Since having a high standard correlates with being a high-value guy, having a high standard is an attractive behavior. Let’s see how to apply that insight in your text game. But first, let’s understand how an average guy’s standard affects his dating behavior.
Imagine an average guy sitting on a park bench. Suddenly, a random ugly-looking girl walks by and he briefly makes eye contact with her. The guy has only watched this girl for a few seconds, so of course he hasn’t learned about most her qualities yet, such as:
- How she usually dresses
- Her personality
- Her interests
- Her values
- Her intelligence
- Her sense of humor
- What she’s looking for
- Whether she wants to have kids
And yet by this point, he will have managed to form a ballpark estimate of her dating-worthiness, represented by the pink region in the graph below.
You can see that the pink region covers a lot of distance on the horizontal “Worthiness” axis. That’s because our average guy, after a brief glimpse of an ugly girl, still has a lot of uncertainty about how date-worthy she is. If he were to get to know her, and learn the answers to questions like the ones above, then his opinion of the girl’s date-worthiness would gradually increase in precision and certainty. The pink region in the graph would become narrower and taller.
But the pink region he has right now, as wide as it is, still fits entirely to the left of his “good enough” bar. Despite all his uncertainty about the ugly girl’s date-worthiness, our average guy has already concluded that she won’t be up to his standard. So average guys don’t care at all about ugly girls.
How about when a hot girl walks by our average guy on his park bench? Again, a brief glimpse is all it takes for our average guy to form a ballpark estimate of her date-worthiness.
This time, almost the entire pink area is to the right of his “good enough” bar. Our average guy thinks there’s about an 80% chance that this hot girl is good enough for him, so his subconscious mind is already saying “Yes” to her. He’d have to discover lots of negative qualities to change his verdict from “Yes” to “No”, which is possible but unlikely. So he’s already sold.
Hot girls don’t want a guy who’s immediately sold on them for any reason, especially not for their looks. If you treat a girl like you saw her as “good enough” from the moment you saw her, she’ll think you’re an average guy with an average standard. And their standard is higher than that.
But how should you act when you meet a hot girl?
Some people think you should treat a hot girl exactly like you’d treat an ugly girl, i.e. not care about her at all. That’s wrong. Because while most guys see zero chance that an ugly girl is up to their standard, even a high-value guy will see at least a small chance that a hot girl is up to his standard. In the graph below, the high-value guy is putting a modest amount of pink area to the right of his “good enough” bar.
The clock in the corner represents “right after meeting the girl”. At this point in time, not only is the high-value guy uncertain about the girl’s date-worthiness, he’s also uncertain which side of the “good enough” bar the girl will end up on.
Now let’s say the high-value guy spends more time with the girl, and discovers a number of qualities about her that are mostly positive – e.g. she’s funny and she has good self-control. Now his beliefs about her date-worthiness look like this:
At this point, our high-value guy thinks this hot girl is more than 50% likely to be worth dating. But don’t forget there’s still also a big chance that she’s not worth dating. A high-value guy would be feeling a growing interest level in this girl, but he’s definitely not sold on her yet.
Now if the trend continues – he keeps spending time with her, and he keeps discovering mostly-positive qualities about her – then his beliefs about her date-worthiness will eventually look like this:
A girl’s dream is to attract a high-value guy. And subconsciously, she longs for that attraction process to play out in a certain way. The last three graphs form a time-series visualization of how a budding attraction plays out in the mind of a typical high-value guy. If you want to be the guy of her dreams, study them well.
As promised, here’s how to apply these insights to your game. When you first meet a hot girl, let her see how uncertain you are about whether she’s good enough for you. Then, over time, you can discover her positive qualities and feel more confident that she meets your high standard. She’ll relish this process, and be turned on by it.
How many times have you heard people say:
- “She’s not up to his standard”
- “She’s the best he can do”
As a guy, your standard determines whether a girl is worth your time and energy to be with, as opposed to being alone. But what determines your standard? Think about it for a moment.
The answer is that you subconsciously picture the best you can do, i.e. the highest-value girl you could ever hope to get. Then you adjust that bar down to a slightly lower-value girl that you could realistically get, and that’s your standard.
Notice how the graphs visualize this well-known truth about the dating market:
- High-value girls are less attainable,
- but every girl is more attainable to a high-value guy,
- so high-value guys have high standards.
