BECOME THE MAN WOMEN WANT
20th of April 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 12

Introduction:

In this episode of Helping Joe, Tucker and Nils finally get a look at Joe’s deeper emotions after he read Daring Greatly. They talk about how the book affected him, what he learned, and how to apply the lessons to his dating life.

Being vulnerable and exposing emotions are very difficult for Joe and many other men. It is one reason why Tucker spent so much time in therapy. But connecting with friends and girlfriends is essential to living a happy, fulfilling life. Making real connections requires vulnerability, opening yourself up and letting people in to show them who you really are. Romantic chemistry is exposing one element (you) to another element (her) to see if there’s a reaction (or spark).

Podcast:


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Joe’s Thoughts and Takeaways From This Episode:

Hey this is a running commentary of random thoughts, notes, and takeaways I had during or after this episode. – Joe

This was a tough episode for me. I was tearing up at multiple parts of this.

I took a lot of notes because I think Tucker and Nils had a lot of great thoughts and deep stuff to say here.

My favorite quotes from this episode:

– “When other people are vulnerable you see that as courage, but when you are vulnerable you see that as weakness.”

– “You don’t make an active effort to make friends so how do you expect them to come into the arena with you?” – Tucker
“I don’t know…” – Joe
“And what happens is that they stop trying [to be your friend]. The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference… that’s the future if you don’t work on this.” – Nils

– “You are not alone in suffering through these issues because culturally we don’t teach our young people how to process these emotions. You don’t have the toolkit to break down these emotions or work through them. So we just put them in boxes and shove them down deep.” – Nils

– “This is a part of that process. You are doing what all those guys never learned how to do because they were taught to keep putting one foot in front of the other, straight towards death.” – Nils

“A lot people who you might not think of as having problems (players, studs, etc.) actually have problems. They are similar to your issues. You’re not some weak coward off alone in the corner while the rest of us are just partying and having a great time. We just have different ways of addressing or hiding our issues.” – Tucker

– “[Talking to] other people allows us to calibrate our emotions against a standard or a cultural norm. It helps you understand that this is normal and that other people have been through this.” You aren’t alone in this pain or emotion.

@Beginning – Nil’s email he sent after Helping Joe Episode 7

We mention this here but don’t talk about it. See below for selected parts from his email that I thought were very insightful, smart, and helpful. It helped a lot in putting things in perspective, nailing down what exactly was going on and why, what I need to improve on. Just all this stuff he picked up on and was right about. Nils is awesome. Anyways you can read that at the end of these notes.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Tucker gave me this book last week after the podcast ended and told me to read it. I did and it was one of top 4-5 most impactful or memorable books I’ve ever read. I might do a book notes on this some day for the blog.

It took me a while to get this out, but I cried a few times reading this book.

I felt uncomfortable saying this because it makes you look weak as a guy to admit that you cry. Or at least that’s what my thinking was before reading this book

Tucker and Nils talk about crying when reading or watching movies about dogs: Where The Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, Marley & Me). Nils cried on a flight watching this movie M&M.

Their point was that feeling emotions and crying, even if you’re a man, is normal. Tucker is still an effective, strong dude (not a pussy) even though he’s cried while reading different books and has talked about crying.

@5:00 – Tucker teaching me to be specific and engage this

This is one way to know Tucker is a good teacher. Instead of yelling at me to stop characterizing (see Episode 9 for that) he breaks down how we are going to be more specific here about the things in the book and why they made me cry or feel whatever.

@8:00 – I talk about stories from the book that made me cry

Even just re-telling these made me choke up during this podcast. I don’t know if this is noticeable listening to this but this was not easy to get through to get through.

The story at the end of the book especially got to me and we talk about this.

“He survived and his friends still respected him because they are cowards. He tried.”

One of the most important lessons I learned from this book:

“When other people are vulnerable you see that as courage, but when you are vulnerable you see that as weakness.”

@12:00 – Tucker talks about being vulnerable and wide open when he wrote IHTSBIH

When he was a young nobody, came out of no where, and wrote this book that detailed all the awful stuff he did or that happened to him, but it was funny and real.

