Following dating app advice from online dating gurus only works if you want to attract superficial hookups. And if you’re even semi-successful in your career, you’ll drown in gold diggers looking for a free meal.

Not only does this suffocate your wallet, but it can make you lose faith in all women — even emotionally mature women who are capable of unconditional love.

But finding a loving relationship through Instagram or dating apps is easy when you understand the inner game of these apps.

In this episode, you’ll discover the 3-part recipe for using Instagram and dating apps to find suitable, long-term partners. Listen to the episode now before you repel too many of these mature women away.

 Show highlights include:

  • The sinister way using Tinder advice you find online ruins your chances of finding unconditional love (8:33)
  • Why taking professional pictures for your Tinder profile drives away potential matches (even if you think they make you look more attractive) (13:03)
  • The “Light and Fun” approach for your Tinder bio that makes you irresistible to the opposite sex (18:44)
  • Why enjoying your life helps you get more Tinder dates than any sneaky pickup artist trick in the world (20:08)
  • How being vulnerable helps you find unconditional love (and why leading with your vulnerability only lures women attracted to your weaknesses) (20:16)
  • Why texting a girl “what’s up?” almost guarantees she ghosts you (and what to text instead to build rapport) (24:51)
  • The “Snippet Secret” that “ethically forces” Tinder matches to reply to you (even if it’s been a few days since you talked) (26:43)
  • How therapeutic healing transforms your insecurities into attractiveness (43:18)

    Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at now.

For more about David Tian, go here:

    Get access to all my current and future online coaching courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership program today at:


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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription

Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.

David: Welcome to a new episode of the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m your host, David Tian. In this episode, we’ll be getting into authenticity, value, and the inner game of Instagram and texting, and I’m so excited to dive into this episode with you.

In the previous episode, I covered why a lot of the advice on texting and how to optimize for dating apps is not only unhelpful for most guys, but it’s actually harmful and toxic in the long run, the first point there being, are you optimizing for short-term mating strategies or long-term mating? Because if you’re actually more interested in getting a committed relationship of unconditional love, but you’re taking on advice that’s optimizing for short-term mating. Then you’re actually sabotaging your success in the long run by doing that. [01:07.7]

The second point being, if you’re copying and pasting or anything close to that, you’re actually not only cheating the woman, but you’re actually cheating yourself out of a real chance with that woman. The same going for pimping your profile on Instagram, how dangerous that is, not only in terms of deceiving the woman, but also robbing yourself of an authentic chance at a real relationship here, and starting an entire relationship with a woman based on deception or manipulation or exaggeration, or a false persona or a false self that isn’t you, so there’s always going to be in the back of your mind this nagging doubt that will grow over time.

For each date, it’ll get stronger and stronger, this insecurity that becomes bigger and bigger, the sense of unworthiness among your more vulnerable parts that have been taught and conditioned by you that they’re not worthy of her and that she wouldn’t find them attractive, and that they need to stay hidden and that you need to take on this other false self in order to get and keep her attraction. [02:20.0]

Hopefully, it’s obvious to you how this is toxic in the long run. I cover that in the last episode. In this episode, I’m going to be getting into what to do instead. The last episode was focused on what not to do. In this one, I’m going to be getting into what to do, and this is also that if you implement what I’m covering here and in the next episode as well, you’ll be able to enter into a phase of your life where texting women, setting up dates over the phone, matching or swiping on those dating apps will become effortless and even enjoyable that there’s no more texting anxiety. There’s no more searching for what to say to send, what texts to send or whatever it is, that instead it will be almost effortless because it will just be an expression of how you’re thinking and feeling in the moment. [03:11.0]

A lot of guys are afraid, because they were rejected in high school or when they were young, to put themselves out there and they think that they’re so unworthy of love, of connection, of being thought attractive, it’s so impossible for them that they need to go out and put on a false self that is literally a false self because you’re literally taking somebody else’s texts that have worked for them in the past and just parroting them—probably not even understanding the principles or entering into the emotional life of somebody who would send that, but just literally copying-pasting—or even worse, paying somebody else to take over your Tinder profile to chat with a girl and hookup the date, so it isn’t even you at all. You’re not even doing the bare minimum of copying and pasting. [03:58.0]

But you’re doing all of that and then being rejected because you think she would have rejected you in the first place, so this is your only chance really. Because she would’ve rejected you if you were just you, right? That’s what you’ve been taught by the world in your past experiences, right? So, then you just pay for somebody else to take over your account to do that for you, to hook it up for you, thinking this is a wise way to do it. It might be if all you want is short-term mating.

