Handling Awkwardness and Social Shunning on a Small Scale
Thursday, 6 March 2014
I’ve been seeing more questions lately in both the article comments sections and on the boards from men who are ending up in awkward situations where some girl they’ve flirted with and expressed interest has turned them down... but they keep running into her socially.
How do you act around a girl like this? What do you do? What if she’s cold to you and ignores you, or treats you like you’re beneath her?
I’m going to assume for the purposes of this article that you’re at least somewhat socially savvy, and that most people like you and find you reasonably attractive and cool. If that’s not the case, and you are universally socially shunned or socially ostracized (more or less), this post won’t help with that, and you’ll need to focus on leveling up your social calibration, and getting other “coolness factors” handled, like edginess, sprezzatura, and a devil may care attitude, first.
But if you’re normally a pretty well-liked guy, yet suddenly find yourself dealing with some girl things have gotten awkward around or who is downright treating you as subhuman, then this article is for you; it’s all about saving face, and turning her reaction to you right around.
Why Things Get Awkward
Things get awkward after you flub an approach with a girl in your social circle for one of two (2) possible reasons:
Uncalibrated Awkwardness: either you, the girl, or both are not certain how to behave around each other after you’ve expressed romantic or sexual interest in you and she’s rebuffed these advances. Should the two of you not talk? Talk like normal and pretend it didn’t happen? Treat each other like best friends now? It isn’t clear to at least one of you, and that person makes it awkward for both of you (or perhaps, it isn’t clear for both of you, and both of you make it awkward).
Intentional Awkwardness: the girl decides to use you as a rung on the social ladder, climbing up over your head and throwing you under the bus to enhance her position over you and/or distance herself from you. This can happen if she’s a conniving, remorseless status hound who will use anything she can get her fingers on to elevate her own status with no care toward the effect on others... but it can also happen if you box her into a position where you’ve made things awkward for her, and she’s either got to throw you under the bus to not get dragged down with you, or let you drag her down – depending on the situation, even nice, high empathy women can go this route if you absolutely force their hands.
The first of these is just awkward; the second is downright hostile. That hostility may be your fault, or it may be that the girl is just a ruthless ladder-climber; either way, it isn’t good for you, and if you let it go on for long, it will erode your social capital in the group and transfer much of the social status you’ve worked to build within it from you over to her.
Understanding Uncalibrated Awkwardness
The first of those our two “kinds of awkward” I term “uncalibrated awkwardness”, because if both you and the girl are very socially calibrated, you will never really have to deal with this one.
Instead, it only happens when:
- You’re not perfectly socially calibrated
- She isn’t perfectly socially calibrated
- Neither of you is perfectly socially calibrated
Figuring out which of you is to blame can be harder than it sounds; if you compare one situation with previous situations, you may find that past situations were minimally awkward, while this one isn’t, without knowing whether that’s because you’re pretty socially calibrated, and just were able to smooth things out with past scenarios, but in this case the girl is just very socially awkward and no amount of smoothing from you is enough... or, perhaps, you still need a lot of brushing up on your social skills, and were just fortunate before to have had interactions with women who were socially savvy enough to make everything nice after the fact and eliminate any awkwardness (but now this current girl lacks those skills and cannot do that).
Much of the time here, if the girl herself is very socially calibrated, this will usually solve any awkwardness issues. That’s because when you’ve approached a girl and she’s rejected you, that’s typically going to lead her in the higher status position between the two of you, and the higher status individual sets the tone for how things go between you.
If the girl is somewhat socially calibrated, then it’ll go either way, depending on your social calibration. i.e., if it’s still awkward for you, then she’ll feel awkward too; but if you’re fine with it, she’ll be relaxed and won’t make a big deal about it.
If the girl is not very socially adroit yet (usually if she’s still pretty young and/or hasn’t spent much time socializing with different people outside, say, her core group of high school or university friends, for instance), even if you’ve reached a level of social mastery she will still be awkward around you, because she doesn’t have much of a mental model built yet for men and she can’t tell if you’ve completely moved on from her altogether, or if you’re secretly building a shrine to her in your walk-in closet and you’re only acting cool around her. Socializing is still too new and confusing for her, and she isn’t able to properly process events she’s only starting to deal with, like being around men she’s turned down.
Understanding Intentional Awkwardness
I covered this one pretty in-detail already in “Granting Social Status; and, Not Getting
Thrown Under the Bus”, so no point covering familiar ground,
suffice it to say that with intentional awkwardness, a girl knows she is throwing you under the
bus – she isn’t doing it because she’s socially awkward. She just wants
to paint you as being so.
