Posted by Some Dude on October 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm
Got a relationship question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at email@example.com, and watch this space for my answer!
Someone recently pointed me to a fascinating blog post from the Harvard Business Review by Kevin Allen, one of the ad men at McCann Eriksson who created MasterCard’s famous “Priceless” ad campaign. Explaining how his ad agency got MasterCard to sign onto the “Priceless” campaign, Allen writes,
In one of the industry’s most hotly-contested advertising accounts, dozens of agencies’ pitches were winnowed down to two contenders. In a surprising twist, MasterCard declared that the agency with the highest score in consumer testing would win. The heart-wrenching result: Our Priceless campaign did not test well. In an act of courage, and confidence, the MasterCard team awarded us the business anyway. When I asked Larry Flanagan, who went on to become MasterCard’s celebrated CMO, about their decision to award us the business for the Priceless campaign, he said, “We bonded because McCann Eriksson understood the deep desire of the MasterCard customer, but they understood MasterCard’s deep desire, too.”
Emotional decision-making crops up everywhere in life. Sometimes I wonder why we even think of ourselves as rational beings — we’re certainly capable of being rational, but how many of us have the detachment and discipline to separate the emotional from the empirical all the time? Even when we try to be completely rational, we aren’t.
Too many pitches are lost because the people undertaking them think — erroneously — that the business matters at hand are the only relevant issue. There are no magic tricks or hypnotics to persuade people to do what you say. Rather, behind every decision the average person makes to buy something — whether a product or service, your argument or an idea — is an unspoken emotional motivation.
The same is true of relationships. Advertising and attraction aren’t really the same thing, but but there are common lessons to be learned. What are these emotional motivations, and how can understanding them help us to make better relationship decisions? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Some Dude on October 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm
Got a relationship question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and watch this space for my answer! H.G. asks,
I spent the better part of the last two years in unrequited love with a close friend. I told my roommate and her roommate about my feelings for her, but I don’t think she ever knew. I’m over her now, so that’s just background. I’ve since become interested in another girl who runs an extracurricular with me. I texted her if she wanted to out to to dinner and she agreed. I replied “great, its a date”, but that same afternoon she told me she had just found out she would be busy and would not be able to go.
Ah, mixed signals.
First, here’s what I think is going on. I think she’s not sure what she thinks of you yet, but is predisposed to like you, which is why she said yes to the dinner date in the first place, but she got cold feet after you explicitly called it a “date” because she wants to figure out her feelings for you before you figure out your feelings for you. There’s more pressure on her to make up her mind if she already knows you’re interested – and more pressure doesn’t work in your favor. Of course, it ispossible something just came up, but I suspect she got cold feet because she didn’t feel moved to give you a detailed excuse or propose a new day and time.
From your history with the friend of yours you were earlier interested in, I think you may be focusing too much on communicating your attraction to others, rather than on trying to help them feel more attracted to you. The problem with that approach is that women’s (more than men’s) sense of attraction develops gradually, so giving them a sudden revelation or confession (or even an explicit hint in that direction, as you did) usually catches them off-guard, before they’re ready to be receptive to it. I think a better approach is to give her the opportunity to fall for you, and work on reinforcing her attraction without admitting a specific, exclusive interest in her. Not only will you have better luck when you do try to create an explicit relationship from it eventually, but it’ll be more likely to last, because her attraction to you will come more from within herself and less from you convincing her to give you a shot.
Here’s my recommendation for you. It’s great that you like this girl! But don’t try to send her “I am pursuing you” signals again for a while. Wait until she’s giving you unambiguous signals of her own. To get to that point, take a look at this post I wrote last year on attracting women. When you do get to that point, I have another post on first dates which you might find helpful.
Best of luck!
Special Thanks to Emily W. and Deborah H. Email Some Dude at email@example.com.
Posted by Some Dude on October 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Got a relationship question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and watch this space for my answer! N. asks,
I’ve fallen for a bad boy. I know there’s no realistic future for us, but I feel so passionate when I’m with him. This has happened to me before; is it because I’m an overachiever somehow?
Why are these guys attractive? Bad boys can be attractive because they seem confident, interesting, and fun. Bad boys’ sense of self-worth usually isn’t tied to you, which means you don’t need to take care of them. These guys also tend to be (or seem) more sexually experienced, which can be alluring. All of this easily adds up to a swept-off-your-feet sort of feeling. This problem isn’t unique to overachievers, but I do think they get hit by it harder. Women, I think, are attracted to men who are in some way more something than they are. More entertaining, more adventurous, more intellectual, more self-sufficient, more daring, etc. Different women in different relationships end up being attracted to different traits like that, but in the case of overachievers or other high-status women, the pool of attractive guys is a little more extreme.
