Granting Social Status; and, Not Getting Thrown Under the Bus
I recently completed an almost 2-hour interview with Glenn Pierce (formerly just Glenn P), a really sharp and talented guy who taught me a thing or two when I wanted to kick my daytime approaching up a notch back in early '07, for his upcoming interview series. While doing the interview - much of it something of a "how you got your start" type piece - we each shared stories of girls early on in our lives (both in junior high) who liked us, who were otherwise really cool girls, yet who, when we approached in awkward / socially unsavvy ways, threw us each under the bus socially, even as they still liked us.
When it happened to me, I immediately understood why it happened - why a girl who still liked me (she continued to flirt with me and give me hints and invitations for years after) - and same deal for Glenn... his girl still liked him (a friend of hers even told him so) - yet these girls so coolly and seemingly ruthlessly tossed us to the wolves, status-wise.
I think this is a thing a lot of guys don't get. Why would a girl do this? A girl who likes you - maybe she even likes you more than anybody else around her - yet she casts you aside.
Maybe you want to judge her. Maybe you want to say that clearly she's a petty person; she's weak; she cares too much what others think and not enough about what she wants.
Maybe you want to say that if she's not willing to take a risk to be with you, then who needs her?
Except this isn't the right approach. If you want success with women, you must have a mind for status - and you must have a mind for protecting and even enhancing the status of the women around you.
I've long detested people who will attempt to climb over you socially in an attempt to elevate themselves. I made it a personal pastime figuring out how to shut down these individuals' efforts and make them look like clowns in the process, turning their machinations back against them. Some of this I talk about in "Ultimate Social Calibration: Stop Climbing the Social Ladder", the oldest article on this website.
But there's no getting around the fact that social status is of pivotal importance in all your social interactions.
It determines which girls you can talk to and succeed with and which ones not.
It determines who treats you with respect and who ignores you or maligns you.
It determines what you can do and who you can do it with.
Pete just had an article on how key reputation management is to meeting and succeeding with women in your social circle, and in "How to Escalate with Girls in Social Circle" he talked about the importance of looking out for the girl's reputation socially.
Women - just like men - have varying degrees of social awareness and social savvy. There are some women who don't get it at all. There are some who get it, but they're kind of clumsy (they're the ones most prone to ladder climbing and negative behaviors). And there are the ones at the top of the pile - the girls who calmly and deftly deal with threats to their social status by sidestepping and deflecting those threats (as happened with that girl who rejected me, something she did in a socially savvy, non-aggressive way that made her look big and didn't do too heavy damage to my reputation).
But they all care about it, and it's important to all of them.
And believe it or not, even if you're at the absolute bottom of the totem pole socially speaking, I'm pretty damn sure you care about it too.
Who Cares About Status?
The thing I've always hated about social status is that it looks to other people's opinions of you.
You are not completely in control. You are yielding to the opinion of others.
At the upper levels of social status - when you are really cool, really powerful, and really well liked and well respected - you can do a lot of things people lower down on the ladder can't do, and you get to make a lot of the rules, set a lot of the trends, and decide, much of the time, what is cool and what isn't...
... within reason.
See, the thing about social status is that the guy at the top is not all powerful. He's still a slave to many larger scale social rules and social norms. No matter how cool, powerful, and high status you become, you never get completely free of them.
You could be the coolest guy in the world, but if you walk down the street naked while yodeling and groping the breasts of women you come across, people are going to say you're off your rocker and lose respect for you (even if they won't say it to your face).
Women are even more subject to the whims of social pressure because no woman is truly at the TOP of the social hierarchy.
That's because the instant a woman reaches the ultimate pinnacle of her hierarchy, she starts to feel at once both pride at having done so, but also a measure of dissatisfaction that everyone here is beneath her. There should at least be a man more socially powerful than she is whom she can partner with... a lower status male than herself simply won't cut it.
So then, it's time to expand her horizons.
Social status maintenance is really about maintaining and growing power, security, and better mating options. The higher status a woman is (or YOU are), the safer she is from being cast out or ostracized, the more power she has to wield (either for good or for ill), and the higher caliber of mate she can obtain.
You can quickly see why status and reputation is so pivotally important to women.
Getting Thrown Under the Bus
Why do girls throw other people under the bus so much? Are they all just... bitches?
I hate that word "bitch." It reeks of othering. Yet, many people - men and women alike - view women quick to throw others under the bus - considerately or not - as "bitches."
I love those kinds of girls. They are my bread and butter. They are the ones who are in control of their lives, and all the people in them. Rather than being at the mercy of others, followers in their groups of friends, buffeted about by the winds of life and the opinions of peers, they are the ones doing the buffeting.
And I can tell you one thing these girls are not is mean. They're not bad people. They're just trying to clear away people who are social value drains.
