2nd of April 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 9


In this episode of Helping Joe, Joe goes speed dating for the first time and Tucker and Nils break down his mini-dates. They give Joe much needed fashion advice (Joe makes big mistakes here), feedback on his first date (and first meeting) conversations, and more ways to reframe his dating mindset and goals so that he has more fun and better results.

They revisit Joe’s critical issues like cursing under his breath, not internalizing positive feedback, and changing his ineffective mindsets and irrational thoughts. At the end, Tucker gets honest and opens up about his own issues, why he blew up in Episode 7, and why he had to talk to his analyst about Joe.


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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


  • How to tell when a girl is looking to hookup that night
  • Why Tucker’s wife got mad at Tucker about Helping Joe
  • Wearing simple, plain, “boring” clothes is more attractive than trying too hard with fashion
  • Never be negative when first meeting or dating a woman
  • Conversation is a dance, not a quiz
  • Ways you are crippling yourself (and your Mate Value) without even knowing it
  • Why Tucker blew up in Episode 7
  • Internalizing positive feedback, small wins, and success is critical to building confidence

This was a good episode for me because I talk about the speed dating event I did, which was a lot of fun, and I did some things right.

In this podcast episode, more than the others, I realized that I have a problem taking negative or critical feedback. There were some good things that went well and some bad things. They talked about the bad so that I could avoid them in the future and get better, but I kept getting defensive and wanted to talk about the things I did right and why they were right, etc.

@1:00 – Speed dating event

I have trouble remembering specific things I said, or she said, highlights, or stories on dates.
I don’t know why it’s hard for me to remember specifics of the whole conversation.

One theory I have is that I get nervous talking about this on a podcast that goes out to thousands of people and that anxiety hampers my brains ability to recall and remember specific things when I’m put on the spot. It’s like an anxiety which switch gets turned on and there’s just this cloud in my brain and I can’t remember shit… I choke.

Or I have too much stuff I have to remember and want to talk about but can’t recall it well.

Tucker laughs but this is sad that I can’t remember the highlights. Here are some specifics that I left out or we didn’t get too:

– Tucker’s advice from the last episode that followed and had fun with:

  • Have energy! Don’t be boring, Don’t ask boring questions (Where are you from, what do you do etc.)
  • Confidence of Tucker Max. How would be walk in?
  • Sit next to ugly girl (warm up with her)
  • ASK a question about them… I just moved here, I don’t know Austin that well, what are 3 of your favorite things to do in Austin.
  • The point is to find out if there’s chemistry, is the other person attractive
  • Mating market (@41:00 to the end)
  • Engage + be open + warm
  • Have fun / be different
  • 1-3 questions that draw out interesting things about her

– We mostly talk about the good speed dates in this episode. Here was the bad and the ugly which we didn’t get into:

  • There was a large woman in her 30s who was a mess to look at. I still came in with energy and thought wtf, I’ll just talk to her and learn something new or interesting. She had nothing interesting going on, just awful to talk to, and kept looking at her phone.
  • There were 2 moms (friends) in their 30s who I think were emotional wrecks, getting drunk while there and were leaving early because they had to pickup their kids. They had no man, not married, just unhappy. They sucked, not because they had kids, but because they were downers and depressed about having kids. I have nothing against single moms, but I do hate people who complain and are negative when you first meet them (this hits on Nils’s point way below about negativity)
  • There a few women who were interesting to talk to and really fun but I just wasn’t attracted to. One black girl in particular was really into me and she was nice but I just had no physical attraction to her at all. She wasn’t put together that well and I felt kinda bad because was cool. I just wasn’t into her. Another woman started her own meetup that now has like 500+ people and she told me about this amazing burger place but I just wasn’t into her.

@4:00 – Fun chick at speed dating

Nils was right, this girl was way more high energy than me.

She was wearing a low cut red top (cleavage) and red lipstick. She looked hot and I think she was looking for some dick that night. “She was looking for the right guy, right now.”

