Carol from Canberra turned up on the weekend with four of her girlfriends, in town to check out fashion week. So on Saturday night I met up with them in the city for dinner and some dancing afterwards. One of Carol's friends had had to go home early, and another guy named Terry tagged along who was a mutual friend of Andrea, one of the others.

We headed for dinner at Blackbird, a classy bar/cafe at Darling Harbour, the place to be in Sydney on a Saturday night. I sat opposite Carol, and next to her friend Jenni, who seemed like quite a live wire. Jenni was quite attractive, but seemed a little stand-offish and obtuse, so I started joking around with her and teasing her a bit, while also chatting with Carol. At one stage Jenni started complaining about running out of cigarettes, and asked "Do you know where to get cigarettes around here?"

"No, I don't. Are you a smoker?"

"Yeah, and I'm out of cigarettes. I want to get some cigarettes!!!", she protested

"Oh. I hate smokers.", I countered.

Jenni was a bit taken aback at this. But the truth is that I do hate smokers. Or more specifically, I hate it when people are smoking. Carol and Jenni both looked at me awkwardly.

"What do you mean you hate smokers???"

"Well, I only hate them when they're smoking. When you're not smoking, you're not a smoker".

We joked about how none of us could be friends then, as I continued to tease them about smoking. It turned out that Carol had the occasional cigarette too; so occasional in fact, that it took her over a month to get through a pack. So I teased her about that too. One of the interesting things I've learned about people is that they respect you more when you have a strong point of view, than when you have a weak one. Even if that point is very different to their own, or even somewhat negative towards them! Saying I hated smokers risked alienating the girls, but when I didn't back down just because they didn't like that, it actually laid the foundation for greater respect.

"Gee... you obviously don't care about what other people think of you!", Carol remarked with obvious admiration. I took this as a huge compliment. Getting over the fear of what other people think has been a huge thing for me, and one of the most liberating things I've done. It's also been a key ingredient in getting along better with women. I remarked that I'd been working hard on that, and thanked her for the compliment.

Jenni wandered off after a while with one of the other girls in search of a cigarette vending machine. While things were quiet, I chatted with Terry, the other mutual friend guy who was down the other end of the table. Terry seemed quite shy and reserved around the girls; a typical Nice Guy. It turned out that Terry was studying Civil Engineering at university. He seemed like a really lovely guy, but like a lot of engineers I know, didn't come across as all that interesting or engaging if you weren't into technical stuff. After we'd had a bit of a chat Carol, who knows I used to be an engineer, leaned over on the quiet and asked "Did you used to be like that once?"

"Yeah... I did", I remarked, as I thought about how far I've come with my social skills and general self-confidence.

Eventually Jenni came back, empty-handed and irritable. I teased her about having nicotine withdrawal symptoms... getting the shakes and everything. Later in the evening, she launched into a tirade about how you had to wait for everything in Sydney: we had to wait for a table, they had to wait for a cab, she had to wait for her cigarettes. Jenni was starting to sound decidedly high-maintenance, and in my mind her good looks didn't qualify as an excuse for that kind of thing... so she was in for some more teasing. Ironically, by the end of the evening, we were all waiting for Jenni to finish her drink before we could go dancing. More teasing ensued. At one point, it seemed as though Jenni was just too much like hard work even to engage in conversation. I was starting to get the vibe that either she didn't like me, or she was just plain difficult to get on with, when she said something quite funny.

"You're fun!", I remarked intuitively, just like I've been learning to do in my acting practise exercises.

"Huh? What do you mean by that?", she said guardedly, clearly thinking I was being sarcastic.

"I mean that you're fun. I'm not being sarcastic."

"Oh...", she follows with a thinking pause.

"He's a cool guy.", Jenni says to Carol. Evidently I'd passed the test... without even trying. In fact, I'm learning that this is the best way to pass a woman's test: don't try! Jenni, on the other hand, was still looking decidedly high-maintenance, so although I thought she'd be fun to hang out with, she hadn't passed my test. With her drink finally finished, we headed off to a nightclub.

Once in the nightclub, we all grabbed a seat in the corner and started chatting. It was the only available seat, and was awkwardly positioned in a corner right next to the dance floor. At first I felt uncomfortable being isolated from everyone else in the club; but that's not how things ended up. While the other girls were up dancing, Carol and I chatted. It turned out that she was an ex-motorcycle-rider, having had 3 bikes. She gave it up after writing off her third one. Interesting story. I'd also had a motorbike, so we had a common interest to chat about. She'd made a remark over dinner indicating that she wouldn't mind me making a move on her. So when the others were up dancing, I put my arm around her and went in for a kiss. I'm not the kind to kiss and tell, but that wasn't the end of our evening together. Suffice to say that we both had a very enjoyable time together, and it was another successful feel-good evening all round.

Being a cool guy who doesn't care what other people think gives you the freedom to do what feels right for you. The key to this freedom in confidence. Start building yours now: click here to get the Confident Man program.

Categories: Mindset

Graham Stoney

Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.