Part 4: Go in expecting nothing, and you might come out with something


(OkCupid original post date: 5/2/12)

Quick vocab lesson if you didn’t read the first post about nice guys:

“Safe” – Predictable, caring, very nice guys who you know will drop everything to be with you, eager to please, very sweet. The type of guy you’d want to have a family with – good father, dependable, doesn’t cheat, etc. The type of guy who often ends up in the friend zone.

“Unsafe” – It’s about being your own person. Not being needy, being independent, being self-assured, making your own decisions, and not caring so much about what other people think about you. Someone who doesn’t need a lot of validation from others and has an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude.

Also, for reference: The safe/unsafe chart.


Today’s thoughts are about shifting your expectations and how this can result in attracting women. It involves the concept of people wanting things that are rare. The goal is for you to be rare, which is the opposite of being common, or easily available.

I’ll start off with a personal story. It was the summer of 2008, and I had just gotten out of a serious three-year long relationship. I was too young to settle down, and was eager for the next chapter of my life to begin. I packed my things, moved to a new city, and enrolled in a summer class at the local university. I moved into a dorm-style housing complex, specially selected because it was filled with people from all different walks of life. The last thing I wanted was to get into another serious relationship. I met many interesting people that summer, girls and guys. Some of the guys expressed interest in me, but none of them interested me. There was one guy in particular who called me constantly, wrote things on the whiteboard outside my room, and was just overall, incredibly needy. Oh, and he told me I reminded him of his ex-girlfriend. The worst thing was he would not take my firm hints that I was not interested. I thought he was a pretty good-looking guy, but all the attention was a boner-killer (if I could have boners.) Not only did I want to be free at that stage in my life, I REALLY didn’t want someone who was that intense and easily available.

Then there was this other guy. I’d met his early on in the summer, and we had talked briefly, probably in the elevator or something. He had a very nonchalant, carefree attitude about him. The “I don’t really give a fuck about what you think about me” kind of attitude. He wasn’t rude at all, just independent and confident about himself. As the summer progressed, we saw each other sometimes in passing. At some point in time, we starting hanging out more with some friends we had in common. I got to know him better, and I knew he was the type of guy I could never have an actual relationship with. He had a reputation as a player, but it was unclear which girls he was actually sleeping with, which I liked because I value discretion. He did not kiss and tell. He did not act like an asshole. He never explicitly made a move on me, but I could tell from the way he acted that he wouldn’t mind having, um, sexual relations with me. He wasn’t creepy about it at all. The ball was in my court. If I wanted to, fine, if not, also fine. There were lots of other girls in the world. It was this specific attitude that made me decide I wouldn’t mind having a fling with him. So I did.

Different variations of the same story have happened a few times in my life. When I was younger, I would get crushes on these types of guys, but it didn’t take me long to realize that while good for a fling, I would never be happy in a long-term relationship with someone like that. Really liking someone who has no real interest in reciprocating your interest, besides to sleep with you, is a waste of time and the emotional fuckery that comes along with it is not worth it for me. I long ago adopted the attitude that if I’m into someone, and they’re not into me, it’s not worth my time to pursue it. I have difficulty understanding girls who pine over guys who give them the bare minimum of attention to keep them around. You know that book, “He’s Just Not That Into You”? I’ve loaned that book to a few of my girl friends.  I only wish there was one called “She’s Just Not That Into You,” because many of the points also apply to guys. Nice guys who don’t quite know how to attract girls, and end up getting friend-zoned.

Ironically, oftentimes the people who want the most to be in a relationship are the ones who have the most difficult time finding someone. I’m sure you know guys who are just looking to get laid, like this guy in the dorm, and have no intentions of having meaningful relationships with the women they have sex with. Doesn’t it suck that these same men are the ones who can get a women’s attention? While you, with the best of intentions, knowing you could be such a good partner to someone, gets passed over. Yeah.

So this goes back to my point about being rare/less available. One of the things that can help with attraction is to create mystery, or a sense of the unknown. If a woman can tell that she can just have you, it makes things less interesting for her. It’s not the same as her playing games (which I think is stupid). It could be a totally subconscious feeling. It’s about having a challenge. Working for it. Wanting something that is a little out of reach. For instance, say there’s a shiny new Apple iThing out, and it’s a limited edition with only 50 available within 1000 miles of you. Imagine that this iThing only costs $20. The emphasis is not about the cost, it’s about how few of them are available. You really really want it. You line up for hours in the rain outside the Apple store, and you’re like the 49th person in line. You end up getting one of these elusive things, and you’re elated. Now be honest, would you have liked that thing as much if there were millions available, like they were handing them out in Happy Meal boxes at McDonald’s? It’s possible yes, but probably less likely. People like challenges. You woke up early, waited outside in the fucking rain, and you got your iThing. The reward is so much sweeter.

