Blog - Part 4
How to Talk to Women
Jan 02

How to Talk to Women – The Ultimate Guide to Conversation

By Marcus Neo | Conversation

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.

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Dec 30

How to Approach Women – Empathy and Boldness

By Marcus Neo | Conversation

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.

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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 | Asian Culture

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

Interview With Ngee Ann Poly
Nov 01

Interview With Ngee Ann Poly – Is Dating and Relationships a Skillset?

By Marcus Neo | Singapore Guides

I make the main argument that dating and relationships are a skillset, just like any other skillsets in life from business, sales, negotiations and sports. I also address that approaching girls can be done in a normalized way. Cliffton also asked interesting questions about pick up artists and I address the point that approaching a girl you fancy is a mere subset of the entire skillset of dating and relationships.

Interview by Ngee Ann Polytechnic

You can look forward to my featured article on Ngee Ann Poly’s magazine next Valentine day!

How to Attract Women
Jul 23

How to Attract Women – The Psychologically Researched Guide

By Marcus Neo | Attraction

I’ve nerded out on tons of dating, relationship, pick up artist advice on how to attract women. Some advice said to tease her, some said to ignore her, some said to do it directly, some say to text her only after X number of days, some say you got to be ‘masculine’. When I started out, It was all really confusing to me, I needed a clear model that is replicable across cultures and different demographics of women.

There is a couple of school of thoughts from evolutionary to social psychology, just like all of the social sciences, there’s no one fit all answer. However, what are some principles one can adopt to be attractive to women across all cultures.

How to Attract Women – The Universality of Status                              

Psychological research shows that there’s one universal denominator that women find desirable across all cultures, ethnicities, age groups and socio-economic standing and even in time periods.

The largest common denominator of what attracts women to men is men who are perceived to be of higher status around women.

Note, I used the word perceived, that’s because status is relative, and I’ll get into that later.

This is commonly known in the pick up artist community as being of higher status, or ‘demonstrations of higher value’. People also usually decide to pursue a relationship by weighing the value they see in another person, including qualities such as physical attractiveness, wit, interests and intelligence against their expectations of success in the relationship.

So, how do you become ‘high status’, then? Is it something that’s demonstrated through good looks, money and success?

That’s both true and untrue.

If you’re brought up like me in a conservative Asian culture, you’re probably told a hundred times to think that once you do well in school, get a good job, you’ll automatically be able to kill it when it comes to women. There’s a huge pressure for us Asian males who grow up in a culture that associates monetary achievement with success.

Not to mention that hot women are splashed over and associated with the majority of advertising campaigns. The bouncers at the clubs treat her nice, she gets social opportunities shoved in her face, she gets into clubs for free and everyone loves her… for being pretty. Admit it or not, these cultural narratives influence your confidence with women to a huge degree.

However, if money, looks and success are all it takes to attract women, then why do women all around the world find themselves flocking to the broke musician or the 6 pac-ed athlete?

If attraction is determined by purely monetary assets, then why do many wealth off males in developed cultures can’t lay a date to save their lives and resort to dating sites or prostitution? Why is it that a good portion of the female population in the world make romantic/sexual decisions with pretty average males and are okay with it?

The Relativity of Status: Looks, Money and Status

Welcome to the relativity of status.

Yes, looks, money and success are external signals of ‘status’. However, assuming you’re an average male are not born into a privileged family, you can’t rely on looks, money and success.

Wearing a Rolex watch, flaunting material wealth and boasting about it in a developed country will get you eye rolls. You’ll come off as insecure and try hard. However, if you go to less developed cultures, wearing a Rolex watch will be all you need to attract women.

Take a male who has a high paying job. He may be able to come up with silly jokes or one-liners may come off as confident. However, he’s in a job he hates. He does it please his parents, impress girls, or is saying those jokes to get validation from her. It’s not a genuine or authentic expression of his identity.

He’s still an unattractive male at the end of the day.

Whereas, a truly attractive man may not have the best lines, however, he’s authentic in his words and doesn’t try to impress anyone. He lives life on his own values, doesn’t try to impress anyone and is capable of standing up for himself.

He may not be as financially well off as the former. However, he is a leader and the former is a follower. From an evolutionary standpoint, who do you think women are attracted to?

