The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

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The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

My son is 8 and he is sometimes very angry especially in his 10 years old sister.
This morning was no different.
The daughter wanted to sing in the morning, but for my son, it was too annoying.
He just hit her and left the room. He was sitting alone, upset in his bedroom.

We spoke shortly. He doesn’t want to apologize. He asked me:
-Why my wish will never come true?
-What kind of wish? – I asked
-The Wish about not being angry. Why It cannot materialize fast? Mum I don’t want to be so upset and angry.
-Some wishes take more time – I answered to him. But it was no better.

After the next 5 minutes, he was sitting down, alone. (It was a time before going to the school, so each minute was valuable)

He was so upset, he doesn’t eat breakfast, don’t sit with us by the table. Usually – he sits near to his sister. Today the chair was pushed away. He was on his way upstairs. I followed him and asked
-In which room you want to overcome the anger? – He chooses my cabinet.
-Now we will be jumping – I said- Just tell me to which music – and I start to play it on my phone.
I started with one music – it was not matching the jumping exercise. Then I opened “It’s my life” by Bon Jovie, setup the sound volume on maximum and we started to jump. 🙂
We jumped like 75% of the song long – we both were tired and the anger was gone. 🙂

The chair was back by the table and his sister, the breakfast was eaten and the children got out to school on time.
Thank you, Bon Jovi, for fast stress removal song 🙂
Written from the mum perspective 🙂

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

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The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

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A no-failure path to self-awareness and self-acceptance

Posted June 6, 2015

If you experience yourself as a self-doubter you’ll feel unsure of yourself and you’ll spend too much of your time trying to make up your mind about both big and small matters. You’ll tend to second-guess yourself, hesitate, wor­ry, and feel miserable. Your judgments, decisions, and coping abilities will reflect that negative mindset. You will probably put yourself down for missing out on so many of the good things in life. You deserve better.

You can do better. Even small positive changes can boost your sense of competency and feel encouraging. It is possible that when you experience natural, emotionally pleasing feelings, it’s easier to make those small changes. Let’s see how this might be done.

We’ll start with two techniques for getting out of the self-doubt\self-downing trap that can present you with a paradox. Next, you’ll find an important link to a free, five-minute, visual program designed to bring about a pleasant feeling. While you watch the visuals, you’ll hear me talk to you about overcoming self-doubts.

Two Paths to Emotional Freedom

First, don’t blame yourself for your self-doubts. It’s not your fault. Millions of others do the same. This tells you that a tendency to self-doubt is part of the human condition of a very large group of people.

While it is not your fault that you have a tendency to doubt yourself, if you want to stop feeling so unhappy, it is your responsibility to do better to overcome your doubts.

The second step involves making a radical shift in the way you think about making decisions and taking risks. The way you do this is to test new ways of being yourself.

You can’t change your height, your age, or what you thought about yourself when you were six-years old. You can make the decision to change beliefs that hold you back, such as I must only make perfect decisions. (Good luck on that!) You can decide to change behaviors that glue you to your doubts.

Look at decisions as experiments. When you experiment with making reasonable decisions, you’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, and what you need to do to make adjustments. This is a no-failure approach to self-development. You are not judging yourself. You are judging the results of your experiments.

What are these experiments like? They are what most non-self-doubters would do without hesitating. They are stepping stone experiments to discover more about what you can do. They are confidence boosters. Here are a few examples:

1. If you avoid displaying artwork that you’ve created, what do you predict would happen if you displayed it so others can see it? Experiment and see what happens.

2. If you wear drab cloths, what do you predict would happen if you wear something more colorful? Experiment and see what happens.

3. If you want to learn more about the history of the world—or explore another academic interest–what do you predict would happen if you took a college course in a subject that interests you? Experiment and see what happens.

4. When you have the opportunity to stand up for your rights, calmly do so. For example, if your meal is not what you ordered at a restaurant, rather than accept it with a nervous smile, what would happen if you asked for what you ordered? Experiment and see what happens.

Examine the results. What did you learn, or have reinforced?

By doing one no-failure experiment a day, you may discover that you can cope and that you can build self-confidence. By daily doing self-help experiments, you may find yourself procrastinating less in areas of your life that really matter. Can you see how this might be?

