There is a school of thought out there that implies true Alpha Maledom means being entirely self-serving. “Don’t do nothin’ for nobody,” they say. “That shit is beta. A true alpha doesn’t bother. If he wants to do someone a favor, he has a follower do it for him to demonstrate higher value. He’s already the CEO of Favors, Inc dontcha know. He’s so alpha that if his phone was dead, he’d just direct a nearby platoon of bikini models (using hand-and-arm signals and popup flares, obviously) to carry out a better favor than anyone’s ever asked for. Afterwards, one-in-ten of the victorious bikini models would be rewarded by the opportunity to vigorously fellate the True Alpha.”
There’s a bit of exaggeration there, but not much…
Before I start running my piehole, I should disclose the following:
I care if I’m happy. I worry about making the most of things, and achieving my goals. I have my own goofy code of honor I abide by. Some folks think I’m nice. Some think I’m a dick. A few people hate my guts, and a few would donate endocrine organs if I needed them. Most people on this planet don’t give a shit.
Is that Alpha? Beta?
Is the answer useful enough to justify your skull-sweat?
Probably not. Don’t pull a Donald Rumsfeld and throw the baby out with the Ba’ath water, though. The alpha/beta/sigma/omega labels are useful conversational shorthand. Using those terms as frameworks to hang ideas is beneficial. There are limits, though. Asking “What would a True Alpha do?” all the damn time is like asking a painting for advice.
With that bit of soapboxery in mind:
What is your decision process when somebody asks you for a favor?
For this thought experiment, imagine the favor would occupy four hours on your day off, and cost you an hour’s sleep.
Who did you imagine asking? What gut reaction do you have? How do you hope to interact with that person, one week after the favor?
Who do you wish would ask you for a favor? What is your desired outcome with them?
Get brutally honest with yourself. Channel your inner Spock. Run your mental tongue over the notional teeth of your past experiences, and ask:
Is your hopeful interaction status post favor realistic?
Is it really? Be alert for wishful thinking and self-deception.
The answer to this question is a useful way to judge the distance between who you are and who you want to be.
If you’ve pondered this stuff for a few minutes and find yourself smiling and joyful, then the rest of this missive isn’t for you. You’ve got it down pat, and could probably teach me a thing or two. How about spending your time helping me get the rest of this fucking crown molding up instead? It’s kicking my ass. Feel like swinging by Saturday afternoon? I’ve got plenty of beer, a miter saw, and an endless stream of expletives for your entertainment. Bring me a bottle of half-decent Scotch and I’ll teach you how to do Mozambique drills with my air nailer.
For the rest of us non-carpentry motherfuckers:
Favors can be tricky things. Each favor asked of or received is an entry on the ledger of one’s self esteem. A few mutual favors can move an acquaintance toward friendship. Unrequited/unacknowledged favors can make enemies, even of family.
If you’re a dude who’s just feeling that Red Pill slide down your throat, here are some things about favors and women you should consider:
1. Do not expect a girl you like to respond like one of your buddies when you do her a favor.
This is a big sticking point for a lot of guys. I’ve heard explanations ranging from “Women have no honor” to “women are not intelligent enough to be autonomous”. You could earn a fistful of PhDs coming up with reasons. It’s fun to argue about, but it’s not always practical, is it?
Sometimes, feelings of betrayal for unrequited favors metastasize into contempt for women in general. I get it – I’ve been there. One thing that helped me manage my contempt was a little perspective:
I’ve got a few friends I will drop whatever I’m doing to help. When they say,”Dude, I’m in a fucking jam here. Any way you could go and….” my priorities just got rearranged. It’s “cost” me in ways both large and small. I’ve been late to work and flaked on girls I was dating for them. I’ve lent prized possessions to them – and given forgiveness when they broke something. I quit a job I liked and moved to a strange city when one friend needed some help. They ask (and receive) things from me that would get a girl I’ve known for 6 months laughed right the fuck out of my life.
