Thursday, December 10, 2009

Inner Game Traits: Indifference

In response to my last blog, Thoughts On Inner Game, one commenter remarked that even though it might be useful for me to integrate the other six main fundamentals of game into my life, that perhaps, since I am a high-quality guy, indifference would not be a trait worth cultivating. A year ago, I might have agreed with him. However, I think the reason he doesn't think indifference would serve me well is not that he misunderstands me or my aims, but simply that he misunderstands the concept of the form of indifference being advocated by proponents of Game.

Admittedly, if pure indifference were being set forth as an ideal for men to aspire to, I would probably oppose it. But, what is being postulated is not a pure form of indifference or apathy; instead, it is a selective indifference with a focus on long-term consequences and meaning rather than short-term feelings and experiences. It is a selective indifference that results in greater emotional stability and a groundedness that serves as an effective foundation for rational decision-making, even in the midst of difficult situations or transitory emotional turbulence.

As such, the quality of selective indifference primarily emphasizes two things. First, selective indifference is a general indifference towards any particular girl or relationship. Secondly, selective indifference is a general indifference towards a girl's present emotional state. This means that sometimes you can allow yourself to care about her emotional state or the status of your relationship with her, but that such considerations should be the exception, rather than the rule. Next, I will expand on each type of indifference and explain the value of selective indifference in boosting male attractiveness.

The first type of selective indifference that is crucial is a general indifference towards any particular girl or relationship. It doesn't matter whether you're meeting a new girl, in a long-term relationship or married, it is crucial to have a perspective that is bigger than the relationship. Practically, this means a couple of different things. Above all, it means that your life is bigger than her. You don't need her in you life since you already live a full, fun and independent life. If she breaks up with you or divorces you tomorrow, your life will not be shattered since you have your own friends, your own interests, your own values, your own life goals, your own spiritual foundation and your own hobbies. A woman never wants to be the center of man's life. She wants to join him, get wrapped up in his world and accompany him on his journey through life. She wants to be part of his life; she doesn't want to be his life.

Additionally, selective indifference towards a particular girl or relationship means that not only do you have a life that is much bigger than her, you also are not especially concerned with losing her. Since you are a high-quality man, you are attractive to many women, and if she decides to be foolish enough to end the relationship, it isn't a big deal, because you can easily find a better woman who wants to be with you. Since you don't need her for your life to have meaning, and you don't need her to have relational success, you aren't dependent on her in any way. I would also like to point out that being indifferent to losing her is not the same as being indifferent to having her in your life. While you are happy and thankful that she is in your life, you are not fearful of losing her. While you enjoy her presence, you also aren't bothered, bored or unhappy when she isn't with you. This sort of indifference synergizes with the traits of independence and confidence. The fact that you don't need her sets up a framework for gratitude. If she is enhancing your life, then you will feel thankful and glad. If she is bringing you down, then you can simply end the relationship or spend more time doing your own thing until she fixes her behavior. The confidence that you exude from this sort of indifference makes you irresistible, and reminds her of what an exceptional and strong guy you are.

The second type of selective indifference that is crucial is a general indifference towards a girl's emotional state. While females primarily view the world and live their lives through emotional lenses, the male nature is radically different. Women tend to confuse their present emotional state with truth. When she doesn't feel loved, she completely believes that you don't love her. When she doesn't feel heard, then she believes that you're not listening. Whatever she feels, she views as truth. Men, typically, are not as emotion-centric. While we definitely feel emotions and make decisions based on emotions, men are always cognizant of the fact that life is bigger than emotions, and that actions are more important than feelings. If this fundamental difference between the male and female perspectives on life is not understood by both men and women, then conflict and communication problems are certain to arise. Alternately, if this difference is minimized by men becoming more feminized and emotion-centric, men lose the vital aspects of masculinity that women crave. A woman subconsciously longs for man who is in touch with his emotions, but who is also emotionally stable. A man who is completely out of touch with his emotions is inhuman, and therefore incapable of emotional connection, which women need. However, when a man is both in touch with his emotions and also in control of them, he possesses the inner strength necessary to stabilize her emotions and comfort her when she needs that. She knows that nothing she feels will be too much for him to handle. No matter what she is going through, he is capable of providing emotional solace since she knows that he isn't afraid of her feelings, won't be manipulated by her emotions, and won't lash out at her for expressing her emotions. That masculine emotional stability is something that women long for and need in a man. He must be able to be an emotional leader in the relationship.

However, selective indifference towards a girl's emotional state isn't just for her benefit. It's also crucial, as a man, to actually have complete emotional independence. To the degree that a man has control over himself, he also has influence over others and impact on the circumstances in his life. If your happiness is dependent on how your girl is feeling, then you are in for a wild ride. Girls' feelings change all the time, and you won't be able to be happy when she's tired, in a bad mood, upset about something, or PMSing. To give someone else so much control over your happiness is a certain recipe for disaster. Additionally, being in fear of a girl's emotional reaction will cause you to act in ways that are fear-based, apologetic and submissive. You can hardly be a leader worth following if you are constantly concerned with the possibility of your thoughts, actions or decisions upsetting her. Either you end up not doing things that would upset her, and lose an integral part of yourself in the process, or you adopt a submissive and groveling posture when she is upset by something you've done, which will cause her to lose respect for you. Internal emotional stability is a necessary trait for any man who wishes to attract a high-quality woman and build a solid relationship. Dave In Hawaii has written a brilliant post on the subject of relationship dynamics, and how it is vital for a man to establish his own emotional frame and not be subject to the capricious nature of the female emotional roller-coaster ride. This second type of selective indifference synergizes well with both calmness and assertiveness.

