How to Power Shift with Social Cunning and Savvy

power shiftPower, often thought of one of the driving forces behind man’s will (see Nietzsche's concept of “der wille zur macht”) to live.

We see it every day, and it invades our interactions as well as influencing our every action.

Take a look at a couple of these scenarios:

Scenario A

A man walks into his boss’s office and requests a raise. He gets turned down.

Another man walks into the same room and proposes a similar offer, with the intention of walking away. He instead gets the raise.

Scenario B

Two students are studying together, the girl mentions, “You’re a good friend.”

The male rejects the notion of just friends, and begrudgingly utters, “Friends? Hardly.”

Scenario C

Two friends are together chatting in high spirits, when a cohort suddenly comes along.

“Ah, are you this little boy’s friend?” one girl asks flippantly.

The male looks at her slowly, as if only realizing that she might be talking to him. “Who?” he powerfully and quizzically asks almost as if in genuine confusion.

The girl corrects herself, “A-ah, are you this guy’s friend?”

... can you see it more clearly now?

It’s not until you reach the upper echelon of dominance that you start to cherry-pick these shifts of power (hence force called a power shift) out from everyday situations, and are able to take advantage of navigating through the ever-changing tides of social dominance.

But using power shifts, and maintaining an air of respect and power about oneself can be taught and learned, and in today’s article I’m going to pull off the veil that shrouds these common occurrences in subtlety and nuance from the eyes of those who haven't paid as much attention to them yet.

power shift

So what exactly is going on, and what is the importance of learning how to make use of a tool like the power shift for the social connoisseur?

Being dominant at an art or practice often requires the deep understanding, subconscious or not, that allows unparalleled performance. This becomes all the truer when multiple players are present; it’s almost impossible to maintain dominance among other practitioners when your skill level is not up to snuff.

Think about it, what’s more likely? A player being renowned because he can spike a volleyball or pitch a great fastball in practice, or a player who can crush an opposing team with aces or being unhittable?

To be dominant, as the definition suggests, inherently conveys that there is an order, and position, at play.

  • The volleyball player hits harder than the opposing team can receive.

  • The pitcher throws faster pitches than the batter can hit.

  • A manager of a business assigning tasks to employees.

  • A ruler directing his generals in a war.

  • The ruler’s army crushing another country’s force.

  • The most attractive and confident guy in a classroom or at a party.

  • An intelligent mathematician winning a Nobel prize.

Typically you’ll see an order of simplicity, such as A is greater than B. It does get a bit more complicated with the interplay of multiple players in things like group conversations, but that’s the gist of it (players A and B).

Another important aspect to note is that there are varying degrees of status, which typically are determinant of how high you are and the breadth of the competitors. Beating out more competition results in higher levels of power.

The mathematician is dominant over most others, with his status of prize winner.

The ruler has power over far more than the average peasant, or the manager with his employees.

The most attractive (not handsome; attractive, as in knowing how to attract women, and there is a difference) guy in the room automatically gets assigned the highest status in the room; just by being there he bests the rest of the males.

So when we look at seduction and social cunning, as a skill rather than uncontrollable happenstance, we learn that there ought to be an order to things. This means we have new variables to manipulate and train, and what’s incredibly surprising is that next to no one even knows this.

No one really trains their understanding of human nature, apart from the academics (and us)!

Just by this realization alone of the power structure between interactions we benefit and put ourselves ahead of the curb. Our competition is usually very little; it’s not hard to be the top dog when the rest of the pups are busy suckling from the teats of the females.

Understanding the Power Shift

The examples I gave at the outset of this article give some great insights into the common power dynamics scenarios that happen to even to the average Joe (often largely unbeknownst to him). Let’s break it down scenario by scenario to better understand the social constructs at play.

Scenario A: The Boss, and the Employees

A man walks into his boss’s office and requests a raise. He gets turned down.

Another man walks into the same room and proposes a similar offer, with the intention of walking away. He instead gets the raise.

Let’s go ahead and start assigning out names for these situations. The employee that had his request for promotion denied will be Employee A. The successful and more dominant man (disregarding the boss of course) will be Employee B.

Look at things in terms of order and compliance.

The boss is in the top position, with the compliance of his employees. He’s the top dog, no bones about it.

Two of those employees, A and B, are below the boss. Both go to him with equal propositions (overwhelmingly dominant men often require permission), and with assumingly equal value as both employees contribute equal amounts of quality and quantity of work.

