Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: So what’s the truth about pickup and how do you really meet and date women? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
At the core, there are basically two main ingredients for being successful at meeting & dating women:
You have to possess qualities that are perceived as attractive by some proportion of women. Lots of attributes can fall into this bucket, but the most important one is (usually) self-confidence. But then there’s also looks, smarts, wealth, social status, interpersonal ability, sense of humor, muscularity, masculinity, height, family name, caste, and many others depending on culture and geography and so on. But self-confidence is usually the sexiest attribute of them all, because it is highly correlated with other attractive attributes, and acts as a signal that you’re a person of value and status.
You need to interact with a non-trivial amount of women. You can’t date women without first meeting women. Which means you need to go where the women are, and talk with them.
Okay, so all you have to do is be attractive, which really means “be self-confident”, and go to the places where women are, and meet them. Fortunately, self-confident people are comfortable enough in their own skin to walk into anywhere women might happen to be and strike up conversations with them, so both the attractiveness and “interact with women” parts of the equation are solved with a sufficient quantity of self-confidence.
Self-confidence is really all we need… it’s the key to making the entire system work.
But how to acquire more of it?
There are two nuances about self-confidence that help explain what “pickup” is, and why it exists. They are:
Self-confidence is highly correlated with possessing other attractive attributes. Because if you are an attractive and generally successful person, people treat you like you have a lot of status, and it’s almost impossible not to gain confidence as time goes on. Think about Cristiano Ronaldo… he’s a world-class athlete who also happens to be an underwear model. What on Earth (short of a neurochemical imbalance) would cause him not to be massively self-assured? So confidence is generated by being generally attractive and successful (across various dimensions). And it’s also a signal (to women) that you possess attractive qualities that make you a good mate.
Confidence begets more confidence, in a virtuous cycle. If you succeed at something, you gain a little self-confidence, which helps you perform better at your next challenges (and rally people to your cause), which leads to more success, which makes you more confident, and so on.
This means that there are two routes that a man can pursue to gain self-confidence (and, consequently, be more successful with women). He can either focus on becoming a better man (this is point #1 on the previous list), or he can hack self-confidence (point #2).
Becoming a better man (#1) is hard. It involves staring hard into the mirror, assessing the deficiencies in your character and value system, making plans to fix these defects, putting in the actual work to fix them, apologizing to others and forgiving yourself for past mistakes, improving your appearance (long hours in the gym perhaps), making better friends, ditching crappy friends, learning new skills, quitting your shitty job, reading difficult books, putting yourself out there in uncomfortable situations…. shit, that sounds like a whole lot of work!
But hacking self-confidence (#2) is easy. It’s all make-believe. All you have to do is trick yourself into acting confident or feeling confident, and then things (generally) start to go a little better for you out in the real world, and that hastens a flywheel effect (the “virtual cycle”) where you feel more confident, which makes you act more confident, and so on.
This is all that “pickup” is: It’s a set of instructions for “hacking” your self-confidence.
It’s verbal routines, self-affirmations, style guides, “game” vernacular, and other little tips and tricks to make you appear as if you possess self-confidence, so that you not only trick women, but you also trick yourself, with the eventual goal of jump-starting the confidence flywheel:
Seems easy, right?
Well, it kinda is. And on the basis of getting extremely insecure men to start finally believing in themselves, the “art” of “pickup” probably has some utility, too. (See this interesting answer from a woman on another thread: “I don’t really appreciate or admire using special techniques to get woman to sleep with you. I do think that using social techniques to overcome problems meeting people is useful.”) So there’s that.
However… there’s a big problem with this approach. You might be able to hack your way towards self-confidence, but if that’s all you do — if you neglect the hard work of actually becoming someone worth dating — then that hard-earned self-confidence is utterly disconnected from any actual qