4 Ways to Use the Contrast Principle in Your Love Life | Girls Chase

4 Ways to Use the Contrast Principle in Your Love Life

Chase Amante

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contrast principle
The contrast principle allows you to guide people to the choice you want them to make with the use of a powerful psychological feature: contrast.

On my article about fun ways to use reverse psychology, a reader named 'America's Ass' asks:

Hey Chase, I loved this article! Would you mind doing one on the "contrast principle". It seems to be a great tool in fields like sales, negotiation and persuasion in general. Looking forward to your wisdom on how one could use this in a courtship scenario. Aufwiedersehen!

What is the contrast principle America's Ass is referring to?

It is the idea we do not judge things in absolutes.

Rather, we contrast one thing against something else.

When you say "This pastry is delicious," you really mean "This pastry is delicious contrasted against other pastries I've had." When you say "That person is a jerk," you really mean "That person is a jerk contrasted against the other people around me usually."

There are many ways you can see the contrast principle in life:

  • The Hot Girl (Guy) in the Room Effect: everyone's been stuck in a classroom or office space where another person present is the most attractive around. Maybe you developed a big crush on this person over a few weeks or months. But when one day you saw this person outside class/the office, out in the real world, next to all the other people in public, suddenly that person was rather plain. How did this individual look so good in class or the office, yet so plain in public? Because, contrasted against your (few... or zero) other romantic options in the classroom/office, this person was the best, and the contrast principle inflated her (or his) attractiveness. Out in the real world, where there are many more options to choose from, some of them much more attractive than the classroom/office hottie, this person becomes pretty plain in contrast.

  • Fruit Sweetness. If you eat a lot of cakes, cookies, candies, soda, and ice cream, when you bite into a fruit, it's not that sweet, and it may not be that enjoyable or rewarding. The reason why is because fruits use sugar to make themselves yummier. But cakes, cookies, candies, soda, and ice cream have far more sugar packed into them than fruit does, and if you regularly eat them, it will seem like the sugar content of fruit is not that high in contrast. Yet, if you take a break from confections, and cut the cakes, cookies, candies, soda, and ice cream out of your diet, within a month or so fruits begin to seem much sweeter, and become an enjoyable dessert to have after a meal. Because you no longer contrast them against foods much sweeter than them, fruits now seem like the sweetest thing in the world to you.

  • Good vs. Bad Interviewees. If a job interviewer interviews a candidate who seems like a bad candidate for the role, the next candidate the interviewer speaks with (unless that candidate is even worse) will seem better than he otherwise would have in contrast. On the other hand, if the interviewer interviews a great candidate who really blows his socks off, the next candidate, even if that candidate is objectively pretty good, will seem much worse in contrast (unless the candidate is actually better than the first one). This works the same way on the interviewee side when interviewing for jobs. Interview with a place that leaves you saying "I would never want to work there!" and the next place will seem like the Promised Land in contrast. However, interview with a place where you conclude you would definitely like to work, and the next company you interview at will seem like a much bigger disappointment than it would've seemed had you interviewed at it first.

The two examples we just covered with people are somewhat outside your control (the fruit sweetness example, however, is 100% within your control). You can't completely control whether you are the most attractive member of your sex in a given room (though you can dress better, improve your posture, and do other things to make you a more attractive option). And you can't control how good or bad the interviewee is before you (though you can make yourself as good an interviewee as possible, to hopefully stand out in positive contrast to whomever came before).

So below, I'll give you a handful of ways you can use the contrast principle to actively influence the way other people see you... and, in turn, influence the results you get, both socially and romantically.

Chase AmanteAbout the Author: Chase Amante

Chase woke up one day in 2004 tired of being alone. So, he set to work and read every book he could find, studied every teacher he could meet, and talked to every girl he could talk to to figure out dating. After four years, scads of lays, and many great girlfriends (plus plenty of failures along the way), he launched this website. He will teach you everything he knows about girls in one single program in his One Date System.