The Self-Doubt Paradox

Swamped in self-doubts, you’ll think more and more about what you believe you can’t do and why you can’t cope with this or with that. You’ll learn more and more about what you don’t like about yourself until you learn a lot about very little. Yet, you’ll think that you know yourself.

Your daily no-failure experiments present you with a paradox. You’ll learn more and more about what you can do, what doesn’t work for you, where you can truly trust your judgments, and where you can’t. Instead of mulling over what you can’t do, you’ll learn more about what you can do. By daily doing no failure experiments, you’ll learn a lot more about your true self.

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

If you want to get onto a path where you feel competent and capable, here is an experiment for you to try. Click on:

for a free, five-minute, audio-visual program that photographer, Dale Jarvis, and I, created for you. See if you feel emotionally uplifted by the visuals. If so, do you think better of yourself? Do you feel more inclined to act with confidence? Do you act on that feeling? (High quality speakers and a high definition screen are best.)

Click on The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety (Second Edition) for techniques to quell the pangs of self-doubts that evoke anxieties.

To dig deeper into how to overcome self-doubts, click on the blog Freedom From Self-Doubts, Anxiety, And Procrastination

When people are faced with difficult or stressful situations, they’re often left wondering how to deal with them. Sometimes the negative emotions from these situations can feel overwhelming and solutions seem elusive. It is these life challenges that present people with the greatest opportunity for personal growth.

While these challenges might not have easy solutions, you can still learn and grow from the experience. It can teach you to look honestly at your situations, experience the emotions the situation brings up, and search within yourself for the answers. This process can bring surprisingly positive outcomes.

Each situation is different and may call for a different response, but some of the basics of how to deal with stressors or challenges can apply to many situations. Here are some ideas on how to deal when you are facing a challenge in life.

Stay Calm

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Brand New Images / Getty Images

A vital first step in dealing with a stressful situation involves calming your body’s stress response. Use stress relief techniques to help reverse the fight-or-flight mechanism that your body uses when stressed.

If you are truly in physical danger, this stress response can help you stay safe. If the threat you face is more psychological, or can’t be fought off physically, a perpetually-triggered stress response can leave you feeling drained and more emotionally reactive, not to mention more susceptible to illness.

Feel Your Feelings

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R. Brandon Harris / Getty Images

Negative emotions such as anxiety, loneliness, and anger are unpleasant. However, such emotions can be useful in that they give us information about the situations we’re in and inspire us to take action in our lives.

Sometimes these feelings can be so strong that they feel overwhelming, or so unpleasant that, unsure of how to deal with them, we turn to unhealthy coping behaviors to avoid feeling them. But if you’re able to sit with them, really feel them, and even notice where in your body they show up (tightness in your chest, soreness in your throat, headache), they can actually be easier to let go.

It’s also important to identify what you’re feeling, and become aware of why you’re feeling this way. What are the precipitating factors? This can help you know what area of your life needs action, so you can have a clearer picture of what needs to change.

As you feel the tension in your body, learning to relax with progressive muscle relaxation can help you minimize and manage your stress.

Process Your Feelings

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Cultura / Liam Norris / Getty Images

For many people, it’s very helpful to get feelings down on paper. For those wondering how to deal with stressful emotions, processing your emotions in a journal by writing about what you’re feeling and why, and then brainstorming solutions can have many positive health benefits.

This is probably because the process of journaling in this way helps in letting go of negative emotions, can feel empowering, and can help us figure out how to deal with stress more efficiently. It’s not about wallowing in negative feelings. Instead, it’s about being able to identify what your feelings are and where they are coming from. Then you can address the problem with some viable solutions.

In working through how to deal with challenges, once you’ve calmed your body and attended to your emotions, processing it all on paper can really help. However, as you’re processing your feelings, you may be more pessimistic about things. Your view of your life may be more negative than normal.

It’s important to be aware of pessimistic thoughts and cognitive distortions and work on seeing things in a more optimistic light before coming up with solutions.

Make Positive Changes

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Yagi Studio / Getty Images

Now that you’re calm, you know what you’re feeling and why. The next step is to plan on what changes you will make and follow through as the opportunities present themselves.

Ultimately, the strong emotions that come with stressful situations can inspire you to take action and learn how to deal with the challenges you face. After you’ve analyzed the situation and your feelings about it, take wise steps toward positive change.

Even small changes can lead to significant results. For example, if you’re stressed about needing a new job, spending 30 minutes networking or searching can help you feel more empowered than spending 30 minutes paralyzed by stress, fear, or depressive thoughts.

