20th of July 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 25


This week on Helping Joe, Charlie and Nils give Joe feedback on OkCupid (see the notes below) and Tinder after Joe gets frustrated with interactions on the dating app. They also dive into his sleep habits and ask him what a perfect day looks like. Joe does not have a good specific answer. They explain why this is a big problem in his life and with his mating goals.

“Right now, you have no fucking clue where you are going… You are letting life happen to you and wandering around as a result. This exercise if it does nothing else will give you a destination to point yourself to and work towards.” – Nils


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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

@Beginning – OkCupid, Nils’s feedback

Nils wrote this in an email when I asked him for feedback on the OkCupid profile I put up. Here’s what he had to say:

Hey Joe so there are three primary issues with the info in your profile. It is either 1) not true, 2) condescending or 3) snobby/snotty/insecure.

“I like to make jokes and be goofy.” — this is not true, at least in a dating context. You WANT to be this guy, and you are working to get there, but right now if I were to ask all of the women you’ve had first dates with over the last few months if this were true or false, I would wager that most of them would say “False”. The reasons this is a problem are that a) it is the very first thing you say, which gives it much more weight, and thus creates false expectations and b) you don’t actually make any jokes or act goofy in your profile (other than the photos)

“I’d rather hang out at a bookstore or cool cafe than go to a bar, unless it’s a wine bar. I’ll always go to a wine bar.” — tonally, you don’t come off the best here (you also repeat it at the very end). Why not just say “I’d rather hang out at a bookstore or a cool cafe than go to a bar. Don’t worry I’m not a recovering alcoholic or anything (I love good wine), I just like to be able to hear what you say when I’m shamelessly flirting with you.”

“I’m comfortable having conversations with intelligent women, not intimidated. It’s actually really attractive when you have many things to talk about.” — this is super chauvinistic and patronizing. You’re basically mansplaining to women that it’s okay for them to be smart. There is also something very insecure about having to deliberately point out that you are not intimidated by intelligent women. Why not say something like: “I love intelligent women. Most of the best conversations I’ve ever had were with brilliant women from unique perspectives who taught me a lot about myself and the world. For instance, did you know it’s possible to get a boner from getting your ass kicked at Scrabble by the woman you’re dating?”

“Our office is in a penthouse apartment on Rainey.” — why is this relevant to you? Feels like unnecessary and insecure status puffery. What is she going to glean that is positive about you from the fact that you work in a penthouse apartment?

“I’m a nice guy, love my family but apparently I don’t have a soul… because of the ginger thing obviously.” — there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just that the execution is wrong because the way you’ve phrased it has you essentially agreeing to someone else’s assumption. You need to own this for it to work. “I’m a nice guy and love my family, which is pretty impressive when you consider that I’m a ginger and thus have no soul and can’t be trusted. That’s what it says on the internet, anyway.”

The profile gets much better in the second half. These statements were all really great and put you in the kind of positive light that makes women feel safe to message you:

“(sidenote: I learned that traveling with someone you are dating makes it much more fun.)”

“If you don’t know anything about comedy, that’s cool too because then I can show you the best stuff and we can laugh together.”

“Funny friends/family, work that matters, nice friends/family, trees, cheeseburgers, fish oil’

“You love to laugh, and you’re looking for a good person to hold hands with.”

Also Joe I would try to turn that personal self-summary into something more resembling a story than just a list of statements. As I read it, I feel like I’m getting a checklist of facts, not a window into who you are. The more you can shape that self-summary into the Story of Joe, the more appealing it might become.

Charlie talks more about telling a story @ 21:00 in this episode

@3:30 – Polyamorous Girl From Tinder

This was my 2nd date with her. We got tea, and it was a great time. She’s super interesting to talk to, but I don’t think she’s my type. She’s too much like me, not emotionally expressive, reserved, and very introverted. I think I like more extroverted, bubbly, outgoing women. I think I like her more as a friend.

