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Alejom's journey to power & social success

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Hello Alejom,

I gotta say, man, I'm liking your journal as there are a lot of daily, common interactions that also present great case studies.

These examples may seem smaller when taken separately, but it's exactly the small, daily stuff that compounds over a lifetime to make a major difference.
Plus, they're perfect examples to display the thinking process behind even the smaller stuff, that you then apply to the bigger stuff.

About this specific situation,

Think about what this can sub-communicate:

Hey dude, I've been thinking about the flat and TBH, I'm not sure if I'd feel comfy living there.

Does that have a vibe of you being superior?

And that he's not "good enough" for you -at least in the way he's living at home, potentially even more-?.

Of course, what you're saying makes a lot of sense and it shouldn't be perceived in a negative way in a perfect world.
But we don't live in that world.

In a better world, the guy may understand you have different wants and needs and be cool with it.

Or he may think you're far ahead in life and want to be like you (but this is a tiny, tiny minority).

But many more people will feel slightly slighted to get that message.
Or, at least, it would be a major rapport break.

So, why take the risk?

This is where social strategies come into play.

Simply say:

Hey mate, it was awesome meeting you -and we even have so much in common-.
I've found a few more places that (insert reason why they're better for you that do not push him down, ie.: closer to where you like, lower price, amenities you prefer, etc.)

Let me know if it makes sense.

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John FreemanBel
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Whoa! Sometimes I think "is this a good case to analyze", specially as I'm just starting and I'm still developing the criteria and skills to analyze with more perspective.

So thanks a bunch Lucio for that feedback!  It's very motivating to know these cases are useful. I personally start to see the benefits, for instance, at least I think now "what can I offer", "what can I ask and how", and "how to nurture a collab frame here" on my interactions (btw I'm also a big supporter of daily habits).

On the case,

It definitely feels better - it's like outstanding the positive of the alternatives rather than calling out the negatives of that option.

I try to lower it down with the "not sure if I'll be comfortable" rather than "your flat stinks, man" but I see it still can break report and for me that's important.

The real question is: How to communicate it strategically, but not lying? 

Because I can say "I've found a few places that are closer to X", but actually the only reason is that the flat stinks :D. The rest in terms of location/price is perfect.

Maybe by giving a more generic reason? A few quick ideas:

  • "a few places that I liked more"
  • "a few places that fit better my purposes"
  • "a few places that look more like what I'm looking for"

I get the feeling that they still might push down a bit...

To me the goal is to give a reason that make them think "It's totally understandable, I'd do the same", so that they're even supporters of the decision rather than being put down... I'll revisit later if I come with a better and enlightened idea.

Of course, I'll highly appreciate further ideas if you want to share.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn Freeman
Quote from Alejom on April 17, 2023, 10:30 am

Hey dude, I've been thinking about the flat and TBH, I'm not sure if I'd feel comfy living there. Plus, I'm gonna need a new place starting in June. Anyways, keep looking for other flatmates, and I'll let you know if I come across someone who's down. But hey, you're still a cool dude and I hope we can still hang out in the group or maybe catch a beer or go on a hike sometime. BTW, I've started doing some calisthenics training in a park nearby. If you want to join, I can show you some sick moves 😉

Hello Alejom,

I think it’s great that you’re thinking about making the best of this opportunity: making a friend. I would slightly edit the message:

Hey dude, thanks for the visit! (acknowledges the value received). Unfortunately the flat is not exactly what I’m looking for right now (I think saying comfy implies it’s not comfy and could be taken personally. And “unfortunately” communicates that you’re also disappointed. Saying “right now” says what you said: in different circumstances (being younger) you would have liked it without going in then details). I wish you to find another roommate! (To me « keep looking » sounds like tasking). I'll let you know if I come across someone who's down. That being said it was a pleasure to meet you and to see we have a few passions in common. Let’s have a beer or do calisthenics soon, there are cool moves I could show you! What do you think? (Puts back the ball in this court, he might refuse but then you know where he stands. That’s the way I do it currently: to take the risk of the offer being rejected). See you! Take care!

That’s my take on it. Of course we all have different communication styles!

PS: for precision: I read Lucio’s answer after having wrote this above.

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Lucio BuffalmanoBelAlejom
Quote from Alejom on April 17, 2023, 1:30 pm

Maybe by giving a more generic reason? A few quick ideas:

  • "a few places that I liked more"
  • "a few places that fit better my purposes"
  • "a few places that look more like what I'm looking for"

I like your approach of being both honest and more strategic -the best combo possible-.

The first and third are solid.

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John Freeman
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Thanks for confirming, Lucio!

John I love your answer! And it's especially useful that within the parenthesis you give the "backstage communication" so it's clear what that's communicating and why. Really appreciate man!

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John Freeman

7 - Reflections on High power & High warmth

I find this topic quite interesting. It’s exactly what Vanessa Van Edwards describes in the People School course as “charisma” being the perfect balance of warmth and competence.