Moving in the right direction, even if slowly, can help alleviate some of what you’re feeling in a stressful situation.

After you’ve taken the steps you can take, or if there’s nothing you can do immediately, get engaged in an activity that will take your mind off of what’s got you down. You’ve dealt with the problem as much as you can for now, and it’s time to move forward.

Don’t get caught in the trap of rumination. Take a walk with a friend, watch a funny movie, do something nice for someone else, or find some other way to stay busy. The key is to get your mind away from the situation.

Get Support If You Need It

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Image Source / Getty Images

There are many health and stress management benefits to having a supportive circle of friends, so utilizing social support can be effective as part of your strategy in how to deal with life. Having some supportive friendships that include not only good listening but honest communication and good advice is key.

You want to nurture relationships that provide a supportive ear when you need to feel less ‘alone.’ When you’re stumped on what to do, an honest opinion can help you see things in a way you haven’t considered. Having someone to help you have fun and get your mind off of your stressors once you’ve worked on how to address them can also be helpful.

if you’ve tried these suggestions and find yourself still needing support, it might be a good idea to see a professional. Consider talking to your doctor or a mental health professional.

This article was co-authored by Chloe Carmichael, PhD. Chloe Carmichael, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist who runs a private practice in New York City. With over a decade of psychological consulting experience, Chloe specializes in relationship issues, stress management, self esteem, and career coaching. Chloe has also instructed undergraduate courses at Long Island University and has served as adjunct faculty at the City University of New York. Chloe completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York and her clinical training at Lenox Hill Hospital and Kings County Hospital. She is accredited by the American Psychological Association and is the author of “Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety.”

There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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This article has been viewed 874,280 times.

Are you prone to fits of rage? Have you been known to curse, kick at things, and scream obscenities while scaring away all of the people in your orbit? Do you suddenly feel your blood boiling when you’re stuck in traffic, get some relatively minor bad news, or just hear something you don’t want to hear? If so, then you need to find a way to manage your anger before it takes over your life. Dealing with chronic anger can be very difficult, so you need to learn strategies for calming yourself in the moment of anger and over time.

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”
Herman Hesse

I often write about finding lightness in life.

It can come from an unhurried but effective day at work or from uncluttering your home.

Or from learning how to let go and move on in life.

Learning to let go of a relationship, of something else in your past, of something that is just an unimportant distraction or of trying to control what you cannot control can free up huge amounts of the energy and the time you have to use for something better and more fulfilling.

It is not always easy. But it can be life-changing.

In this article you can find five steps that have made it easier for me to let go over the years.

I hope they will help you too.

Step 1: Know the benefits of not letting go.

Why is it sometimes hard to let go of something?

Well, to be honest, there are advantages and benefits to not letting go. At least for instant gratification and in the short run.

  • You get to keep feeling like you are right. And like the other person is wrong. And that can be a pleasant feeling and way to look at the situation at hand.
  • You can assume the victim role. And get attention, support and comfort from other people.
  • You don’t have to go out into the scary unknown. You can cling to what you know instead, to what is familiar and safe even if it’s now just a dream of what you once had.

I have not let go of things in the past because of these reasons. I still sometimes delay letting go of things because of those benefits above.

But I am also conscious of the fact that they are something I get out of not letting go. And I know that in the end they are not worth it.

  • What will the long-term consequences be in my life if I do not let go?
  • How will it affect the next 5 years in my life and the relationships I have both with other people and with myself?

The mix of knowing how those benefits will hurt me in the long run and of knowing that there are even bigger benefits that I can get from letting go become a powerful motivator that pushes me on to let go for my own sake and happiness.

Step 2: Accept what is, then let go.

When you accept what is, that this has happened then it becomes easier to let go.

Because when you’re still struggling in your mind against what has happened then you feed that memory or situation with more energy.

You make what someone said or did even bigger and more powerful in your mind than it might have been in reality.

By accepting that it simply has happened – that you were rejected after a date for example – and letting it in instead of trying to push it away something odd happens after a while.

The issue or your memory of the situation becomes less powerful in your mind. You don’t feel as upset or sad about it as you did before. You become less emotionally attached to it.

And so it becomes easier to let go and for you to move on with your life.

Step 3: Forgive.

If someone wrongs you then it will probably cause you pain for a while.

