How NOT to attract people

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NonIndigenous
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#1
I can't promise I'll be consistent with this. Too busy these days. But nonetheless I decided to start posting on what I believe from experience to be bad ideas/tricks/games for attracting people. Couple of reasons why I'm doing this:
  • Get things off my chest
  • Improve self-awareness of people's insecurities
  • Alert people to some of the toxic mind games that exist out there, that are often designed to exploit those insecurities
  • Patronise and degrade the tossers that exploit these insecurities

You will find more reliable and unbiased advice on YouTube, however. I'll add to the list below as I feel like (editing the original post). I'm more likely to do so if I see people responding to the thread, just because I'll be reminded of it in my notifications every time. If no one cares, then I don't either. No biggie. If you have ideas on anything specific & share them in the thread, I might write about those too.

P.S. I don't want to turn this into a men vs. women thread. I'm a guy though, and I'm hetero, so my experiences will naturally be slightly biased. Deal with it.

Pity Plays
This involves giving the other person some sad version of events that happened to you, to stimulate their sympathy and bring them closer to you. It's normal & good to reveal personal stuff further into a relationship, but not when it's just the 1st or 2nd time you're seeing each other.

This isn't necessarily a deliberate manipulation. Perhaps you're genuinely craving some affection which at that time is hard to come by in your life. But sometimes it is deliberate. I believe I know men and women alike who've done this. I certainly know more women who've done this, as I'm hetero myself. I've known one who tried to push very persistently for a relationship with me (and failing that, attempted multiple hookups), after giving me lots of stories about how hard her life has been. It spooked the heck out of me.

Why should you not do this? Couple of reasons:
  • Even if it is not a deliberate manipulation, it opens you up instead to being exploited before you know the other person well enough to trust them with such personal information. If someone knows your week spots, they will know how to push your buttons if they want to.
  • It sets a bad precedent for a potential relationship. You're bonding with another person over the most miserable past experiences and memories that you can conjure. That is not remotely a recipe for success or happiness. You should learn to enjoy your time together first doing things you enjoy, before commiserating over past experiences.
  • It puts you at high risk of falling victim to narcissistic relationships. This is called 'Trauma Bonding', and you can listen to more about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmB9fpHVd2o. To summarise the video and contextualise it under this topic, some people like to rush this kind of intimacy because of the 'high' it gives them, which is even comparable to adrenaline. It makes you feel alive. But it isn't healthy and it is risky. It makes you an addict, and at risk of becoming addicted to toxic people.
  • It sets you up for a massive disappointment if the other person doesn't reciprocate your intimacy. If you are behaving this way, you likely already have issues, so don't make it even worse on yourself.
  • If it is a deliberate manipulation to bring someone closer just so you can hook up with them & toss them aside, or use them for some other means... then go to hell where you belong. I have no advice or help for you.

So what should you do instead? See a therapist. Short & sweet. I think that will likely be the answer I come up with for most of these topics. If you're willing to trust someone who is almost a complete stranger with intimate personal details, instead of your close friends or family... then you obviously have a problem. I can't tell you what that problem is of course. You have to work it out yourself & the therapists help. A good therapist ought to know what are the right questions to ask you to provoke these thoughts.

Good night.
Last edited by NonIndigenous; 1 month ago
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Using Personas
A 'persona' is the part of yourself that you present to the world, the image you want to present to others, or the role that an actor or author uses.

It is not unusual for people to use personas, and not entirely a bad thing. You do not typically tell someone everything about yourself the very first or second time that you have seen them. You would typically tell them the good bits about yourself, as opposed to going on a cynical monologue about all your life's troubles (as is the case with 'Pity Plays' that I already wrote about). You withhold this kind of information, initially. That does not mean that you are pretending that nothing is wrong. Instead, you are showing that you know how to hold your own emotions together, in contrast to using a relative stranger as a dumping ground for your traumas.

But anything can be overdone, and in the case of 'personas' it can be overdone to the point where: how people perceive you directly contradicts your true nature. This is deception, lying. This is different from 'not revealing' certain personal information, which is a matter of openness. This instead involves overtly saying something, or behaving in a way, that directly contradicts your true personality.

