The Private Man

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So, How’s That Working Out For You?

Human beings are incredibly adaptable to outside influences. We adapt to changes in climate, geography, economy, political structure, almost anything. We adapt on both a societal and individual level. It would be miraculous if we weren’t such an intelligent species.

Despite our incredible adaptability to so many outside influences we are shockingly resistant to adapting individually to the nature of contemporary intimate relationships. Some guy or gal might pine away for an intimate relationship yet that same person simple refuses to adapt themselves in order to achieve his/her relationship goal. This is why dating coaches exist. Sometimes a third party is required to shove us into better dating and relationship habits.

So, how’s that working out for you?

There’s an entire self-analysis industry that has built up around our stubbornness to social and relationship adaptability. Myers-Briggs anyone? Once assigned a psychological label, we tend to wield it like a shield to fend off situations that might require change or adaptability. I hear this often with the “introvert” label. I completely understand why a man might label himself such but I also know that such a label too often precludes meaningful introspection that leads to changing habits.

So, how’s that working out for you?

When it comes to relationships, we are too often simple cowards because we cannot face any type of change or adaptability. This is not a gender issue. While women might say “I’ll never settle” – that’s a code word for “I’ll never adapt” – a man will say “But I’m a nice guy!”. Of course, the man knows all about the Red Pill but refuses to take it because of an willingness to adapt.  To me, that’s cowardice.

So, how’s that working out for you?

We completely ignore and/or refuse our innate ability to adapt and change. Of course I recognize that habits develop and are cemented with age. Regardless, our innate intelligence allows us to cope with almost any situation, including forming potential intimate relationships. Adapt or perish is a bit extreme in this context. Adapt or be miserable is a better way to look at the situation.

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30 thoughts on “So, How’s That Working Out For You?

  1. I encounter this all the time. No matter how many times a man fails using his bad game, he refuses to change and adapt. Every girl that shoots him down is just a bitch, it’s not his fault.

    And I am definitely an introvert. That only helps my game, in my experience. When I go to a bar to shoot pool and completely ignore every woman there, they usually approach me. Introvert game works, as long as you are cocky enough to make it work.

    Good post, PM.

    • Ignoring women in bars works for me too. Even better is sitting and looking at a woman I’m not interested in. Then the female I am interested in not only notices that I am ignoring her but also notices that I am paying attention to someone else. She’ll often speak to me just to shift my attention over to her. Women are very competitive with other women. I find I do better in public places than online dating for that reason. On an online dating site a female can’t see that I’m emailing and paying attention to other women. In a bar she can see that I’m paying attention to someone other than her and it arouses her competiveness instinct.

      • Richard Cranium on said:

        This only works if you’re someone she’s be interested in in the first place. I go out all the time and pay no attention to women at the bar and they in turn return the favor. I’ll talk to the bartender, watch the game and have something to eat and not once has someone gone “hey the short balding poor guy isn’t paying attention to me let me go talk to him and find out why.”

        It’s the one part of Leykis 101 I differ with. He’s got some great advice but Tom sometimes forgets he’s a rich celebrity. Even if they don’t know him they notice the Rolex, the $2000 suit and the $500 bottle of wine he’s drinking.

      • Nupnupnup on said:

        I /seriously/ doubt that buying a Rolex (I don’t wear one because I think they are tacky, though from afar my watch could pass as every bit as expensive as a Rolex even though it’s 1/10 the price) or a 2000 USD suit helps all that much. I regularly wear high-end, tailored suits and it never once got me approached – if anything it indicates that it’s another evening where I did not have time to go home and change (vs. the evenings where I drop straight to bed).

  2. This one is tough. I believe that when it comes to changing your personality, you can change more than you think, but it’s still within the limits of what you were born as. So the capacity is both big and small. It depends on how you look at it.

    For example, I got a lot more tolerant of long social situations, enjoy them more, and can easily speak in front of a crowd now, but I’m still an introvert.

