There is one word that, if you hear it being uttered from a woman that you like, all of your chances with that woman, being her lover, being in a romantic relationship with her, they’re gone.
If you hear this word, honestly, pack up your bags and move on. You are done, you have been pretty much friend zoned for life.
That word is: “Harmless”.
Now being called “harmless” sounds quite innocuous on the surface. In fact, I’m sure there’s a lot of guys who might actually think being harmless is a positive trait to have. I mean, there are so many jerks and assholes out there and women are always complaining about how they were hurt by some insensitive, selfish jerk, wouldn’t they like a guy who wouldn’t do any harm to them?
But that line of thinking couldn’t be more wrong, and today I’m going to explain why being called “harmless” is so damaging to your prospects with women you want to date PLUS if you’re a guy whose been called “harmless” by women in the past, I’m going to teach you how you can stop coming across as harmless using what is called the “85% rule”.
You know, I have this memory from back when I was about 18 years old, which is about 27 years ago now, I have this memory, I was walking through town with a group of my friends, there was 4 of us, my best mate and these two girls who were friends of my best mate, I think he was banging one of them.
I remember I’d played a gig with my band the night before (for those of you who don’t know, I play the drums, I used to be the drummer in a couple of speed metal and death metal bands) and these girls had come to watch my best mate play more than anything (he was the lead guitarist in the band).
Now my mate knew I liked one of these girls but I hadn’t done anything about it, I was too afraid to do anything, to be honest, so I can’t remember exactly what he said but I remember he tried to get some flirty banter going between the 4 of us, to try to change up the platonic vibe that was going on. So he probably said something along the lines of “what do you think of my friend? Or something like that.
And I’ll never forget her answer. She responded with “Oh yeah, Stuart’s fine, he’s harmless enough…”.
And I remember when she said those words, it was like someone had filled up my body with rocks. I just wanted to crawl away and die because instinctively I knew I was never getting into that girl's pants ever in my entire life…
Being referred to by women as “harmless” is their way of saying that they have no opinion of you, they couldn’t care less about you. You are totally forgettable in their eyes. You’re nothing to them.
I did a video not long ago called “The Nothing Guy”, which explains what happens why “nice guys” and harmless guys never get the girl. Feel free to check that one out if you’d like to.
In that video, I also discuss how to avoid being the “nothing guy” or the “nice guy”. For those of you who don’t know, the “nice guy” is the guy who’s too afraid to risk outright rejection from a girl he likes, so he plays it “safe”.
He agrees to be friends with a girl he likes, he does chores for her, he’s extra helpful to her, but what he’s really doing, in his mind at least is he’s setting up what is known as “covert contracts” with the girl, these are contracts that the girl, who is the centre of his affections, is unaware of existing.
So the “nice guy”, or the “nothing guy” thinks that if he deposits enough “niceness” into his friendship with the girl, eventually sex will come out. And when this strategy inevitably fails, when he doesn’t get the “return on his investment” that he was expecting, well then he chucks a shit at the girl.
It’s all very disingenuous. But this behaviour is driven by a fear of not wanting to rock the boat, by a fear of rejection. They refrain from displaying their most authentic self, they hold back so to speak.
And when you hold back or hide your most authentic self, people can feel you do it, and it creeps people out because they can’t read who you truly are.
So, how do we overcome this label of being harmless? By becoming harmful to women? By becoming a dickhead? No, but that’s what a lot of guys do, they overcorrect, they think “well the nice guy stuff didn’t work, so I’m going to try being a totally selfish jerk and see where that gets me”.
But there is a healthy balance between being the nice guy and being the total jerk, and I’m gonna explain it to you now using what is called the “85% rule”.
Now the “85% Rule” is a rule that governs optimal performance. It’s used by peak performance coaches to get the most out of athletes that they’re training. The general idea is this:
“If you tell most athletes to run at their 85% capacity, they will run faster than if you tell them to run at 100% because it’s more about relaxation, and form, and optimizing the muscles in the right way”.
Basically, if you tell people that they have to strive for perfection, they will tense up with the stress of trying to be perfect and then they will screw up. Therefore, it’s important to ease up on the expectations and be in a relaxed state of flow before undertaking anything you want to achieve at if you want the best results.
The same philosophy of the 85% rule can be applied to getting people to like you.
When you try to get everyone to like you, the pressure that you place on your self to make this happen stops you from being your relaxed authentic self. You’re on edge, you can’t operate properly, and people get creeped out because they can tell you’re not being yourself.
Therefore, you have to accept that you aren’t put on this planet to make everyone happy.
Generally speaking, in order to make a memorable impact with someone, you need to elicit an emotional response within them. And you can’t get anyone to remember you by just being “harmless”.
