Life Advice



Science Advice Goddess: Bare Tracks

Amy Alkon on

Ideally, if a woman is asked to guess your "spirit animal," her answer won't be, "Hamster lying cold and dead in the corner of his cage?"

Your "I feel resentful" is a bit entitled snowflake, since you never did anything to let this woman know you were interested. In short: Good things come to those who ask. (Full disclosure: often, though not always.)

As for your envy, research by evolutionary psychologist Bram Buunk overturns the bad name this emotion has long gotten. Envy is actually adaptive -- functional -- and its function appears to be making us go: "Whoa! He's way ahead of me! Gotta put on my lady-chasing track shoes!" Envy is only a destructive emotion when people experiencing it engage in "malicious envy": trying to sabotage those doing better than they are rather than trying to up their own game and outdo them fair and square.

In the future, when you want a woman, don't silently watch as she wanders off into another guy's arms. Say something! As I noted, it won't always end well when you hit on a woman, but possibly getting rejected is the cost of possibly having dates, sex, and love.

That said, there's a way to repurpose bummerino brush-offs into "small wins": organizational psychologist Karl Weick's term for small positive outcomes experienced while failing to solve a big (or even massive) problem. An example of how that might play out in your head: "Okay, that girl I hit on at the bar was nasty, but yesterday, I would've spent all night just staring at her. Today, I grew a pair and approached her. Yay, me!"


Though this is admittedly the slow, emotionally grubby approach, you should find it much more effective than your current MO: waiting for a woman you're into to read your mind and have herself shot out of a cannon through your open window and into your love pit/bed.


Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email ( Follow her on Twitter @amyalkon. Order her latest "science-help" book, "Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence."




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