Know Your Lane

The topics in March and April were a bit heavy, we’ll take it easy for May. The weather is getting warmer and for single folks, attraction is high. I personally love Spring, it’s like the season of hope. I’m not the only one either, the term “spring fever”, not to be confused with the Spring Disease condition, predates me by several decades, even Mark Twain was talking about it. As a young man in my late teens and early twenties, I was really quiet and relatively shy and reluctant to putting myself out there. I did it anyway, but I never found success in the typical spots.

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The Club Formula

I Don’t really like nightclubs, never have. Excessively loud music, overly intoxicated people and a lot of meaningless small talk are like Kryptonite to my spirit. I still went though. I would go to the club with my guys, take a look around those crowded, smoke filled room with guys squinting as they walked past and women rejecting everything but drinks; and I’d think to myself, nah I’m cool! I was usually the designated driver so it was truly not the vibe for me. Not only that, this isn’t the crowd to get women for people like me, and that’s the only reason 98% of guys go to these clubs. Meanwhile, I had two friends that would routinely walk up to women and after about 5 minutes of chatting and awkwardly slow dancing to a Lil Jon song, they’d be headed out the door. 

After seeing this happen week after week, I finally asked, “yo, what are you telling these women” because clearly he knew better than me. Shockingly enough, he wasn’t offering to buy drinks or complimenting them on their toes or anything goofy like that. He just walked up to them and told them exactly what he wanted from them and if they were interested, they could go somewhere less club like. More often than not, if they were attracted to him they agreed. I just so happened to see all of the women he succeeded with.

Results May Vary

I won’t lie, I tried it…failed miserably in the club. Armed with this seemingly surefire plan, the next time I begrudgingly went to the club, stone cold sober I may add, I figured I’d give it a shot. I ended up giving it like 4 shots and I left the club with the same guys I went in with, such is life. It’s not a surprise to me now, but at the time it wasn’t sinking in. The real time revelation came when I ran into a young lady I took one of those shots at (and missed) one of those nights out. I saw her in a store and she approached me oddly enough…gotta love the modern woman. The conversation ultimately led to what I was aiming for at the club in the first place. She didn’t even remember me from the club at all. That makes sense, seeing as the club is filled with unremarkable moments that blend together. If 10 guys shoot their shot every week, the misses wouldn’t stand out.

Here’s the rub

Those guys have insane confidence in their strategy and genuinely believe that the answer is going to be “ok let’s go” every time. I was using their method to achieve my goals, which is a surefire recipe for failure more often than not. I walked up to those women thinking “let’s see if this works” and it never did. In my mind, I never believed it would work, so it’s no surprise that it didn’t. I didn’t lack confidence in myself, but I certainly lacked confidence in my ability to deliver someone else’s lines. I figured out my troubles early on:

  1. I was out of my element
  2. Their method didn’t align with my goals
  3. I hate small talk

All of that adds up to the miserable stats I had on club nights with women I didn’t already know. I laugh now, but it wasn’t all that fun back then. I never did the “part ways with an insult” stuff after being rejected, I just chalked it up to timing and said have a nice evening. Turns out I was right. For a relatively quiet, shy dude, that hates small talk, yelling at someone 3 feet away in a club about social justice or what books we have in common is just the wrong time for that. Perfectly acceptable at a conversational tone in a bookstore or grocery store though.

“Confidence is not, “they will like me”. Confidence is I’ll be fine if they don’t”

Christina Grimmie

Gaining Confidence

It’s going to take a bit of self awareness and resiliency to actually gain confidence in anything. Self awareness to know that you lack it to begin with, and resiliency to know that as you practice getting it, you’ll still miss no matter what you’re going after. As a person that played a lot of basketball, I missed more than I made, same applies to life. I missed most of my nightclub shots and my normal setting shots. Misses come with attempts, but so do makes. I just happened to have exponentially more makes outside of smokey clubs than in them.

Find Your Element

I look at it like this. I’ll make it around the pond faster than a fish would if we’re traveling on land, the fish would swim the entire pond multiple times before I completed 1 lap swimming. If you are seeking a win in an environment you don’t even enjoy being in, you’re creating an uphill battle for yourself. Instead, take most of your shots where it makes sense to for your objectives. 

Define Your Goals

Had I been realistic with myself, I would have ignored my guy’s advice from the start because my goals were different than his. He was seeking immediate satisfaction, from as many women that would go for it, with no strings at all. I was looking to see where a relationship of any sort would take me. I think they call this open to possibilities. The surface level attraction is good enough for his objective, whereas I sought a deeper connection in general.

Figure Out Your Angle

What someone else says that is interesting to them will come out genuine and not forced. Sure, you can get the words from Cyrano de Bergerac, but if you lack that authenticity, it’s apparent early. It’s bad enough for women to wade through 10 guys trying to have sex with them every night. Naturally their senses will be higher and more discerning when dealing with these prospects. Approaching from the wrong angle is a guaranteed loss.

Beyond Talking to Women

No matter what one does, finding the confidence to do it well takes practice. Whether you want to come up at the club or become a great dentist, confidence in yourself is needed. It’s fully achievable if you are honest with who you are and determined to succeed. Determination doesn’t mean force a square peg into the round hole, it just means you have to take your square peg to the squares that fit you. 


  1. Good topic, Doug. Your advice is solid.

    I’ll be single soon enough, but I suspect it will be a long time before I put myself out there. And what does putting yourself out there mean anyway? I dated back in the 70’s and 80’s when bars/dance clubs were everywhere and were a lot of fun. There was more dating than hooking up back then. I don’t see any dance clubs in my future.

    If new love finds me one day, I suspect it will be organic and by chance. Maybe while I’m out tooling around on my bicycle. 🙂

    • I’m sure the return to single is bittersweet, but I typically congratulate people that do. There are more than enough obstacles in the outside world getting in the way of personal happiness, that you shouldn’t have to also navigate obstacles at home.

      Dating these days seems to come with some sort of subscription and swiping. I haven’t been to a dance club since George W. Bush was in office, and I was a fish out of water then, so I can only imagine what it would be like now. I think you’ll find love where and when you least expect it. Until then, enjoy life…I believe that’s what we’re all here to do. 🙂

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