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Friday, October 24, 2008

Come Sit On My Lap

Dear Gork,

I'm desperately in need of some social guidance. I'm an easy going guy (I think), but I'm very awkward in social settings. I always say the wrong thing or take things too far. I try to be funny and it just comes off as offensive. The other night, I approached some girls at a bar. I tried to be suave and tell one of them she was totally my type, but the words came out all wrong. I ended up saying "You have a huge ass." Needless to say, she wasn't impressed. Even my wife is getting fed up with my social clumsiness. Got any tips for a brother in need?

-Lap Flynn, Houchens, CT

Lap,

You're trying too hard. You need to take the pressure off if you want consistent social chemistry. I've counseled a number of men on this topic and come up with some exercises to help ease the social tension. I want you to try a few and see if they don't help.

I call the first one Parametric Phrase Reversal. The concept is simple. Whenever you start a conversation, you systematically jumble the words around. For example, "If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, I'd be rich" becomes "If I heard that for every nickel I've had, I'd be rich." Another example: "This might seem like a weird question, but would you like to play hide the sausage?" becomes "This might sound like a weird sausage, but would you like to play hide the question? It makes for a hilarious conversation starter and it takes your mind off the pressure.

The second one is a little more advanced, but slightly more effective. I call it The Boozehound Bump. Start by ordering 5 drinks at the bar. Gather all of them up in your hands like you're planning to deliver them to your friends. On the way, sneak up behind a girl of your choosing so that she doesn't notice you're there. Wait for her to take an innocent step backwards. That's when you make contact and the drinks go flying. She'll feel bad and you'll be in like Flynn...just be careful not to spill too much on the girl. Her guilt might be overcome by animosity.

If these techniques don't work, you might be beyond my unprofessional help. Give them a try and let me know what happens. Good Luck Lap!

-Gork

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