The Path to Legionnaire: Social

As I stated last time, I believe that 2014 will be the year in which face-to-face meet-ups among people within the Reactionary fold will become increasingly necessary for the future of our various allied movements.  As I have also hinted at but not stated definitively, the next step beyond that will be discussions with people who aren’t necessarily reactionary themselves, but are open to some of the ideas.  I don’t necessarily mean proselytizing, and I especially don’t going door-to-door like some kind of Jehovah’s Witness (excuse me sir, have you a minute of time to hear the words of Moldbug, Land, and LaLiberte?), but any public or semi-public reactionary is going to be perceived as representative of the Reaction as a whole.  How people perceive you will contribute in a large part to how people perceive reaction.  For better or for worse, the medium is the message.

This is why there’s a certain social aspect towards being a Legionnaire.  Now, in all honesty, this is where the writing gets a bit difficult for me.  Dealing with people isn’t really a skill that can be picked up from reading a few blog posts.  It really does require being out there in the world dealing with people, talking to them, figuring out how to play with them and interact in subtle and complex ways.  Social skills tend to either be either intuitive or unconscious, and they come from experience, not theory.

Still, theory can help a bit, as long as you find a way to put it into practice.  I’ll do my best to convey as much as I can, though I suffer from the curse that all people who are naturally inclined towards this sort of thing suffer from, in that I can’t quite put into words a lot of what socially savvy people do.  I’m a natural extrovert with no clue how to give advice to people who tend toward introversion, so I apologize if this isn’t as helpful as I intended.  That in mind, let’s get to the meat of this.  Cheers!

Here’s the thing.  You really can get away with so many more things when people have a high opinion of you.  This can happen in regard to skill-set (if you have unique talents at something interesting or useful), character (are you an upstanding person?), and social reputation (can you cultivate a good reputation and make people love being around you?).  While I’ll be covering the first two aspects at other times in various ways, today I will be focusing on that last particular: social reputation.

As much as some people love to whine about not being judged, humans are judging creatures.  We size people up, sometimes consciously but mostly unconsciously, from the very first second we lay eyes on them.  It’s what we do, by virtue of our programming.  While there are individuals out there who prefer to complain about this and deem it unfair, it’s much more effective to get over yourself and learn how to use this all-too-human tendency to your advantage.

Given this, it should be fairly obvious that first impressions thus count for a lot in how people perceive you.  Someone fit, confident, and well-dressed, gives off a more likeable initial vibe than someone who is the exact opposite.  Obviously, you don’t have to be all of those in order to get people to like you and respect you over time, but why fight an unnecessary uphill battle?  It’s like handicapping yourself before a fight…you’re only doing it to show off and prove something to yourself.

Get those things down pat and a significant portion of the battle is already won.  Additionally, body language is of great importance in how people perceive you (hence my inclusion of two books on body language in the social section of “The Legionnaire’s Reading List“).  Not only can you use body language to gauge how others are feeling (and you should be doing this), you can also use it to tell others how they should feel about you.  What’s more convincing, telling people that you’re confident, or walking into a room with you head held high, your eyes forward, your shoulders pulled back, and a pop in your step?

Leap of a Beta and Free Northerner have great posts on this subject, so rather than re-inventing the wheel I’m going to send you over to each of them, respectively.  I will add to their words though, that great body language is its own reward.  Not only does feeling better about yourself lead to better body language, but better body language leads to feeling better about yourself (as well as other rewards, like increased testosterone), kicking off a positive feedback loop that leads to better body language and a more positive self-perception ,which manifests itself in how you interact with people.  How great is that?

This cuts both ways though, so avoid closed-off, space-minimizing, or otherwise negative body language.

As important as first impressions are though, you need to be able to follow up on them, to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk, as it were.  While traits like being articulate, well-spoken, and diplomatic are important in most circumstances, and should certainly be cultivated, the only factor I wish to consider here is charisma, the ability to charm and engage with people such that they’re absolutely electrified by your presence.

Charisma really boils down to two things: strength and warmth.  By this definition, strength refers to aspects like the strength of your personality, your confidence in yourself, and the firmness of your convictions.  Thing someone who is secure, decisive, and unequivocal.  Warmth refers to things like how well you captivate people, drawing them into your world and making them feel good about being around you.  Think someone with a radiant smile, a good ear, and a way of making you feel like you’re the center of attention.

