Blog - Part 3
Feb 22

3 Issues Singaporean and Asian Men Face in Modern Dating

By Marcus Neo | Singapore Guides

It’s not difficult to draw parallels between social stigma, the concept of shame, Asian values such as honour and issues that Singaporean Asian men face in modern dating when doing research for a couple of commentaries. I’m born and bred Singaporean male, and as someone brought up in the heartlands of Singapore, went through the typical Singaporean education route, I’m pretty sure I have a good context on the issues some of us men face in our dating and relationship lives.

1. The Asian Shame: Saving Face

Sex, emotions and relationships are hardly discussed around the dinner table when you’re growing up. If you’re a traditional Singaporean son or even woman, these topics aren’t really openly discussed or addressed. The majority of us aren’t primed to openly discuss these issues in from young, and it’s no wonder that you feel awkward communicating intimately to a woman you’re interested in.

Look, I’m not here to discuss collectivistic or individualistic mindsets. Not openly communicating in your relationships isn’t healthy regardless of collectivistic or individualistic cultures. This brings me back to my next point on shame.

In many Asian cultures, including Singapore, you’re brought up to not show any signs of negative emotions from resentment, anger and sadness. In a culture that emphasizes honour, you’re taught to suppress emotions and personal inadequacies as a means to ‘save face’. This is why some men spend years not going after a woman they are interested in in the name of saving face or the fear of rejection.

There are a host of issues that go with this, from anger, disappointment and sadness that comes along with poor grades, relational difficulties, bankruptcy, addictions and sexual issues. They are all covered up in secrecy and shame.

If you’re constantly worried about what others think about you, you’re never going to make that first move on a woman you desire in fears of upsetting others or people in the group. If you’re constantly attempting to save face in front of your girlfriend or partner, you’ll never get the support from them on the problems that you may be facing in fear of being shamed or shamed.

2. The Endless Paper and Status Chase

If you’re Singaporean, you’re probably brought up to follow the rules, get a safe degree and get that swanky 9-5 corporate job. Follow the rules, make no mistakes and the women will come. Unfortunately, attraction doesn’t work like that, and it’s no wonder that foreign expats find themselves having an easier time with certain demographics of Singaporean women.

Now, you throw in the heavy emphasis on academic results over social skills, you get years of training attempting to solve math equations as opposed to developing communication skills, something that’ll determine real world success in life, a lot more than your academic grades. You’re conditioned to base your relationship success on performance such as academic grades, your job status and other objectified metrics in your life. Unfortunately, functional and healthy relationships don’t work that way, but are borne out of boundaries and values such as mutual respect and empathy. Shit that school or your parents never talked to you about.

3. The Lack of a Role Model 

Singapore’s immense focus on economic drive resulted in a technologized and industrialized economy since gaining independence.

So instead of having fathers playing around their sons, you only see them after school (long hours) and you go to bed and the routine repeats itself. I like to point out that this isn’t just an issue faced by Asian cultures, but Western cultures too alike.

How to Redefine Ourselves and Our Dating Lives?

So how do you step out of the norm and define yourself as a sexually attractive individual, in hopes of bettering your dating life?

  • Independent Choices and Leadership

It’s not surprising that I naturally get along better with entrepreneurs, doers and people that served off the beaten path as opposed to students, undergraduates in my academic pursuits. Leadership and independent choices are one of the traits of an attractive individual. You don’t have to be extremely unconventional, but making tiny choices like speaking up for yourself and others can make you a good leader.

Investing in yourself through self-education, upgrading your skillsets, buying yourself fitting clothes or even pursuing passion are all forms of self-leadership that sexually attractive Asian males behave in Singapore. They don’t really abide by the rules, are willing to break some of them to a certain extent, hence, are seen as natural leaders.

  • Be Comfortable with Sexual Topics and Intimacy

I was primed to be a macho, show no feeling sort of individual throughout my teens. I did martial arts, football and all that manly activities that a ‘man’ should do. However, no matter how manly you are, every individual has needs for intimacy, and to be sexually confident, you need to be comfortable with sexual topics and intimacy. I can’t tell you the number of friends I know who are great with women aren’t the ‘macho’ types but leaned towards the sensitive types.

It’s no wonder that clients report to me that they can’t find any like minded individuals to get better with and alongside in this area of their life. This is why I extend a community support in all of my dating coaching programs.

If you find yourself suffering from high levels of anxiety or face certain issues, I then recommend consulting a psychologist. There’s no shame about it. Good therapy can do positive things for your emotional life.

