Vulnerability and Manipulative Women

Vulnerability and Manipulative Women

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We’re due for another big post on vulnerability and how it affects relationships and dating. Got an interesting email last week that I wanted to answer publicly. And, well, I kind of splurged on this one:

Hi Mark,

I attend a local men’s group where we discuss Robert Glover’s work on Nice Guy’s. A friend of mine recently recommended your book to me and I’m about halfway through it.

I am mostly enjoying your book Models, and I do not wish to prejudge, but I feel compelled to send you this email right away and get your honest feedback. I am 37 years old, single, and four years removed from my last relationship which lasted one and half years. I am not perfect, but I am confident that I am working to improve myself and I know I am blessed and have great things going for me.

I have learned the hard way that women, no matter what they may say, do not go for Nice Guys or gentlemen, but instead go for the scumbags and the assholes, etc. I have also learned the hard way that women do not process logic or think rationally in the same way that men do. The problem that I am having with your book so far is the issue of Vulnerability.

I am still trying to figure HOW to put this into practice. I am sorry but I don’t think you understand how cruel some women can be. Woman can very emotional and manipulative liars.

Women, subconsciously or not, do try to impose Shit Tests upon men — especially in this age of fucked up Feminism where the women are searching for ways to break a man’s balls. I think you are totally discounting or ignoring this in your book.

As for Vulnerability, my experience is that women perceive this as being soft, weak, a doormat, unmanly, a wuss, needy, etc. I can deal with rejection as much as it sucks. But in the course of meeting a girl and trying to keep it real, getting to know her and create attraction, I have problems with the Vulnerabilty part.

If being Vulnerable with a woman means that I have to expose myself to humiliation or disrespect or her games or shit tests, then I want no part of it.

I will finish reading your book and write more. I hope to read your response.
Merry Christmas, and thank you.

I get a lot of emails about Models and particularly about the concept of vulnerability. It’s the central concept of the book and the one many men struggle with the most. I wanted to reply to this email publicly because it runs the gamut of objections and confusion surrounding the subject.

I’ll take them one by one:

1. “I have learned the hard way that women, no matter what they may say, do not go for Nice Guys or gentlemen, but instead go for scumbags and assholes.”

Intentionally or not, you are equating “Nice Guys” with “gentlemen” here. The assumption is that any man who is polite is therefore a Nice Guy.

If you recall, in No More Mr. Nice Guy, Dr. Glover’s definition of a Nice Guy is a man who subverts his own will and desires to get people to like him. One of the points Glover makes is that behavior itself is not necessarily Nice Guy behavior or attractive behavior, but it’s the motivation behind it.

For instance, you can forgo all manners and be a complete dick, but if you’re doing it so that other people will like you, then you will also not attract anyone. Despite opposite behavior, you essentially achieve the same result as a Nice Guy.

In my own book, I make a very similar assertion: that neediness isn’t determined by what you actually say or do, but the intention behind what you say or do.

The reason some women (it’s important to emphasize here not all women, but some women) go for assholes and scumbags is that generally assholes and scumbags are not subverting their own will to make other people like them. Despite being assholes, they have strong boundaries and stand up for themselves.

The point is that the determining factor of what attracts women is not whether they’re polite or an asshole. That’s icing on the cake. It’s the motivations behind their actions that matters.

I’m generally a pretty nice guy. So are all of my friends. I attract a lot of women. As do most of the men I hang out with. It has nothing to do with how “nice” we are, it’s that we’re not editing ourselves to impress others or to alter people’s perceptions around us. We have strong boundaries. We have strong identities. And we happen to be friendly.

2. “I have also learned the hard way that women do not process logic or think rationally in the same way that men do.”

PEOPLE do not process logic or think rationally. Not women, humans. I mean, you’ve been behaving as a Nice Guy your entire life with little to nothing to show for it. That wasn’t exactly a rational decision, was it? You consistently chose to get involved with manipulative women. Why? That’s not very rational either.

Humans, both men and women, are slaves to their emotions and subconscious itches. Logic only comes into play when we want to justify what we already feel to ourselves and to others.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an example that may hit close to home:

A man could be well-educated, he could study medicine and psychology, he could understand that every statistical measurement, both physical and mental, every psychometric, every personality trait, can be distributed across a bell-curve in a large enough population. He could understand the power of cultural influences on personal belief systems and how neuro-plasticity molds our mental processes to match our environmental stimuli.

He could know and understand all of this, yet still believe that for some reason, all women are manipulative and irrational. Not some, ALL. Why?

Well, throughout his life, he’s made irrational decisions to date irrational and emotional women, women who have manipulated him and generally made his life a living hell. It was his decision to date them. But rather than admit that to himself (that would, after all, be rational), it’s easier to believe that EVERY woman, all 3.5 billion of them, is born with some sort of neurological or ethical deficiency that men (read: himself) doesn’t have — even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence for it and there’s an entire social movement fighting against irrational gender beliefs such as this.

Sound familiar?

3. “I am still trying to figure HOW to put this into practice. I am sorry but I don’t think you understand how cruel some women can be. Woman can very emotional and manipulative liars.”

Oh, really? You think I haven’t been manipulated or lied to by women before? Wish I could say I haven’t, but not true. The way I got here all began with a manipulative and lying woman.

(And by the way, ANYONE can be cruel, emotional, manipulative and a liar. In fact, we all are, depending on the time and circumstance. Get used to it.)

As for how to put it into practice, I will give you some examples at the end of this post. I’m not done yet.

4. “Women, subconsciously or not, do try to impose Shit Tests upon men — especially in this age of fucked up Feminism where the women are searching for ways to break a man’s balls. I think you are totally discounting or ignoring this in your book.”

Well, it depends what your definition of a shit test is. The classic definition of a shit test is when a woman challenges you to determine how congruent and confident you are in your identity. This is usually seen as a negative thing by men, which is strange since it indicates that she’s interested and/or intimidated by you.

But, in my opinion, women shit test fairly rarely. And here’s why…

What’s the difference between shit testing someone and simply doubting them? What’s the difference between a woman making fun of your job to see if you’ll defend yourself to her or her legitimately being unsure if that’s what you do for a living?

The answer: Her intentions. One is manipulative. One is simply being genuinely uncertain and wanting to know more about you. BOTH are done because she’s interested in you, but we’ll leave that alone for a second and focus on the manipulation.

How do you tell the difference between a woman who is being manipulative (shit testing) and a woman who is genuinely curious about you (interested)?

Well, you can’t. At least not 100% of the time. I wrote an article a long time ago called Shit Test Paranoia. The article was about how some men are so paranoid of having a woman manipulate them, that they ALWAYS assume the worst and distrust all women in this situation.

So the friendly way she jokes about your hair is suddenly MANIPULATION.
That honest question about whether you miss your ex sometimes is MANIPULATION.
That concern that you don’t speak to your mother enough is MANIPULATION.

This is a shitty way to live and a shitty way to date women.

Yes, everyone is manipulative some of the time, and some women are manipulative a lot of the time. But walking around freaking out that women are shit-testing you all the time is labeling them all guilty without a trial.

You are choosing to interpret everything women say to you as manipulative and emotional, and then go around complaining that all women are manipulative and emotional.

evil womanThe issue here isn’t women. It’s you. You don’t trust them.

I want to encourage to stop making assumptions about people, especially women, and start taking them by their actions point blank. You asked earlier what vulnerability looks like. Well one way to be vulnerable is to be open about your expectations and values. You commented that vulnerability is “soft” and “weak,” but on the contrary my friend, if it was so weak, then why is it so hard for you to do it?

Here’s my take on shit tests: Who cares? Shit tests only have power over you if you’re overly concerned about her opinion of you. If you’re truly confident in who you are, then you shouldn’t feel the need to prove it to her, especially some sassy broad you just met.

The point is: If shit tests bother you, it’s because you’re weak.

A strong confident man looks a shit test in the eye and laughs. She’s trying to fuck with him? Really? How cute. Let’s dump her and go find a confident woman who won’t try to fuck with my emotions. Ah, there, that’s better.

I’m going to wrap this up with a series of examples. As with many of the examples in the book, the four examples below are a matrix of behavioral traits. In the first two, the man demonstrates a lack of vulnerability, in the second two, the man demonstrates vulnerability. In each case, a manipulative woman and a non-manipulative woman are shown.

Example 1: Non-Vulnerable Man with Manipulative Woman

Him: So after school I actually hitchhiked my way down to San Diego. It was a little bit crazy and my parents hated it.
Her: Wow, you’re pretty irresponsible.
Him: I’m as irresponsible as they come. Why, does that intimidate you? *sly grin*
Her: *laughs* Intimidate me? I don’t think you could if you tried.
Him: Keep it up and we’ll find out soon enough.

