Outer Game 101: Is it violent to compliment a girl?

All right, so yesterday I mentioned my intention to respond to some questions that GoneSavage (GS) raised about compassionate (a/k/a non-violent) communication (CC or NVC for short). For those who are not familiar, NVC is a form of communication developed by Marshall Rosenberg to enhance connection among people and help them navigate and resolve intense conflicts. NVC is sometimes affectionately referred to as “giraffe language” for reasons that I’m not going to get into here. In some schools in the Middle East, they teach four-year old children to mediate disputes among their classmates using NVC.

If we teach NVC to everyone, the entire world will be transformed.

But I digress … right now we’re talking about the application of compassionate communication to seduction, and in particular, GS was focused on this quotation:

“In NVC, we consider praise and compliments a violent form of communication. Because they are part of the language of domination, it is one passing judgment on another. What makes it more complex is that people are trained to use praise as reward, as a manipulation to get people to do what they want.”

— Marshall Rosenberg (http://www.cnvc.org/)

GS had a few concerns, as he mulled over this quotation and ran internet searches on NVC. Here are some of the questions he raised:

1. GS was worried that NVC is anti-sex.

This one’s easy to answer — quite the opposite. As I mentioned in the previous post, intensive NVC often leads to sex. Why? Because it creates and enhances intimacy. The reason we were “warned” about it at the 10-day training is that the instructor wanted to make sure that those people who were already in committed relationships did not end up doing anything they regretted while at the conference. In other words, the instructor was meeting his own need for integrity and for contributing to other people’s well-being.

2. GS also was concerned that NVC means the end of compliments:

“I have always thought that giving genuine praise was a kind and soul-enriching act, but now I see that it is really a violent one. After reading more on NVC, it now seems to me that any concious use of any technique is manipulation and therefore a violent form of communication.”

GS, NVC does not mean the end of compliments. It means the beginning of sincere, detached-from-the-outcome appreciation.

I like Marshall’s quote because it is provocative and gets people thinking, thus raising awareness. That said, it is a bit of an oversimplification. At its core, NVC is a tool for transforming consciousness. Thus, for example, when we say “that waterfall is really beautiful” or “that girl is really beautiful,” NVC encourages us to translate that into our own observations, feelings, needs, and requests (OFNR). NVC translation: “When I see that waterfall, I feel blissful because my needs for beauty, connection to the natural world, awe, and relaxation are met. Would you be willing to stop the hike for a few minutes so I can continue to enjoy it?”

However, this raises an important issue when it comes to NVC. The language is so different from everyday street language that sometimes if you actually use the NVC terminology, other people (who haven’t yet learned it) will look at you like you just landed here from Mars. In addition, sometimes it’s just too many words. So sometimes the NVC language can hinder rather than enhance communication.

This is where the concept of “street giraffe” comes in (which actually also answers a question that a blog reader posed to me a couple of months ago when he was struggling to incorporate NVC into his everyday life without being perceived as a “weirdo”). Street giraffe is an art form, and it is a real joy once a person starts becoming proficient. As we study NVC, our consciousness begins to change. Instead of thinking that other people are responsible for meeting our needs, we begin to see that we are always responsible for our own needs, and for lack of a better concept, our “energy” changes. Now something miraculous happens. We can still be using non-NVC words, such as compliments, but because the intention with which we are using those words has changed, the impact the words have on other people also changes.

For example, two different guys can say the same thing to a girl (such as “Wow, you are so beautiful, I just had to come over to say hello). One guy will be perceived by the girl as creepy (which, translated into NVC, merely means that she senses that the guy wants something from her). The other guy will be perceived by the girl as charming (which means simply that her needs for appreciation, connection, etc. are being met at the same time as the guy is meeting his own needs). The difference between the two guys is something I refer to as “vibe” but really has to do with the guy’s belief system. This is too complex to cover fully here but is something that I’m delving into in my Perfect Seduction.


GS had a few more questions but for now I’m out of time. So I’ll write part two of this article later.

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About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In it’s purest form, NVC, negates any validation or tenderness within a relationship.
    If one assumes a compliment is predicated on a selfish need, what is the conclusion?
    People seek validation. In a relationship ones wants to be VISIBLE to their lover for all that they are: primarily all that they value in themselves.
    If my lover tells me I am beautiful, sexy, exotic, and delightful I am PLEASED, for he has validated me.
    This entire concept, taken to its absurd conclusion actually negates love.
    Love is ultimatly visibility and appreciation for the other.
    How does one express this if the other assumes it is coming from a place of manipulation, or desire for selfish ends?
    I would ask Erika the following question;
    How DOES a lover validate the other, and how do they connect thereby becomming truely visible if they both presume the other is coming from a place of personal want?
    I completly disgree with this concept.
    And, what is wrong with a little domination? Women love to be dominated in bed. Or to be engaged in rough sex to let go of personal control. Rape is the number one fantasy of women. lol

  2. Benedict Smith says:

    this may sound odd at first, but in order to control vibe, might one who lies to themselves as to what they want therefore be able to disguise their intentions and thus use a vibe that disarms the intended pick-up whilst working as a tool for seduction?

  3. At Anon above (MH), I figure assertive masculinity and empathic communication are not mutually exclusive. One’s eyes (and vibe) can speak volumes of masculine power while one’s words can simultaneously melt her heart.

    Masculinity can be a foundation (subcommunication) that underlies the way one expresses oneself…compassionately or not.