The X-factor that contributes to Employee B’s value over A is his compliance. He knows that his the company values work, and that gives him power over his boss. Employee A doesn’t realize his actual worth, and thus does not have the same power to his proposition.

The successful employee’s offer gets accepted because he introduced less compliance, and as a result more power. The boss knows by the suggestion he made, “I want a raise, or else I may leave,” regardless if true or not, that he has more options than Employee A. More options often means more power. The employee played his cards right, and the boss succumbed to his ultimatum because denying the raise would result in less gain for the company.

Scenario B: The Girl and the Boy

power shiftTwo students are studying together, the girl mentions, “You’re a good friend.”

The male rejects the notion of just friends, and begrudgingly utters, “Friends? Hardly.”

The typical scenario between the study-buddy boy and the attractive girl. The girl, seemingly out of nowhere, asserts that she enjoys their friendship.

The boy, like many others have before, protests in rebellion against his new label.

“Who is she to determine our status?” the boy may be thinking.

The attractive girl is clearly higher status than the boy, but by how much? His frustration is not all too unfounded actually; the girl played a little trick on him to assert her power over him.

By sending an undesirable signal to the boy, she is demonstrating her superior value. There’s a good chance that this happened because she knows the boy’s intentions of romance, and is able to use that against him to establish control.

It could have gone much worse actually (and better), with varying degrees of shifts of power. Let’s say the boy had three different personalities, and each has their own response.

  1. “I’m not your friend.”

    The more caricatural “bad boy” response, which would actually be typically better than the lower two.

    He completely and utterly rejects any notion of friendship, and protests in complete rebellion. He plays a high-stakes risky game because he knows his position better than the others, and has more options.

  2. “Friends? Hardly.”

    The reluctant response but one with enough compliance and less risk aversion. He feels his value ought to be higher, and is frustrated at the power-shift she engages with. Regardless, he does not feel the rewards are high enough, and dares not to commit fully with his resistance.

    Women feel this is completely weak. Neither did he have the courage to commit to risky rejection nor safe acceptance.

    There’s a good reason why the coinage “Average Frustrated Chump” has the moniker “Chump” attached, while the “Nice Guy” label is devoid of any mockery.

  3. “Yeah, of course!”

    The safe route, the nice guy. He doesn’t want to go against his authority figure in the interaction. He’s effectively pedestaling the girl he’s with by showing no interest in rejecting her power. Any results he gets with the girl would be purely by luck of the draw.

There is a reason why all three responses fail. These responses are boyish. Real men don’t deal have to deal with these kinds of things. The bad boy and his rebellion against authority is something a child would do. The nice guy and the average chumps likewise fail to be that authority in the relationship.

There is a better way to handle these kinds of power struggles, but I’ll come back to that after going through the last example.

Scenario C: The Spirited Group

Two friends are together chatting in high spirits, when a cohort suddenly comes along.

“Ah, are you this little boy’s friend?” one girl asks flippantly.

The male looks at her slowly, as if only realizing that she might be talking to him. “Who?” he powerfully and quizzically asks almost as if in genuine confusion.

The girl corrects herself, “A-ah, are you this guy’s friend?”

There are three people in this situation: the cohort, the male, the girl.

The girl is clearly more powerful than the male, and she asserts her dominance by using a type of power shift that’s effect is twofold:

  1. She’s testing the new variable (the cohort) to the dynamic

  2. She’s subsequently asserting power over the male

The male overcomes this perfectly.

If he had accepted her label of “boy” to his friend, instead of “guy”, both him and the girl would have been granted higher status over the friend. Think of it as the two becoming partners, their two status’s are somewhat equal. The cohort may be higher on the rung, but not by much.

The male’s status gets dropped and he’s forced with the added social pressure of not one -- but two acts of social climbing.

On the other hand, the cohort could have rejected his friend’s new label of “boy” and defied the woman. Yes, the woman. The woman has climbed up the likes of the cohort (also, the man). The cohort struggles against this new dynamic she has introduced, thus being less powerful.

What he did instead was much better. He completely and utterly crushed any sort of insubordination between the two. The girl committed a social faux pas and he capitalized on it excruciatingly by making a fool out of her. He did it with a single word: “Who?”

