Beloved LessWrongers,

Recently I experimented with radically changing my texting strategy to increase women's interest. It was stunningly successful because I fixed awkward conversation killers and learn to perform high-status behaviors. Reductionism OP, please nerf.

I am now considering applying the same strategy to my in-person flirting. Ten or so behaviors (eye contact, slow movements, posture, etc.) are likely to inspire attraction. Given that learning the optimal behaviors in texting was so effective, I intend to learn the in-person behaviors next. I will hire an acting coach and we will pretend flirt exactly like learning a golf swing - adding a few more behaviors each time until they feel natural. I expect the acting coach will have other tips.

Some say "faking" confidence is impossible. But they said the same for tinder. Furthermore, if there is a 90% chance they are right that confidence is unfakable, the acting class is still positive utility.

If I'm missing something, post below.

Best, Snog

New Answer
Ask Related Question
New Comment

4 Answers sorted by

I don't think this is a terrible idea, but keep in mind that your end goal should be "learn how to express myself in a socially fluent way" rather than "hit this combo to score." The failure mode for your approach is to end up with something that feels like AI-generated text -- the right words and signals in the right places but with none of the content behind them to feel natural. "Normal" people have very finely tuned senses of these signals, and while the fake reaction may work for initial or shallow interactions it will begin to fall apart quickly once something of more substance is desired. On the other hand, if your goal is to be able to combine these actions to correctly communicate your actual feelings, if you approach this more as you would learning a foreign language (because that's what it really is), you will end up in a better spot. There is nothing wrong with learning social language in a structured fashion -- it's not as good as learning it intuitively as a toddler learns their first language, but it's better than not learning it at all.

After finishing Geoffrey Miller's Mate, I arrived at a similar position. If someone did not understand courtship more broadly and the classic PUA failure modes, my advice would probably make them worse. But if you have a good model and are already okay at conversation, reminding yourself to have open gestures and make confident eye contact provides net benefit. Your toddler analogy is helpful.

When texting it's not possible all information that's available to the other person is what you write. The conversation also isn't realtime and you have no problem redrafting a message for a minute. 

When you are face-to-face there's a lot more information available then that and you need to react immediately.

I know a bunch of people who make money with dating coaching and they would likely recommend against your plan. 

A strategy for face-to-face interaction that completely ignores your own emotions is unlikely to be very yielding and brings it's own problems. 

You can't convey a playful attidude without having a playful emotional state. If you do go an acting route I would expect taking improv comedy classes that teach you to play around to be more yielding them learning specific eye contact, movements and posture. 

For someone who struggles with being playful, I might not recommend this approach. I'really good at being playful. I am bad at displaying status. Generic problem of advice.

Maybe, maybe not. None of your comments are strong evidence it won't work. It's a few bits of weak evidence. Also you strawmaning my post by saying "that completely ignores your own emotions".

1. Immediate reaction times are necessary to receive any benefits - immediate reactions can be trained, even highly sophisticated and creative ones. Improv comedy is great e... (read more)

I would never consciously train a fake smile for the purpose of it being visible to other people because I have no problem to trigger the emotional shift that leads to a smile if I want to which actually leads to all those muscles around the eyes actually doing what they are supposed to do with a real smile.  If you want to learn better posture, then an actor is not a person who has the skill set that's focused on teaching you posture. They might have had an Alexander technique course in their training and try to teach you posture based on it, but you likely get much better returns if you actually go to an Alexander technique trainer.  A more generalized way would also be to take martial arts classes. They teach you how to use your body in a way where it's more expressive. Most of my perspective of those people comes from an enviroment where I spent 10 days at a retreat along with a bunch of guys who are into personal development.  Some of them do earn their money with the dating market and that involves writing "How to have good eye contact with girls" articles because those are high traffic keywords on Google even when it's not what they consider to be most helpful.  It's worth noting that while the title is all about body language it involves him saying that coming with existing friends to the pub and having fun with them is part of the behavior he recommends to have good bodylanguage. "Have a good time with everybody" Having a good time with everybody is being uninhibited. A lot of attempts to consciously slow down your body language will create inhibition.  This is also a typical structure of this kind of dating advice. It hooks people who are into optimizing bodylanguage with the title and then a short bit of information and then spends the bulk of the time recommending what's actually believed to be useful, in this case having established relationships where you have fun with other people instead of coming in alone.
1snog toddgrass3y
You are implying I won't do the other practices. I agree that Luke Progs other points are higher cost-benefit and should be done first. But just because other things pass cost-benefit does not mean the body language changes also do not. Anyway, we've presented our pro and con arguments. I'm gonna go test it. Will report back.

What are your specific goals here? 

If you want to close a gap between who you believe you are and how you present yourselves to others in certain situations, I think that there's a good chance coaching can help.

If you want to change who you are to match your own ideal of who you want to be, that may be possible, but much harder.

If you want to get dates, it's probably possible to learn to fake your way well enough to do that. But be careful when, where, and how you do that, because it's very easy for that path to get pretty dark. 

If you want to find a partner, though, you don't just want to be attractive to "women," you want to find the subset of women who will be a good match for you, and around whom you can be yourself. See for a much better discussion than I could ever manage.

How do you know if "pretend flirting" is accurate?

Hard to parse you question. I think you mean "how do you know that the behaviors you will be learning into habit are attractive to women". I'm just using conventional wisdom on that one. I'm getting the list of behaviors here -

The article says to try them on your next date. But learning a bunch of habits is hard, and you want to do them all at the same time. So hiring an acting coach I can practice a bunch of fake interactions to ingrain the habits, move t... (read more)

Sorry. Yes, that is what I meant. And yes, it is hard to argue with those 5 items mentioned in that article. (Be careful on eye contact though. Fine line between paying attention and unblinking serial killer :)) I love how seriously you're taking this. Sincerely. How do you aim to measure effectiveness of this?
1snog toddgrass3y
I'm gonna talk to cute girls in the park. If maintaining them distracts me form small talk I'll stop doing it.
2 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:37 PM

How did it go?

Hi there, I'm curious about whether you've tried this, and if so - what was the process/reflections?