What I Learned From Being An A**hole

Have you ever been frustrated with others, only to reflect on the situation and realise you were the one at fault?

Have you ever moaned or complained about something, only to realise you were being a hypocrite?

At a recent dinner party in Los Angeles, I committed the cardinal sin of conversation.

In this week’s video I want to tell that story.

Envisioning yourself being the centre of a room and holding court… This is how NOT to do it, followed by a few useful tips to get you back there.

73 Responses to What I Learned From Being An A**hole

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  1. Cara says:

    Great topic Matt! Great perspective! Thanks!

  2. Penelope says:

    I agree. But I’m thinking that sometimes listening, just listening and watching people talk, their excitement, their enthusiasm, their faces and smiles when they are passionate about something can be the most beautiful thing. I learn a lot from that too.

  3. Catherine Angel says:

    I loved the message about approaching people like interesting books to read. It feels so different when someone shows genuine interest in us, rather than half-hearted “uh-huh”s as we tell a story. Have you ever met someone in one venue, for instance in a corporate setting, and they seem stiff and boring, but then you meet them in another venue, for instance a sporting event or party, and you discover how interesting the person is? The person hasn’t changed – just the venue. We can help others change their internal venue to reveal their “interesting” parts by asking good questions and drawing them out. Suddenly the conversation becomes more interesting for everyone!!

  4. Aine says:

    Hi Matthew, I broke up with my boyfriend of 7 years in September of 2013. We got back together then in January of 2014. However, the relationship only lasted a couple of weeks as we were both studying in separate universities and I was confused about the future of our relationship due to the distance. So I ended the relationship again. We did not speak after we broke up. I started drinking heavily and going out a lot. My ex knows I was out partying quite often as we remained friends on facebook. I think this may have given him the impression that I was not bothered by the break up but I was I was drinking to forgot the pain. I really thought ending the relationship was the best choice but I still really missed him. We did not speak for five months after it ended until one day he text me saying hope you are doing good, well done on passing your final year exams, no one knows how hard you worked more than I do. We exchanged a few casual texts that day and that was it. I wanted to tell him how I felt that day but I was afraid so I didn’t. five weeks later I finally decided to text him to say hello and ask how he was keeping but he never replied?? I waited a few days and still no reply so I decided to text again. This time I told him how much I missed him and that I was sorry for everything that happened. I told him I wouldn’t text again as he had not answered my texts so I assumed he does not want to speak to me. Why did he not text me back?? Is he over me??? I really miss him. Please write back I don’t know what to do..I really need your help! x

  5. fina says:

    Love all your videos and emails. So very insightful Matthew! Learning a lot. Recently finished your book and about to start ‘Impact’. Excited! :)

  6. shachar dahan says:

    Dear Matthew,

    My name is Shachar and the reason I’m writing this letter is because I’m a 16.5 year-old girl who needs your help- you can say I’m desperate for it. I’ve watched your videos on YouTube and let me just say you’re a genius when it comes to what women feel when in love and you taught me a lot about men- the second I finished watching all of your work I know I had to contact you in hopes that you could help me, so here it goes…

    One of my best friends, Roni (girl), has a really cute cousin who’s younger than us- only a year difference so it isn’t creepy or anything. He’s so my type, and to say the least?
    I fell hard for him. He’s confident, big ego (like you said in your videos: man have their sense of worth), plays guitar which I find very attractive (and I’m currently learning too), very connected to music as much as I am (we even listen to the same artists), thinks so much like me, has a wonderful smile, gorgeous eyes and… I can go on and on!!
    I’ve met him a couple of times when I came over to Roni’s house (my friend), and he came over too- weather it’s sleeping over or just a visit. We started talking via WhatsApp and really connected. Each time I came to Roni’s house I could just feel the tension running through the air- and every time I looked at him he was already staring, which made my ego a little bigger too. He told me a liked me but he lives 2 hours (by train or car) and he had a relationship that didn’t go so well because of the distance. Time passed on and I’ve asked him out on a date and he agreed but there’s always something in the way, and we end up meeting each other only at Roni’s- so Roni invited me to her place for a movie (while he was at her house). I put my head on his chest and held his hand, without words, we even slept hugging each other. Since he lost his phone we talked via Facebook, but I’ve noticed throughout time that 99% of the time I’m the one who’s starting a conversation, and the problems in my head are expanding by the minute.

