Category: Audio

  • “You’re a great catch but we’re not a good match”: How to let people down easy

    You went out with a guy for a couple of dates. He’s a nice fellow, but you’re not feeling the spark. You want to inform him that he’s no longer a romantic prospect, but you’d like to do it gracefully. How do you let a guy down easy? Or anyone, for that matter?

    This topic came up a couple of times in the last week alone (one of them at my live talk), so apparently it’s on people’s minds. What I recommend is to use two principles: the praise sandwich and the idea of fit.

    The praise sandwich has three components:

    • Start with praise and appreciation, e.g. “Hey, I’m really glad we met, and I think you’re a really great guy.”
    • Express your intention clearly and positively. Emphasize what you want (“I’d like to keep you in my life and stay friends”) as opposed to what you don’t want (“You are so not a romantic prospect”).
    • End with praise and appreciation, e.g. “I just know you’re going to be a great catch for some lucky girl.”
    • Of course, you’ll want to tailor this to the situation at hand. The whole idea that he’s a great catch but not a good match (thanks to M. for this rhyming formulation) is what I mean by fit. It’s not that he’s a bad kisser, or has poor hygiene, or socially awkward, or just not your type: you guys just aren’t a good fit for one another. This makes it less personal, so even if the unsavory things about him are true, he can hold his head up high and legitimately count you as a friend.

    The praise sandwich works particularly well because people tend to remember the first and last things you tell them (the primacy and recency effects, respectively); the meat of the sandwich tends to get forgotten.

    In the end, it’s important to remember that regardless of how large a population center we inhabit, we’re still members of communities. So you want to treat people as if they’re a friend of a friend — someone you’re liable to bump into in the near future. As I explain in the audio from the Q&A session last week, nastiness tends to redound on itself. Gentle let-downs help expand your circle of allies and reduce the amount of incidental rancor in your community and the world at large.

    Also, it occurred to me that you would be even more interested in the Q&A part of last week’s live event than the lecture. Some of the questions we covered:

    • What do you do when most of the guys you meet are younger than you?
    • How about an emotionally unavailable guy? How do you make him open up?
    • Why is it that you always read about women having to change, but not men?
    • And what’s a good way to let a guy down easy?

    Click on the player icon below to listen, or click here if you prefer to download the file (29min, 20mb). To get the full Understanding Men 1 lecture preceding the Q&A for a name-it-yourself price, click here.

    Understanding Men 1 – Q&A Session

    To get the full Understanding Men 1 lecture preceding the Q&A for a name-it-yourself price, click here. I’ve got a bunch of other speaking engagements coming up, so be sure to put these on the calendar:

    Tue Dec 13, How to Meet Good Men Over the Holidays
    Tomorrow Tue 13 December at 6pm PT/9pm ET, even though I object to the word “webinar”, I’ll be holding the free webinar “How to Meet Good Men Over the Holidays”, just ’cause I like you guys so much. Also, over the 15 years I’ve been teaching this stuff, one thing I’ve learned: most women could be better at meeting men. A lot better. “Nice girls don’t do that”, “It’s the guy’s job”, “What do I even say?” — it’s time to jettison those excuses and expand your repertoire of skills beyond just standing there and looking pretty. We’ve already got 200 signups, so register here so you get the reminders, esp since I’ll be doing live Q&A at the end.

    The Extraordinary Love Series: Find Your Right Man and Make Love Last
    My colleague Orchid Tao has put on this series of video lectures with a whole bunch of speakers (50 of them!) that’s happening Dec 19-Jan 16. Some of the speakers are really, really good. And I’ll be talking for 45min on how to set yourself up for love that lasts. It starts next week; more info for you in the near future. In the meantime, you can sign up for the whole thing for no charge here.

    San Francisco Bay Area, Tue Dec 20: Understanding Men, Empowering Women 2
    The response to the first Understanding Men event was enthusiastic, with everyone and their grandma saying they wanted to show up but just couldn’t. Well, I’m doing it again, so call up grandma, like, right away, so she can book her flight from Florida. This time I’ll be talking about some deep insider secrets about men’s sexuality, as well as some subtle and unsubtle forms of female self-sabotage (e.g. fixation on tall men and insisting on wearing high heels at the same time).

    That’s all for now, since I have to hit the road in a minute to see the extraordinary Jack Kornfield speak at Spirit Rock. Next time, I’ll talk about how to rewire your brain for greater happiness.

