Blog - Part 2
Dating SIngaporean Women -03
Jan 24

How to Date Singaporean Women – Does Money Matter?

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

It’s not uncommon to hear that Singaporean women are superficial or materialistic and are only willing to date men who are well off financially. So, are Singaporean girls really superficial and materialistic? Or are they mere projection of our insecurities?

The Singapore Cultural Narratives

How about looks, popularity, intelligence and social status? Do Singaporean women care about them? Fact is, they do. You and I do too, along with all other women and men all around the world when it comes to choosing our romantic partners. You often hear Singaporean men complaining about being insecure about dating up. They don’t feel secure dating Singaporean women who are smarter than them, more qualified than them or earn more than them.

Here’s my verdict: I think that the majority of Singaporean women are able to finance, feed themselves and aren’t exactly looking to date a multi millionaire. Of course, minus the gold diggers, which you should avoid at all cost.

However, it’s because of cultural expectations, namely, the narrative that you need to marry a rich husband in order to have a good life that causes a lot of problems. Some of my girl friends often tell me they expect to end up with a millionaire or a rich man. In actuality, their behavior speaks otherwise and they don’t end up dating a millionaire but an average Singaporean male. In my experience, the majority of Singaporean women (minus the gold diggers) are willing to adjust what they value in a partner if you have an attractive personality and are able to connect with them on a deeper level.

Dating Singaporean Women 03

The Gucci Swag

The Ugly Combination

If I was being honest with you, I was most successful in my dating life when I had no money in my first couple of years in University. It was only in my mid twenties when I measured myself on financial achievement and projected them onto my dating life.

Here are the metrics that I (and many others) measure themselves against:

  • Your type degree I was taking or if you are going to achieve a first class honors
  • The amount of money you are making
  • Your job

Ultimately, you get a mish mesh of both sexes projecting their insecurities onto each other because of these cultural narratives: a traditional culture that emphasizes material wealth as a metric of success.

Here is what you’re taught from day one as a Singaporean male growing up. You want to get a girlfriend? Work hard, earn a lot of money and get a respectable job. Our parents are always telling us to get a job, to get a degree so that you can get employedment. I grew up in a traditional Asian, Singaporean culture family where I was told that if I did not do well in school, get a respectable degree or a respectable job, I was considered a failure.

I had a friend who told me she would only consider dating guys from a local University. In Singapore culture, there’s a huge measurement of success based off how financially well off you are. Not to mention the exposure to cultural narratives that influence us everyday. In movies and the drama serials, they all tell us the same narrative: The people with money get the girl.

These beliefs are often the results of the Singaporean cultural narrative: where success is measured by grades, money and social status. Cultural narratives that have been told by our culture and society. Not only these beliefs and worldviews hurt us in life, but it also hurt us in our dating and relationship lives.

On one hand, you get an ugly mesh up of Singaporean men projecting their insecurities on wealth to Singaporean women who are… materialistic? On the other hand, you get nice guy behaviors from Singaporean men (parents/people/woman pleasing) that results in… Singaporean women being more spoilt who ‘expected to be treated like princesses’.

You see the pattern here? It’s happens both ways and no one sex is responsible for these problems. Until the Singaporean culture matures and learn how to define itself not through traditional metrics of success, this is going to be the status quo.

Singaporean Women Put on a Pedestal

It’s interesting to observe the language that us guys (I’m guilty of it as well) use when we find success in our dating life. I once heard someone proudly declare: ‘I just slept with this girl. She’s from X University in Singapore. She also studies medicine.’

There are many things wrong with that statement. You’re coming from the standpoint that you’re somewhat inferior to her by being proud of the fact that she studies medicine, hence, she’s a better partner. That’s female sexuality placed on a pedestal. So what if you’re not from a top University in Singapore? So what if you’re not studying medicine? So what if she’s studying medicine? Why should you, a human being who is trying his best in life, feel any bit inferior to just about anybody else?

How to Get Over These Cultural Narratives

So, these are the invisible scripts that influence your behavior. The bottom line is this: what can you do about it?

  • Realize attracting women is determined by behavior and not necessarily assets

This is why I say a lot of this dating advice thing is sorting out your own emotional realities in the first place. When you got your own personal values down, there’s no reason for you to express yourself honestly instead of relying on external metrics of success, degrees or social status in attempt to earn sex or affection with a woman. Someone who’s truly confident doesn’t measure themselves up that way. This is why pick up artist techniques are just a superficial strategy at best. It’s a band-aid that you slapped on when you were bleeding.

  • Invest in yourself: learn social skills

Look, I’m not saying you do not need to get your finances right. However, being sexually desirable is different from long term commitment desirable. You should always try to improve your financial life. However, you should not be reliant on it.

Personal plug: I created an entire course on social skills and personality change based on decades of psychological research and real life systems.

Look, ultimately, you can’t be a slob or a bum. Even though looks aren’t the ONLY determinant if a girl is willing to go out on a date with you.  Good looks help, but not having good looks don’t hurt either. You’ve probably seen countless not so physically attractive males with physically attractive women right?

Hell, it’s one of the factors like people in general look that. If you dress poorly and don’t shower, don’t expect to land any dates anytime soon. If you show up on a date dressed sloppily. It’s not Singaporean women being superficial, it’s YOU being a bum.

  • Develop long term personality and behavioral change

Ultimately, you still got to dig deep into your emotional maps and look at the root of your problems: why you’re so invested in being rich or successful? Why are YOU chasing degrees, cars, the next condominium and all of that just to get the… vagina.

I know of men that are well off financially but can’t land a date for nuts. I know guys that draw a handsome close 5 figure salary, drive a Mercedez Benz but can’t land a quality date to save his life.

There are cultural narratives at best. The misconstrued perception that you need lots of money, a 6 pac abs to attract women is flawed. You’ll also end up in a rabbit hole where you never feel enough. There were months I felt I was never ready to date someone until I achieved a certain body weight. This was despite being in relative alright body shape. The research also backs this up, if you display the behaviors of someone who potentially might become rich, famous, or successful, you’re equally attractive as someone who is already rich, famous or successful.

This was why I was successful in my dating life starting out as a broke, unsuccessful University student because I was so passionate about personal growth that it rubbed off the women I dated. It surely wasn’t because I had money, good looks or anything else, because I can assure I had none of those.

If you’re male and you’re not developing yourself, taking risks and complaining that Singaporean women are spoilt brats and materialistic, then you’re just giving yourself excuses. It can’t that ALL of the women in Singapore are materialistic and spoilt right?

Ultimately, you do not need more degrees, achievements or a million dollars in the bank. You need to take action.

Closing Thoughts on Dating Singaporean Women

I’m not saying Singaporean women aren’t completely at fault here. I’ve had instances where my girl friends say they wouldn’t date anyone from a private University, or that he has to be a millionaire or some naive metric. Some of them rarely bother to go to the gym or develop any personality. It’s also not surprising that the ones with these naive metrics that end of with someone much lower than their expectations.

Lastly, if you’re sacrificing your emotional life for some absurd metric, then good luck to you, you’re going run yourself into the ground.

Photo Credits: Joe Siegel

 

 

Jan 23

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore – a No B.S. Guide

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

How to get a girlfriend in Singapore? Or rather, how do you get your ideal girl as your girlfriend? One thing was clear when I started out: if I wanted to date the girls I desired, I had to do something about it, I had to become someone worth dating myself. That’s the simple and ugly truth. I read a ton of books, got a mentor and went out night after night, failed a lot and developed myself as a person.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore

Firstly, recognise that dating and relationships are a skill set that can be learned. It’s not something that is left up to luck or fate. It’s also something consciously worked on day in and out. Social skills can be learned and personality can be developed. If you’re not good looking or rich, don’t worry, I’m not either. However, you should be playing a game that nobody else is playing, a game that you can actually win and one that is a lot more fulfilling in the long run.

If you worked on your social skillsets, develop an attractive personality, go to the gym, dress well, you’re going to be far more successful in the long run. It’ll put you in a position of power and choice in your dating life. Furthermore, social skills is a life skill that will ripple through other aspects of your life.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore

In my experience, Singaporeans facing issues problems in their dating life that spend years single won’t make the effort to step out of their comfort zone. They’d complain all day but never put in any time or effort in this area of their life. They also end up with prostitutes, Thai discos, dating agencies or online dating applications. You have a choice here, you can visit Geylang, maybe Sammyboy forum, go to Thai Discos and blow $50 to ‘Tiao Hua’, meet a random somebody through a dating agency, matching making agency, swipe right and hope someone swipes you back on dating apps.

OR,

You can take control of your dating life in your hand through building social skillsets and it’ll that’ll also help in all other areas of your life.

When I started off, I’ll be honest with you, for a period of time, I obsessed on a single goal: to attract women. That single pursuit slowly morphed to entrepreneurship, personal growth through travel and leading a more varied life at large. I also developed an interest in subjects such as self-awareness, psychology and emotional fulfilment.

The Problem with Dating Agencies: Economics, Demand and Supply

Now, can dating agencies or matchmaking services work for you?  Personally, I think signing up for a dating agency is a form of courage as well. You’re still putting yourself out there on the dating market again. That takes courage. This can be helpful for the recently divorced or heartbroken. It takes a form of humility and courage to sign up for a matchmaking service. You’re essentially saying: look I’m willing to get help from someone else. If lady luck is also on your side, who knows? You might meet someone amazing.

However, let’s take a look at the economics of going through such platforms. Firstly, you’re limiting yourself to only a certain demographic. Look, I’m not here to be politically correct, you’re free to send me the hate mail. You’re meeting women who aren’t successful in their dating lives as well.  However, you’re highly unlikely to meet your ideal woman through these avenues. Not to mention that there’s absolutely zero excitement when you’re submitting a paper written by yourself to some stranger who presents it to another stranger. Romantic love doesn’t occur on a resume.

Ultimately, you’re still not solving the root of the problem.

If you don’t treat dating and relationships as a skillset, you’ll never know how to make new connections on the go and you’ll be dependent on the same group of friends you knew since you were 13 to hopefully introduce you to someone. You’ll never be in a position of power of your own circumstances.

To quote a cliche: If you give a man a fish for a day, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man how to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.

You are constantly relying on dating agencies, you won’t build the required knowledge and skillsets to be independent in increasing your dating opportunities, much less build lasting and passionate relationships. You’ll also be severely limiting your dating pool. This is how millions end up with someone they are not really excited about… and call it ‘reality’.

