4. The Approach
It all begins with the approach—the moment you lay eyes on a woman you want and make your first steps toward her. Most guys fear the approach. They see it as a scary situation where the odds of success are low and the chances of brutal rejection are all too high. And you know what? This is completely justified for guys who have no game plan, no technique, and no strategy for smoothly and confidently getting in the door. After you’ve read the pages that follow, though, you will. And for you, the approach will no longer be a numbers game.
Opening Cold vs. Opening Warm
A cold approach is when you initiate a conversation with a girl and are unsure of the response you’ll get. She hasn’t shown prior interest in you and may not even have noticed you. A warm approach is one where you think the response will be at least somewhat positive because you’ve already made eye contact or received some sign of interest, like a smile, a wink, or a quick glance before looking away.
Obviously, if all of our approaches could be warm approaches, the results would be a lot more successful and less stressful. But there are ways of having a successful approach, no matter what.
Standing Out in a Positive Way
Being Mr. Sociable and talking to people other than the hottest women will disarm that super-hot girl you’re really after. She’ll see you having fun with people, and by the time you get near her she’ll be a lot more open and receptive to your advances. This is easier than trying to stand out in a club by being super-cool and aloof, since many other guys are trying to do the same thing.
This approach has the added benefit of loosening you up and giving you a chance to practice your sociability skills.
Forcing Her Interest
Most guys deal with eye contact from a girl in one of three ways. Is one of these your response of choice?
Nervously look away.
Hold eye contact until she looks away.
Force a smile.
These are all pretty bad, unfortunately. Even the second one, which may strike you as the “right” answer since I’ve been urging good eye contact, isn’t effective because—barring any other response on your part—the held contact will feel forced to her and she’ll look away out of pure discomfort.
It’s a conundrum, for sure. And it may be a deal-breaker if you don’t know how to handle it. If you’re wondering why a girl is looking at you, you may use the uncertainty as an excuse not to approach. Maybe she was looking at someone else; maybe you have a spot on your nose; maybe she was just daydreaming. In 90 percent of cases, she is looking at you and would welcome your approach, but there’s always the other 10 percent, and that’s enough to discourage most guys from approaching.
How many missed opportunities have you suffered over the years? Potential girlfriends, girls that would have loved to sleep with you, and maybe even that special “one.” I can make sure you never miss an opportunity like that ever again.
Here’s what to do: force her interest!
When you’ve made eye contact with the girl, provoke a response from her by doing something along these lines: pointing at her; waving; raising your glass; making a funny face; poking your tongue out. If you use this technique, you will be in very good company. Over the years, I’ve met many great naturals as well as professional seduction coaches who, independent of each other, have come up with this technique. They all do it slightly differently, but the idea is the same. Cardenas, one of the most alpha naturals I’ve ever met, who is the typical gym buff with big muscles, pokes his tongue out. It’s a great contrast to his tough-guy look. Rob, who is my age but had slept with seven hundred women by the time I’d slept with only seven, hides his face behind his hands and does a childish peek-a-boo. It sounds stupid, but the results speak for themselves. Steve, the best seducer I’ve ever seen, draws an imaginary pistol and shoots his intended “target” with it while smiling playfully. Personally, I do my trademark “point.” I guess it looks like something Joey from Friends would do. To see a video of how I force an indication of interest (IOI), go to www.puatraining.com/forceioi.
The point of all these actions is that they’re so bold that the girl is compelled to respond. The number of responses she can give is limited. She can:
Mirror your action.
Smile and look away, embarrassed.
Look away in disgust.
Raise an eyebrow as if to say, “What are you doing?”
If you get a positive reaction, you can immediately approach without needing to think of anything clever to say. If you get a negative reaction, you probably won’t get a good one if you go on and attempt to “open.” The secret to success is that your trademark will become a reflex action. It’s as if you’d studied kung fu for twenty years, so you swing into action without thinking twice when someone attacks you.
Believe me, it takes a lot more balls to approach a beautiful woman cold than to force her interest. So start practicing your own signature moves, or be my guest and steal my trademark point. By the way, to show just how important this is, keep this in mind: with more than 80 percent of the women I’ve talked to in the past three years, the initial conversation has been as a result of this technique!
