Off the Cuff #8, Hurricane Edition – “Where do my emotions come in?”

Hey Vichet,

A while back I read your blog about oneitis, and it made so much sense to me.It explained to me why I put these girls (whom I had thought at the time to be the “one”) in a certain light.

After that I started reading more about inner game and outer game (not too extensive but enough to get me to put myself out there) and as a result ended up meeting some great women.

However oneitis, among other things, had slowly crept back into my life and it has once again gotten me hurt. It’s difficult not to invest so much into women you put your time into.

I feel that if I don’t put my emotions into a situation where I want to move more towards a relationship then I won’t get anything out of it. However, I still end up failing and getting hurt.

Do you have any recommendations on how to possibly deal with your emotions when seeing women?

– “Jeff” from Reddit

Hey Jeff,

You ask a very good question. I mean, a lot of the advice I give is to protect you from (needless) heartache in the dating game.

But, if you’re supposed to put all your emotions aside and stay cool and calm about everything while you’re dating a lady… what’s the point?

If the dating game is all about putting up your guard and never trusting anyone, ever… why do it?

A good question indeed. Luckily, it’s got a VERY simple answer.

See, for you, the dating game is a scary, unpredictable place where you can get hurt, and that’s terrible and you have to avoid it at all cost.

For guys like me, the dating game is an unpredictable place, where getting hurt occasionally is okay, and if it happens, meh. We get over it.

The difference between you and me, is a concept you’re already familiar with – inner game.

In the context of Table Theory, it’s all about mutual independence.

See, right now, for you, a large part of your happiness is based on how well you do in dating. You’ve also gotten enough outer game down where you’ve been able to meet some cool women with moderate success.

But, where do you go from there?

The answer is wherever you want. But you’re still new at this. You need guidance.

For veterans, almost none of their overall happiness depends on whether or not they’re dating one, two, ten or a hundred girls.

It really doesn’t matter.

Know why?

Inner game.

I’ll use myself as an example. I have hobbies. I have a job. I keep busy with things that I love, that fulfill my life, that don’t depend on other people to fill in any “happiness gaps.”

Fill your life with the things you love (that have nothing to do with women), and that does two things.

  1. You bring a lot of value to the dating game. You become a happy, fun, interesting guy.
  2. When a girl leaves you for whatever reason, you have something to fall back on so that you don’t go into that “what do I do now” kind of depression I know you’re feeling.

Now, don’t get me wrong – when you really vibe with a girl, you will be invested in her. I don’t care how awesome you are as a person, if you meet a girl that you like, and you date, and she leaves, you’ll feel it.

What you need to realize is that that’s okay. You’ll get over it. It might take longer or shorter, but again, I guarantee you that if you have cool things going on in your life, the shitty post-relationship period that you’re experiencing is a lot easier to deal with.

At some point, if you want people to invest in you, you’ve got to invest in them. It is what it is. But, if the only things you have in your life are things other people are giving you – that’s what makes it so hard to let go and move on if those people take those things away.

Stand on your own two feet.

Having your own life outside of that person is simultaneously one of the biggest factors in moving on from a break-up, and also one of the biggest factors in keeping a girl from breaking up with you in the first place.

Hope that sheds some light. Be well, brotha!

-V

 

Off the Cuff #7 – “Vichet! How’d you get so fly?!”

How did you gain so much common sense when it comes to dating? Trial and error?

Mostly, yeah.

I did read a book called “The Dating Dictionary” by Doc Love. I recommend it – it’s a good starting point for opening your eyes to fear-based social conditioning, and how to overcome a lot of it.

Beyond that, I never read “The Game.” I have, however, discussed pick-up, dating, relationships, life, philosophy, and other abstract uselessness with other people, both in person and on the internet, for years.

A lot of what Erik Markovik and Owen Cook have said about pick-up have resonated with me… but more about life than about dating.

I guess that’s because I believe knowledge is knowledge, regardless of how you express it. Richard Feynman made a great distinction between knowing what something is called and knowing what it actually is:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05WS0WN7zMQ%5D

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a thinker, so I suppose that makes sense.

As for practical advice, I mostly just got out there, talked to people, examined myself, went through depression, came out of it with hobbies and life goals, and dated lots of women from lots of different backgrounds and circumstances along the way.