Again, in the past episode, the last one, I got very explicit that I am not speaking to and this podcast is really not for guys who are just after getting more sex from girls or just racking up their numbers in that way. I’m not judging them. That’s a phase of a male’s life and I totally get that, but I’m not talking to people like that. I’m not talking to that level. I get why, if that’s your main thing, you might cheat and lie, because you only have to keep the ruse up for as long as it takes to get into bed with her and that might be just a matter of hours in terms of contact time. [05:01.3]

So, I get it, and the repercussions are going to be less for you until you see in the long run because it’s a cumulative conditioning in you and your character, but you may not notice it in the moment, right, because the blowback to you might be all you do is ghost her. I get it, but this is not for you, and I’m assuming that the people who are listening to this are not interested in adopting a dark triad approach to finding a relationship or even to getting a match and dates.

Okay, so I get if you are interested in having sex with women, that’s a given, but what are you optimizing for? Are you optimizing for the long-term or the short-term? Because you really have to make that choice, especially with the hyper-focus that dating apps bring where that first impression is really important and you’re optimizing right from the beginning.

You don’t have as much leeway or margin of error as you would if you were spending a few hours in a bar or you got an hour or so of overlapping time with that woman who happens to be there with her friends and all of that, and she might give you a chance to just have a little conversation with you, right? [06:12.8]

With the dating app, there are seconds where she gets the opportunity to decide whether to follow through, and that’s what I mean by hyper-focus. In those contexts, if you make the wrong choice of optimization, you’re optimizing for the short term instead of the long term, then you’re really going to have a hard time if you choose short term to get long term.

Now, if you aim for the long term, you might actually get a lot in the short term, but that’s not a carrot I want to dangle in front of you, or that might bring in the wrong audience for that. But what’s really important to realize is you might think it’s already so painful to rejected for you and you’ve had that rejection in the past, and you’d rather just get dates with a false self that you got off a YouTube video, just copying and pasting some technique or gimmick or hack that you learned, or even worse, paying somebody else to take over your account and chat for you to hook up the date. [07:04.6]

You might think that that’s better than just being rejected for you. Actually, it’s not the worst. The worst thing is meeting this woman and finding out she’s great, finding out, Wow, I’d like to see her again, but then realizing that you started off with a false self. You started off with deception. You have a history now of bullshit. You copied and pasted. You puffed up your profile. You have now started off with deception, and already now, in a way, you must somewhere in your mind have lost a little respect for her because she got duped.

But, more importantly, if she rejects you for that false self, then you’ve actually been rejected for not even you and you don’t get another chance. I mean, it suddenly occurred to me, you might think you could save it then and go to her and say, No, look, this is the real me. That was just a copy and paste gimmick thing that I got off this YouTube video and then I paid this company to take over. That will hurt you even more. [08:09.8]

So, no, it’s over and the worst is actually to lose a chance with a great woman for not even being you. I mean, if you got rejected for you, fair play, right? You accurately presented yourself. She just decided, I’m not really feeling it. You can recover from that and you can say to yourself, I guess this just wasn’t the right suitable match.

But imagine, though, it’s even worse, actually, if you’ve never experienced this, you will if you continue to follow the crap dating advice or if you pay a company to hook up these dates for you taking over your profile, and you then either get into a relationship and now you have to overcome the deception that started the whole thing, so you have this nagging that just eats away at you and sabotages your vulnerability because you can’t have unconditional love without vulnerability and you’ve just started with the opposite of vulnerability. You start off with manipulation and deception, right? [09:06.7]

Even worse, though, is if she rejects you for a false self and she could have, would have, if you had just had the guts, the courage of vulnerability to be you, without having to let your insecurities get the better of you and go the deceptive lack-of-integrity route, and she would have been a great match for you. Oh, that’s the worst to actually lose your chance at the one that would have been great for you because you made this choice to go with the bad, morally-bad option, the morally-questionable one, and then you lose that one that would have been great.

Women that would actually be in a position, mature enough emotionally to succeed in long-term relationships, in an unconditional-love relationship are already so rare, and if you somehow meet one through deceptive means. I mean, I get it if you think, Oh, I just want to have short-term mating, I don’t really care, and you may be open to a committed relationship if she happens to be great, but you’re not and you’re not really holding out too much hope for it and just show up on the date and you have a great time. [10:19.6]

I mean, imagine you actually have a great time. You really hit it off. You want to see her again and now you realize, Oh, jeez, I started off on the wrong footing, or if you hit it off and you really, really like her and then she doesn’t really like you because of how you started it, she’s like, Um … now you seem like two-faced, if you had just presented yourself the way you were, she would have liked you. But because you had put on all of this front and then were inconsistent when you showed up and it’s just weird, now she has rejected you for not even you.