No, it does not even mean acting like an extrovert, when you are in fact an introvert, to catch someone's attention. It can do, but not necessarily, because some people are ambiverts. It means for example saying "I disagree with recreational drug use" around someone who you have a crush on, whilst having a consistent history of recreational drug use yourself and a friend circle who do the same. Clearly, you do not disagree with recreational drug use strongly enough to stop yourself or to keep better company, but you claim that you disagree with it just to impress somebody and to hook them into a relationship with you.

Why do people use personas?
The following reasons are non-exhaustive, but I believe are the most significant ones:
  • Because their own personality is not fully formed yet. This is particularly common in adolescents. The person is still figuring out what their actual likes and dislikes are in the first place. They are not being intentionally deceptive. They just don't know what/who they are yet, and are working it out. That's what teen years are for. Thus, if someone in their late 20s or 30s is still behaving this way... they are far more likely to have a serious problem. That's a red flag, a serious one.

  • Because they suffer anxiety. Anxiety typically causes people to either be avoidant of others (the introverted type), or seek excessive validation from others instead (the extroverted type). This is strongly connected to the next point about craving popularity, but I wanted to make this a stand-alone point in the list, because it can be at the root cause of so many other issues as well. If you are anxious of what other people think of you, but crave other people's company despite it, what options does that leave you when you do not share similar interests or values? Not many. One of those options is to adapt to other people's expectations of you, even if those expectations contradict your true personality and lifestyle. Like saying that you "Love Harry Potter books", even when you actually hate them.

  • Because the person craves popularity too much. Using personas is fundamentally about getting other people to like you, whatever the end goal may be. Thus, if you care too much about what other people think, then you will (perhaps unintentionally) strive too hard to make 'good impressions' on different people, even if those different people have contradicting values. So when two people have contradicting values, and you want to impress both, then you will fabricate contradicting personas tailored to each person, to make good impressions on both of them. Although this is not necessarily intentional and is likely rooted in some type of social anxiety, it is manipulative, and not OK at all. If the person you are in a relationship with starts finding out that you are the polar opposite person of who you initially appeared to be... this will eventually bite you. How the hell, could this possibly end well? Don't be stupid. I've seen these kinds of games play out literally over decades, where the children grow up to hate one of their parents, because the parent was never authentic with them. What goes around often comes back around.

  • People also use personas on other people, because they want or need something from other people. The most typical and relatable example of this, is in professional job interviews. You could be a scatterbrained mess of a person, fresh out of school or university, not know a damn thing about the subject area, and not even know if you like the job (simply because you are too naive to know at that stage in your life). But you want it, or need it, for whatever reasons (those don't matter here, yet). Thus, what do you do? You hunker-down for a week, brainwash yourself on the subject area by binge watching YouTube videos about it, or stalking the company's corporate site and job boards to find out as much as you can about them, perhaps even diving into people's individual LinkedIn profiles. You stop binging on ice cream or crisps for a week before the interview so that your skin clears up when you meet face-to-face, and you actually get up at 6am on the morning of the job interview for the first time that year, and enter the interview room later that day, perfectly groomed and well composed. All of that behavior, is a little odd (and exaggerated), and not ideal, but it is not "toxic" either. What I'm about to describe next, is toxic.

  • Now imagine, taking the same approach I described for job interviews, towards dating somebody. It seems wrong suddenly, doesn't it? I think we all know that this happens, or have at least heard of it. Things such as stalking someone's online profiles to find out what their likes/dislikes are, what their hobbies are, and then binge watching/reading on those topics so that they can tweak their 'persona' to impress that person. Withholding from ice cream for a week, so their skin looks better on the 1st date. And much like with the job example I gave, they will not even know if they like that person. How could they know? They have never met properly before in the first place, so it is illogical and impossible for them to genuinely like that person, yet they are already making sacrifices and changing their lifestyle for them. They may have have a crush, or they may be obsessed, but this is not remotely the same as 'liking someone'. If so, why are they obsessed? This is a whole other can of worms. See the next sub-point:

    • Emotional need: A person can use personas because they are emotionally obsessed with someone else and are desperate for a relationship with them. This is not the same as liking them, because the underlying motive for that person pursuing the relationship, is to meet their own needs (not the other person's). They likely do not even know why they are doing this, because they are lost in their own emotional turbulence. They may not even like the other person either, but still crave them. They might even hate the other person for not reciprocating the same intense feelings, but still feel obsessed with them. And most ironically, they might not even be able to tell the difference, although other people will often be able to tell to from the way that person talks about their crush by using negative slurs, disparaging remarks, or false accusations (calling them a 'player', a 'slut', 'selfish', etc.). This is obviously a serious personality disorder. But there are even worse things than that, as in the next point.