Remember, if you don’t stand for something then you stand for nothing. And if you try to get everyone to like you, nobody will like you. Because you’re just a ball of compromises. You’re putty. If someone pushes, you change to accommodate them.
If you’re too afraid to have an opinion, to draw a line in the sand and say this is what I value, this is what I believe, too bad if you don’t agree with me, then it tends to suggest you have porous boundaries and you have no backbone. And women AND men can’t stand people with no backbone for all the reasons I mentioned earlier.
So, in order to get people to like you, you’re going to have to get used to speaking from your heart and risk offending people. And, if you’re a reasonable person with reasonable views, you’re likely to come across as likeable around 85% of the time. Or at least this is mark you should be aiming for. 85% of the time people think you’re alright, and 15% of the time people think you’re a douchbag. And that’s totally fine. If you can get these numbers down, you’re doing something right.
Now, obviously, if most people think you’re a douchebag, well then perhaps it’s time to reappraise your views on things. If you generally come across as unlikeable, if you’re the master of the “worst first impression”, then your life will just be more difficult in general, because it’s really difficult to influence people in any meaningful way when they don’t like you and they don’t value you.
However, conversely, if you find most people you hang around agreeing with you all the time, that’s equally as bad. That means you’re stuck in an echo chamber. Your views on things are going unchecked and unchallenged, and this can have a detrimental effect on your self-esteem too.
I know I’m digressing a bit here but I was checking out my YouTube analytics a while ago and I noticed my overall like to dislike rating was hovering around the 85% mark.
So, this was before I had done any research into the 85% rule, so back then I had kind of a weird feeling. Ok, sure 85% of people who cared enough to upvote or downvote approve of what I’m doing here, so that’s good. But then there’s 15% that don’t!
So at first I was like “ah shit, what am I doing wrong?, why don’t this 15% of people like me?”, I think that’s a pretty natural initial response when you find out people don’t like you. You begin examining yourself, like “what could it be that they don’t like, how can I improve so they like me?”, all that stuff. We’re social creatures, we’re hard-wired to care whether people like us or not.
But now, an 85% like to dislike ratio is what I aim for, considering the nature of the content I produce, that feels pretty much spot on to where I need to be.
When I’m producing videos for you, when I’m writing the script for these videos, I’m very aware that there’s going to be a certain percentage of you watching these videos who are going to be either offended or just plain disagree with what I’m saying.
When I’m writing these video scripts, I’m consciously aware of this and, I’m not going to lie, I deliberately orchestrate my videos so that some of the language that I use will be interpreted by some to be offensive. Now the YouTube algorithm doesn’t like this strategy currently and this is probably why my channel is growing at a snail's pace, but I honestly believe that YouTube is doing us all a disservice by not taking this 85% rule into account when recommending videos to its viewers.
I think one of the main problems with the YouTube algorithm as I understand it is that because all it wants is for us to keep watching because if we keep watching they can show us more ads, we end up getting caught in echo chambers. YouTube will only show us content that it thinks we’ll like.
So YouTube suggests a channel with a message that it knows we agree with, we subscribe and get invested into the channel, and then we just listen to whatever that channels content creator tells us and we ignore everything else.
To illustrate what I mean, you can check out pretty much every established channel that has a strong political or cultural position on something and find that it has an amazing like to dislike ratio.
These channels are like fucking magnets for people looking for groups that share their already established opinions. If you want you can go and check out these channels for yourself, no matter what their opinion is on something, because they have this established echo chamber, because their videos are only being shown to people that YouTube thinks will like them and watch them, people begin believing that their subjective opinion is the objective truth on a matter, and everyone outside of that opinion is crazy.
Maybe this is wishful thinking, but It is my hope that YouTube evolves its algorithm somehow to incorporate the 85% rule. Perhaps show you 85% of what you want, but then sprinkle in some views from the opposing side. Maybe you’ll watch them, maybe you won’t, but at least you’ll know another view exists outside of the cosy safe circle-jerk bubble that YouTube currently creates for us all.
You know, there’s one thing that I’m very grateful for with my group of friends, and that is they hail from all different backgrounds. They hail from all over the globe and because of this, I get exposed to lots of different ideas originating from lots of different cultures.
My extended group of friends is an incredibly eclectic mix of personalities and we somehow manage to keep hanging out together without killing one another. But, honestly, I think the thing that binds us all together is that we’re all open to others opinions on matters and none of us is closed-minded, we’re always happy to have a reasonable debate on things.
I’m more than happy to have my views challenged on things because my goal isn’t to get everyone to like me and my channel, it’s to get as close to the truth of matters as I can get. And sometimes the only way to get to the truth of matters is by getting people to care enough to respond to you.