The Value of Your Social Circle (Or: Embrace The Friend Zone)

One of the things that sends people looking for dating advice online is trying to make the already stressful process of dating easier. Everybody’s always looking for the silver bullet, the magical process that will transform you from nerd to natural instantly and bring sex swimming to your door without effort… and unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.

However:

If you held a gun to my head and demanded to know one single thing that would make dating easier, it’d be easy:

Embrace the Friend Zone.

I’m completely serious. You want to make dating easier? Increase the size of your social circle.

Seriously buddy, there are easier ways of getting your questions answered! Maybe try the contact form next time?

All too often when I hear people complain about the Friend Zone, they say “I don’t want friends, I want a girlfriend!” This is an incredibly short-sighted view of relationships; true players don’t fear the Friend Zone, they welcome it. They know that when it comes to dating having a good friend – expanding your social circle – is one of the best things you can do. Most people looking for dating advice online are often looking for information on making a cold approach and completely neglecting the possibilities offered by widening your social circle beyond the people you know already.

The Power of the Networking

People who want to get good at dating are best served by learning how to be social. Your social circle – your circle of friends and acquaintances - is possibly the best resource you have for meeting new and awesome people. Too often, I see people who don’t look beyond their immediate friends, never realizing that your friends represent networking potential as well as companionship and camaraderie. Your friends don’t just represent fellowship or your family-by-choice, they also represent access to other people whom you may very well want to meet.

Networking is an often neglected skill when it comes to dating. Most of us understand the value of networking and making a wide – if possibly shallow- circle of social connections in hopes of discovering or expanding job or business opportunities, but very rarely do we treat our social lives the same way. People who are outside of our immediate social circle are often treated almost as an impediment - someone who’s presence is a distraction or an annoyance rather than a potentially valuable new contact. After all, social circles expand exponentially; your immediate circle may be only five or six people, but they also have circles of five or six… or more. The more people you have in your social circle, the more people you potentially have access to.

This isn’t to say that you should only be getting to know people solely so that you can expand your circle and thus have more women to approach; people aren’t stupid and they’ll recognize a user right away and nobody is going to be interested in introducing the new guy to their friends if it’s clear that he’s only looking to get laid.

“Sorry, we’re not taking any more applications. Totally maxed out on friend requests. You know how it is.”

You want to be social because getting to know more people is fun and offers you the opportunity to meet awesome people who you  might not otherwise have gotten to know. Thanks to broadening my social circle, I’ve been hired for jobs I never would have even known about, discovered new and amazing people, landed a place on my favorite podcast… and it made it much easier for me to meet and date some incredible women I might never have met otherwise… or who might never have given me the time of day.

Warm Approach Vs. Cold Approach

Y’see, there are two methods of approaching women: you can approach complete strangers – also known as “cold approach”… or you can meet people through mutual friends and shared communities – essentially, people with whom you already have a social connection.

Let’s take a quick exploration of the terms.

Warm Approach:

Warm approach refers to approaching someone you have an acquaintance with or some other form of social contact. You may have a mutual friend in common or work for the same company. You may both be members of the same community or organization, you may both be students at the same university… you have some degree of connection with one another that establishes while you may not know each other well, you’re not exactly strangers. As such, there’s a certain level of comfort pre-established; you have been vetted to a limited extent, which means that you won’t have to work as hard to build up trust. You have an instant commonality with which to build rapport: you’re both friends with $NAME or you both play Dungeons and Dragons or Cards Against Humanity or you are both students at WhatsaMatta U, as well as an automatic “in” for starting a conversation. Warm approaches are usually less stressful for the approacher, since both parties are at least somewhat familiar with one another to start with.

Cold Approach:

Approaching a stranger, usually with the intent of starting a romantic or sexual relationship, is called “cold approach”. This can be intimidatingly difficult – approaching someone cold means that you have to know how to generate trust and build rapport very quickly while generating physical attraction and finding commonalities. This can be difficult, especially if you’re not naturally gifted with charisma or are on the socially inexperienced side of the spectrum. You need to learn to be able to process information rapidly and respond quickly and appropriately. It’s a skill that requires practice and study, and it can take a while to get good… and it’s also a skill that is highly prized. Most people who get into pick-up culture are looking to improve their skill at cold approach; they want to learn how to strike up a conversation with anyone at any time, whether it’s the cute waitress at lunch, the attractive co-ed walking her dog in the afternoon or the sultry woman at the bar in the little black dress.

The Benefits of A Warm Approach

Warm approaches are often easier and less stressful than cold approaches – after all, it’s easier to start a conversation with someone you already know tangentially rather than working up your courage to try to strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never talked to in your life.

You’re also more likely to get better results – by virtue of having friends in common, you have been pre-vetted; presumably your mutual friend wouldn’t like either of you if you weren’t cool in some way.

“Well, I see that your references check out… now before we get on to the skills portion, how long would you say that you’ve been trying to bone Lisa?”

Even better though: the odds are good that your potential date already knows a little about you. She may have seen you at a the same parties as your friend or taking part in the same community. She may have seen that the two of you share similar interests. Having seen you before – or having heard about you from her friend – means she will be more aware of your good qualities, which will carry more weight than if you try to show off or even brag a little.

All of these little things add up quickly and accelerate the rapport-building… after all, you already have so much in common. Feeling as though she knows a little about you will help make her feel more comfortable with you and more interested in getting to know you better.

Warm approaches also lessen the chance that you’re going to get rejected immediately. The fact that you’re an at least semi-familiar face is going to make her be more willing to give you a chance to make a positive impression – after all, if you’re friends with her friend, she should be at least a little curious about you. In addition, you’re less likely to be interrupted – either by her friends swooping in to pull her away, or by other guys who might be trying to make a cold approach; as a friend of a friend, she’s much more likely to prefer to continue talking to you rather than the guy moving in to hit on her in the middle of a conversation.

Warm approaches will also make it easier to get a number, one where she is much more likely to respond, rather than to use her voice mail and caller ID to filter you out.

Best of all however, is how versitile meeting someone via a warm approach can be; even if neither of you is particularly interested in dating the other, you’ve just expanded your social circle exponentially… which you can now use to your benefit.

So Why Cold Approach At All?

After reading that long list of benefits, some people will now be asking: “so why the hell would I want to cold approach anyone at all if warm approaches are so much easier?”

To start with: not every person you’re attracted to or want to get to know is going to be within your six-degrees-of-separation circle1. There will inevitably be some hottie you meet purely by chance; if you aren’t able to approach them cold, you risk missing out on getting to know them.

For another: being able to approach strangers and befriend them is a valuable skill to have under any circumstances. You’re not always going to have that social circle to rely on – you may move, friends may drift away… shit happens. Being able to cold-approach strangers is a good way of rebuilding that social circle from scratch.

And, most importantly: mastering a difficult skill makes the related skills even easier. If you’re able to convince a total stranger that he or she should be attracted to you but should go on a date or go home with you, imagine how much easier it will be with someone you already have a social connection to.

Successful Approaching Via Mutual Awesomeness

One of the keys to increasing your social circle – and thus having greater opportunities to make a warm approach – is to be someone who is interesting and fun. You want your friends – and by extension, their friends – to want to introduce you to other people; they’re not going going to want to introduce someone who is only going to suck the life out of the room with their shitty attitude, closed off body language and outlook on life that makes Eeyore  the life of the party by comparison.

“Thanks for noticing me.”

If you want to be the person who gets referred to others and has people singing their praises, you need to apply your charisma and social skills to everyone you meet, not just women you’re looking to nail. You need to be the awesome, fun guy that people like to hang around with. We instinctively like people who help us have fun and make us feel good… and we’re more likely to introduce those people to our other friends. If you’re able to engage with everybody, you are much more likely to find yourself introduced to even more people.

Make The Most Of Your Opportunities

The people who are most successful at dating – who expand their social networks and use those networks in order to be able to make a warm approach – are the people who take every opportunity they can get to network and be social. College, for example, is one of the best places to learn how to broaden one’s social circle – everybody is expected to mingle and get to know each other and on campus, you’re rarely less than two or three degrees away from everybody else. Work, meet-ups, amateur sports leagues… these are all places where you have a chance to expand your social circle and potentially meet new awesome single people.

Remember what I said about how true players don’t fear the Friend Zone, they embrace it? This is why. Yes, it sucks that the girl you like isn’t attracted to you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should cut ties with her. After all… she may not want to date you, but she probably has quite a few friends who would. 

And if you can show her that you’re an awesome, stand-up guy, someone who can take a rejection and not be bitter or resentful about it…

Well… odds are good she’ll be more than happy to introduce you to them.

And probably put in a good word for you as well.

“So Cathy tells me you have this trick with your tongue. Mind showing me?”

 

 

 

  1. With the possible exception of people living in Austin; everybody here inevitably knows everybody else within two to three degrees. It’s freaky. []

Comments

  1. Re using your social network to meet other people, it doesn't always work. None of my friends have ever made an attempt to introduce me to a woman they think I'd like. Well one did but thanks to to poor communication, the woman who was supposed to be my date on a double date ended up bringing her own date. To say the evening was awkward is an understatement. Its not unusual for me to the sole single person at a meeting of friends. I don't think my friends mean ill, it just never seems to cross their mind to introduce me to women even though they know I don't like being single and want a girlfriend.

    • Dr_NerdLove says:

      Have you considered *asking* them to introduce you to their single friends? You can't just expect people to read your mind or pick up hints. Sometimes you have to be direct about what you want.

      • Yes, they offered to and then forgot or said that they don't know anybody who would be appropriate.

        • Well, there are two possibilities here: one is that they don't have any friends who are single right now/forgot, and the other is that there's something about you that's preventing them from recommending you as a date, and they're being polite. Take one of your female friends out for coffee, and ask her to level with you: "I feel like I'm doing something that's turning off dates/potential dates. Can you help me figure out what it is?"

          Be ready for the answer: it may not be something you want to hear, but it's better to know.

          • I'll second this. I've had plenty of friends in the past who were single and looking, and there were only two I didn't help. One was single during a time when I had recently moved away from most of my friends and had no single friends nearby to suggest. The other… had issues which I won't go into detail on, but suffice to say I felt I would have been doing my single girl friends a disservice to introduce them to him at that time.

            That said, the Dr's advice could still apply. Make it clear you're looking to expand your social circle, not just look for dates, and if the issue is just a lack of single friends, things will improve. Maybe your friend Sally doesn't know any single ladies. But her married friend Annie might know some people you'd get along with.

          • Juuuuuulia says:

            Same! I have a friend who is single and kinda-looking and she's very cute and bubbly and oh god I would never introduce her to anyone. ><

    • You could always be direct about wanting their help instead of hoping they're all mind readers…

    • Are your friends comfortable vouching for you as a romantic partner? When they make an introduction for you, their reputation and relationship is, to some extent, on the line. You may be unintentionally doing things that make your friends hesitant to put themselves at risk for the sake of your love life.

      I agree with the Doctor that you should ask your friends to introduce you to their single friends. However, I'd suggest you start with one trusted friend. If you get anything less than an enthusiastic response, you might want to make sure that this person feels comfortable recommending you as a boyfriend to the women they know.

      If they don't, try to get them to tell you what you can work on to get them on board with Project Your Love Life. Not only will that make them more likely to help you find a girl you like, it will almost certainly also help you impress said girl and create a lasting relationship with her.

      Good luck to you!

      • This.

        I've been in a similar situation with a guy friend who wanted to be introduced to one of my close girl friends. Even though I was cool with him as a friend, I knew his personality would not jive well with most of my female friends. He was one of those people that was blunt to the point of tactlessness, and when called out on it, would hide behind "I'm just being honest" nonsense. Most *people* , not just women, would not appreciate that, and turned out I didn't either, since we are no longer friends. But he would pressure me all the time to introduce him to my friend, and even after I did in a very casual setting, and she expressed her disinterest, he kept pushing for it, putting me in a very awkward situation of having to be "honest" with him and finally saying: "She doesn't like you because you were a dick to me in front of her, and as one of my best friends, she does not like people who are dicks to me. Also, she thinks you are fat, and is not interested in you, so let it go."

