Recently in a Korea group chat I’m in, one of the guys asked if reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People would improve his social skills and give him easier access to high quality women. The answer seems like an obvious “YES!” but -like so many things in life- it’s not as simple as you’d think.
There are guys who have great social skills that are terrible at getting women into bed (even women who would love to be in bed with them), and there are men who have pretty poor social skills who can bed a new woman on a regular basis.
Basic social skills and wooing the ladies, while they overlap, are not the same. To be truly successful, you need both. That doesn’t mean that you have to be on the social scene at all times or that you have to be constantly sleeping with new women. It means that you should understand and develop both skills to the level that you can use them if and when you want to.
Anybody else hate pasta?
The essence of good social skills, is the ability to bring people value. For an attractive woman, that can often mean they just have to stand there smiling. However, as a man, most of the value you bring will be active value and not passive value. Even attractive men are not nearly as interesting to women as other attractive women are. Bringing value to people means giving people something that improves their life in some way. It could be huge, like the invention of the smartphone, or it could be small like putting a smile on someone’s face. Towards the middle, away from either extreme, are all sorts of things you can do to bring value to people. What’s important to remember though is that what one person considers valuable might be seen as awful by another.
A few years ago, my father, a Psychiatrist, had a patient who was very good with his hands, and great with wood work. He was married and lived with his wife and wanted to be closer to her. He spent several months renovating a room in their house into a comfortable den so they could spend time there together. He wanted it to be perfect so he spent a lot of time on little details, even hand-crafting some of the furniture.
When it was finished, however, he got no love. What his wife really wanted was a fat diamond ring and earrings. This is a key point – often what we value differs greatly from what someone else values. In fact, most people differ on what they consider valuable most of the time. I know many popular restaurants that are jam packed with customers …ones I would never step foot in. I’m sure you can think of some yourself.
Things that you absolutely adore are reviled by millions of people. This is a fact of life, one I often forget. As humans, we are self-centered and self-absorbed and we think that our wants, desires, needs, and tastes are the only ones out there. We project them onto others and dismiss those who disagree as idiots and fools.
How to Win Friends and Influence People… 2.0
I do it. My friends do it. I’m sure you do it, too. If we don’t dismiss them, we at least shrug our shoulders with a bit of disdain. To bring people value, you really need to switch your focus from internal to external. You have to remove your biases, and look at people as they are. You have to watch what they do and observe how they behave. It’s surveillance and data collection and if you can do this well, the actual value bringing part is quite easy.
I’d say that there are 3 areas that determine how effective you can be in social interactions and in building a social network or a social circle, or even if you just want to connect with people in general. Those are…
- Resources you have to offer: time and attention; skills, knowledge, and experience; connections, money, other assets
- how well you understand people by asking questions, listening to them, and watching them,
- and, finally, using good communication skills and developing charisma
In part 2, I’ll break down each of these into some easy to understand usable chunks so you can do a better job of winning friends and influencing people…and get a woman or 2 into bed with you too.