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Book Summaries Psychology

Part 2: Send Mixed Signals (The Art of Seduction)

We find contradictions fascinating. Send mixed signals to others, make it hard for them to figure you out.

Seduce someone by filling their mind with your image. But to deepen your interest, to keep their attention on you, hint at a complexity that is hard to grasp. Once they start to fantasize about you, they are on the brink of seduction’s slippery slope.

Paradox plays with meaning, which is why we find it seductive. There is too much rationality in our lives, to the point that it is oppressive. Everything is supposed to mean something concrete. But seduction is different, it thrives on ambiguity and mixed signals. Most people are too obvious, they have no depth, no ability to pull us in. That is because mystery takes effort to cultivate, you must be purposeful about it.

Send out a mixed signal—some sign that you are not what you seem, a paradox. Do not worry if this underquality is a negative one, like danger, cruelty, or amorality; people will be drawn to the enigma anyway, and pure goodness is rarely seductive.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

To capture attention, show attributes that go against your physical appearance. A sweet face that lets out hints of something dark or cruel, for example, is intriguing. It is not exhibited in your words, but in your manner.

The actor Errol Flynn had a boyishly angelic face and a slight air of sadness. Beneath this outward appearance, however, women could sense an underlying cruelty, a criminal streak, an exciting kind of dangerousness. This play of contrary qualities attracted obsessive interest. The female equivalent is the type epitomized by Marilyn Monroe; she had the face and voice of a little girl, but something sexual and naughty emanated powerfully from her as well. Madame Récamier did it all with her eyes—the gaze of an angel, suddenly interrupted by something sensual and flirtatious.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

But remember to cater your approach to your target. Don’t create depth for people who are insensitive to it.

You can recognize such types by their preference for the simpler pleasures in life, their lack of patience for a more nuanced story. With them, keep it simple.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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