So Monday was my annual “handling rejection” practice – by which I mean, auditioning for The Voice UK. This isn’t the televised “Blind Auditions” but the process by which they decide who’s going to get onto those. The nearest venue for me is in London, and it makes a fun adventure to the Big City.
Performing for an audition is unlike any other performance, because normally an audience is on your side: they are in the mood to be engaged and entertained. Not every audience, of course. But most of them. When you audition, however friendly and welcoming the judges are, they are there to judge you, and you are fighting for their approval. An audience has already paid to see you (or else, there’s no reward in it at all) so there’s nothing really riding on the outcome. But an audition is precisely to gain some reward by being “good enough”.
These thoughts made me think about what dating advisors teach to aspiring young men: a woman wants you to be good; you should be “outcome independent” and this will help you relax and perform better. As seems to be the case a lot recently, these thoughts started off seeming profound and insightful, but when i tried to organise them that way I realised – not so much.
I think the advice is hard to achieve, because unlike the audience who paid (or chose freely) to see you perform, a woman in a cold approach (or even some warm approaches) is not already warmed up and in the mood to be entertained and wooed. Of course, with better social calibration, it is easier to identify those who are most amenable to that mood. My tendency towards caution and “punishment cues” means I tend to assume people are not open to the positive frame and is more likely to be a hostile audience (which is worse even than an audition panel).
You can shift the probabilities in your favour if you go to events set up for finding dating partners: speed dating and the like. Here you know they want to find a partner just like you do, so it’s more about how you come across.
I always struggle with the whole “outcome independent” thing. Being an introvert, every interaction with another person is a cost, against which the anticipated benefits of it have to be weighed (another iteration of the “spoons” theory, I suppose). Yes, sometimes it will be rewarding, but a lot of times it is just something that has to be endured. I could, I suppose, become good at it but the underlying costs would be the same: imagine a sportsperson who feels good about their sport only because they are successful, but takes no actual joy in the activity. If I didn’t love singing, playing and writing, then that’s what auditions (or the process of writing & sharing my stories) would be like.
So approaches are always going to feel like auditions rather than gigs. Rejection is inevitable from time to time. Thus, I use the audition as practice. (Also, nearly always end up talking with people in the queue, which is good practice for socialising).