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7 Factors Behind the 2020s Dating Collapse

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factors of the dating collapseDating has been on the decline in the West for some time. There are 7 main sociocultural reasons why. Together, they weave a web of complexity fewer and fewer daters break through.

I want to take a break from tactical articles to talk today about a broader topic.

While this won't contain how-tos, it will contain important perspectives I think will help shape the way you think about the dating landscape.

We've talked for a while about how dating is getting harder for people. We mainly talk about ways it is getting harder for men here, since this is a male-oriented site, but it's actually getting harder for both sexes.

It can be hard to put a finger on gradual changes, and even harder to name specific contributing factors to those changes. Generally what you will see is people who have one pet theory and blame it for everything: "It's due to feminism!" "It's due to porn!" "It's due to Hollywood brainwashing!" "It's due to a decline in morals!"

Social systems are complex systems though. They are hard to understand because they have many moving parts, and all those moving parts interact with each other. There is almost never one single cause for a major breakdown in function within a complex system.

Today we'll be looking at what I find to be the seven (7) most important causes of our contemporary breakdown in dating -- one that's led to an enormous reduction in romantic activity among men and women, and an explosion of bitterness among both sexes.

Tactics Tuesdays: Winning Over a Girl's Guy Friends

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girl's guy friendsSome girls you’ll meet have guy friends with them. How do you deal with these guy friends? Should you ignore them? Get to know them? Follow these 4 tips… then win them over.

As you approach girls, particularly in social venues, you are going to run into girls with guy friends.

Now, you might never approach girls with guys around them, but you should. A lot of girls go out with men they are 'just friends' with.

She might be the guy's wingwoman. She might be his ex-girlfriend (why some men go out with their ex-girlfriends I will never understand). She might be a girl he's crushing on but is deeply friend zoned with and has accepted that she's going to go off with other guys. He might be her dating app date she felt no spark with and now they're both just sort of hanging out to see if either of them can meet someone else.

If you're in a gay-friendly venue you will run into girls who are there with their gay male friend. I have picked up girls that looked like they were with a boyfriend at first, only to find out the guy was gay, and busy looking for his own guy to pick up at the same time the girl was.

Some guys will leave you alone as soon as you are talking to the girl.

But sometimes you will need to interact with them.

What's the right way to talk with a guy who is with a girl you want, who is not interrupting you or cockblocking you, but whose approval you are usually going to need?

Pleasant People Get Pleasant Treatment

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pleasant peopleWant the people around you to treat you better? Here’s a very simple solution for that: treat THEM better, first. Pleasant people get pleasant treatment.

I have observed over the past decade an explosion in argumentative, disagreeable, rude people.

There are people who are simply hot-tempered and combative by nature. That's not what I'm referring to here.

I am referring to an overall rise in ill-mannered, self-centered, socially stunted behavior. It is not just in young people, but in all people. I assume it is due to people spending more and more time on screens, plus the increasing divisions of society, in part due to those screens, and less and less time honing and practicing their social skills with real people.

At the same time that people behave bristly toward those they interact with, they complain about the bristled treatment they receive from others.

Today I want to address this trend, and throw a recommendation in there for you:

Be more pleasant.

12 Mistakes that SCREW UP Conversations & Flirtations

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conversation mistakesSome mistakes really doom a conversation. Make any of these too early on, and your impression will be toast – along with the conversation.

A while back a reader named Xander, talking about some of his flirtations, asked about mistakes people make in early conversation that spell the end of those conversations:

I have seen that if girl is attracted to guy every mistake he makes is forgiven to him and if she isn’t she will intentionally look for things she dislike and reasons to behave bad. [...] Many times, I was in situation that girl from the beginning starts to look for reasons to be annoyed. [...] Some examples: I would disagree about some irrelevant topic during conversation and girl would be really pissed off and even start to shake from anger. They would ask me for my age and if difference is higher then few years they would criticize me about too different for them, etc.

There is an element of that that is true; if someone simply doesn't like you, it will be a lot easier for you to trigger a negative reaction with that person than it would be if you were liked.

Why is that? Well, we tend to give the people we like the benefit of the doubt. If someone you like makes an error, you arrive at the most charitable assumption as to why.

When someone you dislike makes an error, however, you're a lot more likely to assume ugly reasons or motivations for it, or that you and this person just aren't compatible.

This is true even for very fair-minded individuals (and even more so for the hot-tempered among us!).

This article won't be completely focused on 'liking', but if you follow the steps in it you'll be more liked, too.

Our chief focus today is on mistakes that damage conversations with other people -- in particular, those mistakes you make early on, when that first impression is still subject to change.

