- Why popular “dating tips” won’t improve your dating results — and why the “lazy way” to meet women works against your happiness (1:13)
- How the WebMD approach to self-improvement barricades access to your true, attractive self (7:59)
- The “dangerous” dating practices that can hook you like heroin and destroy your relationships (9:09)
- What to do if your anxiety level approaching women is above 2 of 10 (11:07)
- How to stop creating barriers in your mental “self” to naturally attract women (18:23)
- Why success with tips and tactics keeps you from connecting with the right women (23:13)
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
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Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the very first episode of the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host, and I am super excited to welcome you to the very first episode of this podcast, where we’re going to be looking at everything having to do with psychology, especially as it relates to masculinity.
Okay, so for our very first episode, we’re going to be diving into this big topic and this point of why dating tips don’t work, why dating advice just doesn’t work, why, in fact, it could even be dangerous, and then I’m going to mention the one caveat for all of this. Okay, so I’ve got three points that I’m going to be sharing, plus a caveat.
All right, so this is addressing, going right head on to tackle the myth of “just the tips.” I’m just going to put it that way, so it’s easy to remember just the tips. [01:06.3]
Just like you shouldn’t believe or women shouldn’t believe when a guy says just a tip, or maybe you shouldn’t believe it’s for yourself, you also shouldn’t believe in this myth of all you need is tips or all you need are the tips or advice—and I totally get it if you’re looking for the easy way to do something, to look for the hacks, or what might turn out to be the lazy way to do something.
I totally get that a big part of my life and the success that I have gotten is through looking for the hacks, the optimized way, the most effective and efficient way to do something, and seeing how most people do something as being the default control against which you will test your more optimized hack or something. [01:53.0]
I totally get that—and, again, I’ve derived a lot of benefit from that approach as well—but it’s important to see and understand the limitations of that approach and the shortcomings of it, especially when you’re applying this lazy man’s-way-of-doing-something approach to life in an area that’s much deeper and more complex, and has roots that go way back to your childhood and even from when you were first born.
These are psychological issues and there are reasons why it’s so hard to fix, or solve or resolve problems in this area of relationships and dating, when you apply just that surface level of tips. I know it’s really popular because, with a quick search on Google or especially YouTube, you can see which videos are getting or which pieces of content are getting millions of views or millions of hits, and they’re almost always about these kind of lazy ways of approaching things, like the seven things to say to get a girl to like you or the six powerful ways to get a girl to chase you or something like that, or the 36 questions that hack a woman’s mind or learn the three dating tips that most men will never know, and that’s sort of thing. [03:08.3]
I understand the appeal of it, but it’s important for you to realize that that’s just really lowest-common-denominator, bottom-of-the-gutter kind of advice, and it’s really just to get your clicks. The thing is it not only is often ineffective, but it can actually be dangerous.
Okay, so let’s dive into the three. I’ve got three points here. That was just a sort of preamble to set the context for why it’s so important to understand that dating tips don’t work and that there’s this myth out there that you might have bought into that a lot of people, millions of people seem to have bought into “just the tips”, the “just the tips” myth.
The first point, and I’ve already sort of gotten into this, is that it only treats surface-level symptoms. Okay, so what you’re going to be seeing is advice about what to say, what to do, and it’s a lot of the how-tos, and the problem with that is the implementation. [04:02.6]
You’ll notice that, if it were that simple, if it was as simple as learning how to program your VCR—I guess no one has that nowadays, but—knowing how to fix the thing on your TV, you go and get the manual and you look at the troubleshooting section, and then you just press a bunch of buttons and then it gets fixed … ideally, and it’s done. That’s a surface-level thing. That’s pretty straight forward.
