Social Rich, Market Poor

By Greg Libido
March 27, 2015

One anomaly of my life has been that I remain Social Rich, even while I am often Market Poor.

Although the two can be attained together, this article is about understanding the two separate systems at work.

Society screams that the opposite must be true, especially as a man. We all know the story; you need the right house and vehicle, career, and bank account balance to attract the right women for you.

That’s how it works, right? Isn’t that what being in or out of the right league means? Having the stuff and status you need to get the women or woman you want in your life?

The idea that you must be market rich, or have enough STUFF, before you can be social rich, or have high quality relationships. It’s rarely spelled out this clearly, yet isn’t that really the point of it all? Is there a man among us that hasn’t felt like he doesn’t have the right STUFF to attract the people he really wants in his life?

Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s a reason why I have competed against investment bankers, tycoons, and other people slightly out of my league when we’re both interested in the same woman… and my odds are pretty good.

By slightly out of my league, I mean I don’t even have a car, house, or bank account balance… or a job. While I generally have a bit of spending money and some sort of a job, they have never reached the caliber required to date girls in Playboy, models, promo girls, and strippers.

It’s not just the looks; the women I’ve dated generally have a lot more to offer in terms of intellect, personality, and other intangible qualities.

So, something isn’t right here… or is it?

To make this anomaly go one step further, it is at the times that I have focused most on becoming market rich that I have experienced social poverty. Most of my students have had a similar problem, often having everything society says they need to be popular and successful with women yet they’re paying the guy with no car, no job, no house, and no money for help.

Hmmm… Something is fishy here. Self-examination combined with retro studying the lives of my students wasn’t yielding the answer until I read about the concept of a social and market brain in Dan Ariely’s Predictable Irrationality and combined it with Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly that explores the strength of vulnerability.

The market brain is very logical and value oriented. I give you this, you give me that, we have a good deal. Value for value.

The social brain operates on a very different value system.

Why do you like anything? Sometimes there’s some logic.. X makes me feel better than Y is a common one.. but take it a step deeper. Why does one make you feel better? Why does is one man thrilled to drive a Mustang, while the next is horrified that he can’t afford an Austin Martin? Why don’t people simply fall in love with the person that has the most net worth they can obtain?

Here we run into some complexity, where Ariely uses logic. Suggestions like cooperation, likeability, consistency attempt to show these events are predictably irrational. I believe there is some truth here, but he’s looking at symptoms of a greater picture.

Brene Brown offers valuable insight with her work on AUTHENTICITY and VULNERABILITY.

Authenticity, at least when it comes to people, is key. Authenticity is felt on a raw emotional level, which defies logic and runs into the realm of emotion. Vulnerability, all that shit we feel we should hide out of fear of judgment from our parents, friends, and strangers, is a vital factor.

The social brain operates on reciprocity, which the market brain ignores. The social brain says I receive value, therefore I give value. Reciprocity is a key factor of decency, a trait which all good people must display.


Examples will help here:

1. If you get a $100 dollar item on sale for $5, you’re operating on market value principles. You’re happy to receive a bargain, but have no feeling of reciprocity. The market brain always strives to get the better deal, as well it should.

2. If a friend is there for you in a time of need, offers you a meal when you’re hungry without mentioning the price, or helps you move; you’re operating on social value principles. When someone is capable of merely taking without feeling the desire to return the favor in the future, they are ignoring reciprocity.

Note: These predatory types are known as sociopaths/psychopaths. They may gain market profit, but their lives become void of social wealth. Look into the eyes of such a man, and you see a man starved of true affection. Able to only create the appearance of social prosperity, he attempts to satisfy himself with the appearance of social wealth via market means. His fate inspires empathetic sorrow instantly from the empathetic individual.

3. If an individual provides a gift, and mentions the price, they are unintentionally invoking market principles rather than social principles. Everyone one of us has been on both sides of this divide without realizing it. A friend takes you out, and casually mentions they’re happy to provide a $5,000 night because you’re a good friend and you deserve it. The emotion evoked, which is the social market providence, is that you are lucky to have such a friend that provides such a value. They’re taking what SHOULD be a social value interaction and pushing it into the realm of market value. Maybe the examples from your life aren’t as drastic, but even being gifted a bottle of wine we’re told is worth $100 is worth less than a friend bringing over a bottle of wine that may be worth $10, but has an unspecified value.

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Note: The point here is that market value often supersedes social value. You may not have the level of intellectual and emotional honesty to process these things consciously, yet they exist and in retrospect you will see their affects in your life.


Again, this is the social fabric of society. I help you move, you help me wash my car. I help you find your cat, you let me use your car for the weekend. There’s no strict tit for tat. Instead, it’s a gift exchange. I give, you give, I give, you give.

What we’re looking at here is a system that is unavoidable by good people, and whose exploitation is immediately obvious by those with psychopathic tendencies.

