Mailbag: Candy and Coins
I’ve had many emails about my Candy and Coins post, and I’ve picked two of the most in-depth discussions to share here.
The first is from PP, who writes asking about the relationship between the “Candy and Coins” model and general social skills. He then asks what to do in the case of being in a bad mood.
The second is from Bliss, a good friend of mine in real life, who is the guy mentioned in the original post in the sentence starting, “So my friend is excellent with women…” This “guest post” is definitely worth a read!
Right at the end I discuss punishment via withdrawing coins, which I forgot to put in the original post.
saw this post and realized that, in a way, I already apply something that resembles your model as a way of socializing. To describe it briefly, I simply try to give whatever response is appropriate to my social environment. If its a situation where I would be expected to give a polite greeting and move along I keep it brief. If it seems apparent that someone has something they want to talk about, I ask questions about it, and conversely I answer questions when people seem interested in me. when people appear in the mood to joke around, I act accordingly.
Yeah man, it’s an integral part of just “good social skills”. I would say most people have a grasp of it in some way, and apply it in this way.
The model serves a few good purposes though.
Firstly, it spells it all out for those less socially able. There is a significant demographic finding my site who really struggle socially. This can come from one or a combination of the following things:
- Social anxiety. A key part of overcoming social anxiety, for me, was learning “what to do” — having a default plan — in as many situations as possible, so I no longer feared being on the back foot if or when they arose. The “Candy and Coins” model gets guys process-orientated and thinking about their part of the exchange, rather than freaking out about what might happen. It’s proactive instead of reactive.
- Being emotionally “out of sync” with the general population. For example, at school, when guys roughhoused, made fun of each other, or played practical jokes, I never understood that. When girls were mean-spirited little cuntbags, to each other, and to everyone, I never understood that. Of course, I now know they were just practising Circuit II so they could become the next generation of Homo sapiens non-contributors. (I like Koanic’s description of the introvert’s typical experience of early life, portrayed through the medium of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic 🙂 ). Furthermore, remember how kids at school used to laugh at stuff the teacher said, all at the same time, like it was some big obvious in-joke? I never knew what the fuck they were laughing at. I saw a documentary the other day where they were filming inside a secondary school classroom where they had a guest speaker talking about something or other, and it reminded me of that because the kids were laughing at stuff and I still have no idea know what they were laughing at. This total miscomprehension continued into adult life, giving me the impression for the first 20+ years of my life that I was on some alien planet. At least with the “Candy and Coins” model, if you’re emotionally out of sync, you can figure out via experience and logic what other people want in typical situations and just give it to them without investing too much of yourself in any interaction.
- Being unemotional, emotionally closed-off, or lacking empathy. In any of these cases you may have trouble sensing the tone of a situation or responding intuitively. “Candy and Coins” means you can just copy the exchanges of people who are already successful, noticing which “coins” they give in what situation, and learning to mimic the emotional responses of the transaction.
- Learning ineffective social exchanges from parents and other early role models. If your parents are socially clueless (in “Candy and Coins” terms, they try to trade the wrong coins at the wrong times), then chances are that those transaction patterns have been copied into you, too. “Candy and Coins” means you can think of social interaction in currency terms and swap the bad coins out for good ones, and learn when to trade and when not to trade.
Secondly, for those (like PP) who already operate the system (in a more fuzzy form), “Candy and Coins” really linearizes/formalizes social interaction into left-brain exchange patterns. That means you can optimize it by shunting it entirely into currency, allowing you to streamline, and notice which resources you have infinite supply of and can therefore best capitalize on in your exchanges. For example, actual money is a limited commodity, whereas banter or stories are unlimited. By analysing your strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out which coins you have plentiful supply of and which you don’t. For example, if you’re a poor dancer, that’s not a coin you can easily spend. But if you’re great at telling stories, you have practically unlimited coins to spend in the many social situations where people would like to hear stories.
Most people are already operating this system as a combination of two things:
- Learned habits, just from copying socially-capable people — so the “please”s and “thank you”s and the small talk (these are the coins) picked up culturally. Obviously the quality of your parenting plays a huge part in the effectiveness of your learned habits!