I have to say, not because I’m biased, but I truly like more PU approach to this, as it separates the concepts of power and warmth. Meaning that you can be low on both, high on both, or high in only one. While Vanessa’s approach, if I understood it correctly, it’s “one or another”, meaning that if you’re high power then you’re low warmth.

Now, let’s leave comparisons and opinions aside.

Reflecting on myself, I clearly see myself more on the nice guy side (high warmth, low power).

However, I also realize that might change on context. For example, in social interactions I mostly see myself 100% of the time on the warmth side.

At work, even though I tend to lean towards the warmth side, there are specific situations that I come more to the other side (high power, low warmth). For example, when someone in my team didn’t do a great job, or a repetitive escenario occurs.

Most of the time, my goal is to be on the high-high espectrum. I realize it definitely depends on the skills but also on how my self-esteem, mental and emotional status that day is.

The days I’m more disciplined with my health routines (workout, cold morning shower, meditation…) I can definitely go into and maintain better the high-high.

That said, coming from the nice guy side, I’m really looking forward to learn from high power in next module as I think, after practicing for a while what I learn there, I’ll go a next step in my power journey (and I may finally become more high-power in social interactions as well)

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn Freeman

8 - The million ways to power move - mountain escape case

I feel there is no better title for this post.

I’m just back from the mountains with the girl I mentioned last weeks, and damn… she’s a real power mover.

It was an enjoyable experience overall, but a bit exhausting as well as she was constantly “power moving”.

Actually, so much that I could write several posts about it. However, I’ll do just this post to write the different ways of power I identified she was doing onto me.

Note the names are not official, as I’m still kinda new around here and probably haven’t reached the right lessons, so I’ll name things by intuition.

Extra clarification - I know she wasn’t doing any of this with bad intention. Probably she was mistreated by men in her life and just developed her ways to unconsciously (and subtly) hurt/annoy/drive nuts men around. She was also very helpful being in a country where I don’t speak the language and helping on her way around.

Now, to the point - the ways of power. I’ll add my “how to handle” ways I found given my current experience.

1. Tasking around

Subtle (and manipulative) way I’ve seen on women powering over men. The trap here is that if you fall too much into it, you’re sold. Exactly what Lucio describes as the “Add-up effect” in Social Power 101.

She was “nicely” and constantly asking me for little favours, like:

  • Can you please take my saxophone bag?
  • Can you go check out in reception? I’ll sort out the room meanwhile

How to handle: my senses told how I shouldn’t handle it.

If you go “Yes” to all her tasking, you’ll enter a betaization process and face the add-up effect issue. You’ll be sub-communicating to her that you have no value and she can task you all she wants.

If you go “No” to all her tasking, you’ll avoid the previous issue but you’ll likely enter an ego-battle, competitive frame and won’t be productive at all.

My go-to way: a conditional “yes”, tasking her back and keeping an internal balance on how tasking you accept vs how much does she do. Example:

She: Can you please take my saxophone bag?
Me: Sure. Btw I’m feeling pain in my neck, can you massage it a bit?
(30 min later) Me: Do you mind picking the box?

2. Disagreeing (constantly and abruptly)

Disagreeing is totally fine. What I don’t feel fine is that she was just disagreeing constantly too many times, and for no reasons, that it felt more as a battle to see who wins the proposal or argument.

In other words, she was pushing a competitive frame.

Sometimes, it came with judgement in between (more on that on next point).


Me: Hey let’s go to this Italian restaurant, looks amazing.
She: I don’t want, let’s go to this other restaurant.

Me: I think we can visit these two places after lunch. What do you think?
She: Nah, they’re boring and I already know them. Let’s go to this museum (something that only interests her).

How to handle: as this happened specially one day, I tried to establish a collaborative frame. Example:

Me: Look, I feel we’re not understanding each other that well today and we’re thinking a bit individually. I’ll be more happy if we decide together on where to eat, what to visit and do things we both like. What do you say?

3. Judgements

Here it comes another covert move.

If you judge a person directly, that’s quite obvious. They’ll notice and it won’t give them a nice feeling.

However, she was far more subtle than that. She wasn’t judging me directly, but constantly judging things around me. I think it’s exactly the same, because if you don’t like a person house, lifestyle friendships, movie tastes, sports they do, etc… it means you don’t like that person.

I’ll give a few examples.

  • When I said I love Marvel movies, she finds them very boring.
  • When I said I prefer tea than coffee, she asks “Can’t you handle coffee?” (in other words “Aren’t you good/strong enough to handle coffee?”)
  • When I ordered a beer for dinner, she said she stopped drinking and started giving me a whole lesson on how wasted that is (and people that drinks), even if it’s a wine or beer.

And the list goes and goes.

To me, the main problem of falling into judgements is that over the time you’ll be modelling yourself around the other person. A thing to be very cautious about.

How to handle: just don’t give a **** about those judgements.

