Imagine my surprise when a beautiful young lady approached me and asked for my advice on romance.
At first blush, this seems incredibly improbable.
Not to brag, but I have skills.
You can talk to anybody in Eaton Rapids and every one of them will inform you that I did much, much better at finding a soul-mate than, say, Mrs ERJ for example.
I also have the ability to observe human beings and see patterns.
The dreaded "bro-zone"
The woman in question had many friends who were guys.
To her chagrin, they saw her as a brother, somebody they could call when their romances were not going well and to get insights into the female psyche.
I asked the young lady about her interactions with "the guys".
It quickly emerged that she "didn't take crap from any of them", or at least that is how she perceived it.
In other words, she acted like a 25 year-old guy defending his status in the pecking order.
When I suggested that might be the problem, the young woman vehemently rejected the role of a simpering, passive, clingy chick.
That was not what I was suggesting.
The spectrum of responses is not binary.
Sometimes an outrageous comment is an invitation to converse
These young guys don't have a lot of tools in their toolbox.
They might say " insert name of favorite sports team here sucks" to get the conversational ball rolling. Their thinking is that it is easier to ride a bicycle when it is rolling forward, even if it is moving in the wrong direction.
The bro-zone response is "You are an idiot." and then to point out all of the shortcomings of first person's favorite team.
The "I am interested in you" female response is to bat her eyelashes, perhaps raise one eyebrow and to say "That is fascinating. I have never heard anybody say that before. Why do you think that?"
The young man breathes a sigh of relief and can expound on a topic where he is comfortable because of the home-court advantage.
Starting sentences with "Yes, and..." is the secret of improv comedy.
"Yes..." harvests the momentum of the other person's energy while the word "...and..." gently redirects it.
Momentum killers are words like "no", "but", "idiot", "loser", "What is wrong with you" ....typical bro-zone conversational gambits used for the speaker to gain time to collect his thoughts.
My advice to the young woman was to purge the momentum killing words and phrases from daily usage and to find variations of "Yes, and..." that feel natural to her.
A partial list
"I never heard that before..."