possibly miss that feeling of something just not being *quite right*, and to assume that just because I will sleep with anyone I find attractive, I'll also exploit a situation that isn't morally defendable is, well, a bit of an extreme in my humble opinion. =)

          • Jess

            Well, you are in an open public forum, and people in internet forums usually assume the worst, which is why you have to be careful how you say what you say. I'm glad you wouldn't try to take advantage of someone and that you do care that they are at least on the same page as you are.

          • Cat

            Okay, I think I'm understanding something here that I hadn't grasped before: You're not actually looking for a long-term relationship, are you? I had been basing my previous comments on that assumption. Perhaps I was right in my first reading; however, it seems from your comments in this section of the thread that you're really just out for casual sex.

            There's nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as everyone is on the same page. And, if that's your goal, then superficial conversation will get you there (and, apparently, has). However, if you ever decide that you're ready to meet someone with long-term relationship potential, then you're going to have to change your outlook and your approach.

            "[W]hat exactly is an emotional connection and why is it so much better than a physical connection?" An emotional connection is one that's based on something deeper than looks. Yes, physical attraction is important. But how long can it really last? Someone can be the most physically attractive person in the world, but be the most shallow, dull, boring person in the world at the same time. Do you want to spend years with that person? Probably not. If you do, well… just consider the fact that beautiful people don't stay beautiful forever.

            "It’s not exactly like having a good conversation is an act of magic that far transcends and surpasses the act of visual stimulation." Um, actually, it kind of is. If I meet a guy who looks like Ian Sommerhalder (my "cute guy" celebrity crush), but all he can talk about is sports scores and beer, I'll be out of there in about five minutes. At best, it would be a one-night stand. (Okay, if he looks like Ian Sommerhalder, I'd hope for a series of one-night stands; but I certainly wouldn't be sticking around for breakfast.) If you don't have an emotional connection with someone, then you have no foundation for a lasting relationship.

            My biggest celebrity crush, however, isn't based on looks at all. The object of said crush? Henry Rollins. How did I develop that crush? By listening to his spoken-word albums. He is, by his own definition, an "aging alternative icon." He is no longer as attractive as he was when he was younger (he's now 50). But hot damn, if I wouldn't jump into bed with him in 2.5 seconds, because I have a total intellectual crush on him. He is someone I fantasize about having a long conversation with, and *then* jumping into bed.

            If all you're after is casual sex, and you don't want to have to jump through the conversation hoops to get it, then this whole thread (top to bottom) comes across as whining about "but conversation/storytelling is hard, and I don't like it, I just want to flirt really superficially and have sex afterward." If that's your goal, then you're going to have to suck it up and jump through the conversation hoop.

            If you want a real relationship, however, you're going to have to examine your attitudes toward dating (and women in general) and see what's holding you back, why you feel or think that way, and whether or not you want to change.

          • Ancom


            I'm not looking for sex nor a relationship. I'm looking to have fun and meet people. If I feel like sleeping with someone and they want to, I'll do it. If I find someone interesting on a personal level, a relationship may form. But I'm certainly not "looking for" either. From experience these things tend to be quite hard to force, and also tend to work themselves out naturally. I just have a good time and roll with the punches best I can. =)

            In either case, I'm not saying that an emotional connection is not important, but I'm saying that it's just as valid to feel attraction to someone based on their looks as it is feeling an attracted to someone based on their personality. If you're looking for a relationship then you're obviously going to want a significant connection on all levels, but for sex or just an initial spark, I honestly don't mind it being based on me finding someone beautiful.

          • Cat

            If you're just looking for more conversation skills in general, then, I think maybe you *are* putting too much pressure on yourself (as I mentioned before, but you didn't seem to think that was the issue; I'm disagreeing with your self-assessment there).

            You said that you like to "just have a good time and roll with the punches best I can." Well, that's basically what good conversation (whether it involves stories or not) is all about. Maybe you should consider some improv comedy classes to help expand on that "roll with the punches" aspect that you like. It's a good way to meet new people in a fun environment, and you said that's your goal, right? To meet more people and make new friends?

            It seems to me that you're a bit cynical, and that's just the way some people are. But you can't let that cynicism turn into a mental block. You seem disillusioned with people (your comments about conversation being "predictable" and "false" gave me that impression). You're critical of the patterns that conversations tend to follow. However, I think maybe you've been trying to force your *own* pattern of conversation, and that might be what's causing the "blank stares" and awkward silences.

            Just take it as it comes. You say you're successful in business, so you obviously know how to handle yourself there, and so your job isn't at stake. You say you have friends with whom you are able to communicate effectively, so your friendships aren't at stake. And you say you're good at getting laid when you want to, so your sex life isn't at stake. So, don't approach a conversation that you think might be difficult or challenging with the mindset of something being at stake; it seems you've got your bases covered. Approach it as a means of trying to connect with another person.

            If storytelling doesn't work for you as a means of communication, then use whatever tools you are comfortable with that work for you. But, critically, allow the other person (and it seems that it's usually a woman in these situations) to use the techniques that make *them* comfortable as well. Find a way to work *with* those other techniques, rather than trying to swim upstream, so to speak. If she tells a story, then actively listen and respond, but don't feel like you are required to respond with a story or anecdote. When you engage people on your terms, and allow them to interact with you on their terms, then everyone wins.