So what happens if your arranged date doesn’t go the way you want it to go? You’re going to go back to the dating agency to pay for more dates or ask for a refund? Even if she marries you right there and then on the spot, do you know how to keep the relationship ongoing and exciting? Do you know what entails a healthy, affectionate and respectful relationship? No, you don’t.

How to Approach Women in Singapore – Ultimate Guide

If you’re looking to better your dating life and assuming you already have a strong network in your social circle, you don’t really have to go out meeting women on your daily routine or the clubs. However, you’ll still require social skills and the ability to start a conversation, express an awesome personality, get her out on a date and leverage of your current demographics.

You can participate in University activities, use networking sites such as Eventbrite or Meet up, join interest groups or take part in after work drinks. There are many avenues. When I was in full-time University or working for a company, I barely bothered approaching girls. That’s because there were many social opportunities around me there was no need to go cold.

However, when I became an entrepreneur, the ability to meet girls on the go became extremely useful and important for me. You may also be stuck with friends who’ll don’t actively introduce you to other females, then you’ll need to master the get this shit down and actively be able to meet girls on to go.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore

Are you going to talk to her?

The Cold Opportunities

How do you approach women in Singapore? Can it be done? Yes, the Singaporean culture is generally more closed off than Westernized cultures. From personal experience, Singaporean women are generally harder to approach if you’re a complete stranger. From personal experience, Singaporeans, both men and women, in general, aren’t equipped with social skills to continue a conversation with another stranger. Hence, you’re going to get awkward silences and shifty eyes if you do not know what you’re doing.

Singapore, after all, is an Asian value based society with people choosing to stick in highly knit social groups. However, it can be done.

Step 1Look Like a Friendly Stranger

First, should ONLY approach women that you’re genuinely attracted to, that’s because your intentions, authenticity and emotions will rub off in your interactions.

You’ll also need to dress well. The Singaporean culture is already a conservative one. You should ALWAYS try to make it as comfortable for her to talk to a stranger. Whilst most pick up artists obsess over fanciful lines or techniques when picking up girls, you should focus on making her feel comfortable.

This is non-negotiable.

You don’t have to go overboard and go walking around shopping malls in suits. However, you got to have a minimal sense of fashion. This means clean shirts, jeans and shoes that fit. You can go up lightly to a girl and say:

“I know is this kind of random, but I thought you’re really cute and I just had to say Hi.” 

Notice the extra social sentence: ‘I know this is kind of random’

  • Body Language

Note: don’t go up to her abruptly, don’t approach her from behind. If you’re a beginner, it’s best not to touch her at all. Just walk up beside her and plant yourself in front of her. This isn’t a hard or fast rule, as you get better you’ll be able to socially calibrate according to the social situation.

  • Should You Be Direct or Indirect?

I know of friends that are more comfortable with going the indirect route, by asking her random questions or talking about the weather. I’m quite impatient by nature and I like getting my message across, so going direct is more congruent to my personality. It also depends on different situations. Sometimes, I go indirect. It can be making an observation on the book she’s reading while at the library, or making a cold read: an observation about something or someone in the environment that you’re in.  

Step 2: Empathize with Her

When most people ask me how do I go about talking to beautiful strangers. I simply say it’s ’empathy’. They often give me confused look. Empathy? What’s that? How does it even work?

Basically, empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagining how he or she feels in that particular situation.

Imagine this, she’s going about her day, rushing off to meet her friends or some meeting, and you, an unknown stranger, rolls up to her, stops her, and tells her in her face that she’s cute.

You’ve just signalled that you invested in the prospect of dating her within a couple of minutes. That’s a lot for a girl who barely knows you. This is especially so if you’re doing it in a public setting, or when she has her friends/ her parents around. You have to be empathetic in such situations and put yourself in her shoes.

So, before you actually tell her the actual reason why you’re approaching her, you should say:

  • ‘I know this is really out of the blue’
  • ‘This can be quite upfront… however…’
  • ‘I know you’re feeling nervous…’

These are statements of empathy.

Secondly, you should also mirror her body language. If she looks shocked and slightly taken aback, you can take a tiny step back and give her more personal space. Here’s a tip: a light smile helps a lot. Such subtleties are different for everyone. Some guys have to be more aggressive, others got to be less aggressive. It’s also different for different girls you approach. Girls who are shyer are going to be a lot more taken aback from girls who get approached regularly.

When starting out, you’re going to be really worried about lines, techniques, your body language, tonality, eye contact and etc. That’s normal. However, as you progress. You’ll see approach a beautiful lady on the streets similar to being a big happy puppy talking to her. You’ll also find that getting rejected isn’t that bad after all. The majority of girls aren’t going to slap you in the face when you talk to them.

How to Get a Girlfriend in Singapore 05

The millions of possibilities

Step 3: Have a Solid Interaction and Lead in Conversation

One caveat to approaching women in a collectivistic culture in Singapore is that you’re going to have to lead in conversation 99% of the time, whether be it in a day time setting or in the club. That’s because the majority of Singaporeans aren’t equipped with social skills to deal with a conversation with a stranger.

I’ve lived here for most of my life. I’m pretty sure I can give a well informed insight into this. She’s going to be dumbfounded that you approached her and she’s going to freeze up.

This means being able to generate conversations out of mid air that doesn’t make you look like you’re an interviewing her and simultaneously encourage her to open up and talk about herself.

This can be accomplished by learning the skillset of cold reading. Cold reading is the art of generating statements out of cold air. Cold reading can also help you avoid looking like an interviewer. Over the years, I realized questions are inevitable in the Singaporean culture. Just making statements isn’t going to help. The general rule of thumb is to make a statement before asking her a question.

Cold reading isn’t just enough to form a deep conversation with a stranger, you’ll need to know how to:

  • Tease her and make the situation light hearted on the spot
  • Phrase your conversations in a dynamic way
  • Connect emotionally with her on the spot

“You look like you’re on the way to school. Nice shoes by the way. Let me guess, you must be a business student.”

She’s going to either correct you or agree with you at this point of time. It doesn’t matter. It gives you conversational material to work with.

“I study accounting, I don’t really enjoy it, but the practical side of me says that I got to do it, what about you, you’re passionate about business or you’re just following the path of a Singaporean girl?”

You should also attempt to tease her early on in the interaction to lighten your interaction up.

‘You’re probably going to lose money for your company. You totally don’t look like a business student.’

Note: do it with a smile of course.

This is an example of a direct approach, coupled with the cold reading skillset, sprinkled with a light compliment. Light compliments and teasing help ease the interaction.

Following up from her response, you can continue asking her questions or statements to relate to her. Free association and conversational improvisation skills are required to generate a continuous conversation. This requires practice. You can’t script or prepare humour, it’s practised by free association and improvisation. I find it useful to stick to general principles such as teasing her about her stereotype that she fits into.

I recommending practising and learning these conversational skillsets and make it a habit in your life. I do cover these skillsets in my courses and programs. However, for brevity’s sake, I’m not going to include all of this for this article.

How to Get a Number in a Non Cheesy Manner

There’s then the age-old question of how to get a girl’s number? I say this all the time, the words are superficial, it’s the intention underneath it that counts. If she says no, then it’s alright as well. Just wish her well and move on. Rejection is part of the game. Secondly, only ask for a woman’s number if you can tell she’s invested in the potential of meeting up with you again. Finally, you are going to get rejected a lot in this process. However, it’s doable, and rejection is actually a good thing.

You can ask her out for a date right there and then. Since you’ve already expressed interest upfront, it’s OKAY to ask her out for coffee. I always do that. You can make a simple statement:

“You’re nice to talk to, let’s grab coffee some day.” 

When she agrees, you can then ask for her number. There’s no perfect line to ask for her number. Just say:

‘Let’s keep in touch and let’s exchange contacts.’

Start Improving

Here’s my point, go out, develop social skills and put yourself out there. This shit can be learnt. Not only can it be learnt, but it’s also going to play a huge role in your success in other areas of your life.

Show me a job that doesn’t require you to communicate effectively to another human being? Here’s your answer: none. No matter what you do, even if you’re a low-level executive, you’ll need to communicate with your boss, your colleagues, clients, your suppliers, distributors and the list goes on. I built up my entire communication skillsets solely from learning how to talk to women.

Ultimately, to get a girlfriend or fix your dating woes it all about self improvement. It’s about holding yourself fully responsible for their dating life. There are tons of research that show that relationships contribute to a huge part of happiness in your life. Hence, putting in time and effort to understand how this dating and relationship thing work is a positive thing. It’s also the more fulfilling route of self development.

How to Set Boundaries in Dating and Relationships 01
Jan 11

How to Set Strong Dating and Relationship Boundaries

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

You can argue that the majority of dating and relationship problems are a boundary issue in one way or another. Years ago, I was enrapt in a relationship that felt great at times and just dirt shit other times. It was like a rollercoaster ride. It was only years later after knowing the concept of boundaries, that I realized that my ex-girlfriend and I had piss poor boundaries in our relationship.

So other than sparring yourself from rollercoaster relationships, why are boundaries important?

Firstly, strong boundaries are the cornerstone of attractive behaviour. Secondly, they create emotional health and are created by people with emotional health. They lead to emotional stability and self-esteem. They are also something you can work on right away.

Okay, before you get into deeper details, let’s take a look if you have a boundary issue.

You May Have a Boundary Issue if You:

  • Constantly feel like people take advantage of you or use your emotions for their own gain?
  • Feel like you’re constantly having to “save” people close to you and fix their problems all the time?
  • Find yourself sucked into pointless fighting or debating regularly
  • Find yourself far more invested or attracted to a person than you should be for how long you’ve known them
  • In your relationships, you feel like things are always either amazing or horrible with no in-between. Or perhaps you even go through the break-up/reunion pattern every few months?
  • You tell people how much you hate drama but seem to always be stuck in the middle of it
  • You spend a lot of time defending yourself for things you believe aren’t your fault?

If you answered “yes” to even a few of the above, then you probably set and maintain poor boundaries in your relationships. If you answered a resounding “yes” to most or all of the items above, you not only have a major boundary problem in your relationships but you also probably have some other personal problems going on in your life.

What are Relaitonship Boundaries?

There are many reasons why someone may lack boundaries. Psychologically speaking, people with a lack of boundaries may appear may be motivated by an unconscious need to ‘keep the peace’ because of the fear of getting hurt.

So, what are boundaries and how do they look like?