    Roni’s okay with me having a crush on her cousin, because she said she knows me and we’re really good together, she knows both of us really well. She’s very important in this story because she always does a “screenshot” of her conversations with him and sends me- and that’s where the problems began.
    No matter that he’s a year younger (I have no problem with that)- but the fact that he’s noticing the problem with the distance between our houses and the fact that I think he’s drifting away… I feel like I can’t let him go- if I do I’ll lose someone who I care deeply about.

    On the one hand, I want to keep in touch, talk, and converse, be a part of his life…
    On the other hand, I don’t want to seem pushy and desperate, start the conversation every time. Meanwhile, I’ve watched a video of yours called “How to get a man to call” and you are referring to a situation where two people are meeting and the girl wants his number or something- but in my case it’s a different thing- I have his number but he lost his phone while being with his family at the beach, so now the only thing I can do is send a Facebook message and hope for the best- but I still want him to participate.

    And finally, after I put you through all my problems- I wanted to say something about him. He lives 2 hours away which for me is manageable (my sister had a relationship for 2 years with someone who lived 3 hours away and it lasted for a long time). Moreover, as I understand from Roni (my friend), he has a lot of friends who are girls…
    that fact makes me wonder ‘am I good enough?’
    Because they’re his age, closer to him- I’m starting to think that maybe they’re better for him…
    I’m sorry for writing too much, for giving you a headache maybe- I just had to let it out… and I need your help! Please!
    I don’t know what to do or how to talk about what’s going on between us, how to move forward with this.

    Hope you reply soon,
    Really need your expert help,

  7. Kasandra says:

    Thanks Matt I always relish watching your videos coz it’s so inspiring n easy to watch. I can tell u really want to help d other half of the population ^^ so thanks! I love how ur messages r about having standards n looking after yourself :-D xx

  8. Bethany says:

    Dear, sweet, Matthew. While anyone would seem like a so-and-so by walking into a place and bragging about what they know without taking into consideration what the other person is thinking or feeling, please be assured that any worthwhile woman would love to listen to you prattle away about what you’ve been learning. This may not be something you need to be told…after all, you invented Brainal…but in case you haven’t been told a million times before, you’re basically the catch we’ve all been dreaming of.

    Tell me, do you get tired of so many women throwing themselves at you weekly?? How many proposals do you get at any given event? Per day? You must be flirted with every time you turn around! When are you coming to Dallas? Because I will be right there along with all of your other adoring fans, waiting for the moment you look my way, our eyes meet (and then meet again as I glace a second time to make sure you know what I mean), and we both feel that instant connection that says we were just meant to be together forever….

  9. Ashley G. says:

    Hi Matt,
    I have done that number of time’s, thank you for the helpful tip’s.

  10. Ann says:

    Thanks Matt, that is indeed very helpful and a thing that i could try out quickly. I sometimes have that with people that feel like i run out of questions or things to talk about and i used to always blame myself, that i’m to boring… But i know that this is only putting pressure on me and it would get even worse. I’m trying now to just relax in a conversation and just wait patiently until either my opponent or me will continue the conversation.

    • Matthew Hussey says:

      Hi Ann! Yes, just relax and start conversations with people. Everyone has something to say if someone else is interested in hearing it. :) X

  11. Jacque says:

    Just watched this video. You ending towards the video on THE QUESTIONS to ask someone who is a server and all the variety of questions that I could ask him; and whenever you provide examples of conversation ‘provokers and connectors’ are most helpful!!!!!!!!!

    Exceptional learning video; as they always are.

    Thank you,

  12. Jacque says:

    Matthew, I’ve just BEGUN to listen to ‘IMPACT.’ Haven’t had time yet to watch/listen to your video’s on this post.

    I am so grateful I spent my money on IMPACT. Because I know from previously purchasing your entire men program; you are a visionary and offer perspectives never thought of before.

    Being an animal rights activist before it was in ‘vogue,’ my reason for being on Mother Earth is to help, save and make it a safer place for animals. All the IMPACT I can gain from your program and brain; is needed to make the challenging changes for animal rights.