There aren’t that many women who are ready for an unconditional-love relationship and now you’ve lost your chance with one, and it wasn’t even because she rejected you. She actually rejected simply the front that you presented. [11:10.2]

The ones that really are ready for an unconditional relationship probably wouldn’t respond to the gimmicks or to the texting that’s happening that another company takes over your profile and does whatever an unethical dating coach would do. You’re actually missing out on all those opportunities you don’t even know about because she has already seen through the B.S., so she’s not even bothered with you. If you really pause on that one, that’s got to hurt even more because those are all the unknown opportunities that you don’t even get back.

Okay, so that’s what we’re preventing, okay? Then the big myth I’m addressing that I started off with in the last episode, the big myth is that you think texting is the problem. Texting is never the problem. That’s a lie that people use to suck you in and I get it because I’m seeing that guys are asking about texting, texting, texting over email to me and private messages and stuff like that, so I’m making these episodes about texting. [12:11.7]

In a way, I’m kind of playing into that as well, knowing maybe this will get a few more clicks or more free downloads, but I’ve seen people really exploiting that, that you think that the problem is in the branches or the fruit of the tree. The fruit is rotten. You’re not getting fruit because the roots are rotting. It’s just that no one is telling you that maybe you’re not aware of it and all you see are the branches, the symptoms, and the problem does not lie there. Texting is never the problem. The problem is always deeper.

I’ve got three points to share here and we’ll dive right into them because I had kind of a pretty long preamble there. The first point is that we’re looking at what to do now. This is the positive part of the project. The last one or the last episode was the negative, what not to do. This is what to do. We’ve got three points of what to do and the first is to be authentic in your photos and bio. [13:06.4]

Now, that does not mean that you just show your ugliest photos or something like that. What it does mean is to avoid obviously staged or professionally photographed photos. I know, this goes against and flies in the face of almost all the advice I’ve seen on Instagram on photos.

Now, if you are a professional model and how to or you’ve got a lot of experience pulling off the look on your face or maybe you’re an actor and the look on your face is you’re able to pull off that casual, candid look on your face or that pose, so it looks like it wasn’t staged and it just you’ve got a good shot. Somebody’s got a good photograph of you mid-action or something. Then you send it to a professional editor and they brighten it up. Maybe you had a good app and you brightened up all the coloring and whatnot. Okay, I can see that that might work, right? So, you do want to have clear photos. You do want to have photos that put you in a good light. [14:00.0]

What you do not want to have, or obviously staged photos where, and I see a lot of guys who pay photographer for this maybe because they’ve bought a package for pimp my profile on Tinder kind of thing and it came with a photoshoot, and they think it’s going to look just effortless. In fact, it’s the opposite. It looks try-hard. It looks like you are putting way too much effort into this.

Now, if you have done some professional photos, maybe a professional headshot, like I have a professional headshot for my just kind of boring business type of profile that I just kind of use as a default, and the amount of photos and takes that the headshot guy went through, and he was one of the top headshot guys in all of Singapore at the time, and we went through, I think, over 30-something takes for that, just different emotions he was just telling me to go through and eventually found one, and it was just kind of a professional headshot. Part of it was just going for as authentic as possible, and so it was to think of it and enter a kind of meditative state and then just to look at the camera. [15:02.8]

The thing is, it’s obviously a professional photo kind of thing that you put on your LinkedIn. Okay so if you want to do a headshot like that, you could throw that into the mix. I wouldn’t lead with that. But what you don’t want to do is just to have obviously staged photos.

Now, what you also don’t want to do are pick-uppey type, gamey type photos, and I see a lot of guys who are coming off really douchey that way and it doesn’t even work really for short-term mating either because women who have any kind of experience around men will see right through it, and these are the ones where maybe you did some preliminary research online, and so you got a photo with somebody’s dog. You got one. You got your obligatory dog photo.