Closing Thoughts

Us Singaporeans men didn’t really have a choice and were a product of our circumstances when growing up. However, the responsibility to take control of your emotional, dating and relationships life is in your hands. You may find yourself the off beaten path, as I have in this area of life, however, the fulfilment of being aware of these issues and making better choices in one’s relationships is a price not too steep to pay.

Dating SIngaporean Women -03
Jan 24

How to Date Singaporean Women – Does Money Matter?

By Marcus Neo | Singapore Guides

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 employment. 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 worldview 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 behaviours 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 | Singapore Guides

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 – The Ultimate Guide

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.

Jan 23

How to Pick Up Girls in Singapore – a No B.S. Guide

By Marcus Neo | Singapore Guides

How do you approach a complete stranger in Singapore? Can it be done? You may lament that it’s a close to impossible task to approach girls in Singapore. Is that true? Yes and no, 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 collectivistic society with people choosing to stick in highly knit social groups. However, it can be done.

How to Pick Up Girls in Singapore without Being Creepy

Mindset 1: Look 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.

The second step to approaching a girl in Singapore is 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 have a minimal sense of fashion. This means clean shirts, jeans and shoes that fit.

I often only go direct when I approach a girl in a day setting.

I’ll lightly walk to the 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’

always use this exact line when approaching girls.

  • Body Language

Note: don’t go up to her abruptly, don’t approach her from behind. If your a beginner, it’s best not to touch her at all. Just stand walk up beside her and plant yourself infront 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 situation to situation. 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 tha 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 particularly 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’re 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 a back, you can take 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 more shy are going to be a lot more taken a back from girls who gets 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.

Step 3: Have a Solid Interaction and Lead in Conversation

One caveat to picking up girls 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 read 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, couple with the cold reading skillset, sprinkled with a light compliment. Light compliments and teasing helps 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 practiced 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 practicing and learning these conversational skill sets before going up to a random stranger. 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. If you’re still confused, I created courses as a dating coach that has helped many others both Singaporean and people all over the world succeed in their dating life.

Step 4: Get Her Number

For a solid interaction, you’re going to require at least 5 minutes with her to consider you as a potential romantic partner. I generally find that interactions that last lesser than 5 minutes don’t go anywhere for me. If she likes you and assuming you don’t screw it up, your conversation is going to naturally last more than 5 minutes.

There’s then the age old question of how to get a girl’s number?

Once you feel you’ve gone from stranger to acquaintances, you should 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 also make a statement about it.

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

When she agrees, 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.’

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.

Now, approaching girls you don’t know is an unconventional behaviour, especially so in Singapore. You’re not going to get rejected a lot, and you’re going to get quite a bit of shy or weird stares. However, it’s doable, I’ve done it, along with many other successful clients.

How to Better Your Dating Life

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

You can participate in University activities, use networking sites such as Eventsbrite 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 with meeting girls through the cold approach method. That’s because there were many social opportunities around me there was no need to go cold.

However, when I became an solo-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 doesn’t actively introduce you to other females, then you’ll need to master the cold approach and actively be able to meet girls on to go.

Closing Thoughts

From personal experience, it’s the physically attractive women that are able to take social pressure more than the average looking ones. That’s because they’ve been hit on a million times since hitting puberty. I’m not making a sexist judgment here, it’s just a personal observation. Well, it’s a win-win. Since you’re going to talk to that hot girl that attractive lady anyway, she’s able to handle that social pressure and have a conversation with you.

Lastly, I recommend guys who want to get their dating life handled to get the cold approach down and get it handled for life.

Jan 14

What Are Personal Values? Why They Matter in Dating and Relationships

By Marcus Neo | Dating and Relationships

What are personal values and why are they important in dating, relationships or just life at large? When I was 19 or so, a friend of mine came to me complaining that she was being emotionally bullied by a close friend of mine. I softly persuaded him to stop it, despite him being a close friend of mine. I didn’t like bullies, for I was in a somewhat similar position once.

You could argue that by me standing up to my friend, I was acting out of my values. I stood up for my values regardless of external circumstances, whether he’s my good friend or not. I behaved according to my values and persuaded him otherwise, risking a potential loss of friendship with him.

So, What Are Values?

Values can be said to be internal compasses. They are the judgment about how important something is to us. There are principles that are held internally regardless of external circumstances. Sometimes, they are principles and judgments that you may even sacrifice and die for. They can comprise of intangibles such as authenticity, accountability, empathy and respect.

Why are Values Important?

