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airborne

Being a "cool" person

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Occasionally I meet very interesting people. They stand out from a crowd with an "aura" if you like, probably due to very comfortable body language. The way they talk/handle themselves causes you to want to become friends with them. They aren't always intelligent(although most of these people I've met are) but they are always comfortable in social situations - meaning with themselves. There are people who talk, but these are the ones who take action. Upon meeting a beautiful girl they appear not to be intoxicated by her beauty when any other person would be. I could give many more examples, but you get my drift(I hope)...

What is it that they have? How do they get this? or perhaps more appropriately what are they?

It is easy to tell yourself that there is no point in being uncomfortable in front of people or "just be cool" but not so easy in practice and even if you are in practice you may not be as attractive as these people(I don't mean physically by the way - just the atmosphere or maybe Sense of Life these people project).

Some things which struck me while reading Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are similarities with some special people I know and main characters.

E.g. When Roark is bated with an interesting statement he will never follow up with a question(significance of this? almost like he's uninterested), rather he will wait till the other party gives in and tells him. His complete comfort with Dominique while many other men would not be.

and the way Francisco is described at parties.

How do I/We get there?

Edited by airborne

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Usually the coolest and most interesting people will not be found at typical parties. But, to summarize the type of personality I think you are describing: this type of person usually has a body language that implies he is comfortable with himself. He does not hesitate to approach anyone he desires to speak with, but he never appears to be "trying hard" to make friends or to be accepted. Moreover, he always has a very witty and clever sense of humor, and a different way of looking at things. Also, he has a way of identifying with all people and making them feel comfortable around him. He does this because he has a vast array of knowledge, including knowledge of why people act the way they do. Additionally, and this is important, he is usually well-read.

note: I don't mean to exclude any woman by using he instead of typing he/she every time.

As an unrelated question, I noticed that you trade equities...I do as well with a a prop firm in Baltimore. Send me a PM. We've been getting crushed this month, but CFC short has been working for me nearly every day.

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How do I/We get there?

Really, truly like yourself. To the point that if you approach someone and they give you a cold response, you assume that it is they with the problem.

It is also necessary to have pretty neutral expectations. If you were approaching an attractive woman with an interest in getting her phone number, you would likely come across as "after something"...because you are. Instead talk to someone to just find out what you need to know. Which varies according to circumstance. In the case of the attractive woman, you should want to find out what kind of person she is first, or there is little point in pursuing her. Chances are she isn't something you would want for more then twenty minutes if you're a person of character. With a salesman you need to find out what they're hawking, how much it is, and whether or not they are honest.

Talking to people while standing in line is great practice. If nothing else, you can complain about the line. In circumstances like that, I tend to talk to people. I'm bored so look around for something interesting. Sometimes its a magazine or a candy wrapper. Sometimes it's a person. If they have a t shirt with something on it, or something notable in their cart it is often a great opportunity to learn something. Most people are more then willing to talk about something that they like or is relevant to their own lives. Please note if you try this...you shouldn't be bothered by the response you will get from many women in your age group. They usually tend to assume that you are hitting on them and are a bit defensive(they get hit on all the time, so they assume). Women much older or younger then you or men generally will be more then happy to chat.

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Really, truly like yourself. To the point that if you approach someone and they give you a cold response, you assume that it is they with the problem.

It is also necessary to have pretty neutral expectations. If you were approaching an attractive woman with an interest in getting her phone number, you would likely come across as "after something"...because you are. Instead talk to someone to just find out what you need to know. Which varies according to circumstance. In the case of the attractive woman, you should want to find out what kind of person she is first, or there is little point in pursuing her. Chances are she isn't something you would want for more then twenty minutes if you're a person of character. With a salesman you need to find out what they're hawking, how much it is, and whether or not they are honest.

