12-03-09 - Following

The modern emo metrosexual dorky man is often afraid to take charge and lead his lover. He's afraid of stepping on her toes, making her do something she doesn't want to, afraid of suggesting something that doesn't turn out well and then getting the blame for it. It turns every discussion about what to do into this huge sissy yielding back and forth, like "what do you want to do?" "oh I don't know, what do you want?" "well I'm flexible" "well I could maybe watch a movie" "yeah you want that? I could do that" , ugh it's revolting.

He'll claim that he's "sweet" or "considerate". Really it's nothing but cowardice and weakness. He doesn't want to just boldly lead where he wants to go, because he's afraid of rejection, afraid of the blowup if he does the wrong thing. The woman wants you to lead - so yielding and refusing to lead is not doing her any favors.

One way to get over this is of course just to not care, aka "be an asshole". BTW this is why it often seems like girls are attracted to dicks and assholes - because in many ways they have positive traits that the sensitive man lacks. They don't actually want an asshole, and guys who say "women like jerks" are being foolish and defeatest. Obviously they want someone nice and considerate, but considerate does not mean pansy. It means thinking about the affect on them when you lead.

A crucial point is that the art of Following is just as important as the Leading. It's like ballroom dance. The follower needs to subtly direct the leader, and follow smoothly, taking the cues and then moving on their own.

Perhaps the most important thing is that the follower needs to speak up immediately when the leader takes them in a direction they don't agree with. This gives the leader confidence to know that he can lead and not have to worry about "is this okay? is this okay?" all the time - he knows the follower will speak up if something is wrong. Often when I'm a guest in somebody else's house, I find myself really uncomfortable, and a large part of it is because I feel like they're afraid to just say something when I do something they don't like. This makes me hesitant about every action because I don't know what will displease them. If I knew they would just say "hey don't put your feet on the coffee table" , then I could be at ease and just do whatever.

Also, the follower needs to reward the leader when he does a good job, with enthusiasm and good spirits. If you take someone on some fun adventure and they don't go along with it and don't appreciate it, you won't want to do it again.

Almost everything in human perception is "relative to recent average". That means when you improve your situation, you rapidly acclimatize to it, and find all new things to complain about.

It's also something important to be aware of if you are trying to maximize how other people perceive your value.

If you are just nice to people all the time, they won't think of it as being nice. For example, say you just do the dishes every time your wife asks. She won't think of it as you doing something really nice for her, she'll just think "my husband does the dishes for me, that's the way life is". Instead, if you refuse and moan about it usually, but *ocassionally* do the dishes, when you do it she will think "what a sweetie".

Similarly, at work if you just put in solid hours and do good work all the time, you will become invisible to your boss. Instead, if you generally screw around and chit-chat a lot, but *occasionally* you really crunch and do some amazing work, your boss will think "oh, that guy really gave his all for the team there" and you'll get big bonuses.

I think there's a very fine moral line between "manipulation" and just being aware of how people perceive your actions.

If you find yourself being too consistently good, you should intentionally fuck up. Like say you've really sexed up your lady really nicely a few times in a row - you better do a terrible job on your next go, or it's going to become the "norm". Once it becomes the norm, then any deviation downward is seen as bad, and continued good jobs are not perceived as good, just as normal. You need to fuck up often enough that the norm is perceived to be low enough that you can beat it.

When you do something nice for someone, you're usually doing it to be *perceived* as doing something nice, not actually doing something nice. When you bake cookies and give them to someone, it's not because you think they really need a cookie and you're helping them out, it's because you want them to think "oh how nice".

Acknowledging this, when you do something nice, it should be the thing that creates the maximum perception of nice while costing you the minimum.

For example, when I do something for someone that takes an hour of my time, that costs me $200 or whatever my hourly time value is. They certainly do not appreciate that for its fair value. On the other hand, I can do something trivial like buy someone flowers and it's perceived as very nice.

Often I will choose to do the things that are "actually nice" as in actually helpful to the person, even if they don't particularly perceive it as very nice, and I refuse to do the the easy things that have high niceness perception because they're "cheating" or "too easy". Really I'm just being stupid.

In the world, we can see our choices, and we can see the results they will produce. There's no omniscient judge who is watching your choices and giving you gold stars for being "good". There are only the real world results. You should make the choice that provides the best real world results. That means buying flowers, cheating on your taxes, bribing restaurant hosts, making smalltalk, treating women like dogs, driving in the carpool lane, etc. I can't quite make myself do these things, but I also don't understand what exactly is holding me back.


billyzelsnack said...

There is not really any subtlety when leading in ballroom dance.

Wouter said...

I officially read your blog for the programming related insights, but damn, these kinds of posts are really good too. Very recognizable stuff, but not all obvious.

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