From Bullied Kid to Relationship Coach
When I was 20, a friend of mine told me about The Game by Neil Strauss. The Game outlined the journey of a group of men who developed a system to go out to any event and take home any woman they wanted. These men were self-proclaimed nerds, geeks, and social outcasts. They reinvented themselves and pledged to never be defined by their past.
They called themselves pickup artists. A group of us purchased the book together and began to learn more about social dynamics and building attraction. I no longer had to be the bullied and chubby little boy who couldn’t get a date. I could (and did) leave all of that behind.
But I disagreed with much of the pickup artist industry. A lot of it was fake and scripted, simply about building a persona to attract someone for one night together. Nobody was learning the skills needed to build a real relationship or to actually improve themselves.
Feeling conflicted, I joined message boards flooded with pickup artists. I began to give input and advice—mostly around how to dress, and why we should work on building deeper connections than were advised in the book.
Messages started rolling in from guys who referred to me not as a pickup artist, but as a “natural.” I was the guy in the community who didn’t use the routines or scripts, and was even seen as “handsome.” They wanted my help.
Giving other men advice and helping them improve themselves fulfilled me.
That’s when I learned I could make a living as a relationship coach. This was an unlikely career path. Just three years earlier, I hadn’t ever kissed anyone — or even held a girl’s hand.
My upbringing in the suburbs of Boston was not exactly the makings of a ladies’ man or a popular kid. I was bullied starting from a young age. Kids called me “Sama Llama.”
I remember being chased and taunted out of the schoolyard by the same child who became an albatross on the back of my self-confidence through middle and high school. Being taunted on the playground gave way to being taunted on the football field and in the locker room. In the seventh grade, my bully deliberately slapped my helmet. In an act of…