This is the classic tease response to a shit test, as taught by most PUA methods. Notice that you’re basically entering into a verbal sparring match with her, manipulation against manipulation. Yes, this does work… on manipulative women. This lacks vulnerability because you’re masquerading your actual identity in order to out-wit her or to be “more dominate” or whatever the fuck the phrase is they use these days.

The other variation of the lack of vulnerability here is to go the Nice Guy route and agree with her in an apologetic way. For instance: “Yeah, but I’ve grown up since then. I’m very responsible now.” This works on, well, just about nobody. But when it does, it plays into manipulative women as well.

All in all, a shitty and unpleasant interaction. Even if you do get laid, you have to constantly sit there and battle with the woman long enough to trick both of you into thinking you’re attracted to one another.

Example 2: Non-Vulnerable Man with Non-Manipulative Woman

Him: So after school I actually hitchhiked my way down to San Diego. It was a little bit crazy and my parents hated it.
Her: Wow, that’s pretty extreme. What motivated you?
Him: Motivated me? Hah, what motivated it is I do whatever the fuck I want.
Her: No, but I mean, did something in particular inspire you to do that?
Him: I’m inspired all the time. You know, I used to play in a rock band. There was this one time, blah, blah, blah…

Notice in this example the woman is actually genuinely curious about the man’s life and his motivations. She questions it not out of manipulation but out of genuine curiosity. But a man could easily interpret this as her “testing” him or patronizing him in a sarcastic way.

In the example, the guy is so caught up in being a tough-guy asshole (read: insecure), he doesn’t give her a straight response, and instead comes off as very try-hard. I also threw in a little DHV transition there to emphasize the douchiness. This type of stuff will turn off non-manipulative women in two seconds flat. The Nice Guy variation of this would be to avoid the intimate questions and make some sort of self-deprecating statement, like “Haha, I don’t know, I was being stupid.” This would be harmless but would kill attraction and likely lead to the friend zone.

So what have we noticed? A lack of vulnerability turns off non-manipulative women and gives manipulative women more ammunition to come at us with drama. Non-manipulative women get tired of us and reject us. Manipulative women become energized and we have to spar our way into their pants.

So what about an honest, vulnerable approach?

Example 3: Vulnerable Man with Manipulative Woman

Him: So after school I actually hitchhiked my way down to San Diego. It was a little bit crazy and my parents hated it.
Her: Wow, you’re pretty irresponsible.
Him: Not really.
Her: Ditching your family to go and try to be some badass surfer guy. Give me a break. How self-centered can you be?
Him: That’s a pretty judgmental way to look at it.
Her: I just think it’s stupid and disrespectful.
Him: Well, it’s clear our values differ. It was nice meeting you.
Her: Wait, what?
Him: Goodnight.
Her: Are you serious? You’re leaving? NOW?!
Him: Yes.
Her: I’m sorry. Wait. Don’t go. I didn’t mean it like that.
Him: *Walks out*

This is an example of how vulnerability can embody strength. The power of vulnerability comes in setting strong boundaries. In this example, the woman is judgmental and probably exaggerating her objections in order to make the man feel insecure around her. He identifies her judgment for what it is and has the balls to come out and say it. He identifies that she’s not living up to his values or expectations, lets her know and then promptly dumps her on the spot. This is not easy to do.

The reason it’s so hard is because you’re disregarding another person’s perception in favor of your own. You’re exposing your values and your desires openly. And as a result, this woman is likely going to think you’re an over-sensitive asshole for the rest of her life. That’s vulnerability. That’s risking far more than standing there and arguing with her or teasing her back.

One horrible mindset that a lot of men get into is the idea that they have to “win” situations like this. There’s no winning here. Even if you out-wit a bitch to sleep with her, you’re still sleeping with a bitch. It’s a lose/lose situation.

The beauty about setting such strong boundaries is that you screen out manipulative women insanely quickly. Guys always think I’m crazy or lying when I say that I never get shit tested. But I don’t. I never date manipulative or bitchy girls. I consistently date really beautiful women with high values, high self esteem, and strong self awareness. How? Because I dump so many from the get-go for stupid stuff like this that I never have to worry about it again. I am ruthless when it comes to this. I’ll leave in the middle of a first date. I’ll walk away mid sentence. I don’t care. I don’t have time for girls who suck.

The irony here of course, is that manipulative woman can’t take this. In their mind, they just “lost” and so they’ll do anything to get you back. Sometimes they’ll step up their games, call you a dozen times, plead with you for another chance. But other times they’ll straighten up. Often women will apologize and then never fuck with you again. As soon as they know you’re willing to walk away at any moment, they will not mess with you.

Finally, I should note that I don’t hold these standards to look for a soulmate or anything. Even in casual sex situations, I maintain these standards. And the paradox is that meeting and dating women actually feels EASIER once you adopt this mindset. You would naturally think, “Oh, that means I have to meet twice as many women, I have to put in twice as much effort, since I’m rejecting half of the ones who like me.”

Actually, you end up putting in far LESS effort, because you’re no longer wasting so much time and energy trying to convince her that you’re a cool guy. You’re not longer exhausting yourself wondering whether she likes you enough or not, or worry about how to impress her or win her back. When she doesn’t live up to your standards, the situation is made extremely easy for you: you walk. No thought involved. No arguing. No super witty comebacks. Just: her behavior doesn’t meet my standards, I’m going to meet someone else now.

Example 4: Vulnerable Man with Non-Manipulative Woman

Him: So after school I actually hitchhiked my way down to San Diego. It was a little bit crazy and my parents hated it.
Her: Wow, that’s pretty extreme. Is there anything that motivated it?
Him: Well, part of it was just classic rebelliousness. But my family is pretty conservative. And I never felt like I completely fit in. Looking back, it was obvious that I needed to do something that made me feel independent, something that gave me my own identity.
Her: Yeah, that makes sense. I think everybody needs to do that to a certain extent, maybe not in such extreme situations.
Him: Definitely. I had a blast though. I mean, at the time, it felt like I was about to ruin my life or something, but now I look back and it’s just a cool thing I did one summer. *laughs*
Her: Haha, yeah, it’s funny how things that used to be a big deal when you were younger aren’t any more. *laughs*
Him: Yeah, like a first kiss or a first date. *laugh*
Her: Oh totally. I remember my first kiss. We planned it like a week in advance. My legs were shaking the whole time.

And here is an example of two emotionally mature, non-manipulative adults who are attracted to each other. I threw in the transition to a sexual subject to show how easily it can be done once you’re already on personal topics. This is kind of a tangent, but a lot of men who have trouble sexualizing their conversations are never talking about something that can create sexual tension.

A big reason for that is that their conversations are shallow. When you’re discussing the weather, the baseball scores, what you majored in in school and so on, it’s hard to jump to your favorite sexual position.

But if she’s talking about the time she went crazy and stole her brother’s car and you relate it to how one time you and your ex-girlfriend snuck into a hotel and had sex in an empty conference room… it gets very, very easy. Why? Because you’re being vulnerable. Getting involved sexually is an act of vulnerability, so if you’re both already being vulnerable up until that moment, it’s just a logical next-step.

But that may be a topic for another day. The point that I hope these examples drive home is that vulnerability is not weak. Vulnerability involves setting strong boundaries and then connecting with woman on a meaningful level.

Psychological research shows that people of similar self-esteem end up attracted to one another. Research also shows that men and women with similar beliefs about gender end up together.

What this means is you are who you attract. If you consistently end up with manipulative, mean women. Then there’s something about you that is manipulative and mean; you just don’t see it yet. Robert Glover brilliantly describes how Nice Guy Syndrome is actually extremely manipulative by being passive-aggressive. There’s a reason why Nice Guys always end up with narcissistic drama queens. They’re good matches. And one must admit that to themselves.

I walked around for years with the story that my ex-girlfriend totally screwed me over and fucked me up emotionally. Eventually I was able to admit that actually I had been a pretty shitty boyfriend, needy and passive-aggressive. And I wasn’t surprised that she left me. That change in narrative changed my relationships with women. I was no longer a victim, but suddenly 100% responsible for the relationship results I ended up with.

But back to the email:

Assholes may get laid, but the quality of the experience is rarely high because they’re doing it through duping women who are trying to dupe them.

Sex and relationships are best when they’re both consciously agreed upon. And to be conscious, they have to be manipulation free. Your overall problem here is easily fixed: set stronger boundaries. It’s clear you’ve been hurt in the past and are making angry generalizations about women. It’s also clear that you still have this sub-conscious need for these women to approve of you. And in short: these two things are scaring away the good ones and continuing to attract the bad ones.

