External Link: “Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think”

For dating, confidence is key and one of the best ways to get that confidence is to live an authentic life. This means ditching the obsession of worrying about what others think, and getting comfortable with being who you want to be. This ultimately attracts people who like you for being you.

“Wait But Why” has an excellent post dealing with exactly this. It calls that obsession a “Social Survival Mammoth” and introduces the notion of a “Puppet Master”:

a person or group of people whose opinion matters so much to you that they’re essentially running your life. A Puppet Master is often a parent, or maybe your significant other, or sometimes an alpha member of your group of friends.
We crave the Puppet Master’s approval more than anyone’s, and we’re so horrified at the thought of upsetting the Puppet Master or feeling their nonacceptance or ridicule that we’ll do anything to avoid it.

It contrasts this with your “Authentic Voice” that:

knows how you feel deep down about things like money and family and marriage, and it knows which kinds of people, topics of interest, and types of activities you truly enjoy, and which you don’t.

The post explains why listening to the Mammoth and Puppet Masters – instead of your Authentic Voice (AV) – is so dangerous:

When you don’t know who you are, … instead of digging deep into the foggy center of what you really believe in to find clarity, you’ll look to others for the answers. Who you are becomes some blend of the strongest opinions around you.

Losing touch with your AV also makes you fragile, because when your identity is built on the approval of others, being criticized or rejected by others really hurts.

It describes ways to identify the obsessive thoughts that are running your life, by looking for these clues:

1. where your fear is — where are you most susceptible to shame or embarrassment? What parts of your life do you think about and a dreadful, sinking feeling washes over you? Where does the prospect of failure seem like a nightmare? … If you were giving advice to yourself, which parts of your life would clearly need a change that you’re avoiding acting on right now?

2. the way-too-good feelings you get from feeling accepted … Are you a serious pleaser at work or in your relationship? Are you terrified of disappointing your parents and do you choose making them proud over aiming to gratify yourself?

3. anywhere you don’t feel comfortable making a decision without “permission” or approval from others.

The post concludes with why it’s important to listen to your authentic voice, and be who you want to be, rather than being a people-pleaser:

Being approved of by one type of person means turning another off. So obsessing over fitting in with any one group is illogical, especially if that group isn’t really who you are. You’ll do all that work, and meanwhile, your actual favorite people are off being friends with each other somewhere else.
You can start to relish the feeling of being viewed as weird or inappropriate or confusing to people, and society becomes your playground and blank canvas, not something to grovel before and hope for acceptance from.

Ultimately, the “Wait But Why” post talks about being more secure in who you are and reducing your anxiety levels. This lets you live a more fulfilling life and also makes dating much easier.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!


Coping with Rejection

Taxi Dispatcher: Where’s the pickup?
Me: Grand Central Station.
Taxi Dispatcher: What’s the address of the station?
Me: I don’t know.
Taxi Dispatcher: *hangs up*

Rejection happens in life – whether it’s from arguing an internet bill with Road Runner or a job interview. Or of course dating. At least with job interviews, employers aren’t supposed to discriminate based on age and looks for example. However, with dating, everyone intentionally discriminates based on these things!

Rejection stings. If it doesn’t, you’re probably not human. You could try to structure your life to avoid rejection (e.g. never ask someone out) but then you would be avoiding life (e.g. staying single). To have meaning in your life, rejection is going to be inevitable so we all need tools to lessen the pain. Here is my three step approach:

1. Understand: We need to understand that rejection is not necessarily a reflection of our worth as people. There are many reasons for rejection that are out of your control e.g. you didn’t have good role models growing up, the other person is having a bad day, has other preferences, or even has a hidden agenda.

2. Accept: A rejection will continue to nag at us – and we can never truly move on – if we don’t accept that it happened. Maybe you did or said something cringeworthy, but everyone makes mistakes. So spend some time to grieve and to acknowledge the hurt or the loss. But then accept that this is the past and cannot be changed, and more importantly realize that everything in the future is your chance at a fresh start.

3. Improve: Now that you feel a bit better about what happened, think about just one thing that you could improve (e.g. clothing, a different haircut, or something you said). But don’t be so hard on yourself and second-guess every single thing that happened on that date. And at some point in the future, try the improvement.

Over time, by following this approach, you will be able to put increasing distance between the negative feelings from rejection and your feelings about yourself. Rejection will become something that you recognize but will feel less shameful about.

On a final note, I disagree with the approach of intentionally flooding your life with rejection to “get over it”. I think too much rejection can cement negative feelings. Additionally, the notion of “getting over it” is straight from toxic masculinity where men pretend not to feel emotions, such as the ones caused by rejection. Sociopaths don’t feel bad after rejection – don’t emulate sociopaths!

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

You Don’t Have Time to Pretend to be Someone Else

I used to read advice about what to do to meet someone. It usually went something like this:

  1. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  2. Join a kickball league
  3. Do ballroom dancing
  4. Watch stand-up comedy
  5. And even hang out at a coffee shop to hit on strangers!

And I was apparently supposed to do all of the above. Every Single Week. On top of a fulltime job.

