Value and availability are two key concepts of social skills.
They have important consequences both for your social success and for your dating success.
Yes, this might sound a bit theoretical, but you still need a solid grasp on them to learn and understand social and power dynamics.
Value and investment are also very relevant to dating.
- The Value & Availability Matrix
- Availability Influences Value
- Maximizing Your Results
- Availability in Dating
In the Social Exchange framework we explained social dynamics can be seen as a big exchange.
In a nutshell, the Rule of Social Exchange postulates that the more value you have, the more you can get.
But it’s not always that straightforward. And there’s a caveat. The caveat is: how available that value is.
Let’s start with the origin first.
Origins of The Concept
The concept originated in the pick-up community.
A former dating coach by the name of Sebastian first came up with a theory around value and “attainability”.
This website enlarges the concept from dating to all social interactions and places it within larger social and power strategies including “collaborative frames” and “power and warmth“.
We also rename value and availability because “availability” feels more intuitive (plus a subconscious and potentially Machiavellian move to take more ownership of the construct).
Value and Availability: Explanation
Imagine the bars below represent the total value of three different folks:
In a digital world free of psychology, both Amber and Christy want Black and pursue black.
And Black could easily get friendship, romance or at least a warm welcome by both Amber and Christy.
But in the real world, it’s not as straightforward.
People also have a sense for what their personal value is, and they know that higher value people might not be thrilled to hobnob with them.
That’s why Amber and Christy might want Black, but not pursue Black. They might act aloof, snub him, or even be curt towards him so to reject him first.
In the above example, Amber and Christy might think Black is not interested in them, so they self-reject themselves.
It’s also possible that self-rejection turns confrontational. Amber and Christy might be hurt by Black’s (potential) rejection, so they act out their own rejection with their own unfriendly and dismissive behavior.
In short, it doesn’t just matter how high-value you are.
High value might not be enough, because people only want to enter a meaningful social exchange if they believe that your value is available to them.
That, in a nutshell, is the concept of perceived value availability.
And that’s one of the reasons why I recommend that as you get better, you mix power with warmth.
What does “making your value available means”?
Well, think of it this way:
Making your value available means “welcoming people into your higher-value world” and making them feel accepted and valued for who they are.
That’s true no matter if we are talking about a relationship, a friendship, a networking event, or a seduction.
Let’s now explore value and availability with an example.
Imagine Amber (bar A) is out at an event and wants to talk to someone.
But Amber will likely not go for Black because the difference with Black (bar B) is too big. Amber thinks it’s likely Black will reject her because Black is “too good”.
That’s a typical case of self-rejection. Remember that self-rejection happens when we feel someone might reject us and we reject them first.
People who self-reject take themselves out of the running, often unconsciously, without even trying.
People who self-reject do so either to protect their ego, which doesn’t help them succeed in life, or to protect their social standing, which can make sense in case of public rejection.
Signs of Self-Rejection
How do you recognize if you are pushing someone into self-rejection?
These are some of the signs:
- Ignoring you
- Being in awe and too nervous to speak to you
- Disliking you (even if they haven’t spoken to you yet)
- Being rude to you (they feel hurt, you make them feel “not good enough”, so they hurt you back)
And that’s also one of the reasons why when dealing with underminers, frenemies, or early enemies, I often recommend trying to be kind and collaborative with them first.
Many of those people are in self-rejection and you can turn them around if you make them feel like you do not reject them, but value them.
Self-Rejection & Teasing Too Much
Now, what if Black were to approach Amber?
Well, Amber might be elated (and nervous at the same time).
But she might not take him seriously, wondering if he’s toying with her.
It’s also possible though that Amber will be rude or shut Black down. Afraid of being eventually hurt or let down by Black, she does the rejection first.
The worst thing Black could do is to tease her too much.
Too many guys focus only on building their value as high as possible and coming across as powerful as possible, but forget about availability.
Seen an example here:
Him: come on, you gotta keep it interesting, interest me
Her: ahh… I studied at Oxford University
She liked him!
But he keeps being playing too hard to get, too aloof, too rude as well. He makes his value too unavailable, so she thinks she does not like him, and self-rejects.
Self rejections tend to be final, so one must always strive to prevent them:
Fixing Availability Issues
If Black wanted to have a deeper interaction with Amber he should make her feel like he accepts and respects her.
Ideally, that he values her.
And, if he likes her romantically, also that he likes and is attracted to her.
Black could either come down to her level -for example with humbleness, deprecation, or vulnerability- or, even better, raise Amber to his level -getting to know her, appreciating her etc.-
People Want The Highest Value, Available Person Possible
Do you know the red pill?
If you have been reading manosphere blogs, you know the mantra around the “female hypergamy“.
The idea is that since women look for the best possible men they can find, then you can never trust women in relationships.
But albeit female hypergamy is certainly real, it’s not exactly true that women -or men- always look for the best possible mate.
Instead, people seek the highest possible mate among the ones they feel are available for them (ie.: the ones they feel they can get and the ones they feel will appreciate them).