That sucks when it's you. And, especially when you cold approach, you never get away completely from being received at least some of the time as a social parasite... you approach a girl the wrong way, or run into her when she's in an especially closed off headspace, and she chews you up, spits you out, and tosses you to the side of the road.
But it's not happening because she's a bad, evil person intent on destroying the lives of innocent, good people like you. It's happening because she views you - for whatever reason - as someone who is a threat to her social status, and thus her security, control over her life, and other mating options.
This is so key to understand.
When you seem like you are or may be a social burden to a woman, you are a THREAT to her:
- Security in her social group
- Control over her own life
- Ability to mate with high value / high status men
People low in social status:
- Are at constant risk of being booted out of the group / excluded
- Have very little control over their own social lives / reputations
- Have significantly reduced chances of mating with the highest caliber mates
And when you come across lower in social status, and act in a way that potentially takes value from her socially or lowers her down to your position or LOWER than it, she is forced to throw you under the bus.
So you can understand that this is not something EVIL, let me relate one of my own bus-throwing scenarios.
I love people. I believe in the potential of damn near everybody I meet, and don't think there's much that anybody cannot do with him or herself if he or she is willing to work at it hard enough and go about it in an intelligent enough way.
And I HATE throwing people under the bus. Hate it.
But I will do it if somebody comes up and is being a blatant social parasite and won't take my hints that he or she should beat it... because if I don't do it, this person starts sucking away my perceived social status.
Here's an example pulled from real life. I was at a networking event once, dressed up really nice, and having a great conversation with a stunningly beautiful woman, also dressed up real nice. She was into it; I was into it; both of us were laughing and enjoying one another's company and clearly did not want to be disturbed.
So, of course, up trotted a nerdy guy in un-trendy clothes who decided that I looked like I'd be the perfect person to connect with, and he injected himself right between us and aggressively took my hand to shake it and started introducing himself.
Anyone with an ounce of social awareness would've looked at the girl and I and said, "Okay, there are two people who are clearly really immersed in talking to each other, and I stand a good chance of being a pest if I try and jump in. I'll just get to know them later when things have cooled down between them."
But not this guy.
He started asking me what I do, and talking about what he does. Probably a great guy, probably smart, probably had a lot to offer in the right circumstances.
But in this case, he was being a social burden, had forced me to break circle, and if I talked to him for too long, it would look like I was insulting this beautiful girl who was standing and waiting to talk to me in order to speak with this nerdy guy who had butted into our conversation, unwelcomed, and commandeered my attention... and I just let him do it.
So, I did the only thing I could do; after about a minute of exchanging pleasantries, I said, "Well hey, my friend and I were chatting here, and we're going to get back to that, but it was really great meeting you!" and then turned my body away from him, shrugged my eyebrows at the girl and gave her a smile like, "Well, THAT was random!" and said, "Anyway...!"
The guy was left out in the cold, standing there, thrown under the bus, looking awkward and weird. It wasn't fun to do - I got no joy from doing it - and in fact, the only emotion I felt during the whole episode was panic.
Panic that I was about to lose a gorgeous woman for a boring conversation with a nerdy guy.
Panic that every other girl in the venue was going to think I'm a social liability who will make her stand around looking goofy while I ignore her to chat up nerds instead.
Panic that I would look weak and non-dominant, allowing myself to be pulled away from talking to someone I wanted to talk to by someone I wanted much less to talk to.
And this is the same exact emotion that women feel when you come across more as a social burden - a threat to their prestige, reputations, and status - than as a social asset.
Obviously now, you don't want to be a social liability to someone.
You don't want a woman to see you or meet you and panic, thinking, "Oh crap - I've gotta get rid of this guy!" or, "Damn it - I've got to sideline him before he sucks away all my status."
You don't want to be a leech, or a value mooch... as hard as that sounds to hear and as much as you might not like to think of it that way. That's how you can sometimes come across.
There's two parts to this, really:
- Not being a social burden, and
- Instead, being a giver
of social value/status
Let's discuss each.
Not Being a Social Burden
First order of business: on not being a social liability.
There are a couple of things you can do that instantly make you a social downer and marked for immediate bus-throwing by anyone not too nice to do it (that is, anyone savvy enough to protect his or her status and not let other people dictate it for him/her).
Not bringing lower / unwelcome energy. I talked about the concept of bringing the energy in one of the earliest posts on this site. For people to accept you socially, you must be bringing in better energy than what they've already got going on. That can be higher energy - you can be more energetic, more upbeat, more positive - it can also be lower energy of another value-giving variety. e.g., the guy exuding calm, cool sexiness; or the guy exuding profound wisdom, insight, and sublime knowledge. Even at lower levels of "energeticness", they're still offering high social value, and thus likely to be welcomed in, instead of dropped like a burning, singing lump of coal.