You’re not as simple as a TV. Human beings are a lot more complex than a TV. However, and here it is, I’ll just throw the caveat out there now, if it’s that simple, if it’s as simple as learning these three tips or these whatever 36 things to say, and you just go and do them and you get the result you want, then, great. Then you shouldn’t be listening to this, right? Then you’re good. You’re good to go. Why are you continuing to look up dating advice? It should be pretty straight forward, and it’s not that in this day and age, we lack information because almost all the information and you need is available for free or almost free online, or you could buy a book for 10 bucks, 20 bucks, and you’d have all the information you need, all the knowledge at your fingertips. [05:11.6]
So, you’ll notice that, if you think about it, if it’s just the lack of knowledge, if it’s just a lack of information, if it’s just some tips you need, then you should already have your problem solved, because all it takes is internet access and the ability and knowhow to Google and YouTube search stuff, and you can just go and apply it. It’s that simple, because if the video says to say these three things, and how hard is that? Just go and say the three things and you’ll find out pretty soon whether the things work, but it’s rarely that simple.
However, the caveat is if it’s that simple for you and I’ve had clients for whom it was simply a matter of information, and this hasn’t been in the recent few years, but I’ve been coaching for 15 years now, and in the early part of my career, this was just when Facebook had just started out. In fact, at that time, when I was just beginning my coaching career, Facebook was limited to campuses, so you had to have a .edu and that university, and that was like you couldn’t friend somebody outside that university.edu address. That’s how long ago I’ve been coaching, okay? [06:15.5]
In the early period, for the first five years or so, I got plenty of clients who paid for the one-on-one long-term coaching package, so we’re talking 15,000 to 25,000, and many of them had already, at that level, had done life coaching. They’d been to a whole bunch of Tony Robbins events. They’d done therapy.
Surprisingly for me, these clients who paid the most needed the least amount of coaching that they just simply needed the information and some drilling, and they could apply it that night. I’d teach them something in the afternoon. That night they’d apply it and, boom, they’d text me, David, that thing you taught me worked so well, I just can’t believe it, and that’s it. Often these guys don’t need to finish their coaching program. They often leave sessions taken or just banked because they’ve already gotten the results before halfway through the program. [07:05.0]
There might be exceptions like that. I mean, again, I say, these are exceptions, right? Because they had done so much of their own inner work of the therapy, of their own life coaching, of their own accessing their success and drive and so forth, that anxiety and emotional issues were not the problem. It was simply a lack of information.
I’m saying and just reminding you that that was years ago. In the recent past few years, I have not gotten any clients like that. Nowadays, it seems all of the information that you would need is freely available online, and if you’re still don’t believe that, just go online and try it and then come back, because I know that 95 percent or more of you who are listening to this and who are listening, maybe 99 percent of you who are listening, will come back because it’s not that simple, and if it were, then great, I’m happy for you to go and do it. [07:59.0]
In fact, on my side, I’ve already produced as much information and made it readily available for free, like this episode, but in addition to a free masterclass that you can get just on my website—just entering your email on my website, you get access to 13 or more masterclasses that I’ve done, video classes, audio classes. I’ve done the PDF e-books for free—and you can just get it all for free. All the information you need to succeed in your dating life is readily available.
The problem is it’s rarely ever that simple. Those dating advice content is addressing the surface-level symptoms, so it’s easy in that sense. Say this, do that. Apply this to her text. Copy and paste. That sort of level of instruction. The danger is you could waste a lot of time at that level and get really frustrated, sort of like this is sort of the WebMD level of medical treatment, where you spend a lot of time self-diagnosing and then implementing based on your own self-diagnosis, and then actually making things worse. [09:02.1]
Okay, so that’s the first point. These dating tips only treat the surface-level symptoms. The second point is that it actually could be dangerous, not just ineffective, but it could be dangerous, because it might actually work and then you end up developing a reliance on this palliative.
Earlier I said there’s a caveat. It might work, but that only applies if it works easily for you. If you listen to it one time or read it one time, whatever the content is, just watch it one time, and then you go and implement it, and right away you do it and it’s done and you get the results, then that’s great. That’s the case that I was describing earlier, if somebody who has done a lot of his inner work and simply lacks information.
