author: niplav, created: 2022-03-12, modified: 2022-07-25, language: english, status: in progress, importance: 2, confidence: other

Notes on Pickup

Approach Anxiety

An die Rippen pocht das Männerherz,
Vorüber an hohlen Totengesichtern
Niederjagt die Front der Major,
Und Regimenter fesselt das starre Kommando.

Lautlos steht die Front.

Friedrich Schiller, “Die Schlacht”, 1805

I had very big problems when trying to overcome approach anxiety. Since this seems to be a common problem, it may be worth it to share a method that was successful for me to become more comfortable with it. To make progress on that front, I set a goal for several weeks in advance, similar to this:

If I failed in a week, I precommitted to donating a certain amount like 5€ to an effective charity.

In contrast to the other methods used and advertised by people who cold approach, this worked quite well. After the first 4 weeks, I took 1 week off, but went back to approaching the week after.

This, of course, only can work if one is able to ask men for their numbers. For a reason that eludes me, this is easier for me than approaching women, though the gap is shrinking with exposure.

Ask About Frequency of Being Approached After Rejection

After having been rejected by a woman during a daygame approach, I usually ask her “How often does this kind of thing happen to you? Like, once a month, or once a week?”, unless the woman seems to be in a great hurry. The woman usually gives an answer (albeit often not a very quantitative one), and if it is quantitative enough, I note it into my spreadsheet after the approach (I am, at heart, still a gigantic nerd).

This is useful for two reasons.

It gives me a good feeling for which parts of the city I'm in are the target of many daygamers, and which are undergamed. That way, I can find out which areas are neglected and target those. That has two advantages: egoistically, it gives me better results (also, there are fewer blow-outs and abrasive rejections), as women being approached frequently makes it lose the magic for them, altruistically, it puts less competitve pressure other daygamers (competition is weaker) and the good looking women in the areas (they don't get approached quite as frequently).

It also gives me an idea which kinds of women are targeted by other daygamers, and find out whether I have a type of woman I like that is more niche. Also, I'm generally interested in whether better looking women are approached more frequently (tentative answer, eye-balling my spreadsheet: yes).

There is of course a lot of noise in that data: Some very good looking women I have asked about this after rejection have told me that they get approached once a year or less (but, otoh, some women are apparently approached every day). I'm not sure I can chalk that discrepancy up to randomness+location+movement patterns (if a woman doesn't cross the city center that often, she'll naturally get approached less).

That said, it's not a very precise question, and is likely interpreted in many different ways, so I don't put that much weight on the responses.

Note that this makes sense only after the woman has rejected you. If you ask during the approach, you are doing two questionable things: (1) asking questions and (2) focusing on your competition, instead of the woman in front of you. See Heiman et al. 1995 ch. 13 why this is generally a bad idea. This is also the strongest argument for why you shouldn't ask about approach frequency: In case you see the woman at some later point, she might have changed her mind, and asking her about approach frequency burns parts of that bridge.

She Needs to Know You're Not a Weirdo

The number of normies out there is much vaster than the Internet realizes. If you are reading this you are probably not a normie. You are an alienated weirdo and need help to cultivate being normal enough to f**k hot chicks while not losing your weird edge.

TheRedQuest, “Compassion and Empathy for Chicks”, 2021

A couple of days ago, I did an approach on a standing woman that was (apparently) waiting for someone. In the beginning she was giving mostly 1-word or 2-word answers, but warmed up over time. Even after rejecting me (I believe that she was waiting for her boyfriend), she asked me a couple of questions.

After the approach, I got thinking about why this happened. Maybe she was just relieved that I was relaxed about being rejected. Maybe. But I also believe that upon getting approached, a women' prior on you being a weirdo is pretty high. Especially if you're a beginner at daygame and your body language is undecided and low status, the odds that you're a bad kind of weird (mentally ill/undersocialized/very unrelaxed about rejection) are probably pretty high. It's your job to demonstrate that this is not the case, and that you're more normal than the situation might convey.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how this interacts with women that get approached a lot—do they have a lower prior on bad weirdness from guys who approach? This probably interacts with how common daygame is in the environment.

On a related note, women are probably right in being very suspicious of guys who approach them. Out of the 5 wings I've done daygame with, only 2 were reasonably well-adjusted people to the extent that I would consider inviting them to a party I host (and I'm a pretty weird person myself).

I wonder whether there is a policy-level consideration of trying to be more normal during approaches as a beginner, and then with becoming more advanced you slowly edge towards being less normal (talking more & more openly about sex, being more direct) (if you're very uncool, becoming more normal makes you cooler, but this stops paying off at some point). On the other hand, this is probably swamped by object-level strategies.

Reductionism on Approach Difficulties

In 1922, anthropologist Ivor Evans described multiple reasons for head-hunting among various societies in Borneo, writing that;

The reasons for head-hunting among Bornean tribes in general seem to have been threefold: firstly, the practice was not without religious significance; secondly, it was considered a sport and the heads regarded as trophies; and thirdly, among some tribes no youth was considered fit to rank as a man until he had obtained a head, the women taunting those who had been unsuccessful as cowards. (Evans, 186)

A similar pattern was identified among societies on the island of Kiwai in New Guinea in 1903 by missionary James Chalmers, who wrote that, “When heads are brought home, the muscle behind the ear is given in sago to lads to eat that they may be strong…The skull is secured, and the more skulls, the greater the honour. No young man could marry, as no woman would have him, without skulls.”

In his volume on Head-hunters (1901), ethnologist Alfred Haddon wrote that, “There can be little doubt that one of the chief incentives to procure heads was to please the women.” In these societies, capturing the heads of enemies is associated with masculine virility, and a young man must seize the skulls of outsiders to be considered a viable partner for a young woman.

William Buckner, “Head in Hands: Notes on the Extraction and Display of Human Heads”, 2018

When trying to cold-approach women, nearly all men find that they manifest a psychological block about going up to a woman and talking her first. The most common variant is approach anxiety, which manifests itself as, well, anxiety: a sinking feeling in the stomach, hectic movements, undecisiveness and frustration. But another common variant is approach fatigue, in which you have a flat vibe and no motivation to do any approaches (“I could talk to her, but why bother?”).

Approach difficulties seem to have a variety of different causes. While the best method is to go out, become more and more frustrated, and then force yourself to approach (you can also work with your emotional state, as described in Krauser 2014 p. 64). There are different axes which can be intervened on independently:

  1. Cognitive Approach Difficulties: Do you believe that approaching is a good idea?
  2. Biological Approach Difficulties: Do you have an embodied need to interact with women? Does you body want to get closer?
  3. Social Approach Difficulties: Are you in a social flow? Can you get into it?
  4. Attraction Approach Difficulties: Are you actually attracted to the women you see?
  5. Emotional Approach Difficulties: How nervous/lethargic are you before an approach?

If the first four aspects are reduced, the last one should be easier to tackle as well.

Instead of Recognizing and Dismantling Shit Tests, You Could Just Vibe Over Them

I am very bad at recognizing shit tests. Usually, the evening on the day after a date, I am reading something or meditating, and then sit bolt-upright and think "Oh damn! That was a shit test!".

However, my experience after some of my recent dates has been the following: I'm eating, or assembling an air filter, and an epiphany hits me: "Shit! That was a shit test, and this is how I deflected it automatically!"

Now, I'm not going to give you the great secret at deflecting shit tests per se (why would you listen to a person with 2 lays out of ~360 approaches anyway?), but I still have an opinion on this: Shit tests do exist, but trying to spot them and consciously counteract them is perhaps misguided (I have even heard of guys trying to memorize responses to shit tests, baffling).

My reasons for this as roughly as follows:

Now, I'm not preaching the wu wei of game, or telling you that you should just become an effortless natural overnight, but the conversation on shit tests feels confused to me, and focusing on a misguided aspect of the interactions (judging from a lot of online advice, I suspect, but have very little evidence for, that many responses to perceived shit tests tend to be too adversarial). I think that there are many other better parts of game to focus on.

But perhaps I haven't dated girls that are hot enough to throw strong shit tests at me yet.