  3. Really, really good article PM.

    “Once assigned a psychological label, we tend to wield it like a shield to fend off situations that might require change or adaptability. I hear this often with the “introvert” label. I completely understand why a man might label himself such but I also know that such a label too often precludes meaningful introspection that leads to changing habits.”

    In training students, I sometimes teach a technique to enter a group and get all of their attention. However, I explain that this isn’t them all the time. It’s just something to keep in your toolkit for the situations where they need it. It will come in handy occasionally. So they can still be 100% themselves, but learning, growing and developing often requires us to do something else and different, pushing our boundaries.

  4. cogitansiuvenis on said:

    I agree a hundred percent. I’ve been trying to convey your sentiments to a friend of mine who has ended up a ln emotional tampon more times than I can count.

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  6. Nupnupnup on said:

    Unlike the commenters before me, I do take issue with this post.

    While I have my own gripes with the MBTI (largely because it is mostly descriptive and hence not all that useful in practice), I do not believe for a second that you can truly change from introvert to extrovert (or vice versa). There are some people somewhere in between that you might nudge one way or the other, but true introverts will never become extroverts and (most) true extroverts will never understand introverts.

    I very much doubt that labels preclude introspection per se – I know I am an introvert and I know why I “fail” with women but diagnosis is not cure. Tearing down that wall of fear that keeps me from approaching them is quite a different thing than identifying the wall as the problem. Saying “you should adapt” amounts to saying “just get over it” which is an utterly useless form of advice (sadly, 99% of all advice out there boils down to just that including all major forms of therapy). Labeling it cowardice doesn’t exactly help it, either.

    I expect that with further advances in imaging techniques we will get an ever clearer indication that a lot of this is actually embedded in the brain and while neuroplasticity can do a lot, I doubt it will overcome something so innate as this (shy babies can be quite clearly distinguished from non-shy ones).

    Furthermore, introspection in itself is not helping (in fact, it may very well be harmful). Action might be helping it but if people cannot figure out how to get to the action, that is more of a theoretical goal than a way to success…

    Ultimately, I do agree that adaptation would be the gold standard but failing that, acceptance is the next best thing to avoid misery. Failing both, there is denial, delusion, misery and pain

    • DC Phil on said:

      I second this emotion . . .

      1. Introversion and extraversion are congenital, so I believe. But, of course, they exist on a spectrum. Some are in the middle, and others are on the extremes. You can adopt behaviors of the other if you’re on the one end, but only so much. “Fitting in” becomes more of an issue (and a painful one, I might add) when, say, you’re an introvert and the culture is largely extraverted. Like-minded individuals are harder to find, and the introverts are generally more difficult to find because they tend to keep to themselves. Trust me, I’ve been struggling with this my whole life.

      2. Introspection is useful to a point. One can’t change for the better unless one first identifies the problem, and realizes that the problem is doing himself more harm than good, and that there are other ways that will work better for him. The “never settle” mantra with Americhicks, I believe, comes from a position of not truly understanding the cost-benefit analysis, bolstered by a culture that promotes “self-sufficiency” at the expense of seeking relationships. Of course, this is assuming that women really give that much of a shit about men. My experience has taught me that, in many case, they don’t, which runs off into discussions about an in-group preference that women tend to exhibit in contrast to men, and the fact that men are more likely to base their self-esteem on what a woman thinks of them. That, to me, is the problem for men. Women have to figure this shit out on their own.

      • Brendan on said:

        I agree that it is culture-dependent. The US is way out there in terms of being an *exceptionally* extroverted culture, by which I mean that the cultural norms and expectations have almost all been set by rather extroverted norms. It is harder to be an introvert in the US or, say, Australia (another exaggeratedly extroverted culture) than it is in, say, the UK, Germany or Japan. Some cultures are more introvert-friendly than others, and ours is quite introvert-hostile to the point of not a trivial number of people considering introverts to be mentally ill. Still we can cope if we spend time on the social skills, and desire to do it, even though it costs us in terms of energy far more than it does our extroverted friends.

      • Nupnupnup on said:

        > and that there are other ways that will work better for him

        Which I believe is where the true problem starts – if you don’t realize that you have problem, then maybe you can be happy despite the fact that you are objectively in not such a great place.

