Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance 2020-10-26T15:29:21.960Z


Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-11-05T09:14:43.938Z · LW · GW

Do you have any evidence that happy people fall in love slower than happy people. So far I have only noticed a slight inverse relationship where crisis retard my romance response. All attempts to slow the response by having more friends failed (although being happier is nice for other reasons). Past attempts at PHTG have often succeeded.

If you believe that I fall in love faster than other people because I am “desperate” then all my past relationships should have collapsed when I told the person I liked them. This has not occurred. As long as I wait until the fifth of sixth interaction to say “I like you” the relationships are perfectly stable. Maybe that model just applies to certain people

After I’ve had sex with a woman a few times I find being affectionate is punished much less. It’s a temporary strategy to get through the early stages of courtship. I’m sorry but “Acting for the rest of your life” is a bit melodramatic. On their first dates people pretend to be kinder, funnier, smarter, taller and hotter than they really are. They don’t keep pretending forever.

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-11-05T09:10:34.924Z · LW · GW
  • Meters-Briggs has a junk, so that’s fine. My past romantic partners have consistent big five profile either.

Sure there are sources of bias. I can’t control for them. But th

  1. No generalizability needed. It just has to work for me and the women I normally date. Who cares if it would work for the “average guy”

  2. I have no reason to assume a small effect size. My current positive rate on dates is 20%. Lots of room for improvement.

  3. The subjectivity isn’t a problem because I’m the analyst and implementer. I don’t need well defined terms like communicating an academic study. I can reproduce the study from memory whenever I want.

Finally, there is no real cost to the study. Currently I’m ambivalent between treatment and control.

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-11-05T09:01:39.888Z · LW · GW

Good question.

  • on the first date I do lots of flattery, both verbal and tonal
  • On the second date I may say “I like you” or mention that I am seeking a long term partner if asked
  • My body language tends to be more boyfriend
  • I know I want to date someone by the second date. Most women take much longer. I’m uninhibited so my intentions usually show
  • I overshare about myself (1st and 2nd dates)
  • I prefer to send longer/higher effort texts than most guys
  • sometimes I intentionally or unintentionally hide my attraction signals (verbal and body language). My last three relationships all started with that behavior.
  • I mention qualities I prefer in a long term partner on the first or second date (so stupid in retrospect)
  • I ask women what they want in a long term partner on the first or second date
Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-11-05T04:13:28.108Z · LW · GW

The main reason I settled on this strategy is the timing of my rejections. Almost all of my rejections come shortly after I make a signal of interest. It could be that women coincidentally smell my terrible BO when I mention I want a long-term patner, but I doubt it. Is that a 99/1 likelihood ratio proof?

No, but I have to start figuring this out somewhere.

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-10-27T17:41:30.772Z · LW · GW

Interesting question Bucky!

I think on a date eye contact is usually a signal of intimacy and interest. If you were in a meeting with your boss you might look at their chin or your shoes as a sign of submission, but people would never do this is in a date. On a date eye contact is more about intimacy, interest, rewarding good convesation, etc. Therefore I expect more eye contact in the successful case.

What else does eye contact signal? It also says something about interest in the topic. I do observe that when people lose interest they look away a lot on dates. But this could just mean I'm talking to much, or picked a bad topic. I think conversation style choices should be guided by a "host" mindset rather than a status mindset. Making the other person comfortable is your prime concern. But when your doing posture, speech speed, pacing personal information, or defining the relationship it might be the dominant concern.

What do you think Bucky?

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-10-27T15:35:10.614Z · LW · GW

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction with these! My degree is really frequentist and slow paced, excited to get to work on this analysis.

Clarification on null hypothesis:

The null hypothesis is that there is no difference in effect on the dependent variable from the treatment and control variables. I am not assessing the truth of the null hypothesis because if it is true, then I can pick whichever one I want. If control is better, then picking treatment is negative utility. If treatment is better then picking control is negative utility. If the null is true, then I am free to do treatment or control without suffering in either case. Therefore I gain no utility from a test to see if the null is true or not.

Consider shifting your tone when people know less stats than you. Saying " I suspect you don't know what a null hypothesis is" makes people feel defensive and not willing to take your useful advice. Try saying "can you clarify what you mean by ____" or "here's a common definition of a null hypothesis".

Clarification on dependent variables:

I was going to code the outcome as 1 if sex|second date. The thinking is that only women who are attracted to me have sex with me (but may not want to date, for lots of good reasons). Meanwhile many women who are attracted to me do go on a second date. But few women are attracted to me but do neither sex nor a second date. Since attraction is the concept I want to explain, this should have the best specificity and sensitivity of available measures.

I am considering a second DV using eye contact during date (qualitative) as a robustness check. I think some people do lots of eye contact on all dates as a subconscious influence strategy, so it has more false positives than the other two.

Comment by amplemaple on Babble challenge: 50 ways of solving a problem in your life · 2020-10-27T02:10:58.034Z · LW · GW

2 and 4 are both things I implemented with great results.