She was also very energetic. Someone like Tucker would have hooked up with her but not someone like me because we are very different. It’s not a surprise she didn’t match with me.

“She would drive you crazy.” – Nils
“You would hate yourself.” – Tucker

“If you say you’re looking for a girl who you can connect with and have a casual relationship with. That girl is about as far away from that for YOU as possible.” – Tucker

Nils had a great comment on looking at her response in the context of where we are at. Her energy right off the bat here at speed dating without even knowing me is odd and something normal women just don’t do (thinking about this yea no other woman was like this). This means she’s crazy or she’s looking for a guy she can hook up. She came out guns blazing instead of waiting for me to set the tone.

@15:30 – They tear down the clothes I wore at speed dating

This was painful but hilarious…

– Pleated pants
“Don’t ever wear pleated pants… Only at church in Charleston, South Carolina.”

– New Balance tennis shoes that were 10 years old
Re: my shoes… They were nice green and gray Asics tennis shoes that were a few months old. They weren’t dress shoes so they might have been weird, but they weren’t ratty NBs. I thought he was talking about these and just being harsh because they were running shoes, not dress shoes. But after this episode I showed them to Tucker, he said “Yea these are nice. Why didn’t you wear these?” I lost it. He just fucking made up these ratty New Balances shoes. I don’t have these shoes!

– Layering of lime green undershirt and striped gray&black button down (had neck sweat stains, which is embarrassing). Yea I was trying too hard with this.

– I wore two watches.
This was just dumb but I thought it would be cool.

“You looked like a high school kid going to a job interview.” – Tucker
“I was going to say a middle school teacher.” – Nils
“A huge number of women were automatically turned off by that and gave you no chance.” -Tucker

He might be right, maybe some women were turned off by the clothes I was wearing and I was done before I talked to them. But 2 out of the 4 women I really liked there ended up matching with me, including the chick I was most attracted to of any woman there. So looking at the evidence in front of me, I don’t think my clothes were that bad that night to turn women off completely. Although there could be other reasons they matched with me like my other traits were great enough to turn them around in the 5 minutes we talked or the rest of the guys there (mating market) were awful and I was the most attractive (I don’t think this is true) or some other reason, I don’t know.

@20:00 – Feedback from Veronica (Tucker’s wife) on my clothes

“Why would you let him go meet women dressed like that?”

She also told Tucker that when I was leaving their place that night to go to speed dating, it looked like I was going to an execution… “Joe, I got yelled at by my wife because of what you wore!”

This speed dating event was right after we did episodes 7 & 8 so yea I felt like shit going to this event. I had a lot of fun talking to women during it though.

@25:00 – Interesting story about Tucker, Geoff, and Nils at a book meeting

Tucker tells a story about how they all went to a meeting, each dressing differently, and what their clothes signaled.

The signaling of clothes I wear is something I never consciously think about. I barely think about signaling at all right now. I just try to go with what I think is cool or what I think will work… this hasn’t resulted in much success so far.

This is the reason I should just wear basic stuff because I have no idea how to signal or look legit.

@27:00 – Tucker’s fashion advice: Just look normal, fall in the middle, simple & plain.

Your fashion/style goal: The clothes you wear don’t send the wrong signals or automatically receive a bad judgement from most women.

“Women don’t like me because of my clothes, but they also don’t exclude me because of my clothes.”

Normal first, get the fashion fundamentals and basics down, go with that.

“All the stuff in your closet that you think isn’t boring, isn’t working.” – Tucker

“What is the thought process of behind pulling out and putting on the non-boring clothes.”-Nils
I didn’t answer this that well on the podcast. If I’m being really honest, I would say, I thought these clothes or being different made me stand out in a good way, maybe I had more of an edge or was more interesting because I had these clothes or a cool shirt on. Turns out I was totally wrong. This might also be a deeper shame-based fear of being ordinary, not standing out, and thinking I’ll look like a loser.

Better clothes to wear:

  • Plain 1 color clean t-shirt that fits your body
  • Jeans (also fit)
  • Sneakers or tennis shoes (newer = better)
  • Neutral, boring, non-notable is good.

