How does your emotional intelligence help you develop a relationship with someone? Is your emotional intelligence something you can improve? And…what are the kinds of things that you should steer away from because they undermine the ways that you’re relating to the people around you, and the one you love? This week, our guest is Jordan Harbinger. Often referred to as “The Larry King of podcasting,” Jordan is a Wall Street lawyer turned interview talk show host, and communications & social dynamics expert. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, Jordan deconstructs the playbooks of the most successful people on earth and shares their strategies, perspectives, and practical insights with the rest of us. In this episode, you’ll learn what emotional intelligence is and how you can improve it to have a positive impact on your relationships. We’ll also dive into how you can improve your self-awareness which is something that can be a challenge for anyone.
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Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of “Relationship Alive”. This is your host, Neil Sattin. On today’s show, we’re going to explore the question of how to relate better with your partner, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your whomever with other people in your life and perhaps, also how you relate better to yourself. And when I talk about relating better, I’m going to distinguish it a little bit from the kinds of things that we typically talk about on the show because we’re really talking about, more often than not, establishing emotional safety and how to handle problems and those kinds of things. But I wanted to bring in an expert who can really dive into the topic of: What does it even mean to develop a relationship with someone and what are the kinds of conditions that make that easier so that you’re actually more efficient in how you communicate, you’re more likely to actually like each other? And on the flip side, what are the kinds of things that you might want to steer away from, that would be undermining the ways that you’re relating to the people around you and specifically in your partnership?
Neil Sattin: So, today’s guest is… This came about in an unusual way. We actually got chatting on LinkedIn, of all places. I’m hardly ever on LinkedIn, but in the process and just talking about our podcasts, deciding that this person would be a great guest for the show to talk about these things that I just mentioned to you. His name is Jordan Harbinger, and he is formerly the host of the Art of Charm Podcast, which you may have heard of. He now has his own show and it’s already gotten over a million downloads in its first month alone, and he is focused on how to develop these skills of relatedness and succeed in your life, in your connections. And I’m really excited to have you here with me today, Jordan. So, welcome to Relationship Alive.
Jordan Harbinger: Hey, thanks for having me on, man. It is weird. I’m never on LinkedIn. I go on once a month to kinda go, “Hey, I’m never on LinkedIn stop sending me messages here.” And there you were.
Neil Sattin: And yeah, it was kinda like that, I think. Yeah. I think, in fact, your message to me said, “Hey, if we know each other, connect with me on Facebook,” or something like that.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. If we know each other, then you probably should know I’m never going to answer this message if you reply. Yeah, that’s pretty much what it was.
Neil Sattin: That’s so funny. And yet there we were.
Jordan Harbinger: Yep.
Neil Sattin: So, Jordan, here we are, you’re on the heels of getting your new show going. Tell me in a nutshell, what do you like to say is your specialty? When you’re helping people out in life, what’s your elevator pitch in a sense of how you are helping people achieve more success in their lives?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So for now, what I do on the Jordan Harbinger Show is I study the thoughts, the actions, and habits of brilliant people and ask them interesting questions so that the audience can apply that same wisdom for themselves. So, I steal guests’ superpowers and deliver them to the listener.
Neil Sattin: Awesome.
Jordan Harbinger: And so, that’s what I do on the show. But what we do at “Advanced Human Dynamics”, which is my training company where we teach live events, have products and things like that, where we teach networking rapport, relationship development for professional reasons and things like that. Essentially, that slogan is TBD, I guess you would say but really what we do is we teach emotional intelligence in a systematic way that anyone can learn and understand.
Neil Sattin: Perfect. That may be the title of this episode. And let’s dive in there. I watched a video of yours prior to this conversation, and I think a great place to start is this concept of ABG, or to “Always Be Giving”. And especially in the context of relationship because a lot of the times when people come to me as a coach, they’re in this place of scarcity in their relationship. And when I start suggesting that, well, the way to get to the other side and to actually feel good about your relationship is to start showing up even more brightly, more brilliantly and more, in some respect, selflessly in your relationship. People sometimes look at me cross-eyed like, “Wait a minute. Well, I came here to tell you just how much my partner is failing me.” So, let’s start maybe with a concept of “Always Be Giving” and where that’s come from for you and why it’s so important.
Jordan Harbinger: Sure. So, the reason that this is important, I’d love to say, I had this great moment in my life where I realized that this had to happen for me. What really happened was I was pretty good in school when I was a kid and then, I got to college and everybody was smart and I couldn’t just rely on that so, I had to outwork everyone. I shifted my competitive advantage to outworking everyone from just being smart enough to teach myself Geometry the day of a test, right? And then when I got to Wall Street as an attorney, everyone was smart and everyone was working 20 hours a day, seven days a week or 16 hours or whatever it was.
Jordan Harbinger: And so I didn’t have a competitive advantage. And I started to learn how to build relationships, to try to get to the top of the law game, to become a partner to bring in business. And what I’d realized was schmoozing and handing out business cards and all that stuff. It really didn’t work trying to take classes from, no offense to the Dale Carnegie organization, they do great stuff, but trying to learn how to win friends and influence people from a guy in a sweater vest at the YMCA just was very limited. You would take those classes and you’d go, great, you’ve gotta have a firm handshake and you’ve gotta have good eye contact, and you gotta use these mnemonic devices to remember that someone’s kids played tennis. But at the same time, if somebody doesn’t like you and they’re not giving your law firm business, it’s not because, “Well, you broke eye contact a little too early there, let’s give the business to the other guys.” It’s because they don’t freaking like you or they don’t trust you.
