One of the harsh truths about getting older is realizing that so many things in life can’t be learned.
No amount of grinding will summon up a sublime talent for poetry or a gift for music. You can’t study enough physics and be capable of the insights of Albert Einstein, or swim enough lengths and evolve into whatever land-sea hybrid creature Michael Phelps is.
But that’s ok. Life is better when you bet on your natural strengths anyway.
What about love though?
People often ask me: “Do you really think that attraction and being good at relationships can be taught to everyone?”
(This is their polite way of asking: “Does the stuff you teach actually help anyone?”)
And my answer is…it depends.
Can you be attractive to everyone? No. Can you suddenly turn into an incredible partner that anyone would be lucky to have a relationship with? No.
There’s no book you can read to stop someone being a selfish asshole. There’s no magic cure for being a narcissistic control freak. But fortunately, what is 100% teachable is choosing NOT to date a selfish asshole or a narcissistic control freak in the first place.
When it comes to love, experience is a cruel teacher. But you learn. And fortunately, people who have gone through these experiences have passed on their wisdom so that we don’t have to make all the same mistakes.
So here are the 4 biggest things that 100% are under your control in dating:
How you spend time matters.
Who are you spending it on? Who are you wasting years waiting for that could be spent on someone who really wants the same things you do?
If I could share one fundamental truth for relationships it would be to set a limit on how much time you’re willing to spend on the wrong people. If someone clearly doesn’t want the same things in the next 5 years, ask yourself: “How many more months is it really worth spending on them?”
80% of good relationships is choosing well in the first place. This isn’t your college roommate after all; this is your life partner.
Want to change your dating life? Start deciding who is worth your time and who isn’t.
The quicker you stop wasting time on the wrong people, the more space you have for the right ones.
One of the most teachable qualities that can improve the quality of your relationships is learning how to speak someone else’s language (this is why our bestselling program is called “How To Talk To Men”).
It’s not that sending the right text, or saying a cute one-liner will suddenly change your love life, but rather that learning how to communicate in a high-value way that balances confidence and warmth is the best skill for improving every relationship in your life.
Most people never put work into their communication. Or they just assume that everyone responds to the same emotions that they do and then wonder why they struggle for years with endless conflicts.
True skill in a relationship is realising: This person in front of me has different needs than I do, and if I pay attention I can learn what they are.
For example, what kind of language triggers male attraction? What can you say to make the difficult conversations easier? How can you explain your needs to a guy in a way that actually motivates him to want to fulfil them?
Communication is the key to great relationships, and it’s 100% teachable. This is good news.
When it comes to love, character is about two things:
(1) becoming a good person
(2) choosing a good person
But developing character is no easy feat. It requires us to seriously look at the virtues we want to have and ask which we are failing on right now.
- “Do I get angry and jealous at stupid things?”
- “Do I have needy behaviors that suffocate others and make them feel trapped?”
- “Am I selfish, or am I giving in a relationship?”
- “Do I stand up for myself and clearly explain what I want from others?”
These are all difficult questions that we have to ask.
Those who blindly stumble from one bad relationship to another often never take the time to correct their own flaws, or choose partners based solely on flawed criteria (e.g. lifestyle, money, looks, height, social status etc.)
I’m not saying you can ever reach perfection in character, but you absolutely can learn how to manage your negative traits (and look for the right traits in a partner).
But it does mean taking the hard road of self-awareness and being willing to learn from the mistakes of others. This is where reading and seeking the wisdom of others is helpful.
No, there isn’t a facial cream that can make you look like the love child of Gal Gadot and Scarlett Johansson. (Nor, my dermatologist assures me, is there one to give me the face of Ryan Gosling and the body of Chris Pratt).
But can you learn to be more attractive?
In all the ways that matter: yes.
Health, a good body, charisma, the ability to flirt and turn someone on, confidence – all of these are behaviors and habits that can be learnt with the right tools and habits.
But don’t worry – no matter how great you are you’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s something everyone gets to learn at some point.
Ultimately, the question isn’t: “Can I be attractive to everyone?”, but rather, “What are the best things I can do to attract someone who would make me truly happy?”
These four are a good place to start.