Do you have a good link about mind palaces?

Comment by amplemaple on Babble challenge: 50 ways of solving a problem in your life · 2020-10-27T02:07:36.250Z · LW · GW

I love so many of your ideas. Kink based dating apps. For me, 50 works okay but cant make up for too little social contact. 41 is great. 2 is good. I tried 1 but it took over my life.

Comment by amplemaple on Babble challenge: 50 ways of solving a problem in your life · 2020-10-27T01:53:10.634Z · LW · GW

Problem: I have few friends and am becoming depressed. I have a few roommates but they already have full social lives to fulfil them. The zoom calls at work are not sending my brain signals that I am an accepted member of the clan. Having been isolated like this before, I know I will become increasingly depressed until all my outputs suffer.

  1. Write "Talk to me about anything" on a whiteboard and sit in a public park. Wait for people to approach and talk to me.

  2. Join a crossfit group. People are always talking about it so it must be fulfillling. It's expensive but worth.

  3. Join an ultimate frisbee team. They are dormant atm but some people play pickup on weekends.

  4. Talk to EVERY PERSON at the frisbee pickup. Invite them out for dinner on a Monday night. Someone must be lonely too.

  5. Text my roommates all the time asking how their days were. Try and add enough value to be let in.

  6. Download grindr. Say on my profile "not gay but I need friends, invite me out with your crew"

  7. Download coffee meets donut

  8. Borrow a fancy camera and talk Bokeh effect pictures for my bumble, so I go on more dates -> more social contact

  9. Start running every saturday morning. Crisscross the city. If I see a pack of runners, seemlessly integrate with them.

  10. Adopt a dog.

  11. Try to network into other programs at my university. Maybe make friends in the economics deparment.

  12. Hang out in bookstores and look busy. Start conversations with people about books.

  13. Every evening do my studies in a random outdoor cafe. Bring the "talk to me" sign.

  14. Make a friend with a dog. Over to walk their dog for them. Use the dog to make friends with other dog owners. Walk their dogs. Repeat.

  15. Join the local radical libertarians. Maybe they hang out in person???

  16. There are no volunteer opportunities in my city, but in other cities that would be a great way to make friends.

  17. Go kayaking alone. Wait around on rocks and try to make friends on them like a mermaid.

  18. Go on a long distance bike trip. Try and track down other bikers and befriend them.

  19. Make way more eye contact in other interactions.

  20. On the weekends groups of young men stand around outside a pizza place. Every weekend night try to make friends with at least one of them.

  21. Print out signs that say "friends wanted" and have my phone number around town.

  22. Get in stupid arguments on the internet so I feel some interaction.

  23. Move to China.

  24. Move to a different city that is more open.

  25. Spend my weekends across the state lines in a more open area.

  26. Sit on the benches in my university with the "talk to me about anything" sign.

  27. Run around and look for stairs that people run up and down. Become one of the stairs running people. Friends. Profit.

  28. Bring brownies to the frisbee games. People feel indebted to me. They become my friend.

  29. Hang out in front of the White House and give directions to tourists for the social interaction.

  30. Sign up for any and all events I can find. Show up alone. Talk to at least one person per venue.

  31. Try never mentioning to other people that I'm lonely for a week. If they don't know, they might hang out with me.

  32. Learn a street performance skill like breakdancing. Perform in parks.

  33. Do all of my reading in public parks, so that I have a chance to meet someone.

  34. Give up and become depressed.

  35. Move to a rural area where people don't social distance.

  36. Spend an entire day outside, more time = more opportunities for friendmaking. Stay out of my room 12 hours a day.

  37. Go to popular brunch places. Sit outside with a sign that says "new in town, want to get brunch?"

  38. Go to parks with my frisbee every day before dark. Throw the frisbee for myself. Invite local parkgoers to join.

  39. Go to the local basketball court. I'm terrible but could make friends.

  40. Call all the local churches. Ask if they have in person services. Make friends there.

  41. Call all the local mosques. Go to the post-mosque tea-drinking sessions (I speak Arabic).

  42. Become a sex worker.

  43. Buy a car and drive uber.

  44. Figure out which TV shows are popular right now. Watch them all. Bring up in conversation.

  45. Start a bookclub. Put up signs about my bookclub all over the neighbourhood. Pick fun books to read.

  46. Get a lobotomy.

  47. Buy a cat. Take the cat on walks???

  48. Build a boat out of driftwood on the shore of the potomac.

  49. Start a serious drug habit. Move into a house with other drug users. Make friends.

  50. Learn to unicycle. Become that guy who unicycles around town (or pogo stick or skateboard).

  51. Take up rock climbing.

Wow that does feel better.

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-10-26T23:56:26.577Z · LW · GW

I would recommend getting your (cis het male) dating advice primarily from women who you know and would like to date, but who already have husbands/boyfriends. Rather than solely from other cis het males on the internet.

Attraction is a subconscious process. If women or men could just introspect and output the attraction function lots of psychologists would be out of a job. Sadly we cannot.