        I also agree that Europe is a less extroverted than the US, but even here, the extroverts do drown the introverts in noise…

        > we can cope if we spend time on the social skills, and desire to do it, even though it costs us in terms of energy far more than it does our extroverted friends

        I sometimes wonder whether the cost benefit is actually there – if there was a guarantee to meet a good girl, then maybe but that seems all very uncertain. Kind of like playing the lottery, only with energy/pain as the input rather than money.

  7. Brendan on said:

    Nup —

    Of course you will always be an introvert, but even introverts can learn behaviors that dramatically improve social interaction.

    I am an introvert as well, and I have no issues with dealing with social situations when I am in them. The difference is that, unlike extroverts, I find these situations draining of energy, and I rarely look forward to them — however I can still function well in them because I wish to do so, even if it is a net energy “taker” from me, rather than a net energy “boost” as it is for an extrovert. Then, afterwards, I get my introvert time alone to recharge my batteries with myself. For me, introversion is different from shyness or fear — it’s about energy, and what gives it (alone time) and what takes it away (social time), which is the flip of what extroverts are. If you are also shy or fearful, those certainly can be addressed within the context of being an introvert, which would also allow more social situation success.

    • Nupnupnup on said:

      > I rarely look forward to them

      That is precisely the point. But I agree, it is definitely different from being shy (I am also not all around shy, I have no real issue with giving a presentation to a large audience). So far most of the anti shyness stuff I have seen focuses on exposure – it makes intuitive sense only it breaks down if you can’t force yourself to get the exposure. Shrinks have been equally useless in trying to get anywhere in this dimension. It’s not even that I am particularly bothered by being alone (that used to be the case ten years ago, a 7 year LTR later that does not bother me much anymore) but that every so often (probably on average twice a year) I encounter a girl that sends me off track (the combination is usually repeated contact, heavy IOIs at the outset and good looking)… Over time, I’ve gotten better at limiting the impact that has (and the SSRI helps in taking out a lot of the obsessiveness that otherwise pervades that state) but I feel like I shouldn’t have to.

      • Brendan on said:

        I’ve also found that over the years what made me less shy to the point of not really being shy any longer at all (I was when I was much younger) was not really caring about what others think.

      • The biggest problem with introversion/extroversion in Myer’s Briggs is that most don’t really understand the difference between the two, and equate “shy” with “introverted”. Shyness stems primarily from not knowing how to interact with others. Introversion just means that interaction can be draining. Granted, many introverts will end up being shy as well simply because it’s hard to learn good social skills in groups if the process of learning them drains you.

        I used to think I was a huge extrovert. But once I learned to be more capable socially, and developed a large social circle, I had to accept that I’m actually more of a mix of the two.

      • Nupnupnup on said:

        Brian: Agreed. But I am quite aware what the distinction between MBTI introversion and shyness is. It is not even that social interactions per se drain me, it’s more the empty BS that is generally considered to be small talk. If I don’t care about it, I don’t want to talk about it. And relatedly, to some degree, I can’t talk about it because it is so boring, I can’t be bothered to figure out what to say.

        Brendan: I have a very weird split personality when it comes to not caring what people think. On intellectual topic I will usually have a very staunch position and love to play devil’s advocate, with very little concern for what people think about me (I usually also have enough argumentative firepower to pull it off). Trouble starts when it comes to emotional stuff, there I can’t really rely on my own mind and therefore get super cautious – which is perhaps to be expected, as a 30/30 T in the MBTI…

    • DC Phil on said:

      Carl Jung was one of the first to describe introversion and extraversion in terms of psychic energy. He also said that everyone has both introverted and extraverted traits in them, but one is clearly more dominant than the other.

    • Interesting discussion about introverts. I recently pondered on my blog if introverts are born or created. I am not entirely sure which is the right answer…

      As an introvert, I was also shy when I was a child/teenager. Now, I have lost the shyness but I am still intoverted, lol.