For more info on this topic, check out these posts:
The Fake Alpha Males
The Pain Period
A Note on Vulnerability

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180 Comments

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  • Reply

    Dave

    2 months ago

    I’m new to this site, and to this author’s opinions. Having studied (but not practiced) the teachings of the pick-up artists, I think that this site has probably the best rebuttal to them I’ve seen – one which really identifies the source of their misogyny and limitations on their understanding of women and sexuality.

    However, based on what I see here, I do think the term vulnerable is a bit of an abuse of terminology – vulnerability implies the ability to be easily hurt – something which is clearly not a part of the picture painted in the interactions. In fact, the vision I see painted here is one of a different alpha male – one who is honest and not a douche. I would say I think “honest” is a better descriptor than “vulnerable”.

    Anyway, I also think the concept of vulnerability is, in itself, potentially dangerous, if misapplied. People, men and women both, are often vicious and manipulative, and few flesh and blood humans live up to the ideal of being immune to criticism, and above worrying about the opinions of others. I think opening one’s self too much to a stranger is generally a bad idea, because it will likely result in rejection and/or emotional harm. This, in turn, will make a person less secure, rather than more.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      2 months ago

      Thanks for stopping by Dave.

      Some people have nitpicked the usage of “vulnerability” and I have to say that I see some of their points, yours included. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across a better usage of it, and there’s a lot of new research coming out describing the social behavior above as “being vulnerable” and noting its positive effects on relationships.

      The concern you raise about being rejected and being hurt is the whole point of vulnerability. When you hide and guard yourself from hurt/rejection, you lose power and you lose status (and consequently, you behave in unattractive ways). When you open yourself to rejection and assert your self-perceptions over those of others, that’s how you gain power AND intimacy in your relationships.

      It’s kind of confusing. Here’s are a couple other articles on the subject: http://postmasculine.com/power-in-vulnerability and http://postmasculine.com/a-note-on-vulnerability.

    • Reply

      brent

      1 month ago

      “vulnerability implies the ability to be easily hurt.” That’s exactly correct. And the point is, yeah a person may feel embarrassed when being honest about his/her motivations and intentions, but a person like Mark decides not to LET other’s opinions hurt him/her. Yes, you can be much more easily hurt when you put your most personal thoughts and feelings out there for people to judge, but the key to being successful with vulnerability is sticking to your values and not letting others’ opinions hurt you. I always like to say, “If you want self-respect, you gotta do things YOU respect.” Cheers,

      Brent

    • Reply

      Nissa

      19 weeks ago

      Dear Dave,

      You really got me thinking, so I went to Webster and found the definition of vulnerable. It means “capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: 2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, 3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend”.

      However, I have to agree with Mark’s position more than yours after reading the definition. To me, this shows ‘vulnerable’ to be a very powerful thing – the thing I see many men craving above all other things – power. The power to be capable of being hurt, yet still strong. The power to be open, because your authentic self is something of value, even when the other person does not recognize it. The power to be in a less defensible position, because your inner strength is capable of handling less than optimal situations.

      Such a man is very attractive. This power, while not being based on anything superficial, is completely within a man’s control. So a man who might feel he has less to offer in the way of traditional female desires (money, power, attractiveness, height, etc) would be well served to increase his value in this way.

  • Reply

    Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca

    2 months ago

    Epic.

    I found PostMasculine through Alden Tan, and I`m really glad I did :)

    Dude… this is some real, quality wisdom for a fresh generation of badasses.

    I *love* the depth you went into with your multi-example addressing of his e-mail on a point-by-point basis.

    Total respect.

  • Reply

    50/swf

    2 months ago

    Absolutely right on.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    Ironic you inform him that he is making wrong assumptions when you did it yourself. He said women CAN be manipulating, not ALL women are. He said how cruel SOME women can be again NOT ALL, like you wrongly analyzed.

    You are also backwards on blaming him on being manipulated. That is like saying its your fault you got murdered because you walked down that street where there was a person waiting with the intention to kill you. Or saying its a woman’s fault she got raped because she is so hot.
    You don’t hold them responsible when they DO manipulate someone.

    Women do not shit test rarely. There wouldn’t be a term for it if it happened “rarely.” just because it happens “rarely” in your experience doesn’t mean it is true for all men. Again assuming what you experience is absolute reality.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      You seemed to have missed the point of the post. I say multiple times that many women are manipulative and I even say that I have been manipulated by women before myself. No where do I say that all women are or aren’t manipulative. What I do say is that some PEOPLE are manipulative. Gender really has nothing to do with it.

      But the point of the article is that it ultimately doesn’t matter, and that you shouldn’t change your values and the way you approach dating or intimacy for fear of some manipulative people. Because if you try to manipulate women back, then you lose. Manipulation attracts manipulation and honesty attracts honesty. That is the point.

      And shit tests are a term that paranoid and insecure men came up with to justify why they feel paranoid and insecure around women. Period.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    Really? Men are the insecure ones whn women shit test? You are more ass backwards than I thought. Even Marni Kyrns says that women really their insecurities when the shit test and then says how to handle it, which doesn’t work by the way.

    And you misread my comment I read your post just fine. I siad you assumed HE thought ALL women were manipulative NOT YOU.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      http://postmasculine.com/shit-test-paranoia

      Question isn’t really if shit tests exists or not, it’s a question of how you’re going to deal with women you meet. You can either deal with them on their terms — try to impress them, try to “pass” shit tests — or you can deal with them on your terms. I recommend dealing with them on your terms. The examples above are why.

      Not all women are manipulative, and the best way to avoid the ones who are is by not being manipulative yourself. That was the whole point of this article, which seems to have been lost on you.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    No I understand what you are saying. Also, what you said was you don’t get shit tested anymore. You seem to create this idea that all men who seek to handle them can get o a point where they don’t anymore.

    Also, like i stated previously, your reality is not the reality of everyone else. Yes I deal with it on my terms…by walking away and losing all respect and trust for them.

    I just wanted to point out that you were wrong for saying its men who are insecure in the realm of shit testing and not the women. Just admit that’s not true…when men try to pass these tests, they are in their own way trying to help the woman.

    I just went over your other article about shit testing. You said and I will quote.
    “Shit tests only happen when a woman is already very attracted to you to the point that it makes her uncomfortable. She eases this comfort by testing you. It’s her sub-conscious saying, “I’m so into this guy that it’s scary. I don’t know how trustworthy he is. Here, I’ll say something obnoxious to see if he’s for real or not.”

    That’s being insecure with trusting oneself and another in a nut-shell.

    Later on you advise to even accept her insecurity as evidenced here.

    “But if you’re unaffected, and if you come back at her with even more playfulness and ease, if you accept her insecurity and rest with it, bringing her up to your level with confidence and care, then you’re reaffirming to her that, in fact, you are a ridiculously hot guy she just met. ”

    So I will ask you one more time… Who is the insecure one here?

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      There are insecure men and there are insecure women. Insecure women shit test. Insecure men perceive women to be shit testing them (usually more than they actually are.) Like you said, it’s simple, walk away.

      When men try to pass shit tests, they are not trying to help women. They’re playing into the woman’s insecurities with their own insecurities.

    • Reply

      Nebula

      1 month ago

      I don’t think you really do underdstand. At all. Any of it.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    Oh and just a follow up about the quote saying ” he’s so attractive it’s scary, I have to know of he’s trust worthy.”

    Again that doesnt come of as paranoid to you?

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    “There are insecure men and there are insecure women. Insecure women shit test. Insecure men perceive women to be shit testing them (usually more than they actually are.) ”

    Men are not being insecure here… I’ll explain.

    Insecure women shit test.
    Men are not insecure for being aware that a woman is shit testing them. ( you referred to it as perceived)

    That’s like if you were to bust my chops over something and I was aware you were… That would not make me insecure. What would is if I don’t take it well in stride.

    In turn a “secure” man can “perceive” when a woman is shit testing them. You are making it sound like this only applies to men who are insecure…which is wrong.

    Next point:

    “When men try to pass shit tests, they are not trying to help women. They’re playing into the woman’s insecurities with their own insecurities.”

    Perhaps more clarification is needed on some aspects but this notion is faulty as i will explain here…

    A man “passes” the shit test when he says something what ever it is, that causes women to trust him again or confirm her beliefs in him. ( playful banter, answering the question with a backhanded compliment, remains grounded etc.)

    This in turn indeed does help the woman. She feels better she has been assisted.

