Do You Have to Be Mean to Women to Get Them Interested?

Elle Silver

High-value women are attracted by confidence. But the confidence has to be real, not meanness masking as confidence.
Photo by Elle Hughes.

Countless “pickup artist”-style dating coaches laud the benefits of disrespecting women as a means to attract them. They advise negging (giving negative feedback) and treating women with indifference as a way to get lucky.

The logic behind such advice is that by being mean you create a challenge for a woman. Like everything in life, no one wants to join the club that offers them membership. Women want to have to work to win a man’s heart.

I won’t say this isn’t partly true. Obviously, such tactics can be effective. If a woman thinks a man can see her faults without her telling him, he must be superior. She should feel privileged he’s even giving her attention! He must be a catch!

But what kind of woman are we talking about here?

I’ll tell you a secret about women who fall for meanness in the dating sphere. Such women are terribly insecure.

Women who’ve done their inner work — who know their real worth — see right through meanness in a man.

A woman who truly respects herself would never put up with a man who treats her with nastiness. She won’t give a guy like that the time of day.

She knows she deserves better. She sees meanness for what it is: the behavior of a maladjusted man.

A guy who employs such tactics is either a misogynist — or he’s insecure himself.

He overcompensates for his own lack of self-confidence through meanness. No woman with any self-worth will put up with a man like that.

So do you have to be mean to attract women? Sure, but only if you want to date women who are insecure.

Insecure women mistake nastiness for confidence.

The fact is all women are attracted by confidence. It’s only insecure women who equate confidence with disrespectful behavior.

I should know something about mistaking meanness as confidence in a man. I was once an insecure woman who didn’t know my own worth.

Back in my mid-twenties, I fell for a guy who used such tactics to get me interested in him. His name was Gary and we met at a Halloween party.

The party was put on by a group of friends who commonly dressed up as clowns. Yes, even when it wasn’t Halloween, they dressed that way.

Because I was young and stupid, I didn’t consider that I should also dress up as a clown for this party. I was single and wanted to look good, so I donned a “sexy student” costume. Tartan mini, tiny white shirt with a small tie, knee socks, and pigtails.

My outfit worked to attract a man. Gary took an interest in me.

He was tall and his body felt muscly under his clown suit when we hugged. I couldn’t really tell what he looked like since he had so much grease paint on his face.

It didn’t matter. I wasn’t attracted to him because he was a “jolly clown” but because he was mean.

Gary and I started making out but only after he told me his real opinion about my “sexy student” outfit. My outfit was cliché. Even if I believed I looked amazing, I actually looked like a complete buffoon. Gary, on the other hand, was incredibly cool because he had dressed as a clown.

His negging continued. When he asked what I did for a living, I told him I was a writer. He rolled his eyes and asked what I really did for money. The fact was I did write for a living, but for a sporting goods magazine. Gary told me this was not “real writing.”

Everything about me was inferior in Gary’s opinion. I stupidly mistook his superior attitude as confidence.

I wanted to make Gary like me. I ended up hooking up with him at the party. But when I asked him for a ride home afterward, he told me he couldn’t help me out.

Then I literally saw him leave with another woman. Maybe she was just a friend but still, his dismissive treatment was hurtful.

And yet I fell for it.

We hooked up again after the party. He treated me with the same disrespect. When he didn’t call me after the date, I called him!

I invited him to the movies a few days later. I paid for the flick. When I asked if he wanted to hang out with me after the show he said he was busy.

Again, you’d think I would have called it quits on Gary. I didn’t. I became infatuated with him.

We kept hooking up, and he kept treating me the same way. It’s a wonder I put up with such behavior.

I did, but only because I believed it was evidence of his self-confidence and my lack of worth.

I only thought he was special because I was insecure.

So, sure, go ahead — be mean to attract women. But only if you’re interested in dating insecure women like I once was.

I went to therapy and developed more confidence.

Luckily, I went to therapy. A therapist helped me do my inner work. I became much healthier and my self-concept improved.

When, post-therapy, I met another guy who treated me the same way Gary had, this time I saw him for who he was: a poorly adjusted human being who should be in therapy himself.

He wasn’t somebody I wanted to waste my time with. He got one date out of me and that was it.

I had gained self-confidence and could not fall for such treatment again.

So sure, be mean — if you want to turn off quality women — the kind of woman I had become.

How to get a high-value woman interested in you.

That’s the thing — what guy really wants to date insecure women? You don’t. You want to date women who know who they are and love themselves.

Therefore, I would advise you not to follow the advice of “pickup artist” dating gurus. You should never act mean just to get women attracted to you.

That only works on insecure women.

There’s a better way. But it’s harder.

To attract high-quality women, you have to actually be confident — not just pretend to be confident by being mean.

As I said, all women are attracted by confidence. Confident men don’t need to employ “pickup artist” tactics to come off as strong. Confident men are sure of themselves already. They’re already strong.

But how do you become confident as a man?

I always advise everyone to go to therapy. Heal your wounds and deal with what makes you insecure first. When you’re not leading with the wounded part of yourself, your heart is open.

As a man with self-esteem, you’ll open your heart — but just enough. You’ll know not to let all women in. Only women who are trustworthy.

You won’t have to build walls around your soft core to also protect yourself against mean women. Believe me — some women use meanness to attract men, too.

Dating can be scary — but that’s no excuse to be mean.

But when you feel good about yourself dating becomes easier because you’ll quickly attract quality women with your positive energy alone. You’ll attract them by being direct about what you want without being clingy. You’ll be able to be vulnerable without being insecure. You’ll be kind without being a doormat. All because you’re confident in yourself.

Trying to attract women by being a jerk — sure, that works, but only with insecure women.

The best way to attract and keep high-value women interested is by being confident, never mean.

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I'm a divorced relationships expert. Everything I've learned about love, I've learned the hard way. You can learn from my mistakes.

Los Angeles, CA

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