Tongue Tied

Dear Dr. Darcy,

I fear I may have female-induced social anxiety. This is because whenever I get hit on by another woman, which happens about twice a year, I become so socially awkward and nervous that I say something ridiculous or redundant, and quite frankly do not know what to say at all. I try to ask the other girl a lot of questions to open up the conversation, but this results in me responding with one of three limited sentences:

"Wow, that's cool." "You're cool." "It seems like we have a lot of cool things in common."

I'm afraid my clumsy awkwardness is sort of a put-off. And that nobody even uses the word "cool" anymore, also.

What are some smooth (or...cool?) things I can say the next time around to impress the ladies?

ANSWER

It’s hard to imagine that your self-deprecating humor doesn’t overcompensate for your lack of ‘play’ with the ladies. Make no mistakes, you are hysterically funny.

In all seriousness, you probably do have some anxiety when you’re being hit on, however, even if there was a disorder for female-induced social anxiety, I suspect you wouldn’t meet criteria for the full-blown diagnosis because what you’re describing is reasonable, under the circumstances.

You feel clumsy because you’re trying too hard. Specifically, you’re trying too hard to be cool, which is why you use the word in each of your 3 rote responses. The essence of cool is that there is detachment from public opinion. As long as it’s your goal to sound cool (how did you manage to induce me to use that word 3 times in a paragraph?), you will fail.

Focus less on your response and more on what she’s saying. When you’re truly present, you’ll hone in on her words, gleaning enough information to ask thought-provoking questions which will move the conversation forward.

And finally, remember this: When you are being hit on, you are in the position of power. She is the one who is vulnerable to rejection, so be mindful of putting her at ease, of being generous with your attention so that she feels safe, and before you know it you won’t be saying things like ‘cool’ anymore.