29th of June 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 22


In this episode of Helping Joe, Charlie and Tucker break down Joe’s recent first date and why it was awkward for him. They go deeper into why Joe doesn’t like playful teasing and can’t bond with male friends. Joe and Charlie open up with stories about past awful experiences where they were attacked (not teased) by their friends. Tucker gives Joe 2 key takeaways to recognize his ineffective thought patterns and behaviors. Joe also gives an update on a talk he had with the girl he is dating.


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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


I brought in a whole list of things to talk about because the last 2 episodes I left frustrated and down for a couple reasons:

1) We didn’t talk about stuff that I thought was important or interesting to listeners like updates or date breakdowns or more practical issues and

2) We dove into emotional issues and feelings of guilt, self-compassion, feeling good or just ok about myself, logic vs emotions. I know I need to talk about this stuff but I really don’t like doing it.

@1:30 – First date I went on with new girl from Tinder, didn’t go well

So of all the stuff on that list this was what I felt most shitty about because I don’t think it went well and I never heard back from her and I’m just thinking… wtf did I do wrong on this date. A day or two after the date, right around when this podcast aired, I was in my head being negative about myself, just felt like I took a big step back and I’m still fucking up on first date and I don’t even know how or why. I suck, etc. So this is what we talk about first.

They make fun of me and I take it hard. I thought I was doing a good thing by trying out a new place and it was getting hot (it’s summer) so I thought ice cream was a good idea. But why are they giving me shit for it then? I don’t take jokes that well sometimes.

I thought I fucked up by ordering ice cream and not sitting down and talking first. That was the advice that Charlie gave me way back in Episode 2 @23:00

(This is checklist mentality, Charlie nails it here. I even said ‘I broke the first rule’ wtf there are no ‘rules’ wth am I talking about. I’m surprised that they missed that I said this. )

Tucker flips out. “So nothing awkward happened but happened but you felt awkward?! And you feel like this is a part we should skip over?! This is the heart of the matter.”

I don’t understand why this is the heart of the matter but whatever. There’s this emotional issue I have where I get self-conscious if I’m not doing something the right way when logically or literally nothing to feel awkward about but I am too in my head thinking “well this is awkward” doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know why I do this. It’s annoying but I don’t know how to stop it. It’s just these automatic thoughts that pop into my head and I run with them.

Charlie points out, rightly so, that this is same checklist mentality that has come up in the past. I didn’t do “the right thing” in this first date checklist so I thought I was fucking up and because it wasn’t perfect, I got in my head about it which can only make the date worse. In my head, I was probably like, “oh shit, I didn’t follow the script or get that thing right, so now I’m starting this date in a weird way, this isn’t going to go well.” instead of just rolling with it like a normal person.

“So you felt awkward because you thought there was a way things had to happen and because they didn’t happen that exact way, you felt awkward.” – Tucker

Yep that about sums it up.

@10:00 – “If you felt awkward then it was awkward to you”

I thought it was just a little awkward but they made a big deal out of it and now I’m trying to explain this and at a loss for words.

“From your description there were no awkward situations. You felt awkward and we’re trying to understand why. If you are feeling awkward for reasons you don’t need to feel awkward for, you need to know that and identify that so you can say, ‘Oh I had this inappropriate emotional reaction to a totally normal situation. So I need to understand why am I feeling that way.’”

Yea this makes a lot more sense. Now I know why this is important and why we need to talk about this. It’s probably hitting a deeper issue I have that we need to bring up.

@12:30 – Captain Procedure and fecal transplants

This is kinda funny. Tucker brings back the red mustang from Episode 8

Also I transition into talking about “fecal transplants” on the date

@15:30 – Joe you never laugh at this stuff

“He doesn’t see this as playful banter. He sees it as criticism.” – Tucker

I mean how can I not see it as criticism? This is a show about critiquing me and what I do. And I’m always the butt of the joke. It’s funny but I don’t particularly enjoy it. I just come in here and am honest about the awful or weird stuff I do and they make fun of me for it and help correct it.

“We take it and we run with it and play with it… we’re giving you a hard time, not trying to make you feel bad. You just wait for it to end.”

Difference between Charlie & Tucker and me: They take the joke and run with it or make their own jokes while I just sit there and endure and wait for it to be over.

