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 August 6, 2012 at 3:08 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! R. asks,
My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, and we both just graduated. We’re planning to stay together, we have jobs in the same part of the country, and we’re thinking about moving in together. But I’m worried that I’m only staying with him out of inertia. I don’t know if I’m ready to settle down. What should I do? Am I leading him on?
This is a complicated issue. A year and a half ago I fielded a question from a guy in a similar position. On the one hand, should you break off a relationship when nothing is wrong? On the other, does something have to be wrong for you to be unsatisfied? As Prof. Gilbert has observed, we’re really bad at anticipating what will make us happy, so don’t necessarily rely on your instincts to make this decision. You’ll get a more accurate prediction of how you’ll feel by observing what others have chosen in your situation, and how it turned out for them. 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 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 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 email@example.com, 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 March 8, 2012 at 12:42 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! M. asks,
What if you realize that you want someone, but someone else had gotten there first? How do you steal someone else’s boyfriend?
In a nutshell: you don’t. You move on.
You might think I’m saying so because it’s wrong to the third party who is currently dating the object of your affection. But that’s not actually the reason (although, needless to say, that is a good reason). I’m saying so because, if you want this guy, you need to be more attractive to him than the girl he’s seeing now, and trying to break up his current relationship will make you look desperate and unattractive: while you might succeed in ruining his relationship, you won’t be able to hold onto him afterward.
The better strategy is to move on. Look for other people. Have a good time. Be as attractive as you can be. But stay close and visible to this guy.
There are multiple benefits:
Most obviously, if this guy becomes single again, you’ll be obviously present, available, and attractive, and therefore ideally positioned – and this works especially well because in this scenario he’s the one who chooses you, which will create a relationship with more staying power than if you were jumping through hoops and making a huge effort to win him over from someone else. Read the rest of this entry »