Straight Guys Can’t Even Think About Talking to Women Without Losing Their Cool

Turns out that inability to make conversation starts around the time you start thinking about talking to a woman, according to a new report from Behavioural Science Institute at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. A pair of studies conducted by the teams suggest that men’s “cognitive performance declined if they were led to believe that they interacted with a woman via a computer (Study 1) or even if they merely anticipated an interaction with a woman (Study 2).” An actual interaction with a woman does not have to occur; the anticipation or expectation of speaking to a member of the opposite sex is enough to make the brains of heterosexual males go haywire. The same is not true for straight women who think about talking to men. (Sorry, guys.)

Unfortunately, the report doesn’t offer any advice on how to overcome sudden, acute cognitive disability. It seems women just make men kinda stupid. Feel free to share your tips and tricks in the comments, guys. [NCBI]

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12 Responses to Straight Guys Can’t Even Think About Talking to Women Without Losing Their Cool

  1. This happens to guys because of stupid gender roles that make them think it's their job to work verbal magic. If it's not hard for straight girls to talk to guys, why don't girls get the conversation started, with a smile and a compliment?

    This feels like common sense to me.

    • I wish they would! This would have led to infinitely more conversations and friendships (or more) and less nights where I was kicking myself with regrets. :P

  2. 1. This is a geek blog. This is the 21st century. Do we not understand by now that there are lesbian/gay/bisexual people and folks of other presentations besides cisgendered male and female or do we need remedial classes?

    2. You mean "can't think about talking to the prettiest woman in the room." Apparently straight males have no trouble whatsoever with the rest of us. Sucks when you think you've finally hit it off with someone only to discover they didn't find you interesting at all and they're tongue-tied about the cute 18-year-old across the room.

    3. Women aren't ever shy? Not to put it too bluntly, but bulls?!t. I can't speak for bi or lesbian women or even all straight women, but anyone who thinks women don't get tongue-tied around guys clearly hasn't spoken to enough of us. Maybe everyone they talked to batted for the other team?

    4. And to answer Amy C.'s point above? We may be in the 21st century but it's just been demonstrated some people haven't figured out there's anyone in the world besides straight cisgendered people. Likewise, while there are some men who wish women would make the first move, they are in the minority and, in a cultural sense, it's very risky to be aggressive in hopes of finding them. Most guys will still interpret that as a negative, coming from a woman, and they'll dock points for it. If you're lucky, they'll only dismiss you as harmlessly crazy and go find Miss Thang across the room to get tongue-tied over. If you're not so lucky, word will get out and your entire potential dating pool will be contaminated.

    I have yet to have a guy want to date me because I said hi to him first or struck up a conversation. A guy who will not even say hi to me will not make any other moves either. Because either he's not interested in the first place, or he was so shy about talking that he is shy about everything else too. In that kind of a situation I have no way of knowing that my attention to him is actually welcome–a guy who's shy in the positive sense would be shy in the negative sense too. Nature of the beast.

    Not bad advice in the opposite direction either, actually: guys, if you approach a woman and she can't talk to you at all, you may be in for some slight complication at best because you won't know if she really wants to be with you, if she's really willing to mess around later, etc. Best to leave it alone, much as I hate saying that, having been the shy girl.

    There's a difference between being reticient and being utterly terrified of human interaction. It's not tough to figure out which you've got in the first five minutes or so.

    5. Also, I'm kind of over always being advised about guys. I want to see more of guys being advised about women–and not just how to make us happy in bed either, or commiseration about how nutty we are. Not just here but generally speaking, all over the media. I'm sure they'd appreciate it too, but hey, I can't speak for them.

    • Maybe it's just the circles I run in, but I don't know of a single person (of any gender) who would mark it as a negative that someone initiated a conversation or showed interest. Are they always going to reciprocate? No. But that's the nature of introductions in general. Not everyone is going to be interesting to everyone else. The key to being comfortable in a conversation is similar to what Will T. said below. Stop trying to talk people into bed and just talk.

  3. Amy C. Is my hero for making that suggestion. :)
    However, I do have one suggestion to help overcome The Stupid. Simply learn not to be invested in any particular result, and the conversation should flow a little easier. If you think about it, being attached to some sexy or lovey-Dover outcome before you even start interacting will only make you worried that you won’t succeed. So let go of those expectations and hopes, and just talk. Easier said than done, but experience has taught me that waiting for women to spark that chat, no matter how much sense it makes, is kind f a pipe dream. That, or maybe I just don’t get out enough, or know the right women.

  4. I’m curious to see this study done with married men talking to straight pretty women (married for at least 5 years). I have a feeling that the outcome would be different. Personally, any nervousness that I ever had about talking to women (pretty or otherwise) went right out of the window after I got married. Once the sexual quotient is gone, so is any of that nervousness.

  5. I'm all for Will's explanation and/or rebuttal. Of all the best relationships that I've ever garnered over the years have all started with a 'Hi' and no expectations at all whatsoever. Women generally seem less interested to spark up a conversation simply because they rather expect guys to do it. Call it a hold over from traditional gender roles. At least I'd like to think so.

  6. its a simple economic equation. when you only have one option, that option becomes much more valuable to you. since humans are motivated by mainly fear, negative thoughts consume your mind before and during the conversation. now, if you have multiple options, losing one of the options means nothing, as you have other options available, allowing you to speak from a position of power, which will manifest through confidence, and fearless conversation. so in this world men are the hunters so before you slay a few hoodrats and get your confidence up, you will always be a bitch when you attempt to talk to women. Its a cycle, highs and lows. respect.