Status plays a significant role in how people feel about one another. For men, their status highly influences their attractiveness to women. This section explains what status is, how your behavior largely defines your status, and how men can use this knowledge to recognize and improve their status in a way that allows them to become more attractive to their partner.
No matter how physically attractive a man is, or how much money or fame he has, in the long run, consistent low status behavior will cause their partner to lose attraction for them.
In relationships, there are many factors unrelated to status that affect a man’s attractiveness to women. But none of those factors matter if a man’s status is lower than their partner’s. Women’s attraction for men cannot be sustained if they feel the man needs them more than they do.
Men can easily create this impression by playing out too many low status behaviors, making women feel like they’re on a pedestal. Women are evolutionarily programmed to lose attraction for men who make them feel this way.
That’s why men who want to know how to be attractive to women should know it’s:
...important to understand how their behaviors affect their status in a relationship and how they could modify their behaviors to avoid being too low status.
Your social status, or just “status”, is your perceived power to get what you want. It’s the shared belief that others have about your power, and that you have about your own power.
Perception of power fundamentally defines your status. Many assume status is tightly bound to your physical attributes, wealth, or resources. And while all those things correlate with your status, your interactions with people can easily change their perception of your status.
In the ancestral time, a powerful person could, on a whim, provide you with a world of opportunity and pleasure or cause you endless pain and suffering. Your genetic future was at the mercy of powerful people. You had everything to gain as their ally and everything to lose as their enemy. Emotions, thoughts and behaviors in reaction to status were designed to maximize your genetic fitness.
Today, the playing field has changed and perceived power has a greater influence on your overall success. The power you perceive people to have, i.e. status, determines how you react to them. Your actual power doesn’t cause people to react differently toward you; only your perceived power does. If you can modify people’s perception of your power – by definition, modifying your status – then you can intelligently influence how people feel and behave toward you.
Once you see status, you cannot unsee it.
When people interact with you, the type of behavior that highly affect your status is your reactivity.
When you feel reactive in an interaction, your brain is saying, “this person is interesting and important; give them your undivided attention”. Your behaviors will have the characteristic signs of low status: anxiety, discomfort, excitement, eagerness, anger, curiosity.
The higher a person’s status is relative to yours, the more you react in an interaction with them. The lower the status, the less you react – or maybe you don’t react at all.
Here are reactive behaviors that communicate higher or lower status in an interaction.
Higher Status, Unreactive Behavior
Holding eye contact
Extending limbs, taking up a lot of space
Exposing vulnerable body parts: throat, abdomen and groin
Succinct and monotone speech
Disclosing little information
Comfortable and relaxed body language
Emotionally and physically composed
Long pauses in speech
Ignoring questions or requests
Smiling/laughing in self-amusement
Still body positions
Lower Status, Reactive Behavior
Passive (aggressive) language
Defensive in disagreements
Contorting body to take up little space
Speaking verbosely or mostly silent
Disclosing a lot of information
Overly loud or quiet voice
Avoiding eye contact
Being the first to laugh after making a joke
Losing composure, or tries to
Avoiding confrontational subjects
Trying to impress
Explaining something redundantly
Asking for forgiveness
Going against values/morals for short-term attention
Repeating movements like wringing hands or bouncing legs
Frequent short pauses when speaking
Nodding and smiling in conversation
Showing symptoms of anxiety
To sustain attraction in a relationship, men must avoid being lower status than their partner. If the man is, say, the breadwinner in the relationship, it bumps up his status slightly. But wealth, physical appearance, or any other non-behavior related status signals won’t prevent a man from being lower status if he’s consistently displaying low status behaviors.
At this point, you should know that your behaviors imply a certain status level. Again, this is because humans evolved the software to evaluate a person’s status level according to certain behaviors. People constantly engage in status transactions: asserting or challenging status through action. A person can assert their own status or challenge someone else’s. The result of such actions may cause either person’s status to go up or down. In relationships, this happens all the time.
You assert your status by the way you dress, what you say, how you say things, how congruent you are, how you react to status challenges… everything you do defines your status.
Asserting higher status
Dressing in a way that makes you stand out
Not complying to people’s demands
Never submitting to a status attack
Holding eye contact
Demand a lot of space
Not losing composure
Challenges other’s status and his own
Asserting lower status
Asking for forgiveness
Defensive body language
Take up little space
Responds to threats by losing composure
Say things that are safe, makes sure not to challenge other’s status or his own.
In a relationship, men should aim for a combination of high and low status assertions. Too many low status ones will make them lose their partner’s attraction.
Status In Action
Now, let's put it all into practice. This section is about what men’s interaction with women should be like in order to sustain an attractive status level.