Someone with both of these qualities is a respected and charismatic person.  Someone with warmth but no strength is your typical doormat, your “nice-guy”, your typical “beta male”.  Someone with strength but not warmth comes off as harsh and intimidating, which is useful in some circumstances, and which is a tack some people might prefer taking, but in those situations when you can’t always rule by fear, charm is your best weapon.  Finally, someone who is neither strong nor warm is either an insecure asshole or an angsty teenager.  Don’t be either one.

An easy way to get people to like you?  Give value to them.  People spend financial capital to buy products that give them value.  They expend social capital to spend time with people who are funny, pleasant to be around, and make them feel good about themselves.

An even better way to get people to like you, though?  Get them to do small favors for you.  The “rationalization hamster” will kick in and people will rationalize their doing things for you by making themselves think they like you (Bold and Determined has a great article here written by a young man who used this trick to weasel his way into a guest post).  Works great in a pinch.  Just be polite about it.  Browbeating people into doing things for you has the opposite effect.

So what to do with all this social ability?  The most important thing you can do with it is to build yourself a solid group of friends that you can rely on.  Yes, being an emissary of Reactionary beliefs is important, but at the end of the day you have to be able to take care of yourself.  That includes your social needs, for humans are social creatures.  Find people with common interests whom you mesh well with and who are a positive influence on you and make them a part of your life.  Give value to them as they will give value to you.  Every man needs a männerbund.  If there was an emergency, do you have buddies who you could trust to have your back?

Honestly, if I have to be the one to tell you that having friends is awesome, there’s probably some troubles happening on your end.  I’m really not sure what I can say if that’s the case.

On a final note, I don’t recommend learning game per se, as I don’t consider it entirely necessary for the purposes of representing the Reaction.  Still, it’s a good life skill, and it’s difficult for any man to respect someone who can’t meet and talk to women.  Besides, the underlying principles (i.e. confidence, holding frame…etc) can be applied to many other facets of life, and will serve you well.

Eh, what the heck.  Go for it.  Life’s better when you know how to  interact with women successfully.  Some of the websites to the right (Heartiste, LaidNYC, Roosh) are “Game” websites.  Check them out a learn a few things.  As always, “The Legionnaire’s Reading List” has a few resources (though “The Game” is more of a narrative designed to convey the message that human behavior has underlying principles that you can learn to rely on, not a “how-to” to picking up chicks).  I’ll see what I can do about getting some seduction stuff into “The Patrician’s Library” as well.

At the end of the day, reputation can be thought of as social capital.  The more capital you’ve acquired, the more you can get away with extreme or unorthodox views and be considered interesting for it.  The charming and the socially aware know just how much they can get away with in each and every circumstances.  There’s a limit to how much one can learn this sort of thing, but anyone and everyone can get better at navigating the ebb and flow of social dynamics, and as an agent of the Reaction, this needs to be another skill in your arsenal.

In summary:

  • You are a representative of the Reaction
  • Social Skills need to be practiced
  • First impressions count for a lot
  • Body Language is key
  • Strength and Warmth comprise charisma
  • Certain social skills more or less relevant depending on personality and specialty
  • Value is the currency of social capital
  • Cultivate a strong social circle
  • Game is useful
  • The better your reputation the more you can get away with

SPQR

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2 thoughts on “The Path to Legionnaire: Social

  1. Bryce Laliberte 12/24/2013 / 11:44 PM

    I have a little secret for practicing being charming with strangers and being able to get away with saying crazy things. I don’t know what to call it, but I’ll explain the rules:

    1) Go to a bar
    2) Buy yourself only one drink
    3) Stay as long as others are giving drinks

    The point is that, obviously, you will need to talk to people. You are allowed to buy others drinks, but you can only buy yourself the one drink. After your drinks are finished and no more are forthcoming, you go home.

    My best score is:

    7.25 hours
    9 drinks for myself
    5 cigarettes bummed off others
    1 spliff given by a girl
    $20 won playing chess
    2 phone numbers
    1 drug hook up
    1 drink bought for others

    I guess you can call it the mooch game, but seeing as most of us here in the neoreaction need our social skills to convince others we’re worth funding, it comes in handy. Also, it’s just fun to get wasted off your ass on other people’s dime. This game is even easier at parties.

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