Jordan Harbinger: So I dedicated myself to figuring out what was going on there, and that’s where the principle of ABG came from. ’cause if your ABC, Always be closing, you’re trying to close business, you’re trying to close… You’re trying to match people with a service that you provide. So if I meet you, I go, “What do you do?” And you go, “Oh, I’m a relationship coach,” and I go, “Ah I don’t need that.” And I move on to the next person. Your experience of me is kinda like, “That wasn’t so great,” and I don’t really get any social capital from dealing with you. You don’t get anything from me. It’s a waste of both of our time. I’m searching for needles in haystacks if I’m trying to generate legal referrals, but if I’m ABG, always be generous or always be giving. This is logistically easier because I’m not trying to match a need that you have with a service I provide. I’m just trying to find out who in my network would be a good connection with you. That opens up all kinds of opportunity. “Oh, you’re a relationship coach? Oh man. I have a bunch of friends in that industry.”
Jordan Harbinger: “Do you know this person, this person, this person? Oh, what are you looking for in your business? Are you looking for clients like that? Oh, then you should go on some of these podcasts that my friends run, they do these relationship things. Maybe you guys could be a fit.” So in that respect, ABG shifts the value proposition in sales terms from your skill, if you’re a graphic designer or a lawyer, it shifts it to becoming your network itself. Right. So, everybody I meet, I try to plug into somebody else in my network. I meet a CPA. “Great. I know a bunch of cryptocurrency investors that don’t know how to plan for taxes. Let me introduce you.” “Are you a relationship coach? Great. I know a bunch of people who could probably use your help. Let me plug you into them.” I’m not trying to match it to myself. I’m trying to match it to others. I’m not thinking about what I’m going to get in return. I have no attachment to what I’m going to get in return. So it becomes scalable for me to network with anybody and it becomes something that I don’t have to think about because I’m not trying to get something for myself. Does that all make sense?
Neil Sattin: Yeah, absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: So this wasn’t of some kind of spiritual awakening type of deal that I need, that I found. It was never anything like that. It was always something to do with the practicality of the situation. It was always just, hey, this is working. It wasn’t because I’m a great, nice guy and I decided I’m just going to be giving. That I’d like to think is the truth. But when I look back, it was surely a matter of practicality. The reason I kept doing it for 11 years, throughout my business was because I was teaching this as a skill and it was a really nice way to live because people go, Jordan’s so nice. He keeps doing these valuable things for me in my business. I really like dealing with him. It paid off very quickly later on, but I certainly started for selfish reasons, and I encourage everybody to just try it. You don’t have to be this pushover who gets walked on. Just try this from a purely logistical standpoint, it’s still going to be a win for you.
Neil Sattin: And where this also for me, connects into what might happen in a romantic partnership, is if you’re always focused on what the other person can do for you, then, as you said, that’s not scalable. There’s a very limited number of interactions that you can have. And I think the way people in relationships often experience that is a slow deadening of their connection because there are only so many possibilities right for how they’re going to interact with each other. But as they learn to not only enjoy each other’s company but also to really support each other in being big and bright in the world. So creating those connections to others in life for their partner or supporting their partner in how they do that, then that creates a ton more energy and vibrancy, and it does, I think, feedback into the system, that vibrancy and energy becomes something that strengthens your relationship, as opposed to what people often experience which is, “Oh, that threatens me.” Which would, I think, be why like in a business setting, someone might not connect two people because they might be like, “Oh, well that’s… Then I’m kind of cutting myself out of the equation” and at the risk of being cliche – It’s sort of like the scarcity mindset versus the abundance mindset.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I appreciate that for sure. And I also… The reason I say try it from a selfish perspective is because I don’t want to… I’m always about the abundance mindset, and I’m always about trying things that are good for other people. I realize that’s a hard sell, especially if you’re in your 20s or even in your 30s, and you’re thinking, “No, no, no, you don’t understand. I need to get things for myself because I’ve been too lax with that.” Or, “I know I need to help myself first.” That’s an easier sell for most people, especially guys, I’ve found. So I go, “Go ahead and try it from a purely selfish perspective and it’ll still work as a tactic.” But what you’ll quickly find is, “Gee, I really like being nice and helping other people because this is really fun.” And, “Holy crap does this work!” But also, I look like a great guy and I feel like a great guy. So I’m going to start being good in my relationships with other people and generous in my relationships with other people, all the time because it seems limitless at that point.
Jordan Harbinger: But if you just tell people, “No, no, no, trust me. Turn the other cheek and forgive people, and ABG.” They go, “Okay, whatever. I’m broke. You don’t understand.” Like, “This, I need this. You don’t get it.” It becomes a problem and you have to sort of fight. You have to sell it like, “No, no, no, no. This is better for your psyche.” And people who go, “I don’t care about that. I need to win.” So try it, you’ll still win. You’ll win either way.
Neil Sattin: Since you were mentioning the… Trust has come up a couple of times already, I’m curious for you, What do you think are the key components of developing trust with someone, and maybe this is someone new? And then this also again, comes up a lot in relationships where breakdowns happen and you’re in a position where you have to rebuild trust with your partner.
Jordan Harbinger: Sure. This is a huge subject. I’m sure you’ve done 700 hours on this particular topic. But when you’re trying to bring trust into a new relationship, it’s probably likely… It’s likely a lot of the same stuff that you would do in any relationship. But I think any new relationship really… We’re evolved to figure out quickly whether or not someone’s trustworthy. And this isn’t like, “Look at their eyes and if they’re looking upward, they’re lying and not trustworthy.” We really are as humans, sort of evolved to trust certain people implicitly and not trust other people; the outsiders of the tribe implicitly. So the top things that I think you can do are small gestures that show that you do what you say you were going to do if that makes sense.