Healthy Boundaries:

  • NOT taking responsibility for OTHER people choices, actions and emotions
  • Taking FULL responsibility for YOUR own choices, actions and emotions

Healthy Boundaries from the outside:

  • NOT expecting others to be responsible for your choices, actions and emotions
  • Other people should be responsible for THEIR choices, actions and emotions and NOT responsible for YOUR emotions and choices.

Dating and Relationship Boundaries

Examples of Poor Boundaries:

Since I’m Asian, I can use a couple examples from the Asian culture, I’ll chime in a few examples.

“If you go out with your friends tonight and not keep me accompany, I’m not going to give you allowance next month.”

“If you don’t study the subjects as I want you to, I’m not going to pay for it.”

“If you don’t do as I say, you’re not being filial to the family. Hence, you’re not a good child.”

This is an example of a parent’s expectation for his or her child to take responsibility for the parent’s choices and emotions.

In this scenario, the person is taking responsibility for actions or emotions that aren’t theirs or are expecting someone to take responsibility for their actions or emotions. When you set boundaries in your relationships, it can be as simple as saying no to someone and letting the chips fall where they may.

You’re NOT responsible for someone’s else emotions.

Flip that around, it’s also the willingness to take a no from someone else. That’s because if you feel crappy about hearing a no, you’re are responsibility for your own mood and not expect or blame anyone else for your emotions and choices. Ultimately, having strong boundaries does not mean that you don’t want your partners or friends to be happy. It just means that you can’t decide if your partners or friends are happy or choose to behave in a certain way.

The Breaker and Fixer Pathology

People with poor boundaries typically come in two flavours:

  1. Those who take too much responsibility for the emotions and actions of others
  2. Those who expect others to take too much responsibility for their own emotions and actions.

They are called the breaker, and the fixer. Interestingly, these two types of people often end up in relationships together. My first relationship was like that, it felt like it was us against the world. However, in hindsight, it was soul-sucking and emotionally tiring. She and I had pathologies of both the victim and saver, oscillating between both roles at different point of times.

  • The Saver

If you are someone who tends to feel a need to make their partners happy all the time, you may be playing the role of the saver in the relationship. You have a boundary issue. This is because, at the core of it, you’re attempting to decide/ control how your partner act and feel.

The saver doesn’t save the victim because they actually care about the problem, but because they believe if they fix the problem they will feel loved.

  • The Victim

The victim creates problems not because there are real problems, but because they believe it will cause them to feel loved. If you are that someone who is always creating problems, expecting others to take responsibility for your actions and emotions. You are playing the role of the victim.

The saver and victim commonly end up together in relationships and often lead to unstable roller coaster relationships. In such scenarios, the lack of boundaries leads to needy, co-dependent.

From an attachment theory perspective, victims tend to be anxious-attachment types, and savers tend to be avoidant-attachment types. They both push away secure-attachment types. They may also grow up with parents who had poor boundaries in their relationships that led to their model of a relationship that is based on poor boundaries.

You may ask, Marcus, isn’t it cold and cruel to not care about others and fix their problems?

You see, the saver or the victim don’t ACTUALLY care about each other or the relationship, they are behaving in these ways to meet their own need for self-esteem through other people’s problems. The victim needs to create problems to feel loved whilst the saver needs to fix problems to feel loved. There isn’t any real authenticity or genuine emotional connection with these relationships.

Their behaviours are based on their OWN needs to feel loved and not actual unconditional love itself.

If the victim really cares about the saver and the relationship, he or she would say, “Look, this is my problem, you don’t have to fix it for me.” That would be actually caring about the saver.

If the saver really cared for the victim, the saver would say, “Look, you’re blaming others for your own problems, you should be responsible for it yourself.” That would be actually loving the victim.

The hardest thing for a victim to do in the world is to hold themselves accountable for their feelings and their life as opposed to blaming others. They spent their whole life believing they must blame others in order to feel any intimacy or love.

For the saver, the hardest thing to do in the world is to stop fixing other people’s problems and trying to make them feel happy or satisfied. They may have spent their whole lives feeling valued and loved when they were fixing a problem for someone. Hence, letting go of this need is terrifying to them as well. If you see your relationships as economical transactions, only seeing others as beneficial or economical exchanges, not only it’s a form of poor boundaries, it’s also going to tear you apart emotionally eventually.

The Boundary Problem in Modern Culture

Now, I may take some criticism for this, but I’m going to say it anyway. In Asian culture, there’s a cultural belief that children are inherently SUPPOSED to be filial to their parents or grandparents. It’s a common cultural Asian cultural narrative to love, respect and obey your parents JUST because they are your biological parents, not based upon the fact if they are good parents or not.

This often expressed in the value of filial piety.

I had a friend to said that he would give in to demanding/unreasonable requests to his parents just because they are paying for his University fees. His parents are using monetary support as a bargaining tool to get their child to conform.

I’m may piss off some you reading here but listen to me.

That is an unhealthy and toxic relationship dynamic between him and his parents with a lack of boundaries. On one hand, his parents are using money as a means to control their child’s behaviour. Secondly, on his end, he is giving up his self-respect, his honest thoughts, and desires because he’s afraid of not getting the money from his parents.

If your parents only provide for you financially if you give in to their whims and demands. It’s a conditional relationship. The underlying meaning of the relationship would mean: I only love you if you listen to me. I will only provide for you if you listen to me.

Firstly, these are shit poor form of boundaries. Secondly, there isn’t any genuine support or affection in their relationship.

From personal experience in the Singaporean culture, there are many that have this perception that if their parents provide for them financially, it’s a MUST to give in to their parents, against their genuine thoughts, desires and beliefs.

Some of the people reading this might say: Marcus, you’re such an INGRATE for speaking out against the age old values of filial piety. You’re Asian yourself and you SHOULD be filial to your parents.

Okay, shut up.

I AM filial to my parents. However, I act on it as a gift, with no expectations of return, as opposed to an OBLIGATION. There’s a difference.

The act and value of filial piety should be something that’s given unconditionally, rather than demanded or assumed because of cultural or social reasons. 

If you’re forced to visit your grandparents every weekend and you secretly hate it. Then you’re not acting out of a genuine desire to see and care for your grandparents. You’re doing it because you don’t want to piss your Mum and Dad off.

As I argued, acts of affection are only genuine if they’re performed without expectations.

Is It Okay to Sacrifice?

You may ask then, Marcus, what about making sacrifices for people you love? What about going the extra mile for best friends? What if my girlfriend wants me to call her daily? What if my pet goldfish requires me to stroke his belly 20 times a day?

I SHOULD make that sacrifice right?

Firstly, sacrifices that are made out of obligation aren’t genuine sacrifices. They are actually your inability to say no.

True sacrifice only comes in the form of unconditionally, as a gift, with no expectations of return.

Sacrifice is only true and genuine when you desire to do it out of no expectations, as a gift, and not because you should feel obligated to or fear the consequences of NOT doing it.

You can simply ask yourself this: If you stopped doing an X behaviour, would it change anything about your relationship with Y? Read: I know, the algebra. I’m Asian, live with it.

  • If I stopped picking her up form her house or sending her home, will she still love me?
  • If I stopped agreeing with her on everything she says, will she still love me?
  • If I told my friend that he should be on time in the future, and being late isn’t cool at all, will we still be friends?

If your answer is NO, it wouldn’t change a damn thing in the relationship, if you stopped doing a certain behaviour, then that’s a good sign.

If YES, then you probably have a boundary issue. You’re making a particular sacrifice or behaving in a certain way because you fear to lose the relationship.

How to Set Strong Boundaries

I started off a YES man. I’d say YES to events, business opportunities, introductions, trips and I was the guy that was flexible and easy to get along. Yes, that helped a lot. However, as I grow, I realized it’s so much better to say NO and truly evaluate how and who you spend your time and effort with.

These days, I’m always evaluating how I feel after spending time with someone. If I feel emotionally recharged, listened to or that I learned something from him or her, I’ll continue pursuing that relationship. If I feel disrespected, be littled or un justly criticized then I’ll stop.

In my business career, I had instances where potential clients waste my time by getting me to draft out long thought out proposals for their digital marketing campaigns and I don’t hear back from them. No, no more. You need to be a good fit to work with me.

I had instances where girls waste my time and don’t show up for a date. That’s on me. That’s MY fault. I didn’t qualify her properly. If I had disqualified and said: ‘You and I are probably not going to get a long because you’re always late’, she’s going to either straighten up or not waste my time by not showing up.

These days, I hold by these standards throughout all my relationships, from friends, family, clients, business partners and life choices. In that sense, I’m valuing my time and myself. Only by valuing your time and yourself, that you can get others to value you and your time.

Here are some of the lines you can use:

  • I prefer not to discuss them as these matters are private to me’
  • I never kiss and tell’
  • I already stated my opinion and I’m not going to argue with you further.’
  • ‘If you keep doing X behaviour, then I’m going to leave.’
  • ‘This is are my values, and I hope you can respect that.’

Closing Thoughts

Setting boundaries by cutting an acquaintance out or an ever unaccountable friend is easy. It’s as simple as cutting them out from your life or seeing them lesser. However, setting boundaries and maybe even cutting family and best friends out are a lot harder. You can dump your girlfriend, you can’t dump a bad family member. Family relationships are the hardest to deal with. Trust me, I’ve been there.

One time, I stopped driving a couple of my friends around. I realized that if I stopped driving them around, they wouldn’t bother hanging out with me. Tough truth to face, but that’s life. When I go out with a girl on a date and she says something offensive, I don’t just play nice and ignore, I call her out on it. That’s a form of my boundaries. I don’t accept rude or offensive behaviours in my life.

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Someone with strong boundaries isn’t afraid to say no. He or she isn’t afraid of a temper tantrum or getting into an argument. He or she also understands that he may hurt someone else’s feelings at times and ultimately can’t control how someone else feels.

He or she also understands that a genuine relationship isn’t made up of two people deciding on each other’s actions or emotions, but instead, an unconditional relationship is made up of two people supporting each other, without judgment or expectations.

How to Talk to Women
Jan 02

How to Talk to Women – The Ultimate Guide to Conversation

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

You see her sitting across the table of Starbuck having a quiet cup of coffee. She’s dressed casually, in a purple-pink dotted dress that spells classy. She’s attractive. She’s also alone. The hundreds of possibilities run through your head. You want to start a conversation with her and potentially get her number. However, you freeze and you don’t know what to say, much less how to say it. How many of us experience similar situations like this?

Starting a conversation with a girl, or any stranger is a skillset that can be learnt.