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  • “Understanding Men” Lecture (audio)

    This week, I gave a talk in San Francisco entitled Understanding Men: On the election, sexism, insecurity, and your love life. I started with a story about my mom, who was a butt-kicking professional woman in Iran, and how she refused to put up with the sexist nonsense that the fundamentalists were propounding after the Revolution. From there, I spoke about how the male vote in the 2016 Presidential elections relates to men’s feelings about dating smart, strong women. The 15min excerpt below talks about the prime directives in male and female behavior, and how that creates three choices for strong women when it comes to choosing and relating to a man:

    Excerpt from “Understanding Men” 5 Dec 2016

    A lot of people were sad to have missed it because of time (or distance) conflict, and asked for a replay. So I’ve edited the talk to 57min and made it available for download. People who attended live paid $15-20, so I’ve decided to let you name a fair price for the download — somewhere between two 3-minute songs from your favorite Justin Bieber album, or the full album. NOTE: Downloads don’t work well from mobile devices, so please make the purchase from a computer.

    Other topics covered in this talk:

    • The two components of partnership with a Good Guy: spot him, and partner with him; how to do it
    • Knowing the difference between mere marketing bluster and honest signals
    • The implicit association test (IAT) and what it says about misogyny amongst women
    • Pernicious sources of female insecurity
    • Perfectionism as a form of covert self-loathing, and what to do instead
    • An exercise for rewiring your brain to tame your negative inner voice

    Click here to purchase the full lecture.

    Tue Dec 13: How to Meet Good Men Over the Holidays

    In the meantime, on Tue 13 December, a week from today, even though I object to the word “webinar”, I’ll be holding the free webinar “How to Meet Good Men Over the Holidays”, just ’cause I like you guys so much. Also, over the 15 years I’ve been teaching this stuff, one thing I’ve learned: most women could be better at meeting men. A lot better. “Nice girls don’t do that”, “It’s the guy’s job”, “What do I even say?” — it’s time to jettison those excuses and expand your repertoire of skills beyond just standing there and looking pretty. We’ve already got 200 signups, so register here so you get the reminders, esp since I’ll be doing live Q&A at the end.

    And do send your questions. Under 250 words, and make sure it contains a question regarding the outcome you desire!

    Go forth and conquer, Dr Ali

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  • Matthieu Ricard on Altruism and Loving-Kindness (audio)

    Last week, I saw Matthieu Ricard give a talk about his new book Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change You and the World (hardcover, ebook and audiobook) in an event hosted by Soren Gordhamer and Wisdom 2.0. Ricard is an interesting fellow. After finishing his doctorate in molecular genetics in 1972 in the lab of Nobel-winning legend François Jacob, he promptly took off for a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the mountains of Nepal, where he has resided since. Subsequent to participating in a pioneering study by Richie Davidson from the University of Wisconsin on the effects of meditation on brain physiology, the media dubbed him “the happiest man in the world.”

    AltruismMatthieuRicard

    You know this is a man grounded in reality because he is quick to refute that label not out of modesty but from the simple fact that all of his fellow monks would do (and have done) equally well on measurements of their brain activity that could result in such a label. My inclination is to think that if you’ve put in the 50,000 hours of meditation that Ricard has, your brain is bound to manifest some unusual phenomena.

    Ricard is an exceptionally lucid and engaging speaker, even in English, which is not his native tongue. In fact, he’s so engaging that I hardly took any notes. Here is some of what he mentioned in his talk:

    • Happiness is not the constant seeking of pleasurable experiences. That can turn out to be quite exhausting.
    • One definition of happiness: not excluding anyone from your heart.
    • Constantly making the world about you — why did this happen to me, why are people mean to me, why am I so unlucky — you create the phenomenon of “the world arising as enemy.”
    • If you find meditation boring, it’s not the fault of the meditation.
    • The word “meditation” itself has little meaning. It’s a bit like saying “training” — what kind of training? Weightlifting? Running? Tennis?
    • In the same way that you can’t expect to play the harpsichord expertly without practice, you can’t expect to be an expert at compassion, altruism, mindfulness, gratitude without practice either.
    • Mindfulness by itself is not enough. You could have a mindful sniper or psychopath. You must add the caring component to it.

    At the request of the moderator, Ricard led us through a 4-part compassion meditation.