      • Generally people seem comfortable vouching for me, they have offered in the past but just haven't actually done it. The only friend who did not feel comfortable vouching more me specifically said its because most of the women he knew are heavily tattooed wild women looking for heavily tattooed wild men, something that I'm not looking for and something that I'm not. Otherwise, I do not see why people would have a problem introducing me to single women.

        A lot of time I feel that I'm without allies in my love life besides people offering general support but that I'm going into a field against men who have a lot of specific support, friends willing to introduce them to other women or told whoever they are interested that they have a good catch or make comments that you two look cute together as a couple. You know do things to encourage the relationship, especially at its early stages. What I have is something more informal and less helpful.

        • Hmmm… could be your current friend group just aren't very good at following through on promises. What about people you know in other settings – work colleagues, family friends, groups you attend or charity activities you take part in? Could you pursue a closer friendship with some people you meet in those spheres and see if any of them might be able to help?

        • It sounds like your friends might not know a lot of single women? Or are being picky for you. I'm guilty of the second one. I have a guy friend who has been single for something like ten years now (with some dating in there, but nothing that progressed to "girlfriend" level). I've introduced him to one person. One. I have a pretty good idea what he wants in a girlfriend (we're really open about this to each other), and it took that long for me to meet someone and know her well enough to say "you might like her, come out for drinks with us."

          We had a lot of fun. They didn't click romantically, but there's a budding friendship there, and that opens whole other social doors.

          Also, I've always hated the whole good catch/cute couple thing. Talk about pressure!

      • Exactly. I have a lot of friends that I adore, but wouldn't necessarily recommend for a job with my company. And I have a lot of friends that I adore, but wouldn't recommend as dates. While I think that there's a lot of overlap between being a good friend and being a good boyfriend/girlfriend, the overlap isn't 100%. I have one friend who's a sweetheart, but has some psychological issues he's working on. When it's apparent that he's conquered them, I'd happily recommend him to any of my single friends, but right now I don't see that he'd be a good partner and couldn't in good conscience recommend him to any of my single friends. If they met him, liked him, and asked me to find out if he was interested in going out for dinner with them, I'd facilitate it, but I wouldn't initiate it the way I would with someone about whom I had less qualms.

    • Great advice here, but I'd also add that while I've met most of my dates through mutual friends I was never directly told "hey Sarah, you should meet this guy I totally think you'd be great together." It's been much more common for me to hear "Oh yeah, that's Peter; you don't really know him yet do you? He's pretty cool, likes Neil Gaiman." I think my friends don't want to put that kind of pressure on myself or their other friends; it's awkward sometimes to get to know someone when you know your friends are trying to get you two together. It depends on the social circle I'd guess, but my friends were more about "ohhey meet this cool person" which, after I'd met them, sometimes turned into something more; than straight up matchmaking. Maybe your friends would also be more confortable with something low key like that? Just two cents I wanted to throw in; good luck with everything though!

    • Camelopardalis says:

      "Re using your social network to meet other people, it doesn't always work. "

      NOTHING always works. You are engaging in a fallacy known as "favoring the perfect over the good." Building your social circle is just one more tool in the search for love/friendship/pot/whatever.

      You do have to advocate for yourself. You can't just throw out there that you want to be introduced to women and expect your friends to pick up the ball and introduce you to every woman they meet for the rest of your singlehood. Remind them (nicely), ask about specific women they seem to know (without treating their circle of friends as your personal dating pool) and always let it go if your friends or the girl demure.

    • Paul Rivers says:

      Yeah, my more recent friend groups have been pretty good for dating stuff (in that they brought in new people, they were positive towards dating as a whole, etc etc), but my older friend groups were absolutely terrible. Sometimes they just weren't capable of bringing in new people, a lot of other times they almost had a chip on their shoulder against helping anyone meet anyone else in a dating sense whatsoever – as if it would be somehow "wrong" for them to be involved in any way or something.

      There's definitely some groups that are much, much better for this than others…

  2. I have just to add – that sometimes, especially for people who weren't too social before but are now building a social life style (like me) – meeting new people in general is exhausting! For the first few weeks when it began, I used to come back home feeling like I ran an "emotional marathon" (which is basically exhausted) and simply crashed onto my bed and fell asleep in a snap.

    Now things are better and I feel less tired after going out with friends and meeting new people, but it's still there. This is why I don't keep in touch with EVERY SINGLE PERSON I meet – that's simply impossible. Instead, I think for people who are a bit less socially experience – to take it slow and step by step. First, start by casually chatting with people in your social group. Work your way from there to a person (or many people) that you feel comfortable with to become friends with and/or ask out on a date.

    • Anonymoose47 says:

      How do the people you don't spend so much time and effort on take it? Or how do you juggle so many people and find a balance where you're still cool with them but not spending a lot of time around them?

      • Camelopardalis says:

        "How do the people you don't spend so much time and effort on take it?"

        This might sound cruel and cold, but you are not responsible for how those people take it. If your friendship is something they value, they are perfectly capable of picking up the phone (or logging onto facebook) and asking if you want to hang out (and then discussing a day and an activity). If they do, hey, you are friends! If they don't, well, it seems like there is not much interest on either side, so let it go.

        • Anonymoose47 says:

          I understand that bit, but I'm not sure how someone balances a large network of people like that. I've been pretty poor with friends and social networks and such over the years. I usually found I hung out with people I was more less forced into being near to due to school obligations and such, and then if we weren't taking the same class anymore or didn't have much other reason to stay around eachother, it dried up (partly because of my own attitude at the time, but I also always found some new people to hang around with, kind of revovling door-ish). I had a hard enough time balancing 6ish people, nevermind when you start hitting high enough "numbers" to do what Doc's suggesting.

          • You still have 6 ish people that you're close to. And then you have another however-many you see maybe every month or so and at social events. You're not besties with them, but you know each other's names and enough interests to hold a conversation over coffee. Which really doesn't have to be much.

            And if you really get along with any of them, you bring that individual into a deeper level of emotional intimacy with you.

            Example: my best friends know every last detail of some of my worst moments. One of them let me live with her and her husband for a month when I couldn't stand living with my ex. I know more details about her difficulties starting a family than anyone other than her husband. One of my less-close friends I see every few months, and know him mostly through tabletop rpgs and folk dancing. We each know the other, and can pick up where we left off when we see each other, but when shit happens his is not the number I call.

          • Some friends are circumstance-based friends. You hang out with each other and enjoy the friendship while you happen to be brought together in class, or while you share one particular interest etc., but you don't form that strong connection that would make you seek each other out once the moment is passed. That's okay, most people have some friendships like that, and they usually fade out without too much hurt.

            Other people, you form a stronger bond with, so that it's worth it to you to make the effort to keep the friendship going even when life doesn't bring you together.

            Even among longer-term friends, you can have some that you see once a week or more, some you text constantly but don't actually get together with that much, some you only see every month or even once or twice times a year. You can find a balance that works for you and that friend.

            And you get to know those friends' friends, sure, expanding your network as the article suggests, but you don't have to maintain those relationships any further unless you WANT to, if you've hit it off and would like to see them more. Otherwise, they're still people you'll run into at your mutual friend's party, people you could email if you're interested in their career and want to pick their brains, people whose friends you might occasionally be introduced to, etc. Everyone knows that these more distant but still friendly relationships exist, and unless they make an effort to deepen the relationship, no one is bothered by it staying fairly distant.

            OTOH, I'll admit that I'm enough of an introvert that, when things get busy, I try to multi-task my friends and go for dinner with two that are friends with each other at the same time. Fill two friend meters at once!

          • Juuuuuulia says:

            Here's another weird thing I learned — not everyone in huge friend groups actually does large amounts of the work because some social groups have people that *like* doing maintenance. I've heard a few accounts from nerdy friends that they got to high school and just got sucked into a social circle because someone from that circle decided that they belonged there. So that person did all the work of inviting them to events and introducing them and then suddenly they were part of the group and didn't do anything for it. So don't feel like everyone in a social group must have some magical skills or something! The people that got sucked in magically sometimes also didn't learn anything; like my roommate in college had that happen and she was terrible at keeping in touch with her friends. Usually, the girl that initiated her called her and she never called first.

      • So I have 11 people that I'm close to and see multiple times a week. I have about 20 more people that I consider myself emotionally close to, but see less often (because they have kids and have a hard time finding time to socialize, because they live kind of far away, etc.). And I have probably 50 people that I really like, but see mainly at parties/large events/in "friend of a friend" situations.

        With those 11 people, I make an active effort. If they don't ping me, I ping them. I have regular game nights with some of them, regular football-watching with others, and just make sure to at least go out for coffee/dinner/etc. with one of them. With the other people I'm close to, if more than a few months go by, I find myself starting to miss them and ping them to at least talk on the phone/online if we can't get together. We never discussed how often we see each other, we just don't actively pursue time with each other that often.

        And as for the other people, I don't make an effort to see them. I talk to them when our paths cross. Sometimes, we talk for a while and figure out we need to talk more often, and they become someone I make an effort to see.

        But mostly, except for the people you're really close to, these things govern themselves. When you realize you miss someone, ping them and do something. If you're not missing them, don't. You'll start to realize which people fall in the "close friends" category, and which are more the "friendly acquaintances" types, and know where to put your energy. If you don't want to lose touch with someone, but they're not a close friend, set an appointment reminder on your phone for every 2-3 months to contact them and do coffee.

        • Anonymoose47 says:

          How do online friends figure into this kind of thing?

          • I have very few purely online friends. I have people that I met online, then got to know in person, and I have people who I know in person who moved away and with whom I socialize mostly online between visits, but I don't have many people who are purely online. My social networks are friends-locked and I don't friend people I don't know in real life. So can't help you there.

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            Online friends are good to have, and I've known plenty of folks (including a couple notable comic creators) who've met their husbands and wives online through forums and social networks (rather than online dating and finding someone in your locale). That having been said, I strongly recommend having (and putting a priority on) a meat-space based social circle whenever possible.

          • Juuuuuulia says:

            Here is something I also realized recently. You can use visiting (online) friends as an excuse to have an adventure! Like, it's weird to take a random trip, but if you tell everyone you're going to "visit your friend" people will have no issue with that, even if you're going across the country. Obviously, visiting friends is a normal thing to do. So if you have a large batch of online friends that are geographically close somewhere, you could plan a road-trip-style visit if they're cool with it and have somewhere for you to stay.

  3. Anonymoose47 says:

    This article's sure brought up a ton of personal regrets.

    • If you've lost touch with people but it seems to have happened in a fairly friendly way (not because the friendship officially capital-E Ended, not because you stood them up the last three times you were supposed to meet etc.), you could always give them a call or drop them an email and say "Hey, it's been so long, I miss you, want to get together sometime?" Maybe they'd want to and maybe they wouldn't, but might be worth a try.

      • Anonymoose47 says:

        This is true. I was just never that close to any of my IRL friends, was just kinda there.

        • If there are any that you'd like to see again, you can still see if they want to go grab a coffee. There's no law of how close you have to have been with someone to be allowed to try and rekindle the friendship.

          If you can't pick any of them that you'd specifically like to see again, you might do better to put your energy into meeting new friends that you'd really like.

          • Anonymoose47 says:

            I've thought about both enough, but I just can't see it going well.

          • Why not? Maybe we can crowdsource you some suggestions!

          • Anonymoose47 says:

            I've gotten more than enough suggestions previously from here. I just don't have the confidence or self-belief to think I'll add any kind of fun to the proceedings.

          • Hey, not everything's about life-of-the-party fun, you know. Things like being a good listener, having original takes on discussion topics, being non-judgemental etc. can also be very valuable qualities in a friend, even if you're not feeling up to bringing fun per se.

          • Anonymoose47 says:

            I figure I'd "eeyore" the party soon enough.

          • Well, maybe some time when you're feeling sufficiently un-eeyore to manage an hour or two of socializing with someone you'd like to reconnect with. Doesn't have to be now – if you've already lost touch, there's no deadline, right?

