How to Test-Drive Friends and Irritate People

190 Comments

freakout2.jpg

Sometimes you need to make friends and influence people. Other times, you should just test drive them and push their buttons.

The art of irritation can, in fact, be just as valuable as the art of persuasion. How so? Let’s start with the problem: people are good liars and actors… up to a point.

What if it were possible to fast-forward relationships, whether with new friends, business partners, or romances? To get past the honeymoon facade of niceties and see their true tendencies underneath all it all?

I’ve been experimenting with methods of “removing the mask” so-to-speak, and it can be done. Relationships cost a premium of attention and time, and I—like most–want people in my life whose real personalities and motives will uplift and strengthen me instead of drain and demoralize me.

Catching bad apples early begins with recognizing a truism:

Adversity doesn’t primarily build character—it reveals it…

Therefore, by putting someone under pressure or in an adverse situation, you can pull back the covers and get a glimpse of what’s in store a few weeks or months down the line.

The little things are the big things. Josh Waitzkin, 8-time national chess champion (and the subject of the film, “Searching for Bobby Fischer”) explores the surprisingly accurate cross-referencing of behavior in his book, The Art of Learning:

“As I moved into my late teenage years, many of my tournaments were closed, invitational events where ten to fourteen very strong players gathered for two-week marathons. These were psychological wars… It was during these years that I began to draw the parallels between people’s life tendencies and their chessic dispositions. Great players are, by definition, very clever about what they show over the chessboard, but, in life’s more mundane moments, even the most cunning chess psychologists can reveal certain essential nuances of character. If, over dinner, a Grandmaster tastes something bitter and faintly wrinkles his noes, these might be an inkling of a tell lurking. Impatience while standing on line at the buffet might betray a problem sitting with tension. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone when they get caught in the rain! Some will run with their hands over their heads, others will smile and take a deep breath while enjoying the wind. What does this say about one’s relationship to discomfort? The reaction to surprise? The need for control?”

Here are a few options for doing your own behavioral cross-referencing with a new potential friend, partner, or mate. All of them happen naturally over time, and the concept is to pick/create circumstances here and there to get an advanced read. Before you label me a bastard, read the whole post:

1. Meet them for dinner or lunch at an appointed time, and indicate upon their arrival that you made a mistake and set the reservation for 30 minutes prior. See how they respond to the change in plans. (Testing: how they contend with mistakes on your part)

2. Same as 1, but tell them that the reservation was accidentally made for 30 minutes after their arrival. Alternatively, travel with them and purposefully orchestrate things so that you miss a bus or train. Obviously, you then fix the problem and cover costs. (Testing: how they deal with waiting and unexpected changes in plans)

3. Take them to a restaurant with good food but bad service. (Testing: how diplomatically they contend with and resolve incompetence, which is the default mode of the universe)

4. Invite them to an event or function and then profusely apologize when you realize you’ve forgotten your wallet. Offer to repay them later or treat them the next time out. (Testing: how they relate to money issues. Wonderful people sometimes turn into irrational monsters as soon as even a few dollars are involved. It drives me crazy to keep a running ledger of who owes whom for a few dollars here and there, especially in social settings. Repaying the favor is mandatory, but dwelling on differences of pennies is tiring.)

5. Take them somewhere extremely crowded where they’ll be inadvertently bumped, preferably where they are exposed to people of different races and of lower socio-economic classes. Large outdoor markets are good, as are subways during rush hour. (Testing: biases against specific races and social classes, which are usually fast to emerge after there is any physical contact.)

6. Explore the most controversial topics until you find something the two of you disagree on. Ask them to explain why people have the opposing viewpoint. I use this mostly for potential romantic partners and potential travelmates. (Testing: how well they listen and both consider and summarize points-of-view or feelings opposite their own. I always look for both friends and girlfriends who fight well. Not in the physical sense, but in the intellectual and emotional sense. If I travel with one of my best friends for even a week straight, there will be times when we butt heads and fight. It’s inescapable. In those cases, are they civil and good at listening and finding compromises? Good at identifying common ground, picking their battles, and laughing off the unimportant? Or, do they lose control of their emotions and make hurtful personal attacks or generalizations? Do they use guilt or other negative emotions instead of taking time to discuss things logically? Hold grudges?)

Needless to say, I’m not recommending you cram all of these into a single meeting (not unless you want a punch in the mouth), but the premise is simple: life is both too long and too short to suffer through toxic relationships. The sooner we have an accurate read on someone, the better.

Rather than hoping for the best and getting trapped in relationships you are unwilling to end due to guilt and inertia, you can test drive using a few specific situations and get a taste of what’s in store. I realized how revealing the above scenarios were while traveling, as they came up organically with the inevitable mix-ups and occasional bouts of bad luck. The question then became: can you go about glimpsing someone’s true personality in a more reliable way? That said, there is no need to orchestrate bad service at a restaurant, for example, if you can achieve the same end doing something fun but uncontrolled. A good long weekend of getting lost with someone will reveal most of the character you need to see. Just ensure you expose them to adverse conditions or awkward situations.

Most people spend more time planning their weekends than their relationships. Don’t make that mistake. You are the average of the 5 or so people you associate with most.

Choose wisely.

[Postscript: There have been some very strong comments on this post! Could it be that I'm using this entire post to see how people respond to a controversial viewpoint? Hmmm... :) To see my responses, just search ### in the comments by using Ctrl+F.]


###

Odds and Ends: 4HWW in more than 25 countries!

I just received the Dutch version of the 4HWW! Yay! Can anyone translate the subtitle and quote? “Leid een rijk leven zonder veel te doen” and “Geweldig! Dit boek zal je leven veranderen. -New York Times” Here is the Dutch cover and the other 24 publishers, in case you want to find someone who’s working on your language or country:

dutch.jpg

Arabic- Jarir Bookstore

Brazil- Editora Planeta Do Brasil

China- Hunan Literature & Art Publish

Denmark- Borgens Forlag A/S

Estonia- Eesti Ekspressi Kirjastuse AS

Finland- Basam Books

France- Village Mondial

Germany- Ullstein Buchverlage GmbH

Holland- De Boekerij BV

Hungary- Bagolyvar Kiado

Indonesia- OnRead Books Publisher

Israel- Babel Publishing House

Italy- Cairo Editore

Japan- Seishisha Publishing

Korea- Bookie Publishing Company

Latin America- Grupo Editorial Planeta SAIC

Lithuania- Eugrimas

Poland- MT Biznes

Portugal- Casa das Letras / Noticias

Romania- Minerva Pub House

Russia- Dobraya Kniga Publishers

Spain- RBA Libros S.A.

Taiwan- Crown Publishing Company, Ltd

Thailand- Bliss Publishing Co., Ltd.

