Attaching ourselves to the outcome makes things more difficult. It is not good or bad.
Experience vs result. If you had to pick between experiencing these without ever knowing the result (like above). Or only knowing the result without having the experience, which would you choose? This can even be asked about watching the experience, like in a movie.
Most people I speak with seem to value the experience of it more.
We truly don’t know if the result (outcome) is even good or bad long term.
For example: A rejection for a raise could very well lead you to leaving that company for a better company where you end up learning unique skills that enables you to start an innovative startup.
Or an approach of a stranger could lead to a phone number, but then to a 5 year romantic relationship that ends horribly and you "wasted" 5 years.
These can switch back and forth to what we perceive as good or bad.
For instance, after that horrible 5 year relationship that person finds a soulmate in their ex’s coworker that they never would have met without that bad relationship which leads them to live happily ever after.
My point is a great outcome from an interaction doesn’t mean that it’s good long term and a bad outcome (getting rejected) may have saved you long term from a shitty situation.
Don’t worry too much about the outcome. That worry can enhance and put fuel on the fire on our natural anxiety, especially in those big moments. Then it becomes much more difficult to do in the first place.
I’m not saying to go to the extreme in always being wary about a good reaction and being relieved when something doesn’t move forward socially! But it could make socializing more easy if you can mitigate some of the emotions that are stopping you by using this outlook. Bad isn’t bad and good isn’t good, be open like a good scientist.
Social skills are learnable and you can get really good at them, as we have learned here at Jaunty, but the skills are there so you can enjoy and learn from the experience with other people. -Eric Waisman
By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Maybe it’s that time of year, but more people seem stressed or nervous. There’s a word that keeps coming up in my social intelligence one-on-ones with folks, and that word is “jaded.” To me, jaded implies a certain cynicism, like you’ve done something so many times it doesn’t excite you anymore, or you think you know how something’s going to play out before it happens.
People tell me they want to make more friends, but they feel jaded and weary of small talk. They want to find love, but they’re exhausted of the cautious, predictable, getting-to-know-you dance of early dating.I think I have been feeling a bit jaded too, whether in relationships, work, travel, or exercise. (Shit, those are a lot of my favorite things!) I decided not to take any holiday vacations this year because going somewhere didn’t feel exciting.
First, I wanted to get rid of this feeling. What happened to my old enthusiasm? But as I read more and re-framed it, I saw it in another light. The best thing about feeling jaded is that you can think long-term. Your emotions can be more even-keeled and you’re not chasing the quick high of a new experience. In other words you won’t get temporarily fooled.
Let’s take romantic relationships for instance. Many mistakes happen in choosing a partner because of the high we get from that electric connection with a new person. Self-help author and blogger Mark Manson recently wrote about the difference between romantic love and true love. He says, “Romantic love is a trap designed to get two people to overlook each other’s faults long enough to get some babymaking done. It generally only lasts for a few years at most.” He sees true love on the other hand as a “deep, abiding love that is impervious to emotional whims or fancy” and “a choice.” Basically it’s the long-term commitment to someone regardless of the present circumstances and supporting each other emotionally for the long haul.
When the initial blaze of romantic love fade, and life challenges come up, a relationship is put to the test. A couple learns if their partnership is actually strong enough to weather the storm. If they were previously so intoxicated by romantic love that they were blind to each other’s personal challenges, they might be in for a shock.
But if you're a bit jaded, when you meet a new person, it’s easier to see how they may connect with you beyond the honeymoon phase. How aligned are your beliefs and life goals? How compatible are your communication styles? How strong is their emotional intelligence? Taking a step back and seeing something for what it really is, is a sobering process and might not be that fun. But it can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. This can also work for scoping out new friends or even a job. (Would that job actually be a good fit for you? Or are you just super excited by the idea of working for that cool company?)
As Jaunty students know, there's a big high in meeting new people and it’s fun. Once you do it enough, you may get a bit jaded and learn to focus on things you are specifically looking for quicker. When you know you can strike up a conversation with anyone, you're coming from a place of abundance, and then can be more thoughtful about the kind of people you really want in your life. That’s why our goal at Jaunty is to get your people skills so second nature that you can concentrate on looking for what you really want long term.
As you look back at your 2016, ask yourself what short-term highs you may have chased versus what longer-term commitments you chose. Either is fine, but one is more fulfilling. Happy New Year.
By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
"Cut down my trunk and make a boat,” said the tree. The Giving Tree gave everything to the boy because it made her happy. I talk about this classic kids’ book by Shel Silverstein from time to time; it was one of my favorites.
Today is #GivingTuesday. There is a crazy little hack to happiness, and it’s giving. My happiest moment last year was at Camp Grounded. I was surrounded by loved ones and music at the camp snack shop.
Lots of people were cuddling on the lawn and they looked hungry. So I bought everyone a huge ice cream sandwich.I tried to do it anonymously and have the shop pass them out, but everyone found out it was me. I saw so many people light up when they were given a surprise ice cream. I felt euphoric. Weirdly euphoric.
