I was at a 21st birthday party and all my friends started to talk about their hookups. When my turn to add to the discussion came up, I had nothing. They moved on and I didn’t think anything of it. On the way back home though, it started to hit me: I’m 20 years old, and I’ve never even held hands with a girl romantically. This place is probably inundated with what I’m going to say next but I don’t really don’t want to talk to anyone I know about this.
I’m sure I’m not ugly (I’ll send a picture if you need proof), I’m definitely not stupid compared to my peers, and I have decent social skills (I’m in 4 clubs on campus, president of one, board on two others). None of this means I should live the life of a pornstar, but I figured I should have lucked into my first kiss after 20 years of existence. A few close friends of mine asked some girls of their opinion of me, and they all said that I was “smart and nice”, but nothing outside of that. I don’t think women see anything sexual about me (while I can talk to them professionally, I don’t think I know how to flirt at all) and I kind of want to change that before I’m posting on forever alone or some other weird shit.
So basically, how do I start approaching women as an actual sexual being (god that feels fucking weird to type) instead of another professional connection? How do I portray myself as less of everyone’s boss, and more of a potential date, or hookup, or literally anything but what they see me as now?
Pstaway, are you familiar with Seneca the Younger? The famous stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist? Don’t worry, it’s cool if you’re not, but your question made me think of a famous quote of his that you should take to heart:
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
I’ll get back to the luck part later, but first let’s talk about you. You mentioned a few things that say a lot about what sort of person you are, maybe more than you realize. You said “I should have lucked into my first kiss after 20 years of existence” and you describe yourself as someone who is desirable, which you only use to further highlight your lack of luck in the love department. You describe yourself as a social person who is attractive and intelligent (relatively speaking, your words). Your main self-admitted flaw is your lack of skill when it comes to flirting, as well as passive attraction (which you describe by saying that you “don’t think women see anything sexual about me”). All in all you sound like the average, unremarkable 20-year-old. The only difference of course being your inexperience. Don’t take my word for it, apparently 77% of the 20 year olds in this study engaged in sex by the age of 20. To be fair, the study is 13 years old, but you get where I’m going, right?
Now, let’s talk a bit about Luck . You attribute your lack of experience with luck (or a lack of luck) and bemoan your status as a 20-year-old with no real sexual experience. You lack experience and you blame it on your lack of luck. That my friend, is why you haven’t gotten the experiences you so desperately want. Luck alone has nothing to do with getting your first kiss, it’s a mix of preparation and being int he right place at the right time. Thinking that luck has any bearing on your success in love will only further damage your shot at meeting someone amazing. In short, drop this way of thinking if you want to succeed. Now that I’ve got that out-of-the-way, let’s talk about getting you on track for meeting some great people by discussing what really makes people lucky in love: Preparation and Opportunity
Fixing the opportunity aspect is simple: You need to put yourself out there for opportunities to date and then go on dates. That means doing more than just being in the same room as people you find attractive, that means putting yourself in a position where people know you want to date. For me, that would mean joining an online dating site, dating app, or meetup group, and maybe that will work for you. If you want to try something a bit more organic, you can always ask friends to set you up with someone they think you might click with. Whatever you decide, you have to remember that your success has less to do with luck and more to do with having an opportunity that you can seize upon. Oh and a bonus tip, when asking to be setup or when you’re finally going on dates, don’t bring up how inexperienced you are. It will just make people uncomfortable. I’m not saying to be dishonest, or that there is anything wrong with being inexperienced, just don’t bring it up unless specifically asked. Fake it ’til you make it, as they say. Try to remember that even if you put yourself out there, that isn’t a guarantee that you’ll meet people you click with. It’s possible that it will take A LOT of dates before you get to the point where you’re intimate. Don’t worry though, just go at a pace that you feel comfortable with.
Of course, the other part of the luck equation is preparation. This is where you’ll be doing most of your work. Try to focus less on appearing as a “sexual being” and try to focus more on being engaging. It’s okay to talk to people about their jobs, but that shouldn’t be the only thing you can discuss comfortably with strangers/potential romantic interests. I am always espousing the benefits of the FORD technique, but take it a bit further. Be sure to do the whole Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dream deal but remember to ask inquisitive follow-up questions. If you end up chatting up a lovely young woman, ask her about her dreams, then ask insightful questions about her response by using the 5 W’s (ex. Why do you have this dream? What sparked your interests? Where do you see yourself going with this dream of yours? and so on). Be sure to give your full attention when you’re speaking to someone and most importantly, act natural. Don’t be too focused on having a conversation follow a script, feel free to go off on tangents if you’d like. If you’re concerned about coming off as too professional, you might want to try smiling more and depending on how you dress, maybe dress down a bit. If you’re the one 20-year-old guy wearing a suit to the bar or social events when everyone else is wearing jeans and t-shirts, you will definitely come off as more professional than not. An even better way to avoid coming off as the networking guy is to NEVER bring up occupations, or minimize the discussion of occupations. I meet new people fairly often and I usually have a 2 sentence description for my “day job” because I’d much rather talk about my blog or podcast. You have that option too! Instead of talking about professional things, talk about your passions. If you think you suck at flirting, you can either mimic any complements you receive (ex. If she says you look good, repeat the same to her) or if you want to initiate some flirting, you can do it with some well thought out compliments. If something about a young lady stands out as though she put special care and thought into it (ex. Her earrings, new hairstyle, anything she has created or worked on) be sure to compliment her on it. Avoid complimenting strangers on how physically attractive they are. If you must compliment someone on their body, do so in a way that removes sexual desire from your statement. (“Your ass looks hot” is bad, “You look really fit, you must workout a lot” or “How do you stay in such great shape” is better). I’m not saying that there isn’t a time and place for “Your ass looks hot” but I’d save that for after date #3 or when you move into the physical parts of dating, which ever comes first.
Don’t get too caught up in the fact that at 20 you’re inexperienced. It’s perfectly fine and normal so don’t feel like you must have a certain number of experiences under your belt by 21. You might be inexperienced right now but you don’t have to go out and cram all your experiences into one year’s worth of time. Go at your own place, put yourself in a position to date and you’ll eventually get that first kiss. Trust me, it wont have anything to do with luck when you do. Just go out there, have a good time, and the kisses (and everything else) will happen eventually.
Good Luck Out There.