As a guy on a dating site, how would you feel about receiving a message from a girl in a burka, out of the blue, about going on a date? Pay attention to your gut reaction about Claire, the girl above. It’s probably telling you:
- She can’t be that attractive
- You’ll probably waste your time if you meet her
- Her message is off-putting
- She doesn’t understand how dating works
Now remember what your gut reaction feels like, because it’s exactly how every girl feels when she gets a message from a typical guy.
A guy can’t hope to communicate more than a small glimpse of his personality on a dating site profile. In that sense, a dating site is a “personality burka”.
Let’s keep exploring your gut reaction to Claire. You’re skeptical. But take a moment to ask yourself: what would make you less skeptical and more attracted to Claire?
That’s right: a pic. Ideally, a pic that reveals a lot of information about what’s under Claire’s burka: what this scale calls a “good pic”:
Now consider this key fact about attraction:
- A girl’s looks are 80% of her attractiveness to you.
- Your looks are only 30% of your attractiveness to a girl.
A girl on a dating site is nothing like Claire: her body will be pretty exposed, and guys will be attracted to her. But a guy on a dating site is exactly like Claire: his personality will be covered in a burka, and girls will be skeptical about him.
So when you see a girl’s pic, you feel attraction. But when a girl sees your pic, she feels… skeptical. She doesn’t have enough information to feel attracted to you yet. It’s the same reason you don’t feel attracted to Claire yet.
As a guy, your most attractive quality is personality. That’s why this blog is all about how to have an attractive personality in your texts. But before you can master text game, you have to understand why it’s even necessary – why girls you meet online aren’t ready to “skip the games” and have coffee with you right away.
You’d like to take off your personality-burka, so that girls can feel attraction to you. But all you can do on a dating site is send text messages. How can text messages create attraction?
To understand how, ask yourself: What text message can Claire send you to make you think that she has an attractive body under her burka?
Here are some good answers:
- “I run every morning”
- “I’m so sore from the gym”
- “I’m a model”
Since attractive girls are more likely to be runners, more likely to go to the gym, and more likely to be models, each of the texts above would provide you a nonzero quantity of evidence that Claire is attractive.
Of course, it’s not that simple: Claire might be lying. E.g. while it’s undoubtedly true that attractive girls are more likely to run every morning, it’s possible that unattractive girls are just as likely – or even more likely – to claim they run every morning. Your gut should be able to confirm: it’s a real challenge for Claire to optimize her texts to provide you with the maximum amount of evidence that she’s attractive.
A girl in a burka needs text game to attract you. You, in your personality-burka, need text game to attract a girl. And that’s why text game is necessary.
Girls lust after higher status men. And by contriving to act with the right amount of reactivity, you can manipulate your status higher than hers. To achieve the right status level in your text conversations, your reactivity level should, on average, be consistently lower than hers, but not too low — there’s a sweet spot. Hit the sweet spot by follow these rules to help you maintain the baseline:
- Have smaller text blocks
- Be the one that starts and kills conversational threads
- Make longer time delays
- Use fewer emojis
- Use fewer “lol”s and“ha”s
- Write more succinctly
- Smaller responses to questions
- User more abbreviations
- Reinitiate less
Follow these rules as long as she responding with good or neutral behavior. One of the biggest mistakes amateur texters make is getting too reactive from good behavior. Don’t be the guy who gets uncontrollably excited after receiving his first long text from a hot girl and start authoring a text novella topped off with a yellowish blob of emojizz. Your single high reactivity text can undo the the status you’ve established in the 10 cool texts preceding it.
The right response to a girl’s larger text blocks and shorter time delays is a slight reactivity adjustment in the same direction. As her reactivity level goes up and down, so does yours, but lower on average.
Example of a typical AGO from online dating sites:
Hi SoccerGuurl87, my name is Steve.
How’s your weekend going so far? I saw your profile and thought I would message you. You seem interesting and we have a lot in common. I love hiking, biking, beaches, music and movies. What are your hobbies? I’m really driven by my career and always love trying new things! I just moved to the city for a new job as a senior account manager for an internet company. I hope my message and profile catch your attention enough to hear back from you.
