In this episode of Helping Joe, Joe gives updates on the women that he went out with over the last two weeks. Charlie & Tucker give him high level and specific advice on how to avoid social isolation (find a tribe) and where best to spend his money. They also dive deeper into Joe’s emotional issues and tools he can use to solve these problems so he can better connect with women and friends.
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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 / preamble
I was kind of caught off guard by Tucker here (happens a lot on the podcast).
He didn’t elaborate on why this was my whole problem but I think he meant that I was looking at the events in my life as good vs bad, positive stuff vs negative stuff, instead of just life.
We should have talked about this more here. Although I think we did later @49:50 when he said that there are no wrong thoughts or emotions.
I talk about 3 dates I went on here. This was a good week!
@4:30 – Why I didn’t want to have sex
On one of the dates it was pretty clear she wanted to sleep with that night.
I decided not to because I didn’t want to take her back to my place because my room still sucks. I didn’t want to go back to her place because I thought it was lame.
The excuse I gave was because I didn’t want to take an Uber back but that wasn’t the real reason. You can hear the disgust in Tucker’s voice here. Understandable.
I felt so stupid after because I knew I needed to get a better room together so I went home and bought this mattress + box spring and got a bed from a friend. Here’s what I bought:
–Sleep Master foam mattress and an easy to assemble box spring. I got a bed frame from my friend. This all came out to less than $300. So worth it.
I still need other home décor stuff like posters or wall art, but I at least have the basics now.
@6:30 – Other girls, more updates
So yea I think I had updates here on like 6 different girls I was interested in and interacting with is pretty good for me.
The polyamorous girl from last episode, we didn’t click and I guess she doesn’t want to be friends either which is cool. She was a really interesting person but we just didn’t click.
Improv girl blew me off again. I talked about this in Episode 23 how she said, “I still want to hang out,” so I thought, “Ok yes we’re back on! She got over that awful message I sent and wants to see me.”
I was lost here. I didn’t know why she would go out of her way to say “Hey let’s still hang out” when she didn’t need to and I try to make plans then she ignores me. Wtf? I was kind of annoyed and I a little upset. I didn’t want to see her again, but now I have class with her, fuck. But ultimately it’s not a big deal, because there are other women I’m seeing or texting or whatever so I don’t care that one blew me off. Whereas if this was the only girl I was interacting with, I would have probably been crushed.
We should have talked more about this point because it was a really important one and I just blew through it to talk about sex stuff. I wasn’t upset or angry at her because I had other girls I was going after too. I think that’s a big deal but we didn’t talk about it at all.
Tucker thinks she might be a shitty person.
Charlie thinks she sees me as friend now.
@9:00 – More sex with 1 person = getting better at sex
Tucker was right about this and he said in this Bad Advice episode. The more I have had sex with this girl I am seeing, the better it gets.
“The more sex you have with one person, generally, the better the sex gets and the better you get at sex. It’s hard to get better when you are fucking new people every night.” – Tucker
“You can stand behind her when you have sex with her. That’s amazing!” – Tucker making fun of me
@10:30 – I’m still performing on first dates
With these 3 first dates I went on, I felt nervous and self-conscious, same as before in earlier dates. Now, I have enough practice where I can have a good date even though internally I’m a mess with anxiety or negative thoughts or self-editing and self-judging. I think it’s getting better but hard to tell. It’s still something I have to work on.
“Because you make a bad joke, you are ashamed of yourself. Well no wonder you are petrified on first dates.” – Tucker
Yep. I don’t know why or where this comes from but if I offend people or they take the joke the wrong way, I feel bad. Or if I look like an asshole, I feel bad, especially when I don’t know the person that.
Also afraid of looking stupid / foolish and tip-toeing around people as a result.
I’m like this around new people I meet and on first dates. Same thing almost. Especially in groups.
Also afraid of making a stupid mistake or looking stupid then “I’m that guy” or I get stuck at the bottom of the group (or kick me out of the group) because I’m an idiot or weird.
“We’ve covered this from like 3-4 different angles.” – Tucker
He’s right, we’ve been talking about this all the way back since Episode 7 I think.
@14:00 – Why these fears are still there
I just want to do the right things in the beginning when people don’t know me so everything can go smoothly and we can all be cool and be friends.
“When you fuck up, people leave.” – Tucker Then he mentioned the story I told in Episode 24 @15:00 about my mom leaving us when we were kids because she was so embarrassed by what we were doing.
At first, I didn’t think this experience really mattered a whole lot and couldn’t really affect my decision making today all that much. But the more we talk about it, I think maybe this really is a big reason why I have these irrational fears and feel the way I do and affects my behaviors.
