This article is going to start out sounding really snotty. I’m sorry about that because I’d rather not sound snotty. But bear with me through the snotty part because there’s some really important stuff on the other side. Okay, ready for me to be snotty? Here goes.
I get a lot of requests from people I don’t know well, or don’t know at all to hang out. People want to take me to dinner or coffee or be pen-pals or go on dates. I would say it’s pretty common for me to get asked out in a romantic or platonic way at least once a day and I turn down most of these requests. Such is the life of a dating coach.
If you think at all like I do, the question that should be burning in your mind now is – why do I say no to the people I say no to, and more importantly, why do I say yes to the people I say yes to?
Well let’s start more broadly and talk about why people say yes to things. Very broadly speaking people say yes to things because there is something in it for them. The “something” may be the feeling of altruism, the conveinence of avoiding confrontation, the chance to be vindicated or validated, money, emotional stimulation, sex, comfort, mental stimulation and a whole host of other factors. But if there is absolutely nothing in it for me, I’m not going to say yes. I’m just not going to. And neither is anyone else.
But when we ask people out, we often get this way of thinking reversed. We tell the other person why we want to go out with them, never bothering to wonder why they might want to go out with us.
Back to me (it’s really all about me, isn’t it?). I hear a lot about why people want to spend time with me. And it’s really really really flattering and humbling to be told that I’m fascinating, that I’m interesting, and that “just getting to know me” could help someone on their “path towards just living life more fully, and experiencing life more excellently” (this is a from a recent request from someone to be my pen-pal). I am really grateful to be someone who other people believe can help them. And I love helping people! I really really do.
But here’s the thing.
I’m a busy gal. There’s a lot of you out there. And if I had infinite time, or one of those time spinner things Hermione had in Harry Potter, then maybe I could have coffee, tea, lunch, emails, letters, phone calls, etc. with everyone who asked.
But I think, even if I had infinite time, I’d say no – and here’s why. Asking me to hang out with you, because of what I can do for you is pretty unaware and entitled. It presumes that you are owed something, and it presumes you have nothing to offer. I don’t really want to spend my free time with people who think so little of themselves and so little of my time. I want to spend time with people who know they are awesome and have something to offer me AND who know that I don’t owe them a chance and who wouldn’t want me to hang out with them out of pity or obligation anyway.
So how can you be more effective at getting a yes from me or anyone else you want to spend time with? Here’s some steps.
1. Get to work on yourself and figure out what you have to offer people. You should be able to list rapid fire, off the top of your head 10 things that are AWESOME about you. Fake it if you don’t believe it. Say them in the mirror, claim the things you wish were true and put in the work to make them so.
2. Listen to what I want and need. If you are arguing with me that you are awesome and I’m just not willing to see it – you aren’t listening. People who pay attention can see what I value and what will make me eager to have them in my life. I write messages on dating sites to people I like, I approach hotties in public, and I seek out mentors, collaborators, friends, lovers, and colleagues – it’s not uni-directional by any means. The people I say yes to, or seek out are people who enrich my life, have something to teach me, inspire me, or challenge me in a productive way.
3. Work on your pitch. Don’t tell me what I have to offer you, tell me what you have to offer me. More than that, don’t TELL me, show me. Live a life that makes me want to hang out with you.
4. Respect the no. I’m busy, I have cancer, I’m nomadic and I don’t know you that well. Even if I’m into you, it might take me weeks or longer before I have time in my calendar. And if I’m not into you, respecting that (and then demonstrating why I’m wrong), rather than arguing with me, is the best way to change my mind.