Thursday, January 21, 2010


At some point, we all need to accept the fact that all’s fair in love and war.

Some girls don’t want to play games or engage in behavior that might seem manipulative. But if you’re the only one playing by the rules, you’re more likely to get hurt.

When you’re going out with a new guy, he probably doesn’t have your best interests at heart. And why should he? He doesn’t know you, and if people don’t look out for themselves in the dating world, no one else will.

And until a new guy gives you a reason not to, you have to make yourself your number one priority.

This brings us to today’s dating strategy: projection.

When you meet a new guy, you need to hold him to the highest standards, especially at the beginning. At the beginning, everyone’s trying to make a good impression. Which means that as the relationship progresses, his behavior is only going to get worse. If you’re seeing him at his best on the first date and he gets blackout before dessert, imagine what your third month anniversary will look like.

But sometimes guys don’t know better. Sometimes a genuinely nice guy will make a totally inappropriate comment about your best friend’s ass, because he’s nervous, or because he saw something on TV and thought he could pull it off.

You don’t have to blow him off after he makes the first mistake. But you do need to correct his behavior.

This is where projection comes in. Projection is, in its purest form, a nudge in the right direction. It’s a form of manipulation, but it manipulates a guy into treating you the way you deserve to be treated.

It works like this: When you’re interacting with a guy, you pretend that he does, in fact, have your best interests at heart. You pretend that he wants to date you, marry you, buy you a mansion in the suburbs and a brand new BMW.

But you don’t tell him any of this.

You keep it in the back of your head. And when he screws up, your reaction doesn’t stem from the fact that he’s being an asshole. Instead, you react as though you think he’s really trying to do what’s best for you, but his desires to please you have ultimately led him astray.

In short, you act like his motivations and intentions are pure, and while he’s trying to give you what he thinks you want, what you actually want differs from the image in his head.

Here’s an example: let’s say he makes plans to take you out for restaurant week. But the day of, he calls up, and, whoops, the restaurant lost the reservation. Do you want to just come over instead?

In reality, there probably never was a reservation. And he’s just trying to get you to come over and hook up. And if you react to that, you’re agreeing to play by those rules—even if you say no.

Instead, pretend that he genuinely is upset about the reservation being “canceled,” and he’s only inviting you over so that he doesn’t have to break plans with you. So your response looks something like, “Oh, bummer! That’s OK—we can just reschedule dinner for sometime next week.”

Let’s say he responds with a text that says, “Why don’t u wanna come over .” Now he’s clearly just looking for sex. But, again, pretend his motivations are virginal and pure. Pretend he’s worried that you’re mad at him. Your response needs to remove sex from the equation (which might mean throwing in a dash of emasculation). Say something like, “Aww, I wish I could, but I have plans .”

If you need a few more examples, check back tomorrow.

Projection doesn’t work when a guy is straight-up blowing you off. If he forgets to call or doesn’t show up for a happy hour he promised to go to, your best defense is silence. Don’t try to contact him, and ignore his first few texts.

But projection does work when his behavior’s just a little off. When he’s clearly making an effort, but his efforts might be more focused on sex than on dating you.

In Pysch 101, you learn that when you project a personality trait onto someone, they start to adopt that personality. So if you treat your coworker like she’s a bitch, she’s going to start acting like one.

We all look to the people around us for cues on how to act. It’s human nature. So if someone treats us like they think we’re a really nice person, we assume, “Oh, I must be nice,” and we act accordingly.

It’s the same for guys. If you treat a guy like you think he has your best intentions at heart, he’s going to assume that he does. And he’s going start acting like it’s all about you. And, at that point, what’s the difference?

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