“I think polyamory is more or less bullshit. It’s just people who want to fuck lots of people and not be emotionally tied down to one person, which is fine.” – Nils

Nils also calls me out for wanting to be polyamorous but call it “casual dating”

I don’t know. On it’s face, yea they are the same thing, but they are different. I don’t identify as polyamorous or want this long-term. I want to date around but I don’t want to call myself polyamorous or have multiple long term relationships together where they are fucking other people at the same time.

@8:00 – She delayed texting me and I assumed the worst

She didn’t text me after the first date and then deleted her Tinder profile. I thought she didn’t like me and it was a bad date because I was awkward, she unmatched me, and wanted nothing to do with me. Turns out not to be the case. She just takes her time, has big (3 day) delays in getting back. Weird.

I filled in that information gap (her lack of response) with the worst case, which is she hates my guts, I did something wrong on the date, I suck.

This has been a constant theme, my reaction is something uncertain or unknowable is to assume I did something wrong, it’s my fault, something awful I did, I suck.

I think the more I recognize this and the more I meditate, the better I will get at catching myself when I start to have this reaction and go down that path. Once I catch it, I can figure out a better way of reacting, maybe she’s busy or just wants to be friends, or isn’t ready to date anyone, or some creep on Tinder got to her and now she doesn’t want to date me.

There could be 1,000 reasons why she didn’t want to go on a 2nd date, probably not that many of them have to do with me. It’s important to recognize that so I save the unwarranted self-loathing for another time.

I wish sometimes I was more confident or didn’t give a fuck about some random chick that didn’t want to have anything to do with me. Like I remember reading Tucker’s books and I think he was a lot like that. He didn’t seem to care when he got shot down or a woman wasn’t into him. But I fill in the information gap with the worst case = I suck.

@10:00 – Chemistry

I mentioned how we didn’t have much chemistry and I think I’m still trying to figure out what I like, what my preferences are in a woman.

“It’s certainty… what you’re saying is chemistry is the removal of the uncertainty. They are more obvious that they are interested in you so you don’t have to make guesses [because] when you start guessing that’s when things get nasty inside [your head]… Be more confident in having your own feelings toward her.” – Nils

Yep, he hit the nail on the head and summed up how I reacted when she didn’t text back and there was uncertainty about what she felt. I have a bad habit of filling in uncertainty gaps or information gaps where I don’t know with worst case.

“Women evolved to protect themselves from physical, emotional, and cultural threats. So most of them are not going to be so overt about how they feel. They are going to play it a little closer to the vest, especially on Tinder which just a giant fuck puddle.” –Nils

@12:30 – Tinder sucks

I talk about how Tinder sucks for me because I’m unattractive and as a mating market it’s awful for a lot of women.

I think I was just venting here because I had was feeling down about a few interaction I had on Tinder and being too hard on myself.

“You control the dynamic of how you communicate with her. Just by not saying [these things], by being a normal person, you give her a sense of safety. If you don’t behave like those guys or give her that vibe, she will give you the benefit of the doubt.” – Charlie

Yea he’s right.

I have problems with rejection from strangers who don’t know that much about me. I need to get over this because I get too frustrated from nothing.

“Tinder is the loud bar of Internet dating and you hate loud bars. So go to the places where you can show your personality and engage in a calmer, more connected dialogue so you can show off your true assets… OkCupid.” – Nils

This was a great analogy and great point.

“Understand that women on Tinder (or anywhere) are NOT evaluating you objectively for who you are and making a judgment. They are evaluating you against their preferences are based off of 4 pictures. It’s not your own value, worth, attractiveness, and ability. It’s about your fit for them and their needs/preferences in that very moment. It’s not you, it’s them. For them it’s not a bit, not because you’re a bad person or unattractive or unworthy or not fun. But it sounds like that’s where you’re taking this internally when you don’t match with a lot of people or you don’t go on 2nd dates.” – Nils

I wish I could program this into my phone so this message would pop up each time I went on Tinder and got off of it. This was a great reminder and reality check. It’s not all about me and my bullshit.

This also reminds me of a great analogy a friend from New York gave me about how if someone chooses Taco Bell today, McDonald’s doesn’t get bent out of shape. I don’t remember it exactly but the point was that women have preferences, some will choose you and some won’t, but there are plenty of them out there for you to still be in business.