So my question was this: When do I get time for hobbies?

As I sat half-asleep on the subway ride to work, I considered this problem and realized how long my typical workday was:

  • Sleep (8 hours)
  • Breakfast & getting ready in the morning (1.5 hours)
  • Getting to work (1 hour)
  • Working (9 hours because they didn’t want to pay me for lunch)
  • Gettting back home (1 hour)
  • Cooking & eating dinner (1 hour)
  • Getting ready for bed (0.5 hours)

This tallied up to 22 hours out of 24. And I didn’t even include time for paying bills, doing the laundry, or even calling my mother – not to mention my boss asking me to stay for overtime.

I came to the realization that if I had at most 2 spare hours per day, I had better be intentional with those 2 hours. If I wasted my time on things that I didn’t care about, I would deny myself the opportunity to do things that I did care about. In other words, I would deny myself the ability to be me – I’m looking at you, ballroom dancing.

So life is literally too short to pretend to be someone else. The Pretending You is always unsure of who they are, always ready to shift their opinions and desires at a moment’s notice to fit in. How can women see you as confident in who you are, when you actually aren’t?

So instead of following a cookie cutter recipe of “do these activities to meet women”, do what you are actually passionate about. You’ll have fun and your authenticity will attract women that appreciate the Real You. Yes, the Real You who loves basket-weaving – as she does – instead of the Pretending You.

And that is the secret to dating.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

How Dating Actually Works For Normal People – External Link: “So You’re Not Desirable …”


Many of us have long suspected that a lot of beautiful people quickly pick romantic partners based on looks alone and easily form such relationships. The question then is how does everyone else date?

This article answers that question: People start out as just friends without any expectation of dating. Over time, couples are formed when two people get to know each other’s unique personality and start perceiving each other’s specific uniqueness as attractive. At that point, physical beauty matters a lot less.

My takeaways from this article are:

1. It’s time to cut the political correctness: Whether you are hot or not is a real thing. Contrary to many wishful opinion pieces on the web, this article states that the concept of “mate value” actually exists in scientific literature. In the book Shyness & Love (see Resources), this is known as “social stimulus value”. Elsewhere on the internet, this is referred to as “sexual market value (SMV)” but unfortunately, this term is primarily used by misogynists.

2. Get to know people: Following on from the previous point, if you aren’t hot, don’t try to date the way hot people date – stop expecting people to instantly fall in love with you. Instead, get to know many people – even people who aren’t your “type” – and get to know people at a level that is more than just skin deep. Who you end up finding attractive may surprise you.

3. You don’t need to be “Alpha” to be successful at dating: In other words, you don’t need to be the hottest, richest, and most muscular guy in the world with the biggest car and the biggest waterfront property: You just need a unique personality that you are proud of and can confidently share with other people. The TV series The Big Bang Theory depicts the reality that even geeky physicists who are not considered conventionally attractive by any means eventually meet partners by being proud of who they are and by being different in their own ways.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!


Whenever a guy says “I’m so nice but women ignore me or treat me badly”, I commonly hear the retort that “being nice isn’t worth anything, because it’s the baseline for getting a relationship”. This is usually followed by an attack on how the guy has allegedly nothing going for them other than their niceness, and maybe even a further attack about how even their niceness is fake.

So let’s think for a moment about some guys who are in relationships – say Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich. They’re married (three times in Gingrich’s case), and I’m sure they’re both fine and accomplished people, but is “nice” really the first adjective you’d use to describe either of them? My point is that while being nice is an admirable trait and generally leads to healthier relationships, it is not actually a requirement for dating (sadly).

The real problem isn’t that a guy is too nice – it’s that he’s too generous. Consider this scenario: Stewie tells my friend Leonard that he (Stewie) isn’t doing well and asks for $70,000 immediately to make ends meet. Stewie adds that if Leonard doesn’t help, Leonard would be complicit in destroying Stewie’s marriage and career, since Stewie wouldn’t be able to buy a pink Mercedes for his wife and golf games for potential corporate clients.

Here, Stewie is violating boundaries by manipulating Leonard into putting Stewie’s interests ahead of Leonard’s own interests. But Leonard shouldn’t be pressured to solve other people’s problems. Now, Leonard is entitled to help Stewie if Leonard wants to, but he shouldn’t feel guilty about refusing to do so. Leonard’s financial needs & wants are important, and Stewie’s needs & wants shouldn’t be placed ahead of Leonard’s, unless Leonard is actually OK with it.

Nice guys aren’t just unlucky – they are being specifically targeted!

Now it becomes clear why nice guys always end up being treated badly by people in general – women or men: there are predators in the world, like Stewie, who can spot over-generosity and target people like Leonard because they’re easy victims. Nice guys aren’t just unlucky – they are being specifically targeted!

We wouldn’t tell an assault or rape victim that they were attacked because they were weak. So we shouldn’t call victims like Leonard weak either. Instead, we should tell it like it is – that Leonard’s unfortunate experiences are both real and unfortunate. After that, we should encourage victims to develop firmer boundaries and be on the look out for predators exploiting their generosity.