    Masculinity as a way of BEing does not need words to convey itself, IMO. You can ravish her with animal-like passion while opening her heart. I would think that women like to feel that edge, raw masculinity and pure heart energy that arrives with compassionate communication.

    My 2cents

    P.S. I agree however that if one is DOing masculinity as a technique or façade…then women sense that incongruence and compassionate communication would reek of collapsing into one’s feelings instead of feeling into them and owning them as a man

  4. Anonymous says:

    ps: I forgot to add that I just wanted to thank you for writing that article, I still enjoyed it.

    best regards,

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree that NVC can enhance intimacy as Empathy leads to better empathy…however I do not see how it can enhance PASSION…I feel that assertive masculinity enhances passion more…i.e. letting a women know your intentions in an upfront and unapologetically straightforward manner…sometimes women want to be desired and just taken and ravished by her lover in an “animalistic” way instead of being listened to and given “empathetic” love…

    what I want to say that empathy is very important for building empathy and rapport, but one needs to have a certain degree of assertiveness (not aggression) to keep the attraction going.

    in the end too much of anything can backfire because there is a risk of being “too understanding” and not asserting our own desires, intentions and interests.


  6. Anonymous says:

    And shared passion… of course! :)(:

  7. Anonymous says:

    And, then again, there's the way the Italians do it! Lovely discussion you wonderful people!

    This is risky… but I'm just feeling good today! So, here goes…

    Peace in the world, Praises for the world… peace in the sheets!

  8. Erika,

    So, if “domination structures” are bad, then rough and tumble sex games are out, right?

    What’s your take on Secretary? Isn’t it an epitome of Love?

  9. GS does raise a good point about so-called “domination structures.” One of the premises of NVC is that we are all equals.

    For example, in Brazil where Dominic Barter is using “Restoration Circles” to address crimes committed by juveniles, they get everyone affected by the crime in one room, in a circle. An NVC facilitator, the perpetrator, victim, families of both people, bystanders, basically anyone affected. And then every single person contributes their perspective about how the crime affected them at the time it was committed and where they are now. In the circle, everyone is an equal. The perpetrator is not placed “below” or “outside” of everyone else. And miraculously, of the perpetrators who participate in the program, almost zero reoffend.

    Why? Because their humanity was heard and seen in a very real way, and they heard and saw the humanity of the victim in a very real way. Once people connect at a deep level like that, it becomes almost impossible to “hurt” another person. The perpetrator has seen himself in the victim, and vice versa. They can no longer hate each other.

    The challenge for NVC practitioners is to accomplish these same effects within hierarchical institutions or relationships where the system does not always value the voice of all participants equally. Where it is too easy for someone in a “dominant” position to ignore the very real concerns of someone “below” them. In my eyes, the most effective “leaders” are those who act as “facilitators” and see themselves as equal to everyone else. Facilitators do not pass judgment, they listen and communicate. Judgment halts communication. At the heart of NVC is the faith that open, dynamic, compassionate communication will lead to the win/win resolution of all perceived “problems.”

  10. I meant NVC, not TCIM, of course

  11. GoneSavage,

    I read Erika’s explanation way more broadly. There seems to be nothing wrong with giving approvals, compliments, tease, or any other behavior – as long as you offer it truly believing it’ll satisfy your need, and do not depend on your partner to comply – there is no limit on what games you may want and offer her to play.

    It’s not that the games are bad, but the fixation to play your game is what’s causing the problem. I think even the games of judgment and domination may be quite satisfying to both sides sometimes – again, if offered sincerely and without neediness.

    Unfortunately, more often than not people use compliments (teasing, approval giving, push-pulling) not from the position of abundance, but as needy bastards. This is what I think is a problem with compliments from TCIM point of view – the way they usually used, not the compliments as a concept.

    The above is just my interpretation of Erika’s post, I know nothing about TCIM otherwise.

  12. Jonathan,

    You raise a good point. I forgot to mention the humor exception.

    Humor is the exception to pretty much every “rule” of seduction.

    Anyone who is sincerely being humorous can say ANYTHING and get away with it.

    Laughter (I’m talking here about laughing with, not laughing at) is one of the highest and most attractive vibrations.

    Thanks for pointing that out.


  13. Jonathan says:

    how to talk dirty using nvc model structure,

    observations and feelings

    you must stink (from sweatin for whatever reason)

    needs (I need you to ….)

    go take a shower.

    request (said like a command)

    scrub yurself like a good little girl.

    i just need to.find two more examples and then i got a rule.

  14. Anonymous says:

    BTW: G4G has a book proposal for someone we all know and love… could that be Erika? hummmm… could be!


  15. Anonymous says:

    Nicely done! Appreciation trumps again!


  16. GoneSavage says:

    Thanks for addressing my concerns. The distinction became clear to me when I realized that praise means approval, not appreciation.

    Praise means that you are giving approval. Which means you are in a “dominant” position – getting an application approved would be an example, this “dominant” person is a gatekeeper. This also can subtly mean you may be “seeking approval” in return. The community talks about giving approval instead of seeking approval. Still a weak frame because this is the language of dominance.

    To appreciate, on the other hand, literally means, “to raise in value.” Appreciate is the opposite of depreciate, “to lower in value.” When you appreciate someone you actually make that person more valuable.

    You are giving without feeling superior or expecting a return.

    You are just the guy who allows women to feel special.

    Jackals give approval and giraffes appreciate. Thanks!

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