Because they do the same dumb shit for me. I’ve punched drunken, angry holes in their walls. They’ve fed me when I was broke. They’ve helped me move. I bent an ambulance doing something dumb, called my friend at 0200, and he fixed it before my boss found out. One guy kept me from bleeding to death on an Interesting Day several years ago.
See the context? Those friendships work because we want the same things from each other. I have their back because they have mine. I sacrifice for them because they sacrifice for me – we’re trading with the same currency. Apples to apples, etc ad nauseum.
Doing stuff like that for a woman you want to have sex with is barking up the wrong tree. Sure, after a few years of building trust and looking out for each other she might lend you $1,000 or bail you out of jail. She might be someone you can rely on in a pinch. She might even marry you.
Her wanting to fuck you is an entirely different question. Don’t attempt to purchase attraction with a fistfull of reliability.
2. Beauty and Habituation
Have you ever talked to a young woman on the phone, sight unseen, and noticed a subtle entitlement, an undercurrent of puzzlement and irritation if you don’t comply with her wishes immediately? Does she get miffed if you say something like,”Sorry, I’m not going to do that because it’s against the rules?”
You can see it on forums and blog comments, too. Some woman will say something you’d expect to hear from an enthusiastic paint-huffer, and be terribly hurt when people tell her to lay off the gold Krylon.
2:1 odds that girl is physically attractive. Males have been bending the rules and giving her special treatment/attention her entire adult life. It’s as natural to her as gravity. Over the phone, though, she’s a mere voice. On the internet, she is just her ideas and grammar. Stripped of her loyal sidekicks Pretty Face and Smokin’ Body, the world is a different, harsher place.
This isn’t always obvious. Girls Who Think figure it out quickly and compensate. Dumb girls, or those who dislike being without their Loyal Sidekicks stick to Facebook. Pay attention and you’ll sometimes sense it though, like a thin haze of smoke long after the fire’s been extiguished.
Why is this important?
Because a non-thinking hot girl won’t even notice your effort if that’s all you’re bringing to the table. In her world, what goes up comes down, water is wet, and men pay attention to her. The currency of favors more inflated than Weimar Republic Papiermarks.
A thinking hot girl has seen your brand of bullshit so many times she knows what you’ll do next before you do. There are five other interchangeable guys pining for her right now, offering the same. boring. crap.
3. Treating people how you’d like to be treated only matters to you.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have personal ethics, or strive to be honorable. You’ve got to live with yourself, after all. Those quiet, solitary moments before sleep will always be there. Life is a lot nicer when you don’t dread that time.
You’re not the Arbiter of All That’s Right And Good.
You might think it’s a nice gesture to clean my ambulance – you know, organize everything and get it all purdy ‘n stuff. Gosh, you think, I wish someone would do something like that for me at my job! It’d be great to show up after lunch and have everything A J Squared Away!
So you slave away, imagining how happy ol’ Dogsquat’s gonna be when he gets back on the truck…
Do it once, and I’ll tell you politely to never touch my shit again, ever. Do it twice, and I will consider you to be potentially lethal to my patients, dangerous to me, arrogant, immoral, stupid, and a tragic waste of good carbon. I’ll treat you that way from then on.
Why? You’re just doing me a favor – treating me how you’d like to be treated!
But it’s not the way I want to be treated. I have my own system. I sometimes need stuff in a hurry. I run out of something, people could die. If you rearranged the drugs in my drug box to your satisfaction I couldn’t find things by touch anymore. I could make a lethal mistake, or waste a bunch of time, or…you get the point.
You’d be an asshole.
Don’t be an asshole.
Treat people how they want to be treated.
So, when should you do a girl a favor?
Easy – whenever you want to. Do it when you like the work, or want something to do, or want to spend time with her, or see her smile. I do favors for people all the time – it’s fun to show off a bit (with panache and class, of course) and I like making people feel good. I like teaching, and seeing people learn.
If you’re doing favors and hating it, or hoping it will change her in some way – knock that shit off. Gratitude in that situation has a half-life shorter than most transuranic elements.
Smile politely and say,”No.”
Lots of times, the aftermath of that little statement is more fun than hours of toil, anyway.
Try it sometime.