But how does all this relate to dating? Well, some predatory women also smell Leonard as an easy target and string him along for money, favors, etc. Leonard might sense that these women are using him and don’t really like him. However, he fails to acknowledge his gut instinct or even clear evidence that something is wrong. Due to cognitive dissonance, he rationalizes his over-generosity instead of cutting these women out of his life e.g.:

* She needs his money to fly to Hawaii to meet her ex-boyfriend that she has “absolutely no feelings for”.

* Having just met, she demands that Leonard drive her to work at 5am every second morning, as if she – an adult – had not been capable of catching the bus before.

* She says that Leonard has to pay her college tuition because she has decided to stop asking her parents for money and because Leonard makes so much money that he would be cruel to not help her.

In all these cases, the woman is asking that Leonard put her interests ahead of his own. Unless Leonard really wants to do these things, he should maintain firm boundaries and say no. Consider these three possibilities:

1. The woman is actually giving Leonard a “shit test” to see he is “weak”: While she is a master manipulator and drama queen who needs to be dumped, she actually wants Leonard to say no anyway.

2. Leonard says yes: This is like giving a mouse a cookie. The predatory woman will make increasingly unreasonable demands until Leonard has to finally say no, at which point she will dump him.

3. Leonard says no: The woman dumps him because he’s a “jerk”. He might well be lonely for a while, but his firm boundaries mean that he’s actually dodged the bullet of an unreasonable woman. He can now spend time looking for someone better, because he deserves someone better.

The good news is that predators are the minority regardless of what The Red Pill or the right-wing might tell you. Most people are just living their lives and aren’t out to get you or Leonard. It’s only predators who are out to specifically target overly-generous people / nice guys. Simply put, the way to beat predators is to say no. They won’t stick around and you’ll eventually meet someone who respects your boundaries.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

External Link: “To Text or Not to Text: A Dating Conundrum” by The New York Times

This is an amusing article highlighting the importance of being straightforward with dating – don’t expect men or women to read your mind, just ask for what you want:

During the week, as our text volleys continued in that conversational way, I kept expecting that he would ask me out again, but not once did he mention another date.

I never initiated this texting because that seemed too forward.

I made a decision [some time later]. He either had to ask me out on a real date, in person, or I would put an end to this silliness. I gave him a deadline (only in my mind, of course) of that Friday.


My friend Sam recently met Simone, Gabby, and Madison at a freshmen “Welcome to College” party at their dorm. Sam felt that they really hit it off and looked forward to hanging out with them again.

A week later, Sam was walking through the cafeteria with a meal tray, looking for a place to sit. Sam was excited to see the three women and a number of potential new friends sitting at a table in the center, and said “hi!”. Gabby turned to Sam, responded with a bored “hi”, and then immediately turned back to the group conversation. No one made room around the table so Sam stood there awkwardly for about 10 seconds, before leaving due to the lack of a welcome.

Upset at this apparent rejection, Sam asked me why it was so hard to make friends and why women were being so cold. As a good friend, I realized that I had to tell Sam “The Truth”: People like Sam are entitled assholes who expect they should be able to walk up to women, rattle off a few clever lines, and demand that those same women entertain them in the future. These people see women as objects to be “picked up” or trophies to be won. And worst of all, they get angry when women see through their put-on “Nice” persona and rightfully reject them for the scumbags they are. Maybe if they stopped being such misogynists, women would actually like them.

There is only one problem with this story: Sam is not a heterosexual man looking for a date. My friend Samantha (Sam) is a feminist heterosexual woman looking for platonic friends. And of course I didn’t say all those mean things to her!

The point I’m making is that too often people who say these kinds of mean things are jumping to conclusions about the motives of others they don’t like (and/or don’t find attractive). These mean people engage in intellectual gymnastics by inventing a narrative that those others are despicable, without necessarily knowing much about them – all while they are cheered on by armchair Social Justice Warriors on Tumblr.

Now, make no mistake. There are entitled misogynistic men. Sometimes, we encounter men who who have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. But some, I assume, are just good people — people who might just not be particularly popular or attractive. And while no one is entitled to be anyone’s friend or lover, do we need to impugn their reputation just because they dared to ask?

The flip side is that sometimes people who bring forward the asshole and “fake nice” accusations are simply projecting the fact that they themselves are assholes. And they get away with it because they are attractive and/or popular assholes. Let me give you an example. Madison posted this on the freshman Facebook page for her degree:


I have a friend who needs a ride up from New Jersey to New York City on the 17th at lunchtime. Would anyone be willing to do that?

Person: That’s pretty far. I think it’s going to be hard to find someone 😦 Good luck my friend!

Madison: I don’t need luck or unhelpful commentary. I need someone who will drive him.

And the crazy thing is that many people actually jump through hoops to appease people like Madison no matter how obnoxious she is. People might bend over backwards, doing favor after favor that Madison twists their arm for but at any point in the future, Madison could flip around and accuse them of having ulterior motives.

So my advice is that there is no point trying to befriend or date people who don’t respect you. Instead, associate yourself with kind people, try not to take rejections so deeply, and ignore the background noise of any mean things that are said.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!