It connected with people on a deeper level because “he showed everything… the good and the bad. The most hilarious stories are the ones where he looks the most ridiculous.” – Nils

@13:00 – The Arena, putting yourself out there, making friends

Theodore Roosevelt’s quote about The Man And The Arena was the inspiration for the title, Daring Greatly.

This quote and how she weaves it into the book, being vulnerable, open to criticism, and resilient against it was so fucking important and was deep.

It’s about who is there with you, inside the cage or the arena VS who is not, who is outside too scared to try anything great, those critics who don’t matter because they don’t put any skin in the game.

You have to recognize who is on your side, who is there with you in whatever struggle you are trying to overcome or goal you are going after. I’m even getting choked up writing about this.

Tucker and Nils explain how being friends with people, allowing them access, requires being vulnerable.

“You probably don’t have as many people in the arena with you as you could, mainly because you don’t let them in. You go in alone by choice.”- Tucker

“You don’t make an active effort to make friends so how do you expect them to come into the arena with you?” – Tucker
“I don’t know…” – Joe
“And what happens is that they stop trying [to be your friend]. The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference… that’s the future if you don’t work on this.” – Nils

@16:00 – Don’t waste the prime years of your life

Nils’s point here, and it was a great one, was about not wasting time with someone who will never love you: If you are not vulnerable or wait, how much time goes by before you figure out that you don’t love this person?

A lot of guys get stuck in relationships where they don’t see where it’s going, or they waste time, because they were afraid to take the next step in being vulnerable.

At least when you are being vulnerable you take that step forward, show a part of yourself and your feelings (“I love you”), and either they meet you and it’s great or they don’t and it sucks but at least you stop fucking wasting time with someone who never wanted to go anywhere with you.

If you never take that first step, you might never find that information out.

@18:30 – Connections with other people is one of the meanings of life

And to have those connections you have to open yourself up to people and be vulnerable.

The reason people don’t do this is because it’s hard and it can hurt.

The upside is “the feeling of having people who care about you in your life supporting you, there’s nothing better than that.” – Tucker

“Crying here is a great sign.” – Tucker

“It means you have everything to feel this. You’re just afraid and scared. You can get over that fear.” – Tucker

“It shows that you actually want it … You are actually are more interested in these women more than just available sex.” – Nils

“This is the best fucking sign. It’s so great. I have seen at least 100 guys who want meaningful connections, but don’t go through the vulnerability and pain to get there… This is fucking hard to do.”

@22:00 – Tucker’s version of going through this

He had to go to psychoanalysis 4 days a week for 4 years. That’s 432 hours. Holy shit.

He had a lot more issues than me, and he was wildly successful with those issues.

He also talked about this with Charlie and I in Episode 7 and Charlie commented on the differences he saw in Tucker and that’s why he was able to meet and marry Veronica.

Why I have problems with being vulnerable

“If you have problems connecting and being vulnerable, it’s because in your past at some point in some way, someone has taken your vulnerability and hurt you with it.”

Being vulnerable and open you can reach higher rewards (love) or can get hurt (rejections, humiliation).

I don’t know what my issue is but I think at the core it’s a fear or shame of looking foolish, being humiliated, and losing friends, being disconnected from others, being ostracized or alone, being made fun of or left outside of the group because I said something stupid.

How to get over this, be more vulnerable, let people in, and live a better life

“Keeping people away is a defense mechanism. To break those defenses down, you have to go back to that pain and it has to come back up. That’s why you cried during that book.” – Tucker

He’s probably right because he knows more about this stuff than me (432 hours more), but I don’t understand how this works:
– Why do you have to go back to something that happened 1, 5, or 10 years ago?
– Why can’t you just move forward + get better by working on what’s in front of you?
– Why do you have to go back and dig up shitty shit that happened a long shitty time ago?
– How the fuck do you even do this?

His point here was that this is really fucking hard and requires a big support system. No one can do this alone.

@25:00 – Everyone has these issues, but nobody teaches how to deal with them

“You are not alone in suffering through these issues because culturally we don’t teach our young people how to process these emotions. You don’t have the toolkit to break down these emotions or work through them. So we just put them in boxes and shove them down deep.” – Nils

This is kind of relief. This is a normal thing that most people go through. I’m not that weird. Also, I’m great at ignoring, distracting myself, or shoving down emotions. That’s usually how I deal with most of this stuff.