Not interrupting people in rapt conversation. If you see people having light, sparse conversation, it's okay to jump in during a lull, especially if you're bringing significantly more positive energy than what they've got right now. But when they're engrossed in conversation? Nuh-uh. You'll be breaking a mood they're both (or all, if more than two are engrossed) really into, for... well, it better be DAMN good if you're going to do it. Otherwise, wait.
Not asking for over-investment. Little feels worse in social situations than being asked or cajoled into over-investing in someone or something. This can be something small - like someone you're at odds with coming up and asking for a sip of your drink or for you to lend him a bit of money - or it could be something big - like asking a girl to wait for you, and then leaving her hanging for a while too long. Even if you're the only one who sees it, they know they've been "fooled" into over-investing, and it feels bad - and they will throw you under the bus, much of the time, to correct the balance.
Not putting people on the spot. It's one thing to talk about personal things deep in one-on-one conversation. It's another entirely to bring them up in front of a group. Sounds silly, I know, but I've seen people do this, and I've had them do it to me. This includes anything from saying to someone, "So I heard you like Dani," right in front of Dani herself, or asking, "When's the last time you got laid?" or even asking someone out in front of her friends. When you do this, you're just begging for a taste of bus undercarriage.
Not lurking / hovering. Want to look really awkward? Just lurk around people without actually talking to them. Rule to live by: if you're outside a group, and they're not including you or making room for you, keep moving. Girls are pros at this - you'll see them hover near someone for a split second, then get out of there if they aren't given a proper reception. You'll want to do the same.
Not taking hints. There are few things that so clearly differentiate someone who "gets it" from everybody else as an individual's ability to take hints. If she's feeling tired, or wants you to take the lead, or needs a little privacy, or really honestly needs to leave... picking up on this makes you look good, while not doing so makes you look... well, like an oaf. Train yourself up on reading women's signals.
If you're burying your hand in your heads going, "Ohhhh... that's me!" that's okay, just do better. You're only a social liability if you act like one.
And, chances are, as you're learning social skills, you're going to have to go through a period of awkwardness where you're making a lot of these mistakes... the price of pushing boundaries, I'm afraid. Even if you're aware of them, you'll tend to make these errors when you're trying out a lot of new stuff, at least until you're at an intermediate level or so.
This is one of the major reasons
why it's best to learn the social and seductive arts with strangers,
rather than with women in your close social circle, with classmates, or
with workmates. If some random stranger thinks you're a social burden
because you made a mistake while doing something unfamiliar, it's
unlikely to affect the rest of your life all that much.
Giving Others Social Status
Not being a social liability only gets you halfway there, though - it only gets you to neutral status.
It only gets you to the place where women meet you, and don't want to get rid of you.
How do you get them to chase you for status? How do you get them to actively seek you out?
The way you do this, of course, is by making yourself a giver of status and social value. When you are someone with the ability to hand out social value - to raise the status of the individuals around you - suddenly you are a HOT commodity.
Sounds good, right? This is the Grail of social power; becoming he who giveth and he who taketh away social status. This gives you the power of both love and fear, socially; people flock to you for status, and fear offending you for the loss of status you can mete out to them if they do so.
But not so fast. This requires that you are two things, first:
- Cool, and
- Socially savvy
I still need to do a "how to be cool" article, but for now let's just say that obeying The Law of Least Effort and hewing close to sprezzatura gets you most of the way there. If you are getting maximal results with minimal effort, you ARE cool.
Social savvy is something you pick up simply with time and exposure to all kinds of different social situations. The best way to get mastery-level social savvy is to socialize with EVERYBODY. This means:
- Rich people
- Poor people
- Middle-class people
- Punks / goths / emos / hipsters
- People who are down-to-Earth
- People with their heads in the clouds
- People who are virtual hermits
- People who are social divas
- Blacks, whites, Asians, Latins, everybody... socialize with
Inuits, if you can
The more social reference points you collect, the more you'll have seen socializing from every possible angle, and the more likely anything ANYONE tries with you you'll have seen it before and will know what it is and how to respond.
For instance, let's say you're at work or in school and you get assigned a team project. Right away, your teammate comes up and says, "Why don't you do take this part, and when you're all done email it to me, okay? Thanks!" Feels not so good, right? Know what to do about it? Until you're fairly socially well-versed, something like this is going to ring your bells for a minute (or more), and you'll struggle to come up with a response (I had a coworker back in my salaried days who'd do things like this because he was, of course, busily trying to use me as a rung on his climb up the corporate ladder. We had some great intercubicle power struggles, him and I).
Or, say you're at a nightclub, and a male friend - whom you know despises you - of the girl you're talking to walks up to you and says, "Hey man, mind if I have a sip of your drink?" What do you say? What do you do? Do you just let him have some of your drink... or not?
Before you're able to be a giver of social status, you must first be adroit at maneuvering in all kinds of delicate social scenarios - both fending off challengers, and taking care of the emotions of those whose emotions need taking care of.