- By some recognition of this “exchange system” in a more formal sense (which PP just wrote he already recognized and operated in some way).
By describing this model I am really making this whole process very explicit, and having people think of something they already do in a formal, optimizable way. It allows one to take any lingering ambiguity out of it. This brings me to the third and final benefit:
Now my main problem socializing came in the form of bad moods. When I say this, I mean there were times when I could recognize that I was meant to socialize in some way, but there was something about my mental state that made me adverse to it. I can think of a few situations where I actually missed out on talking to girls due to my own bad mood. I havent had this problem since I started meditation though, so hopefully it is a thing of the past.
Exactly. Your bad mood is your “taking” behaviours kicking in (withdrawal; “taking some time for yourself”; or trying to “get” in order to feel “good” or “full up”). By formalizing the model around a “you go first” currency exchange, this gets you into the “giving” mindset again. It means you identify bad moods as bad form with respect to the model. This means you will be able to have a dialogue with yourself that goes something like, “Okay, I’m in a bad mood. HOWEVER, the transaction system doesn’t care about that. I still have to give in order to get the transactions going. So I can put my bad mood to one side and figure out a good coin to give and get some positive transaction going.” And then doing this, barrelling through the initial inaction caused by the bad mood, will actually change your mood once the positive transactions start to flow. Also, proactivity itself is a general mood-lifter.
So it gets your mind working with the solution, via a plan, rather than focusing on the problem (the bad mood). Focusing on a problem just makes it grow, since your focus is like fertilizer. Focusing on the right action (giving them a candy coin) puts the focus on moving forward and getting things done.
And now you have your meditation, and things like first jhana, to take the sting out of your bad mood and get the positive exchange going on even quicker!
This is a great introduction into the fact that men and women will often want distinctly different things from an interaction. Illuminatus again “hits it out of the park”. Thinking of giving people what they want as “coins” will help to make people that have not considered this way of operating into a way that will appeal to them.
However, like most metaphors, it can lead you to still think very one-dimensionally. So I would like to outline some of my thoughts, pointers and elements to look out for which will show you that you are going in the right direction.
The crux of the blog post described a concept which, for me, is the first guideline for social situations: “give the other party what they want, unless it will negatively affect yourself”.
The term “negatively affect yourself” could easily be misconstrued so I want to clarify this. It means acting in a way that will undermine your integrity or morals. There is no point or value in changing your views just to “try and get on well with someone”. In fact there is even magic in tasteful disagreement. Of course you would usually mould the conversation into a topic of agreement.
I would consider myself to be both selfish and unselfish. I put myself first and I wouldn’t forgo my dreams for someone else. At the same time I would also do all within my power to help others achieve theirs as long as it doesn’t affect my chances. I also don’t want results at the expense of others; I want them to be of my own merit. Therefore I wouldn’t put others down to get a “leg up”. You should understand that the best way to get the results you want is by giving people a situation where everybody wins. The best transactions happen when both parties are trading what the other desires! In these situations you must realize that treating others with respect, care and affection does NOT affect your chances of achievement.
If we break it down, everything in life can be considered “goal driven” even if that goal is as simple as “relaxing and having fun”. Whenever any social interaction is going on both parties will have a reason for doing it and if both parties’ needs are not met then it is in fact a failure (unless your goal is to teach the other a lesson).
I know what you are thinking. How can this metaphor be deemed one-dimensional? Aren’t you just agreeing with Illuminatus? The problem with how the post was presented is that regardless of the situation the goals appear the same and they don’t change with the environment. Social interaction is as much about realizing the mood and “going with it” or “massaging it into the right place”.
The showman “coin” which would be appropriate in a nightclub would likely be too much in a supermarket. So there is an element of adapting to the situation. One of the problems with much of the pickup scene is that transaction is viewed through a nightclub lens. One of the reasons why the games and show are so effective is that people in nightclubs are often trying to “escape” their mundane lives, and giving them a bit of light-hearted and relaxed entertainment is exactly what they need. Also in a nightclub people are bombarded with music, dancing, alcohol and people, therefore you have to compete for their attention. The gist of what I am saying is that the effectiveness of the showman “coin” is also due to the fact that I have picked the right currency for the right occasion. US dollars are harder to spend in Europe! The individual’s mood also has a significant effect on what “coins” they will respond to.