There is a lot of shame that men have around admitting these emotions. That’s the cultural narrative we have: Men can’t be emotional or vulnerable because then you are a pussy.

And THIS IS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS… just look at the great action movies:

In Die Hard and Gladiator the heroes are vulnerable, expose themselves emotionally, and we love them for it.

“Die Hard is John McClain getting on a plane to save his marriage. He’s going to surprise Holly… That’s how that movie starts.”

“In Gladiator, [Maximus] does everything he does (kills all those mfs) for the memory of his dead wife and child.”

This was such a great fucking analogy because it’s crystal clear and true. These guys are men, badasses, effective killers, and they are not weak because they get emotional or cry.

Another great example is Tony from The Sopranos. He goes to fucking therapy! And they show his sessions in the show. Yet he’s still one of the best / most memorable male leads on a TV show. That vulnerability and emotional side of him didn’t make him less cool or less effective or less of a leader.

@28:30 – Nils’s thoughts on my hometown and the shitty mentality there

“This is a part of that process. You are doing what all those guys never learned how to do because they were taught to keep putting one foot in front of the other, straight towards death.” – Nils

That was a great fucking metaphor too.

“Suppress your emotions. Show up every day. Work hard until you die. It’s weak to show vulnerability or pain or emotions.” – Tucker

The physical and emotional consequences of suppressing these emotions

In Daring Greatly, Brown talks about studies that prove how not talking about trauma or problems (suppressing them) causes all these shitty side effects.

When people don’t talk about or open up about past trauma, there are physical consequences (more doctors visits, higher stress hormones) and emotional consequences (your current relationships suffer) in your life.

@31:00 – Lewis Howes’s story of being sexually abused as a child

Lewis opened up about this story on his podcast: What Sharing My Childhood Rape Taught Me About Being a Loving, Vulnerable, Free Man
Wow.
And go look at the comments on that post. The reaction was amazingly positive and supportive. Tucker and Nils were right about this.

Nils talks about the emotional intelligence seminar Lewis (also from Ohio) went to (ask Nils which seminar he is talking about). Lewis admitted this happened, talked about it in public, and what that did for his life and his business.

We all have trauma, not as bad as getting rape, but it still fucks with you. Tucker talks about his past trauma and how he had to deal with, 4 years in therapy.

“I didn’t walk in there and discover anything new about my past that I didn’t already know. It was more about facing and understanding trauma that did have an emotional impact on you… It’s not just one thing.”

I don’t know what past trauma or experiences or problems I had. I have a few ideas but nothing too terrible or fucked up. I don’t know where to start.

@36:00 – “There’s going to be a lot of regret that you are going to be deal with.” – Nils

Nils talk about how my current mindset of not being vulnerable, withdrawing, and not talking to people fucks me up.

A lot of regret = “What if I had done this? What if I had talked to that girl? What if I I had done that?” … You have to process that too so that you can lift a weight off your shoulders that is keeping you down.

He’s absolutely right. I have so much regret about things in my life, so many missed opportunities, especially with women. Just a lot of fucking guilt around that. So many times I didn’t make a move or didn’t talk to a girl that I liked and felt awful about it later.

Putting things in perspective: Tucker didn’t start writing until 27. I’m 26.

Tucker had to date fat girls so that he could eat their food. This is hilarious but only because it worked out in the end. If he was still a struggling, poor writer at 39 it would be sad. Or as Nils says, “It would be Ohio.” Ahh, that’s fucked up.

The difference between him and I at this was age was that he went out and talked to people. I don’t. I withdraw.

@40:30 – “Don’t live your life looking backwards about the bad things you’ve done. Think about how you can get better and improve.”

This is so hard not to do…. I have a bad habit of thinking of dumb shit I did in past (embarrassing things that happened, dumb shit I said to people) and feeling pain or embarrassment or anxiety when I think now about those past events.

Like in the middle of the day I’ll think of something, remember it, relive that experience for a few seconds, feel nervous or awful, and my stomach/chest will seize up or my heart will start racing. Then I’ll try to forget about it.

