John, a reader on my blog, left a serious of comments on my blog post on the pitfalls of "demonstrating high value", in which I highlighted a post on my forum. I've collected John's comments here, for better readability.
What is ironic about PUA advice is that its understanding of
human psychology is so poor that it does not know which behaviors
actually express the qualities it seeks to express. Its psychology is
Most people cannot quite verbalize it, but we all
intuitively grasp that the guy who is "showing off" is not genuinely
high status or genuinely confident. We instinctively react to show-offy
behavior as an indication of lower status and lack of confidence. It is
why Hollywood actors who are trying to convey ultra-confidence or extreme
high status are trained to express themselves with restraint and
moderation and avoid anything excessive "over-acting".
interestingly, in popular culture the average guy is firmly convinced
that confidence is best expressed through "over-acting", or being
extravagantly assertive and "putting himself out there", firmly
convinced they are impressing the ladies with evidence of their high
levels of confidence as the women - and savvy men - are simply rolling
their eyes. That's why "over-acting" and goofy behavior is so common by
guys in clubs - they really think it's the face of confidence. The
crude, shallow, popular-culture conception of confidence which gets it
so wrong is really hard for most guys to outgrow.
Yet most guys
are simply addicted to this kind of "over-acting" behavior and cannot
quite convince themselves that it is actually a sign of insecurity. I
have had conversations with friends who kind of saw my point, and could
understand me intellectually and agree with me, but who would
instinctively revert to show-offy behavior in clubs, and often try to
defend it or deny that that's what they were doing. Show-offy behavior
is "just having fun", they are just "more emotionally expressive than
me", etc, etc. Such is the subconscious minds attachment to modes of
thinking and acting that our conscious minds might be advanced enough to
recognize as retrogressive.
Of course, the entire concept of DHV is null - because you cannot
overtly demonstrate high status or confidence. In fact, both qualities
are characterized specifically by an absence of excessive display, and
by a subdued reticence that specifically avoids ANY effort to impress or
make others think highly of you.
Conversely, avoiding excessive
display or efforts to impress others in an effort to appear "cool" -
which is sometimes counseled in PUA circles - is apt to come off as the
kind of try-hard being "aloof" and "stony-faced" that is just as absurd
and obvious an indication of insecurity as show-offy behavior. I have
heard women mock this kind of obvious try-hard attempts at masculinity.
confident people are characterized by having "NO EGO". This seems like a
paradox, but it isn't, really. In popular language the word "ego" is
often used to denote the kind of behavior that is meant to impress
ourselves on others and assert ourselves against them inappropriately.
The frame of reference of such behavior is "what other people think of
us", even if we are not always aware of this and sometimes such behavior
appears to be not caring at all what others think. Being
inappropriately assertive towards others, say, (trying to dominate them
or not be appropriately considerate towards them), comes from a place of
needing others to ACKNOWLEDGE your superiority (you need them to
submit to you or acknowledge your superior right to mistreat them). The
man genuinely free from need doesn't need others to acknowledge his superiority -
the truly self-secure - does not need them to "submit" to him, and is
not seeking to demonstrate his superiority through failing to be
considerate, and so is typically not inappropriately assertive.
having "no ego" in the sense that one is not seeking to impress oneself
on others is actually to have a firm, secure, and mature ego - in other
words having "no ego" in the popular sense is to have a balanced and
well-developed ego, one where you are not afraid to claim what is due
you but are free from childish dreams of megalomania and the need to be
inappropriately assertive towards others. Such well-balanced, truly
secure individuals are rare in modern Western culture, especially in
America, where a kind of childish and inappropriate assertiveness is
encouraged as an expression of "confidence".
So in sum, one should NOT try to be "show-offy - even in subtle ways -
NOR should one try to be "aloof" or "indifferent" - one is an active
attempt to show-off, and one is a passive attempt to show-off. They are
two sides of the same coin. I do not want to give the silly impression
that I believe confidence is expressed by being "aloof" or
"indifferent". I want to make clear that such a silly notion is as bad
as thinking that confidence is expressed by acting flamboyantly or with
Rather, according to my belief that
confidence is best expressed by having "no ego" in the popular
conception of that word, I believe one should be polite, considerate,
and "open" (not aloof) to others, while at the same time, refusing to
fawn over anyone or allowing oneself to be mistreated. Not trying in
the least bit to appear "superior" - not by being "indifferent", and not
by being excessively self-assertive - as you simply do not need others
to "acknowledge" your supposed superiority. In fact, you care so little
about them acknowledging your superiority that you are quite prepared to
treat them politely as equals :)
When I go out in this frame of
mind, I have my best social encounters, with both men and women. I tend
to connect with women very well in this state of mind and other guys are
quite willing to socialize with me. Of course, a woman still has to be
sexually attracted to me to go home with me, but I believe this state of
mind is optimum and at least removes any social barriers.
The moment arrogance or "ego" creeps back into my mindset, I bomb socially, every time.