Neil Sattin: Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: So these small gestures that you would want to do. For example, going back on the ABG subject, if I say, “Neil, man, this is really great. I would love to introduce you to a few people.” And you go, “Yeah, I would love those introductions.” And then I never do it. You’re not like, “Jordan’s a jerk. He never introduced me to those people. I hate him.” But what you are thinking is, “Yeah, I guess he’s just one of those guys who is too busy and he forgot.” Or, “He offers to do something, but then it doesn’t quite materialize. That’s fine, whatever. No, I don’t hate him or anything.” But you don’t trust me. You might still like me but you don’t really trust me. So we’re not going to end up doing business together because if I… Most likely. Because if I decide to do something and I say, “Hey, you know, you and I should create a product.” You’re thinking, “Yeah, but you also said that you would introduce me to those people and that never happened, so I’ll take it with a grain of salt.” On the other hand, these very small gestures of, “Hey, I should make these introductions.” If I do those the same day that we met, generally, that signals professionalism in a way that is trustworthy. You go, “Wow, okay. He actually just did that. It didn’t take a week. I didn’t have to remind him. He didn’t forget.
Jordan Harbinger: He wrote it down and he did it.” Literally, that’s unusual. We find that unusual in today’s day and age for someone to actually do what they say they’re going to do, which the bar is low, for that basic level of trust. And so I say, create an opportunity for yourself, in that you’re going to make an introduction, you’re going to send somebody a piece of knowledge, an article, a book, something like that. It really, really easily is attainable. You can really generate some trust right off the bat that’s easily attainable, I should say. And so what I mean is, create that opportunity, follow through on that opportunity and you’ll end up with a slight amount of trust. Now, this isn’t going to be like, “Hey, I made those introductions. Can you lend me 10 grand?” But you build it up over time and it’s always these little things that count. It’s showing up on time, not flaking the morning of the day before. And I know what people are thinking, “Well, those sound more like habits than ways to build trust.” I find that people who are untrustworthy, they’re not necessarily bad people. Sure, you should distrust some people because they are bad. They will screw you over. But most people are simply irresponsible. It’s more of a negligent lack of trust. Does that make sense?
Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah. And I’m just… I’m letting that percolate a little bit ’cause I think that’s totally true that, in the end, yeah, it’s just kind of people’s inability… That trust is really the whole sum of what you experience with a person and their consistency. And their consistency has a lot to do with their integrity and their ability to just follow through on basic commitments, is what it comes right down to.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And I know that that sounds like a dumb technique, but the reason that we don’t trust people is, it seems like, “Oh, well, this person cheated on me.” Great, yeah, distrust them. That makes sense. Usually though, when we have a casual lack of trust, it’s not because of a big lapse. It’s literally because of, “Well, yeah, they say they’re going to be there at [4:00], but… ” And you know people like this, “Yeah, Jim said he’s going to be here at [4:00].” “No, no, no, no. Let’s just go to the restaurant. He can meet us there.” “Oh, what? Why?” “Yeah, yeah, Jim’s not going to be there at [4:00]. Let’s just go eat. We’ll order some appetizers and some drinks and we’ll wait for him to show up,” and sure enough Jim rolls in at [5:15], and everyone knows that. And that seems like that’s just him. But how many people are making plans with him all the time and relying on him to do what he says? We always have to build in a buffer. I have friends like this in my circle. “Oh yeah, she’s not going to be ready on time. Let’s just go there. She can meet us there. We wait for her, we’re going to be two hours late every time.” And we all have people like that in our lives. We tend to go, “Lack of trust is this big giant thing. How do we make up for a lack of trust in a relationship and a friendship and an intimate relationship?” Man, that’s not it.
Jordan Harbinger: It’s not showing up on time. It’s not doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s offering to do something and then failing. It’s changing your mind and not having the guts to tell somebody that you changed your mind, so you just hope they forget. So you fail them in that way. That’s how lack of trust starts. It’s a set of habits that you have regardless of whether or not you’re treating everyone like that, that’s really the reason people don’t like and trust people I shouldn’t even say like and trust. It’s a reason people don’t trust others, and trust is more important for business. It may be different in personal relationships, but I personally have done plenty of business with people that I don’t necessarily like that much, but that I trust. It’s the most important thing. I know there are people that aren’t going to rip me off that are going to show up on time, that are going to deliver when they say they’re going to deliver, but I wouldn’t necessarily hang out with them. But there are plenty of people that I hang out with all the time where if they said, “Hey, we should do this business together,” I would say, “No offense, but hell no.”
Jordan Harbinger: I think we all probably could think of people like that if we had to.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, and one other thing that occurs to me too, is how helpful it can be. So if you’re sitting here and you’re listening to all these things and you’re like, well, honestly, a little bit like me, or you’re like, “Oh shit, I’ve done that. I see how I’ve undermined trust left and right”. To be willing to actually show that you are noticing that about yourself, so potentially as a way to repair lapses in trust with your friends and your partner, to be able to say, “Hey, ” know I made this commitment and I recognize that I didn’t do that.” Or, “I recognize that I didn’t show up on time when I said I was going to.” ‘Cause I think one of the things that really is detrimental is when there’s this unspoken, like, “Does this person even realize what they’re doing? Or maybe it’s intentional,” that’s where you get into that question of, “Is it negligence or is it actual malicious intent?” So much can be clarified by actually connecting around that very thing.