This is why I hate the idea of going back and bringing that pain up and processing it. I just want to forget about it and move forward, get better with what I’m doing now. Not improve what I should have done or didn’t do years ago.

@42:00 – Shames and just being normal or average

Shame affects my style and choice of clothes.

I think I wore all those weird clothes to speed dating (Episode 9) because I might have a shame-based fear of being ordinary, of not standing out, a fear of not being noticed. And that comes out in wearing goofy clothes to stand out. I wouldn’t say that I want attention, I just want to be noticed or attractive or different in a good way. But as you listen to that episode, you’ll hear how I failed miserably.

Tucker digs into my past, school, and why I might have this fear of being ignored.

I tell a story about a girl was into, trying to talk to me, and I was being an anti-social prick just giving her one word answers. All I wanted to do was sleep in that class. And after a few days she stopped trying to talk to me. And I can’t blame her.

I think this is exactly what Nils was talking about earlier @13:00 about when you don’t make an effort to invite people in or at least meet them halfway, they will give up on you.

This is a big regret I have. She was a cute girl. And a couple years later she was gorgeous and I kept thinking to myself, why the fuck didn’t I talk to her. Why wasn’t I nice to her?

@46:30 – Being paranoid of someone exploiting you

This was a hilarious moment, but this isn’t my problem. Some guys may have it but not me. They make a bunch of jokes and have fun with this because it’s ridiculous.

“If it was okay for women in South America to be attracted to you, why is it NOT okay for people in the US to be attracted to you.” – Nils

That’s a good question. I didn’t have a good answer.

This is a recipe for Impostor Syndrome.

There’s nothing wrong with going to these places, but “I don’t know any happy dudes going to Bangkok to find girls… when they are home alone, they hate themselves just as much as they did when they are in America.” – Nils

@50:00 – Many long-term “players” have the same problem: They aren’t happy, but they just learned to get laid here.

Tucker was like this… “Any extreme promiscuity (defined differently for each culture) is usually evidence of an underlying dysfunction.” He is saying if you fuck around a lot more than normal, there’s something deeper that might be fucked up about you.

“That doesn’t make me awesome.” I disagree, along with probably many others.

An important point that I didn’t understand or missed during the recording:

“A lot people who you might not think of as having problems (players, studs, etc.) actually have problems. They are similar to your issues. You’re not some weak coward off alone in the corner while the rest of us are just partying and having a great time. We just have different ways of addressing or hiding our issues.” – Tucker

Yea but god damn it sure feels like that a lot times. It feels like I’m missing out on a lot of life and being social and partying or whatever. Fuck…

@53:00 – Moving Away VS Moving Towards VS Moving Against

Again from Daring Greatly, these are common but awful strategies to deal with shame. I totally deal with it by moving away or withdrawing. I think Tucker was more moving against.

We heal in groups. Nobody heals emotionally by himself or herself. This is another reason why withdrawing is so fucked up.

Nils dives more into why this is messed up (solid stuff here)

1. “You are the worst judge of yourself.”
Yep, we’ve said this over and over again in this series but I still forget it when I’m feeling like shit.

2. “Those other people allow us to calibrate our emotions against a standard or a cultural norm. It helps you understand that this is normal and that other people have been through this.” You aren’t alone in this pain or emotion.

Nils tells another story about a guy who opened up an experience of his kid dying where he felt alone, but he wasn’t. Many others had this experience or knew someone who did. The point is, whatever emotion you are feeling you aren’t alone and you should seek out others you trust who can help put things in perspective. It helps process and get through that pain. You aren’t alone on an island.

@56:30 – I have no confidence + a weird arrogance (maybe chauvinism)

This was a reference to past dates in Episode 11.

@59:00 – It’s not about logical. It’s emotion.

“Almost everything you are going to be dealing with in meeting and dating women is about emotion. You have to get comfortable with that level, not logic which doesn’t work.” – Nils

This is a great point about logic VS emotion and I still don’t fully understand or know how to do this. I mostly ignore emotions on dates unless it’s something really obvious like she’s bored or upset or really into me.