Why’s she do it? Either because you put her in a compromising position, reputation-wise, and the only way out that she saw was to climb up over you (an example might be teasing her too hard or being overly sexual with her in front of her social group – if she doesn’t treat you like a social nincompoop, she looks socially weak and/or low status)... or, because she’s a cunning, shameless social ladder climber, and you struck her as a good mark she might use for hoisting up her status (an example here might be if you’re roughly mid-level status-wise, and she is, she can use you to clearly differentiate herself from you if you approach her and she rejects you, pushing her status up while shoving yours down).
Regardless of whether it was your fault for being a social ignoramus or hers for being a shark, you’ve still now got some negative social fallout to deal with on your hands... and it’s going to keep haunting you whenever you’re around this girl until you do.
Reversing Shunning from One or Several Girls
Though the reasons for any social awkwardness and social shunning you receive at the hands of girls you’ve tried to make headway with and failed to are varied, the way you deal with the situation is always the same.
And it revolves very much around one simple concept: showing her she misread your status...
and doing so publicly.
If you can do this, you can throw her into confusion, and even make her feel embarrassed about having rejected you if she did so publicly. The goal here is to inspire within her a feeling of, “Oh, whoops – I totally misread that guy,” and the stronger her shunning of you, the stronger this feeling will be.
At the extreme end, if she’s been actively trying to communicate to the group how much above you in status she is (by very clearly and publicly ignoring you or taking digs at you), what you’ll be seeking to do is marginalize her in the group and make her efforts to one-up you look socially uncalibrated (and her socially awkward and unaware).
How you do this is very simple: you shun her back, while building up even more positive emotions and good feelings among the rest of the group.
If you’re reasonably socially skilled, this nearly always works, because the women who will tend to shun you are never the women who are the leaders of the group... the leader doesn’t shun someone unless she senses that the group overall dislikes him, in which case, you’re one of those folks who still needs to upgrade his social skills that we mentioned earlier.
If you’re socially skilled then, the only women who will shun you are the ones with moderate at best power over the other members of the group.
And typically, they’re merely followers of the group; they’re not the trendsetters or the cool ones, they’re the ones who are tooth-and-clawing it for social acceptance.
What that means for you is that if you start taking over the group, leading it, and bringing the energy into it... pretty soon you will have carved out a very clearly higher status position in the group than the girl will occupy.
And anything and everything she’s done to make you look bad or awkward backfires back upon her.
Additionally, if she hasn’t gone out of her way to shun you, and instead has just been awkward around you, doing this reassures her that you are a high-value man, and causes her to reassess your value to her in a much more positive light. You will frequently see girls in this position begin chasing after you and hinting that the two of you should go out after all.
So how does this work, exactly? Simple:
If she’s awkward around you but it isn’t malicious, just be neutral. Do not go out of your way to engage her in conversation. Don’t try to be friendly. Don’t be a pal. Just give her a smile and a nod and some bare minimum conversation, and move on. Don’t ask her anything other than the smallest of small talk: how’s your day going, how’s that ankle you injured, you ace that test? Keep it to one question maximum (or none at all), and keep your questions short. She should have the distinct feel just from talking to you that you’ve pushed her to the side and aren’t much dealing with her, even if you aren’t outright hostile with her. She’s just kind of a non-factor to you.
If she’s actively sidelining or shunning you, go ice cold on her. That doesn’t mean you attack her; it means you act as if she doesn’t exist at all. Don’t even greet her, because if she’s actively trying to one-up you, even a greeting can be used as an opportunity to snub you; a simple “Hey” from you can be met with an eye roll, a huff, and a head turn. Instead, greet everyone else around her, engage them, talk to them, even lean across her to talk with them if you can, but don’t say a word to her. Don’t look at her (you’ll be tempted at first, but don’t do it... that only tells her you still care about her reaction, and it cracks your frame). Act as if the space she occupies is just a big chunk of empty, boring space – nothing to look at, talk to, or interact with at all. No matter what she says or does, just pretend she’s invisible and inaudible to you.
Bring the energy. Don’t be slaphappy; don’t be a parody of your usual self. Just be a positive, uplifting guy who makes everyone else around him have a better time while still minding the Law of Least Effort and coming across cool, suave, and high class. What you’re going for here is becoming the most liked and respected guy in the group; the one whom it just isn’t a party with without, and the one whom everyone acknowledges is someone totally awesome, likeable, and respectable.