Have a great Monday :–)
Girls will read your message like detectives. They’re looking for clues beyond your message’s literal interpretation so they can figure out who you really are. The #1 thing they’re detectives about is how interested you are because girls are attracted to hard-to-get men.
If you make her believe you’re very interested in her, you’ll be easy-to-get. If you show very little interest, you’ll be impossible-to-get. Your goal is to communicate the right level of interest that makes you hard-to-get.
Most guys fail to be hard-to-get by looking too interested. Steve’s AGO is great example of how the average guy fails to be hard-to-get by littering their messages with clues of interest. Here’s a breakdown and analysis of Steve’s AGO:
Your message makes its first appearance in the girl’s inbox. And the first thing she’ll read is probably your emboldened username. This is your first impression, which makes it a big deal. The girl will heavily weigh any clues about your interest level that she gathers from your username.
In the example above, Steve designates “Chillguysteve” as his first impression. Think about what would motivate Steve to choose a name like Chillguysteve? Why can we safely assume Steve doesn’t use “Chillguysteve” as his handle on any other non-dating site?
Steve saw his username as an opportunity to explicitly pitch himself as a “chill guy” (mind you, dating sites already have a designated area for pitching oneself). Unfortunately, “Chillguysteve” is weak evidence that Steve is “chill” – a word too vague to be good evidence of any specific attractive trait anyway.
With no hint of irony, sarcasm, or humor (i.e. personality) in his username, girls will subconsciously think Steve doesn’t think the normal character he plays in life imputes attractive traits. Girls intuitively know that a hard-to-get guy wouldn’t bother explicitly pitching his value. “Chillguysteve” communicates that Steve is normally easy-to-get with his love interests.
The “Hi” is passable, but there’s no value in repeating her lame username “SoccerGuurl87”. In person, repeating her name may show you remembered it, or that you recognize her, or that you’re addressing her and not someone close by. But online, both her and your username unambiguously loom over the conversation, readily available for either of you to reference. As a general rule, putting in effort to produce low-information messages reveals your interest and mediocre social skills.
The AGO finishes off the greeting by proclaiming “my name is Steve”. At this stage in the interaction, there’s no need for the girl to know your real name. The girl will assume your high interest level caused you to disclose irrelevant information about yourself.
Small Talk Question
How’s your weekend going so far?
Steve segues from the greeting to a safe, small-talk-esque question. Other examples include:
- “How are you today?”
- “How is your evening?”
- “Did you have a good day?”
- “How are you?”
- “Anything fun planned for the weekend?
Caring about her answer to these questions shows too much interest. Girl’s know that a hard-to-get guy wouldn’t bother learning about their plans or well-being – he’s not interested enough to care.
These questions are also cliche. They’re overused and have lost most of their meaning. Using cliches offers no clues that an interesting character is behind the keyboard. Up until this point in your message, any person or robot could’ve generated the same thing.
I saw your profile and thought I would message you. You seem interesting and we have a lot in common.
Steve designed the next line to explicitly explain why he’s messaging the girl. Hard-to-get guys know they’re communicating enough interest by the fact that they’re messaging her. Any more explanation beyond that is redundant and signals too much interest.
Explicitly explaining your intention also makes you reek of insecurity. It shows you feel you need to justify your actions or that you’re worried she won’t understand why you messaged her. You’ll lose your hard-to-get perception the moment she gets a whiff of your insecurity.
More examples of AGO’s Explicit Explanation lines:
- “I saw your profile and thought I would message you.”
- “It seems like we complement each other very well and are looking for similar things in a significant other.”
- “It is hard to find quality people on here and you seem like you have your act together, so I thought I would give it a shot.”
- “You seem fun and really cute.”
- “You sound smart, sweet, sincere, and you’re so pretty!
- “You seem like such a genuine nice person.”
- “I think you’re super cute and you seem like you might be cool.”
- “I just read and really enjoyed your profile and very interested Also you are looking amazing and very beautiful.”
It’s actually good to express why you’re interested in a girl, but you should do it using subtext.
Explicit — “I saw you’re from the same small town as I am and thought I would message you”
Subtexted — “Whoa, you’re the first I’ve seen also from [name of town]”
In the subtext version, the will infer that being from the same small town is part of why you messaged her. She doesn’t need to be spoon-fed the obvious.
