• Rob Wang

How I learned to stop being boring (and how you can, too)

(Podcast Show Notes)


Hello, and welcome back to The Great Date Guy. My name is Rob Wang and today...we're discussing how I learned to stop being boring. And how you can, too.


Back in my 20s, this was the bane of my dating existence, I could not figure this piece out. And believe me, I pulled out all the stops, I went and did improv classes. I memorized one liners, I took courses online, on video, read books about how to become more interesting.


And while there's a lot of good information out there. There's also a lot of crap. So today, I'm going to teach you how to sort through all of that. So, the trick is the magic combination of the three V's. Variation, validation, and challenge, and vulnerability.


We're gonna go into each of these, individually today.


So starting off variation. The reason why this is so important is that there's a part of your brain that's wired to filter out the things that you're already familiar with. So for example, maybe the first time that you saw a car, it was a source of awe or fear. But now, for instance, when you see a pickup truck, when you see a fire truck, your brain doesn't explode, right? Even though it is a modern Marvel, right? It's a marvel of engineering, it's this machine that runs on fire and explosions. So in theory, you should be impressed, but you aren't. Why?


Because your brain is there to help you survive. And it really doesn't work to have your mind blown every time that you see a car. And the way that this shows up in dating, is that you, whenever you're having a conversation with someone, your brain and their brain is looking for novelty. It's looking for variation.


So they did a bit of market research with Lucky Charms the cereal. And back in the day, I think Lucky Charms might have started off with maybe like three or four different marshmallow shapes. It was like a clover and a horseshoe, a hot air balloon and something else. Let's say it was a banana even though it definitely wasn't a banana. And after looking at the data, they found that every single time that a they introduced a new marshmallow shape, it boosted their performance, it boosted their sales by 20%. Permanently. Which is the reason why for a long period of time, if you can remember, Lucky Charms kept on launching new shape after new shape.


This is variation at work, we love it, we cannot live without it. So that means a big chunk of being interesting is variance. And I'm going to give you an example of this. Because you can apply this to almost everything, it is an extremely versatile tool. (In monotone) First, I'm going to show you what conversation looks like without variants. So I'm just going to begin talking about a sentence and then continue to go and converse about this sentence until the end of time. And eventually I'm going to stop and you'll see that this is not the best way to communicate. And you might be falling asleep a little bit as you hear my voice


(In a lively tone)...versus a sentence with variation in tone and volume in pacing in the way that I deliver things. All of a sudden, it's much more exciting. And then I can slow it down and guide the emotions of the conversation to wherever I like. So this is just a mild example of variance, right? And our brains naturally crave this. So the more that you can bring this to conversation, the better you'll do. The biggest thing that people miss is that you can take pauses, you can slow it down. And when you do, it creates a lot more emphasis a lot more importance in what you have to say. So throw it in, take pauses


When in doubt. When you run out of things. For instance, if you see that you're stuck on the same topic of conversation... Someone just brought up asparagus and now you're talking about pee and you don't want to talk about pee anymore.


Follow your curiosity. At some point. someone's gonna mention another topic ...and you can just branch off into it. Find out what works for you What's interesting for you and ask questions about it. Simple as that. There's no need for fancy techniques here. And that's not what this podcast is about, you will never, ever have to memorize a technique in order to make attraction and interest work in your favor.


I mean, you can, but it starts showing up as fake and weird after a little while, so I don't really recommend it. And believe me, I spent like eight years practicing it. So I cannot, I cannot in good conscience, recommend that you go down that route.


Now the next bit that works really well, is validation, and challenge. Now there was a study on speed dating, where they randomly assigned people to one of three roles. And in the first one, they basically just agreed with the person that we're dating.


And the second one, they basically just disagreed with the person that we're dating. And then the final one that a 50/50 split between saying yes to those things that people brought up, and then or saying no and disagreeing with the things that people brought up.


The results of that study? Well, you might have guessed from the variation bit, that the people who had a combination of yes and no ended up being the most attractive. Now why? As it turns out, the people who just said yes to the person that they were speed dating ended up giving the impression that they were a great person at all. But you know, just not for that person, you know, they probably make a really good boyfriend or girlfriend. For someone else. Too agreeable.


