People tend to stand in the way of their own success. It’s something you see over and over again when you deal in self-improvement. One of the truisms when it comes to giving advice is that there’s always going to be someone who will argue with you over it. If you tell someone about the benefits of breathing, they’ll turn around and tell you about the dude they know who suffocated in 1972 and he’s been doing just fine.
The same is true with dating advice. No matter what advice you give, there will inevitably be someone who will argue about why it doesn’t apply to them. Now to be fair: most of the time, it’s assumed that advice isn’t going to be universal. When something doesn’t necessarily apply to you, then you can usually disregard it. However, there are objections and then there are objections – especially when it involves how to get laid. There are often more counter-narratives than there is actual advice.
As a general rule, I don’t address a lot of common objections to my columns. More often than not, I’ve actually addressed them in a related piece – and one I’ve usually linked to directly. The whole point of the blog is that these lessons are interconnected. There are reasons I throw links into every column like sprinkles on ice cream sundaes. Each column builds upon the others, after all.
However, there are certain objections, arguments and counter-narratives that come up regularly that are worth addressing.
There are legitimate issues and then there are excuses. And the problem is when we mistake one for the other. So let’s talk a bit about some of those arguments, shall we? Hang tight and read all the way to the end because it’s time for a bit of tough love.
Let’s do this.
Nobody is Cheating The System (Because There Is No System)
One of the most common complaints that I – or anyone in the advice biz – run into is “But that guy doesn’t have to do X!” No matter what the advice in question may be – from having your shit together to “maybe not be a complete asshole” – somebody will almost always pipe up with an objection. Most of the time, the cry of “BUT HE ISN’T DOING THIS!” is calling out a collection of stereotypes, rather than a person. The oh-so-clever “Chad Thundercock” of the Incel community isn’t an individual so much as a pile of anxieties given a name. So too is the nameless “asshole” that all women supposedly love, or the varying faceless leeches who reportedly get laid despite having no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
On a rare occasion, there will be a specific person pointed to – usually an acquaintance or someone vaguely remembered from high-school – who is supposedly an utterly repugnant individual and yet still gets more strange ass than a guy with an expense account at a mutated donkey auction. Which, y’know, happens. There are people who still think Chris Brown and Johnny Depp are hot buttered sex. But the fact that they exist doesn’t actually mean anything.
Regardless of whether it’s a real person or a “real” person, the question is the same: “why do I have to do this when he doesn’t?” The underlying complaint is simple: “it’s not fair that I am this amazing exemplar of humanity but this shit-stain gets what should be my rightful reward!”
Unfortunately, this complaint is built on a mountain of mistaken ideas. The first and foremost is that fair comes into the equation in the first place; it doesn’t. Fairness implies that attraction only happens for the worthy – and that you, somehow are the arbiter of what is worthy or not. But as I’ve said many times before: women aren’t Mjolnir, and getting laid has nothing to do with whether or not you meet an arbitrary definition of good or worth. There is no “Whomsoever shall part these legs, should they be worthy, shall have the power of Thunderdick” written over the pubic mound.
Amusingly enough, you see this from both sides. The Nice Guys who complain that their crush won’t accept their friendship tokens and upgrade the relationship to “fucking” are fundamentally no different from the people chanting the Red Pill credo of “alpha fux/beta bux”; the only difference is in what each is arguing makes one worthy enough to hold the hammer’s long hard handle. Nice Guys invent excuses as to why women won’t fuck them with the same frequency and fervor of Red Pillers having to explain why dudes who are demonstrably “not alpha, bro” manage to sleep with gorgeous women and have happy relationships. Logic gets twisted into rhetorical pretzels in order to maintain the illusion that there’s a system with rules when those rules are so frequently ignored.
But it’s easier to argue about exceptions to the rules than it is to examine what’s actually going on.