She wrote in her profile that she loves to cook and finds it attractive when guys fix things with their hands. In your profile, you write that you’re a huge foodie.
Explicit — “It seems like we complement each other very well and are looking for similar things in a significant other.”
Subtexted — “I can fix cars and you can cook, I think we’re meant to be”
I love hiking, biking, beaches, music and movies. What are your hobbies? I’m really driven by my career and always love trying new things! I just moved to the city for a new job as a senior account manager for an internet company.
In the next few lines, Steve writes a self-summary that should’ve been in its designated area on his profile page. If this information is already accessible from your profile, you’re basically telling the girl you don’t think she’ll visit and read your page.
Normally, a hard-to-get guy would just assume the girl would read his profile. Or he’d be too indifferent to care whether she read it or not. That’s why shoving your self-summary in your message is a good sign you’re not a hard-to-get guy.
I hope my message and profile catch your attention enough to hear back from you.
The closing statement is designed to explicitly communicate the next steps. Steve’s closing statement, wordy and tucked underneath a mound of words, comes off as a meager and apologetic attempt at escalating the relationship. Other examples of AGO closing statements:
- “Looking forward to hear from you”
- “Please check out my profile and let me know if you like what you see :-)”
- “By any chance would you like to grab some coffee some time?”
These closing statements give girls many clues that you don’t feel you deserve your request to be fulfilled. The girl interprets the mound of cliches and redundant info above the closing statement as a try-hard attempt to justify your request. She knows you don’t derive intrinsic value from writing the BS word cloud above. She knows exactly why you wrote it and that reason is explicitly defined in the closing statement. Your revealed intentions render the rest of your message’s content as an embarrassingly effortful and indirect ploy to fulfill a single goal. This signals your insecurity and feelings of unworthiness.
The closing statement doesn’t make you easy-to-get, it makes you already-gotten. The girl doesn’t have to work at all to win you over, you’ve already pre-approved her. Girls who will fulfill the closing statement’s request will probably be at the bottom 15% of girls in your league.
Have a great Monday :–)
Like the greeting, this is another low-information cliche that doesn’t offer any value or say anything interesting about your character. A salutation is even worse than a greeting because even some unattractive guys know it’s inappropriate in an online dating message.
Like the greeting and salutation, signatures show you’re too interested because it’s redundant and useless information. But signatures do double the damage. They’re a good sign you’re clueless about messaging girls you’re gaming. It also signals you may not be familiar with informal text communication in general. Do you even have friends?
For intuition on woman’s attraction heuristic, read the following thought experiment:
Imagine you’re about to choose one of three job interviews to attend. You know nothing about the job prior to the interview. You could be applying as a cashier at McDonald’s or a CEO of Intel—you have no idea. The only information you’re given is the following:
Job Interview 1 – You answer all the questions easily and feel confident you’ll get the job.
Job Interview 2 – You barely manage to answer the questions and you feel your chances of getting hired are insignificant.
Job Interview 3 – You manage to answer most, but not all of the questions and feel there is about a 50% chance of being hired. Remember, you know nothing about the salary, benefits or prestige of the job you’re interviewing for.
Given what you know, which job interview would you choose and why?
Most people would easily discard the second option. After all, there is no point of wasting your opportunity to interview for attainable jobs for one you have no shot at. The difficulty of the interview is evidence you’re probably under-qualified anyways.
Now you’re left with the first and third option. This decision is a little less obvious. Most would discard the first option, but not for the same reason they discarded the second. The problem with the first interview is that it’s too easy. There are certain inferences you can make about a job whose interview process is easy for you to pass: you’re probably overqualified and can get a higher-paying and more prestigious job elsewhere.
This raises the question: For a job you believe you’re perfectly qualified for and can’t do better or worse elsewhere, how would you expect the job interview to go?
You would expect it to be challenging, but still perceived attainable. In other words, the interview has to be the hardest possible interview that doesn’t make you feel hopeless. And this is why you choose the third interview—it fits the bill.