He prevented his friend from slipping down the social ladder, and also brought her down for trying to ladder climb. His friend and the girl are now equal, and all is well for the cohort as he stands at the top over them while looking down.

He also handled this smoothly, through his graceful manner. If he had asked the same question in fury, rather than curiosity, the result would have been the same. However, the difference lies later on, as this would have been power through dictation: a very abrasive and underhanded method.

You would be surprised at how subtle this would actually happen in a real conversation. The girl would have made a mistake, and corrected herself as if the cohort had not heard properly (thus the embarrassment being only from an internal feeling, rather than public shame). The boy would have thought nothing of it, and the cohort would have received her warmly with a pleasant, “Ohhh! Yeah!”

Thus, the power shift occurs with subtlety, the girl loses little face, yet by overreaching and attempting to exert dominance and failing, she has lowered her social standing relative to those she attempted to dominate socially; thus, she dies (socially speaking) on her own sword, but the cohort reassures her that everything is okay.

Well what next?

How to Capitalize on a Power Shift

Here’s a little secret that’s rarely understood: power is not made by strength, but weakness.

Imagine two martial artists in their respective stances, ready to battle it out. They trade fierce glances and are consequently frozen in stature. You’ve seen it in movies (possibly with guns drawn), or maybe even in real life. MMA fighters will often walk around a bit before engaging, or stay out of range of their opponent.

Why is this exactly?

It’s quite simple: they know instinctively that the second a mistake is made, it will be capitalized on. If they strike and miss, the opponent will counter by taking advantage of that opening and punish them for it. Both fighters know this, so they are stuck in a perpetual standstill.

Offense is often said to be the best defense, but that is not the case for the master-class. Offense is only reliably useful when there are grave differences in strength, or when some sort of disparity is present.

Our bad boy in scenario B is playing a very all-or-nothing style of aggressive play. Any sort of conflict brought his way is crushed with his own strength. It’s a gamble. If his opponent is weak enough, this opponent will succumb to his might. If the opponent happens to be stronger, the bad boy will be ruined instead. “I’m not your friend,” he says. The girl responds with, “Douche,” and leaves. The bad boy of course now has to chase after to get what he wants (which never actually works, and never should be done).

Our nice guy and frustrated chump are too afraid to fight, so we can’t even consider their play-style in this game.

The dominant man (like the cohort) approaches it differently. He’s waiting for that moment when the other messes up. He always capitalizes, and consistently gets rewarded by doing so.

You’ll see an incredible amount of these kinds of exchanges in war tactics and the history of them.

Take the teachings of Sun Tzu and his Art of War for instance: something heralded as a masterpiece on tactics and conflict, not only in the military world but in the business management one too. By itself, without any prior experience, it’s hard to see its true value. If you deconstruct some of what he has to say however, you’ll see it’s incredible teachings.

Here are some quotes (muddled by translation of course) from the immortal man:

  1. Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack.

  2. To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

  3. Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.

  4. The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

I won’t quote any more as to not overload you, despite there being so many goodies to pick out.. but hopefully you can see how this ties into my previous ramblings using martial artist as an example.

This is the reason why sprezzatura, gracefulness, and humbleness are such effective manners of achieving high social status. These operate on the passive style of subtlety, and allow for your opponent (such as your date, your boss, your audience, etc.) to make mistakes that you can capitalize on (while also limiting the errors you can make).

In the first quote, Sun Tzu mentions possibility of victory in the opponent’s attack. This is exactly it -- again, power comes from weakness, not by application of strength. Again he mentions it, in the fourth quote: we are our own defeaters and our enemies are theirs.

If you don’t believe me (or Sun Tzu) then try to think of how many ways there are to make a blunder or insult someone and then how many ways to do that without uttering a sound (I can think of only one per culture). You can’t do either very well without opening your mouth.

We can even see this stuff in nature, with things like spiders and their webs. Waiting for their prey to fall into their hands is much more effective than going around and hunting. Trapdoor spiders will wait until unsuspecting victims crawl above in a moment of defenselessness, and then will strike.

In war it’s often used to fight against vastly superior forces. Sun Tzu used his tactics against the Chu army (of 300,000) with his comparatively meager force of 30,000 men.