    • Material need: People can use personas because they 'want the relationship' (or, they 'want the job', as described earlier), not necessarily because they like the other person (or the job), and not even because they crave that person (as described above). This might seem crazy to normal people: why pursue or maintain a relationship with someone you do not even like or feel any type of emotional attachment to either? The same reason why you might take a job that you do not even like: because you like the money, or some other materialistic benefits that come with the package. The previous point was referring to borderline/narcissistic attachment styles, perhaps bi-polar too. This point is talking about psychopaths, who will deliberately fabricate a persona to entice you into a relationship with them, so that they can reap material rewards from it (not just money, it could be other things such as reputation, social networks, connections, sex, etc.). This could instead for example be someone who only hooks up with you, so they can get closer to your friend who they are actually interested in.

Why should you not use personas when pursuing relationships?
Because your relationships will never be authentic otherwise. You will never attract actual like-minded people into your life that you share common values with, if you are always pretending to be someone else. You will always feel like "nobody really knows you". And you will always have those nagging feelings of emptiness, depression, and often feel dissociated from your surroundings perhaps even when among friends and family. You will feel that sudden plunge in your mood, as soon the party is over and you go back home by yourself. I am sure that will sound familiar to some people here. Do you want to live like that forever? Nobody would.

What to do about it?
As with the other point(s): if this is a serious problem, seek therapy and work out why you feel this compulsion to please others with false personas. You should try to only have conversations with people that you want to have, and not feel pressured into being around people you don't want to. Work out what your own likes, dislikes and personal values are, stick to them, and surround yourself with people who support those. That is in contrast to adapting your likes, dislikes and personal values depending on who you're talking to in the moment.

As for those individuals who do this deliberately for material gains... I likely have no advice that will change your mind. Only insults. If you are one of those, then you have likely already convinced yourself that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. You may have even benefited from it significantly in the short term, at the expense of other people. You likely even think that this makes other people naive and stupid for being so open and giving with you, and this is where you are wrong: it only makes you naive and stupid for being so short sighted instead. As I said somewhere earlier, what goes around tends to come around. It doesn't always, and sometimes people get 'lucky', but usually they don't. Thus, the odds are always against you. It might take decades, but it very likely will happen. Your frontal lobe just isn't developed enough to see it until it hits you.
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NonIndigenous
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(I think that should be enough)
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placeholder #7 (need more character limits)
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CaptainDuckie
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Jesus Christ, you have a lot of time on your hands dude.
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(Original post by CaptainDuckie)
Jesus Christ, you have a lot of time on your hands dude.
I took Monday off. The 2nd post took me about 45 mins - 1hr.
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londonmyst
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Have you considered starting up your own website or relationship advice service?
You are a lot better than Kevin Samuels and Ashley Davis (aka Solitary Beast).
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(Original post by londonmyst)
Have you considered starting up your own website or relationship advice service?
You are a lot better than Kevin Samuels and Ashley Davis (aka Solitary Beast).
Not really. I've got other good things going for me. Dividing my attention that way would just not be wise at the moment. Maybe one day. I just enjoy arguing with people about it occasionally.

But I'll take the compliment.

I've seen some of Kevin Samuels' videos, and although they're impressive and I love watching him obliterate some people, he always invites very specific types of women onto his shows, those with a very narcissistic personality profile and thought patterns. The types of women that he can tear to pieces in front of an audience. It misrepresents women to some extent because of it. These are your typical vain Instagram models, OnlyFans stars, sugar babies, single moms with 3 kids from different dads. Not engineers for example. I work with quite a few engineers, and though our gender balance is a bit crap, almost none of those women have these predictable and entitled attitudes.