Turkey- Inkilap Kitavevi Yayin

UK- Vermilion

Posted on: November 15, 2007.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

190 comments on “How to Test-Drive Friends and Irritate People

  1. The rough translation of the subtitle line is:

    “Lead a rich life without doing a lot” and the New York Times quote is: “This book will change your life”

    However the word “Geweldig” means “Terrible” though, so that doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me.

    Like

  2. “Leid een rijk leven zonder veel te doen”
    In English:
    “Lead a rich life without doing much”

    I think this would have been a better pitch:
    “Leid een rijk leven zonder veel te werken”
    In English:
    “Lead a rich life without working much”
    Since not doing much is pretty boring, and exactly the opposite of the message you are bringing. I see the 4hr workweek more as “work less, do more, lead a rich/fulfilling life” … anyways … I was just going to translate this :-), so …

    “Geweldig! Dit boek zal je leven veranderen.”
    In English:
    “Amazing/Great/Wonderful! This book will change your life.”

    Like

  3. Here is the translation of the dutch book:
    title: “A workweek of four hours”
    subtitle: “Have a rich life without doing too much”
    quote: “Amazing! This book will change your life!”

    b.t.w. I read your book in english since the translation was not available yet. Loved it!

    Like

  4. Leid een rijk leven zonder veel te doen”

    “Have A rich Life withouth doing much” or “Have a rich Life witouth to much work”

    “Geweldig! Dit boek zal je leven veranderen. -New York Times”

    “Great! This will change your life.”

    Like

  5. The Dutch translation:
    Leid een rijk leven zonder veel te doen”
    Lead a rich life without having to do a lot

    “Geweldig! Dit boek zal je leven veranderen.

    Excelent! This book will change your life

    Like

  6. > Can anyone translate the subtitle and quote?

    > “Leid een rijk leven zonder veel te doen”

    Literally: Lead a rich life without doing much

    > “Geweldig! Dit boek zal je leven veranderen.
    > -New York Times”

    Terrific! This book will change your life.

    Like

  7. Timothy,

    Free translation of the Dutch subtitle ‘Leid een rijk leven zonder veel te doen’:

    Live a wealthy life without working hard.

    ‘Geweldig’ means Great/Fantastic.

    Like

  8. Mr. Ferris,

    The way summed up in these verses will hardly enable one to be good.

    You fail to recognize that in order to stimulate certain behaviors in a peer through your recommendations, one risks sacrificing one’s own values and integrity. To intentionally deceive or mislead a person with whom you may like to build a relationship seems rather asinine.

    I find this advise sorely misplaced. Your readers and all others ought to comport themselves with honesty and integrity.

    Like

  9. Not only did this post make me think of my own actions when I’m in stressful situations, but it makes solid commentary about cutting to the chase in the most difficult arena on the planet, human relationships.

    I’d say these are excellent techniques for job interviews.

    Like

  10. Fantastic stuff. I find that those who perform well in nice neat formal settings are rarely the ones who perform well under extreeme conditions. The best thing we can do in life is make conscious decisions regarding who we will associate with and what behaviours we will accept. We’re all to often too far down the road before we realize who we are dealing with.

    Like

  11. Whoa, nice language list… How does it feel to be an internationally known and published author? Well done!

    Good points on testing personalities, I wish I had done that with the last couple of friends I chose to go on vacation with!

    As always, keep up the greatness!

    -E

    Like

  12. Congratulations!
    I am dutch and read your book in English. I found that there is quite some information specific for Americans (several business tips and reference websites for example). Is this information translated to Dutch, or is it rewritten to apply more to the Netherlands?

    Like

  13. Congratulations!
    I am Dutch but read it in English (only version available at the time, I loved it), but now it is in Dutch too, nice. Is the book a direct translation from English to Dutch, or is the business information directed more to the Netherlands?
    (sorry if I posted this twice, not sure the previous comment got through)

    Like

  14. Great Blog,

    It is often late in the game before one realizes whom they are really with. These are good strategies to see what surprises the other is holding for you. May I also suggest that one may also observe complete different behavior if it is just you rather than you and some of your friends.

    Have a great Day,

    Jose Castro-Frenzel

    Like

  15. You made my morning. Laughed totally out loud AND am adopting your strategy. Do ya realize therapists are gonna have a lotta free time if people take you up on this? ( they can then buy your book) Love it!
    Merci and congrats on all your many successes. Laissez les bons temps….Jan

    Like

  16. Tim: loved the post. I have one my Mother taught me that is similar to your restaurant test. She told that when you go out for dinner observe how your date interacts with the server. If they are nice to you but unkind or rude to the server then they are not worth spending time with.
    Congrats on the huge success of the book. I’m a fan.
    Marshall

    Like

  17. I work in customer service and was fascinated by this line,

    “Take them to a restaurant with good food but bad service. (Testing: how diplomatically they contend with and resolve incompetence, which is the default mode of the universe)”

    Could you expound on this? I think I understand what you mean, but not fully. What do you mean by “default mode of the universe”? TIA

    Lawrence

    Like

  18. 1. Your book is great, but this is nuts. That’s why you still post on match.com and don’t have longterm romantic relationships. “Explore the most controversial topics until you find something the two of you disagree on. Ask them to explain why people have the opposing viewpoint. I use this mostly for potential romantic partners and potential travelmates.”

    2. The way employees, friends and partners behave under stress is a factor to consider, but it isn’t *everything*. Sometimes my most loyal and best employees (and partners) perform terribly under stress and crawled into a corner, and sometimes the biggest flakes and thieves are amazing under fire.

    Like

  19. Great post about testing people. It’s funny that I’ve been watching this with friends, business associates, and even romances. I’m only learning now what to do with this toxicity when I encounter it; it’s sometimes shocking what I see in others under even minimal adversity. I also find interesting my reticence to dump toxic friends/associates – what does this show about me?! Fascinating thought-proving post.

    Like

  20. What does it mean when you say, “You are the AVERAGAE of the 5 or so people you associate with most?” Does it mean, you are who you kick it with. (similar to you are what you eat)That they are a reflection of you and you them?

    Thanx for your blogging. Your truly a blessing.

    Amanda

    Like

  21. Reminds me of an old joke.
    A rich man is dating three women. He decides it is time to get married, so gives each $10,000 to spend how they want.
    The blond spends it on a spa and beauty day for herself and tells him “I want to be beautiful for you.”
    The brunette spends it on a fancy weekend away for just the tow of them.
    The red head spends it on football tickets and a party for him and his friends.
    Which one did he marry?

    Wait for it….

    The one with the big you-know-what. Duh!

    Like

  22. Kendra, I was thinking the exact same thing! And if the answer is “yes”, I wonder if Tim tried all six techniques on the poor lass (or lad?).