Studies show that people who spend their money on others are happier than if they spend it on themselves. There’s something about doing nice things for others that makes us feel really good.
Now, there are people who ask for too much, and who are not very appreciative, like the boy in “The Giving Tree”. This is where our Jaunty skills of reading others and assertiveness really kick in. You can choose relationships in your life that are two way streets.
We are blessed at Jaunty that we get to give everyday. I hope you try out this happiness strategy and do more to be of service and help others, today and every day. As Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
By Fayette Fox, Jaunty's Writer
Small talk always came easily to Varun Kaushik, who recently graduated from Jaunty's six-week course. "I dabble in a lot of different things and get to meet a lot of people," Varun says. He goes to Meetups for hiking, networking, biking, improv, tennis, Spanish, wine tasting, etc. But he wanted to learn how move beyond the basic get to know you chit chat and build a lasting connection.
There was another issue too. Varun has to travel a ton for work in his job as a chemical engineer. During the first six months of the year, he was only in home for six weeks. Understandably, being away so much and working long hours makes it hard to nurture friendships.
Varun has always moved around a lot. With the exception of a year and a half in the Netherlands, he lived in India until he was twelve. During seventh grade, he moved to the U.S. with his family. Since then he's lived in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, "A Smallville-like town in Michigan" and now the Bay Area. He speaks four languages and is currently learning a fifth. He's nothing if not adaptable.
"When I moved to the U.S., I spoke British English with an Indian accent. Now I can also speak American English with a Mid-Western accent, if it helps me fit in."
At some point, Varun realized that he had never instigated friendships or relationships. His past friendships happened by chance rather than deliberately choosing them. Varun was great at putting himself in fun situations with interesting people. Now he wanted a higher conversion of turning those encounters into real friendships.
Varun went to the free Jaunty workshop through Meetup and signed up for Jaunty's six-week course.
He enjoyed learning new ways of interacting with people. "And doing it in a fun way that makes you memorable. Conversational agility, all those things where you at least make a good impression and feel you can continue it."
Jaunty teaches specific humor formulas and even now after the course, Varun keeps a humor hypothesis diary where he keeps track of what works in different situations and what doesn't. He's curious and motivated to keep experimenting with his new social skills.
Varun has discovered that some people connect through conversation, where others are more into activities. This came through an interpretation of one of Jaunty's uses of open ended questions. At Jaunty we're taught about empathy and learning other people's interests. Now Varun likes to, "Treat people like they wanted to be treated."
If Varun is on a hike with a new friend, he'll adapt to them for thirty minutes. "If they want to talk, talk. Then use your assertiveness and change topics to something you want to talk about." He appreciates the "give and take of how you adapt to people. It's really about finding some kind of balance of asserting yourself and letting the other person lead."
So how is Varun doing instigating friendships and building connections?
"I did a Meetup bar crawl after Jaunty. I live in Oakland and met three people who literally live ten blocks from me." He went through the conversation structural script. They talked about the Warriors and more people joined in until it was a "social cyclone" with eight people. "I told myself I'll just get two contact numbers and I'll call this bar crawl a success." He left with three numbers and became friends with two of their friends. He introduced them to some Jaunty people. Now they meet up all the time and have become good friends.
When asked who he thinks would benefit from Jaunty, Varun says, "I think anyone could, theoretically. But the ones who would benefit the most are the ones who know what they're looking for. I wanted to get past the small talk. Other people in my class wanted to get more clients at a business meeting, other people want to talk with a potential date."
Knowing his travel schedule for work wasn't sustainable, Varun interviewed for a new job so he wouldn't have to travel so much. He used a lot of the social intelligence skills he'd learned at Jaunty, including "cold reading," being aware of his body language, "And a job interview version of the conversational formulas. People like that. The moment the interview becomes a conversation you know you're doing something right." Varun actually got a job offer and starts in February.
,By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Big family meals, office holiday parties, and festive happy hours. There's this misconception that only introverts need alone time and extroverts can just keep going and going. Well guess, what? We all need time that's just for us. As we move into the holiday season it might seem counter-intuitive to think about alone time. But with all the awesome craziness that comes with the end of the year, it could be just what you need.
I love meeting new people, joking around with strangers, and connecting with people I care about. But as social as I am and as social as our students become, alone time is still vital. My close friends can attest to me freaking out and needing alone time after social binges.
Imagine you're lost in an underwater cave and then discover an air pocket. That's how Eric Time feels to me. Precious. Most of my best ideas, music and thoughts have come when I was alone. I think a lot. (Maybe too much, but I'll have to think about that.) Chilling out on my own, I've come up with unique ways to solve business challenges or handle relationship issues. These moments of insight come when we quiet our surroundings and our minds.
Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth century French philosopher, said, "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." So apparently we had a hard time just being on our own way before we had smart phones and the endless internet to distract the hell out of us.