In modern society, you may find yourself in a constant struggle to stick to your values as opposed to sacrifice them for an extrinsic result.

For example, authenticity and expressing yourself honestly is a value in itself. Honesty, however, sometimes is uncomfortable, especially when expressed negatively to friends or superiors. Your honesty may not be appreciated. It may involve telling your boss something that he might disagree with but might be better for the company. This may put you at risk of offending him (or losing your job). This can be difficult at times, especially so in the Asian culture.

In your relationships, what if your date you’re interested in treats you badly? What if he or she’s a no show for three dates straight and cancels on you last minute every single time? Are you going stick up for yourself and perhaps call them out? Or are you going smile, and pretend nothing happened?

Can you uphold the value of self-respect? Perhaps through calling her out for her negative behaviour, risk upsetting her and losing the potential benefit of dating someone you’re interested in?

What if your friends are always showing up late and disrespectful of your time? What if you valued your time, and made efforts to be on time for meetups? Do you hold back calling the person out to avoid the possibility of not offending him or her?

Values are researched to higher self-esteem, in the long run, makes you more attractive to women, increase work creativity, and make you a happier person. Positive values are also usually ensued by strong boundaries.

In short, they’re awesome.

Ironically, it’s people that do not have any values going for them that are unattractive and mediocre. They don’t stand for anything. They are people pleasers. Their craving for attention, affection from the world around them at the cost of their personal integrity and values. They’ll never build a strong identity. Counter-intuitively, it’s this constant need for a false sense of acceptance is what repels people away.

In our relationships, it’s the sacrifice of their own personal values that drive needy and unattractive behaviour.

So Marcus, without sounding like your high school counsellor, how can you instil this thing called values in your life then?

Ironing Out Your Values

Ironing out your values can be simple as taking out a piece of paper and writing down what you will and will not accept in your life. This can range from business decisions, relationship values to all other areas of your life. The second step is to commit and be disciplined about it. Note, no one is perfect and it’s OKAY to falter and be flexible. However, just like habits, you just go back to work on it.

  • Your Dating and Relationship Values

So, a couple of years ago, when I started wanting to attract women. The first step was to iron out my dating and relationship values. This means what I will, and will not accept from women, or people in general. This not only helped my self-esteem, but it also made my dating choices much easier.

I stopped texting girls who didn’t want to text me back, I stopped worrying about girls who didn’t want to go out on dates with me. Yeah, I get rejected, however, it saved me the heartache, the smokes and games that people play.

I started out with a couple of simple values. I decided I’ll not hang out with people who don’t want to hang out with me. I’ll not date a girl who doesn’t want to date me. I’ll not text a girl who doesn’t want to text me. I’ll express interest to women only that I’m interested in.

These values played an important role when on a date. Instead of constantly worrying if I match up to her, I’m going to see if there’s a right fit of values. I’m not looking to impress her.

If you’re wondering what I value in women, physical beauty (I can’t lie), empathy, intellectual curiosity, honesty, nurturance and accountability. From personal experience, I’m a lot more motivated, willing to sacrifice a lot more time and effort and to pursue a girl who’s more physically aesthetic If she’s hot but has selfie problem, sure, I’ll be more tolerant of it. If she’s hot but is slightly emotionally erratic, sure, I’ll be patient. I’m willing to give up many superficial nuances that tick me off.

However, I’m not willing to give up my personal boundaries just to pursue someone who is physically attractive. There are values that are non-negotiable. If she constantly disrespects me or is rude, I am going to call her out on it. If she doesn’t alter her behaviour, then I’ll simply drop her.

Note, I hold these values true for all other relationships as well. I also can’t be bothered by people who don’t respect my time or money. If you don’t respect my time or money, there isn’t a friendship in place anymore in the first place.

Business Values

I once worked for a traditional company in Singapore. Whilst the potential monetary prospects were good, I hated it. Why so? That’s because the way the business was conducted went against my values of providing a competitive and ethical service to society.

The business deals were done over drinks, karaoke pubs and mind games with everyone. Everyone was attempting to look rich, attempting to blow smoke up each other asses, instead of actually discussing rational business.

It forced me to iron out my business values. Through the years I decided that I’ll only make an income through ethical products or service to consumers that don’t hurt society. The systems and products have to work without any overt form of bootlicking. I’m not going to work with or for anyone who uses his network or relationships as a ‘stronghold’. I don’t give two fucks if you tell me your father is a billionaire. I don’t want to rely on ‘Guan Xi’ to do business.