@21:00 – Charlie’s story of his friend who kind of hacked OkCupid

This might have really been Charlie, not his friend. Idk.

His main piece of advice was to tell a story with your profile, with memories about your life, that women can connect with. Not just a bunch of facts but more “my journey to date”

My profile right now is just a list of preferences and facts, not much of a story.

I think part of that problem is that I don’t know what my story is and I don’t know where I’m at in my life or where I’m going, not really focused. I think if I tried doing this, writing my profile as a story, I would be really self-conscious and not want to post it. Idk.

Interesting pictures in interesting places also work well. Put as many interesting things that you have done in your profile that they can latch onto.

@25:00 – Women sometimes go on Tinder binges

“Some women I know get bored one night and go on hour long Tinder binges where their filter for swiping right is looser, based on if that guy responded THAT NIGHT. But two sober days later, that filter has restricted itself.” –Nils

Matching can be a timing thing. They might have matched because they were in the right mood or were drunk.

Yea this makes sense and I need to remind myself of this when girls aren’t responding, maybe they were in the mood then and aren’t now, the moment is gone, oh well, not much I can do. Instead of getting bent out of shape because I suck at Tinder. I kind of ramble a bit here trying to explain that.

“That’s a hard thing to internalize for somebody like you who is logical and literal… These decisions are driven by emotion, not logic & reason.” Haha yep, same old shit that keeps coming up in this series.

@28:00 – My self-loathing thoughts about Tinder

I talk about shitty times on Tinder, including my awful habit of using it right before I go to bed. They explain why this is a terrible thing to do before bed.

@31:00 – My sleep habits

I want to wake up before 9am (ideally 7 or 8) but I don’t set an alarm. Then I get upset when I wakeup after 9am. Doesn’t make any fucking sense.

I like waking up early and feel better about myself when I wake up early, but I don’t take steps to go to bed early enough to wake up early. Stupid.

JUST SET A FUCKING ALARM! This was their advice, except without all-caps.

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Ben Franklin

What I read in Daring Greatly (Brene Brown) about our scarcity culture:

We get scarcity because we live it. One of my very favorite writers on scarcity is global activist and fund-raiser Lynne Twist. In her book The Soul of Money, she refers to scarcity as “the great lie.”

She writes: For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it.

We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…

Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack…

This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.…(43–45).

Scarcity is the “never enough” problem.

“It’s a deep habit for you to not focus on the good and to focus on your lack of X… when we ask you what you want, you will never have it [because] you don’t process it.” – Charlie

A perfect example of this is at the end of Episode 22 @ 1:12:00 when they try to give me a compliment and help me recognize good things I’m doing and I just get right back to self-loathing.

@40:00 – What does a good day look like?

We get into describing a great day for me and I have some trouble figuring this out or being really specific.

“Not the last great day, but construct a great day.”

“If you keep walking through the motions of your life where you’re feeling shitty and wondering why things aren’t getting better, it’s because you haven’t slowed down to [this figure it out].” – Charlie

“95% of [your negative thought patterns] is about choice. You behave like you are a victim of life and not a constructor of your life. You can choose when to get up, what to eat, what to work on, when to workout… those are all choices. A lot of time you talk about this stuff like you survive it. It happens and you get through it.” – Nils

Yea this is a great point and we’ve talked about this I think tangentially or indirectly on the podcast but it’s never been put this directly… that I act like a victim of circumstances instead of proactive player or chooser of what I do, how I act, what I think, how I behave, etc. I think is a problem a lot of people have.

Charlie talks about having vision and I get kind of skeptical here because I have such an aversion to visualizations or affirmations.

I mean I know belief and having a destination in mind is important but I really don’t like this stuff.

Nils talks about how Lewis Howes does this Perfect Day Exercise every day ritually, “Even if they don’t come true, it gives him something to work [towards] and goals.”