But after that you have a choice.

You can refuse to let go of what happened. And instead let it interfere with your relationship and replay what happened over and over in your mind.

First accepting what happened can be helpful to make it easier to forgive.

Another thing you can do is not to focus on forgiving because it is “something you’re supposed to do”.

Instead, if you like, find the motivation to forgive for you own sake. Do it for your own well-being, happiness and for the time you have left in your life.

Because, as Catherine Ponder says:

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

And that you forgive does not mean that you have to stay passive towards your future.

You may for example choose to forgive but also to spend less time or no time in the future with someone who has hurt you.

Step 4: Focus on what you CAN influence in your life.

By reliving what happened over and over in your mind you aren’t really changing anything.

Unless you have a time-machine you don’t have any control over the past.

And being distracted or worried by things that you cannot control in your life in any way right now doesn’t help.

So ask yourself:

  • What CAN I focus my time and energy on instead to actually make positive progress or a change in my life?
  • And what is one small step I can take today to get started with that?

My experience has been that by switching my focus from what I cannot influence to what I actually have influence over and by doing that over and over again – by using questions like the ones above – it becomes easier and easier to stop worrying and to let go of what has happened or what I cannot control.

Step 5: Let go again (if necessary).

If you let go of something that happened or some distraction in your life then that might not be the end of it.

Life is not always that neat. The issue or distraction might pop up again.

Then let it go once more.

I have found that each time I let something go it pops up less and less frequently and it has less power over me.

Plus, this extra practice will make it easier to let go in the future. Letting go is something you’ll get better at over time just like for example keeping an optimistic mindset during tough times.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

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Comments on this entry are closed.

Forgiveness is an art, and I guess everyone should learn because it will really make our life “easier and happier.”

Just dropping by to thank you so much for your wonderfully helpful articles, Hendrik!

God bless you & your great work!

Fabulous information! Thank You!!

Positive vibes from the get go, I’ve been following your articles and trying my best to add even one of your instructions (my word) per day to my life and they are working. Thanks a lot and keep doing the thing man, you are changing lives

Get A Daily Practice You Can Continue At Home

The goal of the 3-day Art of Happiness Program is to give you the skills, support and training to continue using these powerful breathing techniques once you get home. Research shows your cortisol levels can reduce by over 50% on the first day you practice, and will continue to improve if you keep practicing. We’ll teach you a simple, effective home breathing practice you can do each day to release stress and start every day afresh: feeling clear, confident and happy.

From reducing stress to getting better rest, these techniques have a demonstrated measurable impact on quality of life.

Over 70 independent studies conducted on four continents and published in peer review journals, have demonstrated a comprehensive range of benefits from practicing Sudarshan Kriya™ and related breathing exercises taught on the Art of Living Happiness Program.

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

What people are saying about The Happiness Program

From “Anxious and Scattered”, to “Grounded and Confident”

“Prior to learning Sudarshan Kriya, I had a hard time relaxing and breathing. I was anxious and scattered. Now that I have this practice, I am more grounded and confident in myself. I can express more love to myself and others. I’m more clear, focused and awake.”
– Samora S., actress

“Significantly Improved My Ability to Stay Calm”

“The main benefit is it’s significantly improved my ability to stay calm when I’m stressed, tired or angry. I used to think these practices were for people who did very little, but it’s the opposite. I have a lot to do and I have to be effective as a leader. Sudarshan Kriya keeps me moving in the right direction.”
– Clarke Weatherspoon, teacher

“Helped Heal Past Wounds”

“Learning to manage my own mind and body through breathing practices has truly been the greatest gift. Practicing Sudarshan Kriya everyday has helped me heal past wounds, become more confident in myself and more aware of everything in my life so that I can be a better me.”
– Brittany Potier, entrepreneur

“Transformed into Newness, Aliveness, and Innocence!”