You Know Nothing1
Getting angry over someone who supposedly “breaks the rules” when it comes to dating and attraction is ultimately self-defeating. It’s an argument based on false assumptions and facts not in evidence. The most common argument – the classic “women like assholes and scumbags” – is a prime example of this. The “asshole” in question is usually an asshole because the complainer doesn’t like his success. If said asshole were off in a corner minding their own business, or wasn’t busy fucking someone the complainer was into, his existence would be a null-set; he’s just a thing that’s there, with no value one way or another. Jealousy and resentment is what makes us beg the question “what does this asshole have that I don’t?”
In reality though, the reason why these guys – whether they’re legitimate scumbags, or just someone you resent – are getting laid and you aren’t is that at the end of the day, they have something that those women want. You just don’t know what it is because you don’t know what’s actually going on. You are seeing a tiny fraction of their relationship and leaping to conclusions.
He may well be charming and delightful when he’s not giving you an atomic wedgie. He could be incredibly good at hiding the negative aspects of his personality and she just doesn’t know he sends photographs of jizzed on-selfies to people on Twitter who make him mad. She may be dating him because she’s stuck in a cycle of dating people who are bad for her and hasn’t reached the point of breaking out.
Alternately, she may be fucking him because she wants drugs and he’s got easy access to drugs. She might be with him because he may be a dickbag but she’s willing to tolerate him in small doses because he can lick his own eyebrows. Hell, she might be with him because she is as big of an asshole as he is.
You have no way of knowing. Even in circumstances where you know the people involved… you still don’t know everything. You aren’t watching a 24-hour, continuous live feed of the two of them. You are seeing a very specific interaction at a specific place and time and drawing the wrong conclusions. It’s the same logic that says “It’s not fair that I have to work myself to the bone for minimum wage when that guy gets to win the lottery!”
At best, you have survivorship bias in action. At worst, you’re missing rejecting reality and substituting your own… and that only works in Charles Band movies.
Some Guys Have All The Luck
What complicates things is a cultural belief that we’re not supposed to have to work at being good with women. We see people who are naturally socially gifted and assume that this is the default. They’re not even the only people getting lucky. They may be the flashiest or the loudest… but that just means they’re the ones you notice. There are millions of men and women who slip under the radar, having amazing love lives. You just aren’t seeing them.
But because we have those loud, shiny examples, we assume that they’re the only ones. Confirmation bias for the win, yo!
When we aren’t aren’t as at ease with social interactions, it feels like a moral failing on our part. It becomes a sign that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us. It’s part and parcel of the issue of why it feels “unfair” that some people seem to be breaking the rules. When we follow the approved guidelines and fail, yet somebody else seems to ignore them and is rewarded, we feel cheated. Now not only are we seemingly punished for following “the rules”, but it confirms that belief that we’re flawed at our core.
Of course, if that were true, there wouldn’t be such a glut of subreddits, YouTube channels, how-to wikis, blogs, books2 and podcasts3 about how to do better socially. But socialization is a motherfucker and it’s hard to break that feeling that this should be something we already know how to do.
This isn’t helped by the fact that culturally, we’re taught that social success with women is a binary. Either you’re good with women or you’re not, and there’s no changing that. Worse, admitting that you’re not good with women and wanting to improve is the mark of a loser. Part of why the pick-up scene was heaped with scorn (y’know, besides the misogyny and coercive tactics) was because it was “losers” trying to get laid. Not only are they trying to step outside their coverage but wow it doesn’t even work ho ho ha ha it is to laugh.
This is a trope that gets reinforced repeatedly in popular culture; the guy who goes looking for lessons on how to to do better with girls is a figure for mockery.
Movies and shows where the socially inept geek does eventually win his crush are treated as bona fide miracles rather than any real personal development. Even movies that are ostensibly on the side of someone learning to do better still portray the hapless socially awkward guy as someone to laugh at. For all that we call them social “skills”, we still treat them as inherent talent rather than something that can be learned and practiced. We pretend that it’s something you’re born with rather than something learned and shaped through culture and socialization and then point to prodigies who “do everything wrong” as evidence of our own lack of worth.