"Respect" in this context means treating your date as an autonomous human with an internal narrative, desires, thoughts, history, and everything else that makes you a unique person. Rather than as an inscrutable piece of software or machinery that you are trying to figure out and/or get to act in a specific way.

How do you feel about this?

This is my perspective

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-10-26T20:44:34.363Z · LW · GW

I'm glad I could help!

Here's my plan for analyzing the data, let me know what changes your would make.

Bayes rule odds form:

So all I need from the experiment is the ratio of how likely I am to observe this result given H1 vs. given H2. At first I thought calculating that with t-distributions would be trivial, but I'm noticing a problem now. If I have 7 successes in treatment and 3 in control, I can use the t-dist to calculate how often I would observe that in the null. But since the null is decision irrelevant, that doesn't get me the likelihood ratio which I want. I see that now. I'll circle back to this problem when I have more time later.

Found a guide

I don't care about the null because if the null is true and I get the wrong answer, it doesn't matter.

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-10-26T18:01:54.652Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the response!

Other than the "teasing her more than I normally do" and "walking in a specific place relative to her" everything in your treatment group could also be called "being a good date."

Sounds like I'm on the right track :)

I would recommend, in your own head, think of it not in terms of "playing hard to get" but in terms of "treating your partner with respect."

"Treating your partner with respect" is a poor heuristic. It includes some great behaviors like listening but also some terrible ones that "put the woman on a pedestal". If you think respect has a special unusual definition on first dates, just taboo the word for better communication.

One could think about "being coy" or "respecting myself" or "withholding judgement until I know the whole woman" if they find "PHTG" distasteful. I have no preference.

Acting on Level 2, rather than Level 1, adds additional fail conditions and stress.

This concern I hear a lot. I originally applied it to my dating-app-texting and send texts that felt natural to me. Those majorly underperformed texting strategies which relied on a few heuristic rules (short, easy to respond to, more teasing, etc.). We also know that most male animals do not use "be yourself" - see here. Also, the nature of system 1 is that it learns increasingly complex behavior with habit and reinforcement. So treatment could easily underperform at the start but eventually overperform.

Generally, I put some weight on this argument but not enough to switch to control only.

If your date realizes that you are "PHTG" that is, itself, a signal and will select for/against certain types of partners.

Half the probability mass in the "control is better" hypothesis comes from me being a bad actor, yes. On the other hand, looking desperate extends the number of dates needed to find an equivalent compatibility partner.

On that note, are you clear in your own mind about what your goal is? "What does it profit a man to gain the whole [girlfriend] but lose his [happiness]" and all that.

After the experiment if I hated PHTG but to outperformed the control, I can choose to do control anyway. That's unlikely but possible.

Comment by amplemaple on Does playing hard to get work? AB testing for romance · 2020-10-26T15:20:05.050Z · LW · GW

Instead of relying on a toolbag of one-dimensional tactics, my recommended approach is to focus on understanding your partner's mental model of you, and of their relationship with you, and of the relationship they'd want.

That's a bit vague and difficult to enact. I want to get better at "Understanding your partner's mental model of you". That's the point of the AB test. I'm very open to alternative strategies for building this skill. I hope that responding to interest signals with more reactivity and disinterest signal with less reactivity will provide leverage on that question.

It's very common to be uncalibrated and apply a tactic that backfires on you because you weren't aware of the overall mental model that your partner had of you.

That seems like it would be true for many man-strategy dyads. It might be true for this dyad. Unfortunately without doing the experiment, there's no way to know. However, I do know that I am generally more reactive and become interested earlier in relationships than most men. So this seems worth trying.

I'll lay out some alternative strategies you might be advocating for:

Building practical skills for theory of mind

The alternative strategy, which I think you're suggesting, is to build general social intelligence, like "reading the mind in the eyes test". I could improve this by having lots of conversations with friends. I could constantly try to guess what they are thinking, and respond to it. That should build my ability to "undstand my partner's mental model of me".

One problem is COVID, so I can't really get face-to-face interaction outside of dates (major frustration in my life atm). The other problem is that I still need to behave some way on dates. So I can either do the AB test, all treatment, all control, or not go on dates. So I need to answer that question in a practical sense.

Just do control

Maybe you're suggesting I just do control? My prior is still 60% that PHTG would be more effective on dates on average. To do just control, I would forego all the value of finding out. That could only be worth it with an unjustifiably low prior (10%), such that checking the PHTG strategy is no longer worth it.

Do the AB test, but remember there are other factors

Maybe you are suggesting I "have an open mind" about the different causal factors involved.

This actually updates me toward the "all treatment" strategy. The reason is that PHTG requires I read a lot more signals than I normally do on a date. So if the set of causes is large, I'll only identify them from micro facial cues. So any strategy that forces me to practice theory of mind more will help me identify those factors in the long run.

Comment by amplemaple on Effective Epidemiology · 2020-10-26T13:47:24.475Z · LW · GW

See Bryan Caplan's ratspeak interview