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Hi all, this is Jacob. What’s the most challenging thing in life? Acrobatics? Playing music? Rocket science? For him, it was something completely different – talking to girls. Now he knows better, but then...well, listen to his story and you’ll find out. Like many other guys in school, Jacob was quite shy. He would hide underneath his hoodie and only ever talk to his select group of buddies. You know the type – just a bunch of invisible guys that nobody cares about. They would just talk about video games and movies all day, not caring about anything else. At the time, he was content with the way things were.
But that all changed when he first saw Helen. She was a new girl in school, and she was nice and pretty, and he immediately became interested in her. He didn’t talk about it with his buddies, because they would surely just have made fun of him, although they ended up noticing anyway. It wasn’t that hard, because he tried to catch a glimpse of Helen every time she walked past them.
OF COURSE, they made fun of him, but then they actually wanted to help. They all read some articles from the internet, because – of course – none of them had ever had a girlfriend. They started to give Jacob dating advice, and it was...questionable. They told him that girls fancy cool guys who are never afraid to show their dominance, or their “alpha-status” or something. They said that girls never go for nice guys, because they’re not manly enough.
And...he followed that advice. Well, at least he tried to. He practiced in front of the mirror, making faces like an idiot – he would half-close his eyes to try and appear relaxed and disinterested, and also tried to control his body language; for instance, by maintaining a wide stance with his shoulders stretched back.
The next part was the most embarrassing – trying to come up with some pick-up lines. Jacob imagined leaning against the wall beside Helen and saying something like “what’s up, gorgeous?” It’s funny to remember it, but also very, very embarrassing. But that wasn’t the worst part. One day, Jacob approached Helen at school, trying to act on all the advice his relationship guru friends had given him. This turned out to be a very stupid plan.
Right from the start, his heart was racing, and he was probably sweating as well. He carefully checked his body language, and then went over to her. He leaned on the wall like he had planned to do while she was getting something out of her locker, and then said something like “what’s up…” The problem was, though, that his voice was cracking like he had been in the desert for a week, and it was as high-pitched as a five-year-old’s. When Helen looked at him, confused, he tried to maintain eye contact, but instead he just stared at her with his eyes wide open. At some point, he even forgot to blink, so his eyes started to tear up.
“Are you alright?” she asked. It was a disaster. His friends were watching from a distance, and by then they just couldn’t hold their laughter in any longer. “I’m alright,” he said with the voice of a dried-out mummy...and Helen walked off, confused. At this point, his friends were roaring with laughter.
For days after that disaster, the thought kept creeping into his head that he was a loser who would never have a girlfriend. He saw the more successful guys at his school and felt envious. They were so confident and had no problems talking to girls. Jacob concluded that everything came down to luck – you were either born a loser or a winner, and there was no middle ground.
Then one day at school, he started talking to his classmate, Penny, without trying to hit on her or be someone else. They just talked naturally, and Jacob complimented her on her drawings (she liked to draw). He made some jokes, and she laughed. And then they just kept on talking every day. Jacob had never talked with anyone like that before. It was very nice. He enjoyed talking to her.
After a few weeks, he asked her out. Simply, without any pick-up lines. He just said that he thought she was very nice and pretty. Maybe it was a bit stupid, but it was honest. And...she said yes! After a while, they started dating, and to Jacob she is the most wonderful person. He finds it weird that he had never noticed her before. He also apologized to Helen for being weird, and she totally understood.
You might expect him to say something like, “you just have to be yourself, and it will be okay,” but that’s not exactly true. You should be honest, of course, but you also have to be nice. Like, really nice, and not just be trying to act like you are. Confidence is important, but never listen to someone who says to you that you have to be this “bad guy” to make a girl like you. Confidence is more about respecting yourself and others than trying to behave in a certain way.
Music by Epidemic Sound: https://www.epidemicsound.com