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!
By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Raise your hand if you like people watching. I love people watching. I can't see you but you'd probably be raising your hand if I were there. Most people I meet like people watching.
Recently, I was at the Grove, a coffee shop in SF. While I was in line I checked out a young, tattooed woman working behind the counter. She laughed full heartedly with a couple of the other employees. It was intriguing watching her glide throughout the coffee shop and I was really curious about her life. I was happy to see her get in front of the register when it was my turn to order. We spoke, laughed, connected, and exchanged numbers. We now hang out. She keeps me curious.
Being curious about others is a hell of a motivator to meet new people.
I used to play a game with people, from old friends to first dates. We would create stories about the people in the environment and guess what their life was like. Sometimes we would go up and talk to them to try to confirm. At first I found myself way off the mark, but I later got a bit more consistently close to the truth. You should try this.
The top things I've always been most curious about are: people, romance, travel, history, finance, and music. People is by far the biggest one. How the hell did he or she do it? How did Marilyn Monroe seduce the world? How did Elon Musk reinvigorate space and energy? How the fuck did that guy get "Gangnam Style" to reach the top?! There is a story behind it all. The answer usually has something to do with Persistence, Preparation (skills), and Luck.
It all starts with curiosity though. Write down a list of the things you're most curious about. How can you welcome more of those things into your life this summer?
By Jaunty Social Trainer, Craig Gibbons
I was never a naturally social person. Throughout my life, I've struggled with some social anxiety. I had fear in dating as well as making friends. I often had interactions where I didn't know what to say or felt a lingering awkwardness. Making connections with others was extremely important to me, but for some reason I was unable to do so. I felt like I was in a hole, unable to dig myself out. In my early adult life, I read up on tips for self-confidence and dating as well as magic tricks that I could use to start conversations or impress people at parties. Through my personal training and experimentation, I felt pretty confident in my abilities to meet others and make connections. But I soon realized that my skills were not enough.
In 2012 I moved to San Francisco for school, and knew all of four people living in the city - my three roommates and an ex-girlfriend. Being shoved into an unfamiliar environment I was overcome by my own anxiety and clung to what was comfortable. I went from home to class and straight back home so that I could avoid awkward social interactions. Rather than making any new friends, I spent my free time Skyping or calling my hometown friends. Once again, I found myself in that same hole.
When I heard about the free Jaunty workshop, it promised the ability to connect with people and create a social circle. It sounded exactly like what I was looking for. I went to the workshop and fell in love with Eric and the skills he taught. I followed up with a six-week class, and fully immersed myself into the world of social intelligence. Focusing on the approach, assertiveness, building status, and making connections, I rapidly changed my own world. My hole became a staircase which led to the top of a mountain. With my new skills, I began coaching my friends and working with Eric, coaching other students so that I could more fully understand how it all works.
Seven months into working with Jaunty, I finally realized something. I paused my life and stepped out of my body for a moment to see. I was at school, sitting on the grass during a hot day. I was surrounded by friends. Not just friends, but people whom I called family. I'd always known that I wanted to belong, and at that moment I realized that I did.
Developing those relationships has created a home for myself. Keeping my status high has turned many of my friendships into mentorships where people in my life look up to me to lead or give advice. This has turned into business opportunities, more introductions, loyal and giving friendships, as well as a dating life of abundance. It's all felt like magic. Most importantly, my journey has led me to a place of social freedom where I belong.
By Eric Waisman
This blog was originally published in Jaunty's July newsletter after Eric came back to San Francisco after spending a few months living in New York City.
Straight guys and gay women, brush up on your social skills and get your asses to Manhattan. You'll thank me later.
During the past few months, whenever I went out in NYC, I saw way more groups of women than men. (The photo above is a typical NYC night out.) What's up with that? Are NYC's guys all staying in watching the game? Actually, it turns out there are a ton more women than guys there. According to the Census, there's a 150,000 single woman surplus in NYC.
This has created a weird dynamic between the city's straight men and women. Female friends told me about women who believe they need to have sex on the first date or there won't be a second date. They're afraid if they don't, "he'll move on to someone else".
This may seem amazing for straight guys but at a point it actually hurts them in finding a long-term partner. If guys get used to moving on very quickly, it can become a habit. They might find themselves cycling through endless women rather than finding love.
When I was in NYC, whenever I approached groups of women, they were always eager to keep the conversation going. One night, I started talking with a group of beautiful women and as the conversation progressed, more of their friends kept showing up to meet with them. It turned out that many of them were reuniting after not having seen each other for many years. Yet they seemed way more interested in chatting with me and my friend than catching up with each other. It was almost like they hadn't had a great conversation with a guy in a long time.
Let's Jaunty it up with some tips for New Yorkers:
Women - Build sexual tension
Hook up if you want to. But if you want a relationship with a guy, don't do anything out of fear or before you're ready. You think if you don't he'll just run to someone who will? Give yourself some credit. You're awesome! It's better to play it cool and know the guy is really interested in you. Instead, focus on building sexual tension by being really playful with interesting conversation sprinkled in. When you do go for it, the sex will be way better.
Men - Give the gift of time
You've got a sweet thing going on here, but be careful with the abundance and the revolving door mentality. Having such a surplus of amazing women can be overwhelming to the point of paralysis. (Like when you have way too many choices on a menu.) Also it can lead to a "the grass is always greener on the other side" loop, which leaves you feeling empty and alone. So keep up with your Jaunty skills and give the gift of time to every woman. Have some patience and get to know them. Sex with some emotional investment can be pretty incredible.
What's the deal here in San Francisco?
As it turns out we have a surplus of single guys, an extra 50,000 according to the Census. This means if you're a single, gay man or straight woman looking for love in San Francisco, you have NO excuses.
Whoever you are and wherever you live, be bold and approach. Say hi. If you've been to a Jaunty workshop then you have the skills to know what to say next. If you've taken a Jaunty course then you have the skills to do whatever you want. And pay attention to your body language. Make it a habit.
Seriously, how many hotties have you said hi to this month? Be honest. If you're still single and seriously looking for a relationship then that number might not be big enough.
Keep sharpening your social skills, because your moment to meet someone can happen anywhere.