      Some introverts can be very good mimickers of extroverts. I know people like this (and I did wonder whether they would be a good ‘fit’ to me at first, until I found out that they were just as introverted as me, but masquerading as extroverts – as introverts often have to do – in order to make new friends). Fascinating to see this play out.
      I agree that many European countries are ‘introverted countries’, unlike USA or Australia.
      Could it be due to the relative smaller sizes of these countries??
      Or is it something else?

      • Nupnupnup on said:

        I think the evidence points to introverts being born that way. I know I always was one, for sure. My shyness is a little better than it used to be but still nowhere near gone.

        For introverts, Susan Cain: Quiet is a good read:

      • Brendan on said:

        I suspect it’s really just a question of the culture. The frontier/developed countries like the USA and Australia (and parts of Canada) had a very gregarious, rough-riding nature to them as cultures — these were new, boisterous places for those who were outgoing — it’s kind of what characterized much of the culture from the beginning. In European countries, this isn’t so much the case, although different European countries have very different cultures when it comes to introversion and extroversion, too — there’s a scale there as well, I think.

  8. 37DeSoto on said:

    This is an excellent article. So much said in so little space.

    Some years ago I tested as an INFJ as part of a management prep course. I never took much stock in that MBTI but I definitely was an introvert. Over the course of my career I’ve had increasing responsibilities heaped upon me. As a senior executive with my organization I recently tested as an ENFP. I’ve obviously unconsciously adapted my personality to the demands of the job, and that adaptation has brought me success and rewards I never thought possible.

    So, too, it goes with relationships. I’ve recently escaped from a 19-year marriage (she cheated while I was posted overseas) where I was the typical “nice guy”, trying my best to please her. Introspection with a couple of great female friends during that implosion pointed out the basics of what I had been doing wrong and the Manosphere/Red Pill philosophy reinforced their points.

    Comparing myself now with the last time I dated, I’m much, much more confident and outgoing. Am I still an introvert at heart? Perhaps… I do like my alone time. But my adaptation to professional requirements of supervising 500+ people has certainly served me well in my relationships with women, once I’ve realized that women want a leader and not a supplicant.

    Further, my current GF is not one that I ever would have picked out of a crowd to date. She’s a little shorter and chubbier than my ideal. But I gave her a chance to show the extraordinarily warm, generous, and sensual woman that she is. She begged me early on in our dating to not let her control things; obviously, she’s conscious of her feminine imperative, and that in my mind is extremely rare. Being nudged in the right direction by third parties, being willing to make those changes (both gradually and precipitously), and willing to adapt my unconscious “checklist” of “must-haves” in a woman have really improved my life.

    You *can* teach an old dog new tricks… I’m 52 and my GF is 55. +1000 on this post, and thanks!

  9. Taking the Red Pill is all about change and introspection. I see friends who know they need to change, and even when I try to point out how and what needs to change, they can’t face it. I agree that it’s cowardice. Change is hard, as is taking the Red Pill–at least it was for me. But I am in a much better place and a more confident person.

    I consider myself a mildly introverted person. I have no trouble being alone, though I’m also fine in social situations. I don’t think you can ever really change an introvert, but there are many ways of learning strategies for dealing with it and still being social.

    The thing is, change doesn’t happen unless the person who needs changing really wants it to happen. And it takes strength of character to face it…

    • Nupnupnup on said:

      Taking the red pill is easy – at least for me, but then I always have been a contrarian. Acting in accordance with it is every bit as easy/hard as acting in accordance with blue pill wisdom…

  10. Amazingly astute observation on Meyers- Briggs. Finding that on a dating profile should be a huge red flag. Probably explains why they’re on a dating site in the first place.

    • Nupnupnup on said:

      I would actually expect that the views on MBTI would differ alot among the types… With NTs probably more likely to use it than others (S would claim its not granular enough and F would find it offensive to label people :).

  11. Nice article – and something I ask myself constantly – am I getting the results I desire? Could be for dating, could be work, could be trading – whatever. If I’m happy with the results, more of the same. If not – do something different.

    For those interesting in such “Change your life” by Michelle Weiner Davis is a good cognitive based approach to this.

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