In the Vietnam War, America lost despite an overwhelming advantage in strength because the same tactics were applied. The Viet Cong effectively used guerrilla tactics, and had no central force (see Sun Tzu’s concept of formlessness in the third quote). This made it impossible for the American military to do any substantial damage. In fact, quite the opposite occurred when the Vietnamese waited for air drops, and then capitalized on them by wiping each one out one by one. Other tactics were of course used, but the result was that America retreated and Viet Cong had won.

Formlessness, mysteriousness, waiting, and capitalization; all these make up the back bone of the master’s road to victory over challengers. It is the opponents who give him the opportunity to raise his position, by entering his sphere and giving him mistakes to capitalize upon.

power shift

While I don’t want to advocate any sort of adversarialism between you and those around you, it’s good to learn the different sort of power shifts that commonly occur.

Here’re a few of the likely ones you’ll encounter and might be stumped by (without this guide, of course):

#1: The Friend Zone and Other Statuses

Ah, hello my infamous friend. We are back. I’ve always said to those I speak with about this is that, “Girls don’t put men in the friend zone, the men do it for them.”

It can’t be any truer.

The word “friend” is just a word; it really means nothing. In fact, the Italian language has 20 or more such words just for relationship statuses. So why does it matter? It actually doesn’t.

Words that dictate status (and my use of the word dictate is most literal), such as:

  • boyfriend,
  • lover, and
  • friend

... are typically just that. In a brawl, this is more like a left jab. It’s to poke around and get a feel for the situation when he or she has a hunch, a gut feeling, of weakness. It’s only when you REACT to it when things start to tumble downhill.

Imagine a suave guy like James Bond, and try to picture him (if you can...) getting friend-zoned by a girl. What do you think he would do? Scoff at the idea? Maybe, but even that seems a bit too unrefined. He’s more likely to just sip his martini and continue conversation as if she had never said it (much like the example earlier of the cohort pretending he didn’t hear or understand the girl).

Any attention you give something gives it power. This means even the little stuff with reactions like scoffing, or strange looks. The more you contest the more you show your weakness. Granted, it’s often not enough of a shift the balance of power over to another person, but these things work like a war of attrition. The sands of time eventually corrode over your body and you’ve lost your former self.

The best of this comes with the understanding of the situation, and when you start noticing others doing this to you by trying to redirect focus or denying compliance.

I added some tags on the end of each line to help you understand what’s going on by using the previous martial arts example as an analogy.

Guy: I thought we were friends? [jab]

Girl: Well we are more like acquaintances... [block]

Guy: So we can’t be friends? [jab]

Girl: We don’t really hang out often... [block]

Guy: So what are we supposed to do then? Go on a date? [side-steps]

Girl: What would we even do? [side-steps]

You can see where this is quickly going... The guy knows she’s interested in at least some modicum of romance between the two, and so he presses her a bit to get what he wants (well, what they both want actually).

Her strategy of redirecting, while good at maintaining her image and preventing any sort of chase dynamic, is not the best solution. It’s immediately obvious due to the attention and importance she’s assigning to the word that it has some value to her, so she’s avoiding giving a simple yes or no response.

For the guy however... he got what he want with pure cunning. He’s a sly fox, and he knows that people tend to like to follow the path of least resistance.

For her, in this situation, he knew that his “jab,” the label, was enough for him to make a weakness appear in the girl. She feels she needs to respond, and doesn’t want to comply, so she avoids answering. This is troubling for her, so he offers her an escape from this dynamic by proposing a date (indirectly).

power shift

She then follows along, as it’s easier. Along the way however, she’s been defeated. She succumbed to his slyness and is now being strung along (to somewhere she wants to go, mind you).

This is what girls see and feel every time they assign you two a relationship status. She doesn’t know exactly how you feel, but she’s got a pretty good idea. She knows exactly the right buttons to push to get you to do what she wants (like trap you in the friend zone as a backup plan for later on in case she needs you then).

Again this happens with not only the friend zone, but the ever humbling, “I have a boyfriend,” line. This one is a bit tougher to handle, and I always think loudly in my head “SO?”

It pops up AGAIN when used in the opposite fashion, “Do you have a girlfriend?” Chase thankfully covered this one well in his recent article, “Do You Have a Girlfriend? Here’s How to Answer This.”

The possibilities are endless.

It’s another reason why routines have such a low success rate. You can’t possibly plan ahead for all these scenarios, and plan out responses to them. You’ve just got to learn the elementary aspect of the concept of non-reaction, and start to think in your head instead: “Oh, she’s doing this as a way to power-shift things in her favor... what are her motives?”