          • Beardy

            "because what exactly is an emotional connection and why is it so much better than a physical connection?"

            First part: A deep feeling of acceptance. A trust in the other person. A desire to see someone besides yourself happy. A feeling that their successes are in part your successes. An attraction to or acceptance of all they are (I'm not going to lie and say you will be attracted to everything about them. My grandmother always complained about the way my late grandfather yelled at the radio, then the tv, while listening to or watching baseball games. Now she puts on the games because as she said, "As much as I hated him swearing up a storm, I miss it. So I put on the game and swear up a storm now").

            It's so much better than a physical connection because a) you can only have sex for so long before it's painful and b) it makes the physical connection so much better.

  • MrsOctopus

    Ancom — I understand that you don't like the communicate via telling stories. Have you tried conversation based on likes and dislikes just from the environment at hand? It seems like you had a bit of a start on that in the bar scenario. What if instead of BLANK LOOK after she asked you why you were there, you said you were taking time off from your stint as the President of the Pink Floyd Fan Club (Or Jerry Garcia Look-Alike Society, or Chief Carpenter of the Sacrificial Altar to Bruce Campbell, or whatever your fancy.) Then you've got two birds with one stone — you've perpetuated the conversation AND you can start finding out what likes (Pink Floyd, craft beer) and dislikes (Journey, red velvet cake) you have in common. All without having to remember a damn thing about what you did yesterday.

    Also, be careful with the drink thing. If she's taking a break from her Listening-to-This-America-Life-Marathon-on-NPR, she may have heard about how that's a common move for pimps to test out potential, um, employees, let's say. And she might be put off. If you get the vibe, fine, but just know it's got potential to backfire.

    • Astral

      Hahaha! Yes! This was the very first thing I thought when I read his letter!

      And Ancom, I'm totally a storyteller, but a lot of my conversations are anecdote based. I'm wondering what kind of women you're pursuing who can't converse like you and your guy friends do. But it might be your seemingly odd notions of what they're expecting. Anecdote based examples that don't involved storytelling about past events: What's going on in the local/national/international news? New song you can't stop listening to? The beer selection/how they mix the drinks at the bar your at? Comparisons to other bars? Hell, when I had a crush on a coach once, I watched ESPN for a few hours one night and not only did I have good conversations with him over the next few days, I had a week's worth of conversational material with anyone remotely interested in sports.

      I know a few women who go out specifically with the purpose of hooking up for a ONS'; they are the ones who are probably approaching you. But I bet you get turned on a bit by the challenge of being able to "convince" a woman to do what you want. More of us women go out simply to be social and have fun, but even when we're open to casual sex, we do still want to talk first and get to know you a bit!

      As for the club, use it as a set up for possibly going somewhere else together. "Man,.. the DJ last night at Club XYZ was lame…but I'm in the mood for some good beats, do you know of anyone decent spinning tonight?

  • OK, I have no interest in helping this Ancom guy. He may not think he has any Aspbergers or autism, spectrum disorder, but he has got something seriously wrong with him. It sounds to me as if he either:

    A) Has been spoiled by having money all his life and being born with some natural good looks. Not having to work to actually earn any of the success he has had has left him with the perception that it has no value, and is therefore uninteresting. His expensive vacations mean nothing to him because he has always been able to do them and never had to work extra hard to have the resources or skills to do them. His claimed previous success with women appears to be based entirely upon his money and his looks. I am not saying that all, or even a large proportion of women, fall for that and that alone. But enough do, and they tend to congregate in the kinds of bars where men with money tend to go, so I can see how it has been easy for him so far.


    B) He is simply a sociopath or psychopath. Now, I am not flaming him. I am making a fair assessment based upon his letter and his responses to those who have attempted to help him. He is apparently not too far gone if he is genuinely interested in learning how to have conversations with people as he originally claims. However, the "conversations" he seems to want to have are entirely one-sided and the only response he seems truly interested in hearing is: "Yes, I will fuck you now."

    Either way, any assistance we provide for this character is going to be bad for somebody.

    Finally, this guy has no nerd cred's whatsoever, from what I can tell. He appears to be a complete anti-nerd, who has only turned to this blog for help in scoring more women without actually learning how to be a human being. So, as far as I am concerned, he can just go twist in the wind. For those who may cry that I am being too harsh: I don't care. I don't subscribe to the notion that everyone is a victim and needs to be coddled or saved. Some people truly are just jerks and all we can do is learn what not to do, from their example.

    • Ancom

      A) I started out in life living on the streets with my dad, which I've mentioned in a debate on the article page about male privilege. Go check it out if you want to. In addition to that, I've had to work my way up from rock bottom to where I am today. I'm pretty proud of what I've managed to accomplish and that I've managed to build myself a life that women find attractive.

      B) I've mentioned several times that this has nothing to do with trying to get laid. I've elaborated on this, and what it boils down to is that I'm having issues with certain types of interactions with women in certain situations, and it has nothing to do with sex.

      And finally, no nerd cred? I'm not going to tell you what I do for a living, but rest assure that I have tons of it. =)

      • OK, Ancom, I will help you, but only in this one way: by quoting Boss Kean in Cool Hand Luke.