You got your obligatory outdoor-fitness activity, right? Maybe you got a surfing shot or, I don’t know, some kind of like hiking shot. I don’t know. Maybe you got a shirtless archery shot or something like that, right? Your obligatory outdoor-fitness thing and adventure thing. [16:00.0]

Maybe you got your obligatory surrounded-by-other-women, social-proof shot. Then that would be more of a pickup artist gimmick of that social proof, banking off trying to use research from evolutionary psychology.

All of this is just so obvious to anyone who has some experience and is emotionally mature, in other words, someone who would actually succeed in a long-term relationship. If all you’re doing is trying to con naive women to having sex with you, again, you’re optimizing for short-term matings, that kind of thing could work on naive women. You might also attract emotional vampires who are also trying to get validation, and so they see you as the kind of challenging prey because you also are trying to do that validation.

Of course, there are also the status type of photos where you’re posing in front of an expensive car or maybe, I don’t know, some kind of travel photo where you’re kind of showing off a place that you’ve been as a kind of status type of thing, versus an authentic expression of the things that are really important to you. [17:04.4]

A travel photo is a great example of it could go either way, right? If you went to a place that had a lot of meaning for you and is really transformational for you—maybe you had a Machu Picchu shot and it was a really great trip for you or when maybe you got a Siem Reap Angkor Wat shot, the famous temples of Angkor, and that was really transformational for you—you can post that because it means something to you, versus the type of people who, and I know there are actually companies that will give you a green screen and then just Photoshop you into or green-screen you into a travel situation, or people who are showing off their first-class travel photos or whatever. It’s another thing if it actually was really meaningful for you versus you’re just doing this to create an affect, and just realize that people can see why through that. [17:53.3]

Okay, so those are the photos. Try to use authentic photos that really are depicting authentic expressions of your personality, of parts of you that are really important to you. If you’re going to put in an archery shot, it would be best if you were actually really into archery and if you could get a buddy or a professional photographer to take you in really shooting, okay? Those will be great, authentic photos, because what you don’t want is people who are attracted to the try-hard you, women who are attracted to the you that’s trying to put off this air of a persona because you’re too insecure to show the real you.

Same with your bio. You might be tempted to copy and paste the bio. Try to make it authentic—and that would lead right into the second point. Try to put some value into it. Your bio and in terms of your texting, it should be light and fun.

Now, if you aren’t somebody who’s light and fun, right, because you’re going through therapy, you’re going through unearthing trauma or something maybe, or maybe you were just really down, then you ought to address that first before you think you’re going to get success in a relationship. [19:05.5]

It’s important to get enough progress in your therapeutic journey before you meet that woman, because what’ll happen is first impressions are really hard to undo and, if she’s really mature, she might see through your insecurities and your pain and all that, assuming you authentically present your pain that you’re going through and your insecurity and all that. She might see through it, but it’s not going to be very attractive. She’s not going to want to be spending a whole lot of time with you. She might say, if she’s very mature, something like emotionally mature, she might say something like, Get in touch with me when you’re ready for a relationship, that sort of thing, but clearly you’re not.

It might even be better for you to take it really slow with that, if you can imagine it’s nice, and take your time, maybe go through more of the therapeutic approach before you follow up on that and take it very far, because first impressions are really important, or better yet, just spend your time right now really focusing on your therapeutic journey. [20:07.3]

Then when you start to enjoy your life, that would be a great time to then, when you start to really enjoy your life, then start to bring other people into it, because if you’re not enjoying your life, if you’re not happy with yourself and somehow you meet a woman who likes you, then that would say, that would tell us that she is a white nurse. That’s my female term for white knight. She has a fixer. She is coming to you and attracted to your woundedness. This is not a great recipe for a long-term relationship.

Then you shouldn’t expect a woman who has a lot of options and is emotionally healthy and mature to be attracted to somebody, sexually attracted to somebody, who is presenting with a lot of pain and vulnerability, and neediness and insecurity, because why should she? She might feel sorry for you and want to help you and maybe give you a referral to her therapist, right? Maybe introduce you to some of her guy friends or maybe introduce you to some healing events, I don’t know, something like that, but she won’t be sexually attracted to you because you’re not fun. [21:09.6]

When people are going on dates, they’re not going on dates so that they can give therapy to each other. They’re going on dates to have fun, to enjoy themselves, to kick back, to let loose, to forget the worries and stresses of their day jobs. They want to just have fun and have a nice time. That’s the first priority for a date, and then after that, they form an emotional connection and all of that.