Choosing to spend time alone is different from loneliness. Alone time can be really fun and you get to do exactly what you want. When I make time for myself, I love reading, playing the guitar, exploring, having adventures, and meditating (to quiet that monkey mind). I just booked a getaway for three days in beautiful Kenwood, up in Sonoma County. I'm bringing a laptop, two books and my guitar. I hope to get some good work done and plenty of relaxing, while throwing FOMO in the wind. Will I miss out on parties, brunches, and cool events in the city that weekend? Sure. But I'll be breathing in that sweet air of Eric Time and I know I'll come home feeling recharged and ready for more.
This holiday season, in-between time with family and friends, remember to take care of yourself and make time for you too.
By Fayette Fox, Jaunty's Writer and Community Manager
Originally published in Jaunty's September 2014 newsletter
"Let's check out that art thing over there with the spinning umbrellas and then go to the Hug Deli."
This was my second year at Burning Man and I know I'll keep going back for more. It's the sense of community I feel out there from 70,000 people coming together to build a temporary city in the desert. It's people's openness, emotional vulnerability and how present we are without the distractions of our phones. And it's the tremendous sense of social freedom I feel on the Playa.
The event has a reputation for being cool and it certainly is. But this is cool without attitude. It's the real cool of people doing whatever they like and following their joy. It's a nonjudgmental cool. If you want to play on the swings in a tutu, that's great. (If you're a dude then that's great too.) If your joy is to walk around naked or in shorts and a t-shirt, or check out workshops on geology or astrology or bondage, that's all cool too.
When I took Jaunty's six-week course last spring, I learned that no one really cares what we do anyway. When we're twisted up in knots with social anxiety, afraid of what other people will think of us, we're the ones doing the twisting.
Over the past few months I had become a bit complacent and stopped pushing myself to do as many cold approaches. Burning Man was the kick in the pants I needed to get my Jaunty on again. On the Playa, I struck up conversations with countless strangers every day. It felt effortless and fun.
Now, back in the "default world," I've cleaned the dust off my things, but I've kept that feeling of social freedom right here at my side. I feel more playful again, interacting with strangers and not worrying what other people think. To me, the Burning Man culture is a breath of fresh air and I feel energized to keep following my joy and building the community I want here in the Bay Area.
By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
I used to be a professional social butterfly. When I worked in finance for Merrill Lynch, part of my job was to attend black tie events three times a week, and schmooze. From private penthouse parties, to rented-out museums, I honed my social intelligence skills, chatting with the city's elite.
I did this for two years straight, with my business partner, who happened to be the best wingman ever. At Jaunty we teach how to connect with anyone, anywhere. A lot of us can feel a bit intimidated by uber powerful people, but you know what? They're just people.
Here's what I learned about connecting with San Francisco's upper crust:
1. You get qualified....very quickly - The who's who crowd is great at sizing people up. Sometimes the intentions are good, sometimes not. They embed conversations with things like, "Who did you come with?" "What do you do?" and "Where do you summer/live?" I don't think it's to compete so much as qualifying you as "one of us." Rolling with these questions but then taking the conversation deeper and making them feel good with humor, fun "weaving," and even flirtation, really differentiated us at these events.
2. They are competitive between themselves - As we gained clients within this circle, we learned they were relaxed about their finances and retirement, and upbeat about travel and other experiences. But what really stressed them out was how they were doing in relation to their neighbors. There is a definite hierarchy within these groups and they were always trying to ask us how they compared. Keeping up meant asking where the Jones' had bought their newest property. Being able to recognize the concerns of the people you are talking to, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, can show empathy. Especially since many other people would roll their eyes, when you consistently keep an open mind, you show you're thoughtful.
3. They are not happier than anyone else - According to a Princeton study, we apparently feel happier the more we earn, but only up to an annual household income of around $75k. Beyond that point, more money may not make us any happier.
Most happiness is from within. I met a lot of elites who seemed uninterested in their spouse and bored. Even when feeling unexcited about engaging with someone, putting a wedge in this feeling and really paying attention to what the person is saying with their words and their body, can make all the difference. Seriously, when was the last time you asked what someone's body language or vocal tonality was really trying to convey? This is where we came in and brought some exciting conversation using stories and empathy. They loved it and this is how we created some great relationships with them.
4. Don't put anyone on a pedestal - This one can be hard sometimes, especially if you're talking with someone who's done something you think is really cool. But really understanding yourself and getting comfortable with people skills, we can feel social freedom with anyone. Also, if you want to talk the lingo, they always say, "Nice to see you." and never say "Nice to meet you." when greeting someone new or not. I use this all the time now.
There's no right or wrong, or good or bad when it comes to external versus internal status in our lives. However as we discuss in our workshops, we've found that internal status trumps external status every time.
Today, start a conversation with someone with high external status that you wouldn't ordinarily talk to. Maybe it's your boss' boss, or a well-dressed stranger on the street. If you've come to one of our free workshops you already have some ideas of what to do. If you've attended one of our six-week courses you can take the conversation anywhere you like. Have fun and let me know how it goes!