Ben's picture

Hey chase I found the part where you talked about limiting other parties options interesting. I knew dating girls who like to drink and party isn't a good idea long term,but I never heard of moving out of downtown or not letting you girlfriend go on trips. It sounds like a lot of effort to move out of somewhere like downtown manhattan to suburban queens just so your girlfriend has less attractive options when she might not like the move or stick around in the relationship long after you move. Have you really done this? How would you not let your gf go on trips? How would you phrase it and do you need to select a certain type of girl? To the outside eye it looks like you are being very controlling and not permitting her to do anything she wants to do. People would think you're insecure,controlling,needy and at the extreme abusive,but I know you aren't any of these things and you wouldn't share this info with your friends.

Chase Amante's picture


Good questions!

People in settled relationships move around sooner or later, and often they are going to move out of downtown somewhat organically anyway. I wouldn't make this a primary reason for that move, but it's something to keep in the back of your head. You will tend to notice women who want to steer things toward a more settled relationship will often look to move out of downtown areas too.

I wouldn't ever say that's necessary, or even necessarily important. It's still a factor though, and one to consider.

Have you really done this?

Me, no. I know several guys who have. Although typically it is a mutual move... or the woman presses for it more than the man does. My friends might be atypical though (all guys who do well with women, and their girlfriends look for ways to limit their exposure to other women so the guy isn't being constantly tempted).

How would you not let your gf go on trips? How would you phrase it and do you need to select a certain type of girl?

The few times I have had a girlfriend suggest going on an all girls trip, I have pretty quickly squelched it by saying, "That sounds like a great idea. Let me know what dates, and I'll probably see if I can do a trip with [couple of friends I have whom the girl knows are big players]."

Usually that's all you've got to say for her to decide actually, she doesn't want to go on that trip after all.

Another way I've gone about it is to say "Oh, an all girls trip? So you'll be hanging out, just the girls, flirting with cute guys, maybe going about the city with them, maybe one thing leading to another. Taking pictures of the architecture and eating good food too, I'm sure." And she will deny it, and I'll say sure, sure. I'm sure it'll be totally innocent and you won't talk to any attractive men the entire trip there. And when groups of cute guys come up, you girls will just say "Sorry fellas, we're taken!" This is all said in a half-humorous "I know what you're doing... not sure why you think you can hide it from me" tone. Not displeased or worried or anything like that. More like "Oh. I am amused at your silliness and inconstancy. Perhaps you aren't the girl I thought you were!"

If that is not enough, I'll just circle back to the first one ("Sure, lemme just schedule a trip with Player 1 and Player 2"). I haven't had a situation where these two options failed to table the girls trip discussion... though if I did find myself in that situation, I'd probably just go on the boys trip, let the girl go on the girls trip, then break up with her when she gets back... because I just really do not have room in my life for a chick like that, and would rather be single, and maybe later find a new girlfriend who isn't going to do that sort of thing.

If you're not in the power position in the relationship, where she is more afraid of losing you than you are of her, I'm not sure what you'd do. There probably isn't much you can. Because you will say "Well I'll just go on a date with my player friends!" and she'll say "Fine, you do that! Have a good trip!" You basically have to always preserve that power to have any real influence with a woman.

Controlling guys basically fear losing control of their women, and will try to bully and pressure them into doing what they want. But if the girls rebel, these guys will still take them back anyway, and just try to put even more pressure on them next time.

What I suggest is to let women know certain behaviors are unacceptable... but if they engage in them anyway, you're not going to stop them.

However, if they engage in unacceptable behaviors, after you've told them those behaviors are dealbreakers for you, you need to end the relationship with them and find women who will respect you more than this... unless you want to be stuck in an endless cycle of uppity women doing things you tell them are unacceptable and not listening to you! Or slip into the jealous controlling guy of trying to pressure more and more, yet still taking girls back after unacceptable behavior anyway.

