When you smother someone, you hem in their independence and make it seem as if you have nothing better to do with your time. You are perceived as someone with low social value and even less sexual attraction. There’s no mystery or compelling reason for others to be interested in you because you’ve already presented them with everything they could want from you (we’ll be looking at this principle in more detail later in the book).
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Michael is a long-time client, and when I think back to where we started, it’s startling. When we first met, he characterized himself as an introvert, although I quickly learned that his self-assessment was mostly a cover for his lack of social confidence and lack of confidence in general. He was twenty-nine years old, had never had a girlfriend, and had never even kissed a girl. I knew something deeper than just being an introvert was holding him back. Long before we met, he had made assumptions about how to treat women, and no one had ever corrected him or showed him why those assumptions were wrong. Unfortunately those assumptions and the results he was getting only further cemented his poor opinion of himself. With my prompting, he began to use online dating sites and dating apps. He was able to get some matches, and one of our first coaching sessions was about how to keep a conversation going with a woman—which can be nerve-wracking even for those of us who call ourselves social butterflies and natural flirts. Michael was at a dead end and didn’t know what to do. He genuinely had begun to think that there was something deeply unattractive about him. But there wasn’t! Michael wasn’t boring or off-putting in conversation; he just needed to learn how to structure a conversation to be more interesting. He showed me a text conversation between him and a female friend whom he was interested in—and that’s when a pattern became obvious.If his goal was to make his female friend like him in the way he wanted her to, he was accomplishing absolutely the opposite. 1. He was sending her three texts for every one she sent, and although her replies were one sentence at most, his were voluminous. If his texts had been green and hers blue, the screen would have looked like the fairway on a golf course. 2. He was making it painfully clear that he was constantly clearing his entire schedule for her and that spending even a minute of time with her was his first, second, and third priority. He said as much explicitly and made sure to always inquire about her availability weeks in advance. 3. He was sending the text equivalent of chain email messages such as “How’s your Monday going?” and “Happy hump day!” just to be able to start conversations that had died the previous day.Michael’s initial question to me was about why she seemed to be pulling away even though they had so much fun when they hung out. He really liked this girl, and was treating her with what he thought was a flattering amount of attention. What was going wrong? I had my own ideas about how those hangouts actually went and why she was getting as cold as a glacier toward him.The answer is likely plain as day to you as well: too much, too eager, too available, all too soon. When you smother someone, you hem in their independence and make it seem as if you have nothing better to do with your time. You are perceived as someone with low social value and even less sexual attraction. There’s no mystery or compelling reason for others to be interested in you because you’ve already presented them with everything they could want from you (we’ll be looking at this principle in more detail later in the book).I told him as much, and my explanation hinged on understanding people’s psychology and what makes them want something. But even beyond psychology, I had to tell Michael that sex, dating, relationships . . . they were all about attraction. How much we attract one another boils down to the unconscious triggers that make people act one way versus another. It was logical and instinctual, but there was no hard evidence I could generally use to explain it. You generally know the logic, but it can be difficult to articulate because your argument can also be boiled down to “Well, this is my opinion from my experiences.” I had plenty of anecdotal knowledge from my own experiences and even those of other clients, but I thought there must be other things I could draw on to support my advice and opinion.This got me thinking—I know that I have a pretty good chance of being correct when I make reads like that, but was there a way I could bolster and improve my understanding of what makes people act unconsciously? Even better, could I find peer-reviewed studies of the unconscious markers that create effective flirting, lead to sex, and emulate love?This book takes what I have learned about human psychology and combines it with hard evidence to give you a real path toward engineering attraction and feelings of love. It takes actions you perform sometimes but don’t know why and gives you a nifty guideline to follow to actually subconsciously create the effect you intend to.Everyone likes to parade their opinion as gospel, but that’s because they form their opinions based on a sample size of one—themselves. Here, let’s use the data from thousands and let you date better based on facts and evidence, which actually provides an objective solution to your dating troubles. The solution for Michael’s texting woes was simpler than most because it played mostly on one pretty common psychological factor—availability. As you’ll see, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that we tend to think that people are less available have higher mater value, and are therefore more attractive. My prescription for Michael was to avoid always initiating the conversation, to match the intervals of her replies, to actively spend time with other women, and to be less available when making plans with her. Now, I get it: most situations are much more complex than this one, but when you can make something as unpredictable as emotion and attraction a little bit more predictable, it gives you a massive advantage in generating the type of attraction you’ve always wanted. Our focus here will not be on opinion but on taking peer-revied research and creating ways to apply their findings to our everyday life. Sometimes, the common wisdom will be vindicated, but sometimes you may be surprised that the old gender stereotypes are not always accurate or useful. Is this book for people who are looking to increase their chances of getting the opposite sex into bed, or is it for those who value long-term relationships and marriage? Well, it’s both. The reason is because both journeys usually start with that all important step: attraction. Luckily, even though attraction seems so hard to put your finger on, the science can help us understand what actually makes us look like good potential mates—and what doesn’t. My hope is that whatever your ultimate goal for yourself, you are able to use this book as part textbook and part instruction to help you build the kind of romantic connections you want.