There’s a sweet spot in terms of how to combine low and high status behaviors. One way to know whether a man is playing the sweet spot is to consider whether he’s coming off as defensive. Being overly submissive or dominant is a defense against conflict. Men should keep their composure and not overdo submissive or dominant behavior unless warranted. The best way to summarize how to play the sweet spot is leading with grace. You can think of it like men being in a partner dance where they’re the lead. Men lead their partner in a graceful manner, without being too forceful or submissive.
Here are some ways men can lead women with grace:
Compliment things that are plausibly a way she distinguished herself in her partner’s mind other than looks. If men only complimented their partner on her looks, she’ll think she’s much higher status. Not complimenting her looks at all can make you seem too indifferent, occasionally complimenting her looks is appropriate, if not required.
Women like mysterious men because disclosing information is a low status behavior. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t disclose any information, instead disclose information in small chunks or playfully show reluctance.
When men want to physically move their partner from one place to another, they can’t be too forceful or submissive. They want to be suggestive, but not pushy. Grabbing her hand works too, but again, not forcefully or hesitantly, just like in dance.
Walking alongside with her follows the same mantra. Men shouldn’t stick by her side every moment nor should they ignore her the whole time. They can walk ahead of her, and intermittently going by her side, creating the impression of leading the journey.
Being in the moment. Saying things relevant to the current situation, and doing things spontaneously. Planning, recalling information, talking about their past self and bringing up old conversation topics are all indicators of thinking hard—a low status move. This doesn’t mean men should always be living in the moment, that’s being too indifferent and doesn’t allow for discussions that can deepen the connection.
Pointing out things about her that risk a negative reaction. Like joking about a dress she’s trying out in a store with: “honey, you look like elmo in that dress”. There’s a risk she’ll respond negatively to such a comment, but occasionally treading the line shows her that her man isn’t so afraid of losing her.
Here's an example of how to do it wrong:
This is a picture of Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy a week before Caroline called off their engagement. You can see she's leading Rory as they walk and hold hands with her hand on top. She's looking in the direction she wants to walk in while he's looking at her for guidance.
They separated a few weeks later.
All your actions imply a certain status level about you. Your status level is defined by the pattern of high to low status assertions you convey (on average). You are congruent when all your channels of communication and actions are implying the same status level. Congruence makes your message believable, it makes YOU believable. An example of being congruent is you making a strong claim about a skill you possess while maintaining confident body language and tone of voice.
You are incongruent when your channels of communication are sending mixed signals about your status. For instance, a teacher trying to tell their students to quiet down, but they stutter or have a shaky voice saying it. This communicates to the students that the teacher may have less the authority on quieting them down than the teacher believes. In order to convey a certain status level, you must be congruent.
Causes of incongruence
Playing the status level you don’t think you belong to
Feeling like you’re invading someone’s space
Feeling you don’t deserve to do something
Have a lot of goals in an interaction
Not getting any intrinsic value from an interaction
Thinking the other person doesn’t care about you or what you have to say
Being busy, preoccupied, or having something better to do
Acting through someone else’s intentions
What incongruence implies
You must be lower status than you’re trying to play
Don’t care about the person you’re talking to
Only in the interaction to get something out of the person
Your normal self isn’t good enough
Thinking you have nothing to offer so you have to pretend to be higher status
Lying, deceiving, hidden agenda, insincere
Signs of incongruence
Pausing (not for dramatic effect)
Inconsistent tone of voice
Unpredictable (without a consistent status level, people won’t be able to reliably predict your behavior. Often associated with creepiness and uncomfortable to be around)
Unnatural body language
There are many highly useful ways to attract women; romantic gestures, humor, kindness are all pieces of the puzzle that help develop exciting and fulfilling connections. Status provides a powerful framework in which to better understand yourself and others. Knowing how to effectively influence your status offers an essential tool in your arsenal of powerful ways to attract women.
Heterosexual men are playing a completely different game than their female counterparts. And it’s a game they can’t skip .
The difference an be summed up by this chart:
The green line is the threshold for when a guy or girl has built enough attraction to have the opposite gender ready to invest in a coffee date with them. For girls, their pictures alone qualify them for a coffee date for many guys.
However, guys can rarely have girls ready to go on a coffee date with them based off their pictures alone. Their online dating profile and messages tip them past the threshold. That’s why the focus of this guide is in the profile and messages portion of online dating for men.
The first picture in a guy’s profile should be a clear shot of him/his body and no hats, sunglasses or blurriness. The rest of the pictures should be context-heavy and tell a story about the type of guy he is. The clothes or no clothes (shirtless pictures) should be appropriate to the context.
Not every picture even needs him to be visibly there, like a picture of their dogs without them in it. The last picture can be a random funny picture of a cartoon or animal - it shows off your personality.
Examples of good profile pics
High quality images, seen in different contexts and dressed appropriately. His physique wouldn’t have been impressive if it were in a mirror selfie. His pictures also show off his interests and personality.
