Lead With The Deal Breakers

So many people, in their initial interactions with others, hide their most unusual or unique characteristics. As a result, they delay heartbreak – delay it, but not prevent it.

For instance, imagine you’re excited about a first date with someone. You want it to go well, so you hide the fact that you’re an avid snake breeder and you have like a thousand snakes. The date goes well! And then the second date comes around and they find out about the snake farm and they run screaming. What was the point of hiding it? If something’s important to you, lead with it.

Here’s a fun example – the Nigerian Prince scams. You know those email scams where someone writes to you claiming to be a Nigerian prince with millions of dollars they just want to give you for some flimsy reason? They’re always super obvious, the grammar atrocious, the email address suspect, etc. Want to know something crazy? They do all that on purpose.

The people behind those scams are actually quite sophisticated. They have more than sufficient command of the English language to write a compelling and believable email. They could come up with a better initial “pitch.” But they don’t, on purpose. Their reason makes perfect sense once you know it: they want to eliminate, as early as possible, anyone smart enough not to fall for the full scam.

You see, you can trick a LOT of people into going 3-4 emails deep with you on a scam if you’re a good writer and con artist, but the number of people who actually go all the way to giving you their bank details is way lower. That’s a lot of wasted time – you don’t want to be emailing back and forth with hundreds or thousands of people, 99% of whom figure you out before you get a dime. It’s better (from the scammer’s perspective, of course) to just make what you’re doing so obvious that the only people who engage at all are the people who will fall for the whole thing. And clearly some people do: the scam wouldn’t exist if it didn’t generate enough money to be worth it.

So those scammers are horrible, but we can learn a valuable lesson from them. Put the things that are going to eliminate people up front. If you’re looking for friends, a relationship partner, a new job, anything – lead with the weirdest stuff. Because somewhere out there is someone who loves snakes as much as you do, and you don’t want to miss your chance with them because you’re busy wading through a sea of ophidiophobes, pretending to be something you’re not.

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