            When I'm not feeling great about things and want to/have to socialize anyway, I tend to focus more on the other person, ask lots of questions and let them dominate a little more. That takes a lot of pressure off you to keep things light, if it's not a good situation to be more open, or you don't feel like dragging things down.

            Also, I think you were using party metaphorically, but just in case: don't forget one-on-one is great for introverts, and for people in general who are looking to form stronger connections!

          • Also, again. To repeat advice from before that I hope you take seriously: go get some therapy, go get some outside activity that brings you into contact with other people and out of your house…preferably a job (which can be that coffee shop or grocery store) because it will bring you money and independence, but if not, volunteer work, because helping other people will also help your mood.

          • Juuuuuulia says:

            Haha, take them to a movie! It is the best place for a person you don't really feel comfortable talking to THAT much but still want to see and let them know you like/remember them. And then afterwards, you have a ready-made topic to talk about — the movie! I think you mentioned you tend to have developed opinions about movie things!

            I am a firm believer that movie theaters will never completely die because there will always be a population of people that needs to hang out but not really talk a lot.

    • agreed.

  4. I definitely think expanding your social circle helps. I'm a cosplayer, and I met my current boyfriend because a mutual friend was hosting a local cosplay meet-up. After a few months of seeing each other at different meet-ups and cons (and a little nudging from our friends), he asked me out. So yes, having a big social network (which cosplay lends itself to very well) is a big plus.

  5. Any specific advice for meeting people in your own age group? I’m 23 and I go to a lot of social events, but I very rarely meet anyone under 30. I don’t mind having friends in their 30s and 40s, but I’m not really going to have much success dating wise. My biggest problem is meeting people my own age, and every meetup I have been to, for example, is full of much older people.

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      Go to social events that have younger people? I know that sounds flippant but its true. You have to go where the people are.

    • I suppose it depends on how you're meeting them. And where you live. It's easier in a city to find concurrent events that skew young/old than it is in less densely populated areas. Also, price might be a factor? If you've managed to land a well-paying job right out of college and essentially hit the ground running, more power to you. But when I was 23 I was BROKE. My regular mingling social outing was a Monday goth night at a local bar (as opposed to a much nicer but more expensive dedicated club across town). Because if I got there before 9:30pm it was free. And I walked the 1.5 miles home. I allowed myself ONE drink. Because this is what I could afford to do at 23.

      Oh, and if the local college holds events that are open to the public, those might be worth attending. 23 is only just out of school.

  6. Meyer N. Gaines says:

    "Social Circle Game," in my experience, only really works if you're the highest value individual, the "alpha" male, the leader of your group. That's really the only way you will be able to use a social circle to advance your sexual goals.

    Otherwise, if you're just part of a social circle, you'll never get laid. I've been in social circles with many females, but I'm here, aren't I? Lol…

    • Dr_NerdLove says:

      If you're constantly gauging your worth vs. those of your friends and buying into the myth of the “alpha male”, it's gonna show in how you interact with people, including your friends. Spend less time worrying about who's got the “higher social value” or whatever other PUA status mindset you've absorbed and just concentrate on being someone who's awesome and fun to be around. That'll count for far more than trying to prove you're the AMOG of your social circle.

      • Meyer N. Gaines says:

        Tbh I don't buy into the alpha thing, that's why I put it in quotes. I get annoyed when people use that word.

        But the problem is that I really don't think just being friends (acquaintances) with people and having a good time is enough to get you where you want to be, in terms of women. I had a time in my life where I was going to parties every weekend, drinking and chatting until I blacked out, my liver cried, and I ended up on academic probation.

        I mean, people had always told me "don't focus on girls, focus on fun, the girls will come." So I did. But no girls came. I was invisible as usual.

        I quickly realized that it was bogus. I then resolved that after I built my body over years to perfection, I would fully dedicate myself to learning and practicing how to attract females. And really, that's it. Maybe the "have fun and be awesome" thing works for most people, but it clearly hasn't worked for me.

        • Can I suggest that, as a basic starting point, if you want to get better with women, you stop referring to us as "females"? Reading that literally made me cringe. It makes you sound as if you think we're some alien or lower animal species that you're conducting scientific experiments on.

          If you're talking under 18, we're "girls"; 18 and over, "women". Pretty simple.

          • "Females" always makes me think of the Ferengi…and that's not really a flattering thing, given their attitudes toward women. ;)

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            What is a "Ferengi"?

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:
          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Yeah yeah I figured someone would say that. But just the act of typing "how to attract women" makes me feel so horrible. It's easier to call them "females," although I never do it IRL.

          • Why would calling women "females" make you feel less horrible about wanting to attract them? You feel better when you're being disrespectful to the people you want to be around? That doesn't make any sense to me.

            And frankly, even if you don't call women "females" when you're talking in person, the fact that you do it in your mind, enough so that you also write it here, is probably counterproductive to your goal to attract them. Every time you encourage yourself to think of women in a subhuman way, it's going to be harder for you to relate to us as actual human beings when you do need to talk to us.

          • I'm not a native speaker of English, so my intutions on word associations are probably not particularly good. I do read a lot of English-language material though, including academic material, and find the term used quite a bit, including by people that indentify as, and are widely considered to be, feminists.

            So I decided to try it out and went to Penelope Eckert's page and selected a paper from her language and gender section (Eckert & McConell-Ginet 1995), searching for the term "females". The first hit was at the end of the very first paragraph:

            "These communities may be all male or all female; they may be dominated by males or females; they may offer different forms of participation to males and females; they may be organized on the presumption that all members want (or will want) heterosexual love relations. Whatever the nature of one's participation in communities of practice, one's experience of gender emerges in participation as a gendered community member with others in a variety of communities of practice."

            Do the authors think of women (and men) in a subhuman way, are they being disrespectful? I don't read it that way, but that may be wrong of course. I don't even read it as particularly foregrounding the biological aspects.

            On a related note, I found it itnteresting that Meyer said wanting to "attract women" makes him feel horrible in a way that wanting to "attract females" doesn't. Even if it's disrespectful and dehumanizing, it would make sense if he believed that, as a human, ultimately he has no business wanting anything from a woman, but as a member of the human species he does because, like all sexually reproducing animals, that is what male members of the human species do.

          • It has a clinical feel. Academic authors use it not to be disrespectful, but to create an objective feel, emphasizing the author's at-a-distance, objective stance rather than focusing on their shared humanity.

            In non-academic settings, choosing a word that de-emphasizes your shared humanity has a pretty disrespectful vibe, except in a very few other contexts..

          • Like email says, that paragraph is written in an academic style where the distancing is intentional. The author presumably doesn't call men she wants to date "males" when talking casually about her dating experiences or preferences. (In fact, I have never heard a woman refer to men as "males" in casual context, except as an obvious joke.)

            Why is it so hard to understand that different language is appropriate in different situations? I didn't say Meyer can't use the word "female" ever–I think it's clear I was talking about using it to refer to the women around him. If he wants to write academically on the subject, he's welcome to that, but his comments here are not academic papers, nor was the article he's commenting on.

            And if he believes he has no business wanting to relate to women as people, only as animals for sex, then his language use points to even deeper problems than I suggested. I don't think calling women "females" is going to solve those problems; it's only going to exacerbate them. Most women don't want to date or have sex with someone who can only relate to them as an animal.

            I also wonder why it's so important for you and other guys here to defend your right to use this phrasing even when women are telling you they find it demeaning and cringe-worthy? When the term "creepy" comes up, guys freak out because OMG once in a while a woman uses it unfairly, never mind that most of the time it's used when a guy really has done something creepy. But when we're talking about the language a guy uses, suddenly it's okay to say things that are used in a demeaning way the majority of the time, because in a few select contexts the term is appropriate?

            Is it really so hard to write "women" instead of "females"? It even has fewer letters!

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I also wonder why it's so important for you and other guys here to defend your right to use this phrasing

            Because the end result of this is not to use respectful language, it is to make one group (women) always be described in positive glowing terms and as superior to the other group (men), and to make it impossible to ever describe the other group in anything but positive and glowing terms.

            Look at your own post – you claim to take offense at the word "female" – but you have absolutely no problem jumping to semi-personal attacks claiming that maybe he sees women as "only animals for sex" – did he *ever* say that? Did his followup comments say anything along those lines? And of course the other poster launches right into another personal attack on how he "can't handle the idea of relationships with adult equals of the opposite sex" – that's a pretty big jump for someone who used 1 semi-neutral word in a sentence – once.

            Eventually we reach the point where we're at – where women can say any amount of negative things about men and it's somehow fine, but men simply describing things that women have done that they don't like – are attacked for using "offensive language". Can't tell you how many times simply describing – in neutral terms – negative interactions with women where they were jerks is immediately attacked with words like "misogyny" and "having a negative attitude towards women" and all kinds of "you're a horrible human being simply because you dared to mention negative experiences".

            I just don't think that how he was using it was meant to be offensive. I think it was meant to be detached and neutral – in fact an attempt to be *more* respectful, saying "here are the neutral facts" and avoiding anything like "it didn't go anywhere with those women!". And that's where I draw the line – where it starts to seem like someone really meant something even more respectful, but they're being attacked as some sort of horrible human being.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "When the term "creepy" comes up, guys freak out because OMG once in a while a woman uses it unfairly, never mind that most of the time it's used when a guy really has done something creepy. "

            In my opinion, that's a different subject, that's more of a matter of perspective bias.

            Let us assume that you are a reasonable woman who generally only uses "creepy" when it means something, who is friends with other reasonable women with a similar attitude. There's a couple of things that happen:
            - You generally do not call men who are really being creepy "creepy" to their face – after all, if you're worried about them possibly being dangerous, why would you risk aggravating a potentially dangerous person by calling them a negative word? (Or even if they're just dangerously annoying, lol, same deal)
            - The only time you hear women use the word creepy is inside your friend group, so you get the impression that that's the only way it's used
            - You yourself – being female (wait…a woman…lol) don't get called creepy yourself.

            But let's take the guys perspective – or at least a guy who's not well socially acclimated and doesn't have a lot of female friends.
            - If he's being creepy in a genuinely possibly dangerous way, no one ever says that to him.
            - The times when he – or his friends – are directly called creepy – are by women who don't seem him as an actual threat. Let us say that 2% of the female population (women? see here it feels like using the word "female" is a more neutral term to me) are jerks who use creepy for their own ego's sake – those are the *only* people who he actually *knows* are calling him or other guys creepy. You never have the perspective of it being used against you unfairly.

            From the woman's perspective, creepy is a word that's used almost exclusively with meaning – "once in a while a woman uses it unfairly, never mind that most of the time it's used when a guy really has done something creepy".

            From the guys perspective, it's almost *only* used by play, shaming word by immature women (girls?).

            Now I myself am in the middle, because having a certain number of female friends I see both sides. I see girls call guys creepy when it's just a play word, and I see girls use when I'm like "yeah, I totally think that guy is kind of creepy to".

            But I think a lot of the genuine disagreement among well meaning people is mostly perspective bias – each side doesn't see the other side.

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Thank you.

          • You know, I don't see any point in continuing to try to talk with you after this point, because every time I do you end up misreading and misrepresenting things that I've said.

            -Asking for women to be called ”women" not "females" is not asking for positive or glowing language, just regular language. How is "female" more neutral than "women"? I'm not aware that "woman" carries any connotations other than expressing gender. And how is it more respectful to talk about women using terms usually used in regular conversation only when discussing animals, than to use the normal word, especially when actual women are telling you the former isn't more respectful to them?

            -I didn't say Meyer saw women as animals for sex. I said ”if" and paraphrased the explanation kilo (a guy, it sounds like) gave for Meyer's comment. An explanation I'll point out that you agreed with in a comment below! Why aren't you getting mad at kilo for saying Meyer meant he could only relate to women if he thought on them in animal terms, instead of at me for telling kilo how I'd think about that *if* it were true?