Ok, now think of yourself as the iThing. Are you a limited edition, or are you the Happy Meal? When you meet a new woman, do you make it obvious that you’re into her? Does she know she can easily have you? Do you wait for her after the end of each class, check in everyday at work to see if she wants to have lunch with you, pass by her desk a lot for no real reason, or stalk the whiteboard outside her dorm room? Or, if you’re at a bar, do you buy all her drinks, laugh at all her jokes, don’t leave her side, and compliment her endlessly? If so, you are the Happy Meal edition. STOP doing all that. You’re trying too hard. (If you’ve heard anything about dating techniques and think I’m about to suggest ‘negging’ or any of that other bullshit that preys on a woman’s self-esteem, think again. That stuff is manipulative and stupid, whether or not it works.)

Okay, so what are you supposed to do if you don’t try to get her attention all the time? Isn’t she going to just… not notice you? No. Make sure she knows you exist, but casually. Are you working on a project together? Great, talk to her like you’d talk to any of the other people working on the same project. Walk past her desk and ask her a question if you must, but make sure it’s a real question you actually care about and think she can assist you in. (If you’re at a bar, the situation is a little trickier, because if you don’t say something to her, she might never notice you. A future post will talk about this, including a low-risk technique to start a conversation with a girl without being explicitly rejected.) As long as she has an idea of who you are, you’ve made a point already. Don’t shower her with endless attention. Be chill. Please, relax. I don’t know why guys think that if they show tons and tons of interest, the girl is going to be like “Wow, he’s so into me! This makes me really want him too!” I guess it’s logical, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. You’re too easy. To predictable. Happy Meals. Some girls probably like that, yes, but I have a feeling most do not.

So this sounds pretty easy, right? You just take a step back, let her know you exist, and she’s going to run into your arms. Sure, if you’re lucky. It might never happen. With the guy at the dorm, I totally could have decided that I didn’t want to have a fling with him. I might not have been attracted to him physically, or I only do serious relationships, or maybe I was saving myself for marriage. There could be a million reasons. You have to be prepared for the possibility that she’s just not into you. Don’t take it personally. Don’t overinvest in her, even if you’re secretly pining for her while attempting to act nonchalant.

How do you do this? Well, this is the harder part. You actually need to change your mindset and your expectations. I am not here to find a relationship. I am not here to find a girlfriend. If I meet interesting people and have a good time, that is enough. If you tell yourself this and genuinely believe it, then 1) You won’t be disappointed and depressed if you don’t meet a woman, and 2) Women (or the person you’re crushing on) will notice that you are not acting overly eager (ie. desperate) to win their attention and they might start wondering about you. You ARE the limited edition. All the other guys who are crowding them at Friday’s employee Happy Hour or trying to sit at the same lunch table as them all the time are predictable and boring. Why aren’t you vying for their attention? It’s not so much that you’re making them feel insecure about themselves by intentionally not giving them attention, it’s more like,  “I could have any one of these guys in an instant” (Happy Meals), or “This other guy is pretty chill, I wonder what he’s like?”

You’ve created mystery and a sense of the unknown by projecting that you don’t give two shits if she talks to you or not. The most important thing is you must genuinely train yourself not to care. I am not here to find a relationship. Be casual. See how it goes. If she’s interested, great. If not, still great – you got to meet someone new, and maybe even made a new friend. Eventually, you will find someone who reciprocates your interest in a romantic way. In summary: Don’t expect to meet someone each time you go out. Go out to meet interesting people, not just women. Don’t overinvest in someone who is not invested in you. Most of all, just relax and be casual.

Example: There is this great scene at the beginning of the movie “Shame” (starring Michael Fassbender) when he goes out to a bar with his boss. His boss tries to pick up a hot blond in a suit. Boss = safe/overly eager/too predictable/Happy Meal. Him = unsafe/genuinely nonchalant/casual/limited edition. Notice he is NOT being an asshole. Watch Fassbender leave the bar alone. Watch him get thisclose to going home alone, and being totally fine with it. You need to be fine with it too. I won’t ruin the rest of the scene for you, but you can probably guess what happens.

Another Example: Actually from the movie version of “He’s Just Not That Into You”. There are two guys Scarlett Johansson dates in this movie. The guy from Entourage, Kevin Connolly, is a total Happy Meal. Again, guess what happens. If you need an excuse to watch this chick-flick, I can say that sometimes Scarlett Johansson is hit-or-miss for me, and I thought she was really smoking in this one.

2 Responses to “Part 4: Go in expecting nothing, and you might come out with something”

  • Ask Me: “We Were Inseparable, But Then She Vanished” | Dating: WTF? Says:

    […] Part 4, I say, “really liking someone who has no real interest in reciprocating your interest… is a […]

  • some guy Says:

    “You have to be prepared for the possibility that she’s just not into you. Don’t take it personally. Don’t overinvest in her, even if you’re secretly pining for her while attempting to act nonchalant.” This really got to me… I met a girl a few days back and she’s amazing. Yesterday I find out she has a boyfriend. I’m happy that I follow a rule which is “Check if she has a boyfriend so you won’t screw yourself over”. It still sucks so much, but I guess not as much.

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