We know we’re maximizing our payoff when we experience these kinds of challenges; in this case, it was about maximizing the amount of money and prestige from our job. We are evolutionarily designed to seek out these sorts of challenges because they indicate that we’re maximizing our potential gains. Activates that are too hard use up too much energy and time for a little payoff. Conversely, activities that are too easy are a waste because time can be spent on yielding a higher payoffs elsewhere. Think about the times you’ve most enjoyed a sport or game. I can guarantee that in almost every case you experienced a perfect blend of ease and difficulty.
Women are like job-seekers going from interview to interview without knowing the salary or prestige of the jobs. Instead of seeking jobs, they’re seeking men; and instead of trying to maximize salary, they’re trying to maximize status in men. Women are turned on by men who bring forth a “challenging interview process.”
A man’s attractiveness (his status) is not as apparent as a woman’s: her physical appearance. While women have to “discover” a man’s value, men can plainly see a woman’s value. So men know how challenging a woman will be based on her physical appearance, woman don’t. Instead, they use the challenge itself to determine attractiveness. The same reasons that make a sexy woman challenging, make a challenging man sexy – because they’re probably the best you can do.
Don’t be easy to get. Don’t be impossible to get. Be hard to get.
Unlike spoken language, a text lasts forever. You can’t rely on the girl’s fading memory as an opportunity to muddle your text game blunders. If you want to communicate a risky thought, idea, or intention, wrap it in subtext. Subtext blurs the meaning and intention behind your texts and offers you and the girl different interpretations to choose from.
One type of risky thought or idea is one that’s likely to make the girl uncomfortable. These force the girl to push the personal space boundary she currently has with you. Most of the time, the subject is sex, but sometimes it’s the usual taboo subjects like religion, money, or illness. All these subjects are possible to bring up when wrapped in subtext. Here are some examples:
You want to communicate your atheism, but don’t want to sound like you’re judging her for being religious.
Her: “Going to church first”
You: “I would too, but I don’t think Jesus loves me”
She’s hinting that the restaurant you suggested is pricey, but you’re willing to pay for her. You don’t want to make her uncomfortable offering to pay and implying she’s poor.
Her: “Isn’t that place expensive?”
You: “I have a free dinner coupon for girls like you”
You want to escalate the conversation to something more sexual, but the conversation is non-sexual.
Her: “Ugggh, my feet hurt from running”
You: “I’ll carry you around”
Her: “I love staying inside when it rains”
You: “Don’t like getting wet?”
Her: “I love food!! Lol”
You: “What else do you eat”
Be careful not to rely on subtext when texting about comfortable subjects, it signals insecurity. Girls like a man who’s direct and is less afraid than they are to push comfort zone limits. When you subtext, you’re also communicating where your comfort zone is. She’s going to lose attraction if she’s comfortable about a subject you use subtext to talk about.
Use the power of subtext to protect yourself too. Subtexting helps protect your status in conversations where explicit communication can lower your status. You’ll wind up in these status-risky conversations whenever you explicitly express your feelings, ask for clarification, explain yourself, disclose information, or ask for information. These intentions are clear and reliable signs of interest that make girls feel instantly more powerful. Signaling interest is important, but signaling too much interest lowers your status and can kill attraction.
Subtexting reduces your risk of losing status by obfuscating the intentions behind your texts. Here are some examples of status-lowering intentions you can hide with subtext:
Collect information about her
You want to know if she’s not doing anything saturday so you could plan a date with her.
You: “Getting into any trouble this weekend?”
Tell her how you feel
She is bailing on the date you have planned with her for tonight and you want to communicate that you’re not happy with it, but open to meet next week.
Her: “Sorry!!! I have to bail on u tonight. Stressed out from work, maybe next week!”
You: “k, buy a stress ball for next week”
Disclose information about yourself
She brought up the topic of motorcycles and you want to tell her about the new motorcycle you bought last week.
Her: “I almost ran over a motorcycle guy today!”
You: “Might have been me. Too soon to crash my new bike”
Learn to shave down your texts to the atomic level. Any character that can be taken out of your text without changing its meaning or without making you look stupid should be plucked out. Not all your texts should be atomized, but it’s the best way to express your thoughts in the least reactive way. Atomize your texts when setting up logistics, exchanging information, or punishing bad behavior.
When atomizing your texts, consider what can be inferred from context. Your ultimate goal is to communicate a thought, feeling or piece of information. Keep reducing down the character count as long as your goal continues to be fulfilled.