        "You gotta get your mind right boy!"

        Ancom, you may think your only problem is in this one small part of holding a conversation. But that is because you are missing the forest for the outer texture of the bark on one tree. If, as you say, you have become successful despite starting from nothing, then it sounds as if you left your humanity somewhere along the way. All of your responses in this topic – as well as the whole of them together – indicates a strong tendency to view people as things. To view life as nothing but a set of equations to master, so you can increase your status and avoid ever being considered or feeling unworthy ever again.

        You really need to just forget about "this one problem" that you think is so important and focus on learning some empathy, some compassion, some caring for others. I'm not saying you gotta get religion or turn into a "Sensitive, New-Age Guy" or anything. But there is a whole lot of life, a whole lot of what it takes to be a decent human being, that you seem to discount. Seriously, dude, that totally comes across as socio- or psycho-pathological. I'm not saying I blame you. Being homeless can be hard on a person's psyche. But, now that you can afford it, perhaps you should pay for someone to help you learn what it means to be a regular human. A human who actually enjoys doing fun and challenging things. Enjoys it so much that he can't wait to tell other human's about it. Not because it will upgrade his calculated status level. But because he is bursting at the seams with excitement and knows he can make someone else's day a bit brighter by sharing some of that excitement.

        You may have to dig and fill a lot of personal, emotional ditches before you are through (watch the movie and you will get the reference) but it will be good for you. Trust me.

  • Now, on a topic more in keeping with the title of this blog post, I want to recommend a really good book about starting and having conversations. It is called, How To Start A Conversation And Make Friends by Don Gabor. This book really lives up to the first half of the title. If you have a hard time starting or keeping up conversations, this book is excellent. However, the second half of the title is covered in one sentence where the author literally says, "and then you make friends with them." There is absolutely no other advice on how to actually go about doing that. There is a new revised edition, so maybe that one has more on the making friends part.

    So, get the book and read it. It will really help you learn how to start conversations and keep them going. Just don't expect too much help with that second part. Perhaps someone can recommend a good book for that part.

  • Denny

    Yeah at this point, Imma have to side with Grant Robinson. All that PUA shit has really been cemented in his head and he's just in some serious denial. I mean honestly, even the whole "LOL U GROPED'D ME" joke sound straight out of that playbook when you really think about it.

    For your own good, Ancom, you better do whatever it takes to GET OVER whatever nonsensical grips you have about conversations and start acting like a normal functioning human being or your life is going to continue sucking. See a psychiatrist, gets some counseling, develop some actual self-esteem and respect for others (hell you seem bored with your own guy friends from the sounds of it too!), something. People WANT to help you, but when you're being this much of a defensive dismissive dick, then you're on your own pal.

  • valenticide


    I am right in assuming that these conversation problems you've been having have just been with strange women who you wish to engage in a romantic/sexual manner, correct? And while you have the same philosophy about conversations (AKA "Man, the past is boring!") with others, they don't seem to manifest because you think that these strange women expect somewhat lengthy anecdotes from you? Just making sure I've summarized the spiny problem as neatly as possible…

    Can I ask what your ultimate goal is with these women? Because if it is just sex, then I understand where the outrage is coming from in the comments above. Conversation and anecdotes are the piece of yourself that you have to give up for judgment–for the woman, it's to see if you're interesting or unthreatening enough to spend time or have sex with, and for people in general it's usually just formers (interesting enough to spend time with). It may be boring for you, but it's important because these strange people don't know who you are, and for all they know you could be an ax murderer (although this would probably be more applicable to women. Male privilege and all that). I will give you a pass on the sexism/objectification thing, mostly because I have a feeling that if you were bisexual, you'd be treating all strange people that you engage that way. =/

    If your goal is not sex, then what is it exactly? Because (sorry for stating the obvious) you're not doing it for the conversation.

    In any case, you've mentioned in comments above that you've have plenty of success engaging other dudes in talking strictly about the present and/or future. Why not try doing that with your strange women? At the very least, it will tell them that you're engaged in current events, and that you're knowledgeable that way.

    • Ancom


      "I am right in assuming that these conversation problems you’ve been having have just been with strange women who you wish to engage in a romantic/sexual manner, correct?"

      NO. Where are you people getting this from? The whole sex thing was brought up by a commenter, not myself. I did mention an example to Doc where I was flirting with a girl in a bar, but this does in no way mean that I am looking for a magic shortcut to sex with women. I already get enough sex to be satsified in that regard.

      My problem regards interaction with *any* woman who is not attracted to- or interested in me. In other words, someone who will not go out of their way to make conversation easy for me.

      "If your goal is not sex, then what is it exactly? Because (sorry for stating the obvious) you’re not doing it for the conversation."

      My goal is to just get along with women since they make up 50% of the population, but unfortunately they seem to have a completely different mode of conversation. This means that unless they will go out of their way to make things easy for me, long-lasting social interaction with them become extremely awkward and painful due to the incompatibility in both of our expectations from each other.

      "In any case, you’ve mentioned in comments above that you’ve have plenty of success engaging other dudes in talking strictly about the present and/or future. Why not try doing that with your strange women? At the very least, it will tell them that you’re engaged in current events, and that you’re knowledgeable that way."