For most people, though, if they work really hard at it, that is they attempt to do this tip or this technique, or tactic or whatever, maybe 10 times or 100 times, and then it works, like the typical standard pickup artists approach, just persist with it and keep at it and practice and so on, and eventually you’ll get it. [10:03.6]
That’s the other way that it might work and that’s actually the way that I ended up taking earlier in my life to develop these pickup skills. I went full-time into it for at least two years. Then I was not just practicing it, but also coaching it for many years after, and that was the approach I took. Just like any other craft, you practice and you get better at it and so forth.
That’s actually really dangerous because notice that it wasn’t like the first case. The first case is that you simply lacked information. You’ve got the information. It’s like you learn how to program your microwave or whatever from the troubleshooting manual and you press a bunch of buttons and it is done. If it’s that straight forward, great. Then you don’t need this episode. You can pass this to your friend who has struggled with it.
But there’s that minority of guys who have done enough of the inner work that they don’t have social anxiety or approach anxiety, or any of those insecurities, and it’s simply a lack of information, they simply don’t know the language of dating or flirting or of attraction or whatever, and that’s relatively easy to teach. You can learn it in a few hours or, depending on how much you don’t know, right, you can learn it in half an hour or a few hours or whatever it is, and then you go and apply it. [11:07.5]
Now, if you had trouble, any trouble at all, applying it, if your anxiety in applying even just how to begin a conversation—we call those openers, right?—if your anxiety even just in getting a woman’s attention, attract a woman’s attention, having her look at you straight in the eyes and then you delivering a line that you thought about her earlier, if your level of anxiety is anything above a 2/10, then if you persist at learning and implementing the tips, and then you get results, it can actually be even more dangerous than if it didn’t work at all, because if it didn’t work at all, then you would get to the right way to do it, which I’ll get to in the next episode. You’re going to get to the better way. Eventually, you might not get the better way, but at least you’ll give up on the wrong way and then you’ll potentially get to the better way faster. [11:54.3]
But if you end up getting some results and sort of like giving an addict some cocaine, some drugs, and then they get a little taste for it and they want more and more and more, and eventually develop this reliance on the drug, on the substance to get the high.
That’s what happens for guys who actually start to get results after persisting for quite a while at applying these dating tips, and you can take the pickup artist as the paradigm example of that who works really hard, in my case, years of applying this pretty much full time, seven days a week, going on dates or studying this material and then applying it in the bars and clubs and streets, and then on dates. Okay, so you can actually do that, get results and persist, and it might work.
Many guys don’t make it down that route, by the way. They’ll try and it seems that the amount or the percentage of guys who actually get success from that approach is dwindling every year. It looks like the pickup artist community is pretty much gone now and it’s devolved into various other men’s rights movements or something like that, and the kind of bitterness often that results from it, and so I’ll have to address that in a different episode. [13:05.7]
But I’m just going to address the guys who haven’t gone down that dark road yet and just sort of looking at YouTube advice or something like that and they see some innocuously titled content, like seven things to say to get a girl to like you or to chase you or something, and they look at those and they think, This is it, this is it. Now I just need more of this and I will be fine. I’ll be great with my dating life. Finally, attractive women will finally like me and I will be happy.