As an exercise, try to communicating the following thoughts by using atomic level texts:
A: Don’t worry about our bar options, there should be a large number of bars open for us to choose from tonight
B: It’s k, lot of bars gonna b open
A: Should we grab food before we go to the concert?
B: Eat before concert?
A: Hey! Are you still available to meet tonight?
B: Hey, up for tonight?
A: I have some friends coming down from Los Angeles and I’m going to party with them tonight
B: Gonna party with LA friends tonight
A: The meeting time you just proposed works out perfectly for me
A: Why did you leave so early last night?
B: Left early?
A: Have you ever been to that new club on University ave?
B: Been to new uni ave club?
A: When are you coming to town tomorrow?
B: When in town tomorrow?
A: I don’t understand why you just said that
A: I don’t like mexican food, I think we should go somewhere else for dinner
B: Not into mex, somewhere else
Clearly, atomizing leads to many abbreviations, misspellings and poor grammar, but they will work to your advantage. There’s a range of erroneous writing that’s considered acceptable in mobile texting that will make you appear lazy as opposed to illiterate. Lazy texting is high status because it’s unreactive. A higher status guy wouldn’t bother mustering the energy and focus it takes to type an unnecessary character with fingerpoint accuracy. Bewarned, poor quality writing is less excusable the easier your texting utensil is to use.
A text conversation isn’t a piece of literary work, it’s not a contextless unit of information you can fully understand just by reading its words and emojis. To correctly read text conversations you must consider the context. Each text can mean something different depending on its context. Use context to analyze your texts the same way you’d analyze an in-person conversation by considering body language, location, time-of-day and clothes.
Here’s a list of questions you should answer to help build the context for understanding your text conversations:
Who sent the first text?
Men traditionally make the first approach, but not always the first move. Women will sometimes extend a subtle invitation for men to approach in the form of a quick glance or smile. These days, women make the first move by swiping your Tinder card right or giving you 4-5 stars on okcupid or winking at you in match.com… the list goes on. What’s uncommon is a first move in the form of a text. Normally, this means your dating market value is higher.
What’s your goal?
Are you trying to build attraction or comfort? Was the text designed to punish or reward her behavior? Every text should have a purpose and should be judged accordingly. If the text didn’t fulfill it’s purpose, try to figure out why. Whether she understood your intent or not, a failed text you expected to work shouldn’t happen and you should try to resolve your confusion.
What are the time delays like?
Everyone loves to hate time delays. No, my bad, only lower status text gamers hate it. They’re like dogs waiting for the mailman, restlessly preoccupied with their asynchronous delivery. There’s an acceptable time delay range that doesn’t mean too much if it’s consistent. Divergences in delay patterns are significant and could mean she’s punishing, rewarding, unavailable to respond, disinterested or interested. Another significant sign of interest is if she double texts with any time delay longer than a minute.
Who’s text blocks are bigger?
Character for character, regardless of meaning or substance, text block size matters. The smaller her text blocks are relative to yours, the more likely she’s losing interest. Text block size is similar to time delays. Divergences in block size pattern can signal interest or disinterest.
Your social status, or just “status”, is your perceived power to get what you want. It’s the shared belief that others have about your power, and that you have about your own power.
Since powerful people can get what they want, you have everything to gain as their ally and everything to lose as their enemy. A powerful person could, on a whim, provide you with a world of opportunity and pleasure or cause you endless pain or suffering. And your genetic future is at the mercy of powerful people. A powerful person could kill you or protect you from premature death, provide you with genetically fit children or force you into celibacy.
On the other hand, powerless people can’t affect your wellbeing or your genetic future much. The power you perceive people to have, i.e. status, determines how you react to them. Your emotions, thoughts and behaviors in reaction to status were designed to maximize your genetic fitness.
Your actual power doesn’t cause people to react differently toward you; only your perceived power does – i.e. your status. If you can manipulate people’s perception of your power – by definition, manipulate your status – then you control how people feel and behave toward you.
Honing your status-manipulation skill requires paying close attention to your status signals – the perceivable clues that others use to determine your status. You need to become a detective, noticing subtle status signals that can change other people’s perception of your power.