That’s a good point. At the very least, you gotta know where the fuck you’re going or what you’re going after. What does the end look like. And right now I don’t know. I don’t know where I want to go. I don’t know who I want to be. I just know that I suck right now (or I’m not as good at things as I want to be) and I want to be better, but I don’t know what the end goal looks like, who I want to be at the end, etc.

The guys we’re talking about bust their ass. They just have a vision of where they want to go as they bust their ass.” – Nils

“You can’t really love someone until you love yourself and your life, and you have a tendency to just sort of take what you can get… Our goal for you is to get to the point where you have choices and that you pursue those choices and you only engage what/who you want because you feel like you deserve them. It’s not clear what you want. It takes time and this is part of that process. If you can [figure out what a great day] looks like then you can figure out what does a great woman, relationship, life with a woman look like [to you].”

Haha yea, that kind of has been my mindset for a while. I’ve been so bad at engaging women or going out consistently that I have gotten into this mode of just taking what I can get, probably because I had so few choices. But at least I have I’m not settling into a relationship that I don’t want. I’ve seen a lot of desperate guys do that with their HS or college girlfriends and it always made me feel uneasy to see them in these relationships where it looked like, at least to me, that their gf was henpecking or badgering them a lot. Looked liked it sucked, but this is besides the point here.

Now it’s starting to make sense and it’s pretty clear why this exercise is super important. It’s sad but I really haven’t thought about this at all. It’s usually just been “get girls” that ‘s it. Not much thought to what girl, just pretty or cute I guess and that’s it.

@52:00 – Back to the perfect day exercise

This is more of an assignment for next week because this takes some time to think about.

Part of the problem here is that I don’t want to think about this because I don’t think that I deserve it. It feels self-indulgent or stupid.

“What would need to happen for you [to think that] you deserve an ideal day?” – Nils

I haven’t really thought this through that well. And because I haven’t thought it through, I’m not on a path to getting there (getting my shit together or making more money or whatever). And if I’m not working towards something or progressing, I don’t feel like I deserve that end goal of happiness or a perfect day. It’s weird that I think this way. Just stuck in a cycle of not thinking I’m good enough or don’t deserve things so I don’t them or work towards them, proving myself right (self-fulfilling prophecy).

“This exercise can help you put the pieces together to get what you want.” – Charlie

On not being definitive, precise, or specific with what you want: “Those are all squishy terms whose definitions can change based on how you feel about yourself… Be more specific.” – Nils

@57:00 – You underestimate the power of your thought patterns

Charlie recommends As A Man Thinketh By James Allen

Funny thing I have read this book but didn’t internalize it. I just forgot the lessons.

Nils comments on this and why I forget a lot of things but I remember stuff that goes on in my life but I remember a lot from this podcast series.

I have a good memory for some stuff like what was said in the podcast when and I think that’s because I spend a lot of time taking notes and re-listening to what they say.

But I have awful memory for what happened this week, what did I talk about on those dates. I remember something Tucker said about how I’m not actively engaged in my life (engaged in present moment, not in my head) so I don’t remember things. I don’t know.

“If you can be more engaged with your dates and your life, those choices about what you eat, when you get up, etc. you can connect [and remember]… Develop pride in your own life and it will trickle down to perfect days.” – Nils

@1:02:00 – Assignment for next week, do this exercise.

Even after all that, I still don’t want to do this What Is Your Perfect Day exercise.

I know I need to do this but I don’t want to. Probably because I feel like I don’t deserve it and it’s self-indulgent because I haven’t done enough or I am not enough to deserve a great day. And it’s sad to write this out and look at it objectively but that’s how I feel.

Nils ends with this great bit:

“This process is defining precisely where you are going to get.

Right now, you have no fucking clue where you’re going. You are wandering around in the darkness. You are letting life happen to you and wandering around as a result.

This exercise if it does nothing else will give you a destination to point yourself to so at least you are going in a positive direction that you have chosen for yourself…

This [exercise itself] will not make you successful, but it is the work of defining the destination so that you know what to put the work against instead of just working to work because that’s what slavery is.” – Nils

“[This is] an exercise that will help you be more intentional about the life you want rather than letting life happen to you… because that will trickle into your romantic life.” – Charlie

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