If as a guy, you were to watch too many interviews with women on his show, instead of actually getting to know some women in real life, you would believe that they're all a bunch of narcissists coming to use you for your sperm and your wallet.
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#13
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(Original post by NonIndigenous)
Using Personas
A 'persona' is the part of yourself that you present to the world, the image you want to present to others, or the role that an actor or author uses.

It is not unusual for people to use personas, and not entirely a bad thing. You do not typically tell someone everything about yourself the very first or second time that you have seen them. You would typically tell them the good bits about yourself, as opposed to going on a cynical monologue about all your life's troubles (as is the case with 'Pity Plays' that I already wrote about). You withhold this kind of information, initially. That does not mean that you are pretending that nothing is wrong. Instead, you are showing that you know how to hold your own emotions together, in contrast to using a relative stranger as a dumping ground for your traumas.

But anything can be overdone, and in the case of 'personas' it can be overdone to the point where: how people perceive you directly contradicts your true nature. This is deception, lying. This is different from 'not revealing' certain personal information, which is a matter of openness. This instead involves overtly saying something, or behaving in a way, that directly contradicts your true personality.

No, it does not even mean acting like an extrovert, when you are in fact an introvert, to catch someone's attention. It can do, but not necessarily, because some people are ambiverts. It means for example saying "I disagree with recreational drug use" around someone who you have a crush on, whilst having a consistent history of recreational drug use yourself and a friend circle who do the same. Clearly, you do not disagree with recreational drug use strongly enough to stop yourself or to keep better company, but you claim that you disagree with it just to impress somebody and to hook them into a relationship with you.

Why do people use personas?
The following reasons are non-exhaustive, but I believe are the most significant ones:
  • Because their own personality is not fully formed yet. This is particularly common in adolescents. The person is still figuring out what their actual likes and dislikes are in the first place. They are not being intentionally deceptive. They just don't know what/who they are yet, and are working it out. That's what teen years are for. Thus, if someone in their late 20s or 30s is still behaving this way... they are far more likely to have a serious problem. That's a red flag, a serious one.

  • Because they suffer anxiety. Anxiety typically causes people to either be avoidant of others (the introverted type), or seek excessive validation from others instead (the extroverted type). This is strongly connected to the next point about craving popularity, but I wanted to make this a stand-alone point in the list, because it can be at the root cause of so many other issues as well. If you are anxious of what other people think of you, but crave other people's company despite it, what options does that leave you when you do not share similar interests or values? Not many. One of those options is to adapt to other people's expectations of you, even if those expectations contradict your true personality and lifestyle. Like saying that you "Love Harry Potter books", even when you actually hate them.

  • Because the person craves popularity too much. Using personas is fundamentally about getting other people to like you, whatever the end goal may be. Thus, if you care too much about what other people think, then you will (perhaps unintentionally) strive too hard to make 'good impressions' on different people, even if those different people have contradicting values. So when two people have contradicting values, and you want to impress both, then you will fabricate contradicting personas tailored to each person, to make good impressions on both of them. Although this is not necessarily intentional and is likely rooted in some type of social anxiety, it is manipulative, and not OK at all. If the person you are in a relationship with starts finding out that you are the polar opposite person of who you initially appeared to be... this will eventually bite you. How the hell, could this possibly end well? Don't be stupid. I've seen these kinds of games play out literally over decades, where the children grow up to hate one of their parents, because the parent was never authentic with them. What goes around often comes back around.

  • People also use personas on other people, because they want or need something from other people. The most typical and relatable example of this, is in professional job interviews. You could be a scatterbrained mess of a person, fresh out of school or university, not know a damn thing about the subject area, and not even know if you like the job (simply because you are too naive to know at that stage in your life). But you want it, or need it, for whatever reasons (those don't matter here, yet). Thus, what do you do? You hunker-down for a week, brainwash yourself on the subject area by binge watching YouTube videos about it, or stalking the company's corporate site and job boards to find out as much as you can about them, perhaps even diving into people's individual LinkedIn profiles. You stop binging on ice cream or crisps for a week before the interview so that your skin clears up when you meet face-to-face, and you actually get up at 6am on the morning of the job interview for the first time that year, and enter the interview room later that day, perfectly groomed and well composed. All of that behavior, is a little odd (and exaggerated), and not ideal, but it is not "toxic" either. What I'm about to describe next, is toxic.

