Dear Cory: My Beta Male Friend Can’t Get a Girlfriend!
Your friend “Russ” sounds like a typical “beta male” which, according to UrbanDictionary.com, is an “unremarkable, careful man who avoids risks and confrontation” and who lacks the “physical presence, charisma, and confidence” of his more “alpha” (i.e.: masculine) counterparts, and I have to break it to you—his status as such is not something that can be “changed” overnight, or even over the course of a few months. What we’re talking about here, really, is taking an awkward, introverted, charisma-vacuum and turning him into a confident, extroverted, “man about town”, and that kind of change is going to require not only a change in his behavior (and his wardrobe), but a major change in his mindset as well.
Look, I’m a man, and even I can figure out why a woman would not want to date, let alone be with, someone who is “sweet, quiet, and reserved” all the time. I think it’s great that “Russ” is goofy (because both women and men alike love people who can make them laugh), but the “sweet, quiet, and reserved” act, in the absence of other “balancing” traits such as the aforementioned confidence and charisma, is always going to a deal-breaker for any self-respecting woman, because women, in general, don’t like so-called “nice guys” or, as you put it, “brother figures”; they like what some people would call “bad boys with hearts of gold”, or what I like to call “charming assholes”—assertive (not necessarily aggressive) “go-getter” types who know what they want, don’t seek the approval of others, and don’t take shit from anybody.
The reason women don’t like “nice guys” is because “nice guys” are, simply put, too nice. Take one of my old “friends”, Greg, for example. He very much fits the mold of the stereotypical “nice guy”, and the last time I remember him telling me about a woman he had over to his house for dinner, he’d told me about how he had, at the end of the night, asked the woman if she would be his girlfriend. I said, “What are you? 12?” because what self-respecting, confident, grown man asks a woman to be his girlfriend? I went on, jokingly, “Why didn’t you just write her a note that says ‘Do you like me? Check yes or no’ with two little check boxes for her to choose from?” That is what I call submissive, puppy dog behavior, and I think I can speak for women when I say that it is a huge turn-off for most women (and it doesn’t do anything for me, either, in terms of helping me develop respect for a guy).
If you really want to help your friend, the best thing you can do is send him in the direction of some positive, “alpha male” role models who can teach him about developing confidence, an engaging personality, and general social skills, but because I realize it may be difficult (or impossible) for him to find these in “real life” (due to his introversion), I suggest you send him to the RSDTyler YouTube Channel. While on its face the channel may seem to just be about teaching men to be “pickup artists”, what it’s really about is teaching men how to be the kind of men that self-respecting women would actually like to date which, unfortunately, is something you cannot, as a woman, help him with, at least not anywhere near as much as his male brethren could.
Above and beyond that, understand that you have no ability to “change” your friend (or anyone, for that matter), so even if you wanted to (which you clearly do, for your own personal reasons, which you have not thus far divulged), you can’t. The only person that can change “Russ” is “Russ”, and any such change must necessarily begin with him making a decision (as opposed to you making one for him) to change. And that’s where things could be tough, because we are clearly dealing with a grown man here (despite the fact that he doesn’t act like much of a man at all, if you ask me), in his mid-20’s, who has already solidified his personality to a great extent, and so the only thing that is really going to spur him to change is massive pain.
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One of my favorite success coaches/motivational speakers of all-time, Tony Robbins, has said (and he’s just paraphrasing men who came before him when he’s said this) that a person will not change until the pain of not changing becomes worse than the pain of changing. Let me say that again:
A person will not change until the pain of not changing becomes worse than the pain of changing.
What this means is that “Russ” is not going to change, or make a decision that changing is even in his best interest, until the pain of his current life/situation/circumstances becomes so unbearably painful that he feels as though he has no other choice but to change. And I’m sorry, my friend, but you are not capable of making him feel that kind of pain.
That kind of pain—the kind that keeps men up at night, staring at the ceiling for hours—can only be brought on, in my experience, by massive, heart-wrenching failure. And apparently, “Russ” hasn’t experienced that level of failure yet, with women or otherwise, because had he done so, he’d probably have already found a YouTube channel like RSDTyler, or some books or online articles on the same subjects that RSDTyler routinely covers. The fact that you and not “Russ” are the one who has written this letter to me only provides further confirmation to me of the fact that, in terms of his feeling enough pain to necessitate a change in his behavior, he’s “not there yet”.
Now, what I am going to tell you next may be a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s true: Sometimes to help people you have to hurt them (and when I say “them”, in this case I am obviously referring to “Russ”). This doesn’t mean that you need to personally inflict pain or injury, mental, physical, or otherwise, upon your friend, or that you should look for ways to do so; what it means is that you need to let him hurt himself, or let him continue to feel the pain that his own behavior has been bringing and continues to bring upon him, with the goal being to enable him to actually feel the requisite amount of pain that he needs to feel to prompt him to change himself.
I know this is hard for you to hear, because you’re obviously good friend, and you just want to help, but you can’t help “Russ”—he has to help himself. All you can do is influence him, or give him a push in what you believe to be the “right direction” (such as with the RSDTyler videos I mentioned), but remember: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, so don’t go into this thinking that just because you put a big, steaming plate of grade-A masculinity on a silver platter before him that’s he’s going to eat it. Only “Russ” can decide what, ultimately, is best for “Russ”, and all you can do, really, is sit back and watch and hope he makes the “right decision”.
As for “Russ” not liking to drink, dance or let loose, I don’t necessarily see a reason for him to change that, because I happen to be quite an “alpha” individual and I don’t drink much these days, dance much (at least not when others are watching) or, as you put it, “let loose” (which I assume means “party”), as I got most of my loose-letting out of my system in my mid to late 20’s. And when it comes to his dating profiles being “brutally unappealing”, that is an area where you, as a woman, could actually help him, by sitting him down and going through it with him, and being brutally honest with him about just how brutally unappealing it really is, and about what he can do to fix it. And if he’s not open to taking your advice on that matter, then you can always, as with my RSDTyler recommendation, direct him to some books or blogs (of which there are many) on the topic of online dating and dating profile design.
Lastly—and this is more to you than to “Russ”—nobody, including “Russ”, “needs” to do anything, least of all things that other people, such as yourself, believe he “needs” to do. What “Russ” “needs” to do is whatever he feels is best for him. His job, and that of others, is not to make you (or anyone else) happy—it is to make himself happy, and the best way for him to do that is not by doing whatever it is that others feel he “needs” to do, but rather whatever it is that personally makes him happy. If he is happy with his beta male existence, then leave him to it, and stop trying to force your ideals upon him. But on the other hand, if he is quite unhappy with the way his life’s been going, then by all means, feel free to attempt to influence him by presenting him with your point-of-view and advice (if he asks for it), but whatever you do, don’t you ever, and I mean ever, try to change him into something that he’s not or, worse, something that you want him to be, for your own personal benefit. It won’t work, it can’t work, and he will resent you for it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday, and when the proverbial chickens finally “come home to roost”, you may find yourself calling “Russ” an ex-friend, rather than a friend.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here today! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
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