Then respond.

#2: Labels and Attrition

This one is a dirty little trick, used often by many. The idea is this: find a weakness, such as a pet peeve or dislike of a label, and relentlessly weaken until compliant.

It’s very subtle and gradual, otherwise it wouldn’t be very effective.

--- first appearance ---

Guy: I don’t know, she wouldn’t leave me alone.

Girl: That’s kind of being a jerk.

Guy: Huh? No way.

Girl: ….

--- a couple days later ---

Girl: You’re such a jerk.

Guy: *laughs* I know!

Girl: Right?

--- a couple weeks later ---

Girl A: Hey, this is my friend... he’s a jerk.

Guy: Ugh.

Girl B: Like jerk-off?

Guy: Wow.

*everyone laughs*

--- a month later ---

Girl A: Hey, this is jerk.

Girl B: Hi, jerk! That’s a weird name.

Guy: Yeah...

Girl A: Yeah, jerk!

Eventually it can get out of hand and leading to bullying, but that’s one example right there of attrition. It can happen with any label, and it’s used to shift power over either readily (“Don’t do that, that’s douchey”) or gradually over time. At the start the conversation was normal, but by the end the guy’d gained a new nickname.

Even if you deny this vehemently, it will still be a question of who breaks first. It’s the age old paradox of an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. In the story of the Teumessian Fox (destined to never be caught) against Laelaps (destined to catch everything), Zeus himself had to step in and break up the fight by turning the two into stone (or stars).

It’s better to not surround yourself with these types of girls or people (who will engage in petty labeling and ladder-climbing one-upmanship), and instead make friends with those higher up on the social ladder. Just be wary when this happens, and don’t engage.

#3: Assignments and Tasks

A common way of gaining compliance is through requesting, assigning, or demanding tasks. In social psychology these tactics are called foot-in-the-door and door-in-the-face. There are others, but these two I’ll focus on (and have partially brought up before).

It can be done both ways, starting low and gradually working up (I’d skip the first request in practice however):

Guy: Hey, can I buy you a drink?

Girl: Okay, sure.

Guy: Let’s sit over there?

Girl: Okay, sure.

Guy: Move over a bit.

Girl: Okay.

Guy: Let’s go home.

Girl: Okay!

Next one. You will rarely see this actually intentionally done, but it will pop up on your scanners here and there when people start making demands on purpose to test your compliance:

Girl: Buy me a coffee!

Guy: Okay, sure.

Girl: Yay!

It’s a bit out of place and extremely clumsy, but most don’t notice it. People can actually get away with such extreme blunders, and no one really notices. I remember a request from a student to a professor in a class I attended once that was interesting along these lines; actually it wasn’t a question, it was a very abrasive demand: “Move down the page to the bottom.”

I was surprised he got away with that one, typically you’d see some sort of gradual buildup. You don’t normally see requests made that curtly and forcefully that early on in the dynamic between two people who haven’t established compliance yet, when requests are still being ramped up.

The rest of the learners in attendance are asking questions, like “Can you ___?” while one fellow blows through social norms and demands in an authoritarian tone. You’re asking for whiplash if that’s how you approach all your engagements -- without an ounce of subtlety.

This is the advantage to those with positions of power: it’s difficult to say “No” when you’re paying your physical therapist and she tells you to roll over.

Again, don’t react to this or give into these demands for compliance. Navigate using social grace. Here’s a better response:

Girl: Buy me a coffee!

Guy: I dunno, isn’t that too date-like?

Girl: It’s not a date it’s just a coffee!

Guy: Is it? Okay, then you should buy me one instead.

Girl: What!? Fine.

In all likelihood, you won’t even run into these requests and demands too often as you advance at dating and seducing women.

You can use these to gauge how you’re doing, and the shifting of power. If you see higher numbers of demand-like requests, you need to work on your fundamentals and may presently be at an equal or lower status. Alternatively, if you’re starting to get risk-averse requests, like “Can I get your number?” or “Can we go over there?” then you know you’re doing really well.

If you’re starting to get permission requests, that’s a tall order to fill. It means you’ve got to do one thing, and start moving her. She really likes you so she is playing it really safe; you’ve got to save her from this and take her home.

Another end of the spectrum would be working your way down, this might have a better success rate for the girl:

Girl: Buy me a car.