      This doesn't work because women simply don't seem to *respond* well to the same style of conversation as I have with other people. I mentioned this earlier in my comment about how strange women most definitely ARE different from other people, because unless they are interested in you and will go out of their way to talk to you, they will expect you to talk to them in a manner which they are used to, which I suppose is the way they tend to talk to their girlfirends.

  • James (Thortok2000)

    There's way too much comments already for me to try to read them all, I need to sleep tonight, heh.

    However, making conversation has been a struggle for me as well. I've actually gotten better at it. I haven't gotten quite so good at flirting and keeping the sexual tones in, still working on that, it's more that I'm shy than anything.

    I can luckily turn anything into a creepy sexual innuendo (It's a….gift?) but that's about my only flirting technique. -.-

    Anyway, with #4 and #5 and some of your comments that I did start to read before I saw how many comments there were, what I'm really getting here is you don't find your life interesting. If you did, you'd want to tell other people about it. You'd want to brag, show off, maybe not with strangers if you're shy or whatever, but even with your friends you'd want to talk about it, especially if there's shared interests.

    The way you write, you really strike me as having Antisocial Personality Disorder. Now, before you get mad or defensive, I don't mean this as an insult in any way. In fact, I'm only saying it because I think it's something you can work on, and fix, and get what you want: Better conversation and relationship skills.

    See a psychologist if you can. After all, the Doc's cool and all, but he's not a real Doctor. I'm surprised the Doc himself didn't offer up that advice.

    Then again, I understand. "I think you should get professional help" is advice nobody ever wants to hear, much less actually listen to. But the key word in there is help. Next keyword is professional. After all, you're asking this Doc for help. He's not a professional. Why not ask a real Doc? Professional > amateur (no offense Doc, and with exceptions of course, make sure to find a psychologist that actually works for you, etc.)

    The conversation tips here are great, although I am just not that quick witted in the heat of the moment (I already have trouble remembering all the tips and advice and stuff when there's actually a person in front of me already) but for this particular case I think it's not going to be enough to deal with the core root of the problem. Unfortunately.

    • Ancom

      Thanks for the long reply.

      I've gotten a lot of comments suggesting Aspergers/Autism/ASP or some other socially inhibiting condition, but really, I'm just a normal, flirty and sociable guy who isn't comfortable telling stories and talking about a whole lot of nothing.

      I like to communicate in a manner that feels more natural, relaxed and giving, but ufortunately I am expected to enjoy storytelling, which means that I must learn what drives other people to do it. That's really all there is to this issue. =)

      • James (Thortok2000)

        I think the more you tell yourself that you don't like storytelling, the less 'natural, relaxed and giving' it is. If you stopped trying to avoid them so much and just did them you'd probably find it much more natural.

        You also keep defining it as 'nothing' when it is instead nothing you like. Obviously it's something to others.

        After all, look at how popular Seinfeld was, and it was 'a show about nothing.'

  • Karl

    Hey Ancom,

    None of the above commenters began by attacking you. It was only when you completely disregarded anything they had to say that things broke down. I get it we're on the internet where anyone can become the world's biggest arsehole, but please remember you came here looking for advice. It seems like you are pretty proud of your professional and social life outside of chatting up women but I will say the way you speak in your original post plus the way you've responded to everyone trying to help you is indicative of some social issues. Listen to what everyone else is saying and get professional help. I know someone that sounds a lot like you (apart from the fact that he admitted he had an issue); good job, a lot of acquaintances, not so many close friends, and he maintains that seeing a therapist was the best thing he ever did.

    A bunch of people on here have told you you might need help. Maybe you do.

    All the best mate!

    • I would back up Karl's point by addressing the way you are responding back to the messages. Don't try to find holes in people advice to help you. You've acknowledged the way you view conversation is a problem and unnatural, but you are trying to argue against the posters, Cat and the Doctor how their assumptions are incorrect because they don't have all the right info or you are assured that you can't change. You came to these people for help with this issue, you don't want to stand your ground and view it as "This flaw is just a part of my character and it can never be changed."

      People change, and the way to change your views is taking a hard, concentrated look at yourself and have the willingness to follow through in change. And that does involve shaking up a long, standing point-of-view you may have held onto for quite some time. Attaching yourself to a flaw doesn't make yourself special, it makes you all the more undesirable in that you accept ill-tempered fate.

    • Ancom

      Hi Karl,

      People are attacking me? Where? =)

      Jokes aside, I'm defending myself because people are constantly filling in the gaps in my stories with the worst possible expectations. This topic started off with people calling me creepy, too sexual, cold, depressed, insinuated that I don't care about my life, that I don't find life enjoyable, that I don't care about women, that all I want to do is sleep with women and treat them as sexual objects, that I don't want to have meaningful conversations with women, that I hate my friends, that I don't care about anything, that I'm a sociopath, that I have aspergers etc.

      And you know, maybe some of those assumptions are my fault for not painting a clear enough picture (even though I thought I did), but you really shouldn't accuse me of being too defensive or rude just because I'm trying to clarify that all of these replies actually have NOTHING at all to do with my actual issue, and that they actually aren't helping the matter at hand at all!

