Harlan Cohen, a nationally-syndicated advice columnist for over 17 years, knows what he’s talking about. The author of The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College has already helped thousands of people survive dorm life. Now, with his recently-released Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed & Totally Sober), he’s taking his advice a step further. With his simple approach, Cohen offers a candid guide to falling in love and finding happiness.
“I think that what you’ll see over the coming months and years is that the more people who read this book and live these ideas, the more this movement will grow,” the author explains. “The idea is pretty simple. It’s don’t bullshit yourself and don’t let people bullshit you.”
Cohen discussed with us his motivation for writing Getting Naked and his philosophy behind the book as well as how this approach helped him meet the love of his life.
1. What inspired you to write Getting Naked?
Well, I have the world’s greatest secret, and I wanted to share it. I figured out how to find a date while totally sober. And, as an advice columnist, I am fortunate enough to be in the position to share this secret. I’ve helped myself, and now, I want to share it with the rest of the world. I know that they can find what they want – I guarantee it’s out there.
2. Can you walk our readers through your five-step approach to tackling the dating scene?
Before you start, it’s so important to take a step back and just look at your informal relationship education. In school, we learn so much about feeding our professional passions, but we learn virtually nothing formally when it comes to our romantic relationships.
So that brings me to the five steps.
1. Embrace the universal rejection truth of relationships. Thousands of people will want you, and millions will not. We tend to focus on all the people who don’t want us, and as a result, we miss out on all of the people who do. Give the world permission to either want you or not want you.
2. Train in your thong underwear. Taking risks is uncomfortable. If we aren’t comfortable in our physical thong, we’re always going to think we aren’t attractive enough. If we aren’t comfortable in our emotional thong, we’re always going to think we aren’t good enough. And if we aren’t comfortable in our spiritual thong – meaning we have a full life outside of our relationships – we’re going to become too dependent on someone else to give us something we should already have.
3. No excuses. After you embrace the universal rejection truth and train in your thong, you see excuses as things we create to cover up our insecurities. Excuses are a waste of time and a symptom of something that scares us.
4. Take the risk. Just say it or do it. In the book, I share stories about people who followed their heart and made the move.
5. Celebrate, reflect and repeat. The beautiful thing about this Getting Naked approach and philosophy is that even if you take a risk and don’t get what you want, you still have a success. Celebrate that you’ve done something and have answers – know you now. Reflect if it goes as planned, and reflect if it doesn’t. And the last part of step five is repeat steps one through four until you get the results you desire.
3. People who follow these principles often end up lucky in love. Why do these five steps work so well?
This way of approaching relationships is so powerful. There are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First, what have you done to find love today? If the answer is nothing, that’s the reason you aren’t finding it. And second, when you do find someone, if you know that you have thousands of people who love and respect you, would you ever put up with someone who treated you like crap? No. So then you have to ask: why do we? Because we learn that dating is more about accidents than it is about options. Getting Naked undoes this damage and helps people to see the world in a brand new light.
4. Why do you think it’s so difficult for women to grow “big ovaries” and approach men?
Women tend to hide behind an old-fashioned idea that “I’m a woman, and I should be approached.” Even though, in all other aspects of women’s lives, they expect to be treated equally. I think it’s because women don’t want to be rejected, but here’s the thing: men don’t want to be rejected either. If a woman is clear about what she wants, she is going to have a lot of interesting and confident men who are comfortable approaching her.
5. And finally, have you applied your advice to your own love life? Any stories you can share with our readers?
Yes, I met my wife by applying these principles. I met her at Mail Boxes Etc. on a random day in Chicago. And the irony is that she had rejected me via an online dating service several months before. I’m certainly someone who has benefited from this approach. And everyone who has read the book and applied these principles? Their lives have been impacted in a profound and positive way as well.
In the fall, Cohen will be going on a Getting Naked speaking tour, visiting over 30 colleges across the country. There is also an online Getting Naked experiment for readers to visit. Additionally, you can keep up with Cohen through his Twitter handle and Facebook page.
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