“I had four children as a single parent. I was depressed. Medicines didn’t help. After the course, I do the practice when I feel anxious, and an unpleasant emotion is washed away and I am transformed into newness, aliveness, and innocence! I am constantly in awe of the whole process and so thankful, full of gratitude that it’s happening. I feel like I will find my purpose in life through this practice.“
– Lillian B., musician, artist, and writer, Smithfield, NC

“Much Healthier Right Away”

“I was very ill. The only thing that helped me other than allopathic medicine was pranayama. It was a complete change (after Happiness and Silence Retreat). I was much healthier right away. My mind became clear and I became more comfortable in my body. Also, people commented on my skin all the time, so I think it helped with anti-aging. That’s a benefit.”
– Patricia, retired ESL teacher, Winston, NC

“Come to Work in a Better Mindset”

“Making food that makes people happy brings me a lot of happiness. And when I come to work (after doing my practices), having already centered myself, it’s way easier to plan out menus, delegate tasks to other people, or work with other people. Now I come to work in a much better mindset, and that in turn translates into the quality of work and the way I deal with people at work. Just the way I process emotions, thoughts, and feelings is different from before.”
– Dan, Boone, NC

“My Whole Personality Has Been Transformed”

“I was diagnosed with Hypertension (High BP) at the age of 19. I started practicing Sudarshan Kriya at the age of 21; now 6 years have passed and I am as normal and fit as I could have imagined. My whole personality has been transformed. I love practicing Sudarshan Kriya and Sahaj Samadhi Meditation … my innate perception of life has since turned very positive. Earlier I was not there for me – now I am there for others.”
– Abhinav Kapri

“It pulled me out of my depression”

“I was undergoing moderate depression. Hated eating. Couldn’t focus on anything in life. Was basically in a very, very bad state of mind (depression does that) and had no idea how to get out of it. Then I took up Sudarshan Kriya. Within 1 month of Sudarshan Kriya, I was coming back up. I was returning to my usual self. My health improved considerably; I used to eat like a bird, now I eat well. I sleep better.

My body’s internal clock has been reset to wake up early. I do not feel drained out by the end of the day; earlier I’d collapse on the bed. My hearing improved. I would shiver in the air-conditioned environment in my office every day; now I don’t. Most of all, it pulled me out of my depression. I was much more stable mentally. I could face my fears and actually decide to do something about it. I was my normal self again. I’m emotionally stronger.”
– Anonymous (Jan 20, 2015)

An engaging life-skill program that helps in building confidence, developing a well-rounded personality, and nurturing human values in your child.

An engaging life-skill program that helps in building confidence, developing a well-rounded personality, and nurturing human values in your child.

What is Online Utkarsha Yoga?

A child with the skill to manage their negative emotions can deal with future life challenges with resilience and ease. Utkarsha Yoga offers simple breathing techniques and tenets of wisdom that help children overcome fear, anxiety, anger, and etc. With a calm and happy mind, children are able to focus better and stay confident. The program also equips children with skills like teamwork and creative problem-solving.

Delivered in a fun and engaging way, the program promises your child will return home with a big smile and a ‘yes’ mind.

How will children benefit?

  • Increases self-confidence
  • Eliminates fear and anxiety
  • Enhances creative skills
  • Improves memory & concentration
  • Develops leadership qualities
  • Better interaction with others
  • Exercises to develop a healthy body
  • Pranyamas & meditation to relax the mind

Program Details

Open to all children between 8+ up to 13 years

Time per day: 2 hours

Program duration: 3 days

Upcoming Online Utkarsha Yoga Programs

Program Date Program Name Course Info Register

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Frequently Asked Questions

For which age-group is the program?

For how long is the program?

4-6 days, 3 hours each day

What will my child learn in the program?

Utkarsh Yoga is based on techniques developed by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, ancient yogic techniques and exercises. Participants are taught:

  • Meditation and breathing techniques
  • Simple tenets for daily life
  • Techniques for overcoming fear and anxiety
  • Yoga

The children are also introduced to spirituality and Indian heritage.

What benefits can I expect from this program?

With regular practice of techniques taught in the program, children have been able to:

  • Overcome stage fear
  • Focus and remember better
  • Be more creative
  • Overcome negative emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, etc.
  • Make new friends easily
  • Deal with everyday problems with ease
  • Experience a sense of well-being
  • Overcome difficulties with peers

You may notice some of the above benefits immediately after the program. The daily practice takes 15-20 minutes.

The art of chill how to overcome anger in your daily life

You’ve talked to a cute barista at your favorite coffee shop for months, but you only see her when she’s working.

You’ve become good buddies with a guy at work, but you’ve never hung out with him outside the office.

You really enjoy chatting with a dude at church, but you’ve never moved beyond making small talk on Sundays.

