Don't "Dumb Yourself Down" to Attract Somebody

Why should a woman act dumb to attract an insecure man?

Posted Aug 04, 2011

Over at the "After I Quit My Day Job" blog, at which Kat Richter often discusses her dating life with wonderful candor and wit, a discussion took off today with regard to "dumbing oneself down" to avoid intimidating or scaring off a potential partner. In her latest post, Richter quoted from Anne Beckley Coleman's book Matchless: Searching for Love Online, in which Coleman describes having to prune her online dating profile to seem less smart, well-read, and travelled then she actually was, to attract more potential dates. The comments confirmed that this was a common problem for women who all too often find men intimidated by their brains or accomplishments.

It didn't take long for me to jump in, having written recently (here and here) on the importance of being yourself when trying to meet people. There is a slight twist to this, however, since I was thinking primarily of people (especially men) trying to seem different (usually "better" in some way) than they really are in an attempt to impress another person (often a woman), whereas dumbing oneself down involves the opposite strategy and often reverses the genders. (Not always, of course.)

Both behaviors share the same fatal flaw, though: you have to be true to who you are in order to find someone who likes you for who you are. If a shy guy, for instance, tries to pass himself off as suave and smooth, anybody he attracts is going to expect that guy all the time, and is likely to be disappointed and resentful when she (or he) discovers the truth. Ideally, such a man should try to find someone who likes him for who he is, not some person he's pretending to be. By the same token, a woman who chooses "to exchange a ten-cent vocabulary word for a five" (in Ms. Richter's words) backfires: she's going to get exactly the type of man (or woman) she doesn't want.

Let's oversimplify and say this is a problem of successful women and the men who are insecure with that. (Mind you, this is not true of all men—far from it, I assure you.) The question becomes obvious: why do women feel they have to pander to these insecure men rather than hold out for men who will appreciate them? Yes, if these women are true to themselves, displaying their intelligence, confidence, and strength (without crossing the line into pretentiousness or arrogance, which is unattractive in either gender), they will scare off any insecure men they meet.

So? Good riddance, I should think. And do you know which men won't be scared off? The men who can value a great woman, and who will pay give them the admiration and respect they deserve and desire.

It's the same old story: you will attract the type of person you try to attract, for better or worse. If a women acts dumb, she'll attract someone who likes dumb women. But if she's herself, she'll eventually find someone who likes her, not the person she feels she has to act like. If you're in this position, just remember that some men might not be able to handle a smart and successful woman like you, but that's their problem—don't let it become yours by selling yourself short.


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