“As a 6 year old, you had no idea why she left… I don’t know what I did but I did something to make the universe around me leave. That’s the way a 6 year old looks at his mom.” – Tucker
Yea that’s a really good point. Your parents are kind of everything for the first few years of your life and if they leave, you’re fucked. And she left and I had no idea why so I guess my brain was like, “well we better not fucking do that again” but I didn’t know what it was that I did at the time because my brother and I always fought each other. I guess we just didn’t do it in a public place like that. So because of that experience and others, I was just more cautious and tip-toed around life more after that.
“Almost all anxiety is fundamentally rooted in abandonment, isolation, and loneliness. That is a real trauma. Humans are very social. They depend on always being around family, friends, and tribe… Everyone goes through this. Anxiety is so pervasive. We live in a culture of isolation.” – Charlie
@18:00 – Social media and being social
Tucker & Charlie go on a short tangent about Facebook/Twitter and guys who spend too much time on them.
“If you have actually have shit going on in your life, you’re not on Facebook.” – Tucker
So true haha.
“You need to fill up your calendar with social stuff because you have to make friends.” – Charlie
“You especially would really benefit from a real job in a place with other people.” – Tucker
What do you mean a REAL job?! But yea I see what he’s saying. I work by myself 90% of the time. I’ve thought a lot recently about how most of the day I spend alone, not talking to anyone face to face and that’s not good.
It makes sense that it takes me a while to warmup on dates or not be nervous if she is the first person I’ve talked to that day for more than 10 consecutive minutes.
I’ve thought a lot about getting a coworking space or yea finding a part-time job where there’s lots of people around and I can talk to people, etc. It’s definitely not socially health to be at home or even at a café by yourself just working.
@20:30 – We talk about my roommate and how he’s a lot like me.
We’re similar in the sense that we avoid people and are social hermits. He just makes all these excuses about not going out. I used to be a lot more like that before doing this podcast and I still am to some extent but I’m at least scheduling things almost every day that get me out of the house and on dates or doing improv. He just sits there playing World of Warcraft or re-runs of Seinfeld. It makes me sad or angry.
He literally has maybe 100x the matches and mating market or mating opportunities on these dating apps more than I do because he’s a good looking guy, but he goes on maybe 1 date every other month. Wtf! Just wasting all this opportunity and we get into this because this is how I used to be before doing this podcast.
Tucker advice is to find free stuff. It’s not hard to get or go to free shit in Austin. Not hard at all.
Charlie’s advice is to spend money on groups and group classes (like improve) where there’s financial accountability to show up each week, interact with same people, and make friends.
“30% of the cool group things you could do are free!” – Tucker
I wish we had talked more about this in the podcast, examples and such, but I need to do my own research here.
@23:00 – Maybe the best signal of real progress
Tucker points out that I’m looking at someone else and seeing myself and where I was 6 months ago and I feel sad that he’s just not doing shit.
“That means your brain is genuinely being rewired in a positive way about this. To even be able to recognize and see this was so far the realm of plausible for you back in January.” – Tucker
@25:00 – Where and how to spend money
“Have a place to sleep and food to eat. Figure out what that budget is and the rest of your money should go to improving yourself and improving your relationships with people you care about.” – Tucker
He also talk about investing in products like an iPhone or good laptop, etc.
About my former sleeping arrangement: “The funny thing is… Joe was living the life of a homeless person inside of a home.” – Charlie
“It looked like someone put school supplies in a cannon and fired it into your room.”
Ok that was pretty funny.
I tell a story about my brother staying at my place and he didn’t know I slept in a closet. This was fun because it’s not a shithole anymore and I’m working towards making it better.
“Do you realize what you just did? We were laughing about ridiculous things you did, you laughed along with us and then told a great story about another ridiculous things you used to do. You laughed with us instead of just waiting for it to stop.” – Tucker
Yea this was cool and I’ve done this before (made fun of myself and laughed) but not a lot and not with something like this.
“You’re not ashamed of it because you actually took steps to take care of this problem… A lot of people aren’t aware that they’re ashamed of stuff because they never talk about it.” – Charlie
I can make jokes now because I’m not at that place where I hate myself and my situation … or at least not as much.
@31:30 – Talking to my mom about my cards
This was one of their assignments from Episode 24. I made a conscious effort to talk to my parents about their pasts and how they grew up, their experience in therapy, why they went etc.
My mom is the same when first meeting people, very self-conscious and very reserved. She says she makes bad first impressions, and her quotes after I kept on asking her about this:
-“I don’t know the right things to say to make things go smoothly.”
-“I’m awkward with people. People don’t respond well to me, at first.”
-“When most people get to know me well, they like me.”
“Your biology and genetics intersect with your environment to create who you are. Things can be mostly genetics or mostly environment but most stuff is not exclusively one or the other.” – Tucker
My mom probably is an introvert and I got that from her, but I can still change and be extroverted.