How to Start a Conversation with a Girl – Conversational Mindsets

Firstly, you need to understand that there are good conversational mindsets that can make or break a conversation.

This can be done by adopting simple conversational mindsets such as using effective language, learning the art of making statements, creating endless conversation threads by actively listening and understanding the mechanics of how to connect with someone.

Mindset 1: Lower The Bar For a Conversation

I’m notorious for being too witty and lost in abstract arguments in my head. It has single handedly submarined a lot of social, romantic and business opportunities. In addition to that, just relying on pure wit or intellect is actually a horrible way to communicate in relationships.

It’s a cultural narrative from movies you watch growing up where the actors and actresses often come up with witty lines and the ‘perfect moment’. In reality, is far from the truth. When getting to know someone new, it is going to be a little awkward at first.

The first step to starting a conversation with a stranger and never running out of words is to lower the bar for conversation.

Mindset 2: Statements Versus Questions

Have you ever had someone who you just got to know ask you repetitive questions? I bet you have. It also felt irritating. Girls feel the same way as well. When you go interview mode on her, you’re making the conversational flow one sided.

Instead of going down the route of interviewing her and asking questions. When you make statements, you’re giving your own input and giving her a window to respond to that statement.

The trick here isn’t to just stick to statements. It’s to mix in statements and questions. In Asian culture, if you were just to stick to statements, most girls will not know how to respond. From my experience, they’re just too used to guys asking questions all the time, and haven’t built any social skills to share themselves.

It’s a much better conversational habit as compared to asking questions and waiting for her reply. Of course, if you were to make statements, questions and she just doesn’t respond, it means that she’s not ready to talk and isn’t receptive.

Don’t take it personally and move on.

Statements offer more ‘value’ and opportunity for her to get continue to a conversation than questions. When you’re just going off on questions with a girl, you don’t express your identity, and you don’t really put her in a position to express hers. She’s got to invest in the conversation for the interaction to go well.

Cold reading is a skillset that you can use to make statements. Other simple ones include making observations about the environment or something that catches your eye. It’s possible to turn every question into a statement. For example, instead of asking what she does for a job, why not make a statement  that she looks like she works in a creative line or looks like a teacher and etc.

If you get it wrong, she’ll correct you. If you get it right, she’ll be quite surprised at how intuitive you are. There are no loses to making guesses.

You can also make statements about your day to day life. Instead of worrying what to ask her next, you can just go off randomly on your day or events that interest you: ‘I almost got hit by a car this morning’. ‘I hate my boss, he just made me do two times the work today’.

It’s better to be random and interesting than to be predictable. However, don’t be too random, as it won’t work in a Asian/ Singaporean setting.

Statements done right can inspire her to find out more about your. You can now dictate the interaction. She’s the one asking questions, and she’s the one sub-communicating that she’s interested in finding out more about you.

Caveat: I’d like to add that questions are alright in the Singaporean setting, most girls here aren’t really equipped with the social skills to lead the interaction, you’ll be required to do a little bit of babysitting.

Mindset 3: Listening Actively 

One of the common pitfalls of learning social skills is to only talk about yourself and only showing interest in the topics that you yourself are interested in.

Just recently, I went out with one of my girl friends. She had relationship woes. For three hours straight, she went on was how shit of their ex-boyfriend treated her. This spanned the whole of three fucking hours. Whilst I’m perfectly cool with lending her a listening ear, it just got downright irritating after awhile. At the end of the hang out session, I didn’t exactly feel appreciated for lending a listening ear.

Here’s a trick. If you want to feel better about yourself it’s better to step outside of yourself and empathize with someone else’s problems. Instead of having a self-defeating loop in your mind, merely focused on your own problems, your own trouble or your own pain. It helps, try it.

If you’re genuinely interested in the world of others. It will lead you to a lot more conversational opportunities than just sticking to your own topics of conversation.

Take a good listen to people around you. Everyone’s attempting to jam their point of view down everyone else’s throat. No one’s truly listening. Communication at the end of the day is a two-way thing. Yes, you get to share your story, once they are done listening to yours, do make a point to listen to their story. Part of being interesting is being genuinely interested remember?

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Mindset 4: Use Effective Language 

Using effective language means using the shortest number of words possible to in conversation to get your point across. You would rather have 5 minutes of awesome conversation as opposed to 15 minutes of beating around the bush. You will come off as more well spoken and charismatic.

This means removing ‘ahh’ ‘you know’ and ‘erhms’ and other filters when you’re conversing.

This doesn’t mean you speak like a robot either. You can use different tonality and pace to get more emotion across in your conversations. Writing and keeping a journal can help with this skillset.

When there’s nothing to say, don’t feel like a need that you have to say something. That’s part of being grounded in your social interactions. There’s no need to fill every silent gap with something to say. People who can’t help but ramble on to ‘keep the peace’ is displaying a form of anxious attachment.

When in doubt, ask yourself, ask yourself, are you saying something because you’re afraid of the silence or the slight confrontation? If the answer is Yes, then it’s OKAY to keep to yourself. Remember, you don’t need permission to speak to anyone, or not speak to anyone.

How to Start a Conversation out of Nothing

Skillset 1: Asking Innocuous Questions

I used to think that simple questions sounded stupid and it’s ‘impractical’ to ask someone on such questions. However, I realized innocuous questions are a mere social tool and conversational starter to get some social juices going when talking to strangers.

No one goes deep into their life story in the first few minutes of getting someone new. And no one expects a life story within the first few minutes either.

Some example of innocuous questions:

  • “What are you up to here?”
  • “How’s your day?”

You’ll be surprised how far these innocuous questions can help is starting a conversation with a beautiful stranger.

Skillset 2: Making Simple Observations

Secondly, you can also start a conversation with a stranger by making simple observations. You can get creative with this. It can be something in the current environment you’re in, it can be the cute dress that she’s wearing, or the cute blue toenails she has spent hours on. It can be the weather. It can be the fake tan she has on. (I’m kidding)

  • “Wow, the weather’s pretty hot today.”
  • ‘Those are nice blue toenails you have on, they are really cute.’

Just like asking innocuous questions, think of it as a conversational starter. Once you get small talks like that going, you can follow these observations up with a question, or a cold read.

Skillset 3: The Art of Cold Reading

Cold reading is the art of making an intelligent guess about something about someone. It doesn’t matter if you’re wrong or right. The point of it is to get the conversation going. It’s one of the most effective and a bread and butter of conversational tools that you should include in your daily life if you’re looking to improve your social and communication skills.

Cold reading is done by making harmless neutral assumptions with the people you are talking with.

Examples of Cold Reading:

  • “Hi, you seem to be a really artsy person. Did you take an arts subject in school?”
  • “You look like you’re a school teacher, you must be a pretty bad one, all the kids must hate you”

The thing about cold reading and guessing is that you never go wrong with it. If you get it wrong, he or she will correct you, and perhaps add onto it. If you’re spot on, she’ll likely to think that you’re quite perceptive and may engage with you in conversation because of that. Just last week I got most of my cold reads right by chance by guessing a girl was half Japanese and was studying at the University of London. She reacted positively and was curious how did I know so much. I followed up by teasing that I stalk her daily on Facebook and Instagram.

Through cold reading, you can keep conversational threads flowing and then relate these threads back to your own life with your own experiences.

I’ve personally used this conversational tool thousands of times to spark new conversations or in the middle of dying conversations threads. It works brilliantly.

How to Keep a Conversation Going with a Girl

One of the most commonly asked questions in dating advice for men is how to keep a conversation going with a girl? How to never run out of words?

In social interactions, you’re going to assume to the burden of taking the lead, to start, to continue and to lead in the conversation. Instead of ending your conversations with one-word answers: Yes or No, try to end it with stories, statements and specifics.

  • The Art of Improvisation

There’s a misconception in conversation that people pay attention to words and phrases. However, it’s meaning that people are more interested in. If you just pay attention to to phrases and words, it may result in an unnatural conversation. It’ll seem as if you’re trying to keep this conversation going and you’re afraid of silences.

The secret to creating endless conversational topics is to get good at improvisation. You can only get better with this skill by learning from stand up comedians. I started off studying George Carlin and Louis CK, however, their style of comedy can be quite dark and self depreciating. That’s not really good for most situations, remember, to attract women, you need to be perceived of a ‘higher status. One of the good comedians to check out is Russell Brand and Russell Peters.

You need to gain an appreciation of language for general and a certain degree of wit.

  • Penetrate the Ostensible

This is the art of being aware of multiple meanings to a word, phrase or intonation and playing around it. This requires to art of taking note of little nuances, words that she say and playfully adding in a tease here and there.

How to Tell a Story

Ever know someone who went on, and on and on and you can’t help but quietly look away whilst he goes on and on to kind of signal that he’s being too long-winded? Or maybe you know someone who awkwardly tries to fit in a joke in his conversations?

Starting conversations is an important skill. However, learning how to continue them in a dynamic manner is also equally important. Human beings, by nature, are enrapt by stories. People in power, businessmen, priests (erhem), comedians, and politicians all use the art of storytelling to explain, persuade and influence others to their way of thinking.

In the dating advice community, memorizing stories and routines is one of the method. Whilst this might work in the short run, there’s going to come a point of time where you’re going to run out of words. Hence, I advocate understanding the principles of what makes a dynamic conversation and apply them using your own life stories and experiences.

Learning how to tell a story in a structured, and interesting manner will make you a good communicator.  Here’s a three-step process that anyone can use.

  • The Set Up

The set up gives context to the conflict of the story. It’s the general setting, such as the location and brief details of the story. The set up should be as short as possible. But it’s necessary to give the initial context and foundation for the follow-up of the complete story.

If you don’t set up your stories, you’ll come off to others as random in your conversations.

One simple one lined example of the “set up” would be this:

“I was attending my school orientation the other day. Whilst watching the orientation games, there was this girl that tripped and fell. I was an asshole about it and laughed a little.”

It’s descriptive and gives background to the story.

  • The Conflict

The conflict is the part where you introduce the majority of the story. This should be the part that causes tension and expectancy. The content of the story needs to be captivating and hook others into wanting to know what will happen next. If there isn’t much conflict in the content of your stories, you will get the feeling that you ramble on a lot and others are not paying attention to you.

To continue to story from the set up:

“One of the most attractive girls in the whole of the camp took me by surprise and gave me a smack on my arm. I actually froze up! I froze up and walked away like an idiot! I should have just said something out of my mouth or smacked her back. But I didn’t. I retardedly froze up and walked away.”

