I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve known who’ve told me they hate dating. And to be perfectly honest, I thought they were crazy. Dating was awesome. I loved the thrill of the chase, the intoxicating nervousness and energy that came from getting to know somebody new, the flirting back and forth as we tried to feel each other out. First dates (and second and third, really) were things to look forward to.
Now, granted at the time I was only into dating casually, while several of my friends were looking to settle down, so I could understand – kinda – where they were coming from. They just wanted to find Mr. or Ms. Right and skip straight to the happy committed life, so of course the frustration of wanting to skip the entire courtship aspect made sense to me.
Except… that wasn’t the problem. Not exactly. The problem was that dating was exhausting to them. It was a constant repetition of putting in massive amounts of effort for a minimal reward… if they didn’t strike out entirely. They were spending most of their time and energy on the areas that would be the least productive and neglecting aspects where spending a little more time would produce huge results – small wonder they hated dating. Changing up your dating philosophy to make your efforts more efficient can make your dating life much easier… and much more rewarding.
Simplifying Dating Means Increasing Efficiency
I believe in efficiency when it comes to my social life – especially to dating. I’m a firm believer that life is too short and there’s too much to do to waste time when you’re looking for a partner, whether it’s for sex, companionship, or romance. Over the years, I made a lot of mistakes that ultimately meant I spent more time than I needed on aspects of dating and personal development that didn’t help me nearly as much as I’d assumed; the results simply weren’t worth the initial level of investment that I put in.
I’ve talked before about my belief in simplifying the dating process as much as possible by stripping out the extraneous and unnecessary. Part of this is understanding where and how to spend your energy and time. We have a tendency to focus our attention on areas that we assume make huge differences based on presuppositions about dating. In reality, however, these tend to be areas that aren’t nearly as important as we may think. As a result: we’ve wasted a lot of time with very little to show for it. Time we could have spent better elsewhere, on areas that actually helped.
An example: I spent a lot of time worrying about social status and value when it came to women. At the time, I was mainly meeting women in bars and clubs and I had bought into the idea of social proof – that the more it seemed like I was a big shot at the bar, the better I was going to do with women. So, in order to keep up one’s social status – according to the theory – you wanted to be seen working the room. This meant you wanted to always be seen talking to lots of women – the better to inspire jealousy don’cha know – , making friends with the bartender so you could get free drinks, jumping the line at the door and so forth and so on. This could be exhausting… not to mention more than a little terrifying if you were even slightly shy or anxious in social situations. I kept feeling like every eye in the place was on me and I had to keep up the act, for fear that they might realize I was just some dork trying to occupy a cool guy’s body. If I wasn’t talking with a group of people or chatting up the bartender or the DJ or whomever, I had to have my crew of friends to fall back on, lest I look like a loser who was lost and alone.
Until one day, I came to a realization: nobody noticed. Unless somebody had been watching you specifically – which is usually a good sign that they’re interested in you already – they’re not going to be paying attention to you. Most people really aren’t going to worry about whether some stranger was talking with another stranger. Nobody is going to assume that you’re a loser if you’re not constantly surrounded by people because, frankly, they’re probably not aware of you in the first place. They’re more concerned with their immediate surroundings – the people they’re talking to, whether they need another drink, the song currently playing, or even whether their shoes are killing their feet.
I was spending a lot of time and energy trying to guard myself against a problem that didn’t exist. As a result, I was expending a lot of needless effort that brought back minimal returns. It was one thing when it was just part of who I was – I had bars where I was a legitimate regular, so the bouncers would let me in because they knew me – and quite another to try to force myself into being the Life of the Party when I’d really rather just focus my attention on the people I wanted to meet.
Over the years, I’ve identified areas where men tend to waste their time… and the areas where a little effort does the most good.
I’ve Got 99 Problems But A Bitch Ain’t One.
The first rule of dating efficiency is that you can’t win them all. Rejection sucks, yes, but not only is it not the end of the world, it’s usually a sign that the two of you weren’t compatible in the first place. Unfortunately, our egos often get caught up in our dating lives and as a result… we tend to take rejection personally. Especially when we’re rejected by someone who we think is just being a bitch.
Sometimes she’ll freeze you out. Sometimes she’ll tell you she’s got a boyfriend - only to later make out with a rando she met that night. Or perhaps she just gives you the withering stare that makes you wonder why you bothered to gestate in the first place, never mind have the temerity to approach her.
It’s tempting to want to want to take her down a peg. To break down her defenses and make her realize that no, you really are attractive and she should give you a chance. Or maybe you just want to make a point on behalf of every rejected and downtrodden nerd who was told he wasn’t good enough.
For example: I’ve had more than a few readers send me this video.
It’s an appealing fantasy – the idea that with the right combination of wit and piercing insight, you can take down a woman’s defenses, get revenge on the Mean Girl for your nerd brothers, and win her heart and squishy-bits in the process.