      So trust me, I'm grateful, appreciative and excited about feedback, but only if it's actually relevant to my problem, and not just a bunch of assumptions.

      • Are you looking for reinforcement for your attitude or advice? I mean, this is a part of looking over socio-psychological problems. We're going to look at other aspects of your life and make assumptions to why you view communication with other people in this weird way. It's just a natural thing when it comes to looking for advice, to looking at the deeper parts of one's psyche.

        A prime example would be when Dr. Nerdlove talks about girls who love the abusive assholes or why geeks continue to have low opinions of themselves. It's because society has oppressed some of our natural feelings and our families might have played a role into our personal levels of self-respect or confidence.

        We're trying to reach for reasons to why you would view talking to women you are trying to pick up for in this certain way. It's not assuming the worst, it's more of looking for truth by asking hard questions. But fixing problems does involve doing the hard question of "What's wrong with me? How am I the ass in this situation? What causes this person to view me in a certain way?" To become a better person, figure out what's wrong with yourself. I, Dr. Nerdlove, and several other people who have come in asking question have had to deal with the hard truth to fixing something about themselves.

        • Ancom

          I'm looking for advice, but I don't consider my attitude a problem either. I'm openly admitting my issue – the lack of understanding for how people can enjoy communicating with strange women the way these women are expecting to be communicated with – and I'm very willing to accept feedback on this.

          It's when poeple are throwing out accusations that I have already covered many times over that it starts getting a little annoying.

          However, you are right in that it's important for you to ask questions, and I've failed to see this from your point of view until now. To me the picture is very clear, but I suppose for you it's very relevant to be probing for issues. =)

  • Dude, barring some form of mild autism it just sounds like you're bored with life and bored with yourself. You're asking Doc and the internet how to talk to women, but in parentheses you keep repeating how much you hate talking to women. And you're using that as a shield against any critique or advice you've been given. Getting good at conversation and especially attractive single women is hard. It takes practice. But you don't even seem to want to put in the work. And when you're told what to do and not do, you rebuff the people giving you help. If you hate storytelling, why the hell do you even want to be involved with a woman? For one night, one month, a year, the rest of your life? You break down conversation between people in a very cynical way that dilutes the entire thing into a hollow exchange and a masquerade. But if you view *relating to people with *language* as a pain in the ass, then you're screwed before you even start, man. You don't see the life you live as interesting in the least, and you don't like telling stories about your experiences. You actively resent it. You're so focused on the end that you want to skip the means altogether. And you're pounding your head on the desk asking WHY is it so hard. Well the biggest thing is you have to be interested in your own damn life. The 2nd is you have to be interested in people. Not just in getting laid or getting a few dates. But being interested in people. Genuinely interested in them. People don't just talk to keep up appearances. We talk because it's in our nature to connect with each other. This is why YOU'RE ASKING HOW TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE, despite yourself. Your stupid, stupid self. I don't mean to insult, but you're being a blockhead. The comments were painful to read with so many people giving you good advice and you just shutting it down. If a bunch of people keep telling you the round peg goes in the round hole you might just give it a shot and stop asking questions because you can't figure out why people have to do this puzzle in the first place and 'ugh it's so boring and I hate it.' You sound like you just want the cheat codes to the challenge of dating but there aren't any. You want the prize but you don't want to put in the work. You're abjectly *refusing* to put in the work. If you hope to have any kind of meaningful connection with any woman. You're going to have to like yourself enough and be interested in yourself enough know what it is about you that's fun to talk about and fun to share. To be aware enough of your surroundings that you can understand what's interesting about your environment and the world around you, and share that with the people you meet. Comedians make a living on sharing experiences that everyone can relate to. Everything doesn't have to be funny, but you get the point. People love a good story. Once you're at that point you can take a genuine interest in your fellow human beings, and appreciate them as such, and relate to them on a personal level by sharing STORIES with them. Hell, you even say 'a woman's aphrodisiac is conversation' but…. what? You can't be bothered? You can't be bothered to get to know the person you're trying to sleep with? That's what it sounds like. I want what I want, but I don't have time to meet my half of the social contract. I can't be bothered to have anything to say. That's ridiculous. Listen to what these good folks are telling you and try to put it to use, instead of this blind obstinate resistance to good advice. If you're gonna ask for romance advice, and then ignore the advice, just go fap and stop wasting everyone's time.

    • Ancom

      I find that you're kind of missing the point of my problem, because you keep insinuating that I hate my life or communication with people when I really don't. I just don't understand this specific mode of conversation that strange women expect me to use.

      I love talking to guys and I love talking to women who are into me, because conversation is natural, flow nicely and is just all-around fun. It's talking, it's flirting, it's joking and it's light-hearted.

      But when it comes to strange women? Whether it's for attraction, business or just a social situation where I find myself with a woman, their mode of conversation is just so entirely different compared to how I interact with other people.

      I find their mode of conversation so alien, formal and boring.

      They'll throw cues at you to start telling them a story. They'll ask prodding questions to get you to tell them a story. They'll request more details, just to get you to tell a story.

      I just don't tell stories, because there's no point!