Look, I don’t consider myself a guru. I’m learning, just like everyone else. What I’d say I do have is the balls to put my name on my failures in a place for anyone with internet access to see. But, that’s not a huge difference – it’s not like I have more ability or value or talent than the next guy. I just have the willingness to be accountable to it, and use it in my life.

Here are some bullet points that have helped me in my completely aimless and roundabout (and ongoing) journey.

  • Pay attention to your instincts, but don’t be ruled by them.
  • Opinions are cheap – unless they’re coming from the people who really have your back.
  • On that note, evaluate who really has your back – if it’s no one, consider that you might be an asshole.
  • Always be willing to look at what you did wrong. If you have to, admit it to the people who have your back. Saying it out loud puts your ass on the line, and we’re more effective when there are stakes.
  • Never assume you have a secret exceptional skill that will swoop into your life and save the day when you least expect it. Instead, work on building the skills you know you want to have, so that YOU will swoop in and save the day some day.
  • You can only find happiness in your own drive to live life.
  • Physical activity is a time-tested, great way to learn what it’s like to live in the moment – being in the moment is something you will never understand unless you’ve been there.

Oh, wait, you wanted dating advice?

  • You’re not for everyone.
  • Not everyone’s for you.
  • One girl, regardless of how hot, is just one girl.
  • There is no “the one” – if you were immortal, you’d meet an infinite number of “the one.”
  • Be the expression of your potential, or be on the road to being the expression of your potential.
  • Don’t settle for anyone that takes away happiness from your life. Your happiness is not a negotiation with a third party, it’s a choice to be made by you.
  • Never underestimate the power of chemistry to draw out your stupidity.
  • Love is all you need… as long as you also have food, shelter, and a standard of living that doesn’t have you waking up and crying twice a week.

I have tons of these. They’re disorganized because, like my life, they have come at me randomly and at inopportune moments. Rarely do I ever actually think about them – I just live them. Remember what I said about how a tiger doesn’t have to think about being a tiger? Yeah, well, I’ve internalized a lot of this stuff. So here we have my blog that allows me to externalize them, all for you, for free.

You’re welcome, internet.

Off the Cuff #6 – “I’m worried my depression will make me date a guy I don’t feel attracted to.”

Hi Vichet,

I met this guy through a mutual friend and I never thought he was attractive enough for something to happen between us. Call it shallow, but he not really the kind of guy I want to be with.

So, since I didn’t feel any type of romance for him, becoming friends was pretty easy. We got along well enough but it wasn’t anything like “I’m so glad we’re friends!”

As time goes on, he admitted that I spun his head around (in the good way) and thought I was amazing. He begins to throw more flirtatious compliments out there and it gets to the point where it makes me angry. My gut would twist up, I would picture myself screaming at him to stop. It was.. creepy in a way.

Now, when we met, I wasn’t lonely or searching for any type of love. But, for the past couple months, I’ve been in a depression/anxiety spell. I also am home schooled so I didn’t have a lot of friends. Any person who gave me good attention, I fell in a love trance with, even if it wasn’t romantic. I adored anyone (still kind of do) who I have a good time with.

Because of this, I almost got into a relationship with another guy, but he left due to wanting different things.

This crushed me.

After that, I was extremely happy one moment, extremely depressed another. It was terrible. I lost a sense of who I was, and what I really wanted, and what wasn’t wanted. One day I want to be independent, and the next I feel like if I had friends and a boyfriend, I could be content.

Now, here’s the problem.

I’ve been thinking about the guy I’m not interested in. And I don’t want to. I almost feel like he unintentionally is manipulating my brain to like him.

When I’m too bored and alone for a while, he’s all I think about, and I hate it.

I’m scared that since I’m so desperate, I’ll take a chance with him, and he’ll be a good boyfriend to the point I would never leave and never get to experience all of the types of guys I dream about being with.

Some people have said take a chance. But what if I take a chance and realize I couldn’t like him at all and he would be let down, again? Worse, what if I take a chance and confuse myself into liking him, and never leave?

I deeply apologize for the length, but I thought you should know everything, for you to have a final answer.

Confused Girl from Reddit

Hi Confused Girl from Reddit,

I’m gonna cut to the chase – your depression is the real problem. Not the guys who left. Not the guy who annoys you. Depression.

Get rid of your depression in ANY way you can. See a counselor/therapist, take up more hobbies, follow your passions, pursue life, do what you need to do. If you are depressed, and I speak from experience, everything you do will be affected by it, in many cases completely ruined by it.

