Most men fail with women for one of two reasons: 1) they are afraid of coming off as creepy or needy, so they don’t push the gas hard enough or 2) they are actually creepy or needy, so they push the gas too hard. This article is about striking the right balance between being aggressive and not overly aggressive. My goal with this article is to teach you what creepiness is so you can stop worrying about it and be more confident. Once you know what creepiness is, you can be more open to expressing yourself to women, not less.
Creepiness, neediness, desperation, selfishness, and beta behavior are all symptoms of the same thing: emotional overinvestment. Emotional overinvestment when you focus too much of your thoughts on emotions on a thing or person, which causes you to want it too much. It is ok to want to eat a sandwich for lunch, but it is creepy to think about the sandwich all day to the exclusion of everything else. It is ok to love your mother, but it is creepy to spend 8 hours every day talking on the phone with her. Girls want to be wanted, but not too much.
People emotionally overinvest for many reasons, with a major reason being scarcity. Scarcity is the feeling that 1) we want or need something, and 2) we have no easy way of getting that thing, so whenever we have a chance to get that thing we must focus all of our attention on getting it. Everybody needs to eat, but most people in developed countries don’t obsess about their next meal because they know they can get food whenever they want. But if you were starving and had no food you would spend all day thinking about food and you would stop at nothing if you thought there was a possibility of getting a sandwich.
Scarcity in turn is caused by a shitty self-image. We feel scarcity with respect to a certain thing because we subconsciously feel we are not good enough to get that thing. When the cashier at McDonald’s smiles at us, we emotionally invest in her because we feel like no other woman will want to have sex with us. Surprisingly, scarcity has nothing to do with how many women you have or can get: lots of attractive guys and even celebrities can get tons of pussy but still feel scarcity and act creepy. A guy can also have nothing and still feel abundance. Scarcity is a mindset: the difference between what you think you can get and what you think you need – by adjusting those variables, you can eliminate that mindset.
Some of you may be thinking “this shit article does not apply to be me because I am not creepy or needy.” Bruh, you are probably a creep. All men have a natural tendency to emotionally overinvest in women, and even a little too much emotional overinvest will cause women to run for the hills. You don’t need to be hiding in her bushes with binoculars for her to feel uneasy. If you act just a little too emotionally overinvested in a woman, her subconscious mind will register you as a creep even if your actions are outwardly socially acceptable. Women have evolved a very sensitive ability to sense of what men are emotionally invested in, and if they can sense that men are emotionally overinvested in them, they feel a strong aversion, even if they would otherwise be attracted to the man.
Because humans evolved to “sense” creepiness, there are objective criteria to what is and is not creepy, and if you learn this criteria, you can 1) stop being creepy and 2) not have to worry about whether you are being creepy. Even if you don’t believe my theory, you need objective criteria to guide your actions because you absolutely cannot base your behavior on what women do and do not judge to be creepy. Women often have bizarre or stupid criteria for determining creepiness, they misjudge situations all the time, and they sometimes make false accusations of creepiness out of pure spite. More importantly, you cannot read womens’ minds so you have no idea what they will think is creepy.
The alpha male quid pro quo
The key to controlling your emotional investment in women is this: you must only do things for women after they have done something for you and only in proportion to what they have done for you. She should do something for you, you should then reciprocate, she should then do something bigger for you, you should reciprocate on a slightly bigger level, and so forth. By “doing things” I mean anything: buying her things, doing favors for her, or even giving her attention or looking at her. I call this rule the “alpha male quid pro quo” and I think it is the single most important rule when interacting with women.
The alpha male quid pro quo applies in every situation, with every woman, no matter how hot or important she is, and throughout the whole relationship, no matter how long you have known her. It applies in real life, over text, in dating apps, and across every category of your relationship. In addition, it only applies to objectively meaningful things she has done for you – actions mean more than words. If she has promised she will do a bunch of things for you, or gave you a bunch of sweet compliments, or texted you a bunch – she still has done very little for you from an objective standpoint. Just because you are thrilled to have a pretty girl text you does not mean she deserves a text back – she needs to do something to deserve it first.
Humans evolved to view relationships as reciprocal exchanges, so if somebody proves themselves to be a fair and valuable trading partner we feel a deep emotional connection to them. Not only do we value the fruits of the exchange, but we also view the trading partner’s life as an extension to our own such and vicariously feel their joys and victories because we are helping them win and they are helping us win. Our subconscious mind keeps a tally of everything we have done for them and everything they have done for us, which is why we feel angry and betrayed when we do something for a person and they do not reciprocate.
But here is the strange thing: we also feel disgusted and repelled by people who do too much stuff for us we do not deserve. When people do things we have done nothing to deserve, we subconsciously feel we have incurred a debt we must repay. Our subconscious mind knows nobody does anything for free and somehow “knows” that the doer wants and expects something back. The feeling that somebody is fixated on you because they want and expect something from you is unpleasant, and we seek to escape that pressure by escaping from the person. This is why women often lose attraction if you ask them for things, beg, express disappointment when they say no, and give her stuff for nothing in return: their lizard mind senses that have emotionally invested in her and want something, and will stop at nothing to get it. And the truth is: her lizard mind is right: no matter how much you consciously say to yourself “I am just a nice, generous guy” your subconscious mind wants something from her and you will get mad if you do not get it.
Because of our subconscious propensity to view relationships as reciprocal trading exchanges, we emotionally invest in people after we do things for them. Person A may think person B is attractive, but person A won’t really emotionally care about person B until person A does things for person B. When I was in college, my guidance counselor suggested I apply to Yale Law School. I laughed – I knew my grades were not good enough but I applied anyway just to see what would happen. Before I applied to Yale, I had not cared about getting in, but the act of applying made me emotionally invest in Yale so I got very upset after I got rejected. The same thing happens with women – even if the woman shows you no interest at all, by doing things for her (even just texting her), you emotionally invest in her such that you get angry when she does not text back.
Most guys, of course, assume the opposite: they think if they do things for a woman first, she will like them more. But for the reasons I described earlier, doing undeserved favors actually repels women. The strange thing is that women may ask for these favors and even think with their rational mind they want them, but when you actually do these favors, their subconscious starts to produce a bad feeling about you, but she will eventually leave if the bad feeling grows large enough.
Whenever you are feeling emotional, irrational, insecure, or anxious around a woman, take a second to rationally analyze the interaction as a reciprocal exchange. Are you doing more for her than she is doing for you? Are you texting her more than she is texting you? Are you staring at her when she is not doing anything to merit being stared at? Are you waiting for her or doing favors for her when she has not done the same for you? Are you divulging deep secrets about your life when she is not doing the same? Because men naturally tend to emotionally overinvest in women, you should constantly be adjusting your behavior and attention to ensure that the interaction is a reciprocal exchange.
Women deeply want to form an emotional connection with the alpha male, vicariously experience his awesome life and gain access to his protection and resources – in other words, they want acceptance into his life. The alpha male grants this acceptance by paying the woman attention: women subconsciously know that a man’s attention is proportional to his emotional investment, and a man’s emotional investment in a woman is proportional to his acceptance of her. But again, if a man emotionally overinvests in a woman, she will not want his acceptance because she will have incurred a debt she must repay later.
Women feel more comfortable in relationships where the man has not deeply emotionally invested in them. If you do things for a woman only after she does things for you, you let her control the amount of attention she gets. If she wants attention, she can do things for you – if she does not want attention, she can turn it off by not doing things. This, by the way, is how you get women to “chase” you – by only rewarding her post hoc, she can further the relationship on her own terms. But if you do stuff for her first, you are emotionally investing in her and pressuring her into reciprocating, and nobody likes to be pressured. It sounds strange, but part of the reason women sometimes like men who ignore them is because those men are not pressuring them – the woman can jump in and out of the relationship whenever they please because the man does not give a fuck whether she is there or not. Of course at some point, you may want to enter into a long-term relationship with a woman who consistently contributes, but to do so you must find a woman who wants to consistently contribute and will always be more emotionally invested than you.
Women have a very keen sense of their own value and a subconscious “attention sensor” which tells them why they are receiving attention. The moment the attention sensor senses that you are doing things for she has not worked for, it throws up a red flag and she starts looking for the exits. Womens’ attention sensor is extremely sensitive and largely irrational. If you are a successful, attractive guy with a fun life, it will not actually hurt you to bestow upon a random woman a free drink or a few minutes of attention. But to her subconscious lizard mind, even that little bit of undeserved attention indicates disproportionate emotional investment. This is why even a little bit of extra attention creeps women out.
Why Creepiness Sucks
Emotional overinvestment is unattractive for a variety of reasons, a few of which I describe here.
First, when you emotionally overinvest in a woman, you usually subconsciously know something is wrong, so you start to censor yourself and act strangely. It is almost like your subconscious mind knows you are being creepy, so it tries to hide your real emotions and stop you from what you are doing. This is why creepy people are often anxious and are somehow “off” – their subconscious mind is trying to stop them from expressing their creepiness. But it is extremely difficult to hide your real emotions, so women can tell something is off because your words and actions are not congruent with your emotional state. Humans have a deep aversion to people who are non-congruent like this because we can sense they have some ulterior motive against us (because they do).
A confident, non-creepy man is congruent: his actions, thoughts and emotions align, and he feels no guilt, shame, or anxiety in a how he feels because he is not worried he is doing anything wrong. In a weird way, he is like an open book: when he says or does something, you do not need to worry he is lying or has some ulterior motive. But to be congruent you must first feel free to express yourself, and creeps do not feel free to express themselves because on some weird level they know their emotional state is wrong.
Second, emotional overinvestment just feels bad. If you’ve ever been obsessed with a girl or heartbroken over a breakup, you know that feeling sucks. You feel weak, inferior, dependent, anxious, and sometimes even depressed, lonely, or angry. Instead of focusing on your life’s mission and the things you that bring you happiness, you are focusing on a person who may or may not give a shit about you. An advantage of the alpha male quid pro quo is that your own emotions will tell you if you are doing it right: if your actions make you feel clear-headed, alpha, and strong you are doing it right. If your actions are making you feel weak, beta, and anxious, you are doing it wrong. If you text a girl and afterwards and move on to do the next thing, you are doing it right. If you text a girl and afterwards feel anxious and keep thinking about her like you may have done something wrong, you are doing it wrong.
Third, emotional overinvestment oftentimes becomes a vicious spiral. We emotionally overinvest in a girl, so we do things for she does not deserve, which causes us to feel even more emotionally invested, which causes us to do even more for her, etc… And the more we become emotionally invested, the less attracted she becomes, so the less she does for us, which causes in turn to do more to “get her back.” This vicious spiral is why some guys end up in jail for stalking the McDonald’s cashier when all she ever did was smile at them. We have all felt ourselves slipping into this vicious spiral at some point in our lives, which is why we become so horrified when see it in somebody else, especially when that person has emotionally overinvested in us. Because creepy people feel scarcity, they feel desperation, and extreme desperation is scary because it means you might do something crazy or violent to get the thing you want
If you knew a homeless man was starving and has not eaten in over two weeks, you would not walk by him with a sandwich because you would know he might do something crazy to get the sandwich from you. Not only would your rational brain logically know that he might become violent over the sandwich, but your emotions would also “feel” uneasy around him because we all subconsciously know how it feels to be desperate, and we can sense it in others. For the same reason, women do not like to be around creepy guys because they know those creepy guys might become annoying, stalkerish, or even violent. If a man acts even a tiny bit creepy, women can sense it and are repelled because their primitive lizard mind knows that that tiny bit of creepiness can blossom into something seriously creepy later.
I have noticed that needy, insecure, and codependent people are more likely to be disgusted by people who emotionally overinvest in them than average people. I suspect this is because needy people are themselves more likely to fall into this vicious spiral of neediness, so seeing even a little neediness in others makes them assume the other person will fall into this vicious spiral as well. I suspect this is why women with “daddy issues” cannot stay in stable relationships: they are quick to emotionally overinvest in men, but the moment a man emotionally invests in them they freak out. The only way to “tame” a woman with daddy issues is to enforce the alpha male quid pro quo strictly, which most men cannot do.
Fourth, emotional overinvestment is unattractive because it subconsciously indicates to her that your emotional experience sucks. Women are constantly monitoring where a man is directing his thoughts and emotions, and if that man is emotionally overinvesting in people and things that provide him nothing in return, she will subconsciously feel like his life is not attractive. Think about it: if you are starving and talk about eating sandwiches for 8 hours a day, people with well-rounded lives are not going to enjoy being around you. Instead, they will feel sad and annoyed by you. In addition, women have a very keen sense of their own value, and if they feel like they are providing you little value but you are emotionally overinvesting in them, then they subconsciously assume the rest of your life has little value as well. This feeling is sometimes irrational, because giving women a little extra attention does not mean your life actually sucks, but the lizard mind is irrational.
Fifth, emotional overinvestment in somebody indicates that you are beneath them in the subconscious dominance hierarchy we all carry around in our heads. The dominance hierarchy stays together because the lower-ranked apes emotionally invest in the higher-ranked ones and do things for them, so if somebody emotionally over-invests in you, you subconsciously assume they are beneath you in the dominance hierarchy. People’s perceptions of the dominance hierarchy are completely irrational – if a billionaire does too much for a homeless woman, she may feel “higher” than him even though in reality she is not.