@32:30 – I made a joke and Nils laughed here. + Tucker’s advice on what to wear

“You know what would have been better if you had showed up…” – Tucker
“Naked!” – Joe
I was just fucking around but I think this was the first time I made Nils laugh from a joke and not a funny mistake.

@35:30 – “You’re a good dude and women will like you but you are handicapping yourself.”

It was cool Tucker said this. And I think he’s right.

Tucker says this isn’t criticism but it sure as hell feels like criticism. Maybe I don’t take negative feedback well. I need to fix this, stop taking things personally, or else I’m not going to learn or improve as much.

@36:00 – Great match at speed dating

I’m still characterizing here. Thank god I recorded audio of the dates so they could give feedback on them or else this episode would only be half as good.

Problem: I suck at story-telling. I characterize too much. How can I stop doing that? How do I tell better stories, for you guys, for listeners, but most importantly for women I’m out on dates with.

Nils’s feedback on this speed date:
– I had questions and answers ready like an interview instead of just having a conversation: “What are three things you like to do in Austin?” … “There are 2 interesting things about Youngstown. Here is the first interesting fact, and here is the second.” I don’t know how to weave this stuff in naturally. I worry about conversations and making a good first impression so I tend to memorize things and recite stuff like this.
– Don’t over-explain or mansplain things like podcasts. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t ask, “Do you know what podcasts are?” like she’s an idiot.
– Too negative and cynical, especially about where you’re from. I’m usually not like this so it’s weird that I talk about my hometown like this. I need to at least balance it with something positive. More on this below…

“Nobody wants be with someone who is running away from their past or where they came from.” – Nils

“You want to show her that you are a happy, positive dude, and not a depressed, mentally unstable person.” – Tucker

Even being just a little negative, in the beginning, is a missed opportunity to show a better, more attractive side of you.

They had some other stuff here on why being negative is not attractive. Nils’s says something about karmic emotional baggage and unconscious reactions & projections that I didn’t really understand. I think they went too deep into this, but it was a great point to make.

Normally, I’m not negative at all, but I am negative about the shitty town I’m from where it’s like a smaller Detroit. I’m way too negative about this and I don’t need to be.

@50:00 – On conversations: “There are no right or wrong answers. A conversation is not a quiz.” – Nils

I think Nils is totally right here. This is how I look at conversations: right/wrong questions or answers, getting the checklist down right, passing a test.

A very important point he made that hit home for me: a conversation is way to get information from someone to see if you two are a good fit but it’s a dance, not a checklist that you go through (checklist of actions thing again)

This is the same thing as continuum vs binary that Tucker talks about in a few minutes. It’s just more specific here to conversations.

I really need to write this out and remind myself of it everytime I go on a date or talk to someone I don’t know. It’s great advice but I am fucking doing the complete opposite right now. “This date is a dance, not a test.”

@49:00 – Beating myself up and cursing under my breath

On dates, this probably comes as a breath or sigh or odd look, not actually swearing like on the podcast. And I don’t even notice when I do this on dates.

@52:30 – Why Tucker got mad last episode part 1

“You are so fucking self-critical and hard on yourself that you don’t have a chance.” – Tucker
I am missing the whole point of dating. It’s not fucking pass/fail.

His solution: “I’m going to yell at you until you stop yelling (cursing) at yourself.” This was funny.

@54:30 – Some positive feedback

I keep being defensive about them making fun my clothes, and Tucker says, “Just because you do a lot of things wrong doesn’t mean that you aren’t attractive or that there isn’t a lot about you that is good.” – Tucker

Another important point: Just because the date went well doesn’t mean that everything you did was effective or optimal. They are trying to figure out what I did right and wrong so I can improve. That require critical, sometimes harsh or funny, feedback.

@59:00 – Binary (pass/fail) VS Continuum

“There are no objective successes or failures in dating. There is only what you want and how you are going about achieving that.” – Tucker

His point is that dating is not binary. There are almost no failures because these are all opportunities to get practice and get better.