I’m addressing those guys. If that’s you, listen up. If you’re close to it or if you know somebody like that, you should also listen up. The problem with it being persisting at this advice, these tactics, tips, techniques, strategies, and methods, is that they actually might work after you work at it for a long time and then you’ll actually go down a dark road, and it’s sort of, like I was saying—I’m going to stick with the medical analogy here—as becoming addicted to the drug, or—let’s stay with the medical—you become addicted to the prescription drug. Right? now you think now you have to rely on that and what it creates is barriers to your true self. [14:08.6]
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Okay, so you’re now relying on the palliative, now relying on this drug that actually doesn’t work that well, but if you just hammer, if you just hammer at it, it might then click because you’ve now developed certain patterns in you that weren’t there before, and this is actually going to make it harder for you to unlearn these things. [15:11.5]
Now you have layers of false self or false personas, patterns that are going to make it harder for you because there are more barriers to getting to the vulnerability of that, the core insecurities that were making it hard for you to get it in the first place, those anxieties that kept coming up, the neediness, the core neediness that was getting in the way of you smoothly implementing whatever dating tips you happen to like. So, then you persist through those in the kind of warrior mentality of “I’m just going to work really hard at it and just keep pushing at it.”
Eventually, for the five percent who actually persist enough, it will actually work, and for the rest of the guys, the other 95 percent who try to make it work, many of them get frustrated and then they get angry, and then they get bitter and then they blame women, and they hate themselves even more and they just become hopeless and despairing, and that’s bad. It actually makes things worse than if you were in a more innocent state, right, and had not gone down that route. [15:11.5]
Now, obviously, hope is not lost if you happen to have tried to apply dating tips, advice, tactics, whatever, because apparently there are millions of views on these videos and articles and so on. I know that that’s the majority of people going online to look for dating advice are getting sucked into the surface-level, superficial, tips-level of advice.
So, I’m telling you there’s hope. I went down that road. I went extreme down that road. There is hope. It just makes it harder. The journey is going to be longer. It might actually work out better for you like it did for me, because now I can help other people, because I’ve gone down that road as well—and that’s the second point that it might work if you persist at it and then that will actually be more dangerous, and that leads directly into the third point: the reason this is more dangerous is because it exacerbates the underlying issues, the underlying issues that were originally making it so hard for you to smoothly and effortlessly apply whatever dating tips that you had. [17:09.8]
In fact, the fact that you’re looking at dating advice is fine. Obviously, you’re looking for whatever help you can get, right? And if you find some good advice that you think, Oh, that makes sense, and you go and apply it, that’s a good litmus test to see whether you have core neediness, you have this neediness or insecurities or anxieties that get in the way.
If you don’t, like I said, if you don’t have those, they don’t come up, then you should be able to apply the dating tips right away and get the results if it’s good tips. Most of the tips suck, but then you see that the tips suck. But notice that there’s your internal state when you were applying it. Is there anxiety? Are these insecurities coming up? Are you hearing an inner critic in your head? Are you hearing the self-doubt? If you are, those are symptoms of parts. Those are parts in you that are bearing these burdens that ought to be addressed through a therapeutic process. [18:02.0]
That would have been better for you to go directly to that rather than waste your time going through the dating tips, and even worse than a waste of time, like I said, point number two is that it might actually work if you persist at it, but then you get hooked on the thing that doesn’t work, that isn’t actually supposed to work for you, but you’ve forced it and in order to force it to work for you—assuming therefore that it did not come naturally to you and you had to force it—you’ve now created false selves that are barriers or layers between your consciousness and your true self and your inner child, exiled vulnerability.
The third point being, doing that actually makes things worse because it exacerbates the underlying issues, reinforcing your reliance on these toxic coping strategies of putting out a kind of narcissistic self, like what a lot of these blogs and video YouTube channels with their obsession about being alpha, and “Am I alpha now? Am I dominant? Am I …?” All of that is just based on insecurity. It’s being driven by core insecurity that gets passed down to guys who practice that mindset. [19:09.6]
Okay, so notice that in almost all of these techniques, tactics and strategies require for them to be pulled off properly. It’s much more important that the mindset is right. That’s why if you were able to do it effortlessly, you had the right mindset, then it came naturally to you, so it’s not forced and it’s not inauthentic. If, however, it didn’t come naturally and easily to you often because of the insecurities, anxieties and so forth, but then this is a false self that you’re putting on.