Now, before you get all scared by what I just said, let me clarify something. Depression is a HUGE problem, yes, but only if you let it be one. You have a choice in how you let it affect your day-to-day life, even if it’s so bad you think you can’t do anything about it.

In my experience, my biggest success battling depression was to make sure my feelings didn’t keep me from doing what I have to do in order to be happy.

Some days I would wake up and lay in bed thinking “what’s the point?” The reasons would be different every day – “no one cares,” “nothing’s going my way,” “nothing’s going to change.” That kind of stuff. It was like that on and off for a couple years during high school and college, and then really severe after I graduated college.

So, listening to those thoughts and feelings, I would make bad decisions based on them.

I stopped eating healthily and stopped exercising. Stuff like that took work and thought, and who wants to do work and put in effort when they’re feeling down? So, I decided to give up my good habits, just because I felt depressed.

As usual, the bad effects then made me feel MORE depressed. I gained weight, had all sorts of weird health problems, and was tired all the time. More than 3 days a week, I would literally lay in bed all day, doing nothing, or otherwise spending my time playing video games so I wouldn’t have to think.

I managed to graduate anyway, pouring what little effort I had left into the one thing I still enjoyed doing: writing. Things got worse, because like you, the person I loved at the time broke up with me.

On top of all of that, I didn’t have a job – and returning home without one became a huge factor in my depression. I felt like I owed people – my parents, my school (who gave me a TON of money to attend), my friends and family who all felt like I was going somewhere big. I felt like I disappointed them. I felt talentless, useless, and like a waste of space.

That’s depression – persistent negative feelings that you feel like you just can’t shake.

And, I would use those feelings as an excuse not to apply for jobs, or do anything worthwhile, because I wouldn’t see the point.

You could see how this contributes to a vicious cycle.

All that was small fries compared to this one, BIG misconception that depression had me believing: I began to look for other people that I thought could get me out of it. I started clinging onto girls just because I thought maybe they’d make me happy.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and I wasted three years doing that, when I could have been getting better.

You CANNOT put your happiness on other people. They will not only resent you for it, but they can’t provide that for you even if they wanted to.

So, I reached a breaking point. That’s when, luckily, my mom gave me a book. Larry Winget’s “Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life“. A lot of the things he said resonated with me.

Specifically, and I forget the exact quote, but I’ll try to get the gist of it here:

If I continued living my life trying to avoid difficulty and any kind of hard work to make my life better, using the excuse that I’m avoiding bad feelings, I would just make those bad feelings worse.

Somehow, one day, I just decided that enough was enough.

I started doing all the things that my depression made me give up. I made myself make choices that I’d been avoiding every day for years. They were tough choices to make, because when you’re depressed and don’t want to do anything – well, you don’t want to do anything.

But, see, that’s the big trick of depression – you’re asking yourself “what’s the point” because you think that unless something makes you happy right away as you do it, it’s not worth it and will never contribute anything to your life.

Problem is, the best pay-offs in life aren’t immediate. This is where Larry Winget’s philosophy came in big: “It’s called work for a reason,” he says. You have to put in the time to get the pay-off. Sometimes, you’ll get no pay-off, sure, and that’s just life. But the one guarantee in life is that if you do nothing, you’ll get nothing.

I took that and ran with it. I started eating right. I started exercising. I applied for 15 jobs a day. I wrote furiously. I took dance classes. I stayed busy with the things I knew I loved, even though my depression was trying to tell me every day that I didn’t want to wake up and do all that work because “it’s pointless.”

It didn’t change overnight. It was hard, and I fell off the wagon a lot. But I kept at it for months. Then years. Now, it’s how I live.

But eventually, I did notice changes. I started smiling more. I started thinking less about how “there was no point.” I started noticing that I was good at things again. I started noticing that I liked DOING things again.

I’ve had ups and mild downs since then, but overall, every down was followed by a more powerful UP, and it’s because I’m making good decisions for myself.

It’s not about being perfect. I fail a lot. But I learn every time, and the biggest thing I’ve learned was to not let negative, self-defeating attitudes keep me from doing what I need to get done to be happy.

I know it’s tough, but you CAN do it, and when you break the vicious cycle, your life starts spiraling UP instead of down.

Remember – what you do today has an effect on how you feel tomorrow. If you make bad decisions because you feel bad today, you will feel worse tomorrow.