This is why nice guys finish last, from the opposite angle. And it’s true for basically the same reasons: reliability, courtesy, responsibility, and overall niceness are not correlated to attraction, as much as we might wish they were. “Bad boys” are often spontaneous, interesting, fun, and passionate – all traits that make them very attractive. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with dating one of these guys – particularly if you’re not looking for long-term potential and just want to have a good time. But they can be insensitive, unpredictable, unsupportive, selfish, self-destructive, irresponsible, lazy, or unfaithful, and so can be less-than-ideal relationship partners. As you’ve noticed. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Some Dude on April 18, 2012 at 11:40 am
Got a relationship question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at email@example.com, and watch this space for my answer! Today, I’m going to talk about overcoming shyness. If you are a shy girl, what can you do to overcome that reluctance? And if you’re a guy interested in (or already in a relationship with) a shy girl, how do you deal with it?
For afflicted women: you’re a lot better off than shy men, for starters. Shyness in women plays well to old notions of gender roles that die hard, so unlike men, taking advantage of your own shyness is an effective option. Overcoming it outright is a bit harder but also works very well, and is more empowering in the long run.
One important step in breaking the shyness logjam is to stop dwelling so much on others’ reactions. Recognize that you’re never going to be able to perfectly interpret nonverbal cues – no one can. Rapt attention to others’ nonverbal cues often leaves you not focusing enough on your own nonverbal cues. So instead of trying to detect hairsplitting subtlety, you’re much better off focusing your effort on getting others to give you obvious signs of their interest. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Some Dude on April 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm
Got a relationship question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and watch this space for my answer! Today, I’m going to talk about overcoming shyness. If you are a shy guy, what can you do to overcome that reluctance? And if you’re a girl interested in (or already in a relationship with) a shy guy, how do you deal with it?
Friends with Detriments by xkcd.
For afflicted guys: there are basically two kinds of you: the kind that will hang out with a girl you’re interested in, doing her favors in the (possibly subconscious) hope that friendship will eventually turn romantic; and the kind that is too shy to do anything other than admire from a distance, wondering if the object of your affections even knows you exist. And there’s a lot of overlap between them. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Some Dude on February 11, 2012 at 11:00 am
Hi all! You may know me as a prolific commenter on HarvardFML; this is my new and improved means of doling out relationship advice! Got a question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at email@example.com, and watch this space for my answer! Today, a Valentine’s Day Special, featuring advice for the single and advice for the taken!
The Oatmeal's Valentine's Day Comic - click above to read the whole thing.
I don’t know what to get my boyfriend/girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. Help!
It’s perfectly okay to stick to the classics – if you’re shopping for a girl, flowers, chocolates, or jewelry are all highly acceptable. Just about anything from Lush works. And remember: you live so close to Burdick, it would be a crime to buy her Godiva. Don’t be afraid to be a little spicy, either (for instance: I’m getting my girlfriend a Snuggie and a copy of the book The Snuggie Sutra). Just a Hallmark card is a cop-out; but just a nice handwritten card is lovely. A nice dinner out works perfectly for both sexes (if you go to Upstairs on the Square on Valentine’s Day you might see me there), but reserve ASAP since it’s a popular night to eat out. Gifts for guys are trickier, because guys typically don’t get into Valentine’s Day as much; when in doubt, just a card is fine. Something token but masculine would work well: for instance, if he’s a snappy dresser and has shirts with French cuffs, get him a pair of cufflinks. Guys often like practical gifts, but a pantygram is cute, too. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Some Dude on February 7, 2012 at 11:30 am
Got a relationship question you want to ask, or a situation you want thoughts and advice on? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and watch this space for my answer! Anonymous writes,
Nice article. Do one for girls too, Some Dude!
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: in the post-college dating world, men have it easier. Women tend to mature earlier, which is great for them at the time, but over their 20s men are finally catching up. There’s a silver lining to that though: the quality of the best men available increases, so don’t fret if you haven’t met someone you really click with yet: he could be worth the wait.
So, how do you meet those higher-quality men? As I recommended to men last week, the solution isn’t to go looking for places where the best single guys look for girls. Why not? Multiple reasons, actually. The competition, of course: it’s easier to stand out when you’re standing alone, rather than in a pack (and you’re also more approachable that way). But also, in places where women go looking for relationships, you will often find a lot of opportunistic guys looking for just sex. If what you really want is a relationship, don’t settle.
Instead, look for places where single guys congregate when they’re not looking for a date — not necessarily only guys, or even only single guys, so long as single guys are part of the mix and there are very few single women looking for single men. My favorite go-to example is PAX East, an annual video game conference in Boston. There will be many undateable guys there too — but any woman present will have first pick of any guy she wants because there are so few women. (Yes, even the best quality men play video games.) Similar situations can be found at a variety of volunteer projects, particularly outdoorsy ones that are more likely to attract guys. Read the rest of this entry »