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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.07 – Should I “Work On Myself” Before Improving My Dating Life?

Should I Work On Myself Before Relationship

  • David Tian Ph.D. explains says that when you improve one main area of your life, your social life and your dating life will also improve.

  • David Tian Ph.D. tells men who are improving their social and dating life, to not do it to impress a girl.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. asks men to figure out what they stand for, what gives them meaning and purpose in life, and what they’re passionate about.

In this episode, we talk about whether you should become your ideal self before you improve your dating life.

[Intro music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Fade music]

All right! Welcome to Man Up, episode 7. In this one we’re answering Kenneth’s question. Ken asks, “Hi David, is it important to be the ideal guy who I want to be before I engage in improving my social life? Because I think that’s important before I engage in dating because I feel that I’m doing the things that I don’t want just to impress a girl and I don’t want that.

The whole purpose of relationships, for me, is to be happy and spend time together with the person I like. Putting lots of effort just to impress a girl, for me, is just tiring and senseless. Is there a way fast to be the person I want to be and to be with the girl who I want? I don’t want to spend decades working to be the person I want to be just to be with a girl I want but I’m willing to invest my time and effort into it. Thanks.”

Okay, wonderful, that was a long question. I’m glad I got to the end of that because that last sentence tells me the context for this. So the last sentence is, “I don’t want to spend decades working to be the person I want to be just to be with a girl I want.”

Okay, so if becoming the ideal guy means for you, Kenneth, that you’ve got to spend decades working on it, before you work on your social life, then heck no! Don’t put off your love life, social life or happiness for decades just because you want to become this ideal guy you’re talking about.

I also question this view of your ideal guy; does your ideal guy have no social life? So it doesn’t even make sense. Who wants the ideal guy who doesn’t have a social life? So obviously if you’re becoming your ideal guy, I’m assuming your ideal guy has a social life, so that would include improving your social life along with it, along with everything.

What’s interesting is as you improve one area of your life, one main area of your life – like, let’s say you improve your health or your fitness, or your career or you find more purpose in your day-to-day work – then your social life and your dating life will also improve. So do it all, together, and you’ll see that they all support each other in that sense.

Now there’s some other things in this question that were interesting, that were obviously related. He said that, “Because I think that it’s important before I engage in dating, I don’t want to do things just to impress a girl.” He’s going on and says this again, “Just doing things just to impress a girl is tiring and senseless.”

Improving your social life and dating life, this is how you do it: you don’t do it to impress a girl. That’s never, ever the way it’s done. Almost all the material you’ll find from pickup artists and PUAs and generic dating advice online are going to be along those lines of how do you impress a girl, how do you talk to a girl, how do you get her to like you and all that.

Most of the time, the advice there is about how do you – in the moment – how do you become impressive to most women, which is like, again, social value. These guys are all trying to get you to raise your social value. Who gives a fuck about social value? Reject social value.

If your society values killing certain people group, are you going to value that too? So don’t go blindly into it and go above all that. Understand why you’re here on this earth and what gives your life meaning. Does getting women give your life meaning?

If a hundred girls like you, does that make you feel important? If you get a hot girlfriend, does that mean you’re better somehow as a man? That’s ridiculous! So instead, figure out what your meaning is, your purpose is, you’re on the right track I think.

Maybe you’ve heard some of these teachings about working on yourself, in the sense of becoming your ideal person. But you’ve misinterpreted it or you’ve misunderstood it as being, as bracketing your entire social life and dating life and then doing all these other ideal person stuff.

That doesn’t work, you won’t be happy.

Instead what you should do is figure out what you stand for, what really gives you meaning and purpose in life, what you’re passionate about. Start doing those things and doing a lot less of the things that you’re not passionate about, that are not in-line with your purpose, that are draining you, and instead do things that are energizing you.

And then go out and meet people at the same time. Meet friends, make more friends and have an abundance socially and that would give you a much better base from which to meet women, as well as having just knowing that you’re not alone even if you don’t have a girlfriend.

And then when you meet a girl, never, ever try to impress her. Never, ever try to impress a girl. In fact, even when you’re meeting friends, never, ever try to impress a friend or somebody that you’re trying to make into a friend. Just stop trying to impress people.

First of all, you can’t come across well if you’re trying to impress people. If your goal, your motivation, if your intention is to impress that person, it’s not going to happen. If, however, you’re solid in who you are, you say what you believe, you are honest and sincere and vulnerable, and you’re courageous, and you just are you and say what you believe then you are going to be attractive.

You’re going to be respected, then you’re going to be somebody worthy. Now people may reject you because you’re not pandering to society’s bullshit superficial values, then screw them, because you have decided what your values are.

Now if you happen to have the same superficial, materialistic values as society’s values then you’ll probably do pretty well, you’d get along with a lot of people. You just won’t get along with me, I won’t get along with you.

I’ll be like If I meet you at a party, I’ll be like, “Oh, nice to meet you, nice to meet you.” You know just kind of see you later and move on. That’s how I handle it when there’s a value clash. It’s just going around and meeting people that you want to spend time with. Have standards for your life, figure out what she’s all about – who are you, tell me about you – when you find out interesting things about her, say, “That’s really interesting.” and get to know her better.

If you find out things that you don’t like – maybe she’s cheating on her boyfriend right there and then with you – then just – it’s your moral decision, it’s on your conscience. Not to say I haven’t made those wrong decisions there but you make that choice yourself, within your value system. Don’t just give up all of your own self-esteem just to get a girl. That’s where this whole impressing a girl thing is coming from.

Just interact with people, talk to them just like you would do with your friends, if you get along get their contact info and keep in touch. And then escalate it, spend more time with them and let your intentions be known more clearly.

We cover this, these are just basic conversation skills, just in case you don’t know how to do that. When you see or hear something that you enjoy or like from this person, that you appreciate or respect from this person, just tell them that. Like just say, “Oh wow! I really like that, you’re so cultured.” Or, “I really like that you like opera. I can’t believe you watch Puccini blah, blah, blah as well. Man, it’s so rare to see.” Something like that, that’s an easy example of finding commonalities or something that you appreciate in somebody and then just telling them, I like that about you.

When you want to take it to a more personal level or more out of the platonic, you can just say – you can start with – I’m betting a sexual compliment or a more direct compliment. Like, “Not only are you pretty or not only do you have a pretty head but you’ve got these cultural interests, so interesting.” Something like that. Just put the subtle, direct compliment before the bigger one or the safer one. If you just want to – the more manly thing, more courageous thing – is just to be direct with what you think. You just do that; just tell her directly what you think.

There’s a whole program I’ve created on those in the past – of how to do that, exactly how to do that. You can go to our websites and see that. Or you could just enter or join the Facebook group here, click on the link, join the Facebook group. Put your comments in there or ask me your questions there. You can also ask them under the video but I encourage you to join the private Facebook group. So do that and keep in touch with me there. You can ask more of these sorts of questions on there, as well. Join the Man Up Movement, click on that link and I’ll see you in the next episode.