If you're not quite there yet, not to worry - you'll get there.
If you ARE there, though... here's what being a giver of social status entails:
Know how to compliment genuinely. Being good at both recognizing people's strong suits and paying them compliments in calm, cool, appreciative ways allows you to build those around you up by giving them recognition - something that just about every human being is constantly in search of. Being a payer of compliments also very quickly sets you up as someone who provides emotional validation, and boosts in social value.
Get good at qualifying women. Qualifying is similar to complimenting, with the exception that it can be done even more effortlessly - rather than pointing a feature out and saying, "You are X; I like that about you," you can qualify with things as effortless as simply showing more interest in what someone has to say (e.g., she tells you she used to play lacrosse, and you ask her how long she played it, what position, if she was any good, etc.), or by signaling nonverbal attraction in response to something she's said or done, by, say, leaning in a bit more, opening your eyes a bit wider and focusing on her more intently, or increasing the depth of your breathing a bit to indicate excitement.
Properly reward investment. When someone invests in you - whether she's doing you a favor like watching your belongings at the café while you head to the restroom, or she's complying with a request of yours, such as handing you an item you've asked her to hand you - you can grant her additional social value simply by thanking her and rewarding her the right way. This shows appreciation and recognition of her being helpful socially (as opposed to, say, you taking for granted that she would invest, and giving her no appreciation - in which case, her social status is lower... more similar to that of a servant than a peer). When you thank/reward, not only do you raise her social status, but you also raise yours - you, after all, are the one who's being invested in, and the one doing the thanking. See "Operant Conditioning in Your Romantic Relationships" for more on rewarding (and punishing).
Create "us vs. them" vibes. It's one thing to tell someone you like her, or try to relate to her. It's something else entirely to cast your lot in with her to the exclusion of others - "outsiders." When you create "us vs. them" vibes with women - say, she mentions something that other people don't "get," and you respond with, "Yeah, I think most people are just too trapped in their own small worlds to recognize the things really going on around them," the feeling she gets is here is the group of her and you... and there is everybody else. This gives social value to her, because she's risked having you say, "What? You're crazy; those other people are right," but instead you've validated what she's said, sided with her, and dismissed other people as the ones who are clueless. You've just elevated her above nearly everyone else socially (and yourself in the process, too).
Be very interested in women, and for good reason. A contributing reason for why a lot of men struggle socially and why they struggle with pickup, I'm convinced, is that they either a.) don't give women good reasons for WHY they're interested in those women, or b.) don't feel comfortable expressing interest ("putting themselves out there") with others. However, if you can first deep dive and get to know a girl and really understand what's great and unique about her, and then show her more and more rapt interest as you do (like what we talked about in bullet #3), she will begin to feel like a more and more interesting, amazing, wonderful person around you - simply being in your presence enhances her social value.
Give Status; Don't Mooch It
The high status man has a very different emotion on seeing a beautiful, apparently high status woman than the low status man does.
The low status man thinks, "Oh, I hope she likes me," or, "Oh, I hope I can get somewhere with her," which quite frequently means he will come across as a kind of value or status mooch; rather than focusing on what he will provide, he's focused on what he can get (her to like him, her to go on a date with him, etc.).
The high status man thinks something very different; he thinks, "She looks beautiful; she must be so bored with all these mundane men. I will bring some joy and pleasure and excitement into her life." Of course he wants something with her too; but that is not what he thinks about when he sees her. He merely thinks about what he will GIVE to her.
This creates a very strong emotional difference, too. The low status man fears rejection because he sees rejection as a loss of the opportunity to get something good. The high status man does not terribly fear rejection, because all he loses is the opportunity to provide her value; and who knows, maybe she doesn't need his value. But even if he's rejected a hundred times, he still has his value, and he knows he'll find a woman sometime soon who will benefit from it and recognize it and value it and want it.
If you study men who become business titans, you will notice the mentality these men possess is almost never, "I sure hope I can make more money!" but rather, "How can I provide MORE value? How can I get my stuff - which I KNOW makes people's lives significantly better - into more people's hands, more people's homes, and more people's hearts?"
Wanting money is the realm of the money-poor, and wanting success with women is the realm of the status-impoverished.
To join the ranks of the elite - the wealthy, the successful, the high status, the men with great choice with women - you must turn the focus from, "What can I get?" to, "What can I give?"
When you do that - and focus on building up women; inspiring them; recognizing their great qualities; giving them the feeling that you are with them, that it isn't they who are crazy, but everyone else; appreciating what they do for you - you'll never have to worry about being thrown under the bus again.
Because women (and men) will be too busy scrambling to be in your presence, win your approval, and have you along for the ride because you make them feel so damn good, important, and respected instead that any short-term status boost they might achieve by trying to one-up you socially pales in comparison.
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