But for a lot of guys, I know that light and fun, that’s what they’re looking for completely. They’re looking for it. They’re basically holding their umbilical cords, borrowing an image from Glover who wrote the “Nice Guy” book, and looking to insert that umbilical cord of neediness into a woman, basically “meet my needs for me because my life is horrible. It sucks and I’m miserable, and a woman, but a woman, you, a woman, will complete me. Please complete me, and make me feel happy and whole.” [22:01.8]

I’ve covered this in many other videos. I’ve covered this in the “Magic Fairy Dream Girl” video in the “Man-Up” Series and I also cover this in depth in the “Rock Solid Relationships” series, this type of dynamic of needy guys who are leading with their insecurities and entering the dating scene prematurely.

If light and fun isn’t something that you can enter into, kind of having fun with your life, then you’re going to have a really hard time in the dating world, and it would be more efficient and effective for you, if you can’t be light and fun, to really be more focused on your therapeutic growth.

Now, there are some exceptions. If you understand that as a caveat, okay, you’re not going to be that successful and you still want to go on dates, by all means, go for it. Just don’t expect them to go all that well. They will go better the further along you are in your healing process. But the big part of that is, and Point 2 really is, present value to her in a way that makes sense within the context of what you’re doing, which is the date or the dating context. When you get on Tinder, she’s not looking to be somebody’s therapist or to be somebody’s savior, or to be somebody’s fixer, right? Not if she’s emotionally healthy. [23:16.5]

Do you struggle in your interactions with women or in your intimate relationship? Are fear, shame, or neediness sabotaging your relationships or attractiveness? In my Platinum Partnership Program, you’ll discover how to transform your psychological issues, improve your success with women, and uncover your true self.

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You’ve got it presents some value. Keep it light and fun. People want to have fun. They just want to have fun first, right? Then, as they get to know you and form a connection with you, then you can go deeper. Then you can bring in some of those vulnerabilities and explore that. [24:11.3]

I know that that assumes that you have healed yourself enough that you can come out of your pain for enough hours to have a good time, and if you’re not there yet, get therapy or get all my therapeutic courses. I’ve got a ton of them. I’ve got over 21 courses and I’m making more to help guys with their dating lives, and especially taking the therapeutic route to do that. You can get access to all of them through the “Platinum Partnership” and click the link in the description to learn more.

Okay, so the second point being value, presenting value in your bio. Make her laugh. There’s a lot of ways to do that. Just make sure that it’s accurate to who you are, and the same comes to texting, keeping it light and fun in texting. A lot of guys get serious. They just ask, What’s up? Yo, what are you doing? What are you doing tonight? Just asking questions with no value. You’re not even telling her what you want to do that night, what you’re inviting her to. You have no plans at all. You’re not enticing her to anything. You’re just asking, What are you doing? [25:09.7]

This is the equivalent of in the old days, a pickup line like, “What’s your number?” You just walk up to her, like, What’s your number? like you have a one-track mind, right, and you’re just going for it because you’re not even really attending to her as a human being. You’re not even doing the bare minimum of just presenting what you have in mind. Maybe it’s a fun bar that she would like or even the bare minimum of connection, not even showing her that you’ve read her profile or that you’re thinking about her uniqueness at all. You’re just asking, Yo, what’s up? and you expect to get something out of that. Unless you look like Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling or something, you’re not going to get something out of presenting zero value from a “What’s up?” text.

Just keep it light and fun, and present some value. It’s very simple and there are a lot of good principles for texting that I could present. Don’t ask questions. Give her a fun update on yourself and then follow up from that, and use a lot of humor. [26:03.8]

This is all assuming that you’ve got enough going on in your life that you can draw on. You’ve got enough happiness in your life, fun moments, enjoyable moments, the moments that you’re proud of, the ones that you say to yourself, Wow, this is fun, this is worth sharing, and you’re laughing enough in your life that you can share laughs. I’m going to show you, in the next episode, how to get there, because if you are able to get there, then texting will just be a natural extension of your day-to-day life.

Then you can just keep in mind principles like present some kind of fun value before you go for any kind of ask. You can also just hop on an audio call and transition from a fun text, kind of tweet like. I used to call these ping texts where you can send photos of some cool spot that you found that day and you might just do this once every few days, and you can put it out to the kind of women that you think would enjoy something like that and just have a nice little caption on that to put a smile on her face, and then see who responds and you just respond back to that. [27:02.4]

No gimmick there. It’s just sharing a snippet of your life that you think she’d enjoy and put a smile on her face, and then you follow up, get her on the phone, right? Then, from there, you can just get to know each other and then just say something very simple like, I like talking to you. We should meet up sometime, and then just nailing down a time and a thing to do.