Talking to people while standing in line is great practice. If nothing else, you can complain about the line. In circumstances like that, I tend to talk to people. I'm bored so look around for something interesting. Sometimes its a magazine or a candy wrapper. Sometimes it's a person. If they have a t shirt with something on it, or something notable in their cart it is often a great opportunity to learn something. Most people are more then willing to talk about something that they like or is relevant to their own lives. Please note if you try this...you shouldn't be bothered by the response you will get from many women in your age group. They usually tend to assume that you are hitting on them and are a bit defensive(they get hit on all the time, so they assume). Women much older or younger then you or men generally will be more then happy to chat.

Agreed. In a sense, be less "self conscious " (in the bad way). Don't place emphasis on what others' opinions about you are (not saying that you do). Don't put on a facade, and don't try to get people to like you. What Roark does is not really that extraordinary, if you truly believe in the principles of Objectivism and follow them.

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Please note if you try this...you shouldn't be bothered by the response you will get from many women in your age group. They usually tend to assume that you are hitting on them and are a bit defensive(they get hit on all the time, so they assume). Women much older or younger then you or men generally will be more then happy to chat.

Reminds of the song 'War of the Sexes' by The Streets (note, it looks odd, because it's well... it's not a rap song, but it's more garage which is a kind of rap, really):

The answer is to get close enough to her, but listen, the next thing you just totally blank her;

You think I'm fucking mad don't ya but i don't shed on my own.

Get somewhere close to the lamb, but then glance and turn to the man

You need to be near to the lamb, but she doesn't want to feel cramped.

Instead of cowering up to the hostile lamb bowl up to the trusting man

It's much easier talking to him, he doesn't suspect you want anything.

Just tell him something like:

"Did you know cigarette lighters were invented before matches?"

It's a-b-c making a he-break with glee

'Cos he isn't suspicious you're trying to muscle into his misses

I find the trick to being cool is to just be observant. Pay attention, be calm and don't be afraid to shut up once in a while!

If all else fails, pull a Brad Pitt: the secret to Brad Pitt's acting is that in almost all his scenes, he is either eating something, or holding something or tinkering with something. If you occupy your hands with something, something not too distracting, but enough to require your attention, you'll find talking comes easier. I don't know why it works, but it does.

Edited by Tenure

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In my experience, the common usage of the word "cool" is so abstract as to be almost useless. From one person to the next, you can get different criteria for what makes for "cool".

I like the idea of gaining confidence in yourself and knowing who you are. Past that, I'd suggest not trying to be "cool".

Personally, I rarely use the word "cool" when referring to people, but I often use it referring to things. For me it means, really neat or nifty.

"That iPod Touch is cool." :)

Edited by RationalBiker

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If you want to be like Roark or Francisco, one of the biggest tricks (if you can call it that) is being absolutely forthright yourself. The second aspect of this is to demand forthrightness from other people. What's the main difference between them and the other characters? They never speak in approximations, euphemisms, or expect their listeners to "know what I mean? Wink wink, nudge nudge." They also don't let other people get away with this.

Good people that just have a hard time articulating themselves will appreciate that you're willing to be patient and listen, and evil people that are trying to control you or slip something past you will be thoroughly deterred. Your solidity will be detected (by decent folks) as "coolness" and by bad folks as arrogance or inflexibility.

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In my experience, the common usage of the word "cool" is so abstract as to be almost useless.

Agreed, and the aura we give those people we consider cool is far too over-emphasized.

Be a "you" you're proud of, do things you like, practice social skills. Confidence comes from accumulating successes, which in turn comes from jumping in and doing, failing, learning.

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In my experience, the common usage of the word "cool" is so abstract as to be almost useless. From one person to the next, you can get different criteria for what makes for "cool".

....

When applied to people, I associate the adjective "cool" with being second-handed.

In my experience, people who are always worried about how "cool" they are, are very concerned with what other people will think of them - to the point that they'll dress and act in a particular way because they think it will be approved of by others. This is like Peter Keating always trying to be what other people wanted him to be.

