The average time for a relationship to last is around the 3-5 month mark.
Arguably, this is because that’s how long it normally takes for two people to start dropping their masks, showing their true colours, and seeing how those colours combine.
That’s 3-5 months just in terms of the official duration of the relationship of course, which doesn’t take into account the weeks and months after it ends when one or both partners are left dealing with the disappointment, the sense of a wasted emotional investment, and the “what if” thoughts that come up in the aftermath of the breakup.
If only there was a way to see through someone’s mask more quickly, to be able to unearth vital information about them within the first few interactions that enables you to sort the wheat from the chaff…
There is a discipline used in corporate social engineering to reveal billion dollar secrets, and in military and law enforcement interrogations to gain damning confessions – and have the person volunteering the information feel like it was their idea to share it.
Now you can use it for dating
If you learn these methods, you may indeed get”bad guys” to reveal their true natures and intentions.
You need to cultivate the genuine mindset that interactions with you are a place where people are completely safe to be fully open, vulnerable and human without fear of judgement or condemnation.
On an ethical level, this means you can move forward with a clear conscience, having made the determination to never criticise or condemn someone for being open, authentic and vulnerable in your company.
On an operational level, embodying this mindset means that you will automatically, subconsciously telegraph your attitude to the person you’re talking to and your overall vibe and demeanour will do the heavy lifting for you, rather than having to rely on tricks, techniques, and tactics.
When people feel that they can tell you anything and everything, they tend to.
Remember that there is nothing new under the sun, and in the spectrum of human experience really most everything can be called normal and there is no one right way to go about being a human.
In order to do this, you will need to get yourself, your opinions and your biases out of the way for long enough to give them the gift of being truly seen – and as a byproduct, to give yourself the opportunity to come to informed decisions and conclusions about those you meet.
This is a huge topic with many subtopics within it, however it’s my intention for you to finish reading this article with a fundamental understanding of how it works, how you are already using it by accident in your everyday life, and at least one practical point that you can take with you into your next date or social engagement.
Elicitation is the art of deliberately steering a conversation to flow naturally in a direction that allows you to uncover the information you want / need, without it feeling forced or unnatural.
Think about how you communicate with your closest friends…
The conversation flows back and forth, with direct questions being the exception rather than the rule – normally it just feels like a relaxed exchange and a natural progression, and afterwards you can’t remember details of most of what was talked about other than maybe a handful of highlights.
And yet, during that conversation you probably shared quite a lot of very private information with them, and they with you. Work and travel schedules, relationship dynamics, new or upcoming purchases, bad habits, stress factors, hopes and projects, etc.
And this is just talking about the overt, obvious information that is shared verbally, we’re not even going to go into the levels of detail you can observe through a well honed Behavioural Profiler perspective.
Elicitation is the process of deliberately hijacking the same social principles and mechanisms that create the open conversations between close friends and using them to generate that same degree of rapport and openness with a relative stranger.
This is a radical improvement to the clumsy, clunky, awkward games of question ping-pong common on first dates, when meeting strangers at parties, or at speed dating events.
Genuine interest is a good thing, however questions often feel like a challenge – why?
Being questioned can subconsciously bring to mind the memory of being a child having just done something wrong and being interrogated by a parent or teacher as to why did you do that?!
From adult life, it evokes thoughts of job interviews, or how the police will â€œbring people in for questioning.
Read: unpleasant mental associations – something to be avoided.
In a nutshell, the instinctive emotional response to being questioned is to feel exposed.
Now, if we are being asked about things we want to open up about, it’s a welcome opportunity that we will pounce on.
Opening up about the less-than-perfect aspects of our lives and personalities though, the aspects that may put our date off or make them see us as flawed. Different story.
The very fact that you need to ask someone a direct question means that it wasn’t their own idea to share that information at this point.
The implication: it is out of alignment with their current mental and emotional position / mood to share that information right now.
The degree to which this is the case is the degree to which the question will feel jarring and awkward.