Approaching After an Indication of Interest
If she gave you a sign of interest, it’s doubtful that she’s not attracted, so go for it! I usually use, “Hey, how’s it going?” Longer or indirect openers (like asking for an opinion about this or that) will kill tension. Just be bold, be direct, and assume that she’s attracted to you.
Using Body Language to Maximize the Cold Approach
There are two ways to make a cold approach. One is the cold walk-up, where you directly approach a girl and engage her. The second is a more casual, seemingly spontaneous way to open: the girl is a step or two away, and you casually turn around, or move closer, and open. In both instances, there are steps you can take to create a favorable first impression.
What you “say” with your body can either advance your cause or doom you to failure. Let’s look first at some common body language faux pas.
Weak Body Language
Most men walk up to a girl they’re interested in and get right in her face. Do this to someone you knowand it’s bad enough. Ask someone to do this to you to see how it feels. It creates a reflex response of wanting to step back and put your hands up to create distance. This puts a lot of pressure on an interaction before it has even begun. Unless the girl is obviously interested in you, it’s a bad move. This type of face-to-face interaction also feels like it could go on forever because it’s so awkward. Both people look locked in, and the only way for the interaction to end is if someone turns one hundred and eighty degrees. In the event of a flat-out rejection, everyone around you has seen what happened, so you’re putting even more pressure on yourself.
This example is bad in so many ways. It’s very locked in; the stance is statuesque; the head is the furthest part forward of the body. A woman will feel very uncomfortable if this is your body language on a cold approach. If this is how you’re standingwhen you first open your mouth, then what you say will have to be pretty incredible to make a favorable impression!
So what does this communicate? It’s not scary or creepy, but it’s very weak. Look how an attractive man can be made to look very unattractive with awful body language. Hands in pockets, an approval-seeking tilt of the head, and an unsure posture all communicate weakness. This is not the pose of a comfortable, confident man.
Once you understand body language and can read women’s reactions, you’ll see how bad at this most men are. This is the kind of knowledge that will boost confidence, because you know that you understand how to do things better than most other men.
Strong Body Language
When you’re opening, your feet should be pointing away from the girl; only your face should be pointing toward her. By adopting this posture, you can comfortably get close enough to touch, but the interaction isn’t as locked in and you aren’t invading her personal space. To “eject”—to remove yourself from the interaction—you’d just have to turn your head and not face her anymore. I think most people respond well to being “opened” this way, because they’ve probably already had many short, innocent interactions similar to this prior to your making your move.
The low-pressure way to open is with the feet pointing away from the girl and only the face pointing toward her. Because this looks impermanent, it’s very comfortable for the girl. It also seems more spontaneous.
Here we have a better posture; it’s open and more confident. There’s eye contact, yes; but any potential threat is lessened by the head beingin line with the body and by the use of gestures. One foot is pointing away, which makes the stance feel less locked in and more casual.
Using Body Language with a Seated Group
When you approach a seated group, you want to quickly get down to the same level as the girl you’re interested in, because it’s very difficult to open
—much less close—when you’re standing over someone.
You probably haven’t had this happen since grade school, but someone standingover you will put you on guard immediately. If you approach a girl from a standingposition, sit down within ten seconds. You can use a time constraint—“I need to go soon, but just wanted to ask you …”—to avoid makingher feel uncomfortable at sittingwith someone she has just met.
If there are no spare chairs, or if you need to ask her to move to make space for you, you should start off in a position like this so that you’re on her level. But don’t stay like this for too longor it will become weird. Quickly ask her to move over; alternatively, move yourself to sit on the armof the chair or even share her chair with her.
On the other hand, if when she catches your eye she stands up, the aforementioned recommendations for body language immediately apply.
These examples will help you perfect the indirect approach. Direct game (showing interest right away) obviously requires that you put more pressure on an interaction earlier on, so making the girl feel comfortable and minimizing your chances of getting rejected aren’t so much of an issue. Direct body language is all about presenting a sexual vibe, touching quickly, and escalating sexually.
The Two Schools of Seduction
There are two very distinct schools of seduction, direct or indirect, and most methods fall into one of them. The system presented in this book takes both into account, and I suggest that you use them both, depending on the circumstances.