    This is what men try to accomplish…though many times they are unsuccessful because of the woman’s insecurity.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      Fuck causing a woman to trust me or not, I’m not responsible for her trusting me or not. Sorry, but this is such a loser mentality. It IS insecure. Feeling a need to “pass” some random woman’s test so you can have sex with her is as insecure as it gets. I don’t want to “pass” anybody’s tests. If they feel a need to “test” me, they can fuck off. Seriously. There are so many awesome hot women out there who are secure enough to not test me all the time, so why would I waste my time with this childish stuff?

      The problem with the shit test model is that it depends on intentions. And you can never read a person’s intentions 100% of the time. So if you assume women are always testing you, then you will end up acting like a jackass in front of genuine, honest women sometimes. If you assume that women are not testing you, then you will end up being honest and open to women who are being manipulative some times.

      But you read the article, so I don’t need to repeat this stuff.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    Actually, to an extent you are.

    I wish we could simply say what you just wrote in your opening point to them when they do this but we all know how bad it would turn out.

    A WOMAN will never make her intentions clear. MEN are known for always going for what they want (even though the way they go about it could be questionable). Women have no idea what they want.

    Right, and that is why women do it. So that men run the risk of looking like a jackass should the interaction go awry.
    That is why they never approach men, or communicate. However, they will throw out signs of ambiguity, and whatever falls convenient for her she will act on (rejection or acceptance)

    They are the ones that make things difficult.

    Here is an idea. Rather than calling men out, why not just simply ask them what they are looking for? Well as you on

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      Man, you have some fucked up beliefs about women. Men are always clear about what they want? Lol…

      • Reply

        Wesley

        1 month ago

        Yes men are direct. Women are never direct. When a man sees a women he is potentially interested in.

        He goes up to her and talks to her…ask for her number…and sets up a date….

        How is that a “fucked up ” belief?

        Women never approach men instead they sent out signals, and expect men to be keen on them which the signals are so subtle its like observing a pebble roll down a mountain from an MIR space station.

        Here let me school you on some of the signals.

        Smile and look away.
        Twirling the hair.
        Triangulation.
        Standing in place hips swinging side to side. These are the more apparent ones.

        Then there are the ones that are ambiguous and the like.

        Women will not do as a man does and say” hey my name is…. I think you are handsome, I would like to get to know you better, let’s meet up at such and such place day and time.

        Instead….they will passively wait and pray that you notice them and talk and make the first move because they are worried about rejection.

        Example. Beauty and the geek.
        There was an episode where women had to approach men and get phone numbers etc. you know the way men do….after a night out they were crying upset and depressed over lack of results. Men deal with this everyday when they talk to women and still chive on.
        You are a man and you are direct when dealing with women…please be intelligent and say yes.

        • Reply

          Mark Manson

          1 month ago

          Women don’t initiate because they don’t have to, not because they’re not direct. I’ve known some very direct women and I’ve met plenty of men who couldn’t state what they wanted to save their lives (I used to coach them for a living.)

          So isn’t it ironic that your first comment was accusing me of making generalizations about men/women and insecurity, and now you’re making generalizations about men/women and insecurity.

          I’ll state it again: some men are direct, some women are direct; some men are indirect, some women are indirect; some men are insecure, some women are insecure.

          The question is: what are you? And how do you go about finding the women you want?

          • brent

            1 month ago

            Mark, for everyone’s sake, including your own, just let this one go. This is petty and not worth your time get angry about or our time to read.

        • Reply

          Britt

          1 month ago

          Hey Wesley, I’m a woman and you’re an insecure douchebag – is that direct enough for you?

          • Wesley

            1 month ago

            No Britt you little cuntrag it’s not why don’t you come to scandals NYC and say that to me…

          • Mark Manson

            1 month ago

            And you have now completely and entirely discredited yourself.

          • Nissa

            19 weeks ago

            Hey Britt –
            LOL!! Love it!

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    Well as one can easily determine, these. Emotional landlines women through out should be stopped they sworn against you more than work for you.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    Well I figured if a “dating coach” can make backwards generalizations, I could make ones that are a little closer to the truth.

    But that’s less relevant to me now, I expressed my points successfully.

    But now the questions…

    What am I?

    I am a 23 year old male living in NYC who has to deal with hostile stuck up princess syndrome having princesses who literally have scores of men vieing for their attention and then have the nerve to say no man is good enough.

    What am I going to do about finding the woman I want?

    Nothing. They don’t deserve a great guy like me. I am caring responsible actively fit, but apparently that’s not what they want or i would get good treatment reciprocated. So now I avoid them like the plague. A major double standard (among the many we men are effaced with) is that a woman can say she doesn’t need a man and she is cheered for it) a man says he doesn’t need a woman (which I don’t) and will just automatically assume I can’t get one. So in short I don’t want a woman, because they will slow me down with their games their insecurities and their daddy issues. I am prepared to carry every day doing what I want to do everyday instead or having a woman infringe on it. It is also way too much risk and too little reward so I’ll pass.

    Women can be stuck with the needy clinger wimpy nice guys, who will let them get walked all over. Which is a really spoiled rotten attitude anyway. Someone who is willing to love and care for unconditionally and that’s how they get treated. I have seen it though never experienced it. I am dominant, so I would never put myself in the nice guy subservient position, that much I knew which I thought would put me ahead of the curve, but I guess not.

    • Reply

      brent

      1 month ago

      Thanks for finally being vulnerable.

    • Reply

      Nebula

      1 month ago

      Your walls are too high… You need to go back to basics before advancing to dating concepts like vulnerability. Try being authentic with a woman and try to see yourself through her eyes. A man with a great job and physique will be overshadowed by his baggage with your attitude.

    • Reply

      Ellard L

      1 month ago

      “A major double standard (among the many we men are effaced with) is that a woman can say she doesn’t need a man and she is cheered for it) a man says he doesn’t need a woman (which I don’t) and will just automatically assume I can’t get one. So in short I don’t want a woman, because they will slow me down with their games their insecurities and their daddy issues. I am prepared to carry every day doing what I want to do everyday instead or having a woman infringe on it. It is also way too much risk and too little reward so I’ll pass.”

      My dude, you are tip-toeing on the line of earning yourself the titles: Insane and Delusional. You’re not a “great guy” like you think; bashing women and calling them ‘cuntrags’. You don’t seem vulnerable which in turn actually makes one weak. You appear to be seemingly egotistic and deprived of healthy encounters with women that YOU can just be GOOD FRIENDS with. You are really failing to acknowledge the many things that make you frustrated and drive your anger. It’s not the women you encounter; it’s your very own negative beliefs of women on a global scale — ultimately functioning as the spark that sets you ablaze. You think women aren’t worth the risk, which is why you don’t have one. The invulnerable man constructs his own demise before he is even born.

      Go blow off some steam. Don’t seek information to be combative; especially when you’re very unsure of your own identity. Anybody who takes you seriously, will NOT teach you shortcuts (often overlooked in the Pickup Industry). Half-assed doers, get half-assed results. You’re 23, I’m 20. Take the time while you’re still young to start taking shit seriously. Give what you do life (action) and meaning, so you’ll learn to stand for something and be just damn proud of it (reading, introspective reflection, saying hi to a new woman everyday, etc.).

      Get your life together, so women won’t feel like they have to.

    • Reply

      Matt

      20 weeks ago

      Recent reader, first-time commenter. I imagine this comment thread will continue as I scroll down, but I thought I’d mention my suggestions now. It sounds like there’s a great deal of pain around the concept of women for you. I’ve recommended this to others before, but I’d just take some time to not think about women at all. When you’re ready to think about dating again, be strict with yourself and ask yourself if it is reasonable to think that all women will play games and have daddy issues. As for how to find the woman you’re looking for, it can be a numbers game. Given this, I’d recommend finding a dating site that you like (which is also a great way to filter out those whose personalities you would not mesh well with, as much can be gleamed from how someone speaks about themselves).

    • Reply

      les

      17 weeks ago

      you ever hit a woman?

  • Reply

    Elle

    1 month ago

    I think this is an excellent, excellent post. Not to say that I’m an authority on women, that I’m never dishonest or manipulative (because that would require a little more self-awareness than I think I possess), but I am happily married, and vulnerability, honesty, and humility are just about the most important parts of a good relationship, and they’re all intensely connected. That’s not to say that you should be humiliated in front of your significant other, but it may require you ask yourself whether an argument over who put the milk back without the cap is honestly worth your time, or hurting someone’s feelings over. It certainly requires you to acknowledge you may be wrong occasionally. Just as being willing to accept someone else’s vulnerability and being vulnerable yourself is crucial. And without, above all, honesty, none of that means anything.

    I’m not trying to lecture anyone. But I do want to say that from this perspective, that guy looked immensely, immensely unattractive. What woman would ever want to be with someone who made negative blanket statements about women? Hi, I’m a woman, and a *person.*

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    I’m not trying to lecture anyone. But I do want to say that from this perspective, that guy looked immensely, immensely unattractive. What woman would ever want to be with someone who made negative blanket statements about women?