I believe that these two types of selective indifference and two aspects of each are valuable traits for any man to incorporate into his life. While a man is certainly free to concern himself with the present status of a relationship or with a woman's emotional state, the typically stance he should adopt towards both is one of indifference. Having a well-rounded life with numerous central pillars ensures that nothing major will collapse, even if a relationship with a particular girl ends. Women are attracted to men who have full, purposeful and connected lives. Having confidence in one's own relational skills and ability to attract and sustain quality relationships is another foundational aspect of independence. The confidence and security that a man has in both of these areas of life are very attractive to a woman, since she wants to be with someone who lives well and who doesn't depend on her for strength or security--she wants to look to him to provide those things. Emotional stability and groundedness are vital for a man to make good decisions and be a strong leader. A woman will always feel safe and emotionally cared for if she knows that her man will be completely unfazed by her emotional state. Additionally, for a man to be himself, he must take ownership of his thoughts, opinions, values, beliefs and actions. He should always have a mindset that ensures he is living his best life at all times, and never waver or buckle under social pressure, stress or fear. A woman will have great respect for a man who is confident, bold and unapologetic about the way he lives. She will rightly view him as a strong leader, and will feel confident that she can follow his lead and trust his instincts.

As you can see, selective indifference, properly understood, is an invaluable trait for any man to possess. The direct benefits to a man's life are both numerous and extensive. Additionally, being more attractive to women is an indirect benefit of living the kind of life that gives you confidence, emotional stability, assertiveness and security, which are all necessary to adopt a true posture of healthy selective indifference. Because of your lack of neediness, you are in a position to attract a high-quality woman and enjoy her, without becoming dependent on her. Though indifference is an easily misunderstood trait, when properly understood, it is clearly a valuable and indispensible one for all men to strive for. It is a crucial part of inner game.


  1. Most excellent. What you've described is very like the quality the Bowenian school of family therapy calls "differentiation", which brings you right back to Ferdinand Bardamu's original post.

    "[A man] completely out of touch with his emotions is inhuman, and therefore incapable of emotional connection"

    I would only add to this that no man gets "out of touch" with his emotions in a passive way. Instead, he must actively hide them. This is a way of handling anxiety.

    1. If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

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  2. Excellent post, and in many ways, you've gone into much further depth as to what I was trying to get across with my post that you linked to.

    One thing I've noticed once I incorporated this indifference to her emotional roller coaster (on both ends of the spectrum I might add...not just in the face of anger or sadness, but also her extreme emotions of happiness and excitement), on several occasions she's asked me why I seemed to not "care" or if I was as happy as she was.

    Than I answer: "OF COURSE I CARE" (that part said with the condescending tone of a Father explaining something to his bratty daughter...reframing the conversation)...I'm a man, and you are a woman. We may feel the same things, but we express them in different ways. Just because I'm not emoting like you doesn't mean I'm not as happy or excited as you are...we experience the same emotion, but express it differently."

    After a few conversations like this, I think the overall idea has actually sunk into her consciousness. I no longer get those "You never care!" or "I feel like you don't care" type of accusations from her.

  3. Indifference is a slippery slope. It is one of the most dangerous and most difficult skills to master. I am less afraid of lions, snakes, dark alleys, and car crashes than I am of indifference.

  4. Great post. Everything you say is true, especially being unphased by her emotional storms. However, I think there are some drawbacks you have not considered.

    The great enemy of indifference in practical application is that many a girl thrives on a man's passion, many a girl "wants him if he wants her", and many a relationship with a flaky or emotionally damaged but otherwise worthy girl has been salvaged by the man simply refusing to let go.

    The cultivated attitude of indifference can lead to a man letting go TOO easily, and frankly, many women are attracted to the strength of a man's desire.

    For example, a girl might find herself flirting with other men, perhaps being seduced into a relationship by one of them. An attitude of indifference might lead to you letting her go, since after all, you are just fine without her, there are other fish in the sea, etc.

    However, allowing your passion and attachment to rule, you might just go punch the guy in the face, force her to delete his number, and prohibit her from seeing him again. Such a display of dominance and attachment might be just what she needs to commit to you.

    On a personal note, such a scenario is very close to describing how I acquired my wife. Although in my case, I was the late-comer, with 2 or 3 other men "indifferently" gaming her along when I met her. You better believe a couple of them started trying to put a lot more effort into her once they realized they were losing her, but it was too late. Earlier in life, I had made the opposite mistake, losing good women because of my indifference and my failure to be dominant.

    Anyway, food for thought.

  5. "selective indifference" describes an adult with healthy boundaries and emotional stability, but I don't think indifference is the word to use.
    If you changed the wording this advice would be applicable for both genders.
    Also, a quality person who is in touch & in control with their emotions should find/expect the same of the other person. Weed out the unstable ones. Create a positive mantra to maintain your inner strength on a daily basis. Inner strength is attractive to everyone, so is being humble and genuine. There's a world full of people that don't care about you or me, why on earth would I want to be in a relationship with someone who is indifferent towards me? I'm looking for my other half, a real connection. You have to put yourself out there to be able to make sincere & lasting connections with people.

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