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What Makes A Good Wingman?

A good wingman will lie for you. (Via Randall Parker)

U of A researcher says good wingmen will fib for a friend

A University of Alberta researcher says that […] people are generally willing to help a friend protect or enhance his reputation or help him otherwise save face in a social situation.

Along with colleagues from the University of Calgary and UBC, Jennifer Argo, an Alberta School of Business professor, explored the circumstances under which people would be willing to tell a lie to manage another person’s social image. The study found that the wingman is primed to step in with strategic identity support.

“Strategic identity support” = third party DHV.

“This is an instance when you don’t have the opportunity to make yourself look good, so somebody else does it for you,” says Argo. “But you’re better off to hang out with your friends (in these situations) because your friends will look out for you.”

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that this describes male friends more than it does female friends.

A friend in need? The fib’s the deed

Argo studied the likelihood of people helping out a friend who – to his chagrin – paid more for a car than did another person for the same vehicle. Regardless of the size of the price discrepancy, she says, friends are willing to come to the rescue. She notes that in the case of a large discrepancy, even strangers may be willing to help a person save face as a random act of kindness.

“People put themselves in the shoes of the other person and say ‘I would want someone to lie on my behalf so I wouldn’t look bad,’” she says.

Argo notes that the key here is for the person needing help to be physically present during the conversation between the friend and the third party. Otherwise, she notes, the only time they might be willing to fib on behalf of the absent friend is in the case of a large price discrepancy.

Analogously, your in-field wingman is more likely to go to bat for you if you are in his vicinity. So don’t leave for another floor of the bar or drift into a conversation across the room when he’s working your set. On the other hand, wingman lies work best if you seem out of earshot. Given that, the best positioning is going to be with your back to your wingman and your target, and striking up a convo with a nearby group. This will add credibility to whatever accolades your wingman is telling your target.

“It comes down to what kind of relationship you have with the person in need. I think it is truly defined by the level of your friendship,” Argo says. “If it’s the best friend, I think most people would lie, even at the risk of possibly being found out.”

This is why I would never put much faith in “wingman services”; i.e., those internet forums that try to pair you up with fellow pickup travelers. If you want the best out of your wingman, he needs to be a good friend.

Good intentions & the wingman’s lament

She says the wingman theory could apply to almost any situation in which there is a discrepancy that could negatively impact the social perception or impression of the friend, such as when a friend has bought a knock-off surreptitiously.

Or when he’s being cockblocked by a territorial elephant seal.

She says the application works equally when applied to business settings, in which a friend may embellish a recommendation to help a pal get a job. It may also apply at a party, where embroidering the truth could get a pal a first date with a potential partner.

“Yeah, he probably doesn’t want anyone to know this, but my buddy spent some time in the clink. That’s what he gets for helping a girl who was being mugged.”

“Based on the findings, it would seem reasonable to expect that people who understand their friends should be willing to step in as a wingman in a number of different contexts if their friends are in need,” Argo says.

I feel the need
the need for plead.

However, Argo muses on the potential implications of telling a little white lie for a friend, something her study did not explore. She says even though the favourably-positioned falsehood has no cost to the receiver, it may potentially place the friendly fibber’s integrity in question with the person for whom the fib was originally told, especially if the lie was unsolicited. She says this would be an intriguing follow-up to this study.

“It does say something about that person, too. Because (as my friend), if you’re lying, and I know it, it might make me question or cause me to doubt how much you lie to me and others,” she says.

This is why you’ve gotta work out beforehand what kind of lies, if any, you want your wingman to tell chicks. The last thing you want is him thinking that a story about you pooping your pants after getting tased by the cops is a DHV. Some guys need their hands held like this.

It has to be common knowledge among seasoned seducers (I would hope) that a friend or other third party touting your alpha virtues to a chick will sway her opinion, and influence her attraction, much more effectively than self-promotion. Humans are predisposed to believe the ad copy of third parties more than the braggadocio or insinuations of primary parties. Friends and wingmen might be biased, but nothing is as biased as our own egos.

Here is a short list of excellent fibs that a wingman should consider for use in prepping your target.

“He tells me he needs help finding that special someone, but the guy has been with more women than I can count. He doesn’t need any help.”

“My buddy? Oh yeah, we call him Heartbreaker Hank.”

“His ex was the CRAZIEST stalker I ever knew. She showed up one night with a poem and a box of chocolates, right when we were in the middle of a band rehearsal.”

“Watch out for this guy. He’s trouble.” (a classic drive-by wingman line)

“You’re not a stripper are you? He’s had enough of dating strippers.”

“Yeah, he’s my buddy and all, but I gotta be honest… he makes the worst decisions in women. Actresses and dancers wear pretty thin after a while. Too many neuroses.”

“He’s probably too nice for a girl like you. He’s actually afraid he’ll hurt a girl in bed. I keep telling him that girls think it’s the good kind of hurt. What a heart.”

“I hope you like naked skydiving. He’s managed to convince every girl he’s dated to jump out of a plane naked.”

“I met him in the holding cell. Stand up guy.” (can double as a DHV for gays)

“Fuck, after all this time I dunno what he does. Import-export, he says. He won’t let anyone look inside his car trunk.”

“He thinks being a former NHL pro is some kind of accomplishment. Please.”

“How did we meet? He needed a really good lawyer. I came through.”

“Careful. Don’t let him charm you. You’ve been warned.”

“He’s half black. Bet ya never would’ve guessed.”

“He’s gonna kill me for saying this, but… you know when politicians need the numbers of high class escorts? He’s their hookup.”


Besides the ability to fib effortlessly and believably, wingmen should also possess the following characteristics:

1. Acting skills. You want your wingman to act like he’s your acquaintance, rather than your close friend. His lies will be better received if the girl thinks they are coming from someone with little motive to pump your stock.

2. Be not much taller than you. Tallness is dominating, and can distract girls from his calculated boosterism. You don’t want a wingman who will always steal the spotlight.

3. Be not much uglier or socially awkward than you. Conversely, it will reflect just as badly on you if your friends come across like losers. The best wingmen are plausible wingmen who don’t blow up conversations with nerdgasms.

4. Have extensive knowledge of your social strengths and weaknesses. A good wingman instinctively knows when you are comfortable joining a conversation, and when you need bailing from a faltering set. He will also have a knack for steering a conversation in more fruitful directions when he notices you struggling, like when you have stunk the joint up with a lame joke.

5. Be unafraid to constructively criticize. The good thing about being a man is that your male friends won’t hesitate to give you shit for something stupid you’re doing. Course correction is thus much faster for men than it is for women.

5. Most importantly, your wingman will have tight game. The best — I mean the very best — wingmen are former betas who put in the effort to learn game and who already have girlfriends or a rotation of lovers. Naturals have a tendency to either selfishly dominate sets or sabotage friends by letting their alpha instincts run wild. Single wingmen sometimes nurse unfulfilled horniness that will impel them to steal your target if they find their schtick is working on her. Wingmen with fully drained balls, tight game, and a strong sense of loyalty and selflessness are the Holy Nail of wingman pickup assistance.


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