People can have natural aptitudes for playing music or doing math. That doesn’t mean that nobody else is able to learn the violin or study differential calculus. You can still be a success without having been to the manor born; you just have to put in the effort. The fact that somebody else is more at ease with women or more naturally charismatic doesn’t mean the game is rigged against everyone else; it just means that they got lucky in a very specific area.
Hold On To Your Buts
More often than not, the objections to self-improvement and working towards social success involves more buts than a mid-90s rap video.
These come in a multitude of flavors, including “But women don’t…” or “but why should I have to…” Occasionally it will manifest as arguing about absurdly specific situations.
“But what about in this case?”
Sometimes it’s an invocation of the Fallacy of Relative Privation.
“But why are you focusing on this when there’s this other injustice out there?”
Other times, they will come in the form of trying to find inconsistencies to prove that something can’t be true.
“But you said this other thing here, therefore NONE of this is valid!”
A person’s reaction to The Grimes Test is an excellent example of this outlook. Here it is again:
If you don’t pass the test, what is your gut-level reaction? Do you get ready to argue with me in your head? Are you looking for reasons why this shouldn’t apply to you? Do you throw your hands up because it’s one more sign you’re a loser? Or do you decide to start cultivating interests and hobbies that will bring you social success?
Once you drill down through the usual objections, you get the same argument: “I don’t want to have to do something about this.”
Which, y’know, is fine. That’s a valid choice.
Don’t do anything.
The thing to remember is that a lot of these “buts” are instinctual. They’re less about what you need to do and far more about the fear of change. One of the great ironies of being human is that we fight our own best interests. Even when we know we need to do things differently, we struggle with it. We may not be happy… but we don’t want to put in the work to fix that. Misery sucks, but it’s a known state. It’s comfy. It doesn’t ask anything of you. It lets you be a martyr to an unfair system without having to do anything. This appeals to that sense of being cheated because it excuses us from responsibility or agency. Yeah, we’re lonely and upset, but hey, it’s not our fault. It’s society/women/whatever.
And what if we tried and it still didn’t work? What if all we got out of this was a more emotionally fulfilling life, full of intimacy, satisfying hobbies and close friends?! My God, is there no end to the horror?!
Hence the parade of buts. They give the fig leaf necessary to disregard any advice because otherwise… we might have to use it. The great irony, of course, is that people end up putting more effort in not improving than actually fixing things.
But this shouldn’t be surprising because…
Negativity Is Easy, Success Is Hard
Straight talk: part of what makes self-improvement difficult is that we all have an inherent negativity bias. It is literally easier to remember the bad things that happened to us than the good. It’s why complaining is so much easier than actually doing the work. Complaints feed on that bias. They validate the unfairness of it all and lines up nicely with the limitations that we already believe in. The more foundational those beliefs are? The more likely that challenging them triggers the backfire effect, which reinforces those beliefs.
Thus: you’re primed to believe almost anything that lines up with what you already think, even when it’s 100% pure, unadulterated, demonstrable
That bias also means that it’s far easier for us to fall to the dark side. The appeal of alt-right and Red Pill philosophy is far less that it works and more that it encourages anger and hate. Those feminists are stealing your manhood! Social Justice Warriors are going to ban your video game tiddy and accuse you of mind rape! Get your revenge by crushing that pussy! If you don’t commit to this, it’s because you’re a fucking cuck! Don’t be a cuck, cuck other people!
Look, there’s no question that self-improvement is hard. It takes time, effort and commitment. It can be demanding and frustrating. But there is no improvement without effort. You can nitpick all you want. You can argue. Go ahead and disregard literally everything if that’s your jam. But own what you’re doing. You’re spending your time arguing when you could be spending it making your life better. This is your only life. You can accept it and stay where you are.
Or you can build the one you want.
Up to you.