This is also probably why so many guys read pickup artist stuff and get good at taht game still suck or are really unhappy. They are missing out on all the emotion because they are too stuck on the 1s and 0s, the lines, the checklist of actions, etc.

“You don’t emotionally engage people. You keep them at such a distance that you don’t even think about them at all.” – Tucker

Yep, I think he might be right here, really right. This is a big problem I have that I’m largely unaware of.

@1:01:00 – How to do this and get better

“You don’t need to learn a list of facts or everything she likes. Find a way to connect emotionally, which requires reading:” – Nils
Her body language
The words she uses
The way she holds her hands
What she’s wearing
And all the other nonverbal cues
And going off that, it’s a dance, remember that.

“You have to be empathetic, and empathy require vulnerability.” – Tucker

“This is why you can’t remember anything about conversations. You aren’t emotionally engaged. Memory is coded through the same part of the brain that regulates emotion. It’s weird but that’s the way it works. That’s why story is the best way to learn.” – Tucker

Man, this is sad but true. How the fuck do I stop doing this?

That’s why date goals are to find something interesting about her and have fun because those are ways to connect.

@1:04:00 – Trust is built a little bit (of vulnerability) at a time

Great analogies for this are
– Filling a jar with marbles (Daring Greatly)
– Building a house (Tucker)
It’s a continuum (ups and downs), not binary (yes and no).

@1:06:00 – Nils’s interesting point about Tinder:

“On Tinder there should be an understanding of mutual trust because you both agreed (matched) that you’re attracted to each other at some level. You’ve already established a small degree of trust because you’ve actively selected one another. You’re not picking her up at the gelato shop. [She’s meeting you there because] she’s at least interested enough in you to have a conversation. That is trust. It’s small but it is some. That’s where it starts.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Selected parts of Nils’s email to me after Episode 7

You kind of want women just to trust that you’re a good guy, agree to give it a shot, and then slowly over time you will connect with her by virtue of spending more time together. Unfortunately again, that’s just not how attraction is built or relationships work. You can’t just expect time to do the work for you.

Vulnerability is the key to emotional connection and dating requires a degree of vulnerability in the beginning for a few reasons:

1) if you aren’t at least a little bit open every date becomes about running down an obvious, observable checklist that doesn’t tell you anything about each other

2) your goal is to get to know things about the girl to determine if you’re attracted to her or have chemistry–asking her to do that implies a degree of reciprocity. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine;

To connect with someone emotionally is to connect with them on the levels they care about most. And to do that, you have to open yourself up to another person about those things–things that are personal, unique, and probably more/disproportionately important to you than to them. You’re saying I care about THIS, THIS, THIS, and THIS because that’s who I am. This is me, please accept and appreciate me. That is VERY hard for lots of people, especially men, and it takes a willingness to be vulnerable–to open up like that–to make that connection a reality.

3) you’re tall and in shape, but clearly the majority of your best qualities are not external, they’re internal; and the only way to display those more attractive traits to open yourself up a little and share them (whether it’s your intelligence about travel and business; your openness and playfulness about kids or puppies; your sense of humor about yourself or the world; etc). HOW DO I DO THIS … I’m not a good story teller and uncomfortable, not good about talking about myself

Chemistry requires a reaction, and the only way to get that reaction is to expose one element (yourself) to the other her – requires vulnerability.

You’re afraid of making yourself vulnerable to them (or anyone). It is at the core of all these fears (foolish, idiot, failure, incompetent, weak) because each of those fears is presupposing a negative response to an action where the outcome is uncertain. And when you commit to an action where you don’t know the result, that is by definition being vulnerable. I’ll give you examples:

-Fear of looking like an idiot is the result of putting yourself in the vulnerable position of contributing to a conversation with something smart or funny or insightful, but not being sure if what you are saying is either smart, funny, or insightful, OR how it will be perceived by whoever your with.

-Fear of looking like a failure/incompetent is the result of putting yourself in the vulnerable position of trying something new or hard and not knowing how it will turn out, and worrying that the people around who witness the attempt will laugh at you.

-Fear of looking weak is the result of putting yourself in the vulnerable position of trying to be strong or forceful and not being sure if you are strong enough and forceful enough to pull it off.

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