I shot my shot today. When I didn’t think I could, I talked to a complete stranger in one of those awful danfo buses that could make a single gallop result in a head bump or skin tear.
He was so tall his knees pushed against the seat in front of him. There was a dimple on his right cheek, and I thought it was the cutest thing I ever saw. His hair looked so black, full and healthy that it took me everything not to reach out and run my fingers through it.
“Hello!” I said, turning to look at him, “Are you leaving this seat for someone?”
It wasn’t a seat in the real sense of the word; it was just a space between the two of us, but I was uncomfortable with the fact that he seemed reluctant to close the gap. Surely, I couldn’t be smelling? I had used an antiperspirant before leaving the house. Or had I not? I took a sniff of my armpits, surreptitiously moving my nose to my shoulders.
“Nah! I just don’t want to be an inconvenience,” he responded. His voice was deep and hoarse, a tad too hoarse I wondered if it hurt him to speak.
“Oh! Please, do move closer. There’s enough space,” I said, looking from his eyes to the space and back again.
He had nice eyes that a pair of glasses could not conceal. They were younger than his years of 37, which he revealed to me after a game of guessing.
“Do move closer. You cannot be an inconvenience,” I urged him on. If he only knew!
“Okay.” He smiled. His dimple deepened and I couldn’t help but gasp. God had spent some time on this one, I thought.
By the time we arrived at the last bus stop, we were exchanging numbers and laughing like we were best of friends. He obviously had a great sense of humour, had quite the charm, and was good looking.
Now, while I don’t know for sure if anything would ever come out of it, I am glad I shot my shot. Who knows? I might be well on my way to being hitched. You, on the other hand, are probably still single because you have refused to shoot your shot. What is holding you back?
Fear of rejection?
“Fear”, admits Daisy Adelakun, a 27-year-old private school teacher in Lagos. “It is definitely fear. I cannot approach a man first, whether physically or virtually. What if he turns me down? Then my condition will be worse than it was before. I’ll pass, thank you.”
Like Daisy, the fear of rejection could get in the way of you attempting to shoot your shot. But what if he said no? Would that be the worst thing that could happen to you? No one ever died from being told no.
Fear of looking desperate
Perhaps it is not the fear of rejection that is getting in your way, but the fear of looking desperate and of what he or other people might think of you. You do not want him to think of you as too desperate or “forward” and you certainly do not want others – his friends, your friends and family – to think the same of you.
How many other great things have you missed out on because you are afraid of how people would perceive you? This is not much different from that goal, that project, that dream you have been pursuing. Do not let your fears hold you back.
What if it is not fear but your mindset that is getting in your way? You are old school and believe that a man must make the first move. Your mind is made up and nothing anyone says or does can convince you otherwise.
“God forbid that I ask my future husband out,” Daisy insists. “Even if we end up together, I will be the woman who asked him out. He would probably throw it in my face each time we have a fight.”
Do you share her sentiments and are you held back by them? Don’t let your mindset deprive you of getting something that might be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Lack of social skills
For some others, it is neither fear nor their mindset getting in their way. They want to, they are ready to, but they do not possess the social skills to do it. They wouldn’t know how to if they tried. Perhaps they do not know how to approach people, how to start a conversation, or how to send messages. I mean, it is one thing to send a message, it is another thing to send one that will fetch the desired response.
Are you in this category? This should not be an excuse. Learn social skills that can help you, not just with this but in every aspect of your life.
Lack of confidence
Do you lack the confidence to talk to people? Do you think you are too short, too tall, or too unattractive? Is that why you are reluctant?
Truth is, no one is perfect and we are all just trying to figure things out. Besides, what you think of as a flaw might be perfection to someone else. By all means, shoot your shot. After all, they say you miss hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.
How To Shoot Your Shot
This is a new year, and although you had hoped to get hitched last year, you are still as single as you could possibly be. You think you are now ready to shoot your shot but you do not know the first thing about it. Here are a few old tricks you could try.
Slide into his DM
This is as old as it is cliché, but it works. Now, I don’t mean “Hello!”, “Hi!” or “Good afternoon.” You cannot just drop a greeting and expect a response. State the purpose of your message from the start and make it clear. You could go like this, “Hello, Daniel! I think you’re cute and would love to hang out sometime.” The bolder your message, the more your chances of getting a response.
Start a conversation in transit
Shoot your shot while in transit – bus, plane, train, canoe or whatever your preferred means of transportation is. I was on my way to work, and so was the stranger, when I shot my shot in the bus. If there is a decent looking man sitting beside you, turn to him and say hello. You’ve got to do more than talk about the weather, though. You could comment on his well-tailored shirt and tell him you’d like to make one for your father. This way, you are not only engaging him, but you are also creating opportunities to see him again.
Comment on his comment on a social media post
This might be tricky, but if you get it right, yours could be the next fairy tale love story on BellaNaija Weddings, just like Royal and Genesis. These two lovebirds started from the comments, then moved to the DMs and now they are here. Start by dropping an intelligent and engaging comment on his comment on a post. Be careful and selective. If you are engaging enough, he would likely respond to you and follow you. And boom, he is in your DM next.
Approach him at that event
Don’t let your cute smile and your sweet-smelling perfume go to waste. Approach that nice gentleman who has caught your eye. Start with a simple “Hello!” and move on to talking about the event that you are both attending. Be sure that you can hold an intelligent conversation before you approach him. This is not the time to be shy.
Catch his eye
Who says shooting your shot has to be hard? All it takes is positioning yourself at an event, an outing, the mall, or someplace, and catch his eye. Make eye contact with him and hold his gaze for as long as you can, without spooking him out, of course. If you are well dressed, neat, and look approachable, chances are he’ll be drawn to you and he will be talking to you in no time.
However you choose to shoot your shot, do it with caution; the streets are not smiling, and some men are only out to take advantage of the next woman.