What we are looking to do is set and hold a frame of freedom through openness, and generate a mood where the person feels naturally compelled from within to share the information of their own free will.
You get to find out what you need to know, and the other person gets to share the truth about themselves, not because they’re answering to someone, but because it felt appropriate and safe to do so.
Using these methods you are dignifying a person’s free will, while also leading it to a mutually beneficial conclusion.
So we’ve covered some important principles that will make the process of getting people to open up exponentially easier
To conclude, I want to give you a simple, easy-to-practice method to start integrating into your social repertoire.
An easy and natural way to start weaning yourself off the habit of acting direct questions is a concept that Chris Voss of the Black Swan Group calls mirroring…
Simply take the power words out of a sentence – the words where you want to ask “what did you mean by X?”- and instead of saying that, you repeat those words back to the person in a sincerely curious tone.
Speaker: Yeah I had a great weekend catching up and partying with friends.
You (smiling and looking interested): Partying?
Speaker: Yeah, nothing crazy this time, just a few drinks and some music round at my flat.
You (looking gleefully fascinated, leaning in, asking in a conspiratorial tone with a twinkle in your eye): Nothing crazy this time?
Speaker:Oh yeah, I mean not as wild as some people you see, but you know sometimes we’ll go out on the town and make a whole night of it, maybe catch some live music, do the rounds of all the clubs, all that jazz.
Well, every so often when my friend comes visiting from Jamaica he’ll bring some herbaceous goodness and we’ll make a weekend of it.
Well I had a light workload the previous week and went on a bender Wednesday night through to Sunday morning, truth be told I’m still recovering.
You (still smiling and unphased regardless of the answer given): It sounds like you know how to have a good time, I remember my first ever grown up night out after I turned 18, we had so much fun / it was a total disaster¦ [go into an anecdote – usually a prompt for them to share a similar anecdote from their own lives, giving you even more information]
Without asking any probing questions, you have uncovered what this person likes to do for a good time, the dynamic and interest of their social group, and potentially their stance on recreational drug use.
You have gained vital information about this individual and their lifestyle, all the while having the process feel like a natural and pleasant conversation for all parties.
Now imagine the result of the forthright, direct question approach:
You (eyebrows raised, lips tight, eyes telegraphing suspicion, hands tense):What do you mean by partying? I hope you don’t mean like drugs, that stuff is absolutely wrong and something I really don’t agree with.
Okay, so you could say this is open, authentic, genuine, sincere communication that asks for the information you want to know, while authentically communicating your opinion on the subject and letting them know where you stand.
This is good, right?
It’s definitely going to let them know where you stand…
It’s also either going to force the individual into a defensive position as they will likely feel attacked/accused if they are also anti-drugs, and even though you both share the same viewpoint, the question will be a rapport breaker.
If they do like to party in a more substance-assisted manner, then they will feel judged before they start to answer.
A more decent guy will probably tell a white lie to avoid conflict in the moment and ghost you afterwards, knowing that it would never work out but not wanting to tell you directly about his lifestyle choices and why the two of you aren’t a match – you’ll be left hanging, and if you liked him then you’ll be left wondering why.
A more manipulative guy will disqualify you from the relationship material list, and relegate you to the booty call list and say whatever he thinks you need to hear for long enough to turn you into a temporary supply of fleshly pleasures until he finds a partner who is better matched to his lifestyle.
- Pay attention to how much this happens naturally in conversation and how much information is exchanged without direct or fully formed questions
- Next time you are on a date or in a general social environment, see how much information you can glean simply by using mirroring and nonverbally telegraphing your curiosity and fascination in the person you’re talking to.
Further articles are incoming to help you learn more principles and methods to get information out of people in a natural and elegant manner, but all of this begs the questions:
How do you know what information is important to uncover?
Is there a way to go after very specific pieces of sensitive information without causing alarm or discomfort?
These are questions that we will explore at length in the coming days and weeks.
Until then, be safe, enjoy your life, and remember:
Freedom is everything, and love is all the rest.