Ironing out these values made a lot of business choices down the road much simpler.  Out went the scammy products that prey on delusional or people that are in a bad spot in life, out went the nights of drinking just for the sake of clinching a deal. Since I had these values in place, it freed me up to learn how to do marketing ethically, branding and ethical business practices.

Helpful and UnHelpful Values 

It’s said if you pursue negative values such as popularity and fame, it’s ‘negative’. However, I don’t entirely see it this way and I think negative values can be a good motivator for positive values. I didn’t desire to be with hot women, I’ll not have undertaken this self-improvement process. If not for the desire to be financially free, I’ll not have attempted to be an entrepreneur. This blog wouldn’t exist. I also think everyone is motivated by different intrinsic and extrinsic motivators at a certain point of time.

Negative values are superstitious, immediately controllable and socially destructive. If you value popularity or fame, and how much you’re liked or accepted by everyone that’s not immediately controllable. That’s because you can’t control how people think of you.

If you measured yourself and valued a million dollars in a bank, that’s an external value that isn’t controllable. It’s merely going to drive you crazy daily. Negative values are reliant on an external event such as flying in a private jet, getting threesomes or travelling the world in pursuit of a hedonistic lifestyle (guilty).

Arguably, negative values can be good motivators initially. You didn’t get into self-development if you didn’t want to fuck more girls, make more money and look really awesome amongst your friends right? Negative values can give you a good start, however, for long term happiness, you’ll need to prioritize internal values in the long run.

Positive values are reality-based, immediately controllable, self-generated and are socially constructive. Positive values such as innovation, honesty and vulnerability are immediately controllable and can be self-generated right this moment.

For example, instead of valuing popularity or how much I’m liked by people, I can make an internal value of improving my dating/ social life. That way, just by going out to a bar to meet more women is a win for me, regardless of their reaction to me.

Positive values are always internally achieved and there’s no completion to them. They are also process oriented. Honesty and vulnerability are internal values that can be practised right now and in every social interaction for the rest of your life.

How to Establish Your Values Without Being an Asshole?

So the one thing about values that people get confused is that you got to be somewhat of an asshole when expressing your values.

Having strong values doesn’t mean that you go around calling others out on their ‘poor values’ or ‘lack of values’. It just means recognising that you have different values than them and sometimes it’s just a lack of compatibility. The first step to establish your values is to express it in a matured manner. If the girl you’re dating shows up late, you don’t have to scream at her for showing up late. Just making it known and calling her out on it is enough.

You can always say: “Hey, I hope you won’t be this late the next time we meet.”

In a respectful and assertive manner.

I also want to note that your values should be flexible and based on context. If you have an amazing friendship with someone who’s always fucking late who has many other merits, then it’s perfectly fine to just accept that flaw in that person.

What Happens When You Change Your Values?

When you change your values, it’s normal for your old relationships to blow up in your face. This can be demonstrated by calling out certain behaviours from old friends and possibly ticking them off the wrong way.

Through my own personal growth, I started valuing my time and I started being serious about my life purpose and my work. If you cancel on me without letting me know, I’m sorry, that’s non-negotiable. I’m calling you out.

Your friendships you made through your life probably supported and confirmed the values of yours. However, when you begin to shift your values, you’re going to inevitably experience a lot of friction amongst those old relationships.

In my experience, long term relationships and friendships are the hardest. You may find yourself in a place where your closest relationships no longer understand you anymore. However, do these friendships have to have to go? I don’t think necessarily so. There’s no need to cut out a person because of a difference in values, that’s because, despite a difference in values, there may be overlap in values.

However, if you are constantly bickering over petty behaviours. That merely goes to show that you have different fundamental life values and have completely different priorities completely, then perhaps some time off that particular relationship might not be a completely negative thing.

In my experience, I found out the hard way that people around you are going to have different values from you do at the different point of their lives in multiple areas of their life from relationships to careers.

This is true of your relationship with to your parents, your childhood best friends, your boss, your pet goldfish, and your colleagues. You may have a childhood friend that has conflicting values at some point of his or her life and a loss of friendship is inevitable.

It’s values that ultimately bring people together and tear people apart. You’re going to be what you value. Choose your values wisely.

Works Cited

J, Z., S, S., J, C., & Z, Z. (2009). Social networks, personal values, and creativity: Evidence for curvilinear and interaction effects. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(4), 1544-1552.

W, M. M. (2007). Happiness and Virtue in Positive Psychology. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 89-103.

 

 

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 Relationship 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.

How to Set Boundaries in Dating and Relationships 03

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.