Guy: Uhh...

Girl: Okay, how about just a coffee?

Guy: Sure, I guess.

Notice how most of these responses are typically in three forms:

  • Compliance: “Okay, sure.”

  • Half-Compliance: “Sure, I guess;” “Friends? Hardly...”

  • Rejection: “Uhh..;” “I’m not your friend.”

#4: Laughing and Playing Along

power shiftAnother peculiar construct that happens is others laughing at something funny you’ve said, and just in general thinking you’re funny... when you’ve done nothing of the sort.

Trying to have a real conversation with a person like this who laughs at everything you say is incredibly frustrating. It’s like almost talking to a wall, because anything you say will be played along with.

If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your heading thinking... wait a minute... I didn’t make a joke, and what I said was NOT funny. Why did they laugh? That’s where the presence of social influence starts to seep in.

If you are with two girls and you say, “Okay, I’m going over here where it’s warm,” and they both laugh as if you had told them a joke, does that make sense? None at all, unless you realize that the people around you might happen to be catering to your whimsies, and like stated earlier -- suckling at the teat.

Feel-good people try to boost their statuses by making others feel welcome.

Stop it.

Even I catch myself doing this sometimes when I laugh at what I say, or in response to others. It takes away your challenge that you present, defuses tension, and makes you more attainable.

If you laugh at what you’re saying, then it can be considered compensating in anticipation of not being well received.

If you laugh at what others say, then you’re sucking up and social climbing, or maybe you’re too afraid of what others think of you to go against the grain.


  • If people laugh at what they are telling you, then they are grandeur-izing what they say to leave an impression on you.

  • If people laugh at what you say, then they are effectively pedestaling your status, or are too afraid to go against it.

  • If you catch others doing this then this is another easy way to gauge the shift of power (as long as you’re not telling actual jokes).

#5: Kissing and Sex

This is so incredibly common a power shift for men to shoot their feet off with all the time, and yet women do not. Women understand this dynamic MUCH better than men, and take great care of it. This is typically driven by the same motives as the friend-zone.

Ricardus went over this really well in a full length article (which could be considered extension/continuation of this one, even if written at an earlier date) about how sex changes the control of the relationship:

Relationship Control and Female Domination

How to Rule the World (of Seduction)

The ideal position to be in is not one of dominance, but of someone who faces no opposition. A better term for this idyllic situation would be ruler or emperor, as there are no other players in the game. They face no opposition. The word “dominant” is more appropriate to social situations because this is such a hard position to be in.

I did make a joke in the article on stress coping techniques that, “We don’t really teach you on this site how to overthrow nations (yet),” but it seems I actually have begun to.

We can progress this trait of dominance and understanding of power dynamics in society quite far, and it helps us get what we want. The goal you must seek out is not that of a dictator or a subordinate, but a ruler. Through grace and pleasantry you can make others want to work with you (and for you).

Just remember, non-reactance.

It’s not a battle or conflict unless you make it one, and I wrote this article with the intention of helping you pick out when others are using a power shift on YOU.

The powerful don’t deal with opposition, not because they are against it but they don’t acknowledge its presence or significance. The governing bodies that serve them are the ones that deal with acts of aggression. Granted, you can’t always opt for non-reactance and ignoring social climbing, but understanding them prevents quite a bit.

Once you get better at it...

You might find that if you keep quiet, things may go your way more often than not. You might find that if you stop praising yourself that others may do it for you.

You might find that if you compliment others, they will bring you gifts and ask you out on dates.

And you just might happen to find whatever it is you’re looking for if you keep at it.

Stay powerful,

- Eric

Eric ReevesAbout the Author: Eric Reeves

Eric Reeves is a member of the Girls Chase Forums and an occasional contributor to Girls Chase. His focus is on strategy, analysis, and power dynamics in social relationships.

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Flames's picture

While reading this it reminded me of Ghandis passive resistance, which is the old immovable force. :)

A lot of this stuff is the thing I have pegged, you can come off as an incredibly strong guy by not doing things that the weak and meek would do. As an incredible stubborn guy I find this tactic the best way. I don't make a big deal about anything really if a problem needs sorting out then it gets sorted out, otherwise it's not a problem and that's a philosophy I've stuck to. Also being non-judgemental is a part of this.