            In my initial complaints, all I did was express a dislike of the term and an explanation of why. No personal attacks, no insults. The insulting assumptions were made by a guy–but for some reason, you agree with the guy and then get mad at women who respond to his statement. But yes, I'm totally the one being unreasonable here. < /sarcasm > I'll leave you to it.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "because every time I do you end up misreading and misrepresenting things that I've said"

            I can only agree that that seems to go both ways. I respect a lot of what you've written and your responses, but as soon as we get into these topics it seems like we jump in the realm of willful misinterpretation.

            For your first point, as I said, one group of women will claim that calling them "girls" is disrespectful – but another group of women will feel that calling them "women" is also disrespectful, thus leading to the situation I described where the only terminology that can be used is positive and glowing. What you're requesting – by itself – isn't that way – it becomes that way when you start to talk to a wide variety of women / girls / whatever term is considered appropriate by that particular group.

            - I reread through Kilo's comment twice – and I cannot see any point where kilo actually stated anything about the other guy "if he thought on them (women) in animal terms". I just do not see it…and I've reread it twice.

            I'm not saying I'm 100% right, because no one can be. It's always possible that someone will turn around and prove me wrong about their interpretation of their language. But I'm not seeing it.

            And I kind of agree with you – I don't think any further discussion is likely to clear it up.

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Hey hey, let's not get too crazy about this.

            I don't expect you to understand the societal pressures and issues that men face, because you're not a man. But let's put it this way: if you want to become a better guitarist, that's cool. If you want to become better at chess, that's nerdy, but cool too.

            If you want to become better with women, suddenly you're an abomination, a loser virgin hoping to become a predatory scourge who feeds on hapless coeds. Call the police!

            By saying "attract females," the object is not to denigrate women, but to underscore the point that seduction is natural and healthy rather than the province of losers and Level 85 Warlocks.

          • No one here is going to shame you for wanting to get better with women. That's what the whole blog is about. And since when is calling women "women" the province of only losers and nerds? I'm pretty sure it's the term the vast majority of the population uses, so I don't see how calling women "females" is more natural and healthy. Actually, it makes you sound more socially out of touch than if you used normal language.

            But hey, it's obviously more important to you to believe you're right and should never change anything about your approach than to listen to the actual women here telling you they dislike being referred to that way and why. Good luck with that!

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            I think the debate here is not so much in wanting to get better with women. That's what this blog is all about. Its your assertion that using your social circle to meet people is only useful if you're an alpha male. The latter is itself a PUA term and tends to establish your viewpoint as aligning with the PUA community; ie that women are a challenge to be conquered and/or a monolithic conspiracy to keep men down rather than human beings who you also have romantic interests in. No one's saying "don't try to get better with women".

          • Mel, thank you for your reply.

            "Why is it so hard to understand that different language is appropriate in different situations?"

            This is absolutely not hard to understand. You implied that using this terminology was equivalent to "think[ing] of women in a subhuman way", and I found a counterexample. (To tell the truth, I have heard complaints about this so often and so vehemently that in my mind I started to essentially consider it a slur. I was then quite surprised to see it in print that often, and did a bit of investigation).
            I think that "This is thinking of women in a subhuman way" and "Using this word can in some contexts seem overly clinical and thus be interpreted as disrespectful" are radically different claims.

            I am also not trying to defend my right to use a certain phrasing; I generally don't use this word as a noun, at least not consciously, and should I find myself compelled to use it, I would try to rephrase. You ask why this is important to me? The answer is really simple: I like words, and am deeply fascinated by variation in their usage, contexts, and associations. When I see claims about language use, especially those not immediately obvious to me, I find it interesting to look bit deeper — sometimes the claims are wrong, sometimes there are realy interesting patterns of variation lurking behinde the surface.

            (In another post, you ask 'How is "female" more neutral than "women"?' 'Female',as far as I can tell from my investigations, is primarily used in academic writing and in legal contexts, such as police reports. These registers usually tend to be considerd neutral and centered on facts instead of personal evaluation. On the other hand, the 'dehumanizing' aspect is also clearly there in many observations, especially outside those contexts.)

            "And if he believes he has no business wanting to relate to women as people, only as animals for sex, then his language use points to even deeper problems than I suggested. [...] Most women don't want to date or have sex with someone who can only relate to them as an animal."

            I completely agree, but I wasn't really trying to say anything about sex, especially not only sex. (I did say "sexually reproducing", but that was just to subset the types of animals; I probably should have left that out). It's not about only relating to someone as an animal, but about shared animalness making the existence of any relations legitimate in the first place. In the extreme case, why is it ok to have (or even want) any kind of contact with any other human at all? After all, one could live alone as a hermit in the woods. I find this quite difficult to anwer, except with "That is what humans do".

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Do the authors think of women (and men) in a subhuman way, are they being disrespectful? I don't read it that way, but that may be wrong of course. I don't even read it as particularly foregrounding the biological aspects.

            On a related note, I found it itnteresting that Meyer said wanting to "attract women" makes him feel horrible in a way that wanting to "attract females" doesn't. Even if it's disrespectful and dehumanizing, it would make sense if he believed that, as a human, ultimately he has no business wanting anything from a woman, but as a member of the human species he does because, like all sexually reproducing animals, that is what male members of the human species do.

            Yeah, that's exactly how I read it as well, and I think the intention behind it.

          • I don't see how that being his intention would make the complaints about his terminology any less valid. Having a low opinion of yourself doesn't give you a free pass to use demeaning language when talking about other people, and it doesn't somehow prove that we shouldn't be bothered by his phrasing.

          • Oh, and just to note, I realize I asked why he would feel better phrasing things that way. I didn't ask because the explanation given above never occurred to me, but because I think that's a crappy explanation ("I feel bad about myself, so I'll talk in a way that makes others feel bad too!"), and I was giving him to opportunity to provide a better one rather than assuming he meant it that way.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "I feel bad about myself, so I'll talk in a way that makes others feel bad too!"

            Well that's the point of disagreement that you're jumping past. You're trying to say that simply using the word "female" is inherently a negative and degrading word…except if it's used in certain circumstances where you like it being used, like academic papers. And the people disagreeing are saying that they don't see it that way, and disagree with the assertion that it's "inherently degrading" to refer to a group that you feel like you don't understand in distant terms.

          • First off, there's a difference between using "male" or "female" as an adjective (as in "male housemate" or "female coworker"), and using it as a noun, formality-wise. Using it as a noun gives a very clinical feel, whereas it's an all-purpose adjective.

            Second, in an ethnography/research paper/etc. you *do* want a clinical/removed tone, so it's not demeaning.

          • If you can't handle the idea of relationships with adult equals of the opposite sex, you need to work out your issues before you start dating.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            Suppose, for the sake of argument, that one wanted to make a distinction between sex and gender. Might it be appropriate to make a distinction between females and women in such a context, and to make a similar distinction between males and men, granting that most people have both sex and gender? Granted, that's probably not the point MNG is trying to make, which with the "alpha" language thrown around seems to be a context closer to evolutionary psychology.

          • Broadly speaking, people's sex is none of your business unless they choose to share it with you; their gender is. Whatever gender they choose to present as — man or woman — is how you should address and refer to them. While there are valid reasons to distinguish between sex and gender (if you're writing their biography, talking about gender as performance, doing an ethnography of transvestites, etc.) I'm not sure why you'd need to make those linguistic distinctions on a dating site. How is it relevant here?

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            Well, there seems to be this notion that use of the word "females" to describe humans is somehow anathema, and a possible counter-example occurred to me. If we're going to engage in prescriptive lexicography, we should make sure to get it right.

          • But I think if you were going to be discussing sex versus gender, those terms wouldn't make it any clearer – they're not specific enough and already have unrelated connotations that would confuse things.

            I'm not saying there are never circumstances when it's appropriate to use female as a noun for humans, but I don't think they're likely to come up in a dating site.

          • Enail says the magic words in here that I want to emphasize.

            When I am grading my students papers, and this is in an academic context even, I tell them to generally avoid using male and female as nouns, but as adjectives it is generally okay.

            So, "the white males in the audience were crying"…sounds dehumanizing and strange. On the other hand, "white male audience members were crying" still sounds academic without being dehumanizing.

            So, when we get out of academia and move into casual speech, which speaker do you want to come off as when talking to friends potential lovers?

            Scene: John approaches Tim (John is black, Tim is white). They talk a bit and seem to get along well, there is some chemistry, but they are still feeling each other out.
            Tim: What sorts of guys have you dated in the past?
            John: I have dated white males before.

            Or

            Tim: What sorts of guys have you dated in the past?
            John: I've dated white guys before, what about you?

            Example one is just creepy and sends up red flags. Example two seems fine.

            What also would (adjective)

            Tim: What sorts of guys have you dated in the past?
            John: for some random reason I've dated a lot of male firefighters.

          • It's not anathema — it's about context. If you're using it in a scientific/clinical setting, that's fine. If you're using it as an adjective, that's fine. If you're using it on a dating site to refer to women in general, that clinical tone is jarring and offputting.

        • Not referring to women as "females," as if we're animals, might be a good start.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Oh, come on. This just goes around and around – I remember when I was in high school, some women decided that calling her a "girl" was offensive, because supposedly it suggested she was a child. But just as many girls decided that calling them "women" was offensive, because it suggested that there weren't fun or sexy and that they were drab boring adults (hey, they made it very clear that's what they thought). There's no winning this game…it goes around and around.

          • Good grief. The term for an adult human female is "woman," not "female" or "girl." While some of your acquaintances may use or even prefer diminutives or slang amongst themselves, among strangers, informality is often seen as incivility. I am an adult, not a "girl," and while I may use "girl" with my friends, just as I may say "come on, kids, let's go to lunch," to coworkers I am close to, I don't tolerate it from strangers. Diminutives/nicknames are a privilege among friends, because one trusts one's friends to use them to show affection, not denigration. Strangers don't get the same benefit of the doubt.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            'The term for a … female is … not "female"…'

            You do realize how absurd that sounds, yes? Context is important.

          • I'd say she got context right:When she says "an adult human female," she's getting technical, talking about the 'human animal' to make it clear that she's talking about the broad term to use (pun not intended) rather than about what's desirable in a specific social context.

          • No one's saying the context isn't important. The context of Meyer's comments was him talking about wanting to find people to date. We objecting to him referring to women as "females" in that context. No one said there is never an okay context where you can use the term "female" for human beings.

            Do you really think we should have to follow up a comment suggesting his usage was problematic by noting any area where it wouldn't be? Imagine how long every comment here would be if we took into account every situation our thoughts might be applied to every time, instead of assuming people can understand we're talking about the situation at hand.

          • No, I don't see it as absurd at all. And yes, context is important — that's the WHOLE POINT OF THE COMMENT.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            Actually, I think we're in agreement; my paraphrase was absurd in large part because I'd elided the context.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "Good grief. The term for an adult human female is "woman," not "female" or "girl." "

            You assert that, but my point was exactly that there is no agreement among "women" as a whole that that is the case, many "women" have found it offputting for me to refer to them as "women" as they feel it suggests they aren't fun or attractive. There's is no positive but neutral term, because different groups of women feel strongly – but differently – as to which word they like being referred to as.

          • And my point is that while individuals may have quirks, formal English has a designated appropriate term for an adult female human and you should use that one with people you don't know. If they don't like it, they'll correct you, but stick with the standard with strangers.

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Hey hey, let's not get too crazy about this.

            I don't expect you to understand the societal pressures and issues that men face, because you're not a man. But let's put it this way: if you want to become a better guitarist, that's cool. If you want to become better at chess, that's nerdy, but cool too.

            If you want to become better with women, suddenly you're an abomination, a loser virgin hoping to become a predatory scourge who feeds on hapless coeds. Call the police!

            By saying "attract females," the object is not to denigrate women, but to underscore the point that seduction is natural and healthy rather than the province of losers and Level 85 Warlocks.

          • I don't see people attacking guys who want to get better with women.
            I see people attacking guys you objectify and dehumanize women who want to use or fetishize them.

            This entire site is dedicated to helping people get better at interacting with other people. Many of the comments on this site from women are basically, "Ooh! I understand you want to get better with women, but that thing you are saying/doing isn't going to work out so well, try this thing instead!"

