Handling Interruptions In Set
With this Thursday I thought I would write about something very worthwhile and helpful in field. Most of this week we've been focusing around core conversational skills. These skills can certainly help you in field just as easily as this material can. There is just simply so much to learn out there. Of all the skills you learn this will be one of the most important if you plan on opening groups.In the spirit of Friday Night I want to talk about how to Handle Interrupts. An interruption can be external to the set from someone rejoining it after you are locked-in, or internal to the group. We will look at ways to handle both so you are prepared
These are some of the hardest to handle when you are beginning, however, with a few quick tactics you will be able to handle these as easily as I can. In ideal circumstances you are going out with a wingman who is familiar with handling these things. On a side note, if you plan to wing someone who should have these tactics down 100% since it is your job to help your buddy get the girl. Coming back to the main point is that many times we have to go out alone to meet people and we do not always have the pleasure of having a wingman or wingwoman around. You may remember back in September I wrote a blog about.
The Importance of Locking-In" in that you may recall how you are viewed when you are locked in versus not being locked in to a set. For a quick review, when someone comes back into the set and you are "locked-in" and appear to be part of the group you have more room to maneuver. When you are not "locked-in" and appear to be an outsider to the group it's obvious to everyone you do not belong. This means the person coming back to the group is going to try and "save" her friend from the guy hitting on her. The first rule of being able to handle external interruptions is try to be locked-in within the first 3 minutes of opening the set. Going with the preferred example that you are locked in.
Let's say you are locked-in leaning against a wall, and you are talking to the group. It's been a few minutes since you started, and you are telling an interesting story about yourself. All of a sudden someone who you didn't see before comes up to the group. What are we going to do? If we allow them to control the set the girls could ignore us, and leave us just standing there. However, if we control this interruption we'll be fine. When this happens there will be a few short seconds where the person is standing there on the outside of the group before they speak, because you were talking. It's during this brief moment you need to say something. Now you can say this to your target (preferably) or to an obstacle if needed. "Don't be rude introduce me to your friend, it's the polite thing to do." She is going to hesitate because she is not use to this, they almost never are ready to introduce me. At that moment you can pepper in a light neg to your target if you like, thus, further disqualifying yourself as a suitor to this new person. You could simply say, "How do you hang with this girl?" or "You can dress her up but you can't take her anywhere." This obviously implies she is being rude by not introducing you. If she does introduce me then great, if not then you just extend your hand and introduce yourself to the new person to the group. Now you have one more task. You were in the process of telling an interesting story about yourself when you were interrupted. If you continue that original conversation the new person to the group is going to be left out, which is not good. They are going to be bored and try and interrupt you again. If you try to catch them up on that story the original group is bored. So what do we do? You start a new conversational topic immediately. I usually say, "Oh you just reminded me..." then I just launch into a new story. You have 4 steps to handling an interruption when locked-in using this method.
1. Recognize the interrupt, and say to your target, "Don't be rude introduce me to your friend, it's the polite thing to do."
2. Disqualify yourself as a potential suitor to the new group member when she hesitates. "How do you roll with this girl?"
3. Introduce Yourself. "I'm Jon, it's a pleasure."
4. Start a new story. "Oh you just reminded me of..."I know what you are thinking... Jon, that is great stuff if you are locked-in but whathappens if you aren't locked-in and it's under the first 3 minutes of the interaction? Ideally, you saw this person leave the group earlier and if you expect an interruption in the first few minutes of the set, wait to open them.
If you didn't recognize this you aren't completely out of luck, although it will be harder to handle. You can't ask to be introduced because you don't really know this group yet. The main thing that I do at this point is play the "non-needy" card. They know you aren't part of the group so you are going to be seen as a potential suitor, but we can help make it look better. When the friend approaches I'll simply say to my target, "Hey, your friend is trying to get your attention!"
This does a few quick things for me. The first is it shows that even though I'm talking to her I am not being the overly needy guy hitting on her. I demonstrate a little bit of higher value in this way showing I'm not completely interested in her and she doesn't have all my attention. It's 50/50 to what happens. She will either go away with her friend and I have the option to re-open later, which will be easier since I let her walk the first time. Sometimes, she will stay and enjoy the conversation which is fine as well. If she stays you have a huge indicator of interest being thrown at you. There are two ways of handling the External Interrupts. However, there are times that we have to handle interruptions from people within the group that occur.
Please keep in mind that when these occur it is usually because you aren't engaging everyone in the group with your conversation as you should be. In some cases this happens anyways because a girl has been drinking, has ADD, or is jealous. As you are talking to the set and telling a story you're likely to hear something like "I want to go dance..." or "Let's go get a drink..." from the obstacle talking to your target. When she does this she will usually "roll off" a bit moving her body and angling her shoulder away from you. Kind of the same way you open a set over the shoulder. When you see this you will have to handle it quickly.
I would simply tap the girl on the shoulder with my fingers to as she's rolling off to get her attention and say, "Hey, before you go...(intentional pause)..." then start a new conversation giving her most of the attention. You can not always stop the girl from taking her later, however, you are re-engaging a person who was bored and you are likely to keep the set a bit longer. Perhaps, when you finish your thread you can take them dancing on your own or to the bar with you. You might be able to isolate your target, and let the obstacles go off on their own for a while. This move basically just buys you a bit more time, and gives you a second chance to keep the whole group interested.
Now you have armed yourself with some new ways to handle the group dynamics as they change around you. As we all know, there is no interaction that goes perfectly where something doesn't happen. Later on we'll focus on how to handle the alpha males that come into the group. For now you have a few methods for handling general interruptions and now you can get further in your group interactions.
Have a great weekend,