    By the time we get to number six I would have wanted to wrestle Tim to the ground (but wouldn’t, of course, because he would kick my bottom, so to speak). However, I might just be tempted to make funny faces when he’s not looking. Would this count as toxic?

    Seriously, I routinely accomplish #1-4 without even trying. Bless my wife of ten years who, she says, is still in love with me.

    Ernst

    Like

  23. Dude,

    You have much good info to share, but coffee and food binges/control, manipulation of others, debting – all of these are manifestations of addiction, which usually result from a family’s alchoholism or abuse patterns .

    Maybe you should travel your ass to a shrink for a while, instead of all around the world.

    Take care of your body!

    Good Luck.

    Like

  24. Isn’t a friend someone you get to know over time? Even if you play these games with someone they are not going to be their real selves. Think about how you act on a first date. You’re probably going to be a lot nicer than you normally would. I’m not saying that over time people become jerks, but they also don’t always go over the top to stay calm and nice after they’ve gotten to know someone. Most people wouldn’t get upset for being 30 minutes late/early. What’s funny is this probably will backfire more than it will help you in the long-run. How many people are going to say, “I’m not upset, but I’m not all too excited that this guy gave me the wrong reservation time. The first impressions you’re giving the other person will likely drive good people away from you. Why would you assume someone would want to continue to hang out with you after you play these games? Then consider what they would do if they ever found out what you were up to. Dishonestly–a great start to a relationship! How about just being observant to real-life scenarios that confront these friends?

    I loved your book. I enjoy this blog. But this post is stupid and ignorant.

    Like

  25. I love your list of “tests”. My husband and I were in two car accidents while we were dating – another good stress opportunity to see the character of a person, but not one I recommend necessarily. We also took several road trips together, which can bring out great idiosyncrasies.

    My only concern is #5 – You don’t want to eliminate too quickly some great introverts who might not enjoy overly-crowded situations only because their energy gets depleted there, not because of biases.

    Like

  26. Although, I have read your book I believe this is my first visit to your web log.

    Your personality experiment is interesting.

    But, personality is situational. Your personality in a mixed martial arts bout is not the same as your personality during a romantic dinner.

    However, the temperament underneath is unchanging. Try guaging a persons need for control, inclusion and affection. Then you will have a true assessment of whether they warrant your emotional investment.

    Loved the book!

    Like

  27. Hello…
    I did not locate your book, in catalogue of the publishing company in the Brazil. Also I did not find in the 3 bigger bookstores online in Brazil.
    Any help is welcome… :)

    Like

  28. Wow. This one’s bound to get some attention – and, in my opinion – become a classic post. Well said.

    As a life coach married to a life coach with a specialty in relationship, we see the aftermath of this problem in people’s lives way too frequently. And your post does a brilliant job of highlighting one of the reasons why:

    “Most people spend more time planning their weekends than their relationships. Don’t make that mistake. You are the average of the 5 or so people you associate with most.”

    Most folks we talk to:

    - don’t understand (and often haven’t even considered) they have the right to friendship/relationship standards right from the beginning. The idea that they can innovate in the ways you’ve suggested doesn’t even cross their mind (kind of like designing their life to suit themselves hadn’t till they read your book).

    - don’t have the tools they need to reach an understanding of what their standards and preference are, much less how to apply or maintaini them. To be honest, most folks don’t know how to identify their personal values, and relationship standards rely on personal values, so this becomes an even bigger stretch. Awareness of both are so vitally important to happiness and choice.

    - are socialized to be ‘nice’, and the very idea of test-driving relationships, or holding firm standards and saying ‘no’ well, is a hard sell and an even harder practice, real-time/real-life.

    - don’t know how to handle hurt well, and tend to take ‘bad behavior’ so personally they lose the the ability to objectively weigh the ROI and make a positive choice.

    - many are so hungry for real connection, and unskilled at knowing how to achieve or maintain it (for the reasons mentioned above), they’re tentative or soft when applying standards and values. Too often folks feel like their best option is to go for ‘the best they can get’. We call this strategy ‘playing not to lose using someone else’s rules’, and most of the time its simply a function of ‘doing’ relationship they way relationship has been modelled to them. They just don’t understand that they have creative authority, or that all models (structures, rules, laws) are made to be remade and the power to do that is ours.

    I’m betting that a number who read this post find your ideas and suggestions refreshing, intriguing, even titilating – and a little unsettling. I practice this stuff, and I was unsettled.

    After thinking about it a bit, I started to realize why.

    There’s a delicate, situational balance to be found and had here. One size never fits all, and the mistaken belief that blanket applications work can also cause big problems. It’s the whole ‘model’ thing in action again.

    AND ‘testing’ can become a pretty closed and suspicious way of living. We’ve worked with a number of people who’ve been hurt and use impossibly high and unbending standards – and ‘testing’ – as a means of self-protection. Not much gets in to hurt or rattle you, but not much gets in to heal or rings your bells either.

    At the end of the day nobody is cool all the time: everybody’s got their bumps, lumps, ghosts and buggaboos.

    And sometimes it less about whether people freak, falter or blow up and more about who they are AFTER they’ve blown their stack that’s the best measure of character and intent.

    One of the ways I ‘test’ is watching to see if someone is capable of genuine remorse and willing responsibility to make balanced ammends after the fact. It takes guts, grit, integrity and self-awareness to own a goof that way, and I want friends and loved ones like that in my corner.

    I’m betting you do too.

    Congrats on all the international book launches. And thanks for one of the best BLOGs on life, situational learning and alternative perspectives. I love it.

    Now, I have to admit to a little bit of queasiness about the

    we’re often helping people realize they have the right to relationship standards like the ones you’re mentioningit’s sad how frequently we head

    Like

  29. Wow those are some really harsh tactics. Very interesting though. I see that I have done some of these on a non conscious level. I guess that I should tune into these and see how the reactions are.

    Thanks for the ideas.

    Like

  30. Tim,

    This is far to easy of a test. Not to mention that people are always on their best behavior initially regardless of the situation.

    Secondly (sorry…I’m not trying to blow too much smoke up your ass) – I think it’s a wee bit delusional to think you’re going to draw out a women’s less than attractive personality, by getting lost with her for the weekend. OH GOD. How would one cope!? In fact, you’ll probably achieve a life long stalker.

    In reality, I think everyone warms up to a good fighting spirit with others. Most of us let the small things roll and keep ourselves geared up for the good stuff. You can’t have a toxic relationship from the get go! You have to let lots of resentments and unspoken slights add up until you both hate eachother but can’t be bothered to discuss it.

    The quickest way – just allow them to feel comfortable and open. I find people say the most jaw-dropping things when they forget to be defensive.