So, how do you be of ‘high status’ to the girl? Is it accumulating money, looks and success? If material objects or social status aren’t the only measurements of your attractiveness to women. Then how can you truly measure how attractive you are to women?

Fortunately, research shows that YOU too can be attractive to women.

The Potential for Status

Interestingly, the potential for status is equally attractive with status itself.

This means that if your behaviour shows that you have the potential to be rich, famous, successful, it is equally attractive to being rich, famous and success already.

Personal experience backs this up as well. I had one of my best dating life as a broke, underperforming accounting student. Even though I was a broke and not really an academically stellar student. I was passionate about personal growth and trying out a bunch of activities from martial arts, music and travel. This zest for life rippled through all my interactions with women, and they took to it.

From personal experience, women in developed societies are educated and are able to finance their lifestyles independently on men. They aren’t exactly looking for wealth or prestige. I’ve dated women who told me that they can provide for themselves and are not looking for a guy to provide financially for them. Of course, minus the gold diggers.

In modern culture, there’s a there’s a huge value placed on external success such as prestige, jobs and wealth. It’s misconstrued that by racking up job security, cars, wealth, and prestige, it’ll automatically make you attractive to women.

Let’s just say women don’t spend their nights fantasizing of your bank account.

However, I’m not saying that you should not thrive to make money, get good grades or look good. They all help, just like academic success don’t translate directly to career success. However, the discipline to perform in school can be applied to similar skillsets required to attract women.

I’m saying that you shouldn’t be reliant on your monetary success to attract women. You also do need some money to go to social events, use public transport, put yourself in demographics, go out on dates, dress well and have your own place etc.

There’s also research pointing that self worth and social desirability are also factors that influence one’s attractiveness (read: not just your bank account)

On Dark Triads and Pick Up Artist Strategies

Yes, unfortunately, it works. I’m not going to be idealistic and say it doesn’t. There’s also research suggesting that dark triad traits can be helpful in short term mating strategies. These traits are namely narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

However, just because something works doesn’t mean you need to adopt it. I don’t recommend such a philosophy. You are who you date. Research shows that people self selects similar values in relationships. People with similar values and self-esteem often end up together.  If you’re attempting to adopt dark triad ways of behaviour, don’t be surprised if you end up dating psychopathic women.

Our Behaviour as a Determinant of Being Attractive

Looks, houses and cars are all displays of external wealth, prestige and social status. These external displays of status can lead to attraction. However, assuming you’re not born rich, famous or you aren’t there yet, these variables are not directly in your control.

If external variables such as looks, money and social status can’t be controlled, at least immediately, what CAN be controlled then? That’s our behaviour. 

How does this play out? This can play out in obvious ways and subtle ways.

If you’re going to go to University and doing a degree because your parents, society or your friends think it’s a good idea too and you secretly hate it, it’s going to come off. If you’re getting that job just because ‘that’s what everybody does’. What does this say about you?

You’re a follower and not a leader. You’re not living a life based on your values and not at all being assertive in your life. You’re more concerned about what others think about you than what you think of yourself.

Secondly, if you’re basing your self esteem on external signals such as making a million dollars, popularity, factors that are out of your control, then you’re not going to be really attractive that’s because your self esteem is going to fluctuate based on these external variables.

For example, a rich banking executive may display external signs of prestige such as monetary success, cars and more. However, he may secretly resent his work and isn’t truly happy or satisfied with his lifestyle. Compare this to an entrepreneur running a small scale business. He may not be extremely rich, however, he bumbles passionately when pursuing his projects.

The first is a follower and the later is a leader.

From an evolutionary standpoint, which one will women be attracted to? The follower or the leader?

When you assert yourself and lead a life based on your values, you dress a certain way because it’s a genuine expression of yourself, you pursue a lifestyle that you enjoy and pursue projects that you feel passionate about. You’re a leader. From an evolutionary standpoint, you’ll be a reliant and dependable father can take care of her offspring. Hence, you’ll be attractive to her.

Note, there’s a difference between being assertive and being over domineering. If you go around not caring about social norms and not giving a fuck anybody, feeling like you need to dominate yourself in any social situations, then you’re not really a ‘true alpha right’ Someone who is truly confident doesn’t need to be right all the time. Being truly confident means you respect the boundaries and ideas of others, but at the same time, you’re not fazed if someone else disagrees with you or rubs you off negatively.