Jordan Harbinger: I agree with you. Yeah, I agree with you 100%, and I think it’s something we don’t normally think about really.
Neil Sattin: I wonder Jordan, for you, when you look at the big picture of being giving, making connections, how do you suggest someone recognize in themselves the ways that they are doing really well and then the ways that they’re falling short so that they could do a self-diagnosis on their ability to show up and be trustworthy and make great connections with people?
Jordan Harbinger: Well, that’s a cool question. I haven’t put a ton of thought into this, but I’ll tell you right now, one of the best ways to get this kind of feedback or to get this kind of assessment done would be to get feedback with other people that will tell you the truth. We don’t always have friends like this, but I think that we all have a friend or two like this where we can say, “hey, look, do people think that I show up… What is my reputation like?” And they go “oh everyone loves you men what are you talking about?” “no, no like what is my reputation like, do people trust me, etcetera?” And people go, “yeah, of course, they trust you.” So if you have an inkling though of what your flaw might be, I would ask specifically about that. So I would say “I did borrow money from you guys for John’s birthday, and it took me like a year to pay everyone back. Does anybody talk about that, think about that?”. “Do you talk about that think about that”. “Honestly, I’m looking for real honest feedback here”, and I’ve done this in my social circle.
Jordan Harbinger: I know other people in our circles evade honest conversations about this. Sometimes invited by the other party and other times foisted upon them for good reason. It’s very important because people will say, “Yeah, honestly, I’ve thought twice about lending money to you and your girlfriend and in recent past, because it did take me a year to get paid back. I had to ask like 10 times and it just got awkward and I felt like it sort of poisoned friendship a little bit, we’re still super tight, still love you guys, but I don’t want to go through that again ’cause it was kind of a pain.” Oh, okay. Maybe you should work on that. Maybe you don’t realize how that’s been affecting certain people in your circle. Other people who show if you think you show up late and it’s fine, you might want to say, “Hey, I realize I’m always the last one here,” and don’t do this to the whole group during a party. [chuckle] They’re not going to want to answer this at that point. This is like, you’re hanging out with your friend on a balcony, relaxing having a beer at the end of the night, or you show up and you’re the only person there having coffee with a buddy, or you have a phone call and you go, “Hey man look, I just want some honest feedback.”
Jordan Harbinger: You have to frame it that you want honest to goodness feedback, ask one person at a time. Because then you’re more likely not to get a group going, “Hey it’s Tim’s birthday, let’s talk about this another time.” “Oh, you’re good bro, don’t worry about it, it’s fine. Here have a beer. Change the subject.” That’s not going to get you legit feedback. You really need to find one or two people that you think are going to give you honest feedback and you need to get them alone. And then you need to ask about the specific things ’cause I would say Neil that you kinda know. Right, if you’re going, “I don’t get why people to trust me,” either you have a massive lack of self-awareness, or you’ve somehow forgotten about an incident, or maybe there’s some other devious stuff going on, but probably not. Probably you know that you’re always the last one there because it takes you two hours to get ready and you don’t plan ahead.
Jordan Harbinger: Probably you know that you’ve owed people a thousand dollars for two years and you think they forgot, but they didn’t. But they’re too polite to say anything and you’re just kinda dodging it. You know this stuff, you know it. You know? That becomes problematic. When it’s more vague is when you go, “Hey, do you find that I complain too much?” “Oh yeah. Actually, I wasn’t going to say anything, but yes, you do. You’ve been very negative since your break up or your divorce, and we understand it ’cause it’s rough, but sometimes it does grate on other people.” That’s harder to get because you might not even notice.
Neil Sattin: Right.
Jordan Harbinger: But for all this other stuff, man, come on, you know? You know.
Neil Sattin: Yeah. The phrase that’s coming to me ironically, is from 12 step, the fearless moral inventory, like actually being willing to just sit down and make a list of all those things where you just know.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that’s great. I like that. And you do, you just know. “Oh, why didn’t I get promoted, this is BS. The other guy just brown nosed the boss”. “So have you ever failed on a project?” “No.” “Well, what time do you show up for work”? “[9:30].” “What time does everybody else show up for work?” “[8:30].” “Okay, so you show up an hour later than everyone else.” “What time do you leave?” “[5:00].” “What time does everyone else leave?” “Five, maybe a little later.” “Okay, so you show up late and you leave early?” “Well yeah, but I get my work done. I’m really good at it.” “Are you? Who’s been the project lead on everything?” “Well, the other guy.” “Alright, well, what’s going on here?” “Alright, fine.” “So is it really ’cause he brown nosed the boss? Or you just not really giving it your all?” You have to be honest with yourself about this. You do know, you know, you at least have a clue.