      Don't you get it? If you want to know something about me, ask me! There's nothing you're going to find out through an empty, shallow story that you won't find out through just talking to me. You want to know if I'm funny? Well, you already know, because I most likely opened you by making you laugh. You want to know if I'm sociable? You'll already know by now too, because I'm here smiling and talking to you! You want to know if I have a life? Well duh, just ask what I do in my spare time and be happy with the answer you get.

      To me, there's no *need* for stories, becaue it's possible to just… talk.

      It doesn't help to call me a blockhead just because I don't have an inherent need to tell stories. It also doesn't help to tell me why you think they are vital to mankind, because I really don't think stories are the only way you can communicate with someone.

      Maybe instead you can help me by explaining what you, as a person, find so interesting and exciting about telling stories, and why you feel a need to start crafting a long, structured tale instead of just communicating in a normal and relaxd manner?

      • James (Thortok2000)

        Take a look at who wants stories: People who don't know you. Strange women.

        People who already know you? They already know some of your stories. They were there for some of them. There's no 'need' for stories.

        A strange person only knows how you act and respond in THIS moment. If they want a 'frame of reference', they would like a story to know how you acted and responded in a past moment. Since they're a stranger, the only way to know that is to hear a story. Either from you or a wingman.

        Here's something to try… Suffer through ONE story and then see if that's 'good enough' and the rest of the conversation can be without stories?

  • Debra

    @ancom I don't know if you'll read this, but I'll just throw this out there.

    I've tried to read most of your comments and you seem to have quite a deviant view on life and you can't convey this in any way so people will understand. All of this may be wild assumptions, but I'm working with what I've seen.

    You have your interests and only that is what you need in a conversation. Have you ever tried listing what you find exceptionally interesting or simply so outraging that you can't keep it inside of you? I'm sure you have it and it's only a matter of realizing this and finding a way of sharing this with other people, may it be in conversation or text (like a blog).

    What follows then is the other part of the conversation, because you'll find women (and you have found them) who don't share the same interests and rather as seeing this as a blockade, see it as a challenge. Try to get behind their thought process, ask about it. Wonder, don't instantly jump to the BO-RING conclusion, but be intrigued. Do you have problems concentrating?

    From your experience you feel that having a conversation with a woman is inherently different than having one with a man. Maybe from your point of view this is true, but the woman you're talking to may not feel this way. Some people find having conversations with either gender to be a no-brainer and don't see the individual differences they find as being gender-bound. Remember that there's not a thing that every woman will like, so you'll have to find this out by trying. That should be part of the conversation, to find out what sets this woman apart from everyone else.

    You've stated that you find your life interesting, but you don't find it interesting in a way that you can use it in conversation. I don't know if you read a lot, but I can find the most empty segments in books the most interesting, even if basically nothing happens. It's all in the words, in how you want it to be told and not cite what happened exactly. Throw in how you viewed it and how it felt for you as opposed to literally saying 'I skied down the mountain'. There's more to it than that and you know that.

    There's a lot more I can say, but these are the first things that I feel need to be said.

  • Atalie

    This thread cracked me up. Miscommunication can be so comical.

    In all seriousness, to Ancon, there is NOTHING wrong with you! I don't know why so many people are trying to armchair diagnose you as weird or wrong. Screw that and them too. You sound cool.

    So how about a couple novel ideas? You mentioned that you tried saying exactly what's on your mind…how about *really* going for it…like stream of consciousness, voicing the internal sighs, leave nothing out…

    Secondly, say the opposite of what you're thinking, get crazy, get silly. Quote from a favorite book "So if you were Trillian and I was Zaphod would you leave this [party, bar, etc] and travel in space with me?";

    create a role for the evening and play it "Yeah I'm a jockey, I was in the Derby, didn't you see me on TV?"

    You may not have a "successful" conversation but those are boring anyway, right? You will at least amuse yourself and like-minded folk will get what you're doing and 'get you'.

    What the heck in a PUA by the way?

    • Beth

      Hahahahaha screw you. There is something fucking wrong with a person who refuses to grasp why it's not okay to view women as sexual objects before they are humans.

    • Cat

      Atalie: "PUA" stands for "Pick Up Artist." It's basically a guy who is out to have a bunch of one-night stands (although some guys do try to use the techniques to find more long-term relationships). The PUA style involves a series of routines, kind of scripted, that the guy follows in order to interact with women. The interactions tend to be predictable and a bit cookie-cutter, with standard opening lines (though there are plenty of PUAs up there who make up their own lines), and storytelling plays a fairly significant role in the interactions (even if the stories are short).

      A lot of people, especially women, tend to view Pick Up Artists as cads who are just trying to get in their pants. That's not true across the board, but it is true as a generalization.