We'll cover two types of conversation mistakes below:

  1. General mistakes that apply to all the conversations you'll have with anyone

  1. Flirtation mistakes that apply to your romantic conversations with prospective paramours

On with it!

Tactics Tuesdays: The Disruptor Destroyer

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disruptor destroyerSo some guy wants to disrupt your conversation with a girl, either to talk to you or to take her for himself. If you can’t ignore him, what can you do? Destroy him!

Quick little tactic that absolutely wrecks anyone trying to butt into your conversation with a girl.

Every guy's been talking to a girl only to have some random dude rudely interrupt his conversation, either trying to talk to him or trying to talk to the girl.

Sometimes it's because the interloper is uncalibrated and just wanted to talk to you or her but did not know how to wait properly for an opening in the conversation to jump in.

Other times it may be because the interloper directly wants to steal your girl, and he's hoping to peel her off you, or to peel you offer her (either so his wingman can talk to her, or so he can back-turn you once he's gotten you to break circle and turn his attention to the girl, with you now out of the conversation).

My normal recommendation (and normal policy) is to just ignore the guy (see: Dealing with Disruptive Men).

Most guys won't be able to break into a conversation if you don't acknowledge them, especially if the girl is into you enough to follow your lead and ignore the guy so long as you're ignoring him too.

But what do you do if the guy is really loud, aggressive, and in your face?

What do you do if he approaches the girl first, and you can see she's about to crack and break circle to engage with him?

There's an alternate tactic you can use -- something of a disruption Plan B -- if you're quick enough on your feet.

I call it the 'Disruptor Destroyer'.

How to Deal with Opinionated People

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opinionated peoplePeople have all kinds of aggressive, often ignorant opinions. About everything! To deal with this without losing your head, you must first put things into perspective.

Decidedly on the rise is the profusion of aggressively opinionated people.

You know, those people who will get in your face, flaunt their opinions at you and, with little manners or decorum, do their very best to bait you into either agreeing with them or outing yourself as one of 'the bad ones' who believes not as they do.

Regardless of your set of beliefs (on any of a range of items), you can probably agree that there are many of both the people who agree for the most part with you and those who really don't agree with you who hold rigid, inflexible opinions about a great many things.

If you're a critical thinker, you can probably also admit that most people -- even most of those who agree with you -- hold only shallow understandings of the positions they purport to hold, and are far more emotionally attached to their positions than they are logically secure in them.

This is a human tendency, to form emotional attachments to views, often with only a superficial eye cast toward any kind of objective underpinning of said views. Opinionated, impassioned, yet superficial arguments are annoying to everyone, but they're especially annoying if you're a critical thinker.

There's little worse for critical thinkers than to find oneself in a debate with someone demanding he unquestioningly accept the veracity of a flimsily-supported position or else be forever damned as evil incarnate (or perhaps just stupid, brainwashed, or uninformed).

This article won't be about any particular current events or hot button issues, and if you comment I'd urge you to keep to the spirit of that here too.

Instead, its focus is on dealing with opinionated people: both avoiding pointless entanglements with them as well as preserving your own sanity despite maddening insistence you agree to the unreasonable or be damned.

Friends Who Value You Less Than You Do Them

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friend value imbalancesYou may have friends you feel you need more than they need you. Why does this happen with friends, and what can you do to make it a realer, more equal friendship?

A week ago on the forum one of our members asked me about friends who seemingly value you less than you do them / friends who seem to need you less than you need them.

I'll share part of his post here:

I consider myself a high value guy who’s good with girls , has good conversational skill and a good business he’s built - which does not mean I can’t improve, quite the opposite. Just that I have trouble thinking my problem is value.

but I do struggle with friendships and have a doubt I am not being respected.

How selective should you be with your friends ? How do you build abundance ?

I have about 8-9 people i consider pretty cool that I can go out with 1-2 a month ( some I can see 1-2 a week some I can see once every 2 months).

This feeling that I am more invested in the friendship than they are…

…and that I would like to see them more than they would like to see me bothers the fuck out of me.

I hate this feeling of neediness almost as much as I hated not having abundance with girls.

At the time i discovered that if I hit the streets and bars i only needed 10-20 approaches to bang a cute girl … and that feeling disappeared.

So my question isn’t only how to make new friends but rather, why aren’t all these guys as invested as I am in our ‘ friendship ‘ ?

Is that a respect and value problem ? Or did I target people who don’t go out as much.

First off, let me say I can relate, as I think most people can; unless all your friends are very close, old friendships, you probably have people you're friends with whom you aren't certain value you as highly as you do them.

