Traits of Anti-Seducers: Don’t Be a Turn-Off

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Art of Seduction" by Robert Greene. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What does Robert Greene mean by anti-seduction? What qualities does Greene describe as anti-seductive?

As the name suggests, anti-seduction is the opposite of seductionit’s behavior that people find repellent or off-putting. In other words, anti-seduction is being what people call a “turn-off.”

Keep reading to learn about the major qualities of anti-seducers, according to Robert Greene.


According to Greene, anti-seducers are people who, due to their behavior, are naturally repellent.

Understanding anti-seduction qualities will help you avoid turning off the people you wish to seduce. Greene tells us that most people have at least one or two repellent traits to overcome. If you find yourself slipping into any of these behaviors, quickly correct course and rescue your seduction. 

  • Insecurity and self-consciousness: Greene says the most repellent trait is insecurity. When you’re too self-conscious, you act awkward and uncomfortable, and this makes others feel awkward and uncomfortable too. 
  • Impatience: Reacting negatively when you have to wait for anything indicates self-absorption. Remember, patience is a virtue.
  • Clingy behavior: Getting too obsessed with a romantic prospect too quickly often leads to becoming a doormat. Play it cool.
  • Being judgmental: Nobody likes to be put down and criticized, so a judgmental nature will be a turnoff. Keep your criticisms to yourself.
  • Stinginess: Greene says that a lack of generosity and never wanting to give to others is one of the most unattractive qualities. This isn’t just about money—people can be stingy with sharing anything, even their time. Be generous and giving and people will want to be around you.
  • Talking too much: Dominating conversations, especially when you only talk about yourself, is not appealing to others. Greene points out that most people who do this lack self-awareness, and don’t even realize they do it—so pay close attention and nip it in the bud.
  • Hyper-sensitivity: People who overreact emotionally, are easily offended, or complain frequently are unpleasant to be around. Learn to control your emotions and to laugh at yourself.
  • Unfiltered speaking: Behaving in a socially inappropriate manner, or lacking tact and discretion, is often described as having “no filter.” If people describe you this way, it’s not a charming or amusing quality—it’s distasteful. Greene says a good seducer is the opposite of unfiltered. Your behavior and words should always be carefully filtered to convey sophistication and class.
The Biggest Turn-Offs, According to Research

A Psychology Today article explains what research says are the least attractive qualities in potential partners. Greene identifies some of them, but there are a few others that didn’t make Greene’s list. One study found that the top seven repellent traits are as follows:

Lack of hygiene: This was the strongest repellent, for men and women, and for both long-term and short-term relationships. 

Abusiveness: Perceiving that your date has the potential to be abusive was reported by many to be a dealbreaker.

Lack of ambition: This characteristic was considered less of a dealbreaker for short-term relationships than for long-term.

Hostility: It’s possible that this characteristic could encompass acting judgmental or impatient.

Arrogance: It’s worth noting that arrogance is the opposite of insecurity, which Greene asserts is the most undesirable trait.

Clinginess: Lacking independence and not respecting personal space is a turnoff, though researchers noted that this wasn’t considered as undesirable as some of the others on the list. 

Physical unattractiveness: The research says that “ugliness” is a turnoff for women in short-term relationships, but not as much in long-term relationships. This suggests that a short-term seduction might prove challenging for men who are less conventionally attractive. 

Stinginess, talkativeness, hyper-sensitivity, and “unfiltered” behavior were not listed among the top seven turn-offs. 
Traits of Anti-Seducers: Don’t Be a Turn-Off

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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