            And to be honest, there are an awful lot of women who are on here basically just being cheerleaders and caretakers–which really they shouldn't have to be doing. This conversation happens over and over again on these boards:

            Dude: I'm going to be forever alone because no woman will ever love me because all women will only date tall men/rich men/alpha men/etc (some other criteria that basically implies that all women are pretty shallow)! It is so hopeless!
            Gal: Um, that's not true. I'm a woman and I date guys like you all the time. Be respectful to women, be nice, listen, have self esteem, and you can do it!
            Dude: No, it'll never work! Women only like assholes. My life is so sad!
            Gal: Um, women don't generally like assholes…unless you are talking about women with self esteem issues…and you don't want to date them. Really, so here are more places to find women, and approaches that van work for you.
            Dude: No! it'll never work! Oh woe is me! Women are so awful!
            Gal: have you ever thought that maybe your calling women awful, and you negative attitude might be what is causing you problems?
            Dude: See how you women are? You women can insult men all the time and it's totally fine, but the minute I say anything I, as a poor victimized man, get attacked. Why do I live in a world where women hold all the power and we men are powerless?!
            Gal: Um…what?

            I'm surprised women stay on these boards at all.

          • Thank you!

          • Omg Trooper6 you are amazing!!!! You've just summarised nearly every single overly long comment thread on this site!!!!

            I seriously don't understand why this is so hard. If you use a word, and people who are described by that word find it offensive and tell you so, I just don't understand why you would waste all this time justifying why they should not be offended instead of just apologising and moving on. Is it that difficult?

          • To be fair, a number of the overly long thread dudes don't do that last bit, but instead say "maybe you're right, I'll think about it." I think those ones are the ones that many of the women here are sticking around to engage with, b/c it's worth the whole complex rigamarole of negativity and misunderstanding to be able to actually help someone understand that women are just people. Hopefully it's worth it to the dudes, too.

            FWIW, Dr. Nerdlove, I think it's cool that you've fostered a space here where guys who want dating advice, even some who aren't really comfortable with women as people, can talk about dating with men AND women, even us scary feminist ones ;)

          • You're my new hero Trooper. I wish I could keep thumbs upping your post over and over. I hate seeing guys (think about how weird it would sound if I had said 'males' right here) who are getting a lot of good advice turn around and start attacking the people that are trying to help them. This feels like another shade of the "poser nerd/cosplayer" bullshit. If more women (see how much more natural that sounded than "females") are actively being involved in any aspect of nerd culture that is an awesome thing for nerds of every configuration. This old boy's club bullshit exhausts me. Women aren't strange creatures whose motives are shrouded in mystery. They are people. Some are nice. Some are shitty. Sometimes it depends on whether or not they've had their coffee in the morning, but whatever the case lumping whole groups together and making a universal proclamation about them is almost always a bad idea.

            And to Meyer… you're on a site for nerds to get dating advice. Suggesting that having a level 85 Warlock is somehow a trait that would turn people off comes across as sort of ignorant. Like you're trying to say "I'm not a nerd like all YOU nerds out there."

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            The strawmans are overwhelming…

            I really have no problem with women. I recognize that, right now, I am not mentally or physically ready to practice seduction in earnest. After I have physically prepared myself, and turned 21, I will begin to practice seduction and hopefully my fortunes will look up.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            Technically its a strawman, yes. Trooper made up that specific commentary to illustrate a point. Go through the top commented blog entries, though. Its pretty dead-on.

          • Here's my objection to what you're saying… when you phrase it as "practice seduction" that reinforces an adversarial model of dating. Maybe you don't mean it to, but you are coming across as if you view women as some strange creatures that you can't relate to, so you're left with no alternative but to trick them into bed with you.

          • I second what Orv is saying here. The phrase "practice seduction" sounds like you have a conquest or adversarial relationship to dating women. You didn't say, for example, "I want together better at dating," "I want to improve my relationship skills," "I want to get better at interacting with women." What you said is "practice seduction."

            That sounds like you see women as objects. Maybe you don't. If so, then you need to use different language. Because the way you are talking turns most women off, thus reducing you chances.

            If, on the other hand, you do see women as prizes to be seduced, not as actual human beings with thoughts, opinions, and feelings you should care about…then you would probably find more advice that fits that mind set in the PUA sites. Thus site is about being a non-predatory decent, kind human being who gets into healthy relationships with equals.

          • You may not have a problem with women, but because of the language you are using, you SOUND like you do to many of the women here. Do you really want to be shooting yourself in the foot?

            I love that you're taking the time to prepare yourself for having a great relationship, but I'm not sure where you're getting your ideas about how to prepare. One of the most important relationship skills you can have is learning how to listen to the women in your life. It seems like you need some practice with that; maybe you could start now.

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Look, I'm an Asian male. Girls won't give me the time of day unless I look buff as all hell. Also I'm pretty sure I have Low T, which is why my sex drive is nonexistent (as a 20 yo too).

            I'll get my medical and physical issues sorted out, then I'll worry about relationships.

          • I think it's smart to take care of your medical issues and your health in preparation for having a great relationship. But if you're spending all your time cultivating your body and not your mind or heart, you're likely to attract women who only care about what's on the surface. If you want to attract a woman who values character, you should be spending as much time on developing your character as you do on your muscles.

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Thing is, I'm an Asian male. Girls won't give me the time of day unless I look buff as hell.

            Also I'm pretty sure I have Low T, which is why my sex drive is nonexistent. Probably why my last girlfriend broke up with me…what other 20 year old male has ED?

            So I'll get my medical and physical issues fixed, then I'll worry about women.

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Oops, server glitch, but sure wtf happened.

          • BritterSweet says:

            Now you're blaming your race? No, man. Trust me, it's not that.

            I'm of Asian descent, and of course so is my brother. He has never had a problem attracting women. Why? Because he's the kind of person everyone likes. Nice, fun, smart, and with good character.

          • You can go and get your T levels checked, but this "Low T" thing is partially a creation of the pharmaceutical industry and our impulse to medicalize and homogenize everything.

            What I mean is that a) men and women naturally have a diversity of different testosterone levels in their system. Now we've decided that x number is too high and y number is too low.

            All the Low T ads I see are primarily aimed at men in their 50+, but news flash, it is a natural part of the aging process for a person's T levels to drop when they get up on that age.

            Anyhow, maybe you have low T and will then get it treated.
            Maybe your low sex drive is psychological rather than physical (I had zero sex drive or even sexual thoughts until I hit 18, left the house, and joined the Army–thus getting away from all the folks who bullied me–that was not about T levels)

            And lastly, please be aware of two things: 1) excess T in your system is converted into estrogen, so you don't want to take lage amounts of T if you don't actually have a problem with your T levels.
            2) Soy products increase estrogen levels, so if you eat a lot of soy/tofu, you might want to cut back, that could be one of the culprits.

          • Asian guys are hardly ever visible in the media, especially not as leading men, but that doesn't mean that out in the real world girls don't find Asian guys attractive. I don't think being buff is as big a requirement as you think, unless you're interested in dating from a fairly small and specific pool of women for whom that's important.

          • Indeed! Also, if you look at the types of guys who tend to be heartthrobs for women, they don't tend to be really buff. That is more a male fantasy of male bodies than a female one.

          • Meyer N. Gaines says:

            Its really hard to look "too buff" unless you gorge yourself on bizarre combinations of steroids…which I don't plan to do.

          • Indeed! To provide a piece of anecdata, one of the guys I had a crush on in high school was Chinese, and he wasn't particularly buff or shockingly handsome. What attracted me to him: he was very charming, confident, and friendly, and could always get people laughing. And he was kind! His sense of humor didn't involve insults or belittling other people, unlike some guys at that age.

          • I'm pretty much in love with Glen from The Walking Dead

          • Why on earth are you double-posting now?

    • Camelopardalis says:

      Are you a monkey or an ape rather than a human? Oh, I guess not, b/c with other hominids, the beta males manage to score a little nookie while the alpha's back is turned. Seriously, get over this attitude. Look around you. All sorts of people are in relationships, not just alphas. Whatever is holding you back, it is not your "status", that is for sure.

    • Lololol it's not a 'game' it's called having friends. Also, in mixed gender friendship circles, it's not always a male who leads, sometimes it's a female, and sometimes no one does. SHOCK!!!!!!

    • Well, this is pretty ridiculous. Both DNL's blog and the commenters here have gone over and over how not every woman likes the "alpha" male type. (And for that matter, even among non-human primates, it turns out the non-alpha males have a considerable amount of sex.) Maybe your problem is your attitude.

    • Personally I don't even know how I'm supposed to tell who the alpha male is in my various friend groups. The only time I'm ever aware of the concept at all is if/when an insecure guy starts acting the big man and trying to invent competition… and then I just think he's a dick.

      And if a friend asked to be introduced to new people, I certainly wouldn't pause to consider that person's standing in the social heirarchy before deciding! I'd say yes or know depending on if they were a fun, decent, likeable person.

      • Gentleman Johnny says:

        If the PUA community is any indication, the alpha male of your group is easy to spot on the following criteria:
        1. Acts like a member of the Jersey Shore cast.
        2. Thinks subtle insults are endearing.
        3. Dresses like a 70's pimp.
        4. Has one unusual skill (sleight of hand and fortune telling are common examples)
        5. Won't go out without his wing man.
        6. Is great at quick hookups but terrible at long term relationships.

        • Dr_NerdLove says:

          Don't knock the wingman. That's not a PUA thing, that's been part of people meeting new people since the dawn of time.”Kronk help Thud meet girl. Thud talk girl, Kronk distract cave-bear, Thud hook Kronk up with girl sister.”

    • Gentleman Johnny says:

      There's two ways to approach this logic. There's the Cryptonomicon Interpretation (named for the opening of the book of the same name). This recognizes that every human living today is, in fact, one of the biggest badasses in the 4.3 billion year history of earth. This is because the non-badasses all got killed by meteors, climate change, war and so forth. By the logic of evolution (ie that the unfit don't pass n their genes) every human is an alpha just by virtue of having been born.

      If you don't care for that theory and prefer something more hierarchical, consider every couple you know, whether your age or not. Unless absolutely every man with a girlfriend is the dominant force in his social circle and no one else has a relationship, your theory does not hold water. As usual, the plural of anecdote is not data and one exception does disprove the rule.

  7. Dr. Nerdlove! I caught that Marx Brothers reference. You are awesome.

    By the way, why do your stock photo resources have no photos of black people?

    • Dr_NerdLove says:

      It also does double duty as a Bullwinkle reference. I'm efficient like that.If you go back through, you'll notice that there are black models, men and women, in some of the stock I use, although admittedly not as many as white models. I try to be as effectively colorblind as possible when it comes to picking the photos – and I'll admit freely to having my unconscious biases that tend towards my picking models who look like me than not – but a lot of my stock photography choices are determined by finance more than anything else. I use iStockphoto for my stock photography, which has tiered pricing, and since I'm not exactly rolling in ad revenue money (any more. THANKS GOOGLE!) (I kid, I kid.) (But not very much) I tend to stick with the lowest tier pricing for web-resolution photos that would be at least tangentially appropriate for the article I'm writing at the time.This limits my choices in what's available more than any other factor.

      • I figured that there was a lack of color in your stockphoto sources rather than it being you personally. There were some POC in earlier articles, I have just noticed a lack of them in the more recent ones.

        What did Google do to lessen your ad revenue? (*shakes fist at google*) I hope whatever happened un-happens!

        • Dr_NerdLove says:

          Originally, I had Google ads on the blog, but the content (apparently the article on porn was the trigger, but I couldn't get a straight answer) was against their TOS, so they cancelled my account.

          • Oh, that's a bummer.

            I know everybody loves them some google, but I don't feel comfortable putting all my eggs in the google basket. This reinforces that.

      • Camelopardalis says:

        Your choices are limited to what's available, but you can also make it a point to avoid the homophily and specifically look for non-white models. Admitting your unconscious bias doesn't let you off the hook for working to overcome it.