“If you decide that you want to be social with people and talk to people and learn how to interact with them, you absolutely can. You’ve seen what’s happened in only 6 months.” – Tucker
This is encouraging. Sometimes I think this is possible and I can get better. Other times I think I’m just destined to be a weird loner because that’s just who I am.
@36:30 – The next series of advice from them, about T ribes
Join more groups, find a tribe.
“Groups are where you start but tribes are what you join.” – Tucker
Family is most interior tribe, then friends, work
Tucker says I need to join more tribes: “One of them is a fulltime job with people doing something you like or you’re at least in a co-working space where you know the same people.”
“These are my people. I’m one of these people.”
Tribes meet or interact multiple times a week, not 1x a week. “Bonds beyond the activity.”
“A team of guys is a tribe.” – Tucker
Charlie talks about it’s tough to not isolate yourself in big cities and he’s totally right here. This exactly what I did in NYC and I met other people there who felt the same way. They just didn’t have a lot of good friends or were isolated and alone. It was kinda sad to be surrounded by people in the biggest city in the world but feel alone.
@40:00 – Specific examples of this
Church communities or tribes are good examples of this. It’s a great structure for community. Meditation groups, therapy groups.
Bigger problems people have:
1) Mentally talk themselves out of joining group
2) They get anxious before or during these meetings
Yea I fucking do both of these. Doing the podcast has helped with the first but yea I still feel anxious before and sometimes during hanging out with improv people or going to Charlie’s Recess events.
@42:00 – The way the internet has taught young people, checklists
Learning on the internet is checklist based, procedural, which is good for certain things, not other things like relationships or friendships… “There is no friendship finish line.”
A relationship / friendship = the things you do together and what you share
Understanding what you are feeling + doing other things to have better feelings = therapy
Can’t do this on the internet or learn/practice it there.
@44:00 – Tucker talked about did the same thing in his therapy
About him and his therapist: “I probably asked her, ‘What do I do?’ over a 1,000 times in 4 years.”
“Action is fantastic… The work itself is 1) talking about what you’re feeling, 2) pulling those emotions out, 3) discussing them, 4) figuring out where they come from, 5) why you feel that way, and 6) processing that, bringing the unconscious into the conscious. That is the work.”
That’s kind of a checklist right there which is cool but when you actually are doing this stuff and are in it, it’s not a checklist, there are no steps, a lot of ups and downs, and confusion.
This was kinda funny and I had no idea he was also like this. Looking for list of actions is a defense against bringing up painful stuff you want to avoid. “I kept asking, ‘What do I do?’ because I wanted to do something to alleviate having to actually deal with my emotions and staying with that to understand what it was. Action is a way to get away from emotion.”
“You have a lot of emotional issues dealing with people. A lot of anxieties and fears that come from past traumas. You don’t want to think about those. You just want to have friends.”
Yep, that’s how I feel. I just want to get better at making friends and not bring up or think about past things that happened. But I do want to get rid of or lessen the anxiety that comes with talking to new people.
@47:30 – There’s no such thing as wrong emotions
There is no such thing as right and wrong, there is only what you feel.
When you have “wrong” thoughts or emotions you will feel ashamed of yourself because it is wrong.”
Yep, and throughout this series and most of my life I’ve looked at it as right and wrong. Also, “wrong” is usually “stupid”. That’s what a lot of my internal monologue is or monkey fight is… thinking one thought (usually anxiety or self-loathing) and then getting mad at myself for having it because it’s not what I want to feel or have. Then I get stuck in this loop and just feel worse which sucks.
“The things that happened to you in life are never going to change. All you can change is how you understand and think about those things that happened to you.” – Tucker
“The actions come from a reframing of how you think about yourself and how you think about your relationship to people.” – Tucker
I kind of disagree here because I think the actions come first. Or I’m just confused about how he is explaining this.
@50:00 – Just doing the actions without understanding the thoughts and emotions behind them = doesn’t work
I think I understand this because it’s the same as a lot of the old pickup artist stuff which was just lines and routines. A lot of that stuff didn’t work because once a girl saw that you were reading a script and didn’t have the right emotions behind it, it got weird quickly. Also, once you got past your script and you ran out of material, just left with just yourself, that’s it, game over.
Tucker & Charlie can give me an exact script, but their point was is that it won’t work. It won’t get me to where I want to be… friends, women, happiness.
“I avoided painful emotions by being action oriented. You avoid them by being procedure or process oriented (a checklist). They are both ways to avoid emotional pain. It’s a distraction from facing things that are painful and suck.” – Tucker
@53:00 – How it works: Actions/scripts have to go with these thoughts/emotions
“If I’m feeling some emotion that is creating a desire to do a different action [than what I want}, I need to bring that up and ask what it is and why I am feeling it.” – Tucker
For me it starts before I even go out on a date or go to Recess or whatever.