    Like

  31. Greetings again! First off I love the strategies you sagely suggest to employ because they give a real sense of accountability. I can’t tell you how many times I hear exhausted phrases such as “I’m sick of the drama!” “No more drama!” from folks that don’t realize that they are often the gigantic piles of poo that flies (see: drama queens) find so attractive. Like attracts like.

    I find it interesting though that your system primarily focuses upon separating those that can surf the tides of chaos from those that freakout and flounder. Which makes sense while you seek out those that can sustain both the energy and zen like calmness to jet set alongside you ;)

    I myself have a number of other social “tests” with which I use to diagnose other specified character deficiencies and target character strengths namely: creativity, spirituality, dry humor, punctuality, flexibility, compassion, etc. etc. etc.

    I must make note here on male/female conversational relations. It doesn’t surprise me that you seek a chick who can fight (intellectually speaking). Smart guys enjoy smart gals who can banter along with the best-but this is a very delicate space to play in because more often than not a woman presents herself with the foundation of emotion and compassion and articulates herself in holistic sort of a way. A man seems to look for things to break down, pick apart, slice, sever, poke, prod, and dominate. Facts, logic, etc. etc.

    A man is looking for the weaknesses in an argument. The opponent (in this case the conversational partner) is respected based on how well their ideas can “hold up” to battering.
    A woman is building up and nurturing the values of a conversation in order to bond and make links with the other person.

    Hmm…I could go on and on. I apologize for this being kind of off the cuff and now abruptly cut short.

    You gave me food for thought. Thank you :)

    Like

  32. Tim, I usually agree with you, but I think you’re completely whacked-out on this one! *winks*

    One of the biggest flaws in your system is that you are LOOKING for defects. Well darlin, if that’s what you’re looking for, then the filters of your perception are going to bias your towards the negative.

    While you’re busy setting up manipultative tests, you’re not really being present with the person. There’s a split where on a surface level you’re connecting with them, but on another level you are hiding your thoughts and judging.

    It seems to me that you’re setting your relationships to fail, not just with the flaw-testing, but by not engainging with an open mind and heart. Blech. It might be mental fun for you, but I think you’d be killing any REAL spontenaity and the natural relaxed fun of being with someone.

    Now that I’ve said what I don’t like about your methodology, I’ll agree with a couple underlying points to your premise.

    1. How people respond to problems does indeed tell you MUCH more about their character/personality than when things are going well.

    2. Since problems are regularly occurring thing in life, it’s best to hang with people who deal with problems well.

    I’ll toss a quote from my grandmother in here too:

    “Never date someone who has more problems than you do.”

    Like

  33. Hello Tim,

    Your lastest blog on human behavior and testing limits is interesting. You warn us by saying to read the blog before judging you an a@@hole. Which I did. Your testing of others does push the line of bringing truth to situations versus engineering them. It reminds me of a time when I was doing social work/counseling for the seriously menatlly ill population. After leaving that career during which I was exposed to trajic human conditions. I wondered how could I quickly assess the average person. I wanted to know how strong and stable someone was before I spent my precious time with them. I soon realized that there are no guarantees and to artifically manufacture a scenario does not bring out the truth. Which is where I wanted to spend my time. In truth and beauty of each moment.

    The more you are aware of your truth and limits then it will be easier to see it in others, and quickly! At times I read chapters in a book by Pema Chodron, The Place That Scares You, A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. Her writing and wisdom of truth brings wholeness into the moment which allows me to see myself and surroundings more clearly. Try another way to test limits…what do you have to lose? or gain? :) Kristine

    Like

  34. Now what happens if two 4hww blog readers go on a date? I guess they’d figure eachother out after missing the train and the bus and ending up at a restaurant with good food but bad service, because when it came time to pay the bill, both of them would have forgotten their wallets! ;)

    QUESTION FOR TIM:
    what do you think when someone shows up late for a date, and doesn’t seem to care, or makes an excuse like “oh well, I’m always late, don’t take it personally”? I remember Dan Kennedy (my mentor) saying that’s his first clue not to trust them. I thought that was a harsh position, but over the years I have learned to not ignore these early warning flags, especially with business relationships. Also, what other signs do you look for or things do you test for when evaluating a potential business partner or employee? Is there an easy test for loyalty, or one to see if they can keep a trade secret?

    thanks T.F.!
    V.

    Like

  35. I liked point number 4 the most – how they deal with money can tell you a great deal about them.

    I’ve found I have friends that will ask me for $2-3 when they buy me a drink, but they’ll go to a bar and buy random girls $12 drinks.

    Definitely a good way to test out a new date.

    Sean

    Like

  36. So your saying be early to dinner in new york, forget your wallet, take the subway and talk about religion, politics & sex? Hahahaha.

    One thing your forgetting from this is that some people wont meet your requirements right away because they would have to build up trust with you first. If someone who I just met asked me to cover an expensive dinner, I would be a bit leary of them at first. If it was a friend of a few months i would gladly do it. Trust can take time to develop.

    Also, people are going to form an opinion of you being a disorganized, non-punctual klutz with this approach. Is that who YOU truly are?? What would you think of someone who did this to YOU?

    Like

  37. ###

    Hi All!

    Wow… I love the dialog, and thanks for contributing. A few things:

    1. Could it be that I used this entire post to see how different readers would respond to a controversial viewpoint? :)

    2. I often use this blog to develop ideas I’m playing with or exploring. I don’t use all 6 of these potential approaches on everyone; not at all. These are just a few examples of how people demonstrate character, and some don’t apply well to all people (like introverts, as one person noted). These are just some ideas that I find interesting.

    3. I haven’t had my date yet, but I most likely won’t be barraging her with all sorts of manufactured disasters! That’s not my style — again, this post is exploring a few concepts. I’m a bit more subtle, and I’d like to think nicer, than that!

    4. “That’s why I don’t have a girlfriend/wife/etc.” Not true. My past relationships have been great, and I date plenty. I just have extremely high standards. I haven’t found the right person for a lifelong relationship — that’s why I’m not married yet, not because I keep on creating stressful situations for dates who get fed up and punch me in the face :)

    5. For tardiness: I forgive people once or twice if they have good reasons. After that, I just leave or remove them from my life. I don’t have time to constantly wait for people who don’t value the time of others. Just like in personal outsourcing, I gauge reliability before everything else. Every once in a while, sh*t happens and people are late — that’s fine. But if it’s a habit, that’s fatal.

    Keep the ideas and observations (tweaks and other suggestions, too) coming!

    Thanks for contributing,

    Tim

    Like

  38. Five? My circle of friends is smaller than that; something which took years to accomplish doing a lot of what you talk about in this post. BTW thanks for some very cool glimpses into a life worth living.

    Like

  39. Tim,

    Point 5 in your comment: if tardiness is a habit, it’s “fatal”. That’s a cultural viewpoint. In many other cultures a meeting time is a reference point, not an inflection point (hence the term of “island time”)

    I try to evaluate tardiness along with other attributes:
    - Is the person “scatterbrained” but wonderful in other ways?

    - Is the lateness an indication of a lack of concern for others, and do I see that in other encounters? (Fatal)

    - Is the person over stressed and over committed – and if other aspects of their character are positive, can I help them?

    - Is their life going through a chaotic patch?

    - Do they pass the other “tests”, but have a bad habit of being late, and constantly regret it? If so, offering them some tips (for example: make it a rule that you will arrive 1/2 an hour early for everthing … that way you get there right on time). If they refuse to take the help, or change then, for me, it’s fatal.

    When you spend a weekend getting lost you are letting go of time and deadlines. Perhaps you could also take the time to get a better read on someone before dismissing them.

    (BTW: When I’m caught in the rain I stop, stretch my arms out and lift my face to the sky. If it makes me late, I don’t care. Some experiences are well worth it ;) )

    Like

  40. Follow-up:

    Tim: Point 5. is something for people to understand when incorporating this strategy. We all deserve to be allowed a “grace period” when developing relationships. Also the best of us should extend grace to others and honor everyone’s potential to share with us in life. The key factor in all this is CONSISTENCY. Someone is consistently making excuses for crappy behavior? Well that means you’ll consistently feel drained. Drop em. If they bounce and make amends that consistently add up…awesome. The lazy uninspired folks that don’t break out of their patterns won’t be able to keep up with transcendence.

    On another note: I’ve been going through the comments here and I find it interesting how emotionally attached a few people are to the idea of observing behavior (“you are looking for defects” as one person opined). Observation is neutral. As far as I could tell from your original post the idea isn’t “primarily” about targeting negative behavior. It is about creating a scene of chaos through which a characteristic can be displayed within-negative OR positive.

    I do wonder about your furtive methods-orchastrating frustrating social events. Not most peoples style. There are subtler means of “testing” I have found…and then there is the multitude of Fateful coincidences that occur day in and day out. What is needed there is just the ability to sit back…and take note.

    Keep it coming…I feel…endlessly intrigued.

    Like

  41. Tim,

    So let me see if I’ve got this straight…

    You want us to play cruel, manipulative games with people so we can judge how they’ll react?

    Would you want to be friends with someone who pulled this kind of crap on YOU?

    You’re right – life is too short to deal with jerks. Unfortunately you keep representing yourself as one of them. Instead of promoting good values like honesty, responsibility, and integrity, you advertise the opposite. Why the comments on this blog only seem to kiss your butt, I haven’t a clue. behold,

    Like

  42. I love this post. First, it reminds me of one of my favorite books “How to Lose Friends & Infuriate People” by Jonar C. Nader on zero tolerance to have more efficiency and effectiveness in your professional life.

    Second, the options for testing friends automatically forces me, as the reader, to evaluate how I myself would react and how I have reacted in the past to these exact or similar situations.

    Although just a small opinion (my fellow Filipinos may not share my view on this), I have always noticed we Filipinos are very tolerant to a fault when it comes to such uncomfortable social situations especially with our acquaintances and guests. Hence, some of our favorite phrases are “no problem” and “Ok lang yun (that’s Ok)”. And we are usually very sincere using them; other times we might keep score silently.

    So we might have to consider culture as a factor when conducting this experiment.

    Like

  43. Victory, you are just too cool! I love your sense of humor.

    I have been thinking about this post all day, and this is what I’ve come up with.

    In this instance, Tim seems to be primarily speaking in terms of social psychology – with the reference to the effect that the 5 major influences in our lives have, and the discussion of tardiness, behavior in public, etc. While I would only deliberately apply these tests in a situation where my intuition had rendered me already suspicious of someone, it makes sense to me.

    However, I do also strongly feel that there is an entire other realm – a plane beyond time and space and situation that human relationships can dwell in. I think that human bonds – no matter how random, flawed or fleeting – can be sacred if we allow them to be. At that point, the differentiation between the relationship with the Other and the relationship with the Self begins to break down and dissolve. And at the end of the day, all relationships are merely mirrors pointing back at our own inner lives. No matter how pathetic or horrid or just plain misguided an associates words or behavior may be – it doesn’t have to affect us. But, we are human with permeable boundaries – and the more sensitive and permeable we are as an individual – the more aware of our surroundings and our own core we need to be. So… then the whole conversation comes full circle.

    Mystics usually begin their journeys with incredible discipline and rigor before they transcend the need for it. Perhaps Tim is a modern-day mystic.

    Like

  44. Hi Tim!

    As an avid reader of your blog, a lover of your book and a past ‘Timothy Ferriss’ hater (yes, I admit it!) I have to say, I am officially in love. :)

    Great post… Just as good – the follow-up comments.

    Erin Blaskie

    Like

  45. ” (Testing: how diplomatically they contend with and resolve incompetence, which is the default mode of the universe)”

    Tim, this is f*ing gold!

    Best quote I’ve read this year. I *will* meet you ;-)

    Alan

    Like

  46. These are interesting experiments – definitely food for thought. It’s fresh and controversial. Love it.

    I suspect, thought, that some of these tests may lead to a “false negative” result … especially if you are testing people at the beginning of a relationship. People may be willing to give some slack to friends where they know their character but with strangers they may be a bit less easy going.

    Like

  47. This is awesome Tim….

    I have dated for the past few years since my divorce — and after a couple of years … I got tired of wasting my time with bad investments … so I created similar tests that allowed me to ‘fast forward’ – or ‘test – drive ‘ ( as you posted ) these ‘potentials’.

    Great ideas as always!

    Like

  48. Does it get better? This guy really has the basics down, I have been to a number of different seminars including Anthony Robbins and this is really just practical. Keep your standards high and the best point I think he made was the following:
    “5. For tardiness: I forgive people once or twice if they have good reasons. After that, I just leave or remove them from my life. I don’t have time to constantly wait for people who don’t value the time of others. Just like in personal outsourcing, I gauge reliability before everything else. Every once in a while, sh*t happens and people are late — that’s fine. But if it’s a habit, that’s fatal.”

    Everyone please embrace this concept. Leave or remove what is not giving you a positive influence. If its not helping then it must be the other: NEGATIVE influence.

    Happy Thanks Giving to ALL!!!

    Jose Castro-Frenzel

    Like

  49. Follow Up to April Muse’s comment. I think TIm does offer this as another option to see how people react. It may sound a bit harsh, but would one rather see an explosive behavior from someone in public. This may actually be a more subtle test than one may see on the surface. It is sometimes difficult to understand new methods, though they can provide innovative alternatives for improvement. We only live once, lets make a journey to remember!!!

