What is the ‘It Factor’ and Can You Create It?

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About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for Spill.com and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.


  1. The “it factor” is the ability to be who you are and trust in your basic human goodness and the power that comes from relaxing. When Pema Chodron encourages us to become comfortable with the ultimate groundlessness of our lives, she tells us all there is to know about the “it factor” you analyze so meticulously, though to even use a term like the “it factor” is a pretty sure sign you are nowhere near understanding something that can’t be dissected intellectually. Chill out. That’s it. That’s all.

  2. Copyleft says:

    How to be an arrogant, insincere extrovert? Sorry, not interested.

    • wellokaythen says:


      (Unless, of course, I really truly was an arrogant extrovert, in which case I would just be myself.)

      Really, doesn’t he know how creepy it can look when you smile but you don’t feel like smiling? There’s a saying “the smile didn’t reach his eyes.” In the murder mystery stories, that’s what you see when the killer tries to hide his guilt. Or when someone’s a psycho killer trying to pretend to be normal.

  3. Jonathan G says:

    This is fine advice, as far as it goes, because the Doc has described a number of key ingredients to charisma. But there’s got to be more to it, though. I picked up all this advice from reading numerous books on the topic, and put a lot of effort into cultivating these qualities over the past few years. It’s all worth doing for your own self-improvement, but I still haven’t got even an inch closer to having “it.” Further, I’m sure we can all think of examples of people who don’t have one or more of these qualities, but still have “it.” And I’ve known other people who seem like they should have “it” based on this list of qualities, but don’t, and others who do for some reason. I don’t get it.

  4. Bay Area Guy says:

    Just curious.

    Is there any place in this country where men (who aren’t naturals) can “be themselves” and be successful with women?

  5. No.

    Well… at least nowhere that I’ve been. Women don’t want men who are “themselves.” They want men who have something valuable to offer. The only men who can “be themselves” and be successful with women are the men who’ve cultivated the qualities in themselves that women find attractive. There is really no way around this basic fact of life.

    The problem with articles like these, which are all basically “PUA lite,” is that they only describe the external symptoms of what makes a man attractive, not the core qualities that drive this external behavior. You can fake being rich, famous, well-built, confident, and socialable all day and night… and that might generate *some* success with women. But it’d only be a tiny fraction of the success you’d experience if you’d cultivated those qualities outright.

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