A perfect example was in Episode 15 @28:00 when we were making fun of Charlie after he made out with the same girl that I made out with at speed dating. Sure I think he was embarrassed a little but he made his own jokes off of it that were fucking funny like “I’m going to have to quit this podcast right now” and he said something about how this podcast should be “Helping Charlie”. It was funny.

“That’s the point of improv, to embrace whatever is happening, yes and…” – Charlie

@17:00 – Male friends and teasing

We dive into this topic and my past about having male friends, teasing & playing with each other.

This was hard for me to be open and honest about because this stuff happened a while ago and the few memories I have were painful and pathetic.

Before I get into this story you can hear the anguish or pain or trouble in my voice because I don’t want to talk about this.

@21:00 – Painful story from when I was 12 or 13

This is a painful and embarrassing story about the first time I felt like I was different or that I couldn’t trust my friends or the people I hung out with. I’ve never told this to anyone, ever. Now I’m telling it to 1,000s of listeners. Weird.

In the beginning of this podcast I thought maybe this story would be relevant somewhere but I would just never bring it up. It was one of those things I would never ever talk about. As we got into deeper emotional issues in the last 20 episodes, somewhere around episodes 7 to 12, I started thinking that this was going to have to come up. I’ve thought about it on and off since then. Now here were are.

Tucker explains this in a way that I had never heard of but it makes sense: young guys when they hit puberty start jostling for status in their group, even if they are friends because dominance/assertivness leads to better mating, just the way we evolved. Unfortunately I didn’t catch on to this or wasn’t good at this, whatever, and went sexless throughout high school.

@27:00 – Men and violence tangent

For men, fighting is always an option when there is a challenge, “Can I win this challenge? Or do I have to fight?”

Tucker points out a weird dichotomy: I’m not supposed to be violent, violence is never the answer, it’s never okay, but I see violent pepole succeed. We revere violence in sports (football). The US military is in like 60 countries all around the world.

This is why MMA is so great because it helps guys resolve this.

“If we are well developed emotionally and morally we reserve the use of violence.”

“All meat is violence.”

@30:00 – Why this was traumatic

That was not teasing / playful banter. This was an attack.

Because this happened in a group of friends, “so in your mind on a deep unconscious level, verbal teasing is now associated with social ostracization.” – Tucker

I didn’t feel like I could be cool or chill around my friends. I was more self-conscious. I felt like I had to be on my guard now or couldn’t trust my friends. They weren’t my friends any more.

Jack Donovan’s Way of Men: “Almost all primate males in groups together (gang or tribe), the males routinely test eachother to make sure that they are effective and capable.”

Tucker brings up Lord of the Flies and said, “You were piggy, dude.” I think he’s full of shit but in that situation I think he was right.

“You were the one that everyone used to take their bullshit out on. Every group has the lower ranking ones, doesn’t mean they are weak or stupid, often they are just the ones who will put up with it and won’t fight back… You got pegged as that.”

It sounded ridiculous at first but the way he explain it, yea that makes sense. I put up with a lot of shit because I didn’t like conflict because I usually fucking lost so I just tried to avoid it. Sad admitting this but I think it’s true. I was never good being verbally combative, my brain just shut down when I felt someone was attacking me. And I couldn’t think straight or come up with a good comeback on the spot.

“You now associate teasing, playfulness, banter as an attack, and rightfully so, you never learned how to play.”

@37:00 – Tucker’s tiny hands

Tucker talks about how people make fun of his tiny hands. I think this is ridiculous.

“On an unconscious level you think that we’re on a platform telling you how to behave.” – Charlie

“Unconsciously, you are reacting as if we are subjugating you. We’re not.”

@39:00 – Charlie shares stories from high school

He kinda got bullied and almost got his ass beat by 5 older kids.

Then he also gave it out and made fun of one kid so bad that the kid wanted to kill himself.

“We were all trying to establish that we had status in the group. We didn’t hate him. We liked him.”

“It’s not about explain the rational side. These are emotional issues that all guys go through and there’s a lot of shame and embarassment that go with them.” – Charlie

Tucker makes fun of me again for how I write these notes.

@46:00 – Your response and what you do now is up to you

“Things happen to you but you decide how to interpret them. If you understand why you do what you do or feel how you feel, then you can’t pick who you are now. What happened to you happened, but how you react to us is a decision on your part.” – Tucker

I don’t feel like my reactions are a decision. It’s just an unconscious reaction that I don’t really think about. I don’t think it is a decision or choice to feel like shit, it just is what is. I don’t know why I do it.

I don’t know what the line is. I don’t have boundaries. So feel like everyone is attacking me instead of being playful.

Tucker hits nail on head: “Your strategy is to endure it or ignore it, assuming ‘it’ is always bad.” I feel like getting made fun of is usually bad. It sucks.

“We use humor as a bonding mechanism, not as an attacking mechanism.” – Tucker
Yea but I don’t see it as bonding, I just see it as me at the bottom.

It’s episode 22 and I still can’t play with them. I’m still not comfortable most of the time when they make fun of me and I just endure it. And that’s a problem because this is how normal humans act. This is how my family back home acts and I’m totally cool with it. I don’t get bent out of shape or feel bad about myself or feel like have to endure when they are playing or making fun of me. I don’t feel like that here. I don’t know why.

“You’re so hard on yourself and you take yourself seriously on a deep level.” – Charlie

Yep, I do. And I don’t know why I do. I know it’s not good for me because life sucks when you take everything seriously.

@52:00 – Charlie’s dog analogy

His girlfriend’s dog is this little chihuahua that doesn’t know how to play with other dogs. When other dogs want to play it just sits there and stares at them or it gets nervous or tries to walk/run away. “It just stands there and waits for it to end… We are inviting you to come play and you don’t want to play.”

This was such a great analogy. So fucking great that Charlie said this.

“The reason he doesn’t want to [play] is that he has been traumatized in the past by players and it’s an adaptive response. What you did in the past made total sense, ‘If I just shut up and duck my head, this will eventually end.'” – Tucker

“You eventually got to a point where no one was making fun of you because you had no one around you.” Yep

My defenses were withdraw, be quiet, endure. This is sad and pathetic to admit that I didn’t fight back or stand up for myself or fight back. I just let it go or suffered through it which was fucking stupid and never worked.

Tucker tries to make this OK for me to accept and being understanding because it made sense in the context of a 12-13 kid without any social support. I couldn’t go to my parents because I didn’t trust them to give me good advice and I couldn’t go to my friends because my friends were the ones where the issues were.
“I don’t blame you… you had no one around you teaching you how to do this in a constructive fun way.” – Tucker

But I blew through this probably because it was too uncomfortable to realize and accept so I just said, “Ok it happened, whatever, what can I do now?”

@56:00 – Why improv is so great

Their first piece of advice was to keep doing improv. “Yes and…” which is basically accepting the situation and what is happening and just going with it is a good way to look at and live life.

I feel safe at improv doing scences but I don’t feel the same way on first dates.

@58:00 – You are not alone

Tucker still trying to beat it into my head that feeling this is okay, it’s normal, everyone feels this way at times, and I don’t need to feel bad about this.

I kind of brush it off which is dumb and am just like “Ok cool, what do I do now?”

“You keep looking for a magic light switch answer. Do you want to know the answer? It’s what we are doing right now.”

Tucker tested out 20-30 psychologists in Austin. I think the process of how he did this would be really interesting to learn. How did he find & pick a great therapist?

“All therapy boils down to is emotionally connecting with other people to talk about things that are hard for you. That’s what you do every week here.”

I don’t buy it and want to move faster, something more concrete that I can work on or do to get over this or get past these ridiculous emotional problems.

@1:00:00 – This date didn’t go well.

I jumped the gun and thought this date went awful. It didn’t btw I was wrong but didn’t know it at the time of this podcast.

They talk about fucking up all the time. They aren’t perfect either.

“I had an emotional reaction that 2-3 years ago would have put me into a mini-tailspin at 37 I would have acted like that.”

Again they are trying to connect with me and drill home the point that my problems aren’t unique. And I just try to get brush it off and am not really listening to them. Charlie’s comeback here which is great: “Joe, we don’t beat the shit out of ourselves for our mistakes. That’s the problem. You are not playful with yourself… You don’t recognize or dismiss your successes. You only recognize the bad all the time. When do you have enough?”

A lot of really good points here. These truths are hard to swallow. Maybe I’m just crazy.