To be able to successfully manoeuvre through this maze of emotions and environment you need to remember that:
- You shouldn’t assume everyone is like you.
- You shouldn’t try to work this out with logic.
Illuminatus goes into depth about why point 1 is misinformed. However, point 2 is something which was missed. Those people with a gift for social activity don’t really have to engage the logical mind. When you are in a more “logical mode” your instincts are dulled and will therefore miss or wrongly diagnose subtle signals which would show when you aren’t using the right currency. When you aren’t engaging the logical mind so thoroughly the signs will actually act as interrupts. You will suddenly “snap into” the logical mind and think “gosh maybe that was a mistake”. Mistakes happen no matter how good you are at socializing, but the more you do it the more you will realize that people are generally very lenient and forgiving as long as the sentiment is right. So if you see a cue for a certain behaviour or topic of conversation angering them, moving it quickly to an area of mutual benefit is almost always enough to keep the interaction going.
Anyway I am spending too much time on this email as it is. Hope this has been useful.
I don’t have much to add to the body of this email and will let the readers analyse it of their own accord.
However, I certainly take issue with point 2 above, ” You shouldn’t try to work this out with logic”.
If you have the kind of social blinders on I described in reply to PP’s email at the very top of this post, you will certainly need to spend some time working transactions out with logic. Through experience and practice, these behaviours can then be passed over to the right brain for intuitive, automatic use in future.
One of the main purposes of the “Candy and Coins” model is to help readers think logically about social interaction. I have specifically and intentionally reduced social interaction down to a left-brain symbolic “currency” model. I know Bliss himself is extremely intuitive and right-brained and never had much trouble working with emotional nuance in social situations. This is simply not the case for many of my readers.
Perhaps Bliss meant, “Don’t work things out logically while out in the field“? Meaning one should avoid logical thinking while out socializing in order not to break the emotional flow of a situation.
This is still wrong in my opinion. “Candy and Coins” can definitely be used as part of a checklist system while out, e.g.:
- Energetic girl on dance floor –> she wants “dancing” coin
- Bored girl sat at table –> she wants “interesting conversation” (read: stimulating distraction) coin
- Man proudly talks about job –> he wants “recognition” coin
Logic can also be used in retrospect to debug situations, e.g. “What coins were wanted in that situation? Did I try and trade the right coin?” Transactions can be honed via this recursive “experience–>analysis–>experience…” loop.
Yes, this will all be passed over to the right brain to be used intuitively (without “logical thinking”) in the future. But to say “you shouldn’t try to work this out with logic” is misleading in my opinion and goes against the grain of the purpose of the model.
Coins and Punishment
Something important I missed from the original post is when to withdraw coins, as a form of punishment. This can be used on both men and women, but if you are a male reader you will be using such punishments on women more than anyone else.
Obviously this only works on people who have become accustomed to receiving a steady stream of coins from you.
As Blackdragon reminds us non-stop, women like attention more than anything else — and even negative attention is still attention. So giving her attention is giving her a “coin”. If she is not giving you the coin back that you want (i.e. she is giving you a “drama” coin when you don’t want that), rather than trying to trade a different coin (placating her) or trying to tell her off (which is just another “attention” coin), to get her trading again in the way you want you will often be required to withdraw your coins entirely (via freeze-outs/soft-nexts) for a period of time. The same goes for men who are creating drama, too.
Temporary withdrawal of coins is also the premise behind Mystery’s “takeaways”. We value higher that which we had and then lost.
Coins and Actual Money
Finally, I feel obligated to say that we are rarely talking about actual money when mentioning “coins”.
If you are trying to trade actual money for sex (in the form of cash, gifts, or expensive dates), then your trade system is more efficiently employed via going to a prostitute.
If you are trying to trade actual money for friendship, don’t be surprised when the friendship coins stop flowing back to you when your actual money runs out.
Refer back to the “strengths and weaknesses” section of this post to determine where your supplies of unlimited coins are.