Neil Sattin: Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: No one…
Neil Sattin: This does get tricky, right? Because you get into that zone of self-assessment and people… I forget what the effect is, there’s some name for it, but where people always assess themselves better than the world might objectively assess them, or that you don’t necessarily know what you don’t know and you probably run into this in terms of teaching people emotional intelligence skills where they’re like, wow, it finally kinda dawns in them, “Wow I didn’t realize that by not taking a moment to actually listen to what someone was telling me and let it affect me in some way that they were feeling like I didn’t even hear them.” That there are probably core skills or awarenesses that people don’t have because they haven’t been able to experience the world through that filter, through that lens.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think you’re probably right, there’s going to be some people that don’t know what they don’t know, and that could be caused by a lot of different things like if you’ve got a substance abuse problem, then maybe you’re not thinking about the fact that you owed someone $500 for two years. You’ve got other stuff on your plate. So maybe this will come in handy then. But I think for the average moderately more or less healthy person, there’s going to be stuff where you kinda think you’re getting away with it, and then you’re like, “ah, it’s fine. She never complains about this. So it’s fine.” My wife a couple of weeks ago, asked me, she goes, “What percentage of the housework would you say that you do?” And I went, “Oh, I don’t know, 5%?” And she goes, “Really?” And I go, “Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe even less.” And she goes, “No, I would say you do between five and 10 percent.” And I said, “Oh, great.” And she goes, “I’m really glad to hear you say that.” And I said, “Why?” And she goes, “‘Cause I thought you were going to say like 50%” and I said, “No, not a chance.”
Jordan Harbinger: She was very pleased to hear that. She didn’t say, “You gotta get off your ass and do more.” But she was very glad to hear that I didn’t think that I was doing exactly the same amount of stuff as she was, ’cause I’m not, and I’m very aware of that. But if she went, “You know, it kinda bothers me that you don’t do this and this and this and this,” I would have known that I had behavior change coming. And I think a lot of people don’t necessarily realize this. I think a lot of people go, “Oh yeah, I pull my own weight around here.” And the whole team is kinda like shaking their head going, “What are you talking? Are you serious? You really think that you do the same amount of work on our projects as us. We’re just waiting until somebody figures out you don’t do squat and you get fired. Are you crazy?”
Jordan Harbinger: You know, you should figure that out on your own or with the help of other people in the team before you have a performance review at work. Or before you have a significant other that goes, “You know what, I am so sick and tired of you freeloading and not paying rent, and having me do all the work and you’re playing Xbox when I get home. Who the hell do you think you are?” You know that there’s a hint there, and if you don’t, you can get a hint by asking. Most people are going to give you that hint. And look, if you ask, and the other person goes, “No, it’s totally fine.” And then when you break up, she’s like, “There are 87 things wrong with you,” then they’re to share for some of that blame. But at the end of the day who’s suffering the consequences, you are. So figure it out.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah this makes me think a little bit too of that strategy that a lot of people use when they’re single where you say, identify your ideal partner and then you figure out, “Well, who would I have to be in order to have this amazing partner?” There’s an element of that in what we’re talking about. It’s being willing to look at yourself and say, “Okay, who would I have to be to be in an amazing relationship if my relationship is suffering or if my work life is suffering? Who would I have to be… ” Being willing to, sure, look out around because there are probably some examples of that in the people who are doing better at it than you. But also, I think it’s a great, great kinda counterpoint to be able to say like, “Oh yeah, if I wanted my partner to trust me, then maybe I would have to call home instead of just being AWOL for three hours after work or something along those lines.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think you’re probably right, and I think it’s tough to ask yourself that second question, “Who would I need to be?” Because what we find is that we go, “Here’s my dream partner. Well, who would I need to be to get this person? Are you kidding me? I’m freakin’ phenomenal. [chuckle] I’m already there. I’m authentically me. I’m just want to be myself.” And I noticed, this is kinda funny too ’cause you see, I noticed men do this a lot. They go, “If she doesn’t like me for me, then screw it.” And I go, “Okay, well, you’re wearing a jersey with a mustard stain on it. You’re a little bit overweight, okay, you’re a lot overweight. You clearly don’t care at work. You’re not really trying to get ahead. And what kind of woman are you looking for? Oh, someone that goes to the gym, takes care of herself, looks really good, gets really done up to go out, impresses all your friends, has an education.” So, they have to work their butt off, but you get to be authentically you? [chuckle] That seems fair, right?
Jordan Harbinger: And it’s like, “Oh, well, if she doesn’t like me for me, then fine. Well, good, she doesn’t like you for you. You are not good enough. You do not deserve what you want. No one really says that though, right? That’s kind of not cool to be that guy in a friendship or the very many relationship coaches are not going to say, “You really don’t deserve what you want,” because the client goes, “Screw you. I’m going to hire somebody else.” I kind of understand that, but that’s not very effective coaching wise. I think a lot of guys especially… And I say this among guys, it’s really probably equally shared, but I used to coach guys far more than women, and a lot of guys just don’t deserve what they want. [laughter] They really don’t. They’re not putting in any effort at all, and yet they expect the complete polar inverse when they are going for a member of the opposite sex and… Or even the same sex. There are plenty of same-sex relationships [chuckle] where one party goes, “Well, he just has to like me for me, or she just has to like me for me.” And they’re putting in absolutely no effort, but expect the other party to do so.
Jordan Harbinger: So you have to work on yourself and become who you need to be to get that person involved with you. You have to have a world that is so welcoming that somebody else wants to be a part of it. You can’t just take that for granted, especially if you don’t really want to be a part of your world. Think about what kind of person that’s going to attract.
Neil Sattin: What do you think is the obstacle for people being willing to put in the effort? Because it does require effort to not just coast, to not just leave the mustard stain on your shirts.
Jordan Harbinger: Some of it self-awareness and the other part is a little bit of fear that I think is healthy. Well, there’s healthy and unhealthy fear, of course, as you know. The unhealthy fear is, “Well, shoot. If I try and I dress in clothes that fit and I get rid of the mustard stain, what if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I try to grow and I still get rejected, that’s going to signal something about who I am as a person instead of just me being able to say, “Oh, these shallow folks, they’re not… They don’t like me for me.” That’s a lot easier and a little bit nicer. The other side of that fear is, “Holy crap. I’m not even sure that I know how to get out of this.” So it’s easier to rationalize that you don’t have to. Does that make sense?