    Apparently you only wanted to read the “negatives” he posted so you COULD lecture him.

    Also apparently women didnt want to be with him when he was loving responsible confident etc….Which I am sure you read too.

    Yeah these “beliefs” don’t help out our situation… in fact hinders it even more. I acknowledge that, I don’t think it’s worth the time to did someone who will change that.

    It’s kind of like saying “you’re giving up and you haven’t even tried, when little did you know Herculean efforts were made which were unsuccessful.”

    This man did make an effort he was in a relationship…it took women doing what he described in his email to make him see just what they are capable of and do.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      Not sure where you’re going with this, but my response was written to the many number of emails I get from men with beliefs that all men are hurtful or manipulative. I just used his email as an example (I asked his permission prior as well, so he understood the context.)

      • Reply

        Elle

        1 month ago

        Mark, I believe, since he quoted it, he was referring to me.

        In regards to my post, the disclaimer was there because–again–I’m not an authority on anything. But I was adding a consensus to what Mark was saying, based on my own happiness. So, really, not trying to lecture anyone. Don’t take other people’s happiness so personally. Especially when you don’t know them.

        Also, you know what really attractive men do? A lot of damn things, but I know a few in particular who never makes blanket statements about men, women, racial groups, political groups, etc., because they acknowledge that they don’t run the gamut of human experience, therefore they cannot possibly know anything conclusive about the entirety of any group.

        Honestly, if you’re so goddamn bent out of shape by the general shittiness of womankind, then never, ever speak to another one again. Please. Except for the ones with masochistic tendencies, most will honestly thank you (only they won’t be able to; they’ll move on with their lives). What EXACTLY is attractive about someone who spends so much time examining the despicable qualities of women? What exact advantage do you have over someone who either walks away or gives any person the benefit of the doubt? You’re smarter, right? But you’re spending an awful lot of time on an obscure corner of the internet, shouting your anonymous head off about the awful qualities of women, for someone with god-like omniscience.

        After all, you (but no one else) know that “some” is not a term of generalization. But really, in the sense of the sentence, it is kind of like this: I’ve had one or two bad experiences, so I don’t think it’s possible to put your advice into effect, because it’s probable that this will happen to me again, because all this shitty stuff has happened to me, and it’s not my fault, so it must be the defect of women.” He does, after all, later say:

        “I have learned the hard way that women, no matter what they may say, do not go for Nice Guys or gentlemen, but instead go for the scumbags and the assholes, etc. I have also learned the hard way that women do not process logic or think rationally in the same way that men do. The problem that I am having with your book so far is the issue of Vulnerability.”

        Now, I don’t have to address this, because the blog OVERWHELMINGLY does, hallelujah. But the point is: guy was definitely generalizing about women–hey, just like you!

        And to be really, really honest, Wesley, when you say that women are collectively shitty in any way, you make yourself out to be not so [great, responsible, nice, whatever], period. If someone asserts in one sentence that women are manipulative shits, and then turns around and claims that they are the paradigm of chivalry and kindness, the part of existence called “The Real World” (4chan, reddit, and other proponents of the “friend zone” not included) steps in to say, “Hahaha, have you been living in a box? Because clearly your social exposure has been very limited.” Because people are not homogeneous. No gender is homogeneous. Saying that all or the majority of women are manipulative is about as effective as me calling the majority of men chauvinists: it’s probably untrue just because of the impossibility of substantiation, not to mention the fact that, in most people’s experience, even a feminist’s, it’s untrue. There are more male rapists than there are female rapists–this is a fact. Are men naturally disposed toward being rapists? If you say yes, slap yourself, hard. Are women naturally disposed toward being victims? No, that’s ridiculous, too, of course! Very few rape victims come out of their experience thinking that the gender of the person who raped them is evil. I’m sure there are some, I don’t know. But I’ve met a lot of rape victims who tend to shift their fear in other directions (fear of intimacy, fear of [confrontations with] their rapist, fear of something they did/do to get them raped). And sure, I know someone who turned gay because of her experience, but she’s still friends with males. The very long-winded point here is that gender stereotypes are eeeeeeeeeeevil. And kind of stupid, really, because they’re not founded upon logic, at all. They’re founded upon a lot of other psychological factors which Mark identifies here, and across several other articles.

        And the most important point to leave you with, Wesley, my summarizing conclusion: in order to find a great person, you have to actually be a great person. Again, these were all things basically talked about above. We all thank you for the lesson in how shitty women are (especially we women, who now hang our heads in shame at how poorly SOME of us have treated you) and English grammar.

        In spite of the sarcasm and my feministic indignation at your totally unjustified attitude toward women, I sincerely hope that you change your mind and stop trying to find some way to fit people, whatever their signifiers, into tidy boxes. It is clearly not working for you, and it’s pretty fugly.

        • Reply

          Wesley

          1 month ago

          And the most important point to leave you with, Wesley, my summarizing conclusion: in order to find a great person, you have to actually be a great person.

          There are plenty of people who hook up or “find” great people who are losers, sociopaths,women etc and vice versa.

          I just want to say that that notion is false. aside from the blah blah blah novel you just wrote which shows you are investing a similar amount of time into these blogs as I am.

          You seem to be bothered that I jut merely point out the truth and it is your duty as a fem-nazi to contest it.

          Oh and I will be talking to women…I will be doing the manipulating, playing, abusing for a change… Somewhere in your novel I saw masochist…well strippers at the club I bounce at seem to be great targets. I mean really dumb as spit and had some great flings with.

          I will try to see how far I can string them along.

          Oh and about my grammar. I message from a mobile device so sometimes it will predict words for me or make me use them on the wrong tense. It’s the thing to do in between checking ID’s.

          • Matt

            20 weeks ago

            Dude ya gotta find a way to let go of your hate! I predict that when you pass forward the mean ways you’ve been treated to others, you’ll just end up feeling empty inside, and it certainly won’t help you develop healthy, satisfying relationships. More recommendations for when you’re ready to date again: stick with women 25 and up, and avoid clubrats like the plague. (I know I’m committing the same offense, but I’ll also be open with my hangup)

        • Reply

          Wesley

          1 month ago

          I wish you would incest more time reading and writing I already acknowledged that my “beliefs” won’t make me any more “attractive” than being confident caring and responsible.

          You wrongfully assume that I ALWAYS had this “unattractive” stance about women. Not so,it took a lot for me to finally realize just what they are…which I will not repeat.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    You mean men with beliefs that WOMEN are manipulative?

    So many emails and many men. That says something about the amount of trouble women cause.

    I am most certain these individuals have a righteous disappointment in multiple women they have had problems with.

    Ok I guess, NOT all of THEM are but it can definetly be said that a great number and the majority ARE and that is one of the many things that they do to cause more alienation between the sexes…keep it up. Keep changing good guys and making things difficult and then wonder why there aren’t any left.

  • Reply

    Wesley

    1 month ago

    Hmm with the many emails about men saying ALL women are manipulative…you could have found a better one…

    “I am sorry but I don’t think you understand how cruel some women can be. Woman can very emotional and manipulative liars.”

    SOME, CAN not ALL, ARE. That doesn’t sound like a generalization. Which is not what I accused you of. What I called you out on was assuming HE was generalizing.

    • Reply

      Minorin

      1 month ago

      Yes. You are right. All women are manipulative. They are horrible horrible creatures. Men are so much better. They are the voice of reason. That is why as a female I date men. You should too. They are GREAT!!

  • Reply

    Some Girl

    1 month ago

    I thought this was an overall good article until I got the part about how to talk about a “sexual subject”. I was really surprised because you seem to understand what’s appropriate and what motivates each gender pretty well. Why do you feel that talking about sex is necessary? It’s not. In my opinion, that’s just as passive-aggressive as the “Nice Guy” behavior. It comes across as insecure, like you feel you need to promote your past experiences or successes.

    I’m a woman and I’m not very familiar with the whole PUA thing, but from what I do know, I’d assume PUA tells guys to work in some sort of sexual topic into the conversation. You seem to still be taking plays from their playbook with this one.

    You do not need to talk about sex or anything sexual to create sexual tension. Sexual tension comes from natural chemistry, attraction, conversation, and body language, but not from literally talking about sex.

    When talking about something sexual, are you trying to drop subliminal hints that you’re worthy of being viewed sexually or that you’re interested in her sexually?

    You may scoff and think I’m being prude, but I’m right about this. If you’re going for authenticity and don’t want to be manipulative, you don’t talk about sexual subjects. It’s crude, immature, and shows insecurity.