“However, I never really felt right, that’s because I didn’t want myself worth to be judged on how many girls date, or anything like that. I also felt I wasn’t experienced enough to coach guys that might be twice my age.”

  • The Resolution/ Punchline

The resolution and the punchline are where you insert ‘the moral of the story’, the ‘punchline’ and the ‘joke’ to end off the story, or just closure for a generic story. People who don’t conclude their stories properly will often get blank stares when they’re finished speaking, or people will ask them “Yeah, and…?”

To end off the story with a punchline:

“Lesson learned! Never ever stand beside an attractive woman during orientation games.” (Joke)

“Nonetheless, I’ve decided to give it a shot, as long as I do my research, and stick to my values, and business values, I’m sure it’ll turn out alright.”

These are all true stories by the way.

Learning how to structure your conversations is helpful in sales presentations, networking events, casual conversations and other forms of social interactions. It can make or break an interaction a girl you cold approached that’s expecting you to lead in the conversation.

This is a conversational habit has helped me over the years with strangers, sales and persuading others in business and especially so in my dating life. Connecting with others in a meaningful and dynamic way is part of having emotional depth.

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The Art fo Qualification: Empathy and Appreciation

Mark Twain was quoted saying: “really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

When was the last time someone took notice of something about you and appreciated that aspect of you. I feel appreciation is something that’s left out in our culture and conversations. That’s because it requires vulnerability.

The secret desire that everyone desires to be appreciated and to be admired. The art of qualification is the art of appreciating someone of their values or personality. The only way to get good at this is to  stepping outside your daily judgments and asking yourself why someone behaves the way they do.

I also don’t mean it in a manner where you compliment someone for the sake of saying.  You have to convey your compliments in an authentic manner.

The guy who seems fearless in his entrepreneurial pursuits, selfish with his time, demand and uptight about his schedule, isn’t actually being an asshole. He could be working on a huge project that may help his family financially.

Someone who is extremely financially motivated might not be money minded. He might be doing it because he had a negative experience financially when he was young.

I choose to write about relationships because I essentially care about this area of my life. It’s not because I want to an annoying asshole dishing advice to everyone that bothers to come my way. It must obviously mean something to me.

Writers make choices. So does everyone, with whatever they choose to pursue.

The world is mired in advertising, society, family, friends telling you and everyone else that they aren’t good enough. If you’re able to dig beneath the surface, figure out why people do what they do and appreciate them for that, you’ll stand out from the norm in their lives. It’s only when you find that gold her in, appreciate her for that, that she’ll lit up like a Christmas tree in front of you.

How to Build an Emotional Connection

Society often shames us for expressing what you really feel or think. Hence all of us grow up to hold back our thoughts, desires, and feelings, whether be it consciously or subconsciously. However, as humans being, we all have an emotional need for connection and significance in our relationships.

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If you’re going to meet her and merely talk about the weather or gossip on your mutual friends or nerd out about politics, then you aren’t being really vulnerable. If all you know about someone is merely the superficial facts about someone, then you don’t really know someone at all.

The majority of men communicate through information, fact and theories and women connect through emotions. The majority pay attention to the “WHATs” of life: their job, their cat’s name and where they live. They rarely peer into the WHYs.

Conversing with emotions will not only help you connect to women in a deeper manner, but it’ll also help you connect with family, friends and people on a more meaningful level. Deeper friendships and romantic relationships aren’t just built by the number of experiences two people have together, it’s also built on opening up to each other.

No matter how different, everyone in the world has gone through some form of success, failure, hurt, disappointment, anger and lost. If you want to connect with someone emotionally, you got to open yourself up and connect with these universal emotions and experiences. You want to relate to the underlying emotions behind the facts. The facts are mere superficial details of the emotions experienced.

I often tell people that I’m quite a good judge of character and someone else’s motivation. That’s because I pay attention to the undercurrent of what someone is saying, as opposed to the superficial layers of communication. Powerful emotional connection is built upon understanding and relating to each other’s WHYs in life.

You need to pay attention to the motivations behind pursuits and behaviours.

Here’s an example of going into the WHYs:

Her: Wow, what inspired you to be an entrepreneur at such a young age?
Me: I pursue business I want to be financially free because I felt financially suffocated during my teenage years as my family went bankrupt for a period of time.

That is a ‘Why’.

Here’s another way to tell a story in a dynamic way:

I was once a competitor in Brazilain Jiu Jitsu and currently I’m an entrepreneur. The feeling before a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition is the same pressure before a giving a business pitch.

They are both some sort of competition in some way. One of them is trying to overcome a physical challenge whilst the other a financial one. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor is risking failure, success, and embarrassment just like how the entrepreneur is.

Never thought how a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion can relate to an entrepreneur uh?

Everybody on this planet shares a handful of universal emotional realities: ambition, shame, alienation, loneliness, achievement, regret, hardship, friendship, love, heartbreak. We’ve all experienced it. The facts change, the feelings are the same.

It’s just how well you’re able to express yours, which will inturn inspire her to share hers. This requires some amount of patience. Some people carry themselves in a superficial manner in order to fit in with society. However, everybody has it somewhere in them.  It’s your job to dig it out and connect with that part of her. That’s where the gold is. That’s where the real magic happens.

  • Be Aware of Your Own Life Stories and Motivations

The rule of thumb here is to always go first. If you share a vulnerable part of yourself, it’ll inspire her to share about hers. To do that, you have to be firstly aware of your own emotions, motivations, and life story.

This includes:

  • Your passions and favourite things to do
  • Your dreams, ambitions, life goals
  • Best/worst thing that has happened to you
  • Your childhood, family life and upbringing

You can initiate these conversations by a simple cold read: You look like you’re close to your family.

This is where majority of guys fail at this. Men tend to discuss technical know-hows and superficial details rather than be introspective about their own emotions. The majority guys suck at talking about themselves. They think it’s weird in some ways. Girls, on the other hand, are only engaged when they are talking about themselves (or each other). This is why they’re constantly gossiping, creating drama or people watching.

Here is an example:

I always wanted to be a psychologist growing up because I had a lot of problems growing up as a rebellious teenager. I was always angry, apathetic and under performing. I ended up being hooked onto self development due to a horrible break up with my ex-girlfriend. I was addicted to the fact that I could have a control over my dating life and social interactions.

Through years of failure, today, I feel much more in control of my dating life. I took an interest in psychology that partially inspired my entrepreneurial projects.

However, if you talk about how you FEEL about your interests, then you can relate to how she FEELS about her own pursuits. It’s never the external pursuits, it’s the similar underlying expression why you choose to pursue something that you can relate to her with.

Here are some examples:

She studies really hard to get into law school because she was brought up by a single Mum and she wants to be self-reliant and independent. That’s driving her. You can relate to her by saying that you had a distant upbringing with your family and you always had to rely on yourself emotionally to get by.

It’s never about the external pursuits, but it’s about the similar underlying expression of why you choose to pursue your chosen hobbies that you can relate to her with.

When you open up about yourself relate to each other’s emotions and experience., you’ll elicit her to to open up about herself. The more this goes on, the more personal stories become and the deeper the emotions you connect with. The harder it is to talk about it as a subject, the more genuine and attractive it potentially can be. Topics such as childhood, upbringing and family life are often hard for a man to express, especially so in Asian culture.

Here’s a reframe: by being alright with sharing any part of yourself with anyone, you’re truly confident.Emotional connection occurs only through exposing yourself to a certain degree. It cannot be faked.

Confrontation and Appreciation

Lastly, confrontation is necessary to build a deeper emotional connection. Think of it as a parent who sits you down, says something that you don’t want to hear, but know that you should hear. You hate it at first, however, you know they’re doing it because they care for you.

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Confrontation can be painful and vulnerable. The majority of people avoid confrontation in the fear of imploding the relationship. Confrontation is something I’m start to get more comfortable with as I grow older. This is especially so with close relationships.

However, it is necessary.

Recently, I confronted two good friends. I was feeling really upset for their unreliability and a host of other issues. I kept it in for months. However, it finally felt inauthentic to be around them without expressing those issues. It didn’t feel like a genuine friendship anymore. It felt like I was holding back my thoughts and desires in fear of losing the relationship.

Confrontation from a dating aspect can be as simple as calling a girl out for being half an hour late into a date to confronting your girlfriend about those weird late night calls to her ex. These events are often painful, but necessary. However, that’s how an authentic relationship is built.

Putting it all Together

Combine this framework with skill sets such as cold reading, making statements over questions, storytelling, improvisation and you’ll find yourself in being able to direct and control the flow of conversation. This is actually easier than it sounds. You probably already different parts of these strategies  time to time with your friends. Now, you just got to do it consistently with girls you’re going out with.

When I was 17, and I was the biggest countercultural hippie. I listened to John Lennon, proclaimed that all you need is love and just felt that life was all too short to be worried about you know the practical stuff.

I sat at the playground near my house I was with my ex girlfriend who I was dating at that point in time. I sat and both of us chatted for hours.

I went off about how societal expectations were ridiculous and gave a mini-lecture if the universe existed or not. I told her how amazing was to exist as a tiny speck of the universe. I ranted passionately for a good hour. She listened. She listened well.

I then caught myself rambling and stared into her eyes.

I said: “Were you even listening, did you understand what I just said?”

She said: “No, I don’t, but I just love the way you say it.”

I got annoyed because I wanted her to understand the content of you know, all of that hippie stuff. She didn’t. However, years later, looking back, she probably loved how I expressed it. It was passion and story telling at it’s finest. That was because those stories demonstrated my passion, my authenticity.

Fast forward years later, and I found myself dating this other girl at this bar near my home. That point of time, I had hung out with other pick up artists, read quite a bit on ‘Game’ and all of that self-improvement stuff.

I was also a competitive martial artist at that point of time and was preparing for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament. I ended ranting off on about how Jiu Jitsu is similar to the game of human chess. I told her Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was akin to facing death. I explained to her that by being submitted in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu match, it is the equivalent of dying. You’re either choked out, or risk suffering a major limb broken, which will lead you to a huge disability continuing the fight. I then went on about how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches everyone to be humble because getting into a physical altercation in reality always pans out differently.

I went on, and on. Guess what? She loved it. She just stared at me like my ex girlfriend did, mesmerized at how I went on passionately about something I cared about.

Complete different girls, and completely different stories. Nonetheless, the same universal emotions. The facts often get shifted around, however, the feelings are always same.

Should You Memorize Lines?

