Have you ever had a conversation that was so bad, you wished a 1000 pound piano dropped on your head, just so it would end?
Sometimes conversations can feel a bit painful for me, and instead of being present, I’m thinking of an excuse to get out of a conversation early.
First off, I’m not extroverted. So I realize good conversations are not going to magically flow out of me. Unless I’m in a great mood and energized, I’m rarely kicking off small talk, flirting or making jokes. Usually I’d rather keep things short.
What would a salesperson do?
I don’t want to suck at conversations for the rest of my life. I’m always going to be an introvert to some degree, but I have wondered if simply acting more extroverted would help. Turns out, yes?
Taking advice from Dale Carnegie, who encourages us to smile a bit more, use names, ‘encourage others to talk about themselves’ and ‘talk in terms of the other persons interest’. You can roll your eyes at the unbridled American optimism, but it’s generally good advice to be more personable, approachable and likable.
For me, this was interesting but ultimately felt unnatural and exhausting. The main thing I took away was the importance of suspending your ego a bit. We naturally like to think we are the main character.. and that doesn’t always lead to great conversation.
100 first date (conversations)
More recently, most of the longer conversations I’ve been having outside of work has been on dates - with strange women I’ve never talked to before.
Aside from the whole generational burnout from online dating thing, I was having a couple of issues.
When I matched with someone on an app, rather than having a proper conversation in the app, I was very quick to try and organize a real life meeting. I would say something like “hey, let’s grab a drink!” Sometimes that worked, but other times it was a dead end.
Once I met someone IRL, although I think of myself as a pretty good listener, I found conversations were getting stuck a surface, superficial level, and not that interesting. Was it them? Was it me?
What was going on?
Something to grab onto
“Do you like footy.” “Uh, I don’t watch it so much.” Dead end.
If I think back to some of the stuff we were talking about, I realize I was giving very little details about myself. I wasn’t taking a position, having a strong opinion or sharing any ‘truth’. Probably because I wanted to come across as likable, and not get rejected. I’m not alone with this either. Scroll through any dating profile from any gender, and it’s all ‘ice cream’ and ‘clean sheets’.
My conversations were suffering not only from a lack of affordances but a lack of … myself.
The truth is a bit grittier. There’s a bit more texture, color. There’s more for someone to grab onto. That’s what I needed! “You know, I don’t think I ever really ‘got’ footy, and I feel a bit guilty about it. I’ve been to some games but I can’t get as excited as everyone else. I’ll tell strangers I support Collingwood, but I can’t even remember why I supported them in the first place!”
I feel a bit embarrassed sharing it. And if they are a die hard footy supporter, they’ll find it a bit weird, and I might get rejected for it.
But that’s good, because that’s me. And hopefully they say.. Oh that’s funny, you know what, me too!
Translated Japanese Youtube comments on a 2018 tennis match
You can always win if you feel like it, it feels good.
It’s a nice practice scene.
If you do Kyrgios properly, you can always overwhelm him.
Don’t you think it’s amazing to be able to fight in a severe world.
I can’t underestimate Nishioka now!
No matter how much the server is originally advantageous, if the opponent is tall, you will not be able to take advantage of the serve.
If Kyrgios second serve can be captured, the power relationship seems to be reversed.
To be honest, I was sad because the difference was like a game between an adult and a child.
Serve speed is too different.
Nishioka’s style of play is to break the opponent’s pace and irritate them, destroying their mentality first, so if they are relaxed like this, they may not be able to win.
Easy victory mode
Each hitting sound makes me feel like I’m going to break my gut, so I’m nervous lol
The Vulnerability of MGK
Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) is an American rapper, singer, musician, and actor.
He used to be a rapper but he has reinvented himself as a ‘rocker’ and is now generally disliked by rock fans and rap fans alike.
I’m a similar age to MGK and there’s a high level of cringe surrounding pretty much everything he does.
But… I think he’s an instructive example of what vulnerability looks like.
Vulnerability. There’s lots of definitions out there, but the one I’m working with, and the one you’d probably read in a self-help book might sound something like “putting yourself in a position that allows yourself to get hurt, for the goal of gaining something better.”
The extreme opposite might be a shut-in or bureaucrat, who never discloses anything of his inner life.
With help of his TikTok to illustrate my point, introducing the new face of male vulnerability.
MGK always expresses his “true feelings”: He tells critics to “shut the fuck up”
MGK “communicate(s) with honest appreciation”: not only has fallen in love “but he can’t get enough of it.”
MGK has “complete willingness to be rejected”, by journalists, emo fans or literally anyone who listens to him.
Is he being vulnerable or a raging narcissist? I don’t know! Love him or hate him, MGK is usually putting his nuts on the chopping block. He’s sharing how he feels and thinks and it’s okay if he’s rejected for it.
It’s easy to go through life worried about what others think. We have a desperate need to be liked and say the right thing. We water ourselves down. We like tacos, beaches and clean sheets. Don’t you too? We’re never rejected but never connected.
Instead, we should own our opinions, likes, goals and weird stuff. Or just be a bit more MGK.
The First Set is for Training Purposes
“In that first set, Novak was like a boxer in the first round of a match. He was looking at his opponent, checking where he serves, where he goes on the big points, how he plays. And then, once he lost the first set, he was ready for what’s coming next. There was really two matches in one.” My thoughts on the 2022 Men’s Wimbledon Final - Patrick Mouratoglou
For many of the matches Novak played, and won, in this recent Wimbledon, he lost the first set. For most of us chumps watching on TV, it gives you hope. Norrie, Sinner and Kyrgios all won the first set against Novak, only to get stomped afterwards.
Who knows what his approach is, but I think Patricks’ analysis has got to be close to the truth.
When you watch the replay of the first set, Nick is flaming hot and Novak looks like he’s in a interrogation room - pale, sweating and fearful.
But maybe he has reached such a god like level of technical and physical excellence that he ‘burns’ the first set for training purposes like he’s in Edge of Tomorrow