    1. First, you project loving-kindness to several people in sequence, from easy-to-love to very difficult.
    2. Then, you wish for a reduction of their suffering. This is the compassion component.
    3. Rejoice in the existence of all the other people also wishing for the reduction of suffering and taking an active part in it.
    4. Make impartial your projection of compassion and loving-kindness to all sentient beings, without preference or special allocation.

    I have adapted that into this 12min audio, which you can listen to here. The clinical effects of loving-kindness meditation on positive affect and psychological health are well-documented. Besides, it feels good. If you do not have a meditation practice yet, you may wish to consider trying this for starters.

    You may download the audio here.

    Ricard is currently touring the US to promote Altruism. He will make two stops in New York City next week — check his event calendar here. I urge you to go see him if you have the opportunity.

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  • Mailbag: On Leaving Toxic Relationships

    Last week, I received a rash of letters about bad relationships. Like, really, really bad relationships. I feel like these kinds of relationships are a little bit like cockroaches: for every one that you see, there are 70 that you don’t. Which makes me dread how many more of you must be in these kinds of relationships without telling me — or anyone else. Speak up! First, let’s get to this first letter here. After responding to all of the “I’m Stuck with Toxic Boy and Don’t Know What to Do” letters personally, I felt this one was representative of the batch:

    Dr Ali, I have been dating a man for the past 9 years on and off. He is 44 years old, divorced and still lives with his mother. He hangs out with his loser friends to smoke weed and drink alcohol. He hardly spends time with me when I confront him about the lack of time. All he tells me is that I complain about it too much and that I need to respect him and give him loyalty.

    His comments make me resent him, so on and off, I block him from my phone. What I heard from an ex is that the times we are not together he was sleeping around and dating other women. In our last break up, he started dating another woman a week after breaking up with me. A month later, he proposed to her and moved in with that woman. He never did anything like that with me.

    What bothers me is that he is trying to get back with me while he is still engaged to the other chick. I still love him but I feel disgusted and used. How do I let go of a loser who gave me crumbs of time?

    Resentfully, Bree

    Oh my. The only thing that’s missing here is “He also just recently got out of jail for a few felony charges and tends to beat me with a baseball bat for sport. And wants me to join his cult.” I mean, we all have different limits of tolerance, but it seems as if (more…)

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  • Replay of Project Irresistible 2014 Session 1

    LADIES — We had Session 1 of Project Irresistible last night, and it was full of powerful information to kickstart your love life and more. There were two stories, 3 readings from Eastern wisdom, 4 mind-expanding exercises and one killer guided meditation to get you in the mood for transformation and reaching your highest, best self.

    Before you download and listen to the first session, I want to share a funny story with you. It turns out that there was a married woman on the preview class the day before. Now, a single woman I can understand. But why would a married woman choose to attend a class on dating? It made no sense! So she explained (note: here is your chance to hear me dumbfounded — I’m told it doesn’t happen nearly enough). Click on the link to hear the 90sec mp3 of what happened:

    Dr Ali’s surprise student

    Pretty unbelievable stuff. And apparently true.

    Anyway, I’ve always made the first session available to the public so you can get a feel for what the course is about, so here it is. Right click on the link to download it, or click to listen to it in your browser:

    Project Irresistible 2014 Session 1 (25Mb, 73min)

    Or, newfangled technology! If you’re on a phone or mobile device or away from your computer somehow, you can dial in and listen to the class. That’s right! Call +1 218 844 3182 and use access code 89633016, and it’ll be just like you’re on the live call.

    The price for the class goes up to $297 from $247 tonight at midnight. You can enroll for the class through Sunday, November 10. After that, the class is only available to registered students. Look forward to catching up with many of you in the class!

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  • Recording of “Compelling People” interview with John Neffinger

    Below is an MP3 recording of the interview I did with John Neffinger, co-author of Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential. Now I’ve known John for a while, so I was able to extract some top tips from his book for your delectation and enrichment. Also, John was kind enough to answer questions for 30 extra minutes, which means this interview is 90 minutes of information-packed usefulness. Some of what we covered:

    • The tug-of-war between how warm we appear and how much strength we project, and how to balance the two
    • Tips for nailing a job interview
    • How warmth and strength figured in the fall and rise of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign
    • The secret of the powerful smile which projects warmth without diminishing strength
    • The special challenges that race and gender present that make projecting strength tricky
    • Exercises to improve the way you present yourself right now

    Download JohnNeffinger_CompellingPeople1013, stick it on your iPhone or iPod or Android gizmo, and listen to it on your daily drive. Or listen to it using the media player here: 

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  • Interview with Shana James: What women need before they can let you in (audio)

    Gentlemen – Have you had any of the following thoughts or experiences?