I never felt right memorizing lines or ‘openers’. It has also never worked well for me. Furthermore, you don’t want to be some robotic guy repeating what somebody wrote on the internet. However, if you’re starting out you can use certain one line jokes or memorize some of own life stories as training wheels.

You want to understand the principles of conversations, and use your own unique life stories and motivations. This will serve you much better in the long run. Not to mention human interaction has many variables that are out of your control, and cannot be completely boxed and quantified like a formula.

Just so you know, I’ve sparked conversations with girls in clubs all over the world with this simple line: “Hi I’m Marcus, I just wanted to say Hi, you look like…”.

I haven’t had a drink splashed on me yet.

How to Approach Women 03
Dec 30

How to Approach Women – Empathy and Boldness

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

Countless of us walk the streets and have hundreds of girls and women who fit our physical criteria as a potential romantic partner walk by us. Yet, how many of us end up not nothing anything, day after day, months after months, and years. Let’s be honest here, you and I are guilty of letting these opportunities slip by. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to approach an attractive stranger and the realm of potential possibilities that comes after that?

Is there a system one can follow on how to approach a girl in any given social situation? The answer varies, but the underlying principles are similar.

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How to Approach Girls – The Ultimate Guide

  • Your First Impression

Psychological research shows humans base the majority of our perception of people on the first couple of minutes we spend with each other. This initial perception extends and influences our relationship to the person for weeks, and even months. So, assuming you approach a girl you’re attracted to, how can you make a good impressing upon her through your first couple of minutes in your approach?

You’ll need to be dressed minimally well. You’ll need minimally a fitting t-shirt, jeans, and shoes. You’ll also need to be well shaved, with your hair is taken care of. You’ll be surprised how many men don’t invest in their daily appearance.

Secondly, factors such as tonality and body language should be taken note of.

  • Body Language, Eye Contact and Tonality

You want to be going for neutrality and coming from a curious standpoint. You’ll also want to have assertive by soft eye contact. Neutral body language and an assertive tonality will demonstrate that you’re comfortable with starting this conversation, that you’re no threat, and you’re also confident with asserting yourself.

  • Understand Social Norms

When you’re approaching a stranger on the streets and hitting on her directly is something that’s out of the norm, and hence: should be recognized as out of the norm.

Going up to a girl and saying you find her cute is quite an unconventional behaviour. It’s not something that happens daily and should be recognized as that. Because I recognize this and I call it out in my own interactions, I rarely creep girls out. Most women I approach are willing to listen to me at least for 30 seconds.

How to Get Over Approach Anxiety

Even when you made a decision to go up to talk to that beautiful stranger, your stomach churns, your heart beats faster and you’re almost always left dumbfounded, unable to utter a single word, much less move your feet to go up to talk to her?

I’m no stranger this feeling called approach anxiety. Up to this day, I still get that crippling feeling of taking my feet off the floor, pointing it at her direction and walking up to her. I have failed to approach girls in shopping malls, nightclubs, parties and social events.

Approach Girls

Are You Going to Talk to Her?

However, compared to the average person, I’m a lot more competent at it.  So how you actually get over your approach anxiety?

Create an Environment of Inevitable Success

Firstly, you’ll need to create an environment of inevitable success. You need to use your surrounding for leverage. The only reason why I bothered to take action in my dating life back then because my ex-girlfriend broke my heart. I had so much leverage on me, that not taking action wasn’t an option.

In my entrepreneurial career, I feared doing something I hate, getting bossed around by someone that I didn’t respect and serving clients that didn’t enjoy serving. I hated all of that so much that publishing long-form guides, editing and blogging to promote myself as dating coach on a daily basis became effortless to me.

In your dating life, what kind of leverage can you use? For me, some of them include deleting all online dating applications. Today, I don’t use Tinder or any of the online dating applications. I don’t hang out with people I don’t like just so hopefully they can introduce me to their girlfriends. I don’t do any of that. I run this business alone. I do not have colleagues, friends of friends that ‘hopefully’ fall through the cracks so that I get to know them.

This is why I have leverage. I have no alternative and created an environment of inevitable success.

Technical Solution – Progressive Desensitization

You can work your way through your approach anxiety through the progressive desensitization technique. I use this technique on myself and multiple other clients.

Progressive desensitization is a psychologically researched technique that is used to help people overcome their anxieties in a step by step manner. Compare this to the flooding technique where most dating coaches force students to approach 20 hot girls in one night at a go. Firstly, it isn’t sustainable. Secondly, you’re not building a sustainable habit.

Okay, here’s an example on how to use progressive desensitization:

Step 1: Remove Headphones in Public and Being more Socially Connected

Firstly, you can remove your headphones when going about your day. I removed my headphones and was shocked at how much difference it made how connected I felt to the social world. You should try it. This forces you to be much more socially engaged with the outside world.

Step 2: Ask For Time and Directions from Strangers

If you’re crippled by approach anxiety, you can start off with total strangers and then work your way from guys, non-threatening girls and then attractive girls. You can also start off by asking for time or directions, moving up to compliments and then eventually the direct approach. You get the idea.

Step 3: Making Small Observations and Compliments

Small observations and compliments can be stacked on top of asking for time and directions from strangers. When you add a compliment: “that’s a nice shoe, you look great in it” in your conversations with random strangers, you’ll not only make their day, but it’ll put you in a better social mood when you get positive social feedback.

You’ll be surprised how much just stopping strangers to ask for time and directions will help in getting the social juices flowing.

The Minimum Viable Action

One tool I find helpful when I find myself stuck when approaching is called the minimum viable action. It’s the one action that you can do other than the direct approach itself. That can be approaching her for time and directions. This not only gets you comfortable stopping attractive girl, but it’ll also help you become more desensitized and get in a more social mood.

Blast Through Your Excuses

Through the years getting into this, I realized that success with women boils down to one key factor. That’s integrity. Not your kind of school integrity, but integrity to push through your social fears. It’s a personal badge of honour you wear to push through your fears.

When you’re pushing against your approach anxiety, you’re bound to fight against your own psychological defence system. They are called psychological defence mechanisms. Here are some common excuses you’ll tell yourself.

  • Avoidance and Procrastination

“I am going to start on this girls thing tomorrow. I’m just not feeling it today.”
“I am going to starting hit the clubs next week.”
“I don’t feel like it today.”

There was once I was practising to approach at the mall and tons of excuses and defences popped up. First I told myself I was tired and had to grab a meal first, then a sweet drink…

I didn’t do any approaches for the first half an hour. I spent the time, eating, drinking and waiting around. It was only when I started paying attention to the monologue in my head that was able to start calling myself out on the excuses that popped out.

Here’s the truth: There’s no perfect night and no perfect mood to approach. Just because something feels absolutely terrible in a certain moment does not mean that it is. It’s only when you get your butt off and start approaching that you feel much better. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt horrible and not wanting to get out of the house and then feeling much better after stepping out.

  • Intellectualization

The self-help, dating advice industry is notorious for this. If you consume dating advice and watch videos without taking any action, you’re intellectualizing your problems. I used to do this a lot when I first start out where I would just read, read and read some more. Overloading myself with one theory after another. It’s also a false trap. That’s because reading and watching videos make you feel like you’re doing something. However, it does not.

  • Apathy

‘I genuinely don’t care and it doesn’t bother me.’

If you’re watching porn and telling yourself that you don’t give a fuck about your sex life, you’re running into apathy. You convince yourself that you don’t care about your dating life. I know for sure, I was there. Truth is, I do care about my dating life.  This bled over to my school, life and all other areas in my life. It’s something I’ve had to fight against for the last 3-4 years of my life. It’s a defence mechanism I run even up till today.

  • Helplessness and Surrender

‘I just suck at this.’
‘I’ll never get good at this’.

I found myself running into this defence mechanism sometimes. I get too anxious and then I surrender to the anxiety and just admit that: ‘I suck and have no courage.’

This is the opposite of apathy. Caring too much and acknowledging that you’re powerless to taking action against the anxiety.

  • Blame and Anger

This defence mechanism mostly comes in the form of generalizing and stereotyping chunks of the human population. When I first started out going out to approach girls I told myself this approach thing only works in Westernized cultures. That it’ll never work for Singaporean girls. Singaporean girls are too materialistic, socially retarded, bitchy and emotionally immature.

Your First 5 Minutes

You’ll be expected to lead and initiate 98% of the time, and I mean 98%. I’ve lost tens of interactions because I played it chill and laidback. It’s incongruent to the girl if you approached her and expect her to lead. She’ll be wondering what is up. You just approached and you’re playing in chill?

She’s not going to lead the conversation or add to the conversation. That’s because you’re approaching her in an unconventional manner and she’s going to be quite shy and reserved. You’re going have to make statements, ask questions, tease her, and laugh at yourself to put her at ease. You’re going to have to communicate to her within that 10 minutes that you’re an attractive individual that’s socially aware as well.

  • The Approach

The fundamental principles of old approaching girls in nights clubs or day time situations are similar. 1) You need to present yourself assertively and positively 2) you need to be willing to back off. If she’s taken aback, you need to be able to show that you’re willing to back off through your body language. Secondly, don’t touch her heavily when approaching, use hand signals or a light touch to stop her.

If you’re approaching groups, you should also talk to her friends, both male and female.

I recommend beginners to get comfortable with going direct. Going direct puts you out there and let your intentions get known. It’s also time effective method. It’s genuine and authentic for beginners, this is it can work for you. I personally am a huge fan of going direct, however, as you progress, going indirect can be more effective, less socially awkward for her, especially in a conservative culture like Singapore.

These days, I start off by saying “I know this is random”,  followed by: “I think you look interesting (indirect), and just wanted to say Hi”.

The majority of girls are going to figure out what you’re trying to do anyway. The indirect approach simply subtlety conveys: Hey, I’m officially invested in the prospect of getting to know you better.

She can also mostly tell if you approach her for any other reasons than being attracted to her. You should not approach girls to impress your friends, for ‘practice’, for numbers etc. I have approached girls that I am not genuinely attracted to, for ego reasons to impress my friends and it usually doesn’t work out.

Your motivation behind your behaviour is equally as important as the behaviour itself.

  • Questions and Statements

There’s nothing more boring than getting to know someone by asking a bunch of questions. If you’re only asking her questions after questions, you’re putting all the spotlight on her and you don’t get to share your identity to her. The easiest way to have a two-way conversation is to include ‘I’ and ‘you’ in your conversation.

