Lack of Communication is Key

Sharing Options

Dear Dawson,

I am glad you have met a girl, at church no less, and it is good to hear that you have decided to ask her out. I have no doubt that I will have to explain this one a bit more, but if you ask her out, and if she says yes, always remember that lack of communication is key.

Let’s say you go out to dinner, and discover along the way that you two can talk easily, naturally. You are a warm-hearted and expressive guy. What could go wrong? The temptation you will face is that of someone who has been nurtured on the propaganda of this present darkness, and that temptation will be to share, as opposed to making conversation.

If you don’t watch your step, you are going to share, and she is going to share, and then you both share a little more, and then it gets tangled up a little bit, and first thing you know, the two of you are besties. A little bit later you are going to be trying desperately to figure out how you became her girlfriend. You don’t want to be her girlfriend. But congratulations, you are now stuck in the friend zone, and she won’t let you out of the friend zone because she is an evangelical Christian, and lesbianism holds no attractions for her.

So what is the difference between sharing and making conversation? If you sit down with her, and you start telling her all about your hopes, dreams, and aspirations, along with the fact that your long term goal is to be a screenwriter, you are sharing. You are unloading the truck. You have ramped the intimacy levels of your conversation way up to eleven. You are leaving her guessing about absolutely nothing. You have become a spiller of guts.

The danger in telling you this is that you might think I am encouraging you to play head games with her instead, trying to act like an international man of mystery. But I am not trying to get you to manipulate or lie. Rather, I am encouraging you to cultivate good manners, and not to worry about the consequences of having good manners. The consequences will be good.

The reason you asked her out was because you thought she was attractive, and you would like to get to know her, and you are hoping that you make a good impression on her as well. Now if I told you not to pick your teeth with the salad fork at dinner, would you respond by saying that you want to be “authentic,” and that you want her to get to know “the real you”? No, you would not, and if you did do something like that she wouldn’t be getting to know the real you in any case.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make a good impression on a girl you are taking out. All I am telling you is that part of making a good impression includes not acting like an emotional needy bucket. Some guys act that way because they are emotional needy buckets, and they do what they do naturally. But other men—and I put you in this category—act this way because you have been taught poorly.

The prevailing beta male culture of evangelical Christianity has taught you that you must overcome your natural male reticence about such things, and that you must cultivate openness and transparency and vulnerability. And if you are enough of a chump to believe all of this, you will find yourself in a truly baffling place. That is because girls do like this kind of thing, in that it is not unpleasant for them to be around it, but they are not attracted to it sexually.

If you follow the instructions you have been given to you in line with these broader cultural assumptions, you will find yourself friends with a girl who is not interested in you “in that way.” Or, if you manage to get far enough into it that she is in fact in a relationship with you, the whole thing is going to be vaguely dissatisfying to her. This is what happened to you in your previous relationship. And this will be a grand mystery to her as well, because the women are being lied to as well as the men.

So, ride the brake. Lack of communication is key. Don’t be like Hezekiah—don’t show the Babylonians everything.

I distinguished this gusher kind of sharing from the entirely different approach of making conversation. So what are the characteristics of that?

This is the same advice that is regularly given to writers. They are constantly exhorted to “show, don’t tell.” There is no way to keep your dinner conversation on that first date from being a time of self-disclosure. Her interactions with you will tell her many thing many things about you. But if you approach it wisely they will tell her these things obliquely, and they will leave her with the sense that there is much that you are holding back. And that is good. Lack of communication is key.

Ask questions. Ask her about her background growing up. Mention an article you read, and ask her what she thinks of the point the author was making. Ask her what she thinks of what the Supreme Court just did. Find out what her favorite novel is, and don’t volunteer what your favorite novel is. Talk about the menu. Mention the time you brought your parents to this restaurant. And fight the temptation of thinking that this is all “small talk.” Better to have a full man talk about small things in the world around him than to have a vacuous man unload absolutely everything he has, and arrange it pleadingly on the table in front of her.

Do not, under any circumstances, try to make her feel sorry for you. This is not because you won’t get it. You probably will get it. Women do have a natural bent toward sympathy. They are good at extending sympathy to those in need of it. But they are not attracted to it. I have no doubt that your ex-girl friend really did feel sorry for you in the very moment she was breaking up with you. But feeling sorry for you is not going to pay the bills.

So an interesting man is an interested man. But he is going to be interested in the world, in theology, in the woman he is with, and so on. He is going to be interested in where the salt and pepper shakers on their table were manufactured. He is not interested in spilling out or spelling out his emotional resume in front of her.

God has made the sexes in such a way as that when men are being men and women are being women, there is a vast territory where they do not understand each other at all. There is nothing wrong with this. And when men become convinced that this is a bug instead of a feature, and seek to converse and interact and respond in such a way as to mirror exactly what the woman is thinking, this will be an incredible frustration for both of them. Moreover, if they have bought into the egalitarian lie, they will be mystified by the frustration. They won’t know where it is coming from. The truth is that the source of their frustration is coming from the Pit.

Your uncle,