        • I think one of the things that has been a bit off-putting recently is that the models have been…um…how do I say this?…really aggressively white and normative. Super-brotastic and…just so similar and corporate/frat-y looking.

          I would just like more diversity in the photos, not even just racial diversity.

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            I'll see what I can do about mixing things up a little.Oddly, the photos with the less typical models and more personality tend to be the more expensive ones.

          • Thanks DNL!

            On the topic of cost (which you don't have to answer), is this site very expensive to produce and maintain? It is very professional looking and you update frequently. I hope you are at least breaking even!

      • Great Booby though.

  8. This post made me realise I'd love to see an entry (or maybe just a comment?) about how to be social in general, because right now I think I'm terrible at it. Not just with the opposite sex, but as a general rule in any social setting. The rules I've picked up in my life are myriad and often self-contradicting – Should I force myself to make conversation, or just be myself? Should I be eager to please or laid back? I guess I would call myself an introvert, but I don't think being an awkward introvert is a tautology, and I would really love to drop the awkward part. I don't think trying to force being an extrovert is working for me. Would this be a good fit for an Ask Dr NL email?

    • I think the best advice I've been given about being social is, when in doubt, to just ask people about themselves, because everyone likes talking about themselves. Also, don't overthink it; conversations aren't like video games, you aren't trying to get a high score. Just be generally nice and don't worry about messing up, because no one is grading you. Also, remember that every person on the planet has similar issues as you (including the person you're talking to!), some people are just better at dealing with them.

      • I think you're right, the key word in your prose is 'overthinking'. I think perhaps this might be the root of my trouble; in the moment I tend to find myself trying hard to say and do all the right things to make people like me, and after the social event I frequently end up analysing my social performance and awarding myself poor marks, which in turn leads me to try hard again next time. It's like a cycle. Next time I'm out I'll just try being myself and see if it is the break out I need. Thanks again for your thoughts Max!

      • Gentleman Johnny says:

        Being interested makes you interesting. That's "How To Win Friend And Influence People" in one sentence.

    • I think that would be a great Ask Dr topic, though I think he may have covered some of that in other articles already? Max gave a great piece of advice, I'd follow that up with remembering to be an active listener. The more you pay attention to what the other person is sayng instead of just waiting to say what you want (or worrying about it) the more people tend to open up. I don't think there is a magic amount of "eager to please or laid back" for example; I suppose this doesn't help much but for myself I try to be me while still being aware of the other person. So if I'm talking to someone who's being open and playful, I'll meet them at that level. If I'm talking to someone who's being more quiet, I'll meet them there. If they're talking about their new dog, I try not to blurt in midstory with the terrible thing that happened to me at work the other day (unless it involves a dog, lol). I'm not saying to always let the other person lead, but if you're unsure a safe bet is usually to respond to whatever they're saying; show you're listening, and go from there.

    • I also fully believe it's possible to be a reasonably social introvert bc that's the best way to peg me.I did pull off extrovert for a while but it really wore me out, and I wasn't happy. I've found I'm happier being more quietly social. I'm not the loud one at the party so much, but I AM the one who's fun to talk to and a great listener; I was suprised how many people really valued that about me more than anything I was saying or doing while I was trying to "get out there." It also IS possible to learn how to be a bit more social; half of what I learned was by mistakes and funny enough I also learned a lot through working in retail. You HAVE to be able to approach people in a friendly way to be good at retail/customer service. You also have to be able to put up with "failure" (crabby customers) without taking it personally, otherwise you'd go nuts. So if not retail, maybe volunteering or something else that gives you a push to meet and talk to people? I only know it helped me, might not be for you!

      • Wow, your description sounds like me! Yes, a social introvert, I like that. I also tried the whole extrovert thing by going out clubbing with a certain group of friends for a while. I can really fake it for a night, especially if I'm in the right mood. Ultimately, I found the experience exhausting and empty, and I've only kept contact with 2 people from those days (but that's ok by me).

      • Sorry for my delayed response – I'm in the UK time zone so I'm just writing this whilst on lunch! Thanks for your reply, the part where you identify as a social introvert brought me hope. You and Max seem to talk on similar lines of just being myself and playing to my strengths, and in my case (as well as yours) I would say that entails being quieter and listening to people more rather than trying to fake assertiveness and flamboyance.

        It's interesting you mention retail, as I did do that for several years and I think in the midst of that my social skills were at their peak due to the nature of the work as you described it. However it is in the past two years since I graduated that I've been doing programming, a relatively solitary pursuit, and I think that has been a large reason why my social skills have rusted. I will definitely bear volunteering in mind as I have been wanting to do that for a while. Thanks for your reply Sarah!

  9. I am so very glad that you are advocating warm approaches! There always seems to be such a strong focus on cold approaches, and I've never understood that, considering the majority of relationships are formed between people who already know each other. Not saying that cold approaches never work, just pointing out that for most people, they are in the minority, and they are usually achieved by people who are naturally confident and outgoing – things that I think a lot of people here would probably struggle with. Learn to crawl before you run etc!

    • GernBlanston says:

      Agreed! Finally, an article about how people normally meet their partners. Too bad dr. nerdlove feels it's necessary to keep pushing the "cold approach".

    • Paul Rivers says:

      "considering the majority of relationships are formed between people who already know each other"

      I was going to agree, but personally I think it's more like the majority of relationships are formed between people who already have friends in common. I've only rarely seen people who have known each other for a while start dating.

      • Well that sure hasn't been my experience. Most of my friends were friends with their partners before they got together, and the same goes for my boyfriend and myself – we were friends for 3 years before we got together. Nearly all of my previous partners were also friends first. I don't actually know that many people who are dating or have dated people who they didn't know very well to begin with.

        • That being said, I'm not even saying that you need to be the very best of friends with someone, it's just that (as the Dr. says) it's a whole lot more likely that a woman is going to be receptive to being asked out if she actually knows who you are.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            That's pretty cool – I just haven't seen that happen very often myself. Thinking about it, I guess I do know *1* group of friends like that, but that's pretty much been it. I agree that would be a great system, so don't me wrong. :-)

            Where do you live and how did all these people meet? I have to know so I can join a similar group, haha. :-)

  10. Thortok2000 says:

    Hah, the very first comment was exactly what I was going to say; none of my 'friends' introduce me to anyone!

    I've specifically asked friends if they knew anyone that might be interested in me and I get the response that they don't know anyone. One friend indicated that with my life situation (my mom lives with me), that I wasn't the type of person her friends would be interested in. After that I stopped asking.

    I have difficulty with friendships as it is. Right now my 'friends' are people I either chat with online fairly often (most of those are long distance friends I've never met in real life) or people I see at parties/group events. I really don't have any steady, outside-of-events friends, and I haven't since I moved here 7-8 years ago. I don't know if I just haven't clicked with anyone or I'm more reserved than I used to be or what.

    The lack of friends does tend to keep me pretty lonely, too, which doesn't help dating at all.

    This is definitely an area of improvement in my life, but I'm not sure how to change while 'staying true to myself.' I'm an introvert and I annoy easily…forcing myself to hang around people I don't like just so I'm hanging around people at all really isn't my thing, I'd rather be alone. I find it hard to be close friends with just anyone, and most people are either close friends or not at all. Honestly the whole friendship thing confuses me, as a kid it was easier, I'd bike around the neighborhood every weekend and ask if X could come out to play (or more likely if I could come in to play video games with them. =P) I made friends at school, at the pool, wherever I met people. I don't know how or why that stopped happening, but somehow it did. =/

    Anyway, thanks for the article. I've got lots to think about.

    • Balancing introversion and having a social life is tough! But I've found ways to deal with it. The big secret is to know yourself and in what kinds of social situations you shine. Then put yourself in those situations as often as possible.

      For me that means:
      - Hanging out with people one-on-one instead of in big groups.
      - Going out for coffee or brunch when possible; by the end of the day I have no social energy left.
      - Meeting people through shared activities instead of in small-talk situations.
      - Taking relationships from online to offline, even if it means pushing myself.
      - Setting aside time every week to nurture my friendships, and not allowing myself to use that time for anything else.

      My situation is obviously a bit different as I'm happily married, but the principles, I think, hold.

      Good luck to you!

  11. the john cryer approach interesting, i will have to go with the charlie sheen on this one.

    • Go with neither approach.
      Jon Cryer as Duckie is a great example of the creepy Nice Guy, who isn't so nice at all.
      Charles Sheen as hs character in Two and a Half Men, and in real life, is a terrible human being who will not be able to have healthy or quality relationships…probably ever. This is a guy who, in real life, held a knife up to his wife's throat and threatened to kill her.

      Try to be an actually kind and decent human being in stead.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        "Try to be an actually kind and decent human being in stead."

        I think it's funny when people say that, as if it's dating advice, when clearly it's the opposite – wishful thinking (though not bad wishful thinking, just wishful thinking).

        Jon Cryer's character is the *exact* example of someone *trying* to be a decent human being, whether you agree that he's successful or not. And for his effort, he's called creepy, "isn't so nice at all", and gets nowhere with the girl.

        Charlie Sheen on the other hand is also vilified – but only after lots of women find him interesting, charming, and sleep with him.

        One doesn't have to be just one of the two, but if you do, better to be Charlie Sheen. At least he gets what he wants before women hate him – and even when they hate him, it's a love/hate relationship where despite all that his ex-wife still appears on his shows, talks to him, etc etc. Jon Cryer's character has female friends that never go anywhere, so his character ends up despised *and* doesn't get what he wants anyways.

        • Dr_NerdLove says:

          The fact that you'd rather be a guy with substance abuse issues, mental health problems and has been arrested several times for abuse and assault because at least he gets chicks really suggests your priorities are somewhat misplaced.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            The fact that you'd rather be a guy with substance abuse issues, mental health problems and has been arrested several times for abuse and assault because at least he gets chicks really suggests your priorities are somewhat misplaced.

            Really? That's interesting, because I listened to podcast #12, and I'm pretty sure that in the actual situation, you also chose more of the Charlie Sheen route than the John Cryer route. I don't recall the podcast saying "I tried to be nicer to women, and that really paid off" – I recall it saying something more like "I studied game and wow – was *way* more successful. But I wasn't happy. Then I realized I could also treat people better and still continue to get laid – but also feel a lot better about it". As anyone would do, because who wants to see themselves as a loser the rest of their life when there's an alternative?

            Second, and importantly, despite all these "problems", Charlie Sheen's ex-wife still goes on his show. She still talks to him. He's still pretty popular, so much so that even recently after all that stuff happened – he's on a car commercial. Because his image is so popular to people everywhere that it's worth paying him a bunch of money to be on a commercial. According to wikipdia, he accidentally shot his first fiance in the arm – and while she broke things off, several other women after that still wanted to marry him!

            Charlie is both loved and hated. But the John Cryer character is apparently almost universally despised by *everyone*. And being a movie character, you can't say that he wouldn't have substance abuse issues, mental health problems, and end up getting arrested either.

            But all this misses the point – that the John Cryer character *is* someone "trying to be a decent human being". Whether he's successful or not is a different subject. But for all his effort, for the most part, everyone villifies him anyways. But Charly Sheen – half the people vilify him, but also half the people love him. Not only does he "get chicks" – and not only does he get extremely hot chicks, but just as importantly he's also successful in general people liking him, and having a ton of money.

            I mean really? You'd choose being the not-even-loveable loser, over being the really-kind-of-screwed-up-but-wildly-successful guy?

            I mean I also did say "One doesn't have to be just one of the two" – as another poster said, it's a false dichotomy to believe that those two extremes are your only two choices. But – if one had to choose between only those two characters – and since John Cryer's character is going to be vilified as "creepy Nice Guy, who isn't so nice at all", might as well go for the successful vilified guy. You're going to be seen as some sort of villian either way.

          • Anonymoose47 says:

            This is more or less the thing I keep having trouble getting my head around too.

          • I don't quite understand why, knowing it's a false dichotomy, so many people seem to focus on this Nice Guy vs Asshole concept.

            Maybe it's because, if you're the sort of person who stresses out about the reactions of others, there's something freeing about the idea of just doing whatever you feel like and not caring about anyone else? I can see that people like that seem like they're uninhibited, able to live in the moment and just have fun, charming and likeable. So maybe that's some of it?

            The problem with that, though, is that while caring less about others can help you be less inhibited, it doesn't actually make a person more charming, likeable or able to have fun – kind and charismatic are not opposite, and in fact have relatively little to do with each other. If you have problems with being fun-loving or making friends, I don't think being a jerk would actually help.

            I don't know, maybe I'm missing the appeal of the Nice Guy/Asshole issue. I'd be curious if anyone can explain.

          • Just to be clear: I don't think assholes are at all charming or likeable. Just saying that people are saying that's why they find the idea of being an asshole appealing…

          • Anonymoose47 says:

            It's not that the qualities are necessarily likeable, it's that the reaction to them doesn't match up because assholeish qualities can be perceived a confidence.

            It really goes back to schoolyard thinking too. "This dickhole bullies people yet the guys all want to be his friend and the girls all want him, even the guys he doesn't treat well and the girls he's fucked over."

            I've heard it said before from girls, the girl will take the asshole because she at least knows he's an asshole. The "nice guy" or even the kind guy is probably hiding something sinister. And the asshole is more exciting, which whether in a good way or bad way, is still making her feel something heavy enough that she wants more of it.

            And the results seem to bare this out. Which, sure, they may not be "real" results per se because there's a lot of bullshit going on, but it's actually a tangible result vs the complete lack of them that the "kind guy" gets.

          • I'm not sure where you're seeing "kind" guys getting a lack of result. Several women here have commented that they dated/married guys in part because they were kind. "Kind" doesn't equal lack of charisma or confidence, as enail pointed out. Maybe there are some women who prefer a guy who treats them badly, but all the women I know would prefer a guy who's considerate, and those in relationships are with a guy who is.

            I find it odd that the comparison people keep coming back to seems to be Jon Cryer's character vs. Charlie Sheen in real life. I don't watch the show so can't comment on the character, but Jon Cryer in real life, despite not getting arrested or abusing drugs or being violent as far as I know, has been married twice and is still in the second marriage, apparently happily. So based on actual life, rather than fiction, I don't see any proof there that the asshole approach is a more successful dating strategy than the not-asshole approach.

          • Sad that not everyone grows up, gets a little confidence or perspective and says "hey, I don't have to be friends with bullying dickholes!" I wish more people had bullshit detectors :(

            But personally, I wouldn't want to be friends with/date people that wanted to be friends with/date bullying dickholes, so I don't think I'm ever really going to get the appeal in a visceral way. Thanks for trying to explain, though!

          • Juuuuuulia says:

            I think you're confusing nice guys with Nice Guys (TM). A nice guy who is just kind and does nice things for everyone will just continue along through life doing that. The problem with a Nice Guy is that he will do the SAME nice things but out of some sort of expectation to get something in return and the problem with this strategy is that it starts to show after a while.

            If I date a guy who's just kind and attentive by nature, he'll continue being kind and attentive up until the relationship ends and then do it for his next girlfriend, etc. Meanwhile, if a Nice Guy keeps doing nice things for a girl and she doesn't date him, he'll start to get resentful because he's not getting a return on his attention and it'll show! On the other hand, if she does date him, he will think that his goal is fulfilled and he doesn't need to do all the stuff anymore, even though she might have decided to date him because of his attention in the first place. So their relationship will suffer!

          • I guess maybe a good way to tell the difference a guy who is nice and a Nice Guy is: do they treat other guys and women they're not attracted to in the same way, or do they haul out a lot more big gun niceness for women they're attracted to.

            It's natural to want to go a little above and beyond for someone you've got a crush on, but for someone who's not a Nice Guy, it wouldn't be wildly out of line with how they'd treat anyone. And it wouldn't involve doing anything that they would wish they hadn't done if they learned their crush would never reciprocate their affection.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            You're right about the false dichotomy. Its entirely possible to be a decent human being and be up front about what you want. My issue with being Charlie Sheen has nothing to do with him getting what he wants and everything to do with having to look at myself in the mirror the next day. Of course "gets what he wants" is as much a fiction as the party in the car commercial. Even the actor as you know him is a carefully sculpted PR image with very little resemblance to the real thing. Don't confuse your play-by-play for his highlight reel.

          • Anonymoose47 says:

            "Don't confuse your play-by-play for his highlight reel"

            I've heard this multiple times on this site. my favourite thing I've seen on it.

          • I've never understood this sentiment of "Better to be the asshole who gets laid than the nice guy who doesn't." It seems to imply that gaining social rewards (e.g. popularity with women) is worth taking negative actions (e.g. being disrespectful and/or hurtful to others). Or, in other words, the value of the action is being judged by the reward, not by the action itself. That isn't a very good moral compass.

        • Duckie is a fictional character. I wouldn't suggest making life choices based on his experiences, because the real world doesn't work like a story does. (Though if you did, I suppose Cervantes would approve.)

          For the record, I fell for my husband because I saw him do something profoundly kind when he didn't know I was looking. He's the finest man I've ever met.

          • Ugh, seriously. Pretty sure that every married/attached guy is NOT a raging asshole. I know mine isn't!

            The sheer logic failure.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I don't see where anyone – including myself – ever said that being a sheer raging asshole was successful.

          • Here:
            ""Try to be an actually kind and decent human being in stead."

            I think it's funny when people say that, as if it's dating advice, when clearly it's the opposite…"

            The "opposite" would be what? Being a raging asshole?

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Sorry, I see how it can be read that way, but I meant more that of the two options mentioned above that one was more successful being a bit of an asshole than killing themselves trying to be nicer.

            I agree that the only thing that women seem to like less than a guy who's to nice and considerate is a guy who's a constant and never ending raging asshole.

          • Still a false dichotomy. A lot of guys who THINK they are "too nice and considerate" are in fact raging assholes.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            A dichotomy requires that there's only two choices, which isn't what I was saying.

            But what you're saying reinforces what I mean. Since it's so popular to say that guys being nice a "in fact" being raging assholes, it's better to be a little to much of a jerk than a little to nice. Be a jerk, you get shamed, but by being more assertive you're more likely to get what you want. Accidently be to nice, you're view as a potential "in fact raging asshole" anyways – but without the benefits of being assertive about what you want. Since either path leads to "asshole", there's little reason to err on the side of being to nice.

            There's more girls interested in Charlie Sheen – despite that everyone knows he's an unstable jerk – than interested in mr "trying really hard to be nice and considerate".

          • Does this attitude actually work for you? Are you happy with the relationships you have? Because I can't even unpack the levels on which this makes no sense to me.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "For the record, I fell for my husband because I saw him do something profoundly kind when he didn't know I was looking. He's the finest man I've ever met."

            With all due respect, when people say this it seems like they mean the person is kind – but also a whole bunch of other things. If he was *only* kind, you wouldn't have needed to see him do it when he didn't know you were looking. It was exactly that it wasn't obvious that he was actually kind otherwise which is why seeing him do something when he didn't know you were looking said something about his character.

          • How did you get that negative interpretation out of what kleenestar said? She didn't say the guy never did kind things when she *was* looking. We tend to put more value on what people do when they don't know we're watching, regardless of how they behave when they're with us, because it proves that they're not just doing it for our benefit (they're actually kind, not just pretending to be so we'll like them).

            I suspect if kleenestar's guy behaved unkindly when the rest of the time, she wouldn't have been interested either. If kindness is important to you, you generally want to be around people who are kind on a regular basis, not just when no one's watching.

            And BTW, I'm another woman married to a guy who is a kind and decent human being, and that's part of why I fell for him. The long term relationship I had before him was with a guy who turned out to be an asshole, and–shocker–I broke things off with him when I realized how much of an asshole he was. (He did a pretty good job of pretending to be kind and decent before then, otherwise I wouldn't have been interested in the fist place.)

          • That's the thing, manipulators and sociopaths are really good at faking being a good person, for a little while. Especially during dating. You aren't living with the person, so it's easy for them to be on their best behavior. Sometimes it takes some time to realize that people are assholes. I've even had *friends* like this. They show their true colors eventually.

            Plus, you've got a pretty heavy social narrative aimed at young girls about the "romance" of reforming a brooding asshole, which is wrong, but it's there.

            That's why I've seen a lot of dating advice aimed at women that says something like, "Don't be dazzled with how he treats only YOU. Look how he treats his family, his friends, the salesclerks, etc."

            And if someone likes an asshole even after s/he shows the colors? Well, maybe that person is seeking their own level. Just saying.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I didn't mean my comments to sound that negative. But it depends what you're coming from – if you mean that you or the other poster find kindness to be a positive characteristic, that's cool. I'm not saying it can't be – I'm hear a lot of stories that emphasize kindness, but when I see thing happen in real life it seems pretty apparent that kindness is a desired secondary characteristic, not a primary one.

            I hear a lot of stories like yours – they seem to emphasize kindness, but if you read between the lines it's like "I dated a guy who was an asshole" – then you realize that the *majority* of girls have dated a number of guys who were assholes, but a lot fewer have as many "kind" ex-boyfriends in their past.

            To switch the genders (and I'm not saying whether this is right or not, just that it is how it is) – I value kindness in a woman. Like most guys, I value a sense of caring. But – clearly that's something that guys value *after* they find her physically attractive. If you're just looking at the dating world, a visually attractive girl with a nasty personality will date more people than a very visually unnattractive girl.

            Now neither is ideal. And a lot of guys – like myself – just cannot stomach a girl with a truly nasty personality, not matter *how* hot she is. Believe me, I have very occassionally tried…it's not possible. And I've known plenty of guys who have fallen for a visually attractive girl, only to realize that she's…not just nervous, that really *is* her personality…lol.

            But similarly, it seems like there's some other characteristic that generally makes guys attractive to women that's a primary characteristic, with kindness being a secondary characteristic in comparison. The difference is that whatever that primary characteristic is, it seems to be associated with being a bit of a jerk somehow. It's like it's…drive…or ambition…or something, and it's easier to have that and be a jerk than it is to have that and be to nice.

            But I'm not saying that niceness is bad – just that it seems like it's often emphasized in stories, but emphasized a lot less in real life. But again, not that it's *not* emphasized in real life, just as not as much.

          • "I hear a lot of stories like yours – they seem to emphasize kindness, but if you read between the lines it's like "I dated a guy who was an asshole" – then you realize that the *majority* of girls have dated a number of guys who were assholes, but a lot fewer have as many "kind" ex-boyfriends in their past."

            I've only had three boyfriends, so my experience is limited, but all of them presented as kind when I first met them and that was part of the attraction. The first was more of a capital N Nice Guy–he cared about what people thought and wanted to be "nice", but he was very passive and let people walk all over him. The second was the asshole mentioned above. Both of them "attracted" me not through anything associated with being an asshole, but by showing vulnerability and seeming sensitive to their own feelings and others'. It just turned out #1 was too much so and #2 was faking it.

            Boyfriend #3 is the one I married, who showed that sensitivity (and it proved to be authentic) but was confident enough not to let it rule him.

            In my experience, what successful assholes do fairly consistently that appeals to women is they make the woman in question feel both wanted and special. Because they're not worrying about what other people think, they pursue her. Because they think highly of themselves, they present themselves as accomplished and charismatic, so their attention is flattering ("he seems like such a great guy, and he's interested in me!"). Then after a while the facade starts to slip, and (usually) the woman realizes he's not such a great guy and gets out of there.

            There's no reason that kind, compassionate guys can't be confident enough to pursue women and make their attention feel flattering too. I've met many who can. It's just easier for assholes to find that confidence because the assholes don't care if they insult or hurt someone.

            So if you're just looking for a lot of quick flings, and you want a fast way to seem confident, then teaching yourself to be an asshole might work. I think what people are saying here is not that being kind is all you need to be successful at dating, but that if you want more than brief flings–if you want relationships that last past the initial rush of attraction–then you're better off building confidence through believing that you're a good person because you actually are a good person, which is a much firmer foundation for self esteem in really any area, not just dating.

          • I also think it's the Tolstoy effect: there are a lot more ways to be an asshole than there are to be a decent human being.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I've only had three boyfriends, so my experience is limited, but all of them presented as kind when I first met them and that was part of the attraction. The first was more of a capital N Nice Guy–he cared about what people thought and wanted to be "nice", but he was very passive and let people walk all over him. The second was the asshole mentioned above. Both of them "attracted" me not through anything associated with being an asshole, but by showing vulnerability and seeming sensitive to their own feelings and others'. It just turned out #1 was too much so and #2 was faking it.

            Well great, see, we're saying the same thing. What you're describing – is exactly what I'm saying as well.

            With all due respect, when people say this it seems like they mean the person is kind – but also a whole bunch of other things. If he was *only* kind, you wouldn't have needed to see him do it when he didn't know you were looking. It was exactly that it wasn't obvious that he was actually kind otherwise which is why seeing him do something when he didn't know you were looking said something about his character.

          • As a researcher, your post is making me twitch rather a lot.

            Let's assume your data is correct: more women have asshole exes than kind exes. There are a whole lot of explanations I'd want to rule out before drawing any conclusions like the ones you're drawing.

            For example:
            - Men have asshole and kind exes at more or less the same rate as women do, so we can't draw conclusions about women specifically.
            - Women's relationships with kind guys tend to last longer, so kind guys end up having dated fewer women overall.
            - Many women get angry at their exes and characterize them as assholes even if they are kind, distorting the numbers.
            - Many more men are assholes than are kind, so the numbers just reflect the underlying population.

            Also, if you think niceness is not emphasized enough in real life, you should consider who you are spending your time with. The people I know care about character a whole lot.

          • OMG GO AWAY WITH YOUR LOGIC. We're talking about men and women here. ;-)

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            Setting gender aside, I'd expect assholes (which I would define as "people possessed of some non-obvious, seriously flawed relationship skills" which could be defined statistically: say the bottom quartile of relationship skills, assuming those can be meaningfully quantified, but let's assume for the sake of argument that this is possible) to have shorter relationships which end as their partners become aware of their flaws, which would then give them the opportunity to have more relationships in a given period of time than they would otherwise. This would also cause the dating pool to have a disproportionate number of assholes (increasing with increasing age as the more capable partners leave the dating pool for good), rapidly cycling back into the dating pool. This would eventually result in anyone with a significant number of partners having a higher proportion of asshole exes than there are assholes in the general population.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Well all the data on the subject is ancedotal…experiments that would definitively prove things one way or another are considered incredibly immoral, lol…

            "Men have asshole and kind exes at more or less the same rate as women do, so we can't draw conclusions about women specifically. "

            I don't really agree with that, but as you said it's difficult to come up with scientifically acceptable evidence.

            "Women's relationships with kind guys tend to last longer, so kind guys end up having dated fewer women overall."

            …lol – what?? That doesn't make any logical sense – counting only the population of straight people, by definition their relationships last *exactly* the same amount of time. It's not possible for the woman to be dating the man longer than the man is dating the woman.

            "Many women get angry at their exes and characterize them as assholes even if they are kind, distorting the numbers."

            True, or they only talk about the assholish behavior of their ex's, giving a much larger impression of how everyone they dated before was an asshole vs reality.

            "Many more men are assholes than are kind, so the numbers just reflect the underlying population."

            Lol, there are *so* many things wrong with this statement I wouldn't even know where to start. So you're claiming that men and women have an equal number of ex's that are assholes, but somehow more men are assholes? That…doesn't quite make sense…

          • I'm saying that even if your data came from real sources rather than anecdotes, it doesn't rule out any of these explanations. I'm not saying any of them are true, but you can't rule them out, either.

            I think you're misunderstanding some of the possible explanations I proposed, but the details aren't actually important.

          • Huh, I didn't think my comment could be read that way, but I'm happy to clarify.

            You're right – my husband is more than just kind. Mel has it exactly right, though. What impressed me was that he wasn't just performing kindness where other people could see. I knew he was kind before that moment, but I didn't realize just how central it was to his nature. It told me that if I chose to spend my life with this man, he would show the same kindness to me, even after he wasn't trying to impress me anymore.

            I am an amazing woman, and I had my choice of men. I could have chosen the smartest or the handsomest or the richest or the most confident or who knows what else. But choosing based on character was the best decision I've ever made in my life. My husband is smart and handsome and funny, but what sets him apart is his heart. I admire him more than I can possibly say, and I try to live up to the example of goodness and kindness that he sets for me every day. Knowing and loving him makes me a better person, because he is such a good one.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Like I said, I was not whatsoever suggesting that being "a total asshole" is successful, but from your description neither is your husband a "totally kind person" – he is someone who is capable of being kind. He is someone for whom kindness is an aspect of his personality. But it is also not the entirety of his personality.

            Maybe he's even more kind than the average person. I could not say over the internet. I just mean – like you said – that that's not the entirety of his personality.

          • Sure. I guess I don't understand your point, then.

          • Gentleman Johnny says:

            I'm having trouble untangling a good spot in this thread, so I'm going to drop my "kind" thoughts right here.

            I'm nothing special. I treat my women friends basically the same way I treat my guy friends. I remember when I've promised to be somewhere. I call if I can't make it. I listen to them when they have problems that are weighing on them. I playfully make fun of them but I avoid subjects that will really bother them. You know, basic respect stuff. I'm not talking about holding doors or taking sandwiches to homeless guys, just normal stuff that decent people do.

            Despite that, I find that women I am in a relationship with are amazed and/or blown away by this. I, in turn, am amazed that this isn't a minimum standard for everyone. I'm flabbergasted at couples who can fight, cheat on each other and do all sorts of horrible things without ever trying to work out their problems or breaking up for real.

            Based on that anecdotal evidence, if you follow the Doc's advice about how to treat women (ie as people, not as boss battles) and how to meet and date them, you'll find yourself WAY ahead of the average AMOG. You might not get the quantity of a PUA, but you will get a quality of relationship that isn't available to the assholes.

          • I like this comment and I think it highlights an important point. How you define "success" in dating is important. If you want to sleep with a bunch of women and never call them again then then you need to either A) attract the sort of people who either don't care about getting to know you before getting into bed with you, or B) convince a string of women that you're an amazing guy and it is safe to let their guard down, then prove exactly why they shouldn't have trusted you. The sort of people who don't care about getting to know you are (generalization) superficial, and so you need to project those superficial traits (wealth, confidence, physical presence) to be successful with method A. If you're going with method B you're already an asshole, and that's all I have to say about that.

            If you're looking for real adult relationships built on respect, trust, genuine enjoyment of spending time together, AS WELL AS attraction and chemistry then you need to build and display characteristics that would attract people you can respect, trust, etc, etc. Not only do you have to build those characteristics in yourself you need to find them in others. This is why discussions about using your social circle, getting to know someone before trying to initiate a romantic relationship, setting non-physical standards, etc are important. When you're looking to establish a real relationship you need to view your potential partner as a person, you need to know them as a person, and just going "Man that's a nice rack, I want to tap that, NOW" or even "Man that's a nice rack, and her Sylvanas cosplay is showing it off great!" is not enough to establish if there is any real potential there.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Despite that, I find that women I am in a relationship with are amazed and/or blown away by this. I, in turn, am amazed that this isn't a minimum standard for everyone. I'm flabbergasted at couples who can fight, cheat on each other and do all sorts of horrible things without ever trying to work out their problems or breaking up for real.

            Based on that anecdotal evidence, if you follow the Doc's advice about how to treat women (ie as people, not as boss battles) and how to meet and date them, you'll find yourself WAY ahead of the average AMOG. You might not get the quantity of a PUA, but you will get a quality of relationship that isn't available to the assholes.

            I'm not trying to disagree with your post wholeheartedly here, but reading it it reminds me of an example of what women do *not* value first and foremost. I mean you gotta ask – if again and again, women find it surprising that you do these things, then clearly these things are not their 1st priority in someone they date.

            I mean it's not that "guys" don't do this stuff – it's that "guys they actually date" don't do this stuff. And if again and again they chose to date guys who don't do this stuff…you gotta figure, even if they do love that stuff, that it's *way* down near the bottom of their priority list for whom they're actually dating.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            Since women generally aren't doing the asking, they're mostly dating guys who ask, and that might be enough to bias the sample. You're correct in that politeness isn't the first thing women look for; the first thing women look for is *being asked.* Assholes who respond to rejection with "Your loss, bitch" recover from rejection more quickly than guys who take a step back and engage in introspection, wondering what they might have done wrong. In the time it takes for more self-conscious guys to deal with getting shot down, an asshole will have approached hundreds of women. Additionally, when a decent guy finds someone, it's more likely to last for a while, whereas the asshole won't be in any relationship for very long, in many cases because he doesn't stop approaching women.

            In short, women date assholes because:
            a) assholes ask more women out than most non-assholes.
            b) assholes spend much more of their lives asking people out on a regular basis than non-assholes.

          • Wow! Who knew I could infallibly predict the way guys will treat me in relationships? I'm so lucky to be a girl!

        • Again, why the false dichotomy? Don't be either. And it's not wishful thinking to think that you can be a decent human being and get women. Most of my decent human being male friends are happily married to lovely women.

  12. This is a great article. It's what I've been saying with all my Meetup.com suggestions lately. If your current friend circle isn't big enough to meet potential romantic partners (or if you have no current friend circle, like I did), then you are going to have to try to expand it.
    Think of it as laying a foundation.
    It takes effort and putting yourself out there. Go online, research libraries and coffee shops and comic shops for groups that look interesting to you. Mix it up with different people, don't be afraid to get out of your geek comfort zone. If you go to a group and people look too old, too boring, too this or that, don't prejudge. And hey, older people could have single young relatives your age!
    (For example, I joined a wine tasting group on meetup, because I love wine. But the age skews quite a bit older than mine, and there are no geeks to be found. But if I were a single lady, it might still be worth it to make connections there, because they might have sons or nephews who are available!)

  13. I'm with Tosca on this one. That college dude who is binge drinking until he blacks out is not "having fun" but rather having a problem. Lots of women will see that and stay far away. On the other hand, the women who do like that are bad news, so you are lucky you dodged that bullet.

    May I suggest that one can have fun and be social in many, any ways that don't involve partying and excessive drinking?

    There are ways to have fun that make you look like a jerk or are bad for you (or your liver). Those aren't going to help you attract healthy women. There are wayside to have fun that highlight positives about yourself or better yourself. Go with those.

  14. Anonymoose47 says:

    I can repost what I said so that makes sense if you like.

  15. Meyer N. Gaines says:

    Heh, I was sort of exaggerating. I've only blacked out twice in my life, though I did use to drink heavily, and I was on academic probation at one point. Now, I don't drink or use any drugs, and I haven't for nearly 2 years.

  16. Anonymoose47 says:

    They look like they're the ones having the most fun and getting the most out of life and other people and things like that.

    Looks are decieving and all that, but those type of people seem to have smiles on their faces more often than I do, as an example.

    • Smiling gets other people to give you things (and if you're using your beauty to get things that goes double, because men prefer to see you smiling). News flash: you can smile a lot and still not be happy.

    • Smiling generally makes a person look happier, but I don't think that you have to be an abusive asshole with mental health and substance abuse problems to do that! Or, for that matter, to have fun, get other people to like you, or even to be admired or have lots of sex.

      OTOH, if you think that being an abusive asshole itself would make you happy, well, in that case, all I can say is that I don't wish you happiness…

  17. *enail, not email. Stupid autocorrect.

  18. Christian T says:

    I miss the one really big friend zone I made. Not friends anymore and it kills me. There was another that I wish I kept but I was being a jerk at the time so I ruined that. This one we just drifted away (mostly her) but rarely was I consistently in a good place

  19. So become a doormat or emotional wastebasket?

  20. I agree with all this. Problem is all the female friends I have arethe type of girls who hang with the guys and therefore have no female frie ds they can introfduce me to. That being said they help me learn to be more comfortable around women, so there’s that.

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