In addition, it feels bad when you realize you are occupying all of a person’s thoughts and emotions, because if you slip up and do the wrong thing they will become extremely angry and upset. Counter-intuitively, when you know that you are competing with other stuff for their thoughts and emotions, you feel less pressure. Of course, sometimes very insecure or weak people hold their nose and stay in relationships with people that are too emotionally invested in them because they prefer the shitty feeling of being pressured to the shitty feeling of being alone. And of course, sometimes women hold their nose and stay with men that are overly emotionally invested because they want money, a nice house to live in, social status, etc…
By the way, women can get emotionally overinvested too. In fact, when women emotionally overinvest in men, it is often much worse, which is why women get freaked out so much by men who emotionally overinvest – they know the feeling! I have always been surprised by how I get turned off by women who are too into me. I have had really hot and cool chicks blow it with me because they did way too much. On some level, I think I was afraid that I was feeding their craziness and if I didn’t dismiss them I would end up in a cage in their basement.
What can women do for you?
Women can “do” a lot of things for you: teach you something, entertain you, do errands for you, compliment you, buy you something, or simply contribute to a good conversation. The only criteria is that she must meaningfully and objectively contribute to your life. Texting you, complimenting you, and just being hot are contributions, but they are very mild contributions, and don’t deserve much in return. If a woman gets in a car and comes to meet you at a bar, it is ok to buy her a drink, but if she is just standing at the bar looking hot, then no.
To understand women’s contributions in a more abstract way, think of it like this: women contribute by helping you pursue your purposes, whatever they may be, and your purposes ideally involve venturing into the unknown, conquering some challenge, and bringing back some resource to share with those that have helped you. The more a woman “helps” you in your purposes, and the more important of the purpose she helps you with, the more she deserves. For example, a woman that helps you get a job at a company you want to work for is contributing way more than a woman who buys you a beer. And most importantly, women should help you pursue your purposes, not BE your purpose.
Most men fail the alpha male quid pro quo by doing too much for the woman. But some men fail because they do not do enough. If a woman DOES meaningfully contribute to your emotional experience, you should reward her proportionately to what she has done. Women seek acceptance, and if they feel like they cannot get it from you they will move on and get it from somebody else. A woman may be intrigued by a man who ignores her, but she will not want to remain ignored forever – at some point she will want acceptance from somebody, even if he is not her first choice. This is a very important point – women are VERY sensitive to rejection and the phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is true – if a woman feels like you have affirmatively rejected her, she will never be able to trust you again because evolutionarily, rejection means that you left the woman in the woods by herself to starve.
The key to getting women to do things for you is to be very warm and welcoming so she feels comfortable putting herself out there. Women are terrified of rejection, so you must make her feel comfortable doing things and emotionally investing in you. You must also fairly reward her for her contributions to keep her feeling welcome to do things for you.
It is often difficult to determine what exactly is “fair” because it is impossible for you to accurately keep track of every single thing you have done for each other. As a man, you are also prone to emotionally overinvest in a woman, especially at the beginning stages of the interaction. Therefore, to be safe, you should do significantly less for her than she does for you, but not so little that she feels rejected. Getting good at this requires practice and “feel” – I can’t tell you what would be fair in every situation.
The more the woman emotionally invests in you, the easier it becomes to maintain the alpha male quid pro quo because she will constantly be doing stuff for you and she will build up a large “account” that you will be able to draw against without going negative. Women WANT to do things for men they are attracted to, and indeed your challenge will be to reward her fairly. But women normally take longer than men to emotionally invest, so you need to very cognizant of the alpha male quid pro quo in the beginning stages of the relationship, including when you first meet her.
Escalation is just a process you reward her for emotionally investing in you. The more she emotionally invests in you, the more she will feel attracted, and the more she will expect and desire for you to “escalate” by paying her attention, inviting her to do things, and making sexual advances. The key to escalating, however, is waiting until AFTER she has emotionally invested, which means you should wait until after she has done things for you.
Here is an example:
She does something small for you (she gets dolled up and looking hot to go out that night).
You reward her with a proportionate amount of attention (you walk up to her and say “you look amazing tonight”)
She does something bigger for you (she smiles and says thank you)
You reward her with more attention and escalation (you ask what is your name)
As the night goes on, the stakes get bigger and bigger. So later, for example she contributes by having a long conversation about something interesting, and you “reward” her for complimenting and then inviting to do something with you later. It does not matter exactly what you do, it just has to be proportionate to what she has done.
At some point you may accidentally press the gas too hard and show her too much attention or escalate too quickly, causing her to recoil or say no. That’s fine. Just act like nothing happened, withdraw your attention, and wait until she emotionally invests later. For example, let’s say you try to kiss her and she says no. You laugh, say something to show it’s not a big deal (“hey I tried”) and immediately go back to whatever you were doing as if nothing happened. Then later in the night when she is ready you can try again. When you get good at this, you will be able to “read” women and tell when they are ready for the next step, but until then, it’s just practice.
At any point she may stop contributing, walk away, do something shitty, etc.. In that case, you should just withdraw your attention and “get distracted” by something else. Oftentimes I will approach a woman at a party and when the conversation starts to go stale I wander away and come back later. You should not get butthurt, “call her out,” or complain – you should act like a little child that got distracted by some other shiny thing, so she feels like you have lots of options and do not get when one of your options poops out for some reason. You should remember that women take a while to emotionally invest in men, so if a woman ignores you or does not show you interest right away, it does not necessarily mean that she has something against you – you may have just not shown your life to be fun enough to yet.
Of course, sometimes women just do not like you, no matter how well you execute the alpha male quid pro quo. Or they may be shitty people that actively want to harm your life or take advantage of you. In those cases, it is fine to just withdraw your attention.
Beginning the relationship
If you have been following my logic so far, you may be thinking “if I were to follow the alpha male quid pro quo strictly, I would never approach or escalate with a new woman because they would not have done anything for me. This would make it impossible for me to meet women because most women do not make the first move.” This is actually an important point.
No matter what a woman has done for you, all women merit you approaching them once. Just the fact that they left the house, put some pants on, and tried to make themselves look pretty is enough of a “contribution” to merit you saying hello and introducing yourself. When women are getting ready to go out, they are dolling themselves up to impress the “alpha male” – they just do not know it is you yet. Of course, once you have introduced yourself, the onus is back on her to do something to merit more and deeper attention from you. But every woman gets one free approach. Not a drink, not a conversation, just a warm, friendly, approach.
Even if you don’t buy my alpha male quid pro quo theory, you should still feel comfortable approaching people because a pure approach by itself is never creepy. What makes it creepy is staring at her too long, sticking around after she has shown she is not interested in talking to you, etc… But approaching is a normal part of human interaction and is necessary for people to ever meet. Blue haired feminists that say you should never approach a woman are just stupid – they are confining themselves to a prison where the only people they will ever meet are friends of friends.
The purpose of an approach is to communicate “I am warm, friendly, and welcoming enough to give you the chance to validate yourself to me.” Women are very sensitive to rejection, which is why they are so afraid to approach men they find attractive. Think of a tribe as hierarchy – the alpha male sits at the top of the hierarchy and the status of the individual members is determined by the alpha depending on what they have done for the tribe. The losers and enemies of the tribe sit outside of the tribe’s walls – they are excluded from the hierarchy completely. When you approach women, you subconsciously communicate “You can enter the walls of the tribe, but if you want to move up, you need to work for it.” And by the way, you should never “reject” a woman unless you are absolutely sure that your rejection is permanent.
I once joined a very prestigious law firm famous for being a meat grinder. They would hire 70-80 new lawyers a year but only about 4 or 5 would last long enough to actually make partner. During my second week, the firm’s most important partner approached me and asked me about a case I was working on. Despite my nervousness, the partner was very warm and friendly. And I can still remember like yesterday him responding to something I said by saying “great – now you’re thinking like a partner.”
Of course, that’s bullshit. I wasn’t even close to being a partner – I was just another slab of meat for the meat grinder. And like most lawyers the firm hired, I would probably not last long enough to become partner. If I fucked up he could fire me and give my work to one of the other 70 lawyers he had hired that year. But in that moment, the firm’s most important partner made me feel like I had a legitimate shot at succeeding in this law firm. And really, that’s the whole point of every approach – you are trying to subconsciously communicate to the woman that she has a genuine chance at joining your awesome life if she does a good job. The CEO walking up and shaking your hand does not mean that you are guaranteed to move up, but it least means you are not fired. And when you approach women, you should act as if the new hire is naturally eager to validate themselves to the CEO.
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