Your passive status signals are the ones people can observe without interacting with you: clothes, ethnicity, body language, possessions, interactions with others, physical attractiveness, strength, location, hairstyle, age, etc. You want to manipulate your passive status signals to communicate the status you want, but it’s not easy. Some passive status signals are hard to get, like a nice car. Some are culture-specific, like clothes. And some can’t be changed at all, like height. It’s usually more feasible to manipulate your interactive status signals, the ones people observe when they interact with you.
When people interact with you, the juiciest status signals come from your reactivity. Reactivity is the psychological mechanism that evaluates each stimulus for its potential to impact your genetic future, and then decides how much attention to pay it.
When you were first learning to drive, you were probably anxious and hyper-vigilant, i.e. reactive. As you improved, driving became automatic, freeing up your attention to daydream or listen to music. You don’t feel like driving is risky to your genetic fitness anymore, so when you drive, you’re not reactive. Only an unusually interesting stimulus can get your attention: a swerving car, a tailgater, a broken traffic light, an attractive driver in another car, etc.
It’s natural to be reactive when you interact with high status people. Being reactive to something means you’ve psychologically classified it as having a high potential impact on your genetic future, so you visibly care about it. The higher the status, the more you react. The lower the status, the less you react – or maybe you don’t react at all.
Normally, status determines reactivity. But if you’re one of the few people who understands the link from status to reactivity, you can actually run it backwards: By contriving to act with the right amount of reactivity, you can manipulate your status.
Here are reactive behaviors that communicate your higher or lower status in an interaction.
- Fixed eye contact
- Extending limbs, taking up a lot of space
- Exposing vulnerable body parts: throat, abdomen and groin
- Succinct and monotone speech
- Disclosing little information
- Comfortable and relaxed body language
- Emotionally and physically composed
- Indifferent attitude
- Long pauses in speech
- Ignoring questions or requests
- Breaking rapport
- Still body positions
- Slow movements
- Obeying demands
- Passive (aggressive) language
- Defensive in disagreements
- Contorting body to take up little space
- Speaking verbosely or mostly silent
- Darting eyes
- Disclosing a lot of information
- Overly loud or quiet voice
- Indirect questioning
- Losing composure, or tries to
- Avoiding confrontational subjects
- Trying to impress
- Showing emotion
- Asking for forgiveness
- Repeating movements like wringing hands or bouncing legs
- Frequent short pauses when speaking
- Engaged in conversation
- Showing symptoms of anxiety
When you feel unreactive in an interaction, your brain is saying, “this person isn’t interesting or important; use the least amount of energy needed”. Your behaviors then have the characteristic signs of high status: they’re low-effort, comfortable, lazy.
Conversely, when you feel reactive in an interaction, your brain is saying, “this person is interesting and important; give them your undivided attention”. Your behaviors will have the characteristic signs of low status: anxiety, discomfort, excitement, eagerness, anger, curiosity.
People are natural status detectives. Subconsciously, they process your status signals to evaluate your status. Consciously, they can feel an intuition about your status, but they’re usually not aware that any evaluation process ever took place. When you interact with someone whose conscious mind is absorbed in the content of your conversation, their subconscious mind will be keenly monitoring you for signs of reactivity and other status signals.
In the ancestral environment, it wouldn’t pay to contrive your level of reactivity to manipulate your status level. If you raised your status level above your actual power to get what you want, you’d motivate someone else to raise their own status by overpowering you in a fight.
The consequences of status manipulation in modern society are infinitely milder than they were in ancient times. If you get caught padding your resume or pretending to own a Porsche, you won’t get beaten to death. But human psychology is a relic from ancient times. When someone’s ancient brain evaluates your status, it doesn’t account for the modern possibility that your unreactive behavior may be contrived. That’s a bug in the human software which our modern environment has exposed, and which evolution hasn’t patched yet. If you learn to exploit the brain’s software bugs, you can plant in anyone’s mind an intuitive sense that you’re a powerful person.
This blog will teach you to use status and reactivity concepts to analyze your text conversations and figure out how to make your conversation partner perceive you as attractive. Most of the advice on this blog is based on the premise that women are attracted to men higher status than themselves – men who give them an intuitive sense that they have much to gain from allying. But some of the advice is also about strategically lowering your status. There’s an art to status gaming. It’s all about when and how to change your status level to get the results you want.