I'm finding it really hard to think of what I wanted to say right now, but this is every bit as good as some of Chases posts (and I'm sure he'll agree).


Eric Reeves's picture


I actually love Ghandi's practices and I try to use that for some basis for my moral constructs. I wrote this article without happening to think of him though, and I might have incorporated some of that into this article if I had remembered.

You're spot on, the most vibrant people I have met throughout my life are the ones who are ecstatic and non-confrontational. They diffuse tension and conflicts simply through their immovable nature that absorbs those around them. It's hugely about being non-judgemental, and I want to make that the subject for one of my articles. Thanks for reminding me.

I find myself in the same position, I can't put my thoughts into words.. And when I do sometimes it can get a bit too long and I end up writing 5k+! It's difficult.


Glad to see I have a fan.

- Eric

Vaughn 's picture

Hey Eric, I was just thinking about how to get in contact with you. I just wanted to say thanks for writing the article about stress coping and I wanted to ask, what's the fastest best way to burn belly fat? (specifically the lower abs)?

Questions about the article for you and Chase. what if you laugh just because you think everything is funny, should you tone it down and not laugh like you said?

What kind of compliments are you giving people to buy you things and ask you on dates? How do you not look like a suck up?

The jist I got from your post was, ignore everything. How can I ignore when I have anger problems and rage builds up inside me because I'm feeling like a punk by not saying anything back? Thank you!!!!!

Eric Reeves's picture

Good to hear from you, Vaughn.

What you're talking about with belly fat is spot-reduction, and while the main consensus is that it's impossible this isn't actually true. There's multiple ways -- liposuction, cryotherapy, subcutaneous mobilization with yohimbine.

What you need to focus on however is lowering overall body fat, and gaining muscle. If you're already in the 10% bodyfat range (which is unlikely, but still possible) and having trouble with abs, then look at the leangains site, he has some good stuff covering stubborn fat mobilization.

I tend to have the bad habit of laughing a bit too much, and I could serve to reduce some of it. I'm unaware of what Chase does, but typically you want to be more stoic as it's often seen as a very manly and attractive trait.

Compliments is a bit hard to specifically point out, but I used it as a general example in this article to shift focus. Focusing on other people and making them feel worthy/special is key to getting them to do things for you. Another is having a high value, and being very attractive. Being a suckup is when you are on the opposite end of this, by giving gifts/compliments in return for value. Just compliment as if it were simply a comment -- "Oh, you look nice", "That's a cool shirt", etc.

And it can really suck bottling things up. It's an image thing (also working on article for this), where you kind of hide a part of yourself from others. In time it will go away, but just relax a bit. If you're worried about being a punk then you're already assigning too much value to this stuff. There are 7 billion people in the world and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of interactions that you'll have, so getting angry isn't a good use of your energy (or stress!).

- Eric

Garrett's picture

Hey Eric, I really enjoyed your post, there are a few things I don't understand though...

Sometimes you guys say to ignore people, then you say it's not good to ignore people, now you're saying don't react, other times flash them a sexy smile. Also, I've read in a post how if someone slips up in a social interaction, as the alpha male you should react so the person doesn't feel stupid, now you're saying don't react and don't try to make people feel good/suck up and climb the social ladder. Then at the end of your post you say it's good to give people compliments because they'll come give you gifts...?

Could someone clarify this for me? A lot of times I feel I read the blogs and there's a lot of 'back and forth' going on. Maybe it's my interpretation, but this has happened more than once, and without a clarified interpretation it's hard to understand what you're truly advocating!


Walls's picture

I feel this way too. Is it just that seduction and social skills are two unrelated topics? Because I don't believe this to be so.

By the way, Eric... Thank you! One of my favorites on the site. I look forward to reading more of your social psychology stuff.

Eric Reeves's picture

Garett, Walls, I'm a bit late on answering these but...

It's hard to teach something like seduction or social skills, because there are a lot of possible solutions. It's like playing golf where you have multiple clubs/putters to choose from, all of which will work but some better than others.

There are also optimal strategies, and suboptimal ones. There are also paths that others take that are optimal, and also suboptimal, and having to deal with those.

For power, the most optimal one is not receiving any confrontation or having to respond in the first place.

So let's take the question "Do you like me?" as the confrontation.