If you can’t with some judgements, at least pretend it.

If they pile up and you can’t even pretend it, take distance, get back into yourself and (if worthy) go back to the interaction.

If you can’t even pretend it, just break (or avoid as much as you can) the interaction with that person. It won’t be healthy and valuable for you.

4. Deciding by herself for both

I feel this was probably the most manipulative of all. Sometimes subtle, but other moves were just not nice at all. For example, this one made me specially angry:

She: Do you want to pay it by card or cash? (when we didn’t talk about who pays it)

How to handle: in this case I was assertive afterwards when we were alone:

Me: hey, that wasn’t nice at all. You decided yourself I’ll pay when we didn’t talk about it, and that’s disrespectful and manipulative. If we want this to work out, next time be collaborative and honest, and better ask: “Who should pay this one?” so we can decide together.

As an alternative, I could’ve send the question back to her in that very moment, but I feel it won’t be socially intelligent as I’ll be entering her indirect manipulative game (not my style) and likely lead to a discussion in front of people:

She: Do you want to pay by card or cash?
Me: That’s exactly what I was about to ask you.

In other cases and definitely more nicer way, she was deciding what’s good for me or what I may like.

For example, there was a moment we were in the city and I wanted to grab something to go. Then she suddenly says: “Hey, let’s go to this café”. I thought she wanted a coffee, but when we got in and were waiting in the queue:

Me: what are you going to order?
She: nothing
Me: then what are we doing here?
She: they have tasty sandwiches, you can order one to take away
Me: … uh?

Do you see the manipulation here? She’s “nicely” bringing me to a place so I can grab something to go, but who said I wanted a sandwich? Where is the question “Hey, they have cool sandwiches here to take away, do you fancy one?”.

While well intentioned, is disempowering the other person as it’s taking away the decision power of the other person.

How to handle: as this happened a few times and I finally realised she was trying to go over my leadership, I just reinforced my leadership and was a bit more assertive:

Me: hey, I appreciate your help for finding a place, but no worries, when we find something on the way I like we’ll go for it. In the meanwhile, let’s continue exploring.

5. Frames battle

I love teasing. It’s playful and fun. You will banter the other person, crack jokes and be a bit provocative, while you won’t take things seriously.

But when you take it seriously, that’s not a playful game anymore: it’s a frames battle.

And she was turning teasing into frame battles quite a few times. Example:

Me: hey, come here
She: why?
Me: I just want to cuddle your hair
She: No, I’m fine, you come here
Me: c’mon, I know you like it
She: I’m not going to go …

I gave up, moved to her and cuddle her hair. She liked it. And I can tell more examples on a similar, so you can see clearly is not about playing, or not liking being cuddled. Is more of “I won’t obey you, you’ll obey me” kinda thing.

How to handle: Sometimes I opted for trying to win the battle, but in a relaxed way. Other times, I gave up, but keeping an internal counter to make sure it’s balance (if I give up 5 times, you 5 times as well, to avoid the “add-up effect” similar to the tasking around).


For me the most important thing, is the she was making it quite hard interacting from a collaborative frame, but rather falling into the competitive frame. It felt she was acting selfishly and defensive.

As per her background, seems like she was so submissive in previous failed relationships where she was hurt, that now is trying to play dominant and too obviously IMO. With submissive guys it could work well, and when doesn’t work she becomes quite passive aggressive.

Funny thing is I bet she usually loses her attraction towards the submissive men after a while, and the overly dominant will probably treat her badly. Yes, an endless loop of disempowering man, likely leading to toxic relations 🙂

Definitely not what you want on your day to day live. Actually, reflecting over the whole trip, while I have a lot to be grateful for to her as she was my companion and guide in her area, I’d be very hesitant to repeat such trip with here as the energy that takes to handle such many power moves is just not worthy.

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettJackMats G

Another great post, Alejom!!

I've been out and about with some ladies like this, and they make it really difficult for any self-respecting man to date them indeed.

So, as you say, they end up with lower-power men, which often also means "(a lot) less than they could actually get if they just learned to be a bit more collaborative and agreeable".

I gotta say, I was also empathizing with you while reading and cheering on some of your great comebacks 🙂

The one with the credit card, for example, was golden!
Really nicely done.

And out of curiosity, what did she reply there?

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Ali ScarlettJack
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Guess... with more indirect judging 😉

She: Oh, I didn't thought you'd perceive it that way, might be a culture difference. Sure, thanks for telling me.

Culture differences there are, but correct me if I'm wrong: manipulation is culture independent. A different thing is that a specific culture normalizes more manipulation.

With that response, she's subtly avoiding her responsability (it's you who were overreactive, I didn't do anything wrong) which might make you double think if you are actually wrong.

Great to know we can share stories on this and learn from you, Lucio! Thanks for the cheering up

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Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettJack

Thanks for sharing man.

You have great awareness about power moves.

You will be amazing after finishing Power University.

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Lucio Buffalmano
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