(likewise, if a woman told me a certain behavior of mine was unacceptable for her, and it was not something I was willing to change, I would expect her to break up with me, and wouldn't harbor her any ill will if she did)

Selecting a certain type of girl -- yes, screening is exceptionally important.

Behavior modification is only possible to a degree. People are going to do what they're going to do. If you choose a woman who will introduce a lot of chaos into your life, you can spend an inifnite amount of time and energy trying to correct that, and never succeed.

Full list of articles on selecting suitable relationship partners here.

People would think you're insecure,controlling,needy and at the extreme abusive

Well, if it comes off that way, maybe I need a rewrite on this article :)

Can also be a perspectives thing. I know guys who loan their girlfriends out to other guys, and view anyone who doesn't like to share his woman as 'insecure' or controlling. I also have known guys who believed their girlfriends were perfectly faithful, while letting those girlfriends do pretty much anything they wanted to. There is a shocking amount of stuff women will do (shocking if you're not familiar with it, that is) when they feel like their man will let them get away with anything and is too permissive... even the 'good girls'.

Basically: there are some things you generally should not accept in a relationship partner, if fidelity is something you want.

I don't suggest you try to 'control' her beyond influencing her against things that are potentially going to blow up your relationship.

However, if she ignores your influence and continues to pursue those things anyway, I'd strongly suggest you keep looking for a woman better suited to what your looking for than this one is.


SZ's picture

1. Didn't get a chance to read the article yet, just saw this comment and wanted to know what limitations you were talking about. So if you have the answer to this question in the article my bad.

But I wanted to know, how can you make your woman stay at home and not go out with friends or go on a girls trip when you want to go out, do those same things and still want to sleep with other women?

I'm not asking this as a moral dude, I'm legit curious how the hell can you make this relationship work? Basically I can go do what I want, but she can't? I'm all for it, but I don't understand how a relationship will last like this. Unless you are saying that at this time we men shouldn't be going out on trips or trying to still pick up women?

If you mean that, then yeah, I can see how this could work, but if I'm still going out and she can't, I can't see it working.

Especially if you're an older guy because she would think you should focus on a relationship instead of going out all the time.

But knowing this website is all about pick up, I'm guessing that we still would be doing what we want, but she can't, which I'm fine with just can't see this actually working for years.

Could you explain this better to me and how we can actually make this work by having the woman stay home and we can do what we want and further our skills with women?

2. Say if a girl is going on a trip with some friends she grew up with and hasn't seen in a while ? Do you still cut her off? What if she says she's going to visit family or something, but she really isn't? You could try to go with her, but what if you don't have the time or money? Can a girl go see her family if they live far and trust her? Or do you have to go with her to make sure? I don't trust anyone so I would assume she would be doing something, but wanted to know your take on things like this as well, like when a girl says she's going to see her friends she moved from and family she moved from. It could be true, but you never know for sure.


Ben's picture

You didn't bother to read the article first,but you still decided to comment on something without even understanding the context or the subject. Nobody is saying the girl stays at home all the time. Unless she's a total hermit who only works and then immediately goes home after and idk why you would want a gf who does absolutely nothing with her life.The article suggests that you can limit the number of attractive men your girlfriend is around by moving to a different area or telling her you don't like it when she goes out with her male friends so that she is less likely to compare you to them and less likely to cheat on you. If the girl is going to see her family then you don't go follow her. It's her family not yours there's no reason to go. That just makes you look very insecure, paranoid and a weirdo cuz u think she's gonna lie to you and cheat on you. You're asking all these questions,but I have a feeling you're just mental masturbating. You want this knowledge because you think it will make you feel good,more knowledgeable,competent with girls or whatever. I've seen you post a lot of comments asking questions like this on other old articles,but I doubt they're even applicable to you. I'm not saying this to insult you ,but you're not helping yourself if all you do is seek out knowledge without actually trying to meet girls and see for yourself how all these site tactics and principles work.

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