  • Now imagine, taking the same approach I described for jobs, towards dating somebody. It seems wrong suddenly, doesn't it? I think we all know that this happens, or have at least heard of it. Things such as stalking someone's online profiles to find out what their likes/dislikes are, what their hobbies are, and then binge watching/reading on those topics so that they can tweak their 'persona' to impress that person. Withholding from ice cream for a week, so their skin looks better on the 1st date. And much like with the job example I gave, they will not even know if they like that person. How could they know? They have never met properly before in the first place, so it is illogical and impossible for them to genuinely like that person, yet they are already making sacrifices and changing their lifestyle for them. They may have have a crush, or they may be obsessed, but this is not remotely the same as 'liking someone'. If so, why are they obsessed? This is a whole other can of worms. See the next sub-point:

    • Emotional need: A person can use personas because they are emotionally obsessed with someone else and are desperate for a relationship with them. This is not the same as liking them, because the underlying motive for that person pursuing the relationship, is to meet their own needs (not the other person's). They likely do not even know why they are doing this, because they are lost in their own emotional turbulence. They may not even like the other person either, but still crave them. They might even hate the other person for not reciprocating the same intense feelings, but still feel obsessed with them. And most ironically, they might not even be able to tell the difference, although other people will often be able to tell to from the way that person talks about their crush by using negative slurs, disparaging remarks, or false accusations (calling them a 'player', a 'slut', 'selfish', etc.). This is obviously a serious personality disorder. But there are even worse things than that, as in the next point.

    • Material need: People can use personas because they 'want the relationship' (or, they 'want the job', as described earlier), not necessarily because they like the other person (or the job), and not even because they crave that person (as described above). This might seem crazy to normal people: why pursue or maintain a relationship with someone you do not even like or feel any type of emotional attachment to either? The same reason why you might take a job that you do not even like: because you like the money, or some other materialistic benefits that come with the package. The previous point was referring to borderline/narcissistic attachment styles, perhaps bi-polar too. This point is talking about psychopaths, who will deliberately fabricate a persona to entice you into a relationship with them, so that they can reap material rewards from it (not just money, it could be other things such as reputation, social networks, connections, sex, etc.). This could instead for example be someone who only hooks up with you, so they can get closer to your friend who they are actually interested in.

Why should you not use personas when pursuing relationships?
Because your relationships will never be authentic otherwise. You will always feel like "nobody really knows you". And you will always have those nagging feelings of emptiness, depression, and often feel dissociated from your surroundings perhaps even when among friends and family. You will feel that sudden plunge in your mood, as soon the party is over and you go back home by yourself. I am sure that will sound familiar to some people here. Do you want to live like that forever? Nobody would.

What to do about it?
As with the other point(s): if this is a serious problem, seek therapy and work out why you feel this compulsion to please others with false personas. You should try to only have conversations with people that you want to have, and not feel pressured into being around people you don't want to. Work out what your own likes, dislikes and personal values are, stick to them, and surround yourself with people who support those. That is in contrast to adapting your likes, dislikes and personal values depending on who you're talking to in the moment.

As for those individuals who do this deliberately for material gains... I likely have no advice that will change your mind. Only insults. If you are one of those, then you have likely already convinced yourself that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. You may have even benefited from it significantly in the short term, at the expense of other people. You likely even think that this makes other people naive and stupid for being so open and giving with you, and this is where you are wrong: it only makes you naive and stupid for being so short sighted instead. As I said somewhere earlier, what goes around tends to come around. It doesn't always, and sometimes people get 'lucky', but usually they don't. Thus, the odds are always against you. It might take decades, but it very likely will happen. Your frontal lobe just isn't developed enough to see it until it hits you.
TLDR.

Can you say it in a couple of sentences?
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NonIndigenous
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Anonymous)
TLDR.

Can you say it in a couple of sentences?
In 2 words: be real.
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