Optimal Route: She doesn't ask in the first place as you're too high status for her to take a risk like that.
Suboptimal Route 1: She asks, but right after she does something in the distance (like a group starts a fight) grabs your attention, and then you come back to her with a new question to change topics. "So what have you been up to?"
Suboptimal Route 2: She asks you but you just stare at her in confusion, she quickly adds "I'm just kidding! haha"
Suboptimal Route 3: You smirk and respond, "Why do you ask?"
Kinda Bad Route 1: You tell her you really really like her
Bad Route 2: You hide that you like her and say "You're just a friend".

The list of possibilities is endless, and some are correct, some are perfect (like not having to deal with the situation in the first place) and some are bad but you can still get away with. It's also really hard to rate each response, because the tone is vastly important, and the situation can be widely different in every scenario.

These things really add up over time, and it's less than the actual responses themselves but the cards you let be shown. If you're showing your cards and she knows you really like her, then you're giving power over to her. Likewise the opposite is true, and you can "use that against her".

It also gets even more complicated with exchanges with groups, and everyone's status. To tell you what to do exactly for every situation is just a nightmare, and mostly it should be done based on gut experience. The article was intended to bring to the surface of some possible exchanges and their effects on the shifting of power, not to control it.

The compliments is again not about what you actually say, but the cards you hide. Like my answer to the previous comment above, it's easy to say something like "Oh, I like your shirt" with no strings attached. If you go up and say, "Hey you're really adorable" that shifts power over to the girl. Despite shifting power, it's still better than playing the nice guy and not showing any cards at all and not playing the game.

Hope that cleared up some of the confusion.

- Eric

Ali's picture

So If I understand the concept right :
I'm thinking that what we should do usually in these situations is to think what James Bond would do in that situation and do exactly what our logics would tell us he would do. Is that right?

For example, on the occasion when everyone just laugh at what we're saying when we're being serious, we should just give them a Wise over Stupid look and smile and slowly turn our head towards another side. Just ignoring them since they will not listen.

Again Thanks for a great Article Eric.


Eric Reeves's picture

This is not really the answer you're looking for, but James Bond might not always be the right guy for the job..

Imagine being at a house party having a beer with friends, not exactly the scenario you would place him in, right?

In general though we can take some of the archetypes that he is known for (in particular: suaveness), and apply them to most situations.

If you always ignore, you might even be thought of as a chump. It's really hard to say "always ignore, never stick up for yourself" and be correct. It's a good practice to get into, but again -- these things are always situation and more of a gut feeling.

I will say however that if you're put in a situation where you are trying to be serious, and you're being laughed at then you've got a problem. People need to take you seriously, and if you're having this problem then it's a problem with status.

Raise that first before trying to figure out how to respond.

Anonymous's picture

Then how should you raise your status?
Are there any posts on this site about it?

ASky's picture

Power is not about status. It's about knowing what you want from life and going for it. Everyone has power, but not everyone knows how to exercise it properly. For that all you need is experience, and you get it by going after what you want and learning in the process how to achieve it :-) And you can never have power to control others, only a blind illusion of control. If you try to control others you will live a very miserable life. Pursuing women is an exercise of power, but getting women or even money doesn't make you powerful. It's what you do after you get them that tells the world who you really are... a god or a poodle :-)

Humpert's picture

Wow, excellent article! Excited about this Eric fella now ;) More like this, please.

Also, I too wouldn't mind a straight forward post about things you can do to palpably raise status.

Thanks, boys!

Anonymous's picture

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being friends, provided it is quid pro quo.

If you are only after the woman for sex and she mentions friends, a reply is not even necessary. The one-up of information and subtle, careful use of it greatly roots dominance. A direct, prolonged, probing look into her eyes after such a statement should quell that. If not, move on.

If the woman may be able to help you advance your career, gain you important contacts, insights into a competitor or another woman of your desire, then it would be childish to dismiss her as a friend because of your sexual ego.

Go with your intuition on it, but any such friendship should have a well-defined and productive gain for you.

Anonymous's picture

Hey Eric, great article
However, I have a situation:
I met someone I knew from long ago as I was speaking to a girl, and he tried to bully me (I was a different person back then). So I was talking to the girl as he called:" hey, assh*le"! I followed your advice and slowly turned to him and said:" who?, but he simply repeated:" yea, you, looser." I was caught of guard by this and returned an insult, but I'm not sure if this was the best of of answering. What should I do next time? Please answer!
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