It’s also not worth your time.
There’s been a lot of ink spilled in dating advice on dealing with “bitchy” women – how to demolish her “bitch shields”, how to outwit manipulative game-players, dealing with shit-tests, how to pick up women who give you the boyfriend objection… and none of it is worth the effort that it takes. You’re letting your ego get in the way – you have something you want to prove, whether that you want to take the bitch down a notch or somehow be the avenging arm of Karma and getting her back in the name of all the OTHER people whose fee-fees she’s hurt. It’s not about actually getting to know her, it’s about proving you have the Magic Dick. Sometimes you might even manage to get a zinger out in riposte. But you know what? She doesn’t care what you think of her. To be insulted by someone, you have to give a damn about their opinion. You can call her a fat slor, a bitch, or whatever else you want and she’s going to forget you exist as soon as you exit her eye-line because you simply don’t matter to her.
In the end it doesn’t matter. Whether she was lying about having a boyfriend, enjoys stomping on the egos of innocent men, or simply was having a bad day and you happened to be the 14th dude to hit on her, the fact of the matter is she doesn’t like you.
You can spend a lot of time – and it’s going to take time… if she liked you, she wouldn’t have rejected you in the first place – to try to change “disinterested” to “interested”. Or you can shrug your shoulders, never give her another thought and find someone who actually wants to talk to you.
Keep Up Your Appearances
There’s being good looking and then there’s being attractive. The two are different.
Good looking is a combination of an individual’s preference, cultural values, facial symmetry and body ratios.
Being attractive , on the other hand, is about appearance and presence.
Whether or not you’re good looking is a matter of perspective as much as anything else. You can’t account for individual preference and short of painful surgery, you can’t change how you look.
Your appearance however, is easily fixable, and usually in a very short amount of time. It’s very simple: wear clothes that fit properly, get a flattering hair cut, maintain proper grooming and hygiene and work on your body language and posture. If it seems like I emphasize these factors often… well, it’s because they’re some of the most important parts of making yourself more attractive, and it’s all easy to fix. And yet it’s the area where men fall down the most… so much so that even a minimal effort to address these issues will make you stand out from the crowd.
Don’t believe me? Take a trip to the mall on a Saturday and do some people-watching. Almost every guy you see will be shuffling along in his oversized, badly fitting clothes, his lousy hair cut, shoulders hunched, chin tucked and back curved. The guys who look half-way decent will shine like a damned beacon in the night.
It takes very little effort – mostly a matter of research, especially if you’re looking to save money – to fix problems with your appearance. You can quite literally transform yourself overnight.
Don’t make the classic mistake, though, of thinking that you just need some “going out” outfits and calling it done. Managing your appearance is a daily activity, and an important habit to cultivate. If you only pay attention to your appearance when you’re planning on going out and trying to meet people, then you’re missing the point. It needs to be part of your every day life. This doesn’t mean you need to be dressed to the nines every time you go to the gym, but if you’re leaving your house and you might be interacting with the general public? Take some time and dress well. You never know when you might run into the woman of your dreams; you don’t want to find Ms. Perfect at the grocery store when you’re in a stained pair of sweats and your hair looks like you’ve got a raccoon living in it.
Don’t Overthink It
I wish I had a nickel for every letter I’ve received where guys wanted me to read their crush’s mind for them. All too often, guys refuse to trust their own instincts when it comes to women. Instead, they try to analyze women’s behavior like conspiracy theorists studying grainy, low-rez YouTube videos of the Twin Towers, looking for the microexpressions and unconscious tells that will reveal THE TRVTH to them.
The thing is, women aren’t hard to read; in fact, most of the signs are pretty obvious. Women aren’t devious, manipulative chessmasters who screw with men’s heads for fun… and frankly the ones who are are easy to avoid. After all, it takes two to play games and you can short-circuit any games by simply walking away. While it is true that women are socialized to soften their answers for fear of causing offense or may try to let a guy down easy, a rejection is still pretty clearly a rejection. Similarly, a “yes, I’d like to go out with you” is a “yes, I’d like to go out with you,” not “I will milk you for free meals and attention until something better comes along”.
The impulse to overthink dating is a reaction to uncertainty; you don’t like the feeling of being out of control, so trying to analyze everything is a way of reasserting a feeling of control over the subject. In fact, in many cases, you already know the answer, you just don’t like it. When you’re reading the tea leaves to find out if she likes you for example, you already know she doesn’t; you’re just looking for reasons to keep hoping.
Occam’s Razor should be applied to these issues. If she asks you to buy her a drink, she’s probably flirting, not shit-testing you. If she’s very slow to text you back or responds in short, monosyllabic answers (if she responds at all) then she’s just not interested in talking to you. If she keeps telling you she’s busy when you ask her out without suggesting another day, it’s a message that she’s not interested in going out with you.
The simplest answer is usually the correct one.