    Thank you for IMPACT!!!!!
    And knowing I get to watch this video and read Stephen’s newest article are extra benefits—icing on the cake.


    For the love of all animals,

  13. Kristina says:

    Love today’s topic Matt. I realized at times I do feel like people don’t talk about interesting topics, thank you for making me realize how ignorant I am, and that I should express interest and try and learn or take away some experience, wisdom or knowledge they may have on another subject. Will start practicing this asap!

    However, I do have a question that I hope you will address or maybe direct me to the video or something to address my question (new to the videos :) ) Following your advice I’ve been meeting all these guys (and they are great guys), and they have expressed interest in me; however, I just don’t seem to find any chemistry or attraction to them. Am I just being to picky? or am I attracting the wrong type of men? Please help me out.

    Thanks for your amazing insightful videos about love and life in general,


  14. Victoria says:

    I absolutely love your videos, not only because I get to look at you (you’re gorgeous- not sure if that’s a word to describe a handsome man oops #ESLPROBS) but I learn so much from them. Thank you for what you do and please tell me you will come to Miami one day :). Have a good one.

    Lots of love to you,


  15. Claudeth says:

    Hi Mathew, do you have an email where I can contact you? I really need your help. Thank you Claudeth

  16. Michaela says:

    Hey Matt:) when u will be in Dubai ???

  17. Maria_Canada says:

    Hey Matt, Recently I was at a bbq and it was lovely; however, the majority of the people who were there were married and brought their babies or toddlers and kids were running around ~~ and then there was me, the single one. I was talking to someone about movies and when I mentioned Bradley Cooper, she didn’t know who Bradley Cooper was, so I then realized I need to switch topics ~ so I switched over to “when do your kids go back to school?”. When I know I’m going to be at a party where I know the majority of the people are married bringing their kids, I always cringe a little because I’m never sure of what to talk about. Any advice?

    • Paula says:

      It is makes you feel better, I’m single and don’t know who Bradley Cooper is. I’m sure lots of these married people want to talk about something besides their kids but probably just need some motivation because that’s all they think they know

    • Matthew Hussey says:

      Hi Maria, what you did was great! Some people may not always want to talk about their kids so even though the Bradley Cooper conversation didn’t go well, try bringing up something else so you’re not inclined to talk about kids the whole time. I am sure people will gravitate towards the conversation. Do what feels natural and if it backfires, then you’ll learn from it! :) X

  18. Marla says:

    Hmmm…just wondering if the host would have considered that maybe you wouldn’t have wanted to talk about being a dating coach and having to give advice on your own time?

    Something that we could all learn from this experience, thanks for sharing.

  19. Romancia says:

    You know what I find interesting, after what seems a sincere and very articulated video of an event taken place, I saw via Facebook Matthew answering comments. Yet similar mistake are being made at this very moment as mentioned in the video. Where are the actual commented interest in THEIR stories? Sure they are interested in YOUR video subject, it might very well be an enlightening moment. Yet, thank you is just the easy out way in my opinion as being self absorbed in your own conversation.

    I’m not saying for every video but at least this where the subject matters seem to lend to caring about what others subject might be that day. Matthew your replys are simple and I’m sure sincere thank you’s to those with questions or specific commentary. Some with more stories I’ve yet to see (doesn’t mean you won’t) commentaries.

    I almost didn’t comment and be a silent observer like I usually am. When I’m not things get somewhat interesting but I found myself trying not to judge you to harshly by formulating an excuse like I guess it’s not easy to change bad habits even when you become self aware.

    I guess shouldn’t the lesson be extended to part of engaging in conversation no matter what medium. One must show more than a vested interest in a persons topic or the response is something as simple as handing you a “thank you” and passing you a beer. Cheers!

  20. beth says:

    How do I react to him being withdrawn and less loving? Just found out I’m pregnant and while we do love each other it’s hard that he never seems to recognize my feelings. Hes had a tough life and never thinks anyone can feel as down as him.

  21. Phoebe says:

    Genuinely one of the most thought provoking videos I’ve ever watched, I always find myself thinking “why aren’t people interested in what I want to talk about” maybe I just need to sell it more!

