by Marcus Geduld
Just as with any skill, practice, practice, practice. Unfortunately, that means telling stories now, while you’re still bad at it. Getting good at anything means trying, failing, learning from failure, and trying again. Go ahead and fail, but keep a journal of your failures, analyzing as best you can why you failed and what you can do better next time. Earn your successes. Realize that you’ll never be good at storytelling. Not you in particular. Anybody! Updike, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare … — our greatest storytellers — all knew that the only worthwhile method was to keep trying and failing, trying and failing. Tips will help (see below), but please keep this paragraph always in the forefront of your mind.
What happens next?
The number-one ingredient for a story is the tension of an unsolved mystery. Stories set up a questions and delay answering them. The simplest example is a question in the first sentence with the answer delayed until the second sentence:
"You know who Bob’s favorite singer is? Meatloaf!"
That’s not a very interesting story, I know, but compare it to this:
"Bob’s favorite singer is Meatloaf."
The first version evokes (just a little) tension. The second doesn’t.
Now imagine telling the first version but walking out of the room after the first sentence:
"You know who Bob’s favorite singer is? —– "
That agony is what you should strive for. Because the most basic human urge that makes us want to listen to stories is the need to know what happens next.
Curiosity is the juggernaut that drives storytelling.
If you immediately tell us what happens next — or if there is no next ("Bob’s favorite singer is Meatloaf") — then there’s no hook.
Practice this simple question-delay-answer structure over and over, in all your communications. I mean in emails, text-messages, Quora posts, and so on. You’re not going to become a good storyteller by learning how to go into storytellingmode. Instead, turn yourself into someone who tells stories all the time. May stories a natural part of the way you communicate.
If you don’t have a good bakery in your area – i.e. bakes fresh every day, can tell you details about ingredients and procedures, acts like they give half a shit – make your own. It’s pretty easy, and you can freeze leftover batches for later use. Just take a brioche recipe (my favorite bread), shape it into balls and proof as desired. I like mine *just* pillowy, with a bit of structure still but not too dense – the recipe I use is a high yeast dough (almost half percent total yield) and I proof my 84g buns for about an hour. I like a double egg wash and sesame, but do whatchya like ya bitch.
Listen, you can make your dry-aged short rib or wagyu burgers, but it probably will have a hard time competing with Five Guys (seriously, fuck those guys, I’ve lost sleep thinking about how good their bacon burger is). The number one cause of shitty-ass shitburgers? You bought grocery store ground beef; you will get nowhere with that. Grind the best quality chuck roast you can find, and you’re set. Actually, you don’t even need a grinder (even though they’re cheap); you can chop/mince cold beef and get arguably better texture. It just takes longer. I like a mix of about 60 percent chuck and 40 percent brisket. I have a guy who only works with prime, so thats what I’m using. Just leave my expensive sirloin alone. Ya bitch.
Humans like to think we’re a clever lot. Yet those magnificent, mighty brains that allow us to split the atom and touch the moon are the same stupid brains that can’t start an assignment until the day before it’s due.
We evolved from primitive creatures, but we never quite shed ourselves of their legacy. You know the clever, rational part of your brain you think of as your human consciousness? Let’s call him Albert. He lives in your brain alongside an impulsive baby reptile called Rex:
(Rex is your basal ganglia, but that’s not very catchy so I’m sticking with Rex).
Rex evolved millions of years ago – unsurprisingly enough, in the brains of reptiles – and his instincts guide and motivate you to this day. Hunger. Fear. Love. Lust. Rex’s thoughts are primitive and without language.
Here’s the bit you’re not going to like. Rex makes the final call on all your decisions. Every. Single. One.
It’s about learning to read cues. Most girls (or people in general) don’t like to straight-up tell you “Go away,” but they’ll send a number of signals to indicate that they’re uncomfortable or don’t want to talk to you.
