of asking a man out directly. Unfortunately, males don't take hints
very well. If a male likes a woman, he will go out with her regardless
of whether she hints (and he catches it) or asks directly. If he doesn't
like her, he probably won't go out with her (Muehlenhard & McFall,
1981). So women are much better off being direct. Besides, about 80-
90% of my male students say they would be flattered by a specific
invitation. In chapter 10 we also learned that intelligent women, in
particular, are not disrespected for directly asking a male to do
something with them, i.e. males, in general, won't assume it is a
sexual invitation. In some cases, men may misinterpret friendliness as
a possible sexual come on (Abbey, 1982). When this happens, women
need to make their interests and intentions very clear to the men,
don't let their fantasies run away with them.
STEP FIVE: Have a good time.
If you are truly interested in people and sympathetic, you will
probably be considerate and enjoy interacting with almost anyone.
Otherwise, you will get along with only specific types of people. Show
your interest. Give compliments and positive feedback. Make more
positive comments than negative, a constant critic drives people away.
Focus on helping others enjoy themselves. Be warm and caring. Ask
open-ended and personal questions. Continue to listen, empathize
(method #2), self-disclose (method #6) more and share intimate
feelings. Tell stories, exchange information and opinions, bring up
interesting topics, tell jokes, keep on planning fun activities. Carrying
on a conversation is discussed in chapter 9.
You may want to do some reading and some role-playing. This
might take a couple of hours. Otherwise, take about 15 minutes to
plan what you might say when you have an opportunity and then give
it a try. Most of the time will involve actual interacting.
Fear is the greatest obstacle. If it is your problem, you must face it
or reduce it (see chapter 5). Rather obviously, even if you can start
practicing right away, there is a learning period. You don't instantly
become a "smooth operator;" there is a certain anxious, awkward
period to go through.
There is a common belief that one shouldn't have to study to be a
good socializer, it should just come naturally. One shouldn't have to
plan what he/she will say, it should just flow out. Sorry, but for many
of us, it just doesn't happen that easily. It's only intelligent to learn
the skills, if you don't already have them. Advanced planning doesn't
reduce your goodness as a person nor imply that you are a conniving
predator (if you are, stay away from everyone and get therapy right