DarkShard wrote:I'm unsettled by the fact that "learning how to connect with people better so that you might have more meaningful and positive interactions " and "learning how to manipulate, wear down, and deceive a woman into doing something you know she wouldn't otherwise do without concern for her welfare" are being conflated. They are not the same thing. You can be a socially awkward person who goes for the first and be a fine human being. You cannot be any kind of person who goes for the second and be anything but an asshole.
You know what an asshole is? An asshole is a guy who looked around, tried doing things 'the right way' and got burned a few too many times. He then goes through and adopts a me-first attitude. To no great surprise, it ends up working. There's a reason why the expression 'nice guys finish last' exists.
Anecdote: Pretty friend of mine was complaining about how all the guys she dated were assholes and how there were no nice guys. I pointed out that she was completely wrong. She started listing all the guys she had been with and how they didn't treat her right. I asked her if her school had a chess team, a science club, or anything of the sort. She said yes. I told her she could find her nice guys that would do anything for her there. She protested that she wasn't interested in those guys. My point exactly, I explained.
There's no getting around it: most guys, to succeed with women that they are interested in, must be, to some degree, jerks. Its difficult, but there's a fine line to walk, between being a chump and being a complete selfish asshole.
Another anecdote: Two friends of mine in college. One was the nicest (if annoying) guy in the world. Only ever dated one girl (and she was not, to be polite, easy on the eyes, nor did she have much in the way of personality) in his entire life (well, he may have found someone now that he's a working stiff), and once she dumped him, he spent all his time moping about it. Another friend (correction, acquaintance) was a regular cassanova. He dated and slept with multiple women (all very very attractive, and most were genuinely good, upstanding people) all the time. Everyone knew that about him, and nobody really thought poorly of him for that in and of itself. What we all despised about the guy was that he'd lead the girls on for months or a year at a time, all the while plotting his next conquest (the man basically would trade in whatever girlfriend he had for a younger model with each new freshman class). Now, faced with those two choices, its hard not to be tempted to be more like guy 2.
The trick is to be just enough of a jerk to know that you can do what you want in life and not try to impress other people; to not worry about losing one relationship to the point that it paralyzes you; to have the confidence to attempt your goals, and not worry about failure. At the same time, not totally consider everyone else as a means to an end for your own purposes, and to respect other people
The biggest problem to figuring out how to balance this is that you can only really do it by trial and error. You go out there, and you're going to have your heart broken, and you're going to break a heart, unless you live in a perfect world where the first girl you meet is your soul mate and you both recognize that fact. We're all just trying to make our way through.
Oh, and the person who first taught me how to pick up women? My mother, who always said "Treat the princesses like peasants, and the peasants like princesses."