It’s really important that you get to know who she is, what she likes, what she would enjoy, so that you have enough intel to know about her something that she and also that the two of you would enjoy together. You both happen to enjoy this thing, so you think she would enjoy this place and this is a good time for you and it would be a good time for her. Really straightforward, really simple.

If you keep it simple, light and fun as the principles, then you will be able to present yourself authentically and proceed from there and do really well in terms of optimizing for a long-term relationship. So, simple, light and fun. [27:56.8]

The third point is going into the inner game of Instagram and this is extending from the third point in the previous episode on why it’s bad to pimp your profile. Let me get a little bit deeper here. There was a time where actually I started my Instagram—we’ll use me as an example here—way back, jeez, I can’t remember, it must have been 2013, 2014, and I started it to get back at an ex because she was all over Instagram and I refused to go on Instagram as a mature male kind of thing. Then, when we broke up, I thought this was a good way to get this kind of indirect revenge.

I started posting posts and staging posts, kind of inviting girls to be in these posts in ways that I knew would really get at her, maybe things that we said we would do together and we just never got around to it and now I’m doing it with these other girls, and it did it. It worked.

Then I just kept going with that theme of things that would make her jealous. Then I eventually got bored of that because I kind of won, but I still kept at that theme of what things would make girls jealous or would make them envious and want to be part of that lifestyle. [29:06.0]

It ended up being that, in my personal Instagram profile, I was just posting as many of these sort of travel photos that showed off and all of those things that you might have heard as advice of what to do on Instagram, like photos of me with somebody’s baby, photos with me shirtless with a six pack, or photos of me posing with a football on the beach, photos of all kinds. I ran through the whole thing.

Every single variation and iteration of what somebody has proven worked, I would do because I had nothing to lose. I just A/B tested. I mean, there was a time when I was a professional dating coach, and it wasn’t that long ago at that time when I still was one, so I was kind of doing it also for professional testing research purposes, R&D.

I kept it up for a while because, as a default, that was my whole MO. I mean, that’s how I approached and started it. The whole reason I started Instagram was to make other people jealous and envious, and then to play off that to get social proof and to get girls into my lifestyle and to see it like, Oh, I want to be hanging out with this David Tian guy because, look, he’s really living it up and traveling around the world and living the five-star lifestyle and all this. [30:16.1]

And then I grew up. As I grew up, I looked back at these posts, and now I chuckle. Some of them are nice to remember. I got more and more real over time as I did more of my own therapeutic work, and over the years, I tapered off. I eventually stopped posting. I stopped posting on my personal Instagram. I think it was right around the time we got married. It’s like, jeez, how many years now? Five years ago.

I’ve now restarted it, but I suck at it. I think I’ve only posted three times in the past half year, but I restarted it because, in my iCloud, I mistakenly did something where I ended up deleting an entire month’s worth of photos from my iCloud and I’m really pissed because now I don’t have those memories anymore. Luckily, my Instagram had them, right, so I was like, Hey, Instagram is a good way of kind of keeping a photo album going, so I’m going back to it. [31:08.2]

I noticed that the further back that I scroll further down into my Instagram account, the more narcissistic I notice I was, and kind of immature in the way I was posting and the captions I had and all that, and I kind of chuckle because it’s a totally innocent way where I can sense the insecurity in me and all of that and this effect that I was trying to portray, but it was so obvious and I see that. As I became more mature a few years after starting my Instagram profile, I was easily able to spot other guys doing this.

Even before Instagram, it was very common for pickup artists to take a camera, a pocket camera, into the club. Now, these were the days I’d started researching how to attract women in 2004, so these were the days before smartphones. The first iPhone came out in 2007. I remember because when we got the first iPhone before it came out in China where we were, I was just able to get girls off just showing them the iPhone as an opener. [32:06.5]

Anyway, it was the days before any of that, so you kept your little candy phone, your flip phone separate from your actual camera, so you get a nice Sony cam shot kind of camera you slip in your pocket and you keep the flash on, because then you can take photos with attractive women and just have the flash everyone sees that there’s a little spark of interest. Everyone looks and there you are with attractive women. Then you can upload those photos to your Facebook account and show off that, kind of banking off the social-proof thing.