Direct game involves approaching, immediately conveying interest, then rapidly intensifying the interaction with words and kino-escalation (a.k.a. increasingly sexual touches—a touch on the arm, then the small of back; then holding hands, stroking through her hair, kissing, etc.). An example of direct game is to approach a girl, tell her you think she’s beautiful, then take her by the hands and quickly go for the kiss. You’re basically approaching in seduction mode (that is, as Mr. Seduction—one of the three characters of seduction introduced in the previous chapter). The benefit of a direct approach is its efficiency. It allows you to quickly test a girl’s interest. Who wants to wait hours to kiss if they don’t have to? Who wants to chat for an hour before finding out the girl is unavailable?
The drawbacks of direct game are:
It requires a high degree of personal and sexual confidence in order to be successful.
It generates more approach anxiety by putting you on the line and adding pressure to the interaction.
You may be rejected froma group that would have been receptive to a slower, more subtle approach.
Women generaly need more time to warmup to a potential partner than guys do, and they consider the first impression to be less important than do men.
Indirect game is basically coming in under the radar, getting the girl comfortable with you, and slowly introducing the sexual vibe. The benefits of an indirect approach are:
It reduces approach anxiety by minimizing the chance of getting rejected.
It’s easier with a group, which may take some time to “infiltrate.”
It involves more and longer interactions, which alow you to get comfortable talking to women and to practice your conversational skils.
The drawbacks of an indirect approach are:
Sometimes she wants you and you lose her because she doesn’t think you’re interested.
You can waste time on a girl you have no chance with (she’l never find you attractive, she’s engaged, she’s a lesbian), and you don’t find out until late in the interaction because she thinks you’re just being friendly.
I suggest you use direct game when you’re getting a clear sign of interest. If you’re not quite sure, take the indirect route. I also suggest that your approaches remain indirect until you have a lot of experience in reading situations and have overcome approach anxiety. If I have a client who has a huge fear of talking to women, I’ll ensure that his first few approaches are spent doing things like asking for directions—which is as indirect as you can get.
In a club or bar environment, if you limit yourself to cold approaches you’re making things difficult for yourself. There are plenty of opportunities around you at all times to help create easier interactions.
Picking Up on Inadvertent Cues
One of the simplest and least obtrusive things you can do is simply take advantage of cues and lead-ins that women give you inadvertently. Consider these options:
A women stepping on your foot: “Hey, watch it punk!” (Square up to her with a smirk.) “Let’s take this outside; let me see what you’ve got!” (Flex your upper arm and point for her to do likewise—then feel her muscle.)
A women squeezing past with drinks: “Cheers!”
A women pushing past rudely: “No, my dear, do it like this.” (Demo polite way to move past.) “Excuse me, sir.”
All these will allow you to get into interactions without the pressure and effort of a cold approach.
Working the Room
One of the best ways to warm up cold approaches is to do a little groundwork by working the room. In the context of pickup this involves talking to all the groups you’re interested in, as well as some others in the room, all the time staying very indirect. At the end of a short interaction, the key is to act as if you’re about to leave that particular group and then, as if an afterthought, get the name of any girl who’s caught your interest. What you’ll be able to do in a short amount of time is:
Meet (and learn the names of) al the girls you are attracted to.
Create a positive, safe, nonthreatening impression in their heads—that you’re not so desperate that you have to hang around them until they tel you to go away.
Establish yourself as Mr. Sociable. After you’ve done this, you’l be able to reopen any of these groups at any time during the night. You’l also notice a big increase in interest fromgirls that you’ve already opened. Getting the first name (and remembering it!) is the key factor. I found out by chance that reopening with the name is much more effective, as the girl wil actualy treat you like someone she’s known for a long time.
This technique is best used in smaller places, early on in the evening. That way, as the night progresses and people open up, your options will continue to increase. Plus you won’t have the problem of opening when it gets louder and more crowded … and more competitive.
I used to work the room at a small club in London that I went to regularly. One time I arranged to meet a friend there, but picked up a girl on the way and brought her with me. Now I was in the difficult position of being with a girl I wanted to spend time with, but also having to leave my poor friend on his own. To resolve the dilemma, I asked her to wait for a minute, and I went with my friend around the whole club, said hi to everyone, took some names, chatted for thirty seconds, made sure my buddy met them all, and then went on to the next group. I did this to everyone in the club, and on the way back literally every girl in the place was staring at me. I’d warmed up the entire club, and my friend could easily reopen any of the girls there. He used my female pal and me as a base in the club, coming back between interactions, but was easily able to get a lot of numbers because he already had huge social proof as a fun-loving, sociable guy who seemed to know everyone. If he forgot a name, he could come back and ask me because I’d memorized them all.
Go to a bar, buy a drink, and go around “cheers-ing” everyone. You will find that people will always “cheers” you back, and afterward you will get a lot of attention from girls wondering why you didn’t try to pick them up. It’s an easy way to work the room because it removes the need to think of anything to say!
Overcoming Transition and Approach Anxiety
Most men feel a little or even a lot of anxiety as they attempt to meet and get to know women. Transition anxiety and approach anxiety are two of the most common types.
When doing something outside your comfort zone, you’ll naturally find it scary. Transition anxiety is best described as the feeling you get in your stomach at any time like this. Whether it’s the thought of riding a scary rollercoaster, jumping out of a plane to skydive, signing up for a course, meeting new people at a party, taking a test, speaking in public, or approaching a woman: what all these things share in common is that they may give us butterflies in our stomach, to varying degrees.
This feeling holds us back; it doesn’t serve us well. Anything that we haven’t done before—that puts us in an uncertain situation we don’t feel equipped for—causes at least some transition anxiety. That would be fine if the feeling were saving us from getting eaten by a lion or doing something truly hazardous, but generally it’s only stopping us from improving, learning, and changing.
Each one of us has a comfort zone within which we can safely stay inside—a daily routine, people we know. However, remaining in this comfort zone makes it hard to make big changes or improvements to your life. If you look back and remember all the times you’ve felt transition anxiety and taken action anyway, you’ll see that each time it has impacted your life in a positive way. Whether it was moving to a new area, changing jobs, or taking a class, these were likely things that benefited you greatly.
A man who decides to get a handle on his life will feel transition anxiety before he clicks the sign-up button on our website. Lots of others will feel that anxiety and simply never click the button. It’s a fact!
So what about those crazy people who always try new things and never seem to feel uncomfortable? If anything, they appear to welcome uncertain new situations.
Let me assure you: it’s not just appearances. They really have changed that feeling in their stomach from something that holds them back to something that kicks them into action. This is what I’ve done. I used to be a complete scaredy-cat when it came to almost anything that involved leaving my house! Now anytime I get that feeling, I know that I should take action and that, by the end of it, I’ll be a better person. As a result, fewer and fewer things intimidate me; in fact, I feel like I can handle almost anything. Embrace transition anxiety, and you’ll be thanking me later. That step will affect every area of your life positively and will make you a better person.
Approaching a woman you’re attracted to is one of the scariest things a guy can do. You know it doesn’t make sense to be as afraid to initiate an interaction as you would be to fight someone who’s trying to rob you. After all, in one situation, the worst that can happen is that she says no; in the second, the worst that can happen is serious physical injury. Yet over 95 percent of the people I work with have some degree of approach anxiety. Conquering it isn’t something that neurolinguistic programming or affirmations can provide a quick fix for. There is no easy way to get over it. However, I can tell you the most painless way possible: in my experience, thirty approaches will be enough to free you of crippling approach anxiety. You might still have some with each encounter, but you’ll be opening enough groups to get along.
First, let’s take away some of the fear (or “outcome dependency”). As long as you have a lot of approach anxiety, work on that first, before refining your overall technique. In your first approaches, don’t “open to close”; just open and eject—in other words, practice opening. Just go up and ask, “What’s the time?” Thanking her and leaving is a lot easier than approaching with the intention of getting her back to your place.
The next thing you can do is use indirect openers. These minimize the chance of rejection and allow you to practice opening without caring whether the girl you’re chatting up is attracted or has a boyfriend.
Finally, it helps not to be too fussy. Practice opening and extending the interaction, but do it with any group. Don’t try to conquer your fear or practice pickup skills only with women you find super-hot. That would take too long. You need to be out there practicing, opening twenty groups a day. You have to be focused on practicing, not on closing.