    I will give you a real life example. A guy I used to know, I could tell he was interested in me. He’d often stand near me, talking loudly to someone else, just sort of making his presence known. I knew that’s what he was doing. That is something some guys do. I could tell he was slowly working up the courage to talk to me or ask me out over time.

    One time, he was talking with someone else about a conversation he’d had with a girl in a bar about their sexual fantasies. I wasn’t exactly interested in him before, but I was open to the idea. After overhearing that conversation, I was totally turned off to the idea of ever going out with him. It just made him appear unconfident, like he was overcompensating. This guy wasn’t a jerk. He wasn’t trying to act like a jerk. He was a nice guy. I’m not sure if the “talk about a sexual topic” is something some guys do to impress, subconsciously, or if he’d heard that tip somewhere. He was a somewhat quiet guy and I’m sure he felt the need to counter that by presenting a little bit of a bad boy side. I wouldn’t normally have been attracted to him — his looks, his personality, but, if he hadn’t done the whole loud sex conversation near me and had just been ok with who he is and not overcompensate, just act confident, I would have accepted if he’d asked me out.

    Like I said, he’d been slowly, over weeks/months, working up confidence to talk to me. Shortly after that day, he’d finally worked up the courage to come stand next to me (awkwardly! but I would have normally found that cute) and said something to me, trying to start up a conversation. Since I was already aware he’d been working up the courage to talk to me/ask me out, and since I was totally turned off be his sex conversation, I was pretty short with him and then turned to talk to my friend because I didn’t want him to ask me out. He’d make himself look desperate and lacking confidence with the loud sexual conversation days before, I was no longer open to the idea of going out with him because of that. I wasn’t trying to be mean or cruel, but I knew I wasn’t interested and I didn’t want to put either one of us in the awkward position of having me turn him down. Normally, I would have gladly talked to this guy.

    Talking about sex does not itself create sexual tension. The only time I can imagine it being of any “benefit” is if there’s already sexual tension and you both are looking for no strings attached sex that night. Otherwise, no. Bad idea. Talking explicitly about sex or anything sexually related is cheap and crude. If that’s what you’re presenting, that’s the only kind of girl you’ll get with that kind of behavior.

    So, my advice, no “sexual topics”. They do not work in your favor if you’re trying present yourself as mature, confident, and non-manipulative.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      1 month ago

      Some girl, you’re falling into the same trap that you’re warning against.

      Intentionally not talking about a sexual subject is still a form of performance, unnecessary and manipulative. Forcing yourself to talk about a sexual subject is also, as you pointed out, a performance, unnecessary and manipulative.

      People should feel free to bring up sexual subjects whenever they feel it appropriate or feel inspired to. Unfortunately, a lot of men are afraid to talk about sex around women they like, and so they avoid it. That’s why that advice is included there.

  • Reply

    Ellard L

    1 month ago

    Mark,

    This post is pretty close to excellent! Vulnerability is a term as it inspires growth; to those interested in growing of course. I became a big fan of “The Fake Alpha Male” article as well after reading this one. Keep doing your thing dude. I appreciate all of the judiciousness behind your insight.

  • Reply

    Valarie

    1 month ago

    Hi Mark,

    I just found this site through Psycholocrazy. And even though it’s intended for men, I’m really fascinated with what I’m finding here. A lot of the basic concepts here apply to women as well, and seeing a guy’s perspective is interesting for me.

    I was very moved by this particular paragraph:
    “What this means is you are who you attract. If you consistently end up with manipulative, mean women. Then there’s something about you that is manipulative and mean; you just don’t see it yet. Robert Glover brilliantly describes how Nice Guy Syndrome is actually extremely manipulative by being passive-aggressive. There’s a reason why Nice Guys always end up with narcissistic drama queens. They’re good matches. And one must admit that to themselves.”

    The first sentence struck me the most and really opened my eyes. Maybe this is a little out of place, but lately (maybe always) I’ve seemed to attract needy, clingy, say-I-love-you-way-too-fast kind of guys. I had recognized this and just broke up with a guy I had been dating for 6 months because I felt that he was putting too much emotion into the relationship and I wasn’t giving anything back. I just didn’t feel it and I felt terrible about that.

    This made me realize that I’m probably attracting this kind of guy because I’m needy as well, not anywhere near as vulnerable as I would like to be, am too concerned with hurting other peoples feelings so I don’t say no a lot which just says that I care too much what they think about me…and it’s all 100% true. I can’t even deny it. It is me.

    I’ve been trying to be more open, honest, confident, and vulnerable with everyone lately but it is very difficult. We all have that ‘childhood trauma’ and what not that impacts who we are today. I really want to be a better person and you’ve helped to inspire me to do just that. So thank you! You now have another reader. :)

    I don’t really want o get into the heated ‘feminist’ debate or anything…but I’m going to say one thing and be done with it.
    I just really can’t stand when a person assumes all women are a certain way or should be a certain way. And I also REALLY can’t stand when people assume men are a certain way or should be a certain way, or when some feminists have this elitist attitude that they are better than men in some way and that men deserve to be disrespected.
    No one can help what body they are born with…
    Really, we need to let the gender stereotypes go…it’s just a sign of insecurities/bad past experiences when people are like that and completely unattractive to everyone…
    I just…ugh, sorry for the rant but that just really gets under my skin.

    We’re all humans, can’t we just live happily with each other? Maybe one day. :)

    Again thank you Mark.

  • Reply

    Victoria

    28 weeks ago

    Glad you are teaching people to understand that it’s not that assholes get women because all women are illogical idiots, it’s because they’re generally a bit more confident, and self-proclaimed “nice guys” act fake to get you to think they’re nice, “gentlemanly” and whatever else they think that means.

    I dated a guy who was a combination of a complete asshole and a “nice guy” at the same time, but when I say nice guy I mean did “chivalrous” things like hold open a car door, pay for everything I ever did, etc., yet he was the most dramatic and manipulative person I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet, because his confidence was feigned, his niceness was actually more like him trying to be dominant over me, he completely lied about his sense of humor to match mine (and I have a very extreme sense of humor for a girl), and looking back, he played me well but it won’t happen again, because I can now see people’s intentions as if there’s a fucking neon sign over their dick.

    I believe if you’re trying to be nice to get laid, then you’re actually an asshole. If you act overly emotional (taking Mark’s “vulnerability” concept incorrectly), you look pathetic, especially to a woman who has no interest in games or manipulation. In fact, doing anything that isn’t naturally you/not genuine is unattractive except to people who like to lie, manipulate and play games.

    Life is a game, but relationships aren’t. Relationships are beautiful and about connecting to another fucking human being, which is practically a divine experience when you really think about it. If you see people as equal to you, and not somebody to manipulate or win over, there’s no question that you attract way more people. My boyfriend of like 5 years or whatever charms almost everyone I meet, it’s insane, and it’s because he’s just himself and has no desire to impress anybody in a room. People are highly attracted to people being themselves and not putting on a veil for the world. My boyfriend doesn’t do chivalrous things and I don’t want him to. I’m a woman who actually believes in true equality between sexes (excluding natural physical strength and possibility of strength), and I can open my own doors, pull out my own chairs, and pay for my own shit, and I don’t expect my boyfriend to treat me like I’m a helpless moron, but if he does something nice (like sometimes he’ll buy me a really beautiful pot of flowers or something), it’s not because he’s trying to be “Mr. Nice Guy,” it’s because he saw something and thought of me and was genuinely being nice. And I like THAT part of being nice – caring about others genuinely.

    Mark, you probably have one of the best blogs I’ve ever come across and I kind of wish I knew you, just because your authenticity is staggering and your advice is awesome (especially about entrepreneurship and life philosophies which really align with my own). I do have a question though – if you build these relationships with people, how come you’ve had so many girlfriends? Or at least it sounds that way. Have you never met a girl who you wanted to really be with? Or do you not believe in exclusivity or open relationships? Just curious about your perception of dating. I don’t really understand the concept of dating as I’ve only ever been attracted to people I was friends with after the age of 13. Even objectively attractive males I just don’t notice or really care about because I don’t know their personality which for me is #1 in attraction.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      28 weeks ago

      Thanks.

      I’ve been quite promiscuous in the past. I’ve had three long-term relationships, 3.5 years, 2 years and 1.5 years (current one) respectively. So yes, I’ve met girls I wanted to stay with. I’ve struggled with commitment issues in the past, and self-esteem issues as they related to sex (hence the rampant promiscuity). But yeah, relationships are great.