(I now await people over-thinking not overthinking in the comments.)
You want to know the difference between being “just friends” and a long night of squishy noises back at your place? Chemistry.
Except chemistry doesn’t “just happen”. You have to be willing to build it. This means being willing to own the fact that you’re interested in someone as more than friends but as a potential sexual and romantic partner. If you’re cloaking your interest in someone under the guise of “being a friend”, then your attempts to build sexual tension is going to be incongruous and uncomfortable for everyone involved. If you’re not willing to be physical – to actually touch her – then you’re going to be telling her you’re not actually interested. This doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to attempt to maul her with your mouth at the drop of a hat; there’s a difference between building tension by making physical contact (a hand on the lower back, a light touch on her arm) and manhandling her or touching her inappropriately.
The key to chemistry is to keep things light and fun. It’s one thing to let her know you’re interested in her sexually – and believe me, if she’s on a date with you, she’s aware that you’re interested – and another to bludgeon her over the head with it. Flirty touching is about a tease and building interest through sexual tension and restrained desire. If she’s not interested, then trying to push it is only going to go from “not interested” to “leaving right then and there.”
But don’t think that you just focus on the physical; you have to engage her mind too. This means finding commonalities and connecting with her emotionally. What does she have going on in her life that you can relate to or that you find interesting? What sorts of things do you have in common? What sort of stories can you share? Are you asking questions, listening to what she has to say and then being able to springboard off of what she just said as a way of taking the conversation even deeper? Can you two find the same wavelength and talk as though you were both old friends, even if you only just met that night? Can you make her feel and make her laugh? Then you’re more than half-way there.
If you want to get into a woman’s pants, first you need to get into her head… and let her into yours.
Avoid Evo Psych (And Other Magic Bullets)
Every so often someone claims to have cracked the attraction code and has an easy, surefire way of generating instant, insane attraction in any woman at any time. Other times they will insist that the key to getting better with women is to trigger her “instincts” – whether this is by being more “alpha” or being “dominant” or other ways of supposedly appealing to her reptile hindbrain and taking advantage of mating behavior that is supposedly hardwired into women via evolution because it helped insure healthy, genetically desirable offspring.
One problem with this is that a) it’s based on faulty presumptions of human sexuality and b) we don’t operate on instinct. Some aspects of sexuality – how long it takes men and women to become sexually aroused, for example - is biologically based. Others, like whether women are interested in short-term mating strategies (i.e. casual sex) are based far more on socialization, cultural adherence to gender roles and the risk of personal safety vs. the reward of pleasurable sex.
The other problem is that it’s trying to short-cut attraction by supplying placebos and trickery for actually engaging someone emotionally, not to mention having an actual life and, y’know. People skills.
Canned routines, for example, that many PUA schools advocate are supposed to create the illusion of being “high-status” while supposedly hitting other attraction switches like “leader of men” or “adored by women”. By using these routines, you’re substituting somebody else’s personality for your own and using their stories in place of yours. You’re essentially borrowing somebody else’s personality in order to fool others into thinking you’re cooler or more desirable than you are.
Similarly, being “alpha” is a way of rationalizing why women only seem to like “certain” men (a fallacy of composition) while buying into a false narrative about human reproductive behavior based on faulty assumptions about evolution and animal behavior (a naturallistic fallacy).
These are no substitute for doing the work: going out and learning how to interact with people by actually interacting with them. No amount of inner game workshops, routine manuals or evo-psych bullshit is going to teach you as much as actually talking with people. Want to be more attractive to women? Quit trying to learn how to flip switches and work on being an interesting and well rounded person with stories to tell.
Get A Life
If you want to get better at dating, you have to get better as a person. This means having an active, full life. If your day-to-day activities consist of waking up, going to work, coming home to play XBox or watch TV until you pass out, you’re going to have a hard time finding people who are going to want to share that life with you.
“What do you have going for you besides your looks” is more than just a line to feed women: it’s a question you should ask yourself on a regular basis. Do you have passions in your life? Hobbies? What do you do that makes you unique and interesting? What do you do for fun? Do you engage your intellectual curiosity, or do you just drift through life aimlessly?
It’s important to have pursue your passions in life, even if it’s not necessarily your career – or even the driving force in your day to day existence. Pursuing your interests serves to make you a more interesting person – it means you lead a more active life than someone who just lives through and for his work. It means you’re more likely to have stories to tell and experiences to share, unlike so many other people out there whose day to day lives are just one blurring into another.
Just as importantly though: pursuing the things that you are passionate about means you are more likely to find people you’re compatible with. If you’re a music lover, you’re going to have a lot in common with the people you meet at concerts and performances. If you love animals, volunteering at an animal shelter is going to bring you in contact with people who also share your interests.
It doesn’t take very much to turbo-charge your dating life. When you’re spending your time and energy wisely, you’ll find you actually enjoy the dating process far more… which will make the results all the sweeter.