Neil Sattin: Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: The side of the fear is, “I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I’m just going to say, I should be good enough as I am because I heard that somewhere. Then the other side of that coin is, “What if I do know what to do and I bust my butt and I get coaching from Neil, and I go to the workshops that Jordan has and I create a great network around me and I get a good career, and I still can’t get the people in my life that I want, that then signals that I’m inherently not good enough and that’s my worst nightmare. It’s not a conscious level of thought. Does that make sense?
Neil Sattin: Right. Yeah, yeah, it makes a lot of sense. And yeah, I’m just thinking about someone being in that position and what it would take ’cause at that point, yeah, it does take a lot of willingness and courage to even maybe see that that’s what’s going on with you. Then, yeah, what do you find can help incentivize someone to take that other step? In other words…
Jordan Harbinger: So…
Neil Sattin: I’m imagining too, there could be a lot of people listening to this episode and who are thinking, “Holy shit, I wish I could just get my partner to take that kind of level of responsibility for themselves.” To see that, “Oh yeah. If they started to show up with a little bit more ferocity with their lives, how much better our lives together would be.” But they need something that’s maybe better than a kick in the ass, although maybe that’s what it takes sometimes.
Jordan Harbinger: It does take that sometimes. It really does take… It takes a compassionate kick in the ass if it’s a friend or if somebody else in your relationship. So here’s how… Here’s an example of how not to do this. So I had somebody write me recently and go, “I just got married and my wife is not interested in me anymore”. I said, “Wow, that’s highly unusual. You’re a month after your wedding”. What happened was they were both really overweight, and the wife lost 110 pounds for the wedding. Then she started saying, “I’m not interested in you anymore because you’re still overweight, and you didn’t lose any weight.” I’m thinking, “I don’t think that that’s true. Maybe she’s really, really self-centered, and she’s really not interested in you and she really thinks that she’s outgrown you, but that seems unlikely because you did just get married.” So my hunch was she’s trying to motivate him by saying, “I’m basically not going to sleep with you until you start getting yourself together because I did it. I know it’s possible.” I’d like to think that that’s her positive intent, but I think it’s a really negative way to do that by making your partner feel like crap and undesirable doesn’t exactly get them to want to go, “You know what? I’m going to get desirable again by watching what I eat and going to work out all the time.
Jordan Harbinger: Thanks, babe.” This is probably how she was raised, and how she was motivated by her parents, which backfired, and caused unhealthy habits on her part, which is probably why she was obese in the first place. Potentially, why she was obese in the first place, so there’s this unhealthy negative motivation. I think they both need to work on that. That’s how you don’t do it, right? The way to do it would be to do it together or if you don’t need to lose weight if you’re fit, and your partner’s not, and you really want to motivate them, to make it easy for them and say, “Look, I want you to be around for a long time. I want to be able to enjoy things with you that are going to take physical prowess, and I want to be able to go hiking on the Great Wall of China. And I want to be able to be around for our grandkids. And I’m going to start making healthy food, and I’m going to make stuff that you like that’s healthy. And I want you to go to the gym with me. And I want you to follow this program with me because I care about you.” You have to motivate people that way.
Jordan Harbinger: And if they don’t want to do it for themselves, they’ll probably do it for you as their partner. It’s different though when it’s a friend. When it’s a friend, sometimes all you can do is have the harsh truth because you’re not going to say, “Look, I don’t want to be friends with you ’cause you’re overweight.” That’s ridiculous. But what you might say is, “Hey, you’re not allowed to complain about relationship stuff anymore because the reason you’re not attracting the women that you want and the men that you want is because you are not in good shape. And you only go after people that are. They’re not going to be interested in you. I’m happy to go to the gym with you. I’m happy to get you on a fitness plan. I’m happy to be your accountability buddy. Text me in the morning. I’ll text you in the morning, and make sure that you’re eating right, make sure that you’re going to the gym,” things like that. That’s fine. But the reason you’re not getting what you want is because you aren’t doing what you need to do to become who you need to be to get what you want.
Jordan Harbinger: And sometimes, that’s the best thing you can do as a friend because really, you can’t punish people more than a certain degree as a friend. Because what are you going to do? Cut them off? “You’re not allowed to come over anymore because you’re fat.” That’s completely ridiculous. So you have to do it with love as cheesy as that might sound. But some people will not respond to that. But then you have to say, look, you are not allowed to complain about being unhappy because you’re single while you’re eating a bag of chicharrones for dinner every night. You’re just not allowed. I’m not going to hear it. We have a solution. You don’t want the solution. So I’m not going to suffer through this anymore. And I know that that sounds harsh, but a lot of times, that social isolation is all you can do as a friend. But you can’t isolate them so much that they don’t have you in their life anymore or you won’t be able to influence them.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, interesting. ’cause I am. I’m struck by the difference in the different kinds of relationships that exist. And how yeah, a friend like for some people, friend groups come and go. It seems a lot more common for someone to feel like somehow they got stuck for instance in this relationship like, “I’m with this person.” Maybe we have two kids together, so now I’m really with this person. And what do I do like “They don’t want to change?” I’m changing. I’m trying to grow. I’m trying to do everything that I can to have a great life and to make this great. But they’re not motivated at all. And what do I do? And I think with that comes, “I like the feeling of accountability.” This is actually something we were just talking about on the show with Cheryl Richardson. She talks a lot about self-care and boundaries. But that question of like, “Look, I don’t want to dwell any more on the, ‘What’s going wrong with us?'” Like, “There are things that we could actually do about this.”