  • Reply

    James

    28 weeks ago

    Mark, this is an excellent article. I’m curious – Do you think this can somehow be adapted to help fix a sexless marriage situation? I mean, it seems that a lot of your premise rests on the ability to not put up with manipulative or other unacceptable behavior by being willing to walk when it occurs. But, in a marriage, especially when there are kids in the picture, isn’t it too late to put up strong boundaries for all but the most egregious transgressions (e.g., cheating, abuse, etc.)? How can a husband and recovering Nice Guy hope to implement such a radical shift in himself with a wife that is so accustomed to him after all the years that she doesn’t really even see him anymore? After a time doesn’t the wife pretty much stop trying to test the husband because she feels like she knows all his methods and capabilities and has made her final decision as to his worth and potential? She may have decided that he’s good enough to stick with for the foreseeable future, but she’s no longer attracted to him, ergo the sex life between them dies.

    Athol Kay delves into this topic in depth, but his advice seems to follow the PUA theme of responding to her tests (if any) with a witty comeback designed to show dominance, exactly what you seem to be advising against. Is it just the case that, in marriage that is the only move you can make if you’re not willing/able to walk away?

    • Reply

      Nissa

      19 weeks ago

      Dear James,

      As someone who was in a 14 year relationship (8 years married) I can tell you without a doubt that no matter what the other person does, if you change, the relationship changes. This can be positive or negative, but I used it to great effect positively. This is why marriage therapists will tell you that even if only one person in a marriage goes to therapy, there can be great improvement. Even one person’s change in communication, effort or what they want (or are willing to try) makes for tremendous change in the interpersonal dynamic.
      Best of luck.

  • Reply

    CD

    27 weeks ago

    I will admit I came to this website for a bit of ranty inspiration because I’m a masochist, I guess. I don’t usually comment in any case. But instead of feeling more enraged, I actually felt better by the time I get to the end of the post.

    The difference between the voice in the email and the writer of the article is a pretty big advocate for exactly what you’re preaching. I am a girl, and of course, the email made me bristle, feel judged, hurt, and enraged, with mental retorts along the simplistic lines of, “I’m sorry. You’re defining yourself as a NICE GUY?”

    The response was far better thought out and allowed me to breathe. I tend to view sexism as an Invasion of the Body Snatchers sort of thing because I don’t really believe that most men are judging me prematurely, that most people are “human.” But then comments like these lead me to question how many more are there among us that I don’t know about? While I meet most guys assuming they’re nice (nicer than me, smarter than me, more put together than me, more open minded than me, like everyone else in the world because I AM insecure), one person has me questioning that maybe my perception of men is wrong and that the loudest and most verbal are actual representations for how the more tactful really think. And if that was the case, I follow you: I don’t want to be a part of it.

    But your response was more akin to how I hoped guys thought: articulate, open minded, and maybe yes, calculating, but in a way that allowed for me to make an impression based on my actions, not the perceived actions of past/hypothetical women.

    I had one experience with a “Nice Guy,” who really was a nice guy, but was a liar. Not maliciously or manipulatively, just putting on airs. I couldn’t pinpoint how much of what he said about himself was hyperbole, true, or an out and out lie, but it made me nervous. Mostly because I COULDN’T tell. I knew he wasn’t himself, but I couldn’t see how much. And at first it made me feel like I didn’t have any control (I was having a hard time gauging what he wanted, I couldn’t tell what topics to bring up that he would be interested in, to avoid that he’d be offended or bored by), and then I began to get angry at him. He continued to protect himself by saying that “It wasn’t a date,” so that when I said, in the nicest way possible, “You’re leaving soon, so I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to date,” he could say, “I told you, I don’t date,” make me feel bad for not wanting to hang out with him again, and then trying to kiss me that same day. I realize I should have been more “vulnerable” and said, “Good bye,” sooner, but, as I said, he wasn’t a bastard, just “non-vulnerable,” and, I believe, thinking I was Shit Testing him.

    I don’t think of myself as a manipulative woman, but I do see myself as a non-vulnerable one. I don’t want people to dislike me, which makes a certain touch of dishonesty as well. The “leaving” thing was not so much of a reason as an excuse. I think that it’s possible to confuse any basic putting on airs as Shit Testing.

    I came here believing you didn’t know what you’re talking about and left here hoping you know more than I do. So thank you.

  • Reply

    Roalnd

    25 weeks ago

    That was the article I’ve been looking for.

    I’ve stayed away from relationships for a good long while now, years in fact, because I kept seeming to end up in the same relationship scenario. Repeatedly going through the same start middle and finish. The most interesting comment you made and one I’d already stated to realise was about who you end up with being a reflection on your self. It really is true. There’s an easy way to watch this in action. If you take the most manipulative and psychopathic women you know she will always be attracted to men who are psychopathic and manipulative. That does not mean that kind of man will be all she dates but that kind of man will be the one they go the distance with, until one screws the other over.

    The rest of the article has put many of the confusing aspects of relationships to rest. One trouble I’ve had is I’ve become so accustom to manipulative women the times I have had opportunities with genuine women I would view a genuine question of interest as a shit test and there for would answer in a manor befitting of a shit test rather than give a genuine answer to a genuine question.

    Thank you so much for the article. I think I need to buy your book and work on improving my own lot in life.

  • Reply

    Glenn

    23 weeks ago

    I seminal blog post. So effective.

  • Reply

    jcool

    23 weeks ago

    Nice guys usually have passive aggressive tendencies. Yea you should be grateful I didn’t try to fuck you like those assholes…wtf? A man that values himself does not get upset when the very caliber of women he claims to dislike is attracted to the very caliber of men he claims not to be….he’s just bitter, insecure and in need of validation. He values winning, not a particular class of woman. Which makes him a loser so he blames others.

  • Reply

    jcool

    23 weeks ago

    *makes him a loser when he is rejected by women,…get self esteem…my motto in dating n women is “if she’s not interested she’s not interesting”.

  • Reply

    smlhedthinker

    22 weeks ago

    Hey man I have read most all this yeah entertaining,those two guys one guy wesley? right? and that other kid both early twenties I dont get it, what are you doing on a web site like this, twenty three, why do you care what women think of you at that age, gezz man theres all kinds of time for that, just have an attitude like you dont give a shit and women will be fallin all over you just party and have a good time,the only thing you should be serious about is a job and saving money! Men are writing on here, this or that about trying to meet women, so what if you do everything right and you meet a great woman dont you think that there is a huge amount of issues that come from that? All us men are risk takers it is in our blood women not so much,these risks sometimes payoff Great, extreme sports even great surfers get nailed in the head sometimes, my point is to try in find one that will stick around when you get nailed or whatever life throws you.Finding a good woman lifes big conundrum,when your getting manipulated right out of the gate like in this article.

  • Reply

    Jeno

    13 weeks ago

    I love the way how you just walk out on a date hahaha. Though consider this for a moment. You are on a date with a girl you genuinely like or find something really special about her looks which you do not come across often. And one is genuinely afraid of losing her and where walking out on a date would simply be faking a ” i do not give a shit attitude”.

    Would your idea of vulnerability apply (not particularly in this example), by simply admitting to her the that you are afraid of losing her because you genuinely like her ? Regardless of she being manipulative or not, shit testing or not. Or is that one being over invested and needy?

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      13 weeks ago

      If you’re afraid of losing a girl just because of her looks then that’s the problem. That’s basically the definition of neediness.

      You can express neediness openly but it will always come across unattractive.

  • Reply

    Jay

    10 weeks ago

    I agree with some of your points. But I take issue with the suggestion that being a Niceguy means you’re subverting yourself. I’ve been kind to people, (ALL people not just woman I’m talking to) Because it just made me feel good and thats who I was. But it still got me in the friend-zone every time. It was always, and I mean literally 100% of the time it’s either been “Your a nice guy but…” Or “You’re a great guy but I just like you as a friend”. People say that if I expect her to be a more then a friend, then I’m somehow showing that I feel entitled. I’ve had many female friends most of whom I still love dearly and don’t expect anything else from them, but to expect us to never want a woman to be more than a friend is unrealistic and just plain stupid. Of course you’re actually going to try to do things to win a woman you’re interested in, to equate that with some sense of male entitlement is just illogical. I’ve heard those emasculating friend-zone lines from almost from every single woman I’ve ever had an interest in. But what baffled me even more is seeing those same woman who blatently stated that they rejected me for being nice, with a total douche-bag a week later. I started to realize that woman just aren’t attracted to nice guys, even if they’re entirely genuine.

    Now, I’ve never been a pushover, I had a rough upbringing, being the only white kid in my neighborhood in the south Bronx. Believe me, if I didn’t know how to stand up for myself and put up one hell of a fight, I wouldn’t even be alive now. I will always stand up for myself no matter who tries to push me around, I just won’t let it happen. But yet the first remotley polite thing I say or do for a woman, gets me immediately bumped into the friend-zone, never to see the light of day again. I don’t buy that woman believe being nice is some form of manipulation. Maybe some do but for the most part, I think they just take kindness for weakness. I actually think that men and woman both very often take kindness for weakness. But it’s a particular problem when it comes to women and dating.