I don’t look at dating this way at all. That’s probably why I put pressure on myself to not blow it or to do well because I have this pass/fail, binary mentality.

Tucker asks a lot of good questions as a way to teach me stuff here (and in this episode in general I thought he did a great job of that).

“It’s easy to get down on yourself if you look at things as pass/fail and you fail.” – Tucker

@1:02:30 – I applied something I learned to change my thinking.

This is a big win! Reframing failures as opportunities to learn.

“You will be naturally less critical of yourself, more relaxed, and more positive on dates.”
– Tucker

@1:03:30 – Tucker’s honesty here about me and him and it’s funny

“I’ve started to watch you very closely. I’m obsessed with making you better now because I thought that I was a really good teacher, then you come along and nope I suck at teaching… I’ve noticed you get less comfortable with more people.” – Tucker

This is actually cool that he cares this much about making me better. It’s also about making himself better which is good too because then he can help more men with better methods.

This was funny but I think it’s really true. We are totally different and Tucker has had difficulty connecting with and teaching me, someone who is so different than him.

Tucker dealt with social anxiety by being a crazy man and making fun of people. I deal with it by turning it on myself (self-critical) while he turns it out onto others (critical of others).

@1:05:00 – Why Tucker blew up in Episode 7 part 2

“The reason I got so angry in that episode is because he’s just like me except the opposite, and I’m angry at myself about not figuring this out and fixing it earlier.”

“Anytime someone has an emotional reaction that is abnormal for the situation, it’s about them, not about you.”

Tucker admits here that his anger was more about him, his missed opportunities, and not figuring this stuff out until his late 30s. This is kind of deep stuff and really honest.

I knew something was off in his reaction during that episode. I thought he was just crazy or being dramatic.

@1:06:45 – Tucker had to talk to his therapist about me

I thought that this was hilarious. He got so pissed off about the dumb shit that I did that he had to go to talk to his therapist about what I did and his angry reaction to it.

His therapist said that one of the reasons he got mad at me was because I wasn’t improving fast enough which is indirectly (unconsciously) a reflection on his teaching ability.

“In the back of my mind (unconsciously), I think that I am such a genius that I can teach anyone to do anything… which is preposterous… 80% of my reaction was my frustration in myself, both my wasted potential reflected in you and my inability to teach you things that are not obvious to you.”

This was a complete 180 from what he was saying in episode 7.

@1:09:00 – Why they are doing this podcast and writing Mate

“These are conversations that men in our society don’t have and why we started this podcast… No one has taught you this. You are crippled in your attempts to build a good life. And you don’t have to be.” – Tucker

He’s right. No one talks about this stuff. No one told me anything. I think my dad just thought that I would figure it out myself through trial & error like most guys, but I didn’t. When I asked my uncle, who is hilarious and good with women, about this stuff all he said was “just be yourself man,” which was no help at all. I’ve tried being myself and I suck.

@1:9:45 – Why I’m doing this podcast

I see people in my family in unsatisfying relationships where they are just “running out the clock” as Nils put it:

In my family there’s like around 10 or so married couples. Some are happy, some are not. There are a few henpecking women which I want to avoid because I’ve seen how the men just get beaten down by this. I don’t know how this dynamic works and I hate it. There’s only 1 relationship that I can see where it’s obvious that the two people still love each other and are happy. It’s a model for what I hope to find one day.

And every year I get older, there’s less time to learn this stuff. The older I am, the less forgiving women are, less willing to put up with you not knowing what the fuck you are doing.

Tucker didn’t start on this stuff until he was 33. I’m working on it at 26.

@1:11:00 – Thinking better of yourself after successes. Internalizing success and positive feedback

This is getting easier to do because I’ve started having a lot more success. It’s hard to disqualify or ignore positive feedback when you examine the evidence see the growing number of successes and positive things happening. Still, this is something I really need to work on.

They also make funny jokes here about ginger riches, pots of gold, and vaginas.

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