Neil Sattin: So either you’re willing to do them or some of the harsh reality is maybe we do “isolate ourselves from each other.” Maybe we do break up. If we can actually steer this in a good direction or if you have a friend who’s consistently complaining, and even with getting that tough love from you, they still don’t want to shift. Well, you’re probably naturally going to evolve apart anyway, would be my guess.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I would agree with that. Yeah, I would agree with that.
Neil Sattin: So I’m wondering for you when you are helping someone come up the curve in terms of their emotional intelligence, do you have a checklist in the back of your head that’s like, “Okay, I want to make sure someone has the ability to stay present when they’re actually having a conversation with someone. I want to make sure they have the ability to connect with other people and be giving. I want to make sure that they know how to make little commitments and actually follow through on them”? Are there other things along those lines that you think are really the core aspects of what I think we’ve been talking about this whole time, which is encouraging people to sort of show the fuck up in their lives and to not coast and to really be engaged with the people and the opportunities that are around them?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I do have a rough checklist, but I’ll tell you that the way that we run things at our Advanced Human Dynamics events are usually… The first few events or first few sessions are kind of about eliciting that checklist, ’cause it does differ from person to person. So some of the things that we do, for example, would be, I might videotape an interaction, with your permission of course. But I might videotape an interaction. It’s like, “Oh, okay, you are not present because you’re thinking about what to say next ’cause you often you’re trying to figure out how to be clever. Alright, we have to fix that because being clever is not as important as being present.” Or, “Oh, okay, interesting. You’re invading psychological space. That’s something that’s probably going to cause other people to play defense, which is going to inhibit your ability to connect with them.” Or, “Wow, you got really vulnerable really fast in a way that was a little bit uncalibrated for a professional situation that’s probably blowing up in your face and causing people to put walls up because they don’t want to reciprocate in such a vulnerable fashion.”
Jordan Harbinger: And the example here is we had a guy that was saying… Actually a better example… We had a woman that was saying something like, within the first few minutes of meeting people, “I was in an abusive relationship for 10 years, and we have a kid together.” And I was like, “Whoa! Hang on, man. That’s a good share for something later on. You don’t know these people.” So it can be problematic. You could be triggering someone else’s stuff, you could be coming across as a victim, big time. It’s problematic. You’re going to run into people’s filters and you’re going to end up getting screened out. And they go, “Oh, I thought I was just being vulnerable, I thought this was helpful. I just went to some self-help seminar, where they told me to dah dah dah.” I’m like, “Okay, that’s just not appropriate for every situation.”
Jordan Harbinger: And most people know, things like that so I’m giving you extreme examples. However, it’s not uncommon for somebody to be a close-talker and invade psychological space. It’s not uncommon for someone to be a little bit too touchy-feely. Maybe they even come from a different culture, where that’s okay, but it doesn’t make sense in a professional American context. Or maybe someone isn’t showcasing any vulnerability, maybe they’re doing this thing where they’re trying to take up a lot of space because they read on some message board that alpha men take up space, so they’re spreading out and other people are like, how rude is this guy? He’s taking up three seats and I’m standing. But he’s thinking, I’m alpha right now!
Jordan Harbinger: So I have these checklists that say things like, are you trying to broadcast a specific image? If so, is that image appropriate for the context? And if not, can we try to do this in another way by consciously or forming new habits? And sometimes it’s a matter of going, hey, you don’t have to be “alpha”, you just look like a douche. And they go, oh, thank God I took a coaching class last year and I’ve been struggling with this forever because I feel like such a turd. And you go, yeah you shouldn’t do this, it’s not helping you and they go, oh, thank God. ‘Cause their other coach or their other boot camp or their other whatchamacallit is some book they read, told them they have to do this or they’re going to get walked on.
Jordan Harbinger: And you’ve probably seen guys like this and we see them on the internet, where they… The catchphrase of some of these guys is like, I don’t give a fuck. And it’s like, no, no, no. You give so many fucks that you don’t even know who you are anymore, that’s… I don’t give a fuck, I’ll do whatever I want. No, no, no. You’re doing what this other group of guys tells you that you should want because you’re giving all of the fucks. You have no fucks left.
Jordan Harbinger: You’re being programmed by other people and it’s still not working, and people still don’t like you. So you’re trying to reject them, but really, you’ve already been rejected, so it’s not helping. How do you feel? And then a lot of times those guys go, “Lonely!” It’s like, “Well, yeah, of course, because your only friends are weirdos on Reddit, that tell you to take up space and to not care about other people. How do you think they’re working out in life?” So I try to elicit those checklists from men and women that come through the program because people really have their own individual hang-ups and they really wear… We really wear them on our sleeve as humans.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, there’s something in what you’re saying that where I find myself getting even kind of sad thinking about all of the, well for lack of a better word, propaganda that’s out there about games to play, ways to get other people interested in you. And I feel like there’s a pretty big distinction between what we’ve been talking about, which is really more about being in your integrity and in your authenticity, versus let’s say having the checklist of, “Okay, I got a… ” For the typical advice for a guy, “I gotta take up space, be the alpha guy, show them that I know how to lead, etcetera, etcetera,” where they get lost in… And it’s the same, especially the gendered stuff. If you want to be a woman who gets a guy, all that stuff. I think it robs people a lot of the magic that really happens when they’re willing to just show up and be who they are and notice, like, “Oh, even though I think this person is really attractive, there’s actually nothing there between us, so why would I want to like somehow game them into being interested in me because in the end, we don’t really have anything. Whereas by being present, I get to sense, ‘Oh, but there are all these other people that I really do relate to and we actually create magic when we’re interacting with each other.'”