@1:02:00 – Managing expectations, my ideas of success and failure

Because I had one bad date I thought I wasn’t improving or that I took a big step back and was still fucking up. I’m still looking at first dates as a performance and if she doesn’t like me or want to go out again, I failed… again this is the same arrogance + insecurity issues we have talked about earlier. This has been a constant theme in this series all the way back in Episodes 5 & 9 to the last one (Episode 21).

I am still not getting it because I still look at first dates as a performance (I hope this goes well) and more likely to be self conscious and Choke. And I’m arrogant to think that if she doesn’t like me, it’s my fault. It might be but probably not because she is her own person with her own preferences and thoughts, most of which are completely independent of anything that I am doing.

“You have such unrealistic expectations and you beat yourself up when you don’t hit those expectations. It creates this emotional behavior that is extremely unattractive.” – Tucker

Yep, he hit the nail on the head here. I go into dates thinking that it should go really well (I’m not even sure what that means, a kiss maybe, a 2nd date, idk) and when it doesn’t go well I immediately think it’s my fault, I screwed up, what did I do wrong, why do I suck, etc.

Charlie mentions Peter Gray’s research here.

@1:06:00 – This is fucked up but funny

I said something about her maybe having a lower mate value than me and that’s why she’s so into me…… [long sigh]

“You are rejecting the notion that a girl can really like you and be accepting of you because if she does then she must suck… She really likes me and I like her which must mean she sucks.”

Charlie can’t stop laughing. This is pretty funny but fucking sad. I don’t know why I think like this. I got really uncomfortable and started throwing pens around the room here.

Tucker’s Two Takeaways / Todos for next week:

1. Recognize when you THINK people are attacking (I feel like they are attacking me), look at it objectively (Are they really attacking me or just teasing?), bring it into the podcast. Be mindful of emotions.

2. Recognize and write down every time you are hard on yourself or self-critical. Just recognize it, that’s it.

@1:09:00 – Story about how hard I am on myself

I went to the post office, forgot my wallet, the guy spotted me $1, and I felt like a jackass.

This was a mini-meltdown that lasted 10-15 minutes of just embarassment and anger at myself.

“He’s not even going to be able to get out of bed.” – Charlie
“Woke up at 8:04, so fucking lazy.” – Tucker
This was pretty fucking funny, but that’s almost exactly how I feel most mornings. 75% of the time, my first thought to start the day is “Fuck I didn’t get enough sleep. I’m an idiot for not going to bed early.” OR “Fuck I woke up too late. I’m lazy.”

“The point is not to fix the details. It’s to fix the root causes and all of the details will take care of themselves.” – Tucker

This was such a great point. The best piece of advice in this episode and he gave it at the right time where I got it because I thought about this after I left and for a few days after, just repeating it over and over again in my head (fix the root causes and the details take care of themselves) because I am too focused on details and not the big picture sometimes.

@1:12:00 – The relationship talk

I did exactly what they said. We had a nice talk at a wine bar.

And she said exactly what Tucker told me to say to her which was amazing and it felt really good.

“You felt good about yourself. You should. And = you don’t feel guilty about her anymore now do you. You shouldn’t. You both have a clearly defined space that you are both happy with and you both enjoy. That’s fantastic!” – Tucker

I wait and take in this compliment for a whole 10 seconds before going right back to feeling guilty / self-loathing / negative self-talk.

Charlie fucking loses it, thinks it’s a joke or an act.
Tucker tells me to write it down (see takeaway #2 above)

I didn’t even realize how ridiculous and funny this was. Just the timing is amazing even though it was totally natural and just how I was feeling.

“He gave himself I think a beat and 1/2 of pride and then immediately went into, ‘No but I’m still a pierce of shit. You don’t understand.'”

I respond with something about how I think I’m guilty because she wants to spend more time with me.

And then Tucker loses it:

“She literally said, ‘I’m totally happy where this is,’ and you refuse to take her at her word because you must know more about her than she does about herself. You’re such a fucking genius even though you have a 10% success rate that you women better than they know themselves.”

This is the ridiculous arrogance thing again only a lot worse because it’s so obvious. He’s right. It’s absolutely ridiculous but that’s how I felt or thought and I don’t know why I can’t just trust that she’s cool with where we’re at. Maybe it’s a trust thing like I don’t believe her, not that I know more about herself than she does, just maybe I don’t trust her. I don’t know. Fuck.

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