    Cheers

    Jose Castro-Frenzel

    Like

  50. Well, I guess your only a young fella.

    In twenty years time your bound to look back at this blog and go “what the hell was I thinking”? And then, laugh it off as the thoughts and ramblings of a young fool.

    Keep up the interesting topics. You write well.

    Like

  51. Great post, test early and often and keep your standards high. We really do take on characterisitcs of those we surround ourselves with most, mostly unconscious. So it is so important to make sure those people are a positive influence, people who are easy going and dont take life too seriously.

    Like

  52. Whoa. Wait a second.

    I agree with you that time does reveal the true character of people and that some people act and mislead you in the early stages. This sucks, it is wrong, and it is bad.

    HOWEVER, people are not your own personal science experiment. They are not rats in a lab that you get to toy with see how they react. The things you are suggesting are just as one sided and shitty as what the liars, cheat and frauds are doing to you.

    I think too many people look at realtionships and thing “How will this relationship benefit ME!”. Your “tests” of how people react are one sided. It says “let me make sure that they will be a good friend to ME and be worth MY time and investment in this relationship so that I can save MY time if they are not a fit”.

    It just leaves me feeling icky to think that folks are “testing” eachother to decide if the other person is “worth” it.

    Giving people the benefit of the doubt (that they are good) does take time and many folks will let you down in life. But one cannot make every personal decision based on how it effects their own personal experience…or by conducting a cost benefit analysis of every friendship. That is awfully selfish.

    Like

  53. Interesting to hear this viewpoint. In my dating days, a couple of dates tried somewhat similar tests on me. I got out of those relationships very quickly, since I have no appetite for anyone who wants to manipulate me. I considered their testing me to be a strong indication of a flaw in THEIR personality!

    The underlying premise of the post, though — that you can learn a lot about someone’s personality by observation — is of course quite correct. It’s a useful reminder.

    Like

  54. I only have time for a few quick thoughts, so here goes!

    I think the general principle is sound: relationships that have weathered trials 1.) continue on if they survive the trials; and 2.) become stronger as a result. I’ve been married for 12 years now to a wonderful woman I’ve faced many trials with (road trips, adventures – some life-threatening), and our relationship has only improved over time. (Ha! I didn’t see, she posted the story above).

    However, I think creating purely artificial scenarios is a bit, well, dishonest. How would you feel if you discovered you’d been “gamed” in this way? All in the interest of saving precious time & energy? If you’re evaluating a business partner or employee, that’s one thing, but for a purely social relationship, it’s a bit too deceptive.

    I am a fan of observing how people respond to stress or unusual situations. Heck, observing & recapping how I respond to stress is enough work!

    One way I do use these techniques in social situations: overtly choose difficult scenarios. My buddies that have gone mountain climbing (or otherwise adventuring, with some element of hardship and risk) have proven themselves to be either trustworthy & reliable friends, or not. Asking people to come serve in our multi-ethnic children’s ministry illuminates their character quickly by how they handle it. Those who show up when you need a hand (moving, fence building, volunteering, etc.) are ones you can count on.

    I’ve also found that there’s a few people, who by dint of personality are just a little more difficult to manage sometimes… can be well worth the patience. It’s hard to gauge, I know, but don’t write people off too quickly. They can surprise you (or save your life when you least expect it).

    All this makes me think what a sucky friend I’ve been to people at times. I think I tend to cut people loose too soon sometimes, instead of being patient or making more effort to maintain a friendship.

    Like

  55. “Relationships cost a premium of attention and time, and I—like most–want people in my life whose real personalities and motives will uplift and strengthen me instead of drain and demoralize me.”

    Are your relationships are so emtionally expensive? I agree that you should surround yourself with uplifting, not toxic, people. And agree that observing how people react in adverse situations is an entertaining experiment. But, the whole premise that their performance determines your relationship with them because you want a positive return on your emotional investment is depressing. The fact that you even discuss emotions and relationships in those terms implies that the emotional currency needed to invest in relationships is finite and could one day be depleted. You would be bankrupt . . . and alone . . . and sad all the time.

    And anyway, one of your ideals is that life shouldn’t be so damn hard, no? This whole testing and relationship finance planning sounds, to me, more attention and time consuming than actually having a relationship, uplifting or toxic.

    Like

  56. read “Real Love” by Greg Baer and you will see how you save time and found out what people really are about in about 2 minutes without having to manipulate them.

    Lee

    Like

  57. I grew up in NJ so I had a chip on my shoulder like: who are you to tell me anything? Then in college, I realized that my behavior kept the people who weren’t like me away… Now that I’m a bit older, I realize that my approach to life is two-fold:

    a) it saves me a lot of trouble b/c i dont have to deal w/ people who i wont get along with
    b) it save those people a lot of headaches b/c they dont have to deal w/ me

    Do what you need to do to be happy, it is YOUR life.

    Cheers.

    Like

  58. Your perspective is awesome, as always! It fascinates me to see the way the manipulating type of person thinks.

    RE: “…incompetence, which is the default mode of the universe”

    I would say it’s the default mode of humanity. The universe seems to be, and to have been for a long time, working pretty well!

    Also as to number 5, it might be good to separate out the issue of personal space from racial/socioeconomic bias, not necessarily hand in hand issues.

    Love your blog; best of luck to you!

    Like

  59. I could’ve use this advice before getting married the first time — to my ex-wife!

    We got stuck in traffic on the NJ turnpike once and she lost it and get wicked angry. It was partially my fault because I misread a map. That was before we got married.

    Ten years later I found that she was reacting that way frequently when I made little mistakes. Of course, the fact that I frequently make little mistakes — like misreading maps — should have tipped her off as well.

    Like

  60. Thought provoking as always. Consider this angle, though.

    I think of the Bible proverb, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Our association with others often changes us. We can mellow if we become friends with one who is relaxed. We can become industrious if we associate with someone who has a passion for excellence. I see that some of my worse character flaws have been removed through my association with certain people and perhaps my association may “sharpen” others. I think what is important is not so much their reaction but their adaptability–do they seem open to change in many areas of their lives or hopelessly set in their ways?

    I remain friends with some whose personalities “soured” but they stay in a distant orbit compared to those who uplift and strengthen me. Some close friends were jerks in the early stages of friendship but changed.

    Consider also, that you may not be “unmasking” another person but simply revealing their reaction to an event in the context of their day/week that would be the opposite if the broader contextual circumstances were different. Your multiple experiments might mitigate that.

    Then again, some people were born to whine, complain, wimp out, explode, and act stupid and will probably never change. Your approach sounds as good as any…I hope it works for you.

    Like

  61. Interesting post! I have to say I’d totally fail #5 if it’s a place where people intentially try to mow you down because you’re in their way, that drives me crazy! lol..