  22. Gracie M says:

    Oh hi Matt!! Im excited to watch this video and share it with my girls, I just cant right now coz Im in the mall LOL! I just saw that you are commenting to people so ya I want you to know that we look up to you :) love you matt! Come back to the coldest place in the planet, Wpg!! Take care

  23. soumeya says:

    it’s great that you’re learning from your mistakes. i like how you wonderfully turned it into a positive thing. i think that we all have made this mistake many times in our life and it can end a relationship between two partners !

  24. Cristina Póvoas says:

    Wow, Matt, you’re not just a guru, you’re a mind reader. I heard something from someone I care about 2 days ago that made me quite uncomfortable, but I didn’t know what to make of it. Today, in less than 6 min. you made it all clear. Kudos!!! :D

  25. Rowan says:

    While I like the analogies of treating people like booms for good behavior in this video: have a learner’s mindset, be a good listener, etc. I feel it should be mentioned that there are some places still in the United States where people burn books. (Come to think of it I think they still burn people there too…)

  26. kim says:

    Great video:) Life is interesting & most of how we experience it depends on our mood(s)! It’s funny though b/c sometimes I’d rather meet someone new & find new things to talk about – or learn about – than go out with the same gf’s & talk about the same ‘ol stuff. I love them, but…BORING!

  27. AspieCatholicgirl says:

    I like how you don’t say: you MUST talk about what you already know about, and you also don’t say: you must NOT talk about what you already know about: you must ONLY talk about what other people are into.
    Instead you say, there are several options: talk about what you are already into, but in such a way as to make it interesting to others, or let them talk about what they are already into.

    Even if someone else is already into the same things I’m into, we are capable of boring each other. The subject itself isn’t actually that important, it’s more the way in which you discuss it.

  28. Leecis says:

    LOL Matthew, glad
    to see you checked yourself
    before you wrecked yourself!
    good lesson for all!!

  29. Amy says:

    You had me at Paine. Call me ;)

  30. Jackie Gilbert says:

    Love this video, your humility, your honesty, your transparency and your humor! Thanks for sharing your realizations and expanding awareness. It helps me. I love and adore you a lot! Also, I had so much fun at Get the Guy on April 12th, ’14. I FREQUENTLY give myself a major energy boost by jumping around (just like we did at GTG) to Timber. Love that song! So much fun!!! Thank you, Matt! Sending you lots of love,

    Jackie. XOXO

  31. Tricia says:

    You know, sometimes it is refreshing to talk about ideas rather than people (ie. tell me about yourself…no) . Everybody always wants to talk about themselves. It is kind of boring after a while. In the last 10 years I have had EXACTLY ONE conversation where someone GENUINELY wanted to hear about ME…and that was a dear old friend. I’m actually kind of tired of always listening to people talking about themselves…because it is very rarely reciprocated where they wish to listen to me talk about myself. They usually just want to dump their story/ soliloquy about themselves onto me to get positive feedback. Comes across as needy and it actually sucks the life out if me.

    • David says:

      >>In the last 10 years I have had EXACTLY ONE conversation where someone GENUINELY wanted to hear about ME


  32. Shev says:

    Hi Matt:
    I find that the opposite happens to me! Usually at function, (formal, informal, random place) I am able to get people to talk at length about themselves, their interests or career! However when they ask me anything outside of my career, I tend to get tongue tied and embarrassed, even when I have things to say, new interests that I am exploring or activities that I am engaging in. It’s getting better, but definitely a work in progress!! That is why the Impact program has been helpful.
    Thanks for sharing this situation. It is helpful to be able to modify one’s expectations and learn to be patient with others, because I have learned people open up at their own pace.
    Warmest regards,
    Shev x

  33. Ester says:

    Hi Matthew,

    Have you ever thought about the possibility that you are gifted??


  34. Kathryn says:

    You’re so right, and I think it also has to do with altering our expectations in life. I used to see films, maybe set in France where there’d be a dinner party. Everyone would be impossibly chic, there’d be parquet floor, lots of lamps and there would be a debate about French philosophy or existentialism. You become educated, you meet other educated people and of course it never happens. Even at formal dinners I’ve been to, people just really like talking about themselves. That’s good, I can talk about anything and be light hearted. It is odd how we focus on something so specific we are currently interested in and actually expect anyone else to also have the same interest in that!
    Another great video Matt, have a lovely weekend
    Kathryn :)

  35. A. says:

    Jeeves, lol. Jameson don’t get jealous!