  • gizmo


    i haven't read all the comments and discussions you had here (there are a lot! i couldn't keep up), so i might be saying something that was said already: i'm guessing (just guessing, based on what i've read in your discussions with others) that you don't just have problems with conversations and telling/listening to personal stories, but maybe with communication altogether?

    what made me think so is:

    1) you find personal stories boring and without value, because the information they tell could be said in much fewer words. as i see personal stories (and many people that commented here), they're a great way of getting to know people who tell them- and i find the strict fact-information they convey just about a half of information i get from such a story. the other half are emotions, emphasis on some little things the teller shows- what about the story made them happy, what was the saddest part, what were their thoughts at that time and why they acted how they acted. facial expressions, voice and body language also play a big part. all this make a load of different-type informations about the teller and i get to know their character along with a bit of their past. if you find such stories boring, maybe you just don't receive anything than facts from them? i may be completely wrong about that, so here comes:

    2) i've seen in the comments that you use proper grammar, have a good vocabulary and generally write politely, yet i often find your comments offensive, as many other readers,. and i've seen how many times you were trying to clarify your intentions, often in long discussions, that you didn't mean to offend anyone. after reading one such discussion i came to think that, maybe, you have trouble describing in words exactly what you want- you think you did so and then many people completely misunderstand you. that sure does sound like a problem with communicating.

    whether i'm right or not, your lack of interest in telling/listening to personal stories might be some sort of mental disorder or a symptom of such. it may be just a part of your personality, and nothing's wrong with that, but i'd suggest looking for a psychologist to find out if it's something serious or not. then you can decide if you want to do something about it, or try the advice Jess gave you (about using different way of speaking that personal stories to say something about yourself in a conversation) and i've seen you found it helpful

  • Nerdlove, I have to give you credit that this is a wonderful article. I've had this similar issue with my brother, who has issues with communication due to his outlook on life, women, being open about your feelings and being willing to accept change. Being a great not just PUA, but friend is having the gift of gab and conversations with other people by listening to what they are saying. Everyone wants that feeling of being loved or respected by pay attention to the topics of conversation. I know I get that feeling, and I want to spread it to others. It's give and take, but feeling more accomplished with a person involves keeping up those relationships with people. Be them long-lasting or minor, you never know what could happen so that's why you should stay steadfast with all your relationships.

    On the subject of what helped me getting over my anxiety with public conversation (And this really sounds like fellatio), but listening to Podcasts. When you listen in to a lot of radio or conversations, you get a feel for how friends or buddies interact with one another. How they give opinions, what sense of humor they have, what they love/hate, how they can defend their points, and how they like to tell their stories. Some stories don't have pay off, but you still have that urge at times to throw in your opinion, by shoving up your hand and going: "Oooh! Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kott-ere!"

    Great article, I think everyone can learn from this. (Especially you, Ancom)

  • Denny

    Alright Ancom, I'll tell you exactly what your problem is:

    You don't find people (including yourself_ period).


    For one, when we talk about "storytelling", we DON'T mean some grandiose "Once Upon A Time In A Far Away Land" epic like you think it is. Stories are about action, and action reveals character. People share the action/experiences to reveal CHARACTER to other people. And most the time it's simple as pie, barely 2-minute anecdotes about something that happened to one of you where you can laugh together with and lead into other topics of conversation. To all the " valuable insights and observations and the blah blah blah" pretentious pile of crap you're talking about. You know, LIKE HOW ACTUALLY CONVERSATIONS WORK.

    I'm sorry for being aggressive like this, but all this ridiculousness for something so simple is just….well, ridiculous, and I'm sick of sugarcoating it. If you were just a shy dude, that's one thing; that's totally understandable. But your problem with not being able to hold a conversation lies squarely on YOU and you alone because you're being a prick.

    "Oh no you're just misinterpreting what I meant and it's another miscommunication", you know what, just save it dude.

    You're acting like a condescending asshole, point blank period. Like I've been saying, that PUA crap HAS festered in your mind whether you realized or not because, again, you clearly don't have much of a vested interest into REALLY getting to know new people or developing a personality for your own damn self; you're just following some script and playing some game or solving some arithmetic problem .

    • Denny

      *unexplained type 0_o

      it should say "You Don't Find Other People, Including Yourself, Interesting."

  • Ancom

    Thanks for all the responses. I really appreciate the input.

    Despite all the great suggestions, I've decided to quit interaction with women beyond picking them up. I get around in other aspects of life just fine, and I don't see why I should have to conform to womens' selfish demands.

    Maybe someday I'll stumble upon an awesome girl, but for now I'll be happy with using women for sex only, and my male friends for social fulfillment instead.

    Again, thanks, and much love to all! =)

  • James (Thortok2000)

    @Ancom – Not sure if you or anyone else is reading this anymore, but as I was reading my Psychology textbook I found this:

    A final function of autobiographical memory, and perhaps its most vital aspect, is its role in social bonding (Alea & Bluck, 2003; Bruce, 1989; K. nelson, 1993). Our memories are a valuable way to share a part of ourselves with others. Sharing personal experience is a way to foster intimacy, create bonds, and deepen existing ties. When we know a person's most cherished autobiographical memory, we know that he or she is no longer just an acquaintance but clearly a friend. To the extent that social bonds are necessary for survival, it makes sense that human beings can remember and share those memories with one another and that sharing our memories is a key pathway for sharing ourselves.

    Textbook is "experience psychology" (and the first letter is an e in a circle much like the @ sign) by Laura A. King.

    Now if that doesn't explain why normal people tell and look for the other person to tell stories, I don't know what will.

  • Anthony

    I'm late to the party. Ah well.