The person who just said no, all the time, came across as sort of a player or play at someone who was busy trying to play the field. attractive, but you know, not for them.


And of course, finally, the people who had a combination of saying yes and no, ended up being the most attractive, they were seen as a good balance of being like, interesting, good people that people just connected with, and somehow playful and flirtatious enough to be pursued.


Now, this is a great study. And it's interesting, because it's so actionable. But the easiest way to implement this is just to be honest with your actual opinions, instead of kind of bending with whatever the other person says, which is my tendency.


If someone says that they really don't like kettle corn, for instance. Sometimes I'll just find reasons to back them up. Oh, yeah, no, I hate it when corn get stuck in my teeth. But in reality, I'm naturally going to have disagreements with people, right. There's some stuff that works for me and some stuff that doesn't work for me. And if I can just have my own back, if I can stick to my own guns, the natural variation between who they are and who I am, will come out as validation or challenge.


So you will kind of naturally create the hot and cold dynamic that so many dating experts recommend, but it won't feel fake and weird. Really, this is just a continuation of the whole "Be Yourself" thing, which I think is valid. But it's sort of all encompassing and it's terrible advice, because it's so freaking vague.


Now, to clarify, validation, helps people feel safe and seen in a new direction. It's like getting a warm, gooey hug. And if you were to tell me that you'd lost your dog when you were 12. I could validate that by saying that I had a similar experience. When I was a teen, I had a dog named Shiloh, and he ran away from home and never came back. and I have some sadness leftover from that experience. And expressing that... that really happened... it's easy for you to see, or feel that you're accepted in this space. That it's safe for you to share more stuff that's vulnerable for you.


Now, the challenge bit is even more simple, it can be even more straightforward. Sometimes it's as easy as stating the opposite opinion. So again, going with the kettle corn, if you're not a fan, just state your piece without being defensive or making them wrong for their opinions. And that's usually enough challenge for most people. It doesn't have to be a fight. In fact, it shouldn't be a fight, you probably don't want to be triggering the person that you're dating, or attempting to date. And the final piece here, and I think the biggest missing from most modern dating is vulnerability.


The other week I spent about two hours having lunch with a female pickup artist in the 92 degree heat. And during that conversation, I mentioned that I stopped using pickup techniques because it featured stuff like withholding my attention and energy to punish behavior that I didn't like. For me, that felt kind of manipulative, right, it felt like it wasn't a good fit for me anymore.


And she, on the other hand was all about that. And the way that she explained it was that she was protecting her inner feminine. If someone did something that she didn't like she would withdraw, right? And it makes sense, right? This is how we naturally behave. In fact, it probably feels much safer that way. And dating can feel like you're exposed in constantly taking leaps of faith.


But consider that without the risk of vulnerability, that that conversation is flat and boring. It's like having a chat with an accountant.


You can only make small talk for so long before it's clear that everyone's just going through the motions. That's why some conversations feel like they're just flat and boring, right? Because there's no real substance to them. And we just kind of ping pong back and forth about stuff that doesn't matter.


Vulnerability, is what opens the doors for sexiness, deep connection and the conversations about what's actually important to us. And the rule for that is, it can be as simple as sharing about something that you are sort of resistant to sharing. Bring up the thing that you don't want to talk about.


And it doesn't have to be deep or traumatic. But usually the stuff that we kind of try to withhold from other people tends to be the things that make us unique and different from everyone else. It lends to validation and challenge it lends to variation, and it opens the door for other people.


There's this thing that I'm going to call "not it" syndrome, where everyone refuses to be the first one to do something, right? Ever notice that when someone asked for a volunteer, no one wants to raise their hand until the first person raises their hand and then like a few more hands come up. Same deal.


It's a survival mechanism. No one wants to be the first one to do something, because you might not survive, right? That's, that's a dangerous proposition. So if someone does something first, and I see them live through it, then my brain is going to be way more interested in pursuing that thing.


Because they survived and I'll probably survive too. But that doesn't work for dating. If we're all playing it safe, then there's really no room for connection.


So that's all the time that we have for today. In a quick summary, the components to becoming more interesting, our variation, validation and challenge and vulnerability, the three V's. Hope you got something from this episode, and we'll catch you in the next podcast.

Photo by Damian Barczak from Pexels

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