A lot of men bemoan the less-than-robust nature of their romantic and social lives, but the truth is, they haven’t done much to change them. These men are reactive instead of proactive, hoping that someone else will make the first move instead. Yet other people are in the very same passive mindset. Thus, nobody gets together with anybody!

If you want to make progress in your social life, it’s up to you to break this stalemate by taking the initiative yourself. You do that by inviting people you want to get to know better to do things — to go on a date or hang out.

Of course, the reason the majority of people don’t take the initiative is that doing so is risky — you worry your invitations will come out weird and that your friendly entreaties will be rejected. Fortunately, it’s easy to make invitations in ways that significantly reduce any potential awkwardness, and greatly increase their chances of being accepted.

Just follow these tips Alan Garner lays out in Conversationally Speaking:

Keep a dual perspective. Don’t assume people share all your interests, and simply invite them to do something you think is fun. Instead, find out what activities they like, and invite them to do something you both enjoy. By maintaining this “dual perspective,” you’ll be more likely to get a yes.

Be specific and direct. How many times do you run into an acquaintance and the conversation ends with this exchange: “We should hang out sometime,” followed by their response, “Yeah definitely.” Of course, neither one of you sees the other until you randomly run into each other again, only to repeat your vague intentions of getting together “sometime.”

Instead of making hazy, indefinite invitations, be specific and direct. Ask someone if they want to do X activity, at X place, on X day, at X time. Ask a yes or no question, and get a yes or no answer.

Don’t ask: “Are you doing anything Saturday night?” Garner explains why:

“Many people (and I am one) feel embarrassed at responding, ‘No I’m not doing anything at all.’ And having said that, some feel resentful at being put into the position of having to either agree to the proposal, offer another, or say in effect that they’d rather do nothing than be with you.”

Start small. People are more likely to say yes to an invitation that requires a minimal commitment. So instead of inviting someone to an elaborate, multi-hour affair, propose meeting up at the gym for a workout or for drinks after work.

On the romantic front, instead of asking someone out to dinner, ask if she’ll join you for coffee. A coffee date is accordion-like in its structure: if it goes poorly, you can keep it short and depart after 20 minutes or so. If it goes very well, you can expand it further and ask if she’d like to go do something else. “What’s the rest of your morning look like? Do you want to go check out the farmer’s market?”

Sound casual. The tone of your invitation will influence its recipient’s response. The sound of anxiety and desperation reads as low status; it sends a visceral signal that you’re going to be a negative burden in their life rather than a positive asset.

To which of these invitations would you respond more positively:

  1. [Said with worried expression and serious tone] “I really enjoyed meeting you. It’s been so hard to make friends here. I’m sure you’re busy, but, um . . . I was just wondering if you’d like to, um, go cycling sometime? I really feel like we could be good friends.”
  2. [Said with smile and casual tone] “It was great talking to you tonight. You mentioned wanting to cycle the Evergreen Trail sometime. Do you want to meet up Saturday morning to ride it together?”

Don’t imbue your invitations with heavy, life or death stakes. Keep ’em light, casual, and confident. Your tone should be: “I think you’d have fun doing this. But if you don’t want to go, that’s okay by me. No big deal.”

If you get a no . . . What if you follow the tips above, but the person still says no to your invitation?

If he or she says no, but proposes another time — “I can’t make it this Saturday, but how about the next?” — then they likely reciprocate your interest (platonic or romantic) in getting to know each other better.

If they say they can’t make it, but don’t propose another time, then they’re not likely interested in hanging out.

Still, try extending an invitation again a few weeks later. If you get the same response (a no without an attempt to propose another time), then you can feel more certain that they’re not interested.

There are exceptions of course, and the firmness of this guideline applies more to asking for dates (it’s essentially the Brad Pitt rule) than asking platonic acquaintances to hang out. In the latter case, if you keep running into each other and having good conversations in which the other person expresses what seems like sincere interest in hanging out, you might consider extending a third or even fourth invite. Well spaced out, of course. Some people are just flaky, and really poor initiative takers, or just passing through a busy phase in their lives, and need multiple invitations before they’ll say yes. (Of course, if they start off very flaky, that’s likely how they’ll always be, which, even if you become better friends, may prove hard to accept!) Read their tone, and parse their words, in deciding how persistent to be.

If you determine that that particular person doesn’t wish to hang out, no worries. Now that you know how to make non-awkward, easily accepted invitations, you can start regularly offering them to the many other fish in the sea!