    "Don’t you get it? If you want to know something about me, ask me! There’s nothing you’re going to find out through an empty, shallow story that you won’t find out through just talking to me. You want to know if I’m funny? Well, you already know, because I most likely opened you by making you laugh. You want to know if I’m sociable? You’ll already know by now too, because I’m here smiling and talking to you! You want to know if I have a life? Well duh, just ask what I do in my spare time and be happy with the answer you get."

    "I don’t see any value in the conversation because conversations are both false and predictable."

    I understand what you're saying. You are an intelligent, successful, probably relatively handsome, and fun guy. You do cool stuff, and you have fun. You've also had your fair share of experiences, in all kinds of situations. And you're jaded. I would imagine that it's rare that a random stranger surprises you, because you've already got what they are going to say figured out (as you said, predictable) and you've seen a fair share of shit in your time (which I don't doubt; this isn't said sarcastically). I think you need to reevaluate this stance. Strangers are strange, and their stories might not go in the direction you expect them to. Will a lot of them? Sure. But you're doing this because you want to meet interesting people, right? Not to pick them up, but to get to know them. Stories do speak a lot about our character. There is so, so much more to each and every person than just 'funny,' 'sociable,' 'having a life,' and any other attribute you're trying to assess about a person at first glance. Don't tell false stories. If you're interacting with someone who you think is making stuff up, call them out on it. I agree 100% with your idea of not playing into people's games, but I think you're trying to force others to play you're game without realizing it. If you do want to get to know someone, it's not fair to make the interaction all about satisfying your own needs. You need to make sure the other person is enjoy their time, as well. Ultimately, that's the point of all of everything, right? Just about everyone wants to enjoy themselves, so if you want to enjoy your time spent with strangers, you're going to have to help them enjoy their time.

    That's why you should listen to stories. Why should you tell them? Don't. Have conversations that are just like any other that you would with someone new. Maybe I don't have an issue telling stories, but I don't ever find a lack of things to say to new people. I don't frequently tell specific stories about events, but I tell some broad details about interesting events. These can be important when showing your personality to other people. I don't talk about what I did on my second Tuesday in India (for the record, I laid in bed with a stomach ache), I talk about how the experience was enriching for me. I talk about how the culture was so drastically different, that it's just simply mind blowing. I talk about how the community I stayed at had some of the coolest people in the world that I've ever met. These aren't 'stories' as you are describing them, but they are still my observations of an event. They are letting people know that I am participating and reacting to the world around me, and I'm not just going through the motions. When I went hiking, it's not just hiking. It's observing the natural beauty of the partially burned tree and the sap that has oozed out to help protect it. These are not things that everyone experiences. The really cool thing (I think) about being human is that we all have different perspectives. We all have different views on things, and two people can witness the same event and tell completely different stories. If you have been to one beach, you have most certainly not been to them all. And the impact the experience had upon you is going to be different than it had upon others. This is why you talk about yourself. You give people a mindset to try and frame your personality into. You let them understand a little bit about you. And the thing is, often times, this is completely subconscious. We don't pick up on most of this because it just happens automatically, but everything you hear about someone or from someone is going to change your opinion of them.

    Also, I don't know why you don't enjoy reliving your past experiences. That is a very curious thing. Obviously, there have been boring moments in my life that often I never think about again. But if I did something noteworthy, it is often either very enjoyable or very helpful (from a teaching perspective) to review it. I honestly can not empathize with your perspective, so I can't really offer any advice from that department. Maybe my comments above will have helped.

    Finally, the seeing women as sexual objects thing. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being physically attracted to women and wanting to have sex with them. I can poke no logic holes in that argument. And it can be tough to poke moral holes, too, because as long as everyone has a good time, no harm is done, right? But I do postulate that it's bad for the evolution of society. I do think there needs to be more than the "her bust to waist ratio is preferable and the symmetry of her face is astounding" reason to sleep with someone. Without intending to, you are reducing a person to purely their image. In fact, you are expressing some discomfort or possibly even annoyance at having to learn about what makes that person actually a person. This is demeaning. I think it is necessary for society that we all start doing things based upon actual evidence of personality rather than snap judgments based upon physical queues and stereotypes.

  • zmd

    I live in DC, so this might not apply everywhere, but it is super common here to talk about politics (shocker). I'm a lady, and I always take the opportunity to ask something about a political issue, particularly if someone reveals themselves to be in my opposing party (the key is to be polite and gracious about it. It's a discussion, not a competition). Basically, why not have opinions and express them? That's how I always have conversations. I am also lucky that this city is very transitive and lots of people moved from somewhere else. This is a great conversation starter, just to ask about their hometown or whatever. I recently went out with a guy who would say "tell me more about that" after I answered some of his questions. To be honest, it felt a bit forced, but I appreciated the effort and it did lead to us having longer conversations.

    I'm also of the opinion that if it's too difficult to carry on a conversation it's probably because you don't have enough in common or no chemistry.

  • Troubadour

    I found reading through this made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I have real problems shoving the conversation into a more sexual let's go out on a date kind of direction, but I can converse with random girls for hours, talking about random bullshit from our lives. I could be a lot worse off. I could be the guy in the blog post! This makes me happy for some reason. It's like the first thing in all of game world that I don't totally suck at.

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