So you want to stride down the street with confidence, enter the bar like you own it, move through the world like the independent queen you are. More than that, you want to repel losers and instead attract attention from people who can actually handle your badass mojo. Here’s your guide on how to do just that.
Lose the smile.
I have a default, ingrained, knee-jerk smile response. It’s partially cultural training—from being a Southern-born, church-raised female—and it’s partially because I’m a nice person. The problem with nice is that it gets interpreted: as available, as an invitation, or as you being weak and passive. Solution: you don’t have to be a jerk. You can still be nice. Just quit smiling so much, for no reason, at anybody and everybody. Seriously. Stop it.
Adopt the nod.
I don’t like being unfriendly, whether it’s to the cashier or the random person parked next to me. So I’ve adopted the nod—an cultural norm already, and 1000% better than the weird, flat hey-stranger smile that many of us use. A nod is a way of acknowledging another human without extending an invitation. Try it. And here’s the deal: if you want to extend an invitation, add some softness, encourage interaction, you can add a smile with the nod.
Walk with purpose.
You don’t have to have a purpose, but walk like you do. Don’t shuffle along. Straighten up, put your shoulders down, fix a point in the near distance, and stride toward that motherf**ker like you have an appointment with God. Is this intimidating? Yes. Will people get out of your way? Also yes.
Let there be silence.
Silence is a weapon, as anyone who’s ever been given-or dished out—the silent treatment knows. It’s powerful. With strangers, it’s a way of allowing awkwardness or discomfort. And, in most cases, people will avoid that kind of discomfort. If you want to end a conversation or shut down an unwanted advance, let the silence hang in the air. Let it thicken and watch people excuse themselves to get away from it. You win.
Give short answers.
Over-answering is a sign that you’re looking for approval. You’re badass. You don’t need approval. Answer questions in the briefest way possible. Yes is a complete sentence. No is a complete sentence. If you’re really done with the vibe, just nod or shake your head instead of responding aloud.
Say the thing nobody is saying.
Elephant in the room? Get up on that thing and ride it. You don’t need to ignore the obvious. That’s what losers do. You claim it and make it your own. When you’re brave enough to address real issues, you let people know you won’t tolerate shady behavior or manipulation.
Own the eye contact.
As social creatures, most humans have a finely tuned sense of what’s appropriate in any context. Hold eye contact about 1-2 seconds longer than feels comfortable. There is literally nothing more badass than comfortably and casually keeping someone locked into your gaze without smiling. Don’t hold it forever, though. Just an extra second or two will do. For bonus points, raise an eyebrow before you deliberately look away.
Have defined preferences.
This is how you develop a signature style, and it’s a powerful move. What’s your favorite whiskey? Do you like your fries extra crispy? Sure, these are details of life, but developing and expressing your preferences in the small things is how you learn to speak up for yourself in big things, too. Start having defined preferences. Ask for things to be done your way. No, you don’t have to be demanding or rude. There’s nothing badass about being a jerk. But it is badass to know what you want and make sure you get it.
Don’t explain yourself.
Leave things unsaid. Tell people what you’re going to do, but don’t tell them why. Don’t ask for their approval, or give them an explanation. And don’t define yourself. When you start labeling yourself for others—whether it’s by your star sign or personality type or career—you’re telling them that you need external validation for who you are. You’re putting yourself in a box, and as soon as you do that, you’re both predictable and boring. Be mysterious.
A funny thing happens when you don’t volunteer information, or fill in all the silences. Other people start doing it for you. So, let them. Ask questions. Ask what they think, how they feel, why they do what they do. The truth is that most people love to talk about themselves, and they reveal a lot when they do. Asking good questions, and listening to the answers, is a great way to learn about the people you’re around. Since not all losers look like losers, it’s important to find out what’s underneath the surface. Genuine people may get a little flustered, but they’ll usually try to give honest answers, and ask you real questions in return. People who have something to hide will run the other direction.
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