Stop asking questions and turn them into both statements about her, and yourself. If you only ask monotonous questions, you’re severely limiting yourself. There’s no connection and no rough edges. Through the art of cold reading, you turn questions into statements. You can also find out about her occupation, her hobbies in a way that doesn’t come off as being an interviewer.

  • Tease Her about Something She’s Doing in the Moment

Teasing helps ease the interaction between you and her. Old friends tease each other all the time. You do it with your family, you do it with that childhood friend, most of all, you do it about your most embarrassing personality traits. It also adds a man to woman element to your interaction.

One of the easiest ways do it is to tease her about something is doing, about to do or wearing in the moment. If she says she’s an accountant, you can tease her that she probably lose money for the company rather than account it.

For Eg. I was at a beer pong party and she was telling me how good she was at beer pong. I told her that, that playing beer pong was probably her college major, insinuating that, that’s probably everything she knew about life.

  • Qualify

Lastly, you qualify by finding something unique about her lifestyle, job or occupation and appreciate something about her by saying: that’s really interesting, I’ve never met a girl…’

Imagine if someone took the effort to notice how you put in effort something you care a lot about, perhaps your business. Imagine if someone went on to say: ‘you know, I really like the details of your work, there must be a lot of effort and attention that goes into that, not everyone is willing to go through the pain of building a business’. How will you feel about that? You’ll feel amazing. That’s right! Now, flip that around and find something unique about her and appreciate her for that.

Note, you can’t fake it when you say something, you got to mean it. Take this as an opportunity to cultivate a genuine appreciation for others.

It can be as simple as:

‘You’re really friendly for someone that looks pretty young’ (I use it all the time in Singapore because girls here are usually shy and reserved)

‘You seem like a friendly and interesting person to talk to’.

Make Future Plans on the Spot 

Here’s the deal when attempting to get her number. Only ask for her number after a positive interaction and you can tell that she’s minimally interested. Secondly, get straight to the point by asking her out for coffee or drinks right then and there.

Through making future plans right there, you’ll solidify yourself as someone she’s potentially going to see again. You can also add in a little qualification before asking for her number. Let’s say you found out that she has quite an upbeat personality, you can say:

‘That’s awesome, you seem like a fun and adventurous person, let’s hang out and go bungee jumping together some day.’

Or, if you just find her pleasant to be around with. You can say:

‘You seem like a cool person to be around with, let’s party someday together. Do you have WhatsApp?’ 

Note: If she’s only willing to give you their Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, then she probably isn’t attracted. I don’t buy that, I’ll just treat it as a rejection and move on.

Bench Mark: Staying in a Cold Interaction Longer than Half a Minute

The rule of thumb is this: IF you are able to hold a conversation and stay a cold social interaction for longer than a minute, you’re approaching correctly. If you are getting blown out interaction after interaction in less than 30 seconds, then you’re not approaching correctly.

You need to look at the basics: your body language, your dress sense, your vocal tonality and your intentions. Girls aren’t stupid, in fact, they are a lot more emotionally intuitive than men. If you are approaching her with the wrong intentions, she’ll figure out.

Note on Crazy Pick Up Moves

There are many pick up artist techniques popularized like spinning girls off the approach and outlandish behaviours from Youtube videos produced other dating advice companies. Here’s my verdict on them: they aren’t sustainable. I’m sure those instructors are good, however, they are only showing the tiny fraction of the interaction. They are also showing these flashy techniques for marketing purposes. It also rarely works when approaching girls in conservative Asian cultures like Singapore. Secondly, if you can’t even get a girl to stop and speaking to you for half a minute, then don’t even bother about all the other techniques.

There were times I ran around the club like a headless chicken approaching girls just for the sake of it. I was relying on ineffective dating theories and not approaching from a place of effectiveness. They are also socially uncalibrated behavior. Needless to say, I got rejected repeatedly.

Ultimately, you can’t really completely objectify or quanitfy social interactions. However, if you aren’t getting results then it’s time to put some metrics into action. How long are you staying in an interaction? Is she smiling at you? What does her body language say?

Results and Success

The majority of your approaches are not going to go anywhere. It’s the name of the game. There are just too many external circumstances that cannot be controlled. EG. She has a boyfriend, the last guy that approaches her on the streets freaked her out etc. The better you get, you’ll be able to point out the interactions that aren’t going to get anywhere and you’re going to spend a lot less time on time sinks.

If you want to get optimized results, you get good at the fundamentals: intentions, relaxed body language, eye contact and conversational skillsets. Lastly, remember that it’s your responsibility to approach her. It’s always your responsibility to move the interaction forward. It’s always your responsibility to spark an interesting interaction between you and her. Cause if you don’t, she’ll never do it for you, ever. 

Dating in Singapore 01
Dec 23

Singapore Dating Culture – Sex, Love and Economics

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

Over the years, I figured that Singapore’s dating culture is unique and flawed in it’s own special kind of way. Singapore is an Asian cultured society that is sandwiched between Westernized and Asian values simultaneously. This weird sandwich often results in a clash of values, beliefs in our dating lives.

I’m a Singaporean male bred and born from the heartlands in Singapore. I’m not born into a privileged family. I stayed in a HDB, a public flat the majority of my life, received a typical Singaporean education. I grew up in a conservative Asian family setting. You know, the typical conservative Asian family. If you don’t get a 101/100 in school, you get disowned and aren’t allowed to come home. 

If you were somewhat like me, you probably aren’t equipped to talk about openly about sex, intimacy and relationships openly. 

Singaporean Dating Culture: Shame and Honour

If you were like me, you were brought up to think that good grades equal a good job, a good job equals nice girlfriend, a good girl friend or wife equals success in life. You were brought to be ‘useful’ to society. You had to excel in anything you laid your hands on, rejection and failure meant death.

There’s a reason why the dating advice community is much smaller in Asia compared to Westernized cultures. One thing the dating advice community did right was the concept of self-reliance. 

If you take full responsibility for your own behaviour, you can change your love life and not everything is left to fate or genetics.

It’s the most difficult thing to admit to themselves, their families, and other loved ones that they have a problem and need help. The mere acknowledgement of an Asian person having a problem is going against cultural norms because it sends the implicit message to others that you have let them down.

– Psychology Today

It’s quoted by Emerson that society is a conspiracy against self reliance. Asian cultures are collectivistic by nature. The idea behind collectivism it’s that it’s culturally acceptable to rely on groups, stay in groups, rather than rely on oneself.

Collectivism promotes the idea of giving up your individual needs for the ‘greater good’ of society. Giving up your needs is also known to be selfless and considered a ‘good’ moral value in Asian cultures.

However, altruism also be debated philosophically. Our human actions are inherently selfish. You can argue that giving up your needs for the greater good is still selfish because you’re deriving pleasure from the action of giving up your needs. Look, I’m not here to debate if collectivism or individualism is better, there are helpful and unhelpful values in both value structure.

One huge part of Singaporean culture believes that success from dating and relationships will ensue from success in external metrics such as your career, job, academic success or monetary wealth. There’s a common cultural notion that if you’re rich, hold a high paying job, you’ll automatically attract women, or are deemed successful in life.

From my experience as a dating coach, the majority of Singaporean (and arguable Asian) man goes through his whole life believing he needs a lot of external successes to be successful with women. 

You also not suppose to talk about your emotions, you’re not suppose to feel sad, you’re not suppose to swear, to be pissed off. You’re suppose to be that good Asian kid that goes to school and get good grades.

This is also why psychotherapy, mental illness, is much more stigmatized in Asian societies, with the majority of Singaporeans suffering from it not seeking help.

Dating in Singapore 08

Sexual shame inflicts not just Singaporean men, but men all over the world, it’s just more so in Asia. 

I remembered that the topic of sex, relationships and emotions were NEVER discussed when I was growing up. Needless to say, I was piss poor with my relationships with women and that single-handedly inspired my dive into the dating advice community.

This lack of emotional depth and sexual shame may lead to us Singaporean male being perceived as ‘boring’ and ‘unexpressive’.

From personal experience, many Singaporeans actually pride themselves on these metrics of success, without questioning if that’s the best way to measure success in life.

It’s no surprise that Singapore has been reported for being a soulless, unhappiest, longest worked culture.

Blurring the Lines Between Love, Lust, and Sex

If you’re a Singaporean male, you probably feel judged or ashamed of bring a woman back home by your parents. Sex is often seen as “immoral and unethical”. This, ultimately, is a source of sexual shame. It’s no surprise that people that has trouble with attracting women often feedback to me that they have got extremely strict parents.

One of the traditional Asian cultural beliefs is that you have to have a great connection with a woman before you can have sex with her. There is unsaid rule that it’s a must for marriage or a long term relationship before you can have sex.

This is why girls complain that guys only want sex and why guys complain why girls are needy. In the end, causes a lot of manipulative and nice guy behaviors where you the male end up buying gifts and spending time, effort and attention in hopes at the end of the day receiving sex.

It’s basically saying: I’m going to buy you this dinner/gifts/bags so that you let me fuck you later.

Here’s a truth: Sex is not immoral or unethical when it’s consciously agreed between both parties.

Here’s the second truth: sexual desire should not be in the only reason why you get into a relationship. Ultimately, a long committed relationship should only be pursued if there’s a long-term compatibility in the relationship.

Wanting to have sex with someone and desiring a committed relationship are two separate issues. Emotional attachment/commitment doesn’t automatically/ shouldn’t come after or before sex. Sex doesn’t mean automatically mean emotional attachment/commitment. There are many a times both parties sexually attracted to each but are actually incompatible and differ in life values.

Dating in Singapore 02

Throughout the majority of history, sex was a strictly controlled good. If you dated up in social classes, you might find yourself beheaded or shot. Now, you’re living a modern world where you have the knowledge and freedom the choose your sexual partners and relationships with lesser repercussions with the invention of condoms and pills. It’s a gift in itself.

Lastly, sex shouldn’t be seen as a huge deal. It isn’t something that you should hold on to like a badge of honor. Sex, love and intimacy isn’t something that you can earn or objectify.

The Singaporean Culture Ties Economics to Long Term Commitment

One of the cultural nuances of Singapore is that public housing is only purchasing upon marriage or what we call registration of marriage. This can cause a problem, a blog post by MoneySmart.Sg claimed that one of the top reasons Singaporeans cancel their flat purchase is because they break up before collecting their keys.

Singapore is great economically. I have nothing wrong with that, however, when economics is seen as a means to relationships, that’s where people make decisions they are not ready to make.