    Like

  62. Alternatively, you could just get drunk with that some one and you’ll usually find out pretty quickly what they are like. I am always amazed how much (truth) you find out about a person when you really get drunk with some body and talk about all different kinds of issues.

    Like

  63. Tim,

    Related indirectly to the Josh Waitzkin portion of your post, there is an article in Scientific American about skill acquisitions of chess champions and other experts:

    http://scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?articleID=00010347-101C-14C1-8F9E83414B7F4945

    There are several interesting points:
    1. The preponderance of psychological evidence indicates that experts are made, not born.
    2. The better players did not examine more strategies, but better ones.

    ###

    Hi D,

    Brilliant! Thank you so much for this great link. Outstanding…

    Tim

    Like

  64. From the end of the Scientific American article concerning skill acquisition:

    “The early results have been promising. Instead of perpetually pondering the question, “Why can’t Johnny read?” perhaps educators should ask, “Why should there be anything in the world he can’t learn to do?”

    Like

  65. Cool post, though you may be missing something. Part of how people treat you is your expectations of them. I’ve found if you convey a good image of people, they’ll often try to live up to that image (especially true of women). You can get them into a habit of being on their best behavior for you, even if they normally don’t have it together.

    You’re a cool enough guy that if people know your expectations they’ll probably try to meet them.

    I personally look for personality traits. Wouldn’t even THINK of having a relationship with a woman that’s a “taker” rather than a “giver”. Now that I think of it, “givers” are more forgiving and would pass most of your tests. “Takers” would not.

    Like

  66. Hi Tim. In a person, friend, or lover, you must be able to see the potential for growth and maturity and no amount of “fast-foward” situations will show that. You can certainly eliminate quickly those insincere, aggressive, snobbish, etc., people right off the bat, but most insecure people are very transparent anyway. Simple observation and listening easily identifies those types. But to live life to the fullest, as you seem to do, orchestrating false scenarios is an unworthy past time. In the game, you might be eliminating the one person in the world who would’ve been your soul mate, if you had only taken the time… We can all grow in leaps and bounds in a lifetime…that is the great test. Adversity and bad behaviour can be the greatest catalyst to growth and maturity, if we learn from our mistakes along the way. The person observing the bad behaviour also has a great learning platform. Of course if the person is ruining your chi, or bringing you pain and keeps you from your greatest potential, then it might be time to walk away…But some of us less fortunate spend the first half of our lives trying to find ourselves and digging ourselves out of the muck because we had less than supportive parents, or suffered abuse etc., but we had all the potential to be great. So we make a lot of mistakes, but we learn from them and we move on, and we grow into better human beings everyday. We fall and we get up over and over. A better person observes more carefully, and tests friends and loved ones by living life to the fullest, full of energy, and lets all the natural chaos in the universe throw the curve balls (and there are many) It’s all you’ll ever need to test the strength and will, and character of the people in your life. There is enough heartache and sorrow and aggravating circumstances naturally in the universe already, and to add to it in deceit and game playing is immature and unworthy of a great man.

    When heartache strikes you in life, sometimes all you can do is hold on for dear life. How people deal with little annoying things, like late dinner reservations, etc. and death and illness is an entirely different thing. You might end of eliminating the one person who has the strength of David, who could have saved your life somehow, because he or she got impatient with the waiter….

    Keep up your enthusiasm and soul searching Tim. You are an inspiration, but like us all, you have many years ahead to learn and grow…When you find your soul mate your perspective will change, and when you have children and they grow like weeds before your eyes, you will never want to fast forward life again….

    Like

  67. Dating you would seem a rigor not worth the reward. If you showed up late, came without your wallet and pounced on a disagreeable topic to test my fighting skills I can assure you I’d be gracious, diplomatic and on equal intellectual footing. I’d pass your test. But you wouldn’t pass mine.

    Like

  68. Heads up to your webmaster – there’s a plugin that will call out Tim’s comments in a different color or whatnot so you don’t have to use the ### thingy.

    ### (LOL)

    Thanks, Andy! I’ll forward this on…

    Tim

    Like

  69. I’ve noticed a tendency among self-improvement types to not ‘get’ the human side of life.

    They can be too cold, calculating, and self-centered in their relationships with people and boil every thing down to how it benefits their productivity, vegetarian diet, or whatever their self-help kick is.

    Sometimes they forgot that other people have feelings too and see their relationships as just another file folder to dispassionately organize.

    They sometimes view to world through the lens of how they can develop themselves in the next arbitrary way. Just hanging out with friends for no other point than the fun of it doesn’t jive with their need to constantly work on themselves. So they see it as a waste of time.

    ###

    Hi Chris,

    Tim here. Thanks for the comment. Let me try and address your valid concern. This post was really just bouncing ideas off of the readers of this blog, as this is where I like to get feedback as much as expound. I value my social circle of family and friends above all else and wouldn’t suggest at all approaching all relationship like a filtering machine. That said, I think it is useful to see underneath the polite exterior sooner rather than later with people. It doesn’t require deception, just putting the two of you in challenging circumstances. No funny business required.

    Hope that helps!

    Tim

    Like

  70. Interesting post, but even more interesting follow-ups. There is talk about culture in two unrelated areas: the Dutch translation and the talk about people who are late on dates. So lets talk about culture a bit.

    I have not read the Dutch translation, in fact I never read translations of English books unless they are a complete rewrite in cooperation with the author and Dutch experts. Since you did not even know the translation of your own title, I guess that is not the case here. I think people should only read translations if they can not read English (well enough). In that sense – and because I like to experiment with controversial ideas as well – translations could even be considered a problem.

    I once even read a Dutch translation of an English book that was actually written by Dutch persons. As far as I know, the Dutch authors translated it to Dutch themselves. It was terrible, because it was filled with American ways of saying things that do not make sense in Dutch. And the book was about culture!

    Since you travel so much and retire in other countries, I am really curious if you could write something about inter cultural experiences. For example you mention a Mexican fisherman who is living a very relaxed life and then meets this Harvard student. The student tries to convince him to change his business and life style and he refuses with good reason. But now the trick question: could *you* convince him to completely revise his life? This man has probably not read any of the great self-help books like Getting Things Done, Flow or the 4HWW. He has probably not thought about his life strategy that much, even though he is quite happy. So perhaps by some miracle or coincidence he found the ideal lifestyle for himself, without even looking. Or did he? How can he know if he does not critically evaluate his life, like you tell *us* to do?

    Keep up the good work with all the interesting ideas and strategies!

    Sjors

    Like

  71. (Not sure if this is a double post)
    Interesting post, but even more interesting follow-ups. There is talk about culture in two unrelated areas: the Dutch translation and the talk about people who are late on dates. So lets talk about culture a bit.