Here’s another set of good profile pictures, this time with some pictures without him in it.
Template for Online Dating Conversations
The best openers are customized to the profile. They should be playful, light-hearted, and creative. The usual elements that make up a good opener involve an observation about their profile, a compliment, and something funny/witty. Here’s our blog post on the formula for writing a great opener . Here are some examples:
Her profile contained pictures with her in different hair colors. (Male on the right)
Here’s a good example of a funny observational opener. (Male on the left)
After the opener, you build rapport, which helps you feel out whether there’s potential for a deeper connection. Often times people build rapport in online dating by playing off each others humor or discussing mutual interests.
Establishing Mutual Interests
The guy, on the left, isn’t trying to be overly funny, but he successfully builds rapport by authentically talking about his life and his interests.
Humor + Role Playing
The guy, on the left, starts a funny role-play with him being her husband with kids. She role-plays back with him, creating a connection. Taking on “roles” that plant the idea of the guy and the girl being together helps establish a romantic connection.
Here’s a conversation that started with an opener telling a vegan that he eats meat. A pretty big difference in values, but humor + role playing sparked enough interest and built rapport (male on the right).
Compliment + Qualifying Question
After or during rapport building, the guy should give a compliment and a qualifying question. Women want a guy who is interested in them for more than just their looks. The compliment should be about something specific you like that she said or has up on her profile that isn’t about her physical appearance.
The qualifying question is basically a filtering question for the guy. Right after a compliment, this shows he’s not ready to put her on a pedestal and he also cares about finding someone he has a special connection with.
Below (male on the left), starts with a nice personalized opener with a compliment and a tease. He’s showing he’s attuned by changing topics when one falls flat, then he goes for a context-relevant compliment, but isn’t putting her on a pedestal with the last question “what’s the catch?”
Commend Qualification + Segue to Logistics
If she answers your qualifying question, commend her on her response. (If you really don’t like her answer, it might be a bad match at this point.) This establishes there’s a possible deeper connection the two of you can have together - which means it’s time to meet in person.
In the same text or a text following right after, direct the conversation towards meeting up. We also call this tactic The Tightening Noose . This post shows 5 different ways people might segue to logistics and their tradeoffs. Something like third example in the post is the ideal:
“What’s your week looking like?”
Here’s an example of a subtle transition to logistics in the end:
If she sounds interested in meeting up, schedule a date, preferably using the BANTA tactic .
The Recover Text: When Things Don’t Go Smoothly
In many cases, online dating conversations don’t neatly follow the template above. People may stop responding without explanation or say something you don’t know how to interpret. And throughout the conversation you’re given many opportunities to mess up, like saying something unintentionally offensive, forgetting to reply back, sound overly arrogant or passive, etc. There are examples of many more mistakes men make in this document.
For this reason, it’s just as important to know how to recover from a conversation going south.
Start New Topic
This tactic is best used when you’re trying to revive a conversation that ended several days or weeks ago. At this point, there’s not much context for you to continue the conversational thread you were having. So starting a new topic won’t come off too try-hard.
Starting a new topic normally works when the other person forgot to reply back because they were busy or just weren’t that interested in chatting at the time.
The new topic should ideally have something that may have been missing from the conversation that died. For instance, if your last conversation sounded like a job interview, make the new topic about something more light, fun, and funny.
Some ways to start a new topic
Simply ask a question about a new topic
Send a picture of something fun or adventurous you’re doing in the moment.
Send a funny gif
If she responds negatively to a playful/light-hearted comment or statement you made, don’t start apologizing or agree with her views. Instead, double-down on what you said, but not in an argumentative or logical tone. She may not be as set in her ways as you think and was just expressing how she felt about it in the moment. Holding your frame might make her views align with yours. If not, it will at least show you’re confident in yourself and aren’t just saying things to please her.
Similar to holding frame, you’re controlling the frame of the conversation by doing a reframe.
This works best if she makes a negative statement about you - whether it’s playful or serious. For example, if she says “You’re not my type to be honest”, you can reply “I know, isn’t that exciting?”
Casually and playfully call her out for not treating you with a base-level of respect i.e. common courtesy. Like if she cancels on you more than once or is being extra difficult with logistics. To successfully pull off the playful callout, you should make sure you’re not demanding more respect than you deserve and that your tone isn’t negative.
Executing a playful callout successfully doesn’t just command more respect, it signals social savviness because of its difficulty in pulling off.
If she cancels on your plans together more than once, you can playfully say “No problem, when can you pencil me in next week?” or “Maybe you should send me a google calendar invite this time” or, if you’re going through with the plan anyway, “No problem, I’ll send you pics when I’m there to make you jealous :)”.
This playful callout is intended to show her that you value your time and are confident enough to not let others treat you unfairly.
Make sure to hover over the annotation icons in the conversation analyses in some of the ones linked below: