“I mean, what kind of a loser do you have to be to need help, right?”
This is what one of the girls in the group said. She had just found out that books on picking up girls exist and she couldn’t comprehend that someone would actually read them. I chuckled nervously because… at the time, I was reading similar books.
This was confusing for her and I understand why.
She’s a girl. She gets approached all the time, so it was incomprehensible that there were guys out there scared to approach and talk to her. For girls like her, and guys who are naturally confident, it can be near impossible to understand why so many of us have problems “talking to girls”.
I mean… you just talk to them. Right? How hard can it be?
But from an average guy’s perspective, it is often one of the most gut-wrenching experiences you need to go through. Not only that, but you have to go through it over and over and over again.
That’s the core of the problem. But that’s also the solution:
90% of why talking to girls hard is because you make it that way.
To change this, you will need to go through a period which is going to be very uncomfortable for you. You will need to get out of your comfort zone and do things that scare the absolute shit out of you.
The good news: With the right mindset, you can make drastic changes very quickly.
STEP 1: Forget the Pickup Community
When you have a problem you don’t know how to solve, you do what all of us do — you google it.
And if you’re looking for advice on how to become better at talking to girls, you will pretty soon come across the “pickup community“. Think of it as an online hub of websites and forums where a bunch of guys teach other guys how to get girls. ((Seduction community on Wikipedia))
On the outside, this may sound like the most ridiculous thing ever that never works. From the inside, it is a surprisingly close community of strangers with methods that… sometimes work.
As someone who was once a part of this community, I can tell you that the following quote pretty much explains it:
“[They are] people who sit inside all day arguing with other men on the Internet [and] trade tips about how they think women work”.
— Hbomberguy ((Pick Up Artistry: A Measured Response by Hbomberguy on Youtube ))
The existence and the methods of the “pickup community” were popularized in the 2005 bestseller The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. In the book, journalist Neil Strauss inserts himself into the community and chronicles his experiences and observations.
The thing is, for those scared to approach girls, or those who simply lack experience, these self-proclaimed “gurus” will really seem like… gurus. You know, people who have actually solved the world’s biggest mystery.
Pickup is just another form of self-help. And the self-help industry sells hopes and dreams, instead of actual solutions.
These “pick-up artists” (PUAs) will sell you books and courses and live events and promise you can get any woman, anytime, anywhere, whether you are rich, poor, ugly, or boring as shit. You don’t have to become better, it’s okay that you’re a shitty person.
You know that saying: “If something is too good to be true”?
Anybody who knows anything about humans, our psychology, and social interactions, will know out of the gate that this is straight up nonsense. I mean, fuck free will if you can be completely manipulated by anyone, anytime, anyplace, right?
But people who don’t know anything will believe anything. And these “gurus” count on it.
I know this because… I was one of those suckers. I was once clueless and hopeless and confused, so once I came across “the community” it was like a Holy Grail. The answer to all of my problems.
Now that I’m older and wiser, and have some experience under my belt, I can step back as an adult and realize that I have been played. Luckily, I realized this after less than a year and without spending any money. Sadly, others have not. ((While the only money I ever spent was for a copy of The Game, there are people out there who have spent (and continue to spend) thousands of dollars on live events and seminar.))
When you realize you’ve been played (after all, they are called players), your cognitive dissonance kicks in. You won’t admit it, even to yourself, so people often get defensive and bury their feet even deeper.
Suddenly, I’m not the guy telling you the truth, I’m just a jealous hater who isn’t as successful as their “gurus”.
Eventually, when the opponent is challenged or questioned, it means the victim’s investment and thus his intelligence is questioned. No one can accept that. Not even to themselves.
— Guy Ritchie, Revolver (2005)
If this article somehow ends up on “the community’s” radar, I’ll likely catch some flak for it. After all, I’m fucking with their business and telling you they are lying to you. If they’re not, it means that they actually believe the nonsense they teach, which is arguably worse than lying.
But guess what?
I started having much more success after I stopped using their methods. Instead of focusing on wordplay, manipulation, and tricks, I started focusing on growing self-esteem, learning social skills, and just talking to people.
Things didn’t just get easier. Talking to people became FUN.
There’s a difference between “gaming” and “seducing”. Gaming is using manipulation on gullible girls with low self-esteem to make them do something they usually wouldn’t. Seducing is attracting quality people through shared interest and social dynamics.
There’s a difference between being James Bond and being Barney Stinson. The former is attractive because of who he is; the latter is attractive because of who he pretends to be.
The PUA community teaches you to SEEM cool and confident and dominant, instead of actually BEING cool and confident and dominant.
Like most of self-help, it is a band-aid solution. It makes you feel good for a while, but the underlying problems remain.
In fact, while many PUAs still praise The Game as the book that “got them into the community”, they forget how it ends. The author realizes that the “pickup artists” he surrounded himself with were a bunch of insecure beings with deep, unresolved issues.
Just for this article, I dug up my copy of The Game which has been collecting dust for over 7 years. Here’s a quote from the end of the book:
TD: “What do you have that enables you to get Lisa? I go out every night and work so hard on myself, and I know that I couldn’t get her as a girlfriend”.
Neil: “I guess I have life experience. All you do is sarge every night. You’re only working on one aspect of yourself. It’s like going to the gym every day and just doing bicep curls.”
For a moment, he appeared to take the advice to heart. Then he rejected it, and his eyes began to blaze. If it wasn’t hatred they contained, at least resentment.
— Neil Strauss, The Game
At the end of the day, you’re still insecure. You’re still socially awkward. You’re still looking for validation.
To be fair, some methods are good at getting you off your ass and getting you out of your own way. I’m not going to pretend to be holier-than-thou and say that I didn’t learn anything useful. Of course, I did.
But take it from someone who’s been played as well. Accept the loss and move on.
Use common sense, don’t be gullible, and you’ll be just fine.
STEP 2: Understand Social Dynamics
When I was a kid, my parents told me that a girl I liked in kindergarten also liked me back. But neither of us knew it because we both kept our mouths shut until we got older and grew apart.
This was an outrage, in my opinion. How come they didn’t tell me then? Why do people always play games? I started preaching that, if you like someone, you should just come out and say it. No hassle, no double entendres, or hoping you’re right.
“Everybody should just be honest.”
You can attribute this kind of wishful thinking to my youthful ignorance and misunderstanding of how the world works. But a lot of adults, maybe even you, still believe this makes sense.
As an idealistic idea, yeah, sure it makes sense. But if you take into account human psychology, it doesn’t.
This sounds appealing but ONLY if both people already like each other.
What if the other person doesn’t like you? You would end up at the same place, constantly receiving the same amount of rejection, right to your face. Ouch.
What if you are gay, but the other person isn’t? Maybe the other person comes from a background that preaches hatred against homosexuality, which will make you feel even worse. Would you still feel at ease “just saying you like someone“?
What is “liking someone” anyway? Do you find them attractive? Do you want to marry them? Or just have sex with them? Maybe only have a good conversation?
All of us assume we know the right answer to these questions, but each of us will reply to these questions DIFFERENTLY.
Even your own brain disagrees with our desires.
In a case where both people actually DO like each other equally, if one of them expresses too much affection too soon, it will make the other person suddenly like them less.
No matter how much you may claim that this isn’t true or that you “wouldn’t do that”, it is not really in your control. You cannot choose who attracts you and, due to our own psychology, you would almost immediately become disinterested in someone if they openly expressed such affection too soon.
You never consciously say “Okay, I will like THIS person”, because attraction isn’t a choice.
The show How I Met Your Mother displayed this phenomenon perfectly. In the very first episode, the lead character Ted is on a first date with Robin, who is obviously interested in him. In fact, both of them are interested in one another and things are heating up.
But suddenly, Ted blurts out: “I think I’m in love with you”, causing Robin to freak out, lose interest, and kick him out of her apartment.
Characters on the show all react the same way: “What the fuck were you thinking?” You as a viewer probably reacted the same because who would say a thing like that on the first date?
Later in the show, Robin uses that same tactic to repel someone. She doesn’t want to outright reject him, so she says: “I think I’m in love with you”, causing the guy to immediately lose interest in her.
Humans are terrible at predicting what we want. Like, REALLY terrible.
We may claim we want something, only to hate it once we get it. Yet we keep relying on our deepest desires to drive our thoughts and actions, even though they completely suck. Not only that, but we have a lot of natural biases that make all of this worse.
You cannot change this. It is your own psychology.
To move forward, you need to accept that these biases exist and that humans will always function a certain way — even if you’re not aware of it most of the time.
Despite truly believing you want things to be easy when it comes to relationships, you don’t. If you ever experienced butterflies in your stomach and sparks flying, combined with mutual seduction and uncertainty about what comes next, you will never want to settle for “something easier“.
In an episode of Black Mirror, online dating has evolved to the point where you automatically know how long a certain relationship will last. This, in turn, makes the entire experience dull, repetitive, and annoying.
You don’t want to know how it ends.
The uncertainty is what makes the whole experience ten times more exciting. You can either accept this and enjoy the process, or you can use PUA tactics to justify rejection because GOD FORBID your feelings get hurt.
Caring about what strangers think of you surely isn’t a sign of deep insecurity, right? (Hint: It absolutely fucking is.)
STEP 3: Just Talk to Girls
Actually talking to girls is as straightforward as it can be.
You walk up and talk to them. But as we’ve established, it’s what’s going on in your own mind that’s making this so difficult.
So let’s lay out some ground rules to make this easier:
- Girls aren’t magic. They’re people like you and me.
- “Talking to girls” will need to become a part of your everyday life, not just something to do when you’re drunk in a club.
- You will get rejected. Get used to it.
- Some women simply won’t find you attractive, no matter what you do.
- There is no “perfect pickup line”.
Every point above may seem like a slap in the face. But if you think about it, these concepts will make things easier for you.
COMPLICATED: Girls as some prize you need to win or an enemy you need to conquer.
EASY: Girls are people, just like your friends and family, and you already talk to people every day.
COMPLICATED: To talk to girls, you need to get drunk and hyped up, and can only do it under special circumstances.
EASY: You talk to people every day. Girls are people. So it’s normal to interact with them every day.
COMPLICATED: Remember lines, strategies, and methods to avoid rejection. If you get rejected, you suck and you should feel depressed. Never make mistakes. If you can’t get any woman, anytime, anywhere, you’re a loser.
EASY: If you get rejected, it’s not personal. Maybe you made a mistake — everybody makes mistakes. Learn from them and improve. Or maybe she just wasn’t into you. Focus on finding someone who is. Have fun.
COMPLICATED: Analyze each girl, each situation, spend time preparing the perfect pickup line that will never fail, test and analyze, compare, and have a complex strategy.
EASY: Say “Hi”. It always works.
No matter how handsome or charismatic you are, most of the time you will face rejection.
There’s no way around it. Rejection of any kind hurts, especially when it’s direct to your face.
The main reason guys have a hard time talking to girls is that THEY make it hard (the guys, not the girls). They have unfounded fears and imagine ridiculous scenarios and oh my god, what if she has a boyfriend who beats me up, and all the people laugh and I can never leave the house, OH MY GOD, IT’S TOO MUCH, FUCK THIS, IT’S NOT WORTH IT!!
When I was starting out, I burned through any and all “pickup community” content I could find, read all the books, knew all the techniques, all the lines, all the explanations. I idolized Barney Stinson, made sure to tilt my body at just the right angle, made sure I had just the right excuse to talk to her, but… guess what?
People thought I was weird. And rightfully so.
I didn’t get better at talking to girls, I was just acting weirder and felt the problem is more complicated than it really was.
The MINDSET with which you approach talking to girls is what makes the difference. You can go over and say the worst pickup line of all time, and girls will love it. Or you can go over to those exact girls and say that exact same line and they will label you as the worst type of a creep.
It really is as simple as walking up and saying “Hi”.
The WAY you say it is what matters. If you’re confident in your skin without their approval, you won’t care whether you get rejected or not. And that level of confidence is attractive.
It really doesn’t matter what you say, what matters is whether you’re genuinely insecure or not. If you are, you will care about trivial shit like making everybody like you. If you don’t, you’ll simply… talk to girls.
You can’t avoid rejection. Everyone has flaws. Nobody can choose who they find attractive. Shit happens. Fuck it.
If you’re needy and insecure, you will do anything to avoid rejection and will blame the people, the lighting, the club, the line, the fucking universe for a girl saying “No thanks”.
In reality, maybe she just thought you were a bit weird, has a boyfriend, or you’re just not her type. Big deal. Don’t bitch about it or complain. That’s just showing off your neediness in the worst possible way.
If you have true confidence, you really won’t care.
STEP 4: Have fun (DO NOT skip this step)
When I was 16, I’d go on vacation with my family to a remote island and would be bored out of my mind. But on one particular night, I noticed a few cute girls sitting by the beach. Usually, I’d just creep around awkwardly then leave, but this time something snapped.
I decided to actually approach them.
It took a lot of creeping nonetheless, a lot of pacing, and some illegal shots of liquor, but eventually I walked over and delivered the best line I could think of:
“Hey, so, yea, like, you know, I was, like, yea.”
They were looking at me even more confused than before. My heart was pounding so loudly I was worried they might hear it and think I’m carrying a bomb. I mentally slapped myself, tried to calm my thoughts, and gave it another shot:
“Hey, so, I’m Phil, and I’m stuck in this place with my parents for a few more days. You girls seem cool and I was wondering if I can join you tonight.”
In the following few seconds, which seemed like an eternity, I managed to reexamine every life choice I have ever made that led me to this moment.
I went on to convince myself that I’m an idiot for even coming over and wasting my time worrying about what they will say. I know what they will say. They will tell me to go fuck myself and throw rocks at me until I leave.
As my mind was racing, one of the girls from the group looked at her friends, then nodded, and replied: “Uhm… sure. Why not?”
THE POINT OF THE STORY: I was visibly nervous, I fucked up my opening line, but I still did it and it ended up working.
I’ve since approached hundreds of girls and my strategy has remained pretty much the same as that fateful night all those years ago: Go over and say anything. Seriously, anything.
Look, forget what you’ve been told. This isn’t supposed to be a gut-wrenching, analytical battle or conquering an enemy. It’s just two people talking. That’s it.
THE only thing you need to do is try and try and try again.
In fact, nowadays I usually go over to a group of girls, no matter how big or small, and say something like this:
Hi. I’m with my friend over there and we noticed that you girls seem cool. Can we join you for a few drinks so all of us can get to know each other?
The best part? This works 9/10 times. No bullshit.
It works because I don’t have an agenda. When I walk over, I’m confident. If they say no, I’ll go back to my friend and continue my evening. If they say yes, we’ll make some new friends. I’m honest, direct, and most important — normal.
In fact, this is the response I’ve gotten one time, from a group of girls who looked at each other awkwardly, until one of them said:
Uhm… I don’t think any guy has ever just walked over and asked us that before. I mean, not like that, in a normal way without some terrible line. Yeah, of course you can join us!
Author Mark Manson, who is coincidentally a former dating coach, said that “the only real dating advice is self-improvement”. ((Change Your Mind About Dating — Mark Manson)) I know that statement does little for you right now, but keep it in the back of your mind.
The #1 reason why guys don’t talk to girls is because THEY DON’T TALK TO GIRLS!
Keep talking to women, keep escalating, keep crashing and burning. Keep failing and getting rejected. Without a doubt, it is the fastest way you will learn to talk to girls and develop bulletproof confidence.
Keep doing it until you become comfortable with it. Don’t get all up in your head with the techniques and the lines and the perfect time and body position. Fuck that shit.
Ask for something. Ask for directions even if you don’t need them. Ask for a smoke and then say “I don’t smoke, I just wanted to talk to you”. Ask her, if she had an elephant, what would she name him. Ask her “If I wanted to come over and talk to you, what should I say?”
Ask her absolutely anything. It really doesn’t matter what you say.
Or just walk over and say “Hi”. In reality, that is everything you need to do to talk to a girl. It has a 100% success rate.
Develop a Mind of Steel — The complete guide to becoming social and developing a strong mindset. Explains how your mind works and how you can build a stronger mindset.
Models: Attract Women Through Honesty — A down-to-earth book about interactions between men and women.
The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists — Behind-the-scenes of the pickup community. Not a personal favorite, but hey, it’s a bestseller. See for yourself.