Everyone has bad days – but bad days turn into depression when we use them as excuses for bad decisions like “I don’t feel well enough to do that today,” or “I’m going to eat two whole pizzas because I feel sorry for myself” (the second is something I’ve done multiple times per week in college).

This is the only point I will speak to because it’s the root of EVERY single issue you brought up to me.

You’re depressed. You’re looking for a way out, but you’re looking for that way out from other people instead of yourself.

This has you thinking about the guy you don’t like, but who is willing to bolster your self-esteem. That may work for a little while, but ultimately, you’ll resent him again because you will feel like you owe him for being around.

Some people have said take a chance.

Yes. Take a chance – but not on HIM. Take a chance on YOU. Take a chance on finding out what YOU want out of life, and what YOU want to be able to say about yourself before you die. We all end up in the same place in the end – but trust me, you will care about how you get there.

Men are not what you need right now. You need to be independent and HAPPY.

Then the men you choose to spend your time with will truly be a choice based on preference, rather than a choice based on perceived necessity.

I know you’re a girl, but you need to read the entire “Dating Doctrine” series that I wrote, and also my article on “Mutual Independence.”

You also sound young – this is a good thing because you have so much of your life ahead of you. Reaching these fight or flight moments earlier, even though they’re really tough, can be a good thing – the triumphs, and even the failures, will put you ahead of others your age.

Never be afraid to take a chance on yourself, because failure isn’t the end of the world. Take that from an Asian guy who would get grounded for A- work when he was younger.

Hope it all works out for you – even better, it will work out for you because you will make the choices you need to make to be happy, regardless of how you feel at the time of action.

-V

Off the Cuff #5 – “She wants some time to think about it.”

Dear Vichet,

I asked a girl out yesterday, after a pseudo-date, and she said she wanted some time “to think about it.” What does that mean?

To set up the situation, I’m 26, male, and this was a girl I met a year ago in grad school (we’re both still in school). We talked, exchanged contact info, fb – I think there was some chemistry there, but that could just be me being clueless – but lost track for a year.

I called her up a couple weeks ago, to catch up over a coffee or something since we hadn’t seen each other in a year. She agreed, and we met up, grabbed a beer and talked for a couple hours, and by this time I was really interested.

I told her I go out salsa dancing, and she wanted to learn. So, I suggested she accompany me to a salsa party a week later. Which she did. We went there, had a good time. At the end of the night, I asked her out, and she says “Can I have some time to think about it?”

Am I reading too much into this, or is that a flat out NO?

I sincerely think we had a great time together.

John from Philly

Hi John (from Philly. Woo!),

First, I’m filing this as a “this one girl” question. Those kinds of questions are unhealthy if she really is the only girl in your dating pool. I hope that you’re outgoing enough that this girl is the one you ask about out of dozens that you’ve been seeing over the last few months. If you’re not, be more outgoing!

Being more outgoing doesn’t have to mean dates. Just hang with friends. Meet women casually. Get to know them. That will teach you more than anything on my site. I’m just a guide – you have to take the steps.

Anyway, there are a couple of things here that are clear signals to me that you’re placing a whole lot of value on whether or not this woman is interested in you.

I understand that. We’ve all been there, standing on nails waiting for a call, a smile, a compliment, a touch of the hand, a kiss – whatever it is we needed at the time to think “YES! She’s really into me!”

I’m gonna tell you right now that that approach and attitude will not help you.

So, let go of all those unnecessary expectations. She’s a girl. You’re attracted to her. That’s it. You’re not invested yet, so don’t act like you are.

That, and if you continue to be your fun, outgoing, cool self, and she’s into that, you’ll know it in time. All you’d have to do is make a move, and that’d be that.

That said, I need to tell you that I think this girl is on the fence about you. You ARE reading too much into it. On the other hand, her actions are not a flat out “no.” But, if she’s not letting you kiss her, or agreeing right away, you might as well treat it as a flat out “no” – for now.

If you’re really stuck on this girl (we’ve been there), I’ll tell you that it’s not BAD when when a girl is on the fence about you. It’s just not particularly good, either. You can make the right choices, and she’ll get more interested, but that requires you to back off for a bit. I’ll outline some of those below.

What you need to do first is realize overall is that you’re much more interested in her than she is in you, and that can cause you to make certain decisions that will turn her off of you.

