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Through his dating instruction company, Craft of Charisma, he’s been coaching within the “social anxiety community” for several years.
Now he holds seminars every Saturday night that teach his clients topics including how to approach strangers, how to seduce women, and how to get out of their own way.
Today, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that SAD afflicts approximately 15 million American adults. If someone’s shyness “has caused impairment in his life,” then it’s a disorder, says Barrie Rosen, a clinical psychologist in Manhattan.* Picture the person who can’t ask for directions without succumbing to a panic attack, who sweats profusely upon entering a grocery store, never mind a party.
Picture, in extreme cases, years of isolation leading to depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
I imagine that man at a party, talking to a stranger, blowing his nose if the stranger blows his nose, scratching his crotch to build rapport with a crotch-scratcher. A few minutes into the exercise, throughout the room, ones and twos stand smiling at one other, their bodies less tense, their conversations less stilted. Still, a ripple of terror moves through the room when Luna announces the next exercise: tag-team storytelling. “As soon as I say something that makes you think of something else,” he says, “yell, ‘Freeze!
Some shake their heads and back away from the circle. ’ ” The idea is that the person in the middle will rejoin the circle and the person who yelled “Freeze! “Don’t forget to make eye contact with everyone,” Luna adds.
She has long wavy hair and a sweet face (although she tells me later that when she gets nervous, her eyebrows pull together of their own accord and make her look angry).
I go blank.” She sits in a circle of 20 in a dance studio on the west side of Manhattan.
Picture someone so afraid of social interaction he can’t hold a job or make friends. That’s where 32-year-old dating coach Chris Luna comes in.