    Good point about being patient with people. I’m always up for conversation but it does take others a while to open up sometimes.

    I don’t think you were an ass, just into that topic right then. Sometimes I let myself talk about it a little bit just to get it out a bit, but if they glaze over I immediately switch to asking them about themselves. It’s nice to see others light up about their stuff too.

    • Matthew Hussey says:

      It does sometimes but as long as we’re genuine, then most of the time, people will! :) Thanks for your thoughts! X

  36. Anita D says:

    Bonjour Matthew,
    As a french, I am very proud that you are interested in the french revolution. You are just pleasantly surprising me day by day with your curiosity and ability to keep on improving yourself.

    Find below the french national Anthem. It was written dring the french revolution.

    Excellent dimanche.

  37. Monica says:

    I’ve spent a career in newspapers and socialised a lot. Being interesting isn’t about knowing a subject or topic or ‘talking about’ anything. You’re right, we are not at events to give a lecture. Or conduct an interview of other guests. It is important to have good general knowledge, read the papers,read the frivolous bits – it’s not just about news items. My entire knowledge of drugs culture is from celebrity stories and the programme ‘ autopsy’! Haha.

    The best opening line when you really don’t know anyone at a party and feel like a spare part is simply to ask someone something like ” I’m Monica. So, how do you know Kate?” ( the host). It opens up a fascinating line of chat .

  38. Emilie says:

    LOVE this!!

  39. marina says:

    Oh Mathew,
    Great video about a recent party in LA! my respect for your work, success, and curiosity grows with each effort to impact and better our lives in the States.
    Yet, unfortunately it isn’t you who’s the a**hole here. You simply wanted a normal conversation to engage people in a discussion and found yourself “casting pearls before swine”:) Wouldn’t it be glorious to walk into a Hollywood party and find glamorous, interesting people who are curious about life and making a world a better place? Instead one party is like the other, filled with empty, vain and self-absorbed people who can only talk about themselves.
    How sad we all are. Is the pursuit of monetary gain replace the pursuit of happiness? Do we even know what makes us happy anymore?
    I dare hope that there are still few who are brave to be genuine:)

    • Matthew Hussey says:

      That would be glorious Marina! Then again, if we never ask someone what their interests are or what they know, then we’ll never know. ;) Thanks for watching and lovely to read your thoughts. X

  40. Jen says:

    Hey Matt, I am glad you got this one sorted hahaha…….I love having interesting convos and I always share what I know about the subject or else give my honest opinion about it. I notice that I tend to be more attracted to someone who seems to have a wide range of knowledge (which could be either through schooling/higher education or simply like me by just being curious and research) than by their apperance!

  41. Jana says:

    Hah, that is such a random subject for you to choose to read and learn about suddenly.

    When are you coming to London again?

  42. Andrea says:

    Haha Matt, I loved this story because it happens to me a LOT. I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself, surely your natural enthusiasm for a new topic and desire to share that with others without dominating a conversation is a good thing? I work for Amnesty International, which either sends people running for the hills or engages them, because it touches on sensitive and political subjects. My solution? I once did a 3 hour fundraising stint in central London which was very humbling and only managed to collect 50p. If you ever speak to a professional chugger (and I mean a good one) you can learn so much. It made me question and realise how do you connect with people without alienating them, and how to avoid being invisible? By doing exactly as you suggest, by asking people first what they know about a topic, finding out what their passions and motivations are and connecting on this level about what you do and why you’re interested in something before deciding to either continue with the same subject or move onto a different one. It also helps to create a positive mood and leaves people feeling they had an interesting conversation with YOU rather than about what you do. Anyone else have a similar experience? Would love to know your tips :)

  43. Tj says:

    Well said Matt! This type of thinking (not everyone is interested in what moves you) requires a lot of self-awareness and humility, two things that are hard to activate simultaneously, especially in a social setting where you’re trying to make an impact XD. Thanks for the reminder.

  44. Lyla says:

    First comment!
    My impact program is not working. Can anyone help?

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