Build up preselection. Obviously, this is best if you can do it with hotter / higher status girls than the one(s) shunning you. If they are her friends, major bonus points. Sometimes it’s the case that one girl shuns you and her friends follow suit – in which case, you’re running this campaign against 2 or 3 or 4 women, instead of just 1 (still doable; it just usually takes longer) – but many times, you’ll find it’s very possible to have one girl shunning you or awkward around you, but you work your magic and all the other girls in the group, including her best friends, absolutely adore you, flirt with you, and worship the ground that you walk on. The bigger this effect, the sooner the girl(s) shunning you flip back the other way and start chasing.
When she starts trying to get your attention (and she will), if she was clearly just socially awkward, be nice and mildly warm, but make her a chase a little bit before you welcome her back in.
However, if she was throwing you under the bus, once she starts vying for your attention, you want to be nice, but neutral and bored with her, and have only the most fleeting of eye contact and attention for her. The goal here is not to get her to show a little interest again; the goal is to win the group over so thoroughly that she is FORCED to chase after you just to not feel excluded. In a way, you are establishing yourself as a male authority figure in the context of the group.
What ends up happening once she realizes that she was wrong in rejecting you and shunning you and you play your cards right is that interactions like this begin happening:
You: [talking to someone else in the group] ... and then the guy gave me the money back and just walked off!
Guy: That’s hilarious! [laughs]
Girl: [to you] Wait, so did you keep the souvenir or not?
You: [turning to girl only slightly, acting very slightly annoyed, as if she is being a little bit socially awkward by intruding on your conversation, and giving her just the briefest of eye contact while speaking to her] Uh, yeah, I kept it. Still have it. [turning back to guy you were talking with] So, like, the next day, I go back to that place, and the same guy is there, and...
She’s going to feel a little embarrassed after giving you this olive branch and you acting as if she’s the socially awkward one, but this is what you want. If you immediately accept her overtures and welcome her back into the fold without making her chase, after all the punishment she gave you, you come across as merely her equal at best (not attractive), or, more often, she realizes she misread you again – here she thought she’d misread you and you were actually not beneath her in status, but above her; but you flipped back so easily and for so little effort from her, that in fact she must’ve misread you the second time, and you really are low status... and were just playing some kind of status game.
So long as you keep working the group, she’ll get over her embarrassment at being made to feel socially awkward by you after reaching out toward you, and she’ll try it again.
The next time, you will be a little bit warmer and more inclusive to her, give her a little bit more eye contact, and a little bit more communication. Then return to other people.
And every time she chases, you will give her a little bit more, then a little bit more, then a little bit more.
Don’t rush this. If you rush it, it falls apart. You need her to chase your respect and attention, not get it for trinkets.
Assuming she is someone you’re around regularly in some sort of social circle setting, you will have plenty of time to do this, don’t worry. The more you take over the group and become a central figure in it, the more strongly she will feel the need to win your approval and become a favored person in the group with you.
Can You Sleep with Women Like This?
I don’t do much social circle stuff usually, because I find it rather a waste of my time and a distraction from more important things to me, but those times I have dabbled in social circle, I have repeatedly slept with women who rejected me first, either because I made a mistake in my approach (it happens) or because they mistook me for someone they could social ladder-climb over.
If you let them win you over too fast, this doesn’t work. “Fast” here is entirely relevant, mostly to the amount of effort a girl’s putting in to win you back. If she puts a Herculean effort into getting back into your good graces over the course of a night, it’s not unreasonable to sleep with her then, provided you can naturally transition back to being cool with her. But you can’t go back to her until she’s been putting in work to win you back.
You will probably fudge this up the first couple of times you try it, usually by being too eager to let girls back in from cold, either because you like them and hope to get somewhere with them, or because you feel bad for them and take pity on them. You will do this, realize you quickly got marginalized again, and find it’s much harder to come back from this. The next time you do this, you’ll be more careful, and force her to really earn her way back to your good side again.
If your natural reaction to all of this is, “But it’s too much game-playing!” I agree with you. This is one of the reasons I find social circle a distracting waste of time.
However, if you’re going to spend time doing social circle, and meeting girls that way, you’re going to run into status dynamics, and you need to know how to deal with them.
This is how, if you mucked it up the first time with a girl and she starts treating you like a rung on the ladder, you can make her regret doing so, change her mind, and even, if you know what you’re doing, end up with her in bed with you.
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