One of the best ways to improve your game is to hone your powers of observation. After reading First Date DC and listening to hundreds, maybe thousands, of conversations about the opposite sex, I’m starting to believe that one of the biggest obstacles is simple self-absorption. People are simply too wrapped up in themselves to pay attention to what’s going on around them, and they’re missing a glance, a movement, or an interaction that could be key to understanding. They’re too much in their own head to make objective judgements.
Being a good observer is almost like being psychic because you can tell what people are thinking and what they’re going to do before they do it. Let me give you an example. Last week on the metro home from meeting the new intern, I was reading a magazine while waiting for the train. There was a man pacing the platform. I looked up from my mag once and noticed this, and then, even without looking up again, I knew he was checking me out. As soon as I got on the train, he sat in the seat next to me even though there were plenty of empties elsewhere. I kept reading but I could tell he was going to talk to me. I played along and shut the magazine and about 1.5 minutes later he struck up a conversation. Luckily, I was prepared.
What you have to do is learn to take it all in. One blogger who’s really good at this is Virgle Kent – his observation is so minute it actually makes me a little uncomfortable. Watch how people interact and always keep the corner of your eye open for what else is going on in the room. If you’re fixating on talking to your friend, you’re missing the hottie checking you out (and missing the chance to act on it). Too busy thinking about how the person you’re talking to is really ugly and you’ll miss an interesting moment a few feet away. This is where learning to shut up and watch is going to give you an unmistakable edge that allows you to not only anticipate the next few seconds, but actually plan for the minutes, hours, etc. ahead.