Ultimately, whether you’re born rich and famous or not, you’re still required to adopt attractive behaviours to be successful with women. There’s no way around this.

Now, let’s take at the second universal determinant on what attracts women.

Physical Arousal: The Desire to Be Desired

The one other universal determinant of female attraction is the desire to be desired. There is data and new conclusion suggesting that women are turned on by being wanted, by being desired. Personal experience backs this up, your single ability to be sexually assertive with women will determine 80% of your success with women.

If the perception of status leads her to be psychologically aroused, then the desire to be pursued leads her to be sexually aroused.

In laymen terms, the perception of status, psychological arousal, makes her want to be your girlfriend. However, sexual arousal, makes her want to have sex with you right there and then.

Women don’t light candles and lay in bathtubs fantasize about condominiums and cars. They fantasize about far stranger things. This goes against the conventional idea that female attraction is solely tied to ideas and displays of security, investment, and commitment.

This is why Fifty Shades of Grey sold millions of copy all around the world. It’s literally porn for women. Why does a woman get turned off by the man who asks for permission when taking off her clothes, but get turned on by the male who doesn’t hesitate in the bedroom. Why are women reported to have rape fantasies?

So what does all of this mean for you and me?

If you’re afraid to ask her out, afraid to kiss her or afraid to touch her, it’s going to be a turn off for her. It means that your inability to assert yourself socially and sexually is going to turn her off. I can’t tell you the number of times I screwed this aspect up, in tons of micro ways possible.

In many cultures around the world such as the Asian culture, there are cultural narratives to reserve your advances when pursuing a girl. This is a narrative that I told myself for YEARS, SEVERELY deliberating my success with women. It was only when I started behaving in a more dominant manner, that I started getting more results.

Your Intentions: The Why Behind Your Behaviour

So Marcus, what you’re saying is that all I got to do is to show that I’m of ‘higher status’ and tell that I want to have sex with her right there and then? NO. Intentions aren’t covered by the majority of dating and relationship community. That’s because partly intentions are hard to describe and put a finger down to.

It’s NOT about ‘not giving a fuck’ and not caring about social norms and going up to grope her in broad daylight. It’s about pushing the interaction forward in an assertive but respectful manner.

Intentions are the ‘WHY’ behind your behaviour. In life, what motivates your behaviour is equally as important as the behaviour itself. It is also a determinant if your behaviour is truly confident or you’re trying to be confident.

Think about it, you ever hung out with someone who was trying way too hard to be cool? You probably felt turned off and slightly disgusted right? If you’re complimenting a girl just because you think she wants to hear it, it’ll probably turn her off. This is why men in bars who trade alcohol for attention fail miserably night after night. His behaviour or the surface may come off as high status but his intentions are way off.

When in doubt, always check your intentions.

It’s always good to ask yourself:

Is what you say to her authentic, a genuine expression of your desire for her? Or are you saying it because you read it a book somewhere that it is a good idea to?

This is why lines and a lot of the pick up artist literature can be limiting in the long run.

This is why memorizing lines and then mouthing it off like a robot ultimately going to come off as un-confident behaviour. You’re using these lines, routines and strategies because you’re inherently unconfident as a person.

The Primer on Sexual Shame

Having social skills and being extraverted also doesn’t mean that you’re automatically great with women. I was an extravert during my late teens, I still got nowhere with women. In fact, I was really inhibited when moving my interactions to anything sexual. You can be social with everyone, however, if you freak you when it comes to talking to a girl you’re into, then being Mr Popular still isn’t going to get you anywhere. This is why I’ll like to talk a little more about sexual confidence, in particular, sexual shame.

80% of your success is going to be determined by your ability to assert yourself physically and socially with women.  The majority of this attracting women this is actually about unlearning behaviours, being more in touch with your psychological maps than actually adding on more ‘attraction’ behaviours.

There’s also an over emphasize on how to get a woman attracted. Secondly, attraction is barely enough, she can be attracted to you, yet her life circumstances (she has a boyfriend) makes it difficult for anything between you and her to happen. The majority of people get together due to other reasons such as proximity (and other social reasons). other than being sexually attracted itself.

Now, back to sexual shame. Sexual shame is rooted in one’s inability to be sexually assertive. Sexual shame is feeling guilty, bad or worthless when expression or asserting your sexual/ emotional desires/ needs.  This can be rooted in many factors such as cultural influences, past traumas such as overly strict upbringing or poor relationship with your parents.