    Also, I think you missed the entire point the guy was trying to make about the fucked up feminism and ball breaking in this culture. No where in the media or popular culture are men encouraged to behave in the cruel and sexist way that woman are. It just doesn’t happen. Yes everyone manipulates, but woman are encouraged to associate being a cruel, ball breaking bitch, who could destroy a man emotionally, as not only honorable, but an act of female liberation and empowerment. In other words, the game is already rigged for us to fail because they never wanted us to succeed. It’s just to much fun for them to see a man desperate, alone, feeling broken and rejected. They take a particularly sadistic pleasure in this practice and it go’s un-challenged in society.

    On the topic of vulnerability, I lost my wife when I was 26, I’ve been alone for over 4 years now. I’ve tried to date again but have been rejected literally every single time, by what now seems like hundreds of woman. Sometimes once they found out I was a widower. they just ran as fast as they could. So I stopped telling woman certain things about myself. But of course that backfires because then it looks like I’m being deliberately aloof and vague because I have something to hide, or am being manipulative. But what am I supposed to do when I’ve only told them 1% of what my everyday life is like and they can’t even stomach that because it’s to depressing and they can easily find a guy with no baggage. At least thats how they see it. But if they stuck around long enough, they’d see that I’ve been very strong in keeping my head up and have worked extremely hard to pull myself up from the slums and have been very successful at it. I didn’t ask for the life I got, didn’t ask to be abandoned by my mom and living on the streets at the age of 15, but I did overcome what I endured. However, all these things, in their eyes, seem to be seen as vulnerability. They seem to have these immediate blanket generalizations about everything and put you in a category based on displaying any of these traits Yes, if you show one of these traits that they associate with being wussy, you’re immediately dismissed. And they’ve been wrong about me every time, totally misunderstand me and under-estimate me so much that hardly even one woman has thought I was worth giving the time of day since my wife.

    All this has lead to me being extremely frustrated, thinking that no woman is worth wasting a single second of my precious time on. I don’t need your advice, no one can help me unless they’ve been in my situation. I just wanted to point out a couple fallacies.

  • Reply

    Mark

    8 weeks ago

    This article has been very, very useful… Thanks. =)

  • Reply

    Caiti

    7 weeks ago

    I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been lost in the internet, reading about all these things I’d forgotten- or hadn’t realised- were important, & it’s fascinating to see so much social activity regarding these topics. I think that even though no single person can teach you exactly what you need to be happy, fulfilled etc, as the ‘life experience’ is so deeply personal, amidst all the specific theories & stories & thoughts there is a wonderful thread of honesty & consciousness.

    As a woman, I felt challenged by this post. It’s important to recognise your own flaws & fears, & to see how they affect others. So thank you for helping me remember to pull myself towards myself.

    Oh, also, being ‘vulnerable’ isn’t just incredibly important – it’s also exquisitely appealing, & creates a connection so much faster than any game or bullshit. As fun as it may feel (winning the wit game), once you’ve started to be yourself, to be open, the returns on your risk serve only to highlight how empty those ‘wins’ are. Gentleman, I love it when I can have an actual conversation with a fully formed person, instead of some douche whose robotic responses leave me feeling bored. It’s a sense of deja vu, caused by all the other boys who either don’t know who they are, or aren’t willing to show me… if you don’t even want to be you, why would I want to be with you, even for a second?

    Don’t get me wrong – EVERYONE is full of shit at some point in their lives. Being manipulative or non-vulnerable doesn’t automatically make you an asshole or a bitch, or a bad person. It’s most often an inner reflection of the insecurities & issues we experience emotionally yet refuse to consciously process & work through. However, instead of trying to drown them out in convenient relationships/hook ups, or taking them out on some poor unsuspecting guy/girl at the bar, try take yourself home & work them all out first. Because, as you said, we attract people who are like us. & if you’re already insecure & immature, isn’t there already enough crazy in the equation without adding another set of neuroses.

    Thank you for the blog & making me think :)

  • Reply

    Reynolds

    5 weeks ago

    I agree with the basic premise of what you’re saying, ignore shit tests because it’s stupid shit for stupid people. Anyone can get behind that, and I think even those idiotic PUAs only go along with shit tests because there’s a reward at the finish line.

    But then in your Post Masculine article, you say that women will test you period, legit or not, the farther you’re in a relationship. Honestly? It not only undermines your whole vulnerability idea, it’s also horrible as hell. Yeah, I’m getting to know this new person so much better, and getting so close to her, and instead she throws out bullshit games to screw with me. I’m getting to know her alright, I’m getting to know that she’s an absolutely horrible person. If she shows up 40 minutes late and is smug as shit about it, the only thing on my mind is going to be, “shit test.” So she’s out. No second chances. I’m not going to “rein her in,” to make her act decent towards me in some psuedo-alpha male idiocy (really when I think of alpha males, it’s not cavemen beating each other to death over food, or Navy SEALs, it’s how to deal with stupid passive-aggressive mind games), it should be expected at all times, because I know I’d treat her decent too, no games and no bullshit. To hell with whatever rationalizations you can throw, whether she’s trying to see if I’m genuine or not, because I’m starting to see she’s genuine shite. I can’t honestly love someone who’s going to play some grabass nonsense with me. I swear to god if a woman EVER tries and tests me to see if I’m “genuine” enough for her, ditch the bitch. Delete her number, blocked on Facebook, done. That goes for ltr’s, wife’s, you name it. People change all the time and leave each other for horrible reasons, I’m getting my ass out of dodge before she pulls something on me and leaves me with years of regret.

    Really, I keep looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, because everyone knows about half-assed signals and stereotypical female “behavior.” It’s not even about a relationship anymore, it’s about finding someone who deep down isn’t completely full of shit. If a male friend tried this shit with the intent to “test” you, you’d write him off as a poofy wanker. Same logic I think. I won’t have someone play me dishonestly for their ego when honest to god communication works. After all, if they’re going to test me, what the hell else bullshit am I going to expect down the line? I read stuff like this

    http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2011/03/21/relationshipstrategies/why-we-shit-test/

    and I want to fly into a spastic rage.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      4 weeks ago

      That shit test article was written in 2009 and deleted in 2012 for exactly this reason. I don’t believe it anymore. I don’t date women who shit test, period. As soon as I decided that, my life and relationships improved big time.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      4 weeks ago

      If you want to read a classic PM post about shit tests, I’d say read this one: http://postmasculine.com/shit-test-paranoia

      • Reply

        Reynolds

        3 days ago

        That article you linked to is the one I was talking about actually. You said that women will shit test a guy more the farther into a relationship, and that if she’s seriously making fun of you to test you, it’s a good thing. Obviously there’s a difference between a bimbo shit testing because she’s coy, especially if you’ve just met, as opposed to someone shit testing you in the middle of a relationship to test your resolve or whatever, but shit tests are inherently deceptive and manipulative bullcrap. I don’t care how far we’re into the relationship, shit tests are unacceptable and if I get the feeling she’s screwing with me, her ass is back out on the streets. She should be able to talk to me honestly like a real human being, not put on the face of a goddamn caricature because she can’t be honest with me and certainly doesn’t respect me enough to take me at face value, instead making me run through rigged hoops because she thinks her shit doesn’t stink.

        • Reply

          Mark Manson

          3 days ago

          Oh, I thought you were referring to the old, old article.

          But anyway, yes, it’s true, shit tests happen out of insecurity, and greater intimacy often makes women feel more insecure.

          Simple solution: Don’t date women who are insecure. Don’t date women who shit test you, ever.

          P.S., there’s a reason that article was left on Postmasculine… it sucks.

  • Reply

    Lina

    2 weeks ago

    Hi Mark.

    I’ve read your examples and I do not understand why you call these women behaviour manupulative?
    Manupulation ussualy involves some technics that allow manupulator to control thier victims such as guilt trips or shaming or playing a victim or lying or suprficial anger or even sympathy…

    The woman in the example voices her opinion and it could be seen as intimidating (by people who get intimidated easily) but manupulative (hmmm?). In this case any negative comment can be labeled as manupulative. What is the difference?

    Thanks,
    Lina

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      2 weeks ago

      The difference is the intention. If a woman makes a negative comment in order to get a man to like her more or to chase after her or to try to win her approval, then it is manipulative. If she makes a negative comment because she honestly feels negative about something, then it is not manipulative. But if that were the case, she would have stated her opinions more respectfully.

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