When I first started going out to work on my skills, I forced myself to do as many approaches a night as possible. I would do as many as twenty in a few hours. It gave me a buzz to be talking to so many attractive women that I’d never met before. I must have talked to more women in just a few weeks than I’d done in my entire life up to that point! I love female energy and being in the company of pretty women, so I was happy just to have these short interactions.
Doing lots of approaches at first not only helps you desensitize yourself and remove approach anxiety; it also helps you get out of your own head and get focused on the other person. When you’re thinking a lot about your own body language, your voice, what you’re saying, what you’re going to do next, you can’t focus enough on the other person to read signals and give her what she wants.
During my first thirty or so approaches after deciding to work on my skills with women, I’d be talking to a girl, but most of my attention would be focused on what to say next, how my body language was, whether my voice was loud enough, whether my sweaty palms would turn her off, and I’d miss all the little signals that she was giving me.
I remember approaching two girls in a coffee shop early on in my training. I saw that they had a Tube map—a map to the subway system—and, without thinking much, I approached and asked if I could look at it to see how to get to Earl’s Court. Since they seemed friendly enough in passing over the map, I asked them where they were from. They were Czech, they said, and studying English in London. I was laughing nervously and blushing as we talked, but I also felt a bit euphoric—I was getting a positive reaction! I did something I’d never done before: I talked for what seemed like minutes (but was probably not more than twenty seconds) about how I’d gone to Seville and gotten the TEFL qualification.
This was the first time I’d had serious attention from a couple of girls focused on me for more than a few seconds. It was a real breakthrough,
because I forged ahead. Prior to this I’d just asked questions to avoid having the attention focused on me.
I still messed up, though. When I asked what they were doing later, they said they had to meet a friend soon. Swallowing my disappointment, I said, “Oh, okay. Bye then.” I took what they said in the worst possible way, assuming that they were trying to hint that they weren’t interested, and sat back down. As they were leaving, they hung around expectantly, but I didn’t have the courage to reopen and ask for their number. A common mistake guys make is hitting the self-destruct button, as I did on that occasion: they take the tiniest negative thing as an excuse to run away. Practice helps curb that urge to run.
“Assignments” can also get you over approach anxiety. Give yourself assignments each time you go out. Test openers or see how many groups you can engage, for example. Go out with a friend and push each other into action. Find out what your motivation is and when you perform well. I perform well under pressure, so it helps me to tell the guys I’ll open any group they want me to. Other people might want to dare or bet each other. Try some different things and find out what will make your approach happen. Some guys do better with a wingman, so experiment there too. (See chapter 10 for tips on wingmen.)
Framing an Uncomfortable Situation
Some situations just feel uncomfortable. Approaching a girl you’ve really got the hots for, and knowing you’ll be crushed if she rejects you because you haven’t had sex in six months, is destined to be uncomfortable. Going to a club on your own probably will be too. However, most of the discomfort from these situations has to do with your mental frame. By framing a situation differently, you can actually put yourself at ease.
I frequently do this for self-conscious people in my one-on-one trainings: I get them to stand for one minute in a very busy street and look straight ahead—no fidgeting, no shifting around, no looking down. They inevitably feel uncomfortable, as if everyone is looking at them. I then tell them to repeat the exercise, imagining that a friend of theirs is going to appear in the distance around the corner and that they’re waiting to go have coffee with him. They do it again and it’s usually completely comfortable for them.
Similarly, being alone in a club can be framed so that you’re completely comfortable—you’re waiting for a friend. You were meant to meet at the entrance, but he texted to say he’s running late and will be there in an hour. Now you can be more comfortable in the club on your own, though nothing has really changed. It’s like method acting.
You can also apply this to approaching women. Instead of having a pickup frame in your head, try framing the situation as, “I’m a fun, sociable guy. I’m going to talk to lots of people, and if I happen to have a good interaction with a girl I find attractive, closing will be natural.” This is a much healthier frame and also removes a lot of the approach anxiety, outcome dependency, and neediness. You should try to reframe any situation in which you feel uncomfortable.
If you want to dive deep into doing belief change work and really “reboot” your psychology, we have a program available called “Inner Game: Installed.” Guys absolutely rave about the program and you can find more about it by going to the following URL: www.puatraining.com/inner gameinstalled/.