I’ve heard a lot of good advice on relationships. I’ve also heard a lot of bad advice. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m young and as such, probably not the best giver of relationship advice. But I do, however, have one piece of advice that I feel obliged to give to a specific group of people. Ironically, this advice can only rarely be received…I find that it must normally be deduced by everyone for the message to be effective. Unfortunate, but true of most good advice.
So, to all of the “nice guys” reading advice on “picking up chicks”, or even generic “dating advice”. Whether you’re in high school, college, or beyond, if you constantly tell people that your problem is that you’re the stereotypical “nice guy” and blame that for your poor luck, please, I implore you, take one piece of advice:
Ignore all the advice you’ve been given
I know this is counterintuitive and creates all kinds of logistical paradoxes, but I truly believe in this. And here’s why:
Everybody’s different, plain and simple. From the type of pheromones you give off to the type of people you are attracted to to every single aspect of you personality, no two people are alike. Thus all the advice you are given does not necessarily apply to you. But it might. Why, then, should you ignore it? That brings me to my second point:
Advice goes against intuition. There are two types of advice: internal and external. Internal advice is that gut feeling, things your mind is telling you, things that you do without a good explanation (“intuition”). External advice is everything else. People let external advice overwrite internal advice quite frequently, but we are much more in tune with other people’s body language than we think (yes, even the anti-social nerds). We just need to learn to listen to ourselves. If things feel right, you’ll know it. External advice only gets in the way of this. If external advice goes with your intuition, wonderful, but if it doesn’t then we question our decisions. If this is the case and our intuition is normally right, then all external advice does is slim down the probability that we follow our intuition.
And the main reason relationship advice is inherently flawed:
Advice implies change. Is change a good thing? The answer, as with most things regarding relationships, is “it depends”. Change is good if you want to change. Change is bad when you are simply using change as a means to an end. An example, if you will (note that this is a very quick overview of two long and involved stories, so please forgive the brevity):
A while back I decided that I wasn’t happy with who I was. I was afraid to try new things, afraid to take chances. So I changed. I made a note and a conscious effort to be more spontaneous and take more chances. It went well, I had some good times, and I think I am a more balanced person because of it.
Less than a year before I decided to make this change, I was fed up with my lack of success with women. So I started looking at what was the problem, and decided that I was too conservative. So, I decided to take more chances. While this did not end poorly per se, it did not end well. I was unhappy with who I was, because I often had a face on.
In both instances my action was the same: take more chances. My goal, however, was different. My point is that the desire for change should not be for the sake of some other goal. The problem with doing so is that one becomes lost in the pursuit of the change and loses sight of the underlying goal. Only change for changes sake can avoid this common pitfall.
Also, change for the sake of a goal implies that you do not necessarily want the change itself. Originally I did not want to be more spontaneous, I was trying to have more success with dating. This meant that when I realized what I was doing and how I was acting, I felt disjoint. I was unhappy with the discrepancy between myself and my actions. I’d imagine that this discrepancy was also apparent, if only at a subconscious level, to people around me, and as such I imagine my actions gave off an air of “fake”.
So if I already said that this advice (or anti-advice) has to be discovered on one’s own, I do hope that it will make people more open to this idea, and perhaps in the long run help people to stop relying on the advice of others and more on their own intuition.