“Those thoughts and anxieties are scripts generated from an emotional response because objectively they are not true.” – Tucker
“That’s been wired in your brain over the years and you just automatically go to those feelings and thoughts and scripts.” – Charlie
Yep, that makes a lot of sense but I just never thought about it that way. I thought that’s just how I was or that there was a real possibility that I would do something stupid and be embarrassed or humiliated if I did/said the wrong thing. I thought those scripts were real instead of just coming from past experiences or patterns/habit or past emotional trauma.
@55:00 – A specific simple example of this to explain how past trauma works and shows up later in life
Tucker uses story of my mom leaving us that I talked about in Episode 24
-Your mother is the center of your universe as a 6 year old
-You and your brother act ridiculous
-You’re deeply afraid, a ball of fear, you cry = adaptive emotional response
-Mother = life is biological fact
-Deep fear is then attached to what you were just doing
-How it played out (simplification for explaination): My social interactions are so fucked up that it made the person closet to me leave
-Now when someone invites you to something, thought is “I’m going to go & meet people, I’m going to do something stupid that I don’t understand & they are going to walk out on my life.”
Yep that’s pretty much how I feel. Like I’m going to say the wrong thing or I’m going to say something stupid and not know it or not know why it was the wrong thing to say and I’ll just be the weird guy that nobody wants to talk to or they’ll just leave or ignore me or whatever.
What to do going forward: this happened, my 6 year old brain interpreted it as a trauma, next time you start panicking when you get invited somewhere, REALIZE that this is a real emotional reaction, it’s irrational, sit with it and understand where it is coming from, tell yourself a different + better story, then go and do it anyways.
It took Tucker 4 years to learn how to do this. Real change for Tucker was therapy + meditation.
“Those are just tools to help you get to these emotions. Meditation by itself is fucking worthless. So is psychoanalysis and all of this stuff we are telling you to do. Only tools to help you get to these emotions, understand them, and redirect them so you can get to where you want to go.” – Tucker
“What you want from your life is the ability to have good relationships with good people you care about, do good work that you enjoy doing, and to treat yourself well, take care of yourself. You don’t do any of those 3 things well because of your emotions and the scripts running in your head.” – Tucker
Yea this is sad but true. Definitely with the first (good relationships) and the third (treating myself well) but even with work I’m starting to realize that I don’t do as well as I could or I think I should because of perfectionism, high expectations, and ultimately a fear of failure or maybe it’s the belief that I’m not good enough. I used to take pride in work that I did but now I don’t know maybe it’s not that good.
@1:02:30 – Bad advice and social isolation in America
I really used to believe this advice about going and talking random women you see throughout the day instead of building connections, a network of friends. It’s like what’s 90% of the stuff out there. And a lot of it is these “in field” videos where guys go out, stop random women on the street, and get their number and it’s seen as a success. It’s funny because this is kind of easy in a way. Just go up and talk to random people. More difficult to build friends and consistently interact with same group of people to build friendships. You can’t make Youtube videos of that.
“You almost need to be adverse to spending time alone.” – Tucker
“Americans are dysfunctional. Me telling her, ‘You have to get good at being alone,’ is terrible advice if you want to be a socially healthy person.” – Charlie
“Every time I’ve spun out, it’s because I’ve isolated myself. You’re not venting or getting course corrections from [friends].” – Charlie
“Almost every healthy woman I’ve known spent every day talking to their mom & dad… Maybe we’re unhealthy for NOT doing this.” – Tucker
@1:05:30 – Tucker gives me stuff to do or work on
1. Go to Recess with Charlie (that day)]
2. Find Tribes and join them
3. Go to actions
1:06:30 – Self-loathing thoughts this week
These are again ridiculous. Charlie tells me to give them a 4/5 one, and I’m actually really glad he said this because I got into a good story here about recognizing where I could improve.
People invited me out for a drink after improv. I reflexively said no I can’t. Then immediately after, as I was leaving, I felt shitty about that decision because I went there to meet new people, connect, and hang out. Wtf!
“Next time you’ll say ‘yes’!”
“Why did you leave? … Deep seated unconscious reflex to get away from people because you associate people with pain.” – Tucker
Not all people but just people I don’t know that well or people I’m not that comfortable with. Yea I think he’s right.
Maybe I have trust issues… like with the few great friends I have, I just trust that they won’t cause me pain because they don’t or if they do make fun of me I won’t care because I know they’re joking. With people I don’t know that well, I don’t know if they’ll be cool with me.