From even before the approach, people will always be gauging how valuable the other person is and how available he is.
And during the interaction people use the following signals to gauge availability:
- Effort (to keep the conversation going for example)
- Interest in the other
- Physical distance
- No effort (let the conversation die for example)
- No interest (no questions, looking away etc.)
On the extreme end, unavailable signs become repulsion instead of no attraction. Then it’s aggression, disgust etc.
The Value & Availability Matrix
To make the Value and Availability concept clearer, let’s project it onto a matrix:
Low Value / Low Availability
People in this box aren’t even on the map in either the social or dating world.
They have no quality or skills worth of notice and are unfriendly and socially clueless.
Low Value / High Availability
On the extreme side in this box, imagine fangirls screaming “pick me, pick me” under a singer’s stage: super available and low value because there’s a hundred of them.
On a more day-to-day basis, these are people with little going on in their life. They’re always free for you and are the most likely to chase you.
High Value / Low Availability
These are the people we call haughty, pompous and full of themselves.
Low availability can make the people around jealous and resentful. That’s one of the reasons why celebs have so many “haters”.
High Value / High Availability
These are people who are high value and welcoming. They make the people around feel accepted and high value as well.
Bill Clinton is a great example:
Bill Clinton being high-value and high-availability (or, at least, looking high availability)
Availability Influences Value
Value is also influenced by the availability of the value itself.
Indeed, psychologically, we are programmed to use availability as a shortcut for value. If something is abundant, we find it less valuable.
If on the other hand something is scarce, our brain tells us that it must be valuable and we want it more (also see Cialdini).
Hence, it is possible to make our value go up by faking scarcity.
An experiment found out scarcity increases perceived value in the following order:
- What’s scarce
- What has become scarce
- What has become scarce because of social demand
Maximizing Your Results
To maximize your results, you should increase your value and find the sweet spot for availability.
Increasing Your Value
Increasing your value should be the core of your efforts.
And it means you become a better person and get more of what other people value.
Maximizing Your Availability
The availability sweet spot is this:
- Available enough so that people don’t self reject
- Scarce enough that you’re still selective, a challenge, and appreciated for your time
The availability sweet spot It’s usually less relevant in social settings and friendships -where it’s best to add value to each other-.
It’s a bit less relevant in good and established relationships -where it’s best to add value to each other-.
But it’s very relevant at the beginning of dating:
Availability in Dating
The idea of being scarce to be more attractive is an old one.
Virtually all female dating advice centers around being scarce to make him chase.
It works in principle.
But has several drawbacks, most notably:
- You risk the target will stop pursuing (self-rejection)
- It’s a game everyone plays: more available singles can steal your lunch
Let’s not go into that now but let’s have an overview on availability:
Being a Challenge: The A/V Sweet-spot
Imagine your availability as a peephole to your value.
If what people see is good (your value) and if it’s visible enough (your availability), then it’s exciting and people will want to get it.
If people can’t see any light at the end of that peephole (zero availability), you’re too hard to get and they won’t pursue you because they don’t think they have a shot (except of stalkers of course).
Gauging Your A/V Sweetspot
- Your value is relative (social value relativity & sexual market value variability)
- People’s confidence in their ability to access your value varies
What does that mean?
It means that you cannot stick with the same strategy with everyone, but you must vary and target your value and availability to the specific person and situation.
To do that, emotional intelligence and knowing some basics of body language are key.
The rule of thumb is:
Lukewarm / Unresponsive
When people are not interested in they’ll be rather nice as they don’t want to hurt your feelings. But they will not want to meet you or move with you.
If that’s the case, you should be more of a challenge.
Super High Value / High Availability
Ideally, the best of the best is to be so great as to wow someone upon approach (super high value and at risk of self-rejection).
And then proceed to make yourself more available by taking the edge off of yourself with humility and self-deprecation.
Or even better: build him/her up to your level so that he/she feels he has a shot with you.
On a social scale, this is exactly what Clinton was doing.
False Self-Rejection To Make Them Chase
As a last note, I wanted to show you a high-level use of self-rejection.
When someone is being a bit out of order, you can choose to ignore, tell them that’s not cool or… You can feign self-rejection.
This is called “false takeaway”.
If they like you, that will get them chasing.
See a perfect example here:
Her: that’s exactly what American women think Italian men say
Him: (looks hurt and disappointed) thank you (walks away)
Did you spot the guy’s (fake) self-rejection? It’s rather easy, at minute 2:07.
This is a greatly effective technique that we call “collaborative shaming” here, it’s delivered with high-vulnerability from a judge role.
Your value, be it your overall value or your sexual market value, are crucial to do well with others.
You knew that already.
However, people will often judge your value depending on how available it is for them.
If they think you don’t wanna share your value by talking to them, helping them, being kind to them, or sleeping them, they might either avoid you, despise you, or self-reject and never even consider you as a sexual option.
To make friends, make your social value easy to access -ie.: be approachable and welcoming-.
Also read: mix warmth with power.
Romantically, make your value available enough they feel they can get it but not so available they think you’re too easy.