If your interest level is much higher than a woman’s, you will tend to do lots of (questionable, ineffective) things to get her to pay attention to you. Some prime examples of what many guys (but not you, because I’ll tell you what to do) in your situation would do:

  • Make lots of concessions, trying to force the date by making it as irresistible and easy (and thus easy to refuse or flake on) for the woman as possible
  • Clearing the schedule to make yourself super available
  • Suggesting tons of things she wants to do and trying to squeeze yourself in
  • Basically, conditioning all of your behaviors on the possible reward of going out with said “one girl”

Sheesh. That sounds like a lot of maneuvering, don’t it? That’s because it is. Like Spiderman on Mary-Jane.

Remember: when a woman is interested, it’s easy to get her to go out with you.

I’m not saying she’ll never be interested in you. She spent time with you – that’s a plus. She’s on the fence. You might be able to make this work.

Here’s how:

  1. Continue being interesting – continue to prioritize your life and your passions as if this girl isn’t a factor (she’s not).
  2. Continue meeting new people, and making more friends. This will keep your mind off of her, and keep you from losing the priorities you’ve so carefully made in step 1.
  3. Continue approaching life realizing it’s so much bigger than your Friday night date plans – you’re in grad school, right? Own it!
  4. Use the zeal from step 3 to keep upgrading yourself. Help your true friends along, too. True friendship is an investment that pays back in spades.

Now, notice how none of that advice had anything to do with this “one girl?”

That’s because you never become more attractive to “one girl.” You never build strategy around “one girl.”

You’re either attractive, or not, and that’s to women in general. It’s an overall trend, not a point on a graph.

Thing is, you follow those steps, and you’ll likely run into another girl, who isn’t on the fence, who meshes with you better.

Or, this girl will come around, see you in a different light, and be down like Charlie Brown.

Either way, you have to employ the same strategy of being cool, fun, outgoing, and driven, because that’s a strategy for your life, and everything in it – including women.

Don’t make this girl a priority. She’s not your girlfriend, and she’s on the fence.

Back off a bit to keep working on you, and she might come around – and even if she doesn’t, hey, you’re becoming cooler and more attractive to women in general.

Hope that puts things in perspective.

-V

Off the Cuff #4 – “She’s ‘not looking to date anyone.’ What do I do?”

Hey Vichet,

I’m 20, male, my relationship started off as the “I’m not looking to date anyone right now” uphill battle, but now we’re basically having fun with each other and making out at least once a week.

We’re still not officially together, but should I continue this?

I want a relationship with her so do I just let her know and if she’s still “eh I don’t wanna date anyone,” just end it or keep having fun with her?

Thanks!

– “Mikey,” 20, Male

This will sound a lot more cut and dry than it feels for you, Mikey. That’s because it’s exactly that – cut and dry.

Try to remove your feelings about the situation from the reality of it. That’s what makes things confusing.

Now, I get that you have fun with this girl, and that she’s giving you her time and such. But, it’s kind of a big thing when a girl says she “doesn’t want to date anyone right now.”

“But Vichet, you always tell me to ignore what a girl says and just watch what she does – she’s still making out with me all the time, so what’s the deal?”

I know, I know, I said that many times in my two posts on womanese, here and here.

Here’s this kicker, which I mentioned in the second of those two articles – a girl has to like a guy a lot more to commit to being in a relationship with him than she does to fool around with him.

Here’s a chart that will visually explain it:

It’s all so clear now, isn’t it?

All that would be irrelevant if you were cool with just being friends with benefits.

However – you’re not cool with being friends with benefits. You started off saying you wanted a relationship with this girl. She doesn’t want that.

That’s where we have problems.

If she wanted a relationship with you, too, then you’d already be in one.

In order for her to want that, you’d have to be doing something different than you are now. Whatever you’re doing, it’s good enough to bang, but not good enough to commit to.

Solution: work on yourself. And don’t make it about this girl.

What things do you have going on outside of dating? Focus on those. You’re young – probably still in college, or just starting to work. Find your passions in life – find out what you want to be able to say about yourself.

A funny thing will happen when you start pursuing those passions – you will become more attractive. You will be the guy other women hope to catch. You’ll stop looking for validation from this girl.

If you want to have fun, fine – but make sure you’re not using this girl as a band-aid for other things in your life that you need to be doing better.

Hope it all works out for you.

-V