    •  You feel alone and disconnected during sex
    •  You put so much attention on making a woman feel good that you lose sight of my own pleasure
    •  You felt the spark fade suddenly while having sex and didn’t know how to get it back
    •  You’ve had “performance anxiety”
    •  You wonder if your skills are up to par or if other guys are better
    •  It’s awkward to transition from having a conversation to being sexual
    •  Women act hot and cold with you and only open to your advances sometimes
    •  You’re confused about why some women light up around you but others don’t
    •  You’ve been getting close to a woman when she suddenly chose another man over you

    If so, you’re not alone. I recently did an hourlong interview with my friend & colleague Shana James on “Sex, Orgasm and Intimacy: What Women Need Before They Can (more…)

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  • Love, Dating & Happiness at Harvard: Ali Binazir at the Harvard Alumni Association

    Love, Dating and Happiness at Harvard
    “Love, Dating and Happiness at Harvard” at the HAA, June 2013

    I gave a 14min talk at a gathering of fellow Harvard alumni in Cambridge in June 2013. Hope you find it useful. (more…)

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  • Pop-Up Teleclass: “How to Be Irresistible” Mon May 27

    Ladies –

    I haven’t had a teleclass for you in a while, so it’s time! I’ve done the “How to Be Irresistible: Love Is in Your Body” workshop live a couple of times, and it was a lot of fun. So now I’m going to do it in teleclass format so all of you who can’t make it to San Francisco can attend. Here’s a sampling of what you’re going to learn:

    • The real power you have in relationships and how to access it
    • The latest research on what love really is, physiologically and neurologically
    • The importance of positive emotions and how to have more of them
    • How to embody love
    • The problem of desire and how to solve it
    • Guided visualizations and meditations to get you feeling these principles in your bones
    This is really more like a highly interactive workshop than me just giving a lecture, so come ready participate and be in a place where you can stand up and move around a little (i.e. not in a car). And yes, I will record it in case you happen to miss it.

    The teleclass will go for about 75 min, with about 15min of Q&A at the end. Here’s the call-in info:

    • WHAT: “How to Be Irresistible” Teleclass
    • WHEN: Mon 27 May 2013, 6pm PT/9pm ET/11am Sydney (on Tue)
    • WHERE: On your phone, when you’re not driving and you’re free to do goofy-looking exercises
    When you sign up, remember to use the 67% off discount code I emailed you! It brings the price down from $75 to $25:

    Catch up with you then and there

    Dr Ali

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  • How to Be Irresistible: Recording of Talk from 5 Feb 2013

    Ladies –

    As promised, I recorded the workshop I gave on 5 Feb in San Francisco. I recorded it 3 separate ways, and 2 of them experienced technical failure. The following is the backup recording of the whole workshop, all 100 minutes. It’s not edited, because I just switched to a Mac from a PC and don’t know how to twiddle with stuff yet, so feel free to fast forward through the slow spots. Some topics I cover:

    • Loving-Kindness Meditation (metta) and the importance of self-love
    • The problem of desire and wanting stuff, and why it’s a Catch-22 — unless you do this one thing
    • The physiology of love and how you can create it on demand, according to the new book Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson
    • And 30min of provocative Q&A
    [audio:http://taoofdating.com//wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BeIrresistible_DrAliBinazir_full.mp3|titles=How to Be Irresistible: Love & Dating for Smart Women]

    How to Be Irresistible: Love & Dating for Smart Women (right-click to download – 40 Mb mp3)

    The following are two downloadable mp3s starting at the 50min mark of the talk — right about when I cover the topic of how to be irresistible. The first one is all lecture; the second is all Q&A.

    [audio:http://taoofdating.com//wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BeIrresistible_DrAliBinazir_pt1.mp3|titles=BeIrresistible_DrAliBinazir_pt1]

    BeIrresistible_DrAliBinazir_pt1 (right-click to download)

    [audio:http://taoofdating.com//wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BeIrresistible_DrAliBinazir_pt2.mp3|titles=BeIrresistible_DrAliBinazir_pt2]

    BeIrresistible_DrAliBinazir_pt2 (right-click to download)

    Hope you find these useful, and feel free to send them on to friends if you feel they would benefit. Give me your feedback in the comments section so I know what works for you.

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