Now, at a more advanced level of understanding it, if you’ve actually persisted, like I did, for years in developing these patterns, you actually call out from your unconscious for you to excel at that. It would have called out from your unconscious parts of you that were responding to that type of energy and pattern, part of you that’s already seductive or ultra-confident or something like that, often bearing their own burdens, but then they’ll take up the mantle of these strategies and methods for seduction and so forth and run with them. [20:06.8]
It’s not so much that the danger isn’t so much that they’re false, because they are parts of you, for you to excel at that. That means that you would have integrated and assimilated these mindsets and behaviors patterns and so forth. So, it’s not so much that they’re false. It’s that there are parts of you that aren’t your true self. There are parts of you that are acting with these coping strategies to keep down the insecurities and the anxieties, and you end up basing a lot of their significance on the response of women.
Now, at the service level, you might not think that, because part of being successful with women is not giving a fuck about what other people think, especially not giving a fuck about what she thinks, but in order to gauge whether you’re successful in not giving a fuck, you have to see whether, in fact, you get the result from the strategy of not giving a fuck. So, it’s this paradox and then you know that, no matter what, at the base of it, you trying to not give a fuck means that you give a fuck, right? [21:00.5]
So, this is always going to be driven by this core insecurity, so that you’re going to need to go through a much harder, longer, more painful journey to have that edifice that you’ve built up destroyed so that you can finally confront the toxic shame that you’ve been repressing that these parts are coping with in order to hide and these layers of repression.
Repression, again, is suppressing something long enough that it becomes unconscious. Realize a lot of guys don’t know this. Suppression is conscious. Repression is unconscious. If you suppress long enough consciously, then it becomes unconscious and you can’t even access it. That’s part of what it means to be unconscious. The repression is just there. You’re not even aware of your own toxic shame that you’re carrying around and that’s why the fall is so much harder if you go down this road.
Ultimately, if you go down the road far enough, if you get really good at seduction when it wasn’t easy for you at the beginning and that therefore is every single pickup artist coach, unless it wasn’t hard, almost all of them, in order to be the coach and coach well, would have had to suck at it at the beginning. That way they can relate to their students and all that, right? Then they worked at it and they got really good at seduction, at attraction, at flirting, at banter, all the whole thing, including the lifestyle, all of that stuff. [22:16.0]
In order to succeed there, they would have had to adopt behavior patterns and thought patterns that are in common with narcissistic personality disorder, and studies have shown those who have narcissistic thought and behavior patterns end up with more sexual partners than those who do not.
In addition, you could throw in their game-playing of a kind of Machiavellianism and another aspect of being unempathetic, so that there’s this degree of not caring so much about what other people think, not feeling what they feel that gives you this barrier when you fuck them over. So, in fact, if you were able to learn these traits, you could actually become more effective in having more sexual partners. In fact, if you were to go that far, you’d end up becoming a kind of a second-nature predator and predator in kind of the literal sense. [23:09.8]
Hopefully, you didn’t go that far, but however far you went, if you persisted and it worked, it would actually just exacerbate your underlying psychological issues that now you’ve added layers over top of, which will make it harder and will take longer for you to go through the therapeutic process to do it properly.
However, if you did go that route, if you were like me, don’t despair. Your journey will be richer in that sense. It’ll just take longer and it’ll be more painful, but it’s doable. I’m making this episode partly to warn all of those who are tempted. If you’re tempted to binge watch or binge consume more of that tips level of dating advice, this is a warning. Don’t do that.
It doesn’t work and, even if it did work, it would be very dangerous for you if you persist with it—with the one caveat, which is, if you can hear it, watch it, read it one time and apply it right away that day, and it works like a charm, then that’s fine. All right, just you go with it, power to you. But that’s not most people and that certainly wasn’t me. [24:15.3]
Let me recap for you these three points. The first point is why dating tips don’t work in just the background of the “just the tips” myth and how so many people buy into the “just the tips” myth. Don’t buy into that myth, the first point being, because it only treats surface-level symptoms … the second point being that even if it were to work for you after putting a lot of effort into it, it could actually be more dangerous … and the third point being it could be more dangerous because it would then exacerbate the underlying issues that you’re now avoiding and coping with, instead of dealing with them directly.