This feeling is worse when ALL your friends are relatively recent friends.

I didn't stay close friends with anyone I knew before graduating university, and every time I've changed cities I've generally found myself with a bunch of totally new people, going through this same, "Are we valuing this friendship the same amount?" dance.

As our forum member notes, it is due to some degree of neediness, and as with girls it disappears as abundance does. However, like with girls, there are also levels of abundance with friendships too.

So, it can be a little complicated -- but let's talk about the causes and the remedies.

Some Friends Are Bad for Your Dating Health

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friends bad for datingDon’t let friends’ unproductive beliefs about women seep into your skull. Be careful how the friends around you affect the way you think about dating, sex, and romance.

Friends are great assets to your life. They give you companionship, encouragement, and can introduce new ideas and activities to your sphere you might never have encountered on your own.

Friends can push you into great new things... however, the wrong friend can also hold you back.

On our forum, a member named Shawn discusses how a friend of his warped his mindset toward women, making him far less effective with women as a result:

... since I was going through dry-spell, I just believed whatever he used to say so that at least I'll try something different.There are many things but just off the top of my head: not to tease girls cos it'll come across as try hard, should be friends with girls and take it slow, game is all red-pill and that's bad etc etc There are many things [he told me] but just off the top of my head: not to tease girls cos it'll come across as try hard, should be friends with girls and take it slow, game is all red-pill and that's bad etc etc. I can go on for hours about his advices.

He is the first person I saw so closely putting pussy on a pedestal. He is so sure of himself that whenever I tried to tell him that's not the right way to treat chics, he'd get so defensive that it'd make me wonder if what I'm preaching is even right. He had read pickup material for 4 years. So, I thought he at least has enough knowledge theoritically.

Anyway, like I said earlier, it was just my mistake to get into his frame thinking he's "better" and I do much better solo.

You might think Shawn must be a clueless newbie, but he isn't. About his game before this friend twisted his approach all out of shape, he says:

I was always considered a natural since I discovered game only 3 years ago while I was getting laid through cold-approach long before I knew something like game or cold-approach existed.

I don't know how skilled Shawn is, but cold approach itself is a fairly rare skill set that most men will never attempt on their own. The fact that he was doing it himself (and getting laid with it) implies he's far from a total novice.

But the wrong friend still managed to derail him anyway.

If you're not careful, and you're in a vulnerable state (like the dry spell Shawn found himself in), the wrong friend can have that kind of effect on you, too.

People Who Take Social & Sexual Risks Look Cool

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social and sexual risksCan you preserve your value by not taking risks with women or people? The truth is you can’t; social and romantic value is predicated on risks.

There's a recent post on our forum where a forum member claims seduction is dangerous for men because at some point in the seduction a man must make a big, risky move and "give up his power."

The member cites a few instances he says are examples of this:

The sexual inuendos, the sexual misinterpretations and sexual overload techniques, etc They all show intent and give the power away. For example

"You turn me on so much when you do that [whatever] or wear that [whatever]". You then inmidiately give her the chance to reject your intention and make you drop your social value if she responds something like: "Yes but Don't get any idea. It wont happen [and she walks away].

If there are friends or people around, they will think "You are such a Loser".

I mean, every time you escalate you are giving your power away.

Thus, men are confronted with a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, he says:

Hold your value and not get laids Or Risk Your value but You increase the chance to get a laid.

Pretty tough choice he's lain out for men, isn't it?

Either you're a valuable dude forced to go woman-less, or you're a potentially-devalued dude who gets women.

Yet, nevertheless, this thinking on how value works, and how other people assess yours, is deeply flawed.

It is, in fact, not how "other human evaluations of your value" work at all.

Zero-Sum Power Dynamics & Empowering Others

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zero-sum powerWhen people want power from you, they may pretend it’s in your interest, too. But is it? Power grabs may be cooperative, competitive, or competitive masquerading as cooperative.

I'm going to give you a way to think about power that will make many things in life clearer to you.

It is the perspective that contests of power are always zero-sum games, where anytime one person gains power, another loses it. There is no 'free creation of power' from nothing into a kind of power void. Power is always either seized or yielded by one person or group from/to others.

However, it is possible for individuals or entities to work together against external competitors to increase power jointly, at the expense of some external opponent.

You have probably been taught to not think about power this way.

You have been taught that power is 'inclusive'; that you can have power, and someone else can have power, and everyone can have power!

But the actual fact of the matter is power is exclusive; the more power one person or entity accrues, the more someone or something else loses it.

This is necessary to understand for interpersonal dynamics, and understanding societal power dynamics as well.