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think that getting help in this space is tough because it requires a certain level of self-awareness, and it requires a desire to generate even more self-awareness, which can be really scary, especially if we perceive that we might be lacking in some area. It’s really uncomfortable. And then I mean this in a bad way, it’s uncomfortable to go, “Oh my gosh, I know there are problems and I’m going to ask someone else, possibly pay them to toss… Just rip the blanket off and look at what’s underneath,” and that’s really scary. So I think that we, especially guys, but men and women both, have a problem moving forward in this area. So I just want to close with the idea that this is in many ways about momentum. Once you find a weakness and you’re able to correct or fix or start working on it, in my opinion, Neil, it really becomes almost addictive because you go, “Holy crap, that wasn’t as hard as I thought. It didn’t feel terrible and it feels really good to have this under wraps, and now I can finally attack all these other little things.” And it becomes really fun to become who you need to be. So I don’t want to scare people away from it because I honestly really do feel like it becomes healthy and it becomes addictive in a good way to work on yourself. It’s just scary beforehand. Almost exclusively, it’s just scary beforehand.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, those are great. Great piece of advice there. Jordan, I really appreciate your time today and I’m wondering, do you have a moment for one more question?
Jordan Harbinger: I do.
Neil Sattin: Great. Before we got on the call, we were talking about some of the upheaval that’s been going on in your life, for lack of a better word. And if it’s okay for me to ask you a personal question, I’m curious to know, ’cause you’re married and in a time that’s created… Where there’s been a lot of stress, and those can sometimes be when we’re at our worst in our partnerships, I’m wondering what’s been helpful for you and your wife to stay connected with everything changing around you?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you know what’s funny? I work with my wife, so this might be unique to our situation, but all of this turmoil of relaunching the Jordan Harbinger show and Advanced Team and Dynamics and everything, all of a sudden after leaving The Art of Charm suddenly has actually brought us closer together. And I think one of the keys is being really aware when I’m negative because I tend to, when I get negative, get a little bit bummed out and/or take it out on whoever’s near me. That’s a very human thing to do. But I have to be really careful about that because I’m not doing this in the office during a stressful time, and then coming home and keeping it separate from the family. I work with my wife, so I gotta be really careful not to be like, I’m going to explode about this thing and then go, oh, I feel better, but meanwhile, everybody else is like, I don’t. So, I’ve had to become really conscious of that. I’ve had to do, I guess you would say, I’ve really actually almost ironically had to focus on self care because when I’m going to the gym, when I’m getting sun, when I’m walking outside, when I’m connecting with friends, I don’t have to just rely on my wife for emotional support, which can be exhausting for her and I’m actually able to support her too. Does that make sense?
Neil Sattin: Yeah, absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: So a lot of people go, oh, I gotta make sure I’m taking care of my family and I agree that you do. But one of the best ways to do that is making sure that you have the capacity for it and the way that you do that is through self-care. And a lot of people, when they hit hard times myself included, we don’t do self-care, we stop going to the gym, we start eating a bunch of crap, we drink more or whatever it is because it’s an emergency. We’re in emergency mode. Fight or flight, anxiety, not sleeping. That stuff diminishes your capacity to take care of those around you as well as yourself. And that’s when things start to break down. It’s like, “I’m doing everything I can for this other person.” It’s like, “Well, you are, but what you can do is 10% of what you should be doing because you’re a freaking mess.”
Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: So that’s what I’ve been working on.
Neil Sattin: Makes perfect sense. And I think that’s another place where it can be so challenging for people to be willing to prioritize that and to maybe do it in a way so that the people around them understand what’s going on. If you were completely absent and your wife was like, “Where are you going? Why aren’t you here?” Then that might be a different story. “Oh, I was just taking care of myself. I went to the movies, got myself a smoothie. Did you want one too?” You know, might be different.
Jordan Harbinger: It’s been really fun man. I appreciate the opportunity.
Neil Sattin: Yeah Jordan, thank you so much for being here with us on Relationship Alive and for me, it’s been a bit of a stretch having you here only because typically I’ve got people on like John Gottman and Sue Johnson who are writing books about relationships, and that’s what frames our conversations. And so I appreciate your willingness to get on and just go for it and see what we could come up with your vast expertise in those relational dynamics and to see what we could make practical for our listeners here. So thank you so much.
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, thank you, man. I appreciate the opportunity.
Neil Sattin: And if you are interested in finding out more about Jordan Harbinger, you can visit jordanharbinger.com. You can check out the Jordan Harbinger show, and his company, Advanced Human Dynamics, is developing online courses and events that you can visit, right?
Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we actually have a course up now. It’s free, and it’s about networking and relationship development. It’s very systematic. It’s all about not feeling like a smarmy business card slinger, and generating professional and personal relationships in a way that’s scalable, fun doesn’t take three hours a day, doesn’t involve you being a fake weirdo on the internet, etcetera. And that’s all at Advanced Human Dynamics. You just click level one in the corner, and I’ll teach you all the secrets.
Neil Sattin: Awesome. Well, thanks so much, Jordan. Great to have you here.
Jordan Harbinger: Thanks, Neil.
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