It will reinforce your reliance on these maladaptive coping strategies and it will create more repression, add on more toxic shame, and might actually create narcissistic personality disorder patterns in you. If you go over to extremes, it might actually create a whole kind of narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic personality that wasn’t there before or that wasn’t developed before. [25:15.5]
Then you develop a reliance on that and it gets harder to get through to the vulnerability that’s underlying it, the core neediness, the core insecurities that require the healing and unburdening to happen in order for you to become happy and fulfilled, and be able to naturally attract the right woman for you or the right partner for you in an intimate relationship.
What we’ve covered is super important. If you don’t know this, very likely you will get sucked into this content that’s getting millions of clicks and you’ll be screwed up like the majority of the world is when it comes to dating and relationships. Now, you might not know that, because I realize that most people who don’t have a thriving dating life look around and see everyone else is happy, and they’re all coupled up and they’re happy. I’ll tell you, that’s also a myth. No, they’re not. You just don’t know them well enough. [26:06.4]
The majority of people who seem to have happy relationships on the outside, if you talk to their therapist or if you just get to know them better, you’ll realize they’re all going through the same conflicts, and if they’re not prepared, because we’re not evolved for happiness and relationship—we’re evolved to survive and have sex, right, and have sex and have babies—we’re not evolved to live in harmony with one another for more than a few years. There’s tons of research on this. I’ve done tons of lectures, seminars and all that on there.
If you need to look it up, you can go to my website, DavidTianPHD.com, or you can go on my YouTube channel or anywhere I put out this free content. This is well-known information, but I understand if you don’t know that, because if your dating life is not thriving, I understand that you think everyone else is and you feel left out. The truth is if you look at what most people are doing, just appealing to your hacks and optimization culture, if you look at what most people are doing, it’s probably not the right thing or not the best way to do it, and I understand why you would then look for the hacks. [27:04.8]
I’m telling you this type of hacks, these tips for almost everybody, they will actually be more dangerous in the long run. Like I said, I went through this myself and I learned it the hard way, okay, so I’m sharing that for myself, but I’m also sharing it because I’ve seen the destruction in the personal lives of other actually all of the dating coaches I know of. Most of them are still living the destruction, but some of the rare ones who have made it through through a therapeutic approach, and I just want to spare you from that fate.
Now, if you don’t pay attention to this and you buy into the “just the tips” myth, not only will you not get results and you’ll know this already, if you’re getting frustrated, because these tips you’re getting online, they don’t work or they’re hard to implement and you’re getting frustrated, there’s a good reason for that. It’s because most of them are ineffective and then the few rare ones where tips that actually could work, it doesn’t work. [28:03.0]
They don’t work for most people because most people are walking around with core insecurities and the core neediness that is unaddressed, and they have these needs that are not being met, and you could end up having your needs, your fundamental needs that you should not be ashamed of—they’re just normal human needs—trying to get them met by women or by cool dudes, alpha dudes or something like that, getting respective men, that sort of thing, and that could actually make things worse because you could get hooked on that and make it harder for you to go down the right road.
Okay, I also want to applaud you for investing in yourself and listening to this podcast, and I thank you so much for doing so, for listening to this. In the next episode, I’m going to be getting into what to do instead, so it’s like, David, I know now why “just the tips” is wrong or is bad or dangerous or whatever, ineffective. What do I do instead? Great. Come back to the next episode. I’m going to be addressing that directly in that episode.
Thanks so much for listening, and if you like this, spread the word, share the link with your friends, and I hope to hear from you soon. See you in the next episode. David Tian signing out. [29:09.2]