It’s so transparent now that I look back on it and I kind of grimace at the thought that mature women—and I kind of got this from some mature women who saw that there was more to me than what I was presenting and that I was kind of coming out of a kind of desperation—and I look back and I see that these emotionally-mature people, not just women, but men and women who were my age or a little older at that time, or even from some women in their late-twenties and onwards who saw me, and I saw this look in their eyes of like, Oh, David, I wish you could see. [33:16.0]

I think I can sense now that they were saying, I wish you could see that you don’t need to do all of this and you’d still be fun to hang out with, an interesting guy. But I was covering over all these insecurities, insecure that I was a nerd or a geek and that people wouldn’t like me for my interest in jazz or philosophy, or that I had to hide that and be more of a club guy and all of this.

Part of that whole persona of the party guy was all of these types of photos, these variations, permutations, photos that I still see now and on people’s Instagrams that they’re trying to pimp out their profiles doing that, because somewhere in some research somewhere, it said that women respond more to that. [33:56.8]

That’s only true if you’re optimizing for hookups, and because there are naive women who are emotionally immature and there are emotional vampires who are going to prey on guys like that, and they don’t know what’s coming for them. Maybe you’re going to get the better of it because you’re just going to pump it up. I know that’s like the Red Pill thing. If that’s you, then your conscience already seared and you’re already walking down that path of kind of just giving up. You’re just kind of a bad person. I mean, I would say that your behavior is bad.

Now every time you do that, you’re conditioning the lack of integrity in yourself, so don’t be surprised if people who are actually mature enough emotionally for an intimate relationship of unconditional love would steer clear of you because they can spot you from a mile away, and as soon as they land on your profile or your Instagram account, they already can tell, Oh my god, this guy is trying to cover over all these insecurities. Why is he so insecure? Maybe they can tell. Maybe they can just see why he’s insecure. But what it’ll do is it’ll have the opposite effect if what you’re trying to do is find a committed relationship that will lead to a successful intimate, long-term love relationship. [35:11.8]

The inner game of Instagram is this. Instead of making an Instagram account for other people, which is what the rest of the world does, make it for yourself. Make it as a journal for yourself to remember something really good, the highlight of that day, or a really great memory, and it’s for you, and maybe you and your very close friends that you don’t need to front for or pretend that you’re different from and for your closest friends or family. It’s just for you. If you’re going to make an Instagram or any other kinds of social media that you think employers might see, make a separate one, right, or just keep that on LinkedIn and privatize your Instagram. [35:52.2]

But if you’re going to share it on Tinder, what would be great is if you make your Instagram account for you and you link it to your Tinder, because then you’re allowing the women who would actually be good for a real relationship—and they are physically-attractive, relatively young women who are ready, have the capability and are ready and emotionally mature enough to begin an unconditional relationship—and allow them to see that you to have the courage to not front, that you don’t give a damn about what other people think because it’s for you.

The inner game of Instagram is a mature Instagram account is one that is crafted for the person who is the owner of it, not for anyone else, and what that also means if you’re going to publicize it is you want to be careful of what you put on there because it’s going to be public in order for you to link to your Tinder, and that’s just part of the sacrifice that you make as a single person. You’re putting yourself out there. If it’s something that is too vulnerable for you to share with strangers, keep it for another profile or another platform, or just your private account. [37:06.4]

But just realize that the inner game of Instagram, to make it look the right way, to draw in people who are emotionally mature enough for an unconditional love relationship, it’s going to be, ironically, an Instagram account made for you, an audience of one. This is sort of the way that all flow activities are done where you’re unselfconscious about your activity. It’s just for you. You kind of lose yourself in it for you.

That’s what the inner game of Instagram is, where you make an Instagram account for you to encapsulate those memories of the times that you want to remember and commemorate, or that you just think are great and that you want to put out there as sort of representing kind of you, like, this is what I want to share with people—maybe some good advice that you heard that you want to remember, maybe a good time in travel that you had, or maybe some really good friends that you want to kind of thank, so you kind of put them there and your profile and you say great times with so-and-so, and maybe somebody you want to celebrate for their birthday or something and you post some nice thing that you want to say about that person. [38:17.4]

It’s for you, first and foremost. It’s not to show off or to create an affect because, at the moment you do that, you’re already turning off the very people who would be good for a long-term relationship.