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I think Ben Folds distinguished first-handed coolness and second-handed coolness (and, in the process, completely crushed second-handed coolness) in his song "there's always someone cooler than you" (he doesn't capitalize his song title and it annoys me). A few samples:

I know that's hard to believe

But there are people you meet

They're into something that is too big to be

Expressed

Through their clothes

And they'll put up with all the poses you'll throw

Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall

But there's always someone cooler than you

Yeah, you're the shit but you won't be here for long

Oh, there's always someone cooler than you

I love me my Ben Folds.

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What criteria are we using to define "coolness"? What is the inherent value in being "Cool" if we are seeking to define it? To me, the term suggests a relaxed, decisive and pleasantly detached personality. However, I see little value in pursuing something that does not come naturally. If we need to be told how to do something, rather than define criteria of what it is, authenticity is lost.

Edited by [email protected]

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However, I see little value in pursuing something that does not come naturally.

A well-toned body does not come naturally. Knowledge of astrophysics does not come naturally. Being a professional-caliber athlete does not come naturally. Bridge-building does not come naturally. Happiness to a depressed person does not come naturally. Non-fear of spiders does not come naturally to an arachnophobic.

Saying "only do what comes naturally" is whim-worship.

The desire to be comfortable around others is perfectly rational. To do so requires one first be comfortable with oneself, and this could potentially take work (ie, "not natural")

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What criteria are we using to define "coolness"? What is the inherent value in being "Cool" if we are seeking to define it? To me, the term suggests a relaxed, decisive and pleasantly detached personality. However, I see little value in pursuing something that does not come naturally. If we need to be told how to do something, rather than define criteria of what it is, authenticity is lost.

Yes, I'm completely with blue-cloud-sky about this. The question "how to be a cool person" should be replaced with "how to be a selfish person/ how to be concerned primarily with my own happiness as opposed to how I appear/am".

Here is an explanation: to become a "cool" person there are 2 ways:

  1. to learn the appearance, manner of speaking and walking of such a person, and then to imitate. (where is the real personality by the way? hmm, who cares? you are cool so what does it matter)
  2. To make an effort to learn your own nature and what is best for you in terms of self expression, type of friends, etc', and then to live in a way that maximizes your happiness. However, the question in that case would be (and should be) "how to become happy" or "how to act in a sincere way" or "how to express myself more freely". Which is not the same question as "how to be cool".

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  1. to learn the appearance, manner of speaking and walking of such a person, and then to imitate. (where is the real personality by the way? hmm, who cares? you are cool so what does it matter)
  2. To make an effort to learn your own nature and what is best for you in terms of self expression, type of friends, etc', and then to live in a way that maximizes your happiness. However, the question in that case would be (and should be) "how to become happy" or "how to act in a sincere way" or "how to express myself more freely". Which is not the same question as "how to be cool".

Indeed, I would like add that the first option is for a second-hander.

Second option is for a first-hander.

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  1. to learn the appearance, manner of speaking and walking of such a person, and then to imitate. (where is the real personality by the way? hmm, who cares? you are cool so what does it matter)
  2. To make an effort to learn your own nature and what is best for you in terms of self expression, type of friends, etc', and then to live in a way that maximizes your happiness. However, the question in that case would be (and should be) "how to become happy" or "how to act in a sincere way" or "how to express myself more freely". Which is not the same question as "how to be cool".

Perhaps I'm reading too far into it, but I automatically exclude the first option. In popular language, a person with those attributes (option one) is known as a "Poser" and is therefore "not cool". It's a little different in high school, where worrying about being cool usually does make you popular. But in the real world, someone actually needs to accomplish something and be confident to be "cool."

There's a difference between "Acting Cool" and "Being Cool." Someone who is something doesn't need to act like they are that something, because they already are that something. Just as someone who is smart doesn't need to act smart - the intelligence comes out in their actions.

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Just to add, I think everybody is special and unique

But special and unique are not positive traits in and of themselves. Charles Manson was a special and unique individual.

Edited by RationalBiker

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