    I have not read the Dutch translation, in fact I never read translations of English books unless they are a complete rewrite in cooperation with the author and Dutch experts. Since you did not even know the translation of your own title, I guess that is not the case here. I think people should only read translations if they can not read English (well enough). In that sense – and because I like to experiment with controversial ideas as well – translations could even be considered a problem.

    I once even read a Dutch translation of an English book that was actually written by Dutch persons. As far as I know, the Dutch authors translated it to Dutch themselves. It was terrible, because it was filled with American ways of saying things that do not make sense in Dutch. And the book was about culture!

    Since you travel so much and retire in other countries, I am really curious if you could write something about inter cultural experiences. For example you mention a Mexican fisherman who is living a very relaxed life and then meets this Harvard student. The student tries to convince him to change his business and life style and he refuses with good reason. But now the trick question: could *you* convince him to completely revise his life? This man has probably not read any of the great self-help books like Getting Things Done, Flow or the 4HWW. He has probably not thought about his life strategy that much, even though he is quite happy. So perhaps by some miracle or coincidence he found the ideal lifestyle for himself, without even looking. Or did he? How can he know if he does not critically evaluate his life, like you tell *us* to do?

    Keep up the good work with all the interesting ideas and strategies!

    Sjors

    Like

  72. Am I the only person who read the post as toungue-in-cheek Diggbait? Tim, your talent for engineering notoriety is unparalleled. Great blog.

    Like

  73. Getting lost is a pretty good way to reveal character traits. Of course difficult to manufacture a situations where you get lost.

    I’m all for doing activities that are likely to bring up problems that reveal peoples character but to manufacture the situations basically requires being dishonest with the person.

    If you have to lie to people to find out what they are like then perhaps you are the “toxic” person that is to be avoided.

    ###

    Hi Thomas,

    Tim here. Thanks for the comment. Let me try and address your valid concern. This post was really just bouncing ideas off of the readers of this blog, as this is where I like to get feedback as much as expound. I do think it is useful to see underneath the polite exterior sooner rather than later with people, but it doesn’t require deception, just putting the two of you in challenging circumstances. No funny business required. A nice, but physically demanding, 3-hour hike might often do the trick. The examples I gave were just a few brain ticklers to get people talking and discussing the bigger issue of choosing relationships carefully.

    Hope that helps!

    Tim

    Like

  74. I think you mean well and typically are great at hyperintesifying reality in a way a physicist would look at nature, to narrow the fundimental aspects at work. However, the difference is defining life and it’s mathmatical equation (even situationally) and living it are quite different. The thing about hyperintesifying moments (essentially compressing time) is not that your smarts are wrong to look at the fundementals behind things or people but that you’re outsmarting your heart and the reason behind linear time. Which is the nuances of life unfold, the things you couldn’t guess at or make up.

    You study, you determine, you act (you bet on yourself) that’s what you do, but defining and living are different. I think you’re searching for something you don’t understand, your tricks aren’t going to work. Do something different. Something different where your heart is where you move from, your brain just gathers and classifies. Try not to outsmart your heart… Or not.

    Like

  75. The road to “dating enlightenment” takes time…Any relationship worth fostering or developing is not going to prove itself worthy in some fishbowl experiment designed to create tension and stress.
    Although I agree with many of your philosophies, history proves that most truths, genuine friendships, and solid feelings develop with time as their barometer.
    If you want to find someone true and honest, who has certain values, you must begin with those characteristics yourself. Like attracts like….
    I am waiting for the 4 hour relationship to be written..There is no doubt you will probably find a “fast track” in that arena as well :)
    Best.

    Like

  76. Tim: the thought comes to mind, especially as you become
    more widely know, that people read a blog entry like this,
    recognize your gaming of relationship, and invoke the same
    techniques back on you :) Of course, your last point is
    taken: ..You are the average of the 5 or so people you associate with most.. Still, it would be interesting to
    watch the chess match between Ferriss and an opponent schooled in Ferriss technique.

    Like

  77. This post is directly on target. Life is too short to waste, and you’re helping us cut through social chaff.

    I don’t remember where I read it, perhaps Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start, but it did mention that one of the best ways to judge someone’s character was in a restaurant watching how they relate to the waiters. Bad service isn’t a requirement but it sure makes sense in the context above.

    And you’re not a bastard, Tim.

    Jacob

    Like

  78. Interesting post. One thing to consider though is that many people you “test” might pick up subtle signals that you aren’t quite being honest. Nothing so overt that they would comment on it — but enough that they get that “gut” feeling that something is off.

    And of course they’d be right, in a way.

    I’ve known several people with difficult personalities who turned out to be surprisingly loyal and steady friends. In those cases, time is what revealed their characters rather than my first impressions of them. Much to my surprise :)

    I enjoy your blog, keep up the thought provoking posts!

    Like

  79. ###

    Hi All!

    I’m thrilled at the level of participation and discussion on this post.

    Let me try and address a concern that has come up a few times: am I tricking or deceiving people?

    This post was really just bouncing ideas off of the readers of this blog, as this is where I like to get feedback as much as expound.

    I do think it is useful to see underneath the polite exterior sooner rather than later with people, but it doesn’t require deception at all, just putting the two of you in challenging circumstances. No funny business required.

    A nice, but physically demanding, 3-hour hike might often do the trick. The examples I gave were just a few brain ticklers to get people talking and discussing the bigger issue of choosing relationships carefully.

    Hope that helps! :)

    Tim

    Like

  80. Another tried and true method for long distance holiday romance – invite them to visit you on your turf.
    Minus the glamourous trappings of their home front can quickly reveal the the person behind the glossy facade..

    Like

  81. Hi Tim,
    I think you have great teaching skills. Thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge in a fun and engaging way.
    I hope your war ship party was a tremendous success! The night of the 17th was auspicious indeed. I attended an event where the music was amazing and I danced my heart out. (Thankfully, I am seeing my Acupuncturist tomorrow.)
    Looking forward to hearing the highlights of your event.

    Cheers

    Like

  82. Tim,

    Interesting idea and I like all your ideas about experiments in lifestyle design. Pretty wicked stuff. Although, I don’t think you can rush relationships honestly. Some things just have to unwind of their own accord like a lazy river. Some times you gently washed up on the beach other times you’re in for a long ride. All that said, I won’t be throttling any relationships for intelligence gathering.

    Like

  83. This post was kind of lame. Here’s why: If it’s a potential mate, you’re going to spend enough time together for these things to come out quickly enough anyway, and if it’s a potential *friend*…well, everyone is a potential friend. Who has time to design an obstacle course for everyone? Just keep your eyes open and avoid people who tend to act like jackasses. It’s what most people do already. The end.

    (Enjoyed the book though.)

    Like