Dating in Singapore 10

If you are more interested and worried about public housing instead of the quality of the relationships when it comes to marriage, then you’re dug your own grave from the start. The purchase of public housing (or anything for that matter) should not be a determinant of whether or not you should stay in relationship.

More often than not, relationships are treated as economical assets in Asian culture. Namely: Guan Xi in Chinese.

If you’re only loved for some extrinsic benefit you provide to someone else instead of mutual support and affection. (and at times, your parents) then you’ll always base your self worth on the things you can provide to others, and not who you actually are as a person.

For example:

  • You’re only accepted and loved if you’re getting full marks for your Science examinations.
  • You’re only accepted and loved if you attend piano classes.

Not this is a conditional form of relationship, it also fucks with your self esteem. It also screws up your perception of love and intimacy.

Ultimately, the healthy dynamic of a relationship shouldn’t be solely measured by externals like achievements or social status. If you sacrificed your personal values, just to be with someone, then there’s actually really no relationship at all.

Singaporean Women Materialistic and Superficial?

There are a couple of articles floating online that suggests that Singaporean women are spoilt, have an inflated sense of self worth and expect to get treated like princesses.

For every stereotype, there’s a small dose of truth. I generally do find the average Singaporean women ‘spoilt’ in the sense that a lot of them aren’t able to hold down a meaningful conversation (which is ironic for being educated in one of best education systems in the world). You also could argue that the majority of Singaporeans can’t hold down a fucking meaningful conversation.

Dating in Singapore 03

I did some Googling around, found a Quora thread, another one and some research.

Surprise, surprise, there’s actually an article with data points that goes to show 

YES, Singaporean girls are do account for finances when choosing a long term partner, most of them stating that they account for finances when looking for a husband or a long term relationship. There’s also a survey that says that Singaporean women aren’t willing to date someone who is shorter than them.

You can argue that from an evolutionary standpoint. Females want to be with males that have wealth and resources so that they are able to care for their offspring. Just like how males want to be with physically attractive females that has positive indicators of the ability to give birth: nice hair, wide hips and etc.

However, people also choose mates not just because they want to fuck each other brains out or give birth to a healthy offspring, but also other factors such as personal values, emotional attachment, lifestyle compatibility and etc.

So what gives?

It’s difficult not to ignore the demographic of local Singaporean women dating foreign men in Singapore. 

Every couple of months, I go to the popular drinking night spot club street in Singapore. Whenever I’m there, I’m flooded with the expat crowd from the central business district. It’s hard not to notice the Asian woman wrapping her hands around a Caucasian male.

I did some Googling on the internet’s general sentiment on state of Singaporean masculinity.

I found out our popular blogger Xia Xue’s opinion on how Singaporean men needs a certain amount introspection, start adding value to society, stop whining about the government, stop posting on forums and stop reference colloquial sexual terms when it comes to sex.

Spoiler: She ended up marrying a foreigner.

There is also another long article by a foreigner living in Singapore titled: ‘what’s wrong with Singaporean men’. 

He argued that 1) Singaporean men aren’t independent because they don’t move out of home 2) Singaporean men are sexist and are stuck in the last century 3) Singaporean men are stingy on dates 4) Singaporean men dress poorly and put no effort into their appearance 5) Singaporean men look great on paper but are poor dates.

Unfortunately, being a Singaporean male myself, I agree with some of their points.

However, does that mean that Singaporean women aren’t choosing Singaporean women as dating partners at all Interestingly, I found statistics that the majority of Singaporean women are still marrying Singaporean men.

However, you could argue marriage doesn’t really demonstrate the sexual desirability of Singaporean men. There are even evolutionary theories that suggests that women choose long term commitment with men because of long term safety, security/ economics.

I’m not going to debate you on the multiple of evolutionary theories on this, but you get the rough drift.

From my experience, Singaporean men are a great at putting in the hours and grinding it out. However, I think a lot of us measure up pretty poorly in other areas, especially when it comes to certain traits: being outspoken and having independent thinking.

Here’s my critique.

Singaporean men are ‘boring losers’ when it comes to standing up for their own ideals and values. This is the opportunity cost of a relatively conservative Asian culture.

Emotional Independence from Our Parents

In Singapore culture, it’s a cultural norm to stay with Mum and Dad all the way till 35 or till you are married. Look, I’m not against staying with your parents, however, there are tons of benefits from gaining independence from your parents.

However, our emotional dependence on our parents often lead to issues in our dating lives.

It’s also common to hear the phrase: you’re not marrying the girl but you’re marrying the family.

I completely disagree. It’s an outdated traditional belief that shouldn’t hold true today. It’s a piss poor form of boundaries. In any long term committed relationship, including marriage, you and your partner are going to start a life together. Your life choices should be independent of what your parents expect of you.

I’ve dated girls that are always worried about what Mum and Dad thought of her. This is despite reminding her constantly: “Hey look, I’m dating you, and I’m not dating your parents.”

Our life choices are often dictated by the judgment and opinions of society. This includes our friends, our family and society expectations in general. We never bothered to differentiate ourselves in a manner that might be different from a societal norm. This plays out in our career choices as well. 

Singaporean men often choose the more ‘safe choices’ of being an accountant, a lawyer or a doctor as their career choice. You often also hear people lament that the arts, music scene in Singapore is a dead end, and there’s no money in art of music.

There is also a huge cultural pressure of males to be financially successful. Hence, we often sacrifice our own ideals and values for the sake of financial success. When you adjust your behaviour to follow suit with society with the fear of being seen as different, or standing out, those aren’t exactly bold traits.

It’s a cultural norm in Singaporean culture to stay with Mum and Dad till you’re married. That’s because rent is known to be expensive in Singapore and almost everyone I know stays with their parents (including me). That’s a problem many Singaporean men face.

Freudians believe that the defining emotional struggle for men is emotionally disassociating from the safety and care of the emotional attachment of their mother. 

However, in Singapore, a lot of us still live with Mum and Dad and are emotionally dependent on them. Even the Singaporean billionaire, Min Liang Tan is proud of living with his parents

Personal experience backs this up as well, I always notice a stark difference in motivation whenever I’m back home with my parents as compared when I’m travelling alone abroad. I always felt more free and motivated to pursue my own endeavors when I’m living alone.

The Singaporean Metrics of Success

There’s a pervasive invisible script that a Singaporean male has to go to a good University, please Mum and Dad, get a respectable job, purchase a HDB, pump out 2.5 kids and retire by 65 or some age that the government decides. This model used to work for our parents. That’s because that was what it was required economically for their generation at that point of time. 

Dating in Singapore 06

So what is the result of this cultural script?

Hundreds of Singaporean men working in jobs they don’t enjoy, just to keep impress people they don’t like, to earn money they don’t need and splash it on the common Singaporean 5 Cs: Condo, credit card, car, cash and country club membership.

You get a generation of successful men who are pushovers, don’t assert themselves, can’t get a date and end up embroiled with sex with mommy issues.

Historically, men attached their entire identities to their careers and professions. That’s where we’ve always derived our sense of self worth. That’s how men asserted their emotional autonomy.

However, Singapore has evolved to a society of financial luxury. This is true for many Western cultures and in Singapore. Not to mention that women have equal opportunities, work harder than men, and there even cases of women outperforming men in Math and Science

In my experience, many Singaporeans are afraid of making independent valued judgments of their own, especially when it comes to life choices.

It’s no surprise that the alternative media in Singapore often expresses that Singaporeans are often politically silenced and generally are afraid to express their opinions. 

There’s societal pressure of financial success as a commonly used metric of success in Singaporean culture. If you’re rich, that meant you’re successful. Why is academic performance and wealth such a huge metric of success in Singaporean society? What happened any sense of meaning?

Thirdly, the Singaporean education system doesn’t really encourage you to stand up for yourself or think outside of the box either. 

Since day one, you are spoon fed and told to just follow the system. It felt stupid to me that the sole purpose of going to University of it isn’t the actual role of learning but to get the highest grade in your examinations. Curiosity is sacrificed for the sake of extrinsic rewards. You’re memorizing that periodic table in chemistry class not because you give a fuck about chemistry itself, but so that you can pass your examinations. 

Whilst many may think that NOT out rightly or directly expressing their opinions help with harmony, it may not always be the case. There’s a difference between harmony and conformity. Through the years, I often had friends and family criticizing me for voicing out my personal opinions. However, it was these controversial opinions generated long term trust and meaning in my relationships.

Yes, you want to be secure. Yes, your Mum and Dad wants you to be ‘successful’. However, don’t just slave away at some career that you aren’t interested in. I’m no different from you. I was shit scared of not finishing my accounting degree. I’m shit scared of failing financially in life. Hell no, I am even more afraid than you are. I was brought up to think that I was an absolute failure if I didn’t achieve these things. I was brought up to believe that only a ‘well respected job’ meant ‘success’.

The Old Metric of Success Isn’t Helpful Anymore

These cultural narratives that are instilled in us growing up in Singapore are no longer helpful anymore.

There’s no particular party to be blamed here, it’s merely an evolution of economics and culture. Here’s my theory: back then Singapore needed rapid economic growth, hence the government pushed for it. That was required in my parent’s generation. However, things are different now. Singapore is an economically advanced country and we’re still measuring success in the same way as we did back then.

The result?

The meaningless pursuit of financial success.

Countless reports and cases have stated that Singaporeans are one of the unhappiest people in the world. Our Singaporean forefathers focused heavily on economic growth for the last 50 years. It’s also researched that Singaporean workers are constantly the highest worked, workers in the world, beating even the industrious South Koreans. Singapore is also reported to have low fertility rates.

Dating in Singapore 04

Research shows that economic growth in a competitive capitalistic economy is related to this low fertility rate. There’s a popular argument that suggests when people have more disposable income, people are more willing to put off marriages and courtships.

Have you sacrificed the other aspects of life in this mad chase for economics? Have you dug a hole so deep economically that you have to constantly pile up on it to keep it going? It’s no longer enough to define ourselves through our unhelpful metrics such as our pay check. You and I find ourselves as the first generation of men that must create our own.

This isn’t easy. In a multitude of ways, we’re ill equipped. However, you can be the first of Singaporean men that take a different step.

Just like how our founding fathers did half a century ago.

Works Cited

Health, I. o. (2016, September 23). Latest study sheds light on the state of mental health in Singapore.Retrieved May 29, 2018, from Institute of Mental Health: https://www.imh.com.sg/uploadedFiles/Newsroom/News_Releases/SMHS%20news%20release.pdf

Photo Credits: Joe Siegal