I have met such people that ignore these principles, yet have hundreds of millions and in some cases billions of dollars. They become surrounded by beautiful people, but the lack of love in their life makes anyone weary of it conscious and sorry.

Most guys try to make a value exchange for love. I have this, therefore I deserve you as a person.

Many women WANT to fall for this. They get married to these guys, yet they are unfulfilled. Anyone who has seen a woman marry a rich man she isn’t really attracted to sees this almost immediately. Trying to connect social value to market value doesn’t work. The women dating such guys are seldom happy, and the men dating such women are laden with distrust.

Think back on your life. Can you put a price on your favorite memories? What would you pay that friend that was there when nobody else seemed to understand your personal struggle? You FUCKING can’t. There’s no market value for it.

Who hasn’t fallen in love with someone who fails to attain any of their check marks of what they want… yet that’s the person that ends up breaking your heart? You’re FEELING the effects of social value overcoming your more rational/logical expectations of market value.

Now, to gain value in the social market place you’ve got to give.. more than you think you should… but there’s only vague expectation of return… or if you are receiving that you should return such value as you are able. The mindset of being above or beneath anyone must be dropped immediately.

Vulnerability is the trademark here. Authentic people, those operating on social market principles, are unafraid of showing their humanity. They know that anyone who would be alienated by knowing who they are on a deep level isn’t worth knowing, and anyone worth knowing wouldn’t be alienated by who they truly are.

They’re the answer to value leeches. They give without expecting, and in return receive a wealth that no amount of money can buy.

They learn to respect value differential in the social market place. The smile of a 7-11 attendant is more than enough reciprocity for giving that person their humanity. Alternatively, the favors of those who are easily able to give market wealth without naming it is met with an increased desire to provide that person social wealth.

The social minded person WILL become resentful of any individual attempting to use market wealth to control their social value. Women often fall victim to this. However, I myself felt this inexplicable resentment when very wealthy individuals attempted to control me with very specific market favors.

The social minded person LOVES to give, but HIGHLY RESENTS being controlled. Having their value taken is inexcusable.

Vulnerability is our humanity, our struggle, our imperfection. The image we’re not controlling, the emotion we’re so used to hiding. The social minded person MUST show vulnerability, truly allowing others to see their insecurities, flaws, and weaknesses. HOWEVER, the social minded person is capable of showing how these traits make them feel, and how they are continuously overcome.


The market minded person attempting to use market value to gain social has several traits which are also obvious.

When we see ourselves as needing a certain value, we try to present a construed image of ourselves. We try not to offend, we work hard to befriend, we really want people to like us.

Our concern for only those we feel offers us the right value becomes immediately obvious. If you can’t see it within yourself, think about that friend that acts so amazing when attempting to win your favor, yet callously degrades those they feel are below them.

Intelligent women actually use a test for this, known as the waiter test. Watching how her date treats their waiter often provides long term insight into how that person will treat them in the future. They’re affectively comparing how that person treats someone they want something from (market value) with how that person treats people they expect to get nothing from (social value.)


Creating real social value must be authentic. It must happen with the girl taking your order at McDonalds, as well as the model in the club.

You will naturally invite high caliber individuals with strong social value into your life. Your efforts will continually focus on giving more than you receive from such individuals. Whether the social value you provide is expensive or not matters less than the social value it represents.

Induce a state of always feeling like you are giving more than you receive, but never more than you can afford to give.

I used to believe that creating value was the reductionist approach here, but giving value is what really matters.

Reciprocity works naturally. You’ll end up providing more value, of any means, to those providing more value to you. Now, the converse is equally true. You’ll end up getting more value from those you provide more value to.

The most likeable people aren’t better, they don’t pretend to be either. They show their emotion, they feel, their passion is obvious and often out of place. They’re walking to the beat of a different drum, but we all are. They give people strength by showing how they are facing adversity without falling.. not by portending perfection.

When you act on these principles, your time will be filled by those providing the social value you want. People with high social value will gravitate toward you, and you’ll find yourself faced with the hard decision of deciding who to spend your free time with rather than finding people you want to spend it with.


In a world so full of men trying to hide their emotions and weakness, men that display them freely often stand out. You can see, instantly, whether they are admitting true feelings, or being overwhelmed by their obstacles. It’s not powerful to stop fighting when you’re hit with something bigger than you think you can handle… It is powerful to say you want to stop fighting.

Creating this authenticity helps you to become comfortable with who you are, and lets others know they can trust you at a core level. It communicates a level of confidence that doesn’t require validation.

GIVING value from an authentic frame that doesn’t expect anything in return will yield results beyond your wildest dreams. It may not get you the PERSON you want, but it will get you the RIGHT PEOPLE.

Almost everyone is looking for validation at some level. The cheat code to that is to just start giving it freely, and in return you’ll become validated beyond your wildest dreams…. And income level.

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