Okay, so that’s the inner game of Instagram. The three points are authenticity, especially in your photos and bio; presenting value in terms of light and fun and keeping it simple in terms of your texting and your bio; and, finally, really taking seriously the inner game of Instagram where you’re creating it for an audience of one, and, ironically, that will make it the right type of profile to draw into your life the woman or women who are ready for an unconditional love relationship. [39:00.0]

All right, as a quick story to illustrate this is my client, Paul. He started off kind of with the wrong advice that he found online and, before he found me, he went and got the photoshoot for his Instagram and all of that and his Tinder profile, and he did get some dates. Because he was a successful professional, he got women who were kind of gold-digging and just interested in just kind of using him for free meals and some gifts and free passes and that sort of thing.

At the time, he thought that’s all women were and he became a kind of Machiavellian because he decided that there was nothing out there for him in terms of love. He came to me to get better at it because he wasn’t even very good at it, because as soon as they met him and they kind of pulled him in as a gold-digger, they realized they didn’t need to sleep with him. They just need to kind of dangle this carrot of sleeping with him and he will continue to jump through hoops for them to do things for them, because what he was after was he eventually wanted just sex because he thought that’s all he could get. [40:05.3]

When they realized that about him, when they sniffed that out about him, they kind of dragged him along, because it’s kind of like if he slept with them, it’s kind of like a mark. If they slept with him, then he would be done with them and they knew that, so they dragged it out to get more free dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants and whatnot.

He had this bitter attitude towards women. He just wanted to get better at that and somehow he ended up contacting me. I looked at what he was doing in his chats and his copy and paste from all these different e-books that he had bought and studied, and the people that he had hired, in fact, to take over his Instagram profile for a little while and his Tinder profile, and the people that he had paid to pimp out his Instagram profile and all of that.

It’s just so narcissistic. It was just obvious this guy was really, on the surface, he looked like he was really into himself because he was posting stuff showing off his status and his material wealth, but he was also a very posey. It was just kind of fake smile all the way through or no smiles all the way through, lots of photos with sunglasses and that sort of thing, trying to show off and be cool, but he was also try-hard. [41:09.7]

When I told him, “Just be yourself. Let’s find out what you’re really about,” it turned out he had posted nothing about what he was really about. He loved the food of his ethnic background and he didn’t post any of that and he was really into it, and on all these dates, he never took them to the restaurants that he really enjoyed. We started with just, okay, what kind of places do you really like to go? And let’s start posting some of that.

Then what kind of activities do you really like to do? It turned out he never really went to any of these places that he pretended to go and he didn’t enjoy those. He just got the photo and got out of there. In fact, he enjoyed a whole other set of physical activities that also would have made great photo ops, but he didn’t tell. I don’t know, maybe he didn’t tell the consultants or whatever, or they didn’t put it out there. It turned out that he really liked scuba diving and it turned out he really loved rock-climbing, and he actually didn’t post a lot of these photos. [42:05.4]

These more material women that he was dating as a result of the consulting were these materialistic kind of princesses, and they were all dainty and none of them wanted to do any physical activity—they were scared of the water. They didn’t want to chip their nails on the mountains or even on the climbing walls or whatever—so he never took them to any of that and he thought this was just guy stuff. It was ridiculous and this was his passion.

Now it might seem obvious to anyone who stops to think about it that those would make great photos and a great profile, but it didn’t occur to him because he was so insecure and that insecurity fueled a strategy that ended up being optimized for short-term mating because that’s what was out there in the internet. It made it worse because then it confirmed his greatest fear that no one would like him for him and that it just attracted emotional vampires who weren’t a good match, and so that was just confirming what he believed was a false thing and was not for him. [43:02.5]

In fact, when he finally was able to just put himself out there for him, he was able to find the right women for him and now he’s in a relationship, and he’s happy and that’s more important. We’ll see where it goes for him, but that’s how we can go, when you realize that the thing that you’re insecure about might end up being the very thing that’s attractive if you’ve gone down the road of your own therapeutic healing.

Okay, in the next episode, I’m going to be getting into how you can enter into that space of mental space and emotional space of being light and fun, and actually being able to create an Instagram account for you and have it be attractive, because it all depends on the root.

How do you get to the root of the matter instead of getting obsessed with the branches and the fruits? How do you get to the root where the real rot is and heal that, so that then everything else will go naturally and you can just be effortless in your texting and you won’t have to feel that texting anxiety anymore, and instead can just be an authentic expression of you? [44:09.2]

Come to the next episode because that’s what I’ll be going through. If you liked this one, please share it with anyone that you think would benefit from it and give us a rating on Apple Podcasts. Thank you so much for the feedback on all of the previous episodes and I’d love to hear what you thought about this one.

See you in the next episode. David Tian, signing out .

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