I read your book Without Embarrassment, and it has helped me come a long way in life.
I no longer am really afraid of talking to or starting conversations with people / women anymore. The problem is that I really can't seem to keep a conversation going beyond maybe the first minute or two. It is like I am socially inept of having any sort of real conversation. Back in high school I rarely talked to anyone besides the couple of friends I had and was to scared to start talking to anyone else. Now that I have some confidence in at least attempting to start a conversation I seem to get stuck right away.
I know in your book you say that the words are not the most important things to say and it is mostly non-verbal which I have discovered to be very true, but you still need to be able to have the ability to keep a conversation going for more than a couple of minutes. Like when you first meet a girl and their is a pause, where she expects you to keep the conversation going, I seem to not be able to lead a conversation at all. I read in your book that you need to look for a lifeline to talk about, but a lot of times it doesn't even seem like that is available.
I feel for the most part I understand the non-verbal part, but I am clueless when it comes to the verbal part. I have been a shy kid for most of my life until a few months ago I got a job where I was forced to start conversations with customers and realized it wasn't as bad as I thought. By the way I am in college now, but I have to live with my parents because of money issues. Only reason I got to go to college was because of some scholarships. I also don't have any friends anymore so this doesn't help either.
Any advice you dish out would be helpful.
Thanks for writing and for your kind words about the book, I appreciate them. One thing you could try is to sort of "flirt into any silence" in order to keep the conversational ball rolling, and more importantly, keep the direction of that ball always pointed towards a man-woman romantic framework rather than just letting it drift off into some boring dead end corner on its own.
When the convo lags I sometimes make a comment like "That's a really cute/cool necklace (or hairstyle or shoes or tattoo, etc) that you've got going for yourself, what's the story behind it? Do you collect a lot of gold, or is there some special significance that goes with it?" It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering, just something that: 1) she can't answer with a simple yes or no (so it gets her talking), and 2) is framed within the delivery of a compliment. This makes it personal... and that's what you're always looking to do, make the conversation personal somehow.
The formula goes something like this: first make her feel good about some aspect of herself, her look, her style, etc... AND then invite her to talk about that aspect in a way that's of a personal interest to her, and that therefore only she knows about. In other words, we're not just gabbing about politics or current events or something that everyone knows and has an opinion about. We want to look for some kind of focus that only she can talk about with authority because it's personal in some way, and that opens a little window into her world.
This is how you can create a little conspiratorial bubble around the both of you that keeps the rest of the world away, and is the first step in forming a special connection with anyone.
You see, it isn't just the volume of words traded between yourself and a girl... it's about the emotions and feelings that you provoke with those words. Should you keep a convo "surface", or do you try to dig deeper into someone and find out what their about? This is your pivotal question when deciding how to play any woman verbally. It happens between two strangers by seizing on the obvious point to compliment and then running with it. Your seeming fascination with a girl in this way can be intoxicating to her! It's this focus away from the ordinary blah-blah that gets her thinking about you in possible romantic ways as well, and that's where the first sparks can catch hold.
So here's your new mental re-framing homework assignment: always try to see any lag in a conversation as your new chance to jump in and turn that conversation deeper with a compliment/question pairing. This is what I do, and it usually works to really set things off in the right direction (nothing works 100% with women, unfortunately... their minds and moods are scattered all over the board). Look for these opportunities and welcome them, don't dread them!
So every time she runs out of wind on a certain topic, you turn the screws a little tighter. And by staying focused on the running problem of how to keep provoking her with your words, you'll focus less on your own fears of "what to say???" so that they become less of an interference. Your mind should be concerned with scanning her look/style and working up what you're going to be complimenting her on and asking her about once the conversation finally begins to lag (hurry up! ;-)
Think of this entire issue less in terms of managing any sort of database of 'content or topics' that you might feel you need to keep stored in your mind in order to be an "interesting conversationalist", and more in terms of always looking to be provocative with women whenever and however you can in order to get a rise out of them.
That's what seducers do... they keep their convos with women steered towards subtly communicating their desire by always seeming interested and fascinated with their prey, and this never-ending fascination with her alone is your vehicle to keeping the pot boiling.
Read the flirting and increased "I like you" signals (mostly in her eyes) from her, and escalate whenever things look like they're moving towards a budding connection. Flirt, dig, seem interested, escalate and be bold when she starts to look ripe. This stuff takes work -- don't ever sabotage your efforts by losing your nerve at any point in the process. This is only your self-hatred at work. Defeat it with self-compassion and allowing yourself to succeed. Out-smart your subconscious with your wits.
Take care and I hope this gets you thinking.