- not responding to messages
- responding with one word
- answering questions but not asking you any (they’re trying to be polite, but not trying to keep the conversation going)
- never initiating contact with you
- keeping conversation at a superficial level, changing the subject when you try to go deeper
- trying to escape the conversation (looking around frequently, looking at phone, talking to other people)
As for things you can do when talking to people:
- A comment on a girl’s physical appearance, especially if you don’t know her, and particularly through the internet, is not the best way to start a conversation. What do you say to “You have a gorgeous smile”? “Um, thanks.” The end. It can go no further.
Try bringing up a mutual interest, mutual experience, etc. and work from there. Show interest in her as a human first, and then bring up her gorgeous smile- not only does it spark more conversational possibilities, it separates you from the creeps who are only interested in banging a hottie and don’t care about the person that hottie might be.
With few exceptions, any line used to seduce women in porn will NOT work in real life.
Another killer is a simple, “Hey,” followed by silence. If you want to start the conversation, YOU come up with something to talk about. This goes with just about anyone. We all have that friend who gets bored, pops on chat and says “hey,” hoping we have some way to entertain them.
Avoid overt sexual comments to anyone you don’t know well, and most girls you do know well. Rule of thumb: Unless she has touched you of her own volition (this includes reciprocating physical contact you have initiated), you probably shouldn’t be bringing up any sort of sex talk.
In general, avoid opening up too much personal information or asking too much personal information with people you don’t know well. Hate to say it, but people just don’t want to hear it most of the time, and it makes them uncomfortable.
Know who is and is not your close friend. Someone you’ve met once? Not a close friend. Someone you’ve chatted with occasionally on Facebook? Not a close friend. These people can become close friends, but be on the lookout for signals of interest before getting too excited.
On a related note, don’t assume that one really good conversation has solidified your connection. It’s easy to get overeager and pull a Tommy Boy . Relationships take time to develop closeness, so even if you feel a connection right away, resist the urge to jump to BFF too soon. (Unless it’s CLEARLY mutual, then congratulations! You got lucky.)
Respect boundaries. If someone seems uninterested in talking to you, DO NOT PUSH IT.
If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, let it go. Don’t try to make yourself feel better by insulting them, or try to make them feel guilty by sending them a long-winded sob story. There are 7 billion people on this planet, and odds are a few of them will like you, so don’t worry too much about the others.
Finally, creepiness is subjective and it’s a term people throw about carelessly these days. There are people who will call you a creep for arbitrary reasons, including some girls who will throw that label onto any guy they don’t want to talk to. Try to keep a realistic view of yourself, get feedback from people you can trust to be honest about your behavior, and don’t give up. Social ineptitude isn’t congenital; you can do it.
It could happen to anyone. People bury a person alive to scare them or to get rid of them. In this situation, rely only on yourself.
- Do not waste oxygen. In a classic coffin there’s only enough oxygen for about an hour, maybe two. Inhale deeply, exhale very slowly. Once inhaled – do not swallow, or you will start to hyperventilate. Do not light up lighters or matches, they will waste oxygen. Using a flashlight is allowed. Screaming increases anxiety, which causes increased heartbeat and therefore – waste of oxygen. So don’t scream.
- Shake up the lid with your hands. In some cheap low-quality coffins you will be able to even make a hole (with an engagement ring or a belt buckle.)
- Cross your arms over your chest, holding onto your shoulders with your hands, and pull the shirt off upward. Tie it in a knot above your head, like so:
This will prevent you from suffocating when the dirt falls on your face.
- Kick the lid with your legs. In some cheap coffins the lid is broken or damaged already after being buried, due to the weight of the ground above it.
- As soon as the lid breaks, throw and move the dirt that falls through in the direction of your feet. When it takes up a lot of space, try pressing the ground to the sides of the coffin with your legs and feet. Move around a bit.
- Whatever you do – your main goal is to sit up: dirt will fill up the empty space and move to your advantage, so no matter what – do not stop and try breathing steadily and calmly.
- Get up. Remember: the dirt in the grave is very loose, so battling your way up will be easier than it seems. It’s the other way around during a rainy weather however, since water makes dirt heavy and sticky.