This is also something the majority of pick up artist/dating advice community do not talk about. This is why you don’t go up to talk to her. This is you’re afraid to touch her after she has given you a thousand green lights on a date. This is why guys that mouth out: ‘I’m going to kiss you now’, and then attempt to kiss her is a universally unattractive statement.

How to Go Forward from Here: Something You’re Proud Of

There is no way about this. Yes, you’ll get rejected. You’ll get rejected a lot. However, if you’re looking to have independence and choice in your dating life, then this you got to get this skillset down.

I was hanging out with a couple of friends who are into ‘pick up’ and they asked me: what do your friends and parents think about this? I simply say I’m honest about it. I tell them that I used to suck at this, I started reading a couple of books and that’s how I got the ball rolling.

Is attracting women something you should be proud of and something you invest in it? Is it something you can tell your parents, sibling, friends and colleague about? From what I observed, a lot of people getting into this dating advice thing (especially in Singapore) don’t see it this way. I boil it down to a couple of reasons:

  • Certain cultures, especially Asian
  • They think it’s a game: they are TAKING something from the girl

I’ll let you in on a funny story. Whilst I was coaching last month, I demonstrated a live interaction for him. The interaction went well. Well, because he’s new this, he actually mouthed off to one of the girls:

‘I’m here with Marcus, he’s teaching me how to talk to girls’.

It was a huge facepalm moment. Needless to say, the girls wanted to chase me away.

‘Why are you still talking to us? Why don’t you follow your friend and teach him how to talk to more girls?’

At this point, you may see this as a ‘shit test’. To be honest. Fuck shit tests. What’s the difference between a shit test and a girl genuinely doubting you? In this case, these girls were GENUINELY doubting me.

What could I have said at that moment?

I simply said: ‘Well, he’s my client and I’m teaching him. Don’t you think some guys need help in this area of your life? Would you want a cool, socially intelligent guy talking to you when you’re in the club? I happen to once suck in this area of my life as well, that’s why I had to learn it, just like he did.

The fact that I was unapologetically about my interaction, we continued talking and we exchanged contacts.

Through the years I came across clients that were somehow ashamed of this area of their life. I guess this is the Asian culture. However, fundamentally, of all dating advice is self improvement. This includes getting other areas of your life down. This means your job, maximizing your income, surrounding yourself with friends you liked around you and building self awareness.

You’re also going to have a far better batting average by taking care of 1) how you present yourself 2) what you talk about and your ability to communicate interest in a socially savvy way. This way, every single interaction you have is optimized for success.

This way, you are attracting women from a position of self investment. This means coming from a place of boldness and empathy. This means being proud of the fact that you’re walking up to her and creating an opportunity for both of you. That’s what you want to be gunning for in the long run: long term true confidence.

Boldness balanced out with empathy is an effective way to pursue women. 

When you pursue women in an open and authentic manner, it’ll force you to force you to overcome your shame, shape you to become more comfortable with your sexuality. It’ll shape you to become truly confident. This isn’t only about something that you do, it’s now something that you are.

Works Cited

Manson, M. (2017). Models. Sydney, N.S.W.: Macmillan.

Buss, D. M. (n.d.). The Evolution of Desire. Retrieved September 01, 2017, from Academia.Edu: https://www.academia.edu/325352/The_Evolution_of_Desire

Jonason, P. K., LI, N. P., & Buss, D. M. (2010). The Costs and Benefits of the Dark Triad: Implications for Mate Poaching and Mate Retention Tactics. Personality and Individual Differences, 4, 373-378.

Locke, D, K., Horowitz, & M, L. (1990). Satisfaction in interpersonal interactions as a function of similarity in level of dysphoria. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(5), 823-831.

Ph.D., N. S. (2013, August 22). What Do Women Really Want? Retrieved August 29, 2017, from PsychologyToday.Com: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201308/what-do-women-really-want

Yang, W. (2011, July 29). Sex, Lies and Data Mining. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/books/review/a-billion-wicked-thoughts-by-ogi-ogas-and-sai-gaddam-book-review.html?pagewanted=all

Ineichen, B. (1979). The social geography of marriage. In M. Cook & G. Wilson (Eds.), Love and attraction. New York: Pergamon Press.