Do I Need to ‘Dumb’ it Down in NYC?

Matthew Hussey

**Today I wanted to do something I don’t usually do here and respond to a reader question, because a. I liked the topic, and b. it was the comments under my most recent New Years Resolutions blog and I want to start serving more of the people who take the time to actually comment on my website.**



I learned a lot from your Youtube videos and was really struck by what you had to say. I’ve been having this burning question that I hoped you could help me think clearer.

What would you do if you were someone in your mid-20s who deep deep down really want to have a meaningful life and find a partner who also values the same thing. I find it difficult to meet like minded people especially in big cities like New York, many people took “work hard, play harder”, “enjoy every bar and restaurants this city has to offer” very seriously and wore them as a badge of honor.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those things sometimes but I am an overachiever type – I came to this country alone from a poor family 5 years ago, I can’t afford wasting too much of my time on those things. It’s funny that if I were a guy, I would have much less problem attracting high quality women but what would you do if you were an ambitious girl? Do you think I should keep on lying to myself, hiding my ambitions around men and just behave a stereotypical princess?

Thank you,
Your Fan

Hey Hollie!

I’ve been in and out of New York for 3 years now, and in the last year found a home there (alongside calling LA a home) both literally and figuratively.

First, the ‘play hard’ mindset isn’t contained to the twenty-something’s. Many of the overachievers in this area are in their thirties and forties. If there’s one positive of all this, it’s that these people don’t seem to have the problem of getting old before their time (though I know plenty of women who at last wish these men would get old AT their time).

The downside is that when looking for someone who wants to find a partner it can get a little trickier. There appear to be less people looking to do that – as is the case in any town where people feel they have many options. New York is simply ‘choice’ at the extreme end of the scale.

I can relate to your question because I’m a hard worker who has always been attracted to others who are thoughtful and ambitious, and don’t just appear to live on the surface. Do be careful with simply wanting someone ambitious though. It gets just as grim at the other end of the party-boy’ spectrum – where people are incessant workers who never give themselves a break and think only of how to get to the next level. Any person of one-dimension quickly becomes a bore.

Most sensible people are looking for a well-rounded individual who appreciates the importance of work and play. It’s not easy to find such people. New York (like most cities), is a place brimming with fantastic people, 9 out of 10 of which are completely wrong for us.

The good news is you don’t have to dumb it down, or pretend you love going out much more than you really do. The key to likeability usually lies somewhere the middle of authenticity, humility, and the willingness to try to see what other people see in the things they enjoy. So as long as you can enjoy going out when the occasion presents itself, there’s no need to do it on the same level as everyone else.

There are men looking for intelligent and ambitious women (so long as you still make him feel he matters amidst all that ambition), but chances are they are either in their twenties and haven’t realised they want it yet, or – just as likely – are the same as you: at home working on their dreams and wondering where all the interesting 20-something women are hiding.

One last thing Hollie, if you haven’t got your hands on my programme ‘How To Talk To Men’ it will do a number of things to help with your current dilemma:

  • It will show you how to remain feminine whilst still showing how incredibly ambitious and intelligent you are (so that you don’t scare guys away).
  • It will show you how to communicate your standards so that when a guy isn’t showing up in the way you need him to, you know exactly what to say to him.
  • It will give you plenty of things to say to start conversations with attractive guys at any time of day. If you don’t want to meet the guy who goes out all the time, it will pay to meet men who are doing something else with their time (e.g. taking a nice Sunday morning stroll in central park).

‘How To Talk To Men’ is a very accessible programme and broken down into easy to manage chapters for your needs. 

Get the Secrets Scripts HERE

– Matthew


P.S. For everyone reading this right now, I’d love to know your thoughts. Maybe you have advice for Hollie that I haven’t been able to fit in.

If so, leave a comment and let’s get the discussion going.


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13 Replies to “Do I Need to ‘Dumb’ it Down in NYC?”

  • Dear Hollie,

    You don’t have to talk about your ambitions off the bat. Bring out the softer, more fun side of you on dates – and then casually mention your goals when the opportunity presents itself. Don’t talk about wanting to take over the world but show your passion, enthusiasm, and the emotion behind the goals rather than talking about the plans/objective goals/details themselves.

    Most guys, if they are into you by that point, will be happy to be supportive. Make sure you give him a role to play in achieving your dreams so that he feels part of the process and that he sees you as a team.

    Good luck. Don’t stress :)

  • Hey Hollie,
    I saw myself in what you have said. Here are a couple of tips I came to learn:
    1) Take advantage of the little interactions you have with people (at work, at school, at a coffee shop, at the metro station, on the street, anywhere lol) What I mean by that seek for the meaningful connection you’ve mentioned earlier which simply can be initiated by being interested in the other person. You never know who you might meet or run into :)

    2) Always invest in yourself
    Prioritize your personal goals and create time to develop your skills. By doing so, you are feeding your ambition and meeting the standards you have set for yourself. By doing that and being in that state of mind, I believe you will be attracting what you are in others and you will find what you are seeking.

    3) Get out of comfort zone
    Make it a regular habit of yours to try something new or to do something you wouldn’t usually do which can be something art/music or sports related

    4) Volunteer at a place you like and would want to give back to. The energy you get is off the chain and you get to make deep connections with people and with yourself. It also allows you to get to know yourself from a different dimension and opens your eyes to many of the gifts you have been given, have and can offer #gratitude

    1. Farah,

      I really like your point about the volunteer work. It’s something that I have not yet done myself but I do have an interest in. May I ask what types of volunteer work have you done and what kind of people have you met in doing so?

      1. Hi Gaby, I know your question was to Farah, but I thought I could contribute. One great way I give back is giving food to the homeless, and helping vulnerable teenagers with accommodation and basic education in my home country. My mum created this small association with which we could contribute in our little way. I admire that you are interested in voluntary work. By the way, generally, people think that they need to be rich or financially stable to give back, but you actually don’t. We did not have a stable life or financial status either but the aim is just taking people who have less than you do to share what you have. If you go with that mindset, you can get involved in basically any type of voluntary work… The point is just to give back. I think there are lots of organizations which need volunteers out there. Or just start small by helping hospitals, or buy a pizza and give a homeless on the street… It starts with little actions… I can guarantee you that you will feel GREAT to see smiles on their faces and tears of joy in their eyes! Good luck :)

      2. And you get to meet people with amazing hearts who also enjoy giving back the way you do. It’s very humbling. You could meet lifetime friends or partners and share awesome emotions.

  • Matt, you make a lot of valid comments here, but there are women at the other end of the spectrum (like me!!) who could really do with your help.
    What about when you live in a small town? Or somewhere miles from the nearest city? What if you live in an isolated or rural community? I know women in those situations would really appreciate advice on meeting guys and maximising interactions with guys, as I would :)

  • Spot on when you said “most cities [are] brimming with fantastic people, 9 out of 10 of which are completely wrong for us.”

    Plugging into groups that share similar values and interests are usually more promising than simply hitting up anywhere there seems to be action.

  • Hi Hollie!
    I completely get what you mean. I am in my early twenties, travelled to Europe at 18, no family, nothing, have to look after myself financially, mentally and all that stuff, go to school and still try to pursue my passion. Girl, no man is worth pretending to be someone you are not. Don’t fake yourself to find a guy, because that guy who will come around, is probably not one you want to spend the rest of you life with, because he might not later understand your real you who is not that festive girl that he thought. But it also does not mean that all you are going to talk about on a date is your goals or your future carreer or whatever in that sense. It is really hard when you are an achiever and a hard worker… But also don’t forget that life is not always just about achieving, it is also enjoying it. I would say that a great way to find a guy who would appreciate that part of you is by doing things you are passionate about which maybe might not even have anything to do with your professional achievements… Like practicing a new sport… Or just doing daytime outdoor activities where you can meet new people. They can be very affordable financially (I know the struggle) and still be fun! Not only to meet that guy, but also to relax your mind and just please yourself! Even if you don’t meet what you are looking for, you could meet people who will somehow contribute in a different way to your life even if it is not permanently… It’s is a journey, take it as a learning experience.
    I know your struggle darling. I hope you get through it and find the right one. (I’m single tho, I have still not found mine either…)

  • Hi Hollie! Something I learnt is to go outside to the places I want and to be in the places where I wished to find someone. Since I discovered how to do that, I only go out at bars/nightclubs with my friends, and sometimes only if things don’t mess with my schedule of the following day. Another thing I learnt is to be in peace with myself (thanks to Matthew’s retreat), I’m just sailing my boat and let’s see which shore do I meet.

  • Hi Matt,

    How are you? I tried to get in contact with you via your email address. What have you been up to? I’ve been following your videos ever since I was 15. It’s been a pleasure to see you grow over the years. I’m proud of the way you handle your business. Are you planning on coming to Australia some time in the future?

    Warm regards,

  • Hi Holly

    You can also join interest groups. You can do something proactive for the community while meeting people with likeminded interests. You’ll experience the city in ways other than bars. You can network in this way as well. Good luck!

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