The investment paradox is the apparent conflict between the two aspects of female attraction. Women are attracted to men who are of higher status than themselves (or in our terms, display more True Confidence). They are also aroused by men who desire them. The paradox is that typically, if a man shows desire towards a woman, then he’s also showing some degree of neediness or lack of confidence that he’s lower status than she is, thus making himself unattractive.
The common term for this is “putting her on a pedestal.” A lot of men and pick up advice side-steps this paradox by coming up with tricks and tactics which are able to display status while simultaneously giving the impression of not showing desire or being needy. This is performance. And it works, but only in the short term.
Vulnerability short-circuits the paradox. A man comfortable being vulnerable will behave with confidence. And when desire is shown with confidence, it is attractive. When desire is shown with neediness and a lack of confidence, it is unattractive. What I’m saying is that showing your desire in a woman doesn’t necessarily have to be desperate or unconfident. You can show desire while being confident.
Think about it this way. Tom approaches Sally. Prior to talking to her, Tom hovers over her shoulder for a good 30 seconds. He’s a little drunk. Once he works up the nerve, he leans in, and has a big grin showing both excitement and nervousness. He asks for her name and sticks out his hand. His voice wavers a bit as he tells her how pretty she is. She’s flattered but a little uncomfortable. She says, “Thanks.” He holds her hand a little too long and stares at her and says, “No, really, just so, so pretty…” It’s getting a little awkward now. Sally kind of wants her hand back. Tom is looking around and seems to be scrambling mentally to think of something else to say. He finally comes out with a weak, “Where are you from?” Sally’s now completely uncomfortable and finds an excuse to leave.
An hour later, Bill approaches Sally. Bill is well dressed and seems to be in control of all of his actions. His movement is fluid and simple. When he approaches Sally he walks directly up to her and unapologetically stands in front of her. She looks up at him as he sticks out his hand. He says, “Hi, my name is Bill, I thought you were very beautiful and wanted to say hi.” His handshake is as firm as his voice.
His slight smile shows confidence — confidence that even if she told him to fuck off, Bill would probably be OK with that. Ironically, this makes her want him to stay. Sally gives a meek “Thank you” and blushes. Bill then sidles up next to her putting his arm halfway around her and begins to tell her a story of something that happened earlier in the night. He doesn’t ask if she wants to hear the story. He doesn’t wait for her to ask him something. He just starts talking, as if he’s known her for half his life. And if Sally didn’t want to hear it, Bill would probably just go find another girl to tell his story to. And that’s fine.
Women are attuned to a man’s overall behavior and demeanor — not just what he says, not just how much is in his bank account. They look at what his behavior is and what it says about his level of confidence. The way to combat a lack of confidence is by opening up to vulnerability. This can be done without over-investing in others. In fact, the opposite is true, the more you open up to your emotions and the less inhibited you become, the “edgier” you’ll become to women, the more controversial you’ll become. A bad boy with a heart.
And ultimately, that’s what women want, a strong, independent, high status male — a “doesn’t take shit from anybody” bad boy — but they want this bad boy to have a depth and a sensitivity that they only open up and show when they’re around her. Despite what every fiber of your being may be telling you, opening your thoughts, actions and feelings up to being vulnerable actually defines attractive behavior in men.
Being an independent and confident person depends on it. Acting on your desires and making moves on women depends on it. And once she gets to know you, displaying an emotional vulnerability to her will make her go weak in the knees (and maybe even you too). Plain and simple.
But there’s a catch. Usually when I give men the vulnerability spiel, their first reaction is to say, “Oh, OK, so I’ll tell her all of these sob stories and she’ll want to have sex. Got it.”
It’s not that simple. But the meaning of your communication is your intention, not the data conveyed. So telling a woman a sob story with the intention to make her feel sorry for you so you can get laid is going to actually come across as needy and self-serving and not vulnerable at all. It doesn’t work that way.
Stop looking at communication as the surface information and instead pay attention to the emotions and motivations behind what’s said. That’s where all of the meaning is.
I’ll say this again because this often gets lost: vulnerability is not a technique or tactic. It is a way of being.
Sometimes I get emails from men saying something like, “Hey, I told this girl all about my dog dying and how I hate my mom. She didn’t have sex with me. Vulnerability doesn’t work.” And when I get these emails, I shake my head. He doesn’t get it. “Doesn’t work,” he says. Here’s a piece of advice: if you ever find yourself thinking “That didn’t work,” or “This doesn’t work,” then you are performing and you lack True Confidence. Point blank. Period.
When women connect emotionally with you and your desire for them, it’s not because of what you’re saying or the words you’re choosing — it’s the emotion behind those words.
If the emotion behind your words is needy and self-serving, then she will become turned off no matter what you say, even if you’re telling her the most vulnerable and heartfelt story. If the emotion behind your words is genuine and vulnerable, then it will turn her on, even if you’re talking about your grocery list or how you named your dog. Yes, you can fake this stuff in the short-term if you become a good actor. But obviously, don’t do that. We’re not in this for shortterm fixes, remember?
So the catch is that your statements must be authentic. Your statements towards women must be unconditional, otherwise it’s not really being vulnerable. If you tell a woman that she’s beautiful only because you think it’ll give you a better chance of sleeping with her, then amazingly, she will not be very flattered. Try it. It’s true. Give women false compliments and see how they respond. They won’t respond very well. But communicate with honest appreciation and you’ll be amazed how she lights up in front of you.
So the catch is that everything you say must be as authentic as possible. There’s no shortcut. There are no tricks. You say it because you mean it and mean it because you say it. The more nervous it makes you, the better, because it means you’re being authentic and making yourself vulnerable.
How attractive you are is based on your non-needy behavior. Your nonneedy behavior is based on how vulnerable you’re able to make yourself. And how vulnerable you’re able to make yourself is based on how honest you are to yourself and others.