How Did I get Here?
In addition to blogging, part of what I do to keep myself involved in the Men’s Development and Dating communities is to participate regularly in Social Media based groups which center around topics and issues that are important to those niches. Recently, in one of the groups I’m involved with, the group administrator started a discussion by posting several screenshots of a Tinder conversation he is having with a woman. He captioned the screenshots with the words, “How to Pass Congruency Tests Like a Boss.” He then shows how the woman’s first words to him were deliberately challenging and slightly confrontational in nature, where she points out to him how what he says in his Tinder profile doesn’t match up to the persona he presents in his Instagram feed. She then proceeds to insinuate that he lacks depth, and not nearly as interesting as he leads on. “Quite the first impression she’s making,” were my first thoughts as I was reading through this exchange. He then goes on to show how he “passed the test” by saying a few suave lines, to which the woman replies, “You handled that with a lot of grace, ______.”
From the last line she wrote, it’s quite clear that this woman consciously knew what she was doing by saying what she said. It’s the classic case of what old school “Pick Up Artists” refer to as the “shit test.” A woman will “test” a man’s internal confidence and sense of self by saying or doing something that might throw him off his game. If he stays the course and doesn’t falter in his convictions in the face of her behavior, he’s “proven” that he’s a confident man and is “worth” being on a date with. If he gets flustered, stumbles over his words, or scrambles to find an explanation, then he has “failed,” and the chances of another meeting fall faster than the stock market in October, 1929. This is the narrative that PUAs have given us for the past 20 years. It’s a fact of nature, they say. You can’t escape it. Furthermore, most women don’t even realize they are doing it, as it is a subconscious action, or so the story goes.
What I found to be telling about this whole discussion was the responses from the other men in the group. Most of them were quick to point out how the woman in question’s behavior in the exchange was a red flag, and that at the very least, they should be wary of how the conversation and any subsequent dates might go with this woman. I also chimed in and expressed a similar sentiment. My personal belief is that the best and most authentic relationships begin with sincere communication right from the start. Communication that is free from manipulative behaviors that naturally would cause one or the other party to put their emotional guard up higher than it needs to be. The response I got was along the lines of “Well, that’s just the way it is. High value women test like this. It’s biological, innate. If you don’t play their game, then you are effectively disqualifying yourself from women of value.”
On the surface, this appears to make sense. However, there’s just one little problem… it is completely inaccurate, from both a theoretical, intellectual perspective, as well as a practical, real world one. First, we can’t ignore the glaring truth that women are not some hive-mind collective who all think and operate according to the same programming, but are instead 3.8 billion individuals each with their own unique agency, wants, needs, and communication styles. We also can’t ignore the idea that, if this phenomenon was strictly biological and subconscious, then ALL women would be doing this, not just the “high value” ones. Clearly, this is not the case upon observation.
The fact is, most dates don’t involve this degree of manipulative communication at all. I personally have been on over 200 dates, and outside of one or two, none of them have involved any “tests” or “hoops” to jump through. Most women, just like most men, are human beings looking to connect and find someone who they click with. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. No matter what the outcome is, most times you will find that the other person is sincerely wanting to find out if you are a match, and they will use honest, straightforward communication methods and tactics to find out if this is so.
What to Do if We DO Encounter These Tests?
This is not to say, however, that “shit tests” are not a thing. They certainly are. How you will end up handling them (or not) depends on your overall personality type, and how much emotional manipulation YOU are willing to accept from someone else. Mark Manson, author of Models: Attracting Women Through Honesty, has a very detailed blog post (linked below) on how men will generally react to manipulative behavior, according to how manipulative the woman’s behavior is, as well as how vulnerable the man is willing to be in a relationship or on a date. The key to handling these tests will differ depending on your personality. If you’re the type of man who isn’t bothered by them, (like my group administrator), then all you need to do is to think of something clever to say, keep your cool, push forward, and hope that the “testing” behavior doesn’t continue (which it most likely will.) However, another message needs to be sent to those men who think differently. The message I want to give you is: There is nothing wrong with you, or your feelings! You are not “beta” or a “loser” because you choose not to deal with manipulation and shit tests! Contrary to what many of the old school PUAs may tell you, you do not just have to “put up with” this type of behavior from your potential dates. However, you DO have to recognize, fairly early on, that if someone is going to treat you this way, you need to be able to bail out and keep looking. A lot of men will keep moving forward and try to “make things work” because they feel that is what they are supposed to do. To end the date or not want to see them again because of that behavior is somehow “weak,” or “overly sensitive.” However, I argue that what you are doing is anything but. By being vulnerable and not accepting her behavior, you are actually choosing to stick to your own values and reality, rather than allowing yourself to get caught up in someone else’s. You know both what you want and what you don’t want in terms of communication, and you are absolutely not willing to sacrifice those just to pretend to get along with some random stranger who you just met. My rule on dates is, “if something’s happening that makes me feel uneasy, I won’t ignore it. If it’s something that’s a deal breaker, then it’s time to exit and move on.” I may not have been on as many dates as I would have liked, but the quality of those dates has drastically improved the I began implementing these boundaries. One of my personal deal breakers is to always have open, honest sincere communication, free of games. I am almost exceedingly particular on this issue. I haven’t had any real bad first dates in a while.
You need to understand your wants, needs and deal breakers, not just in terms of physical attraction, but also in terms of personality and communication style. Once you have defined those, you need to set strong boundaries, and enforce them. You are only going to take as much shit as you are willing to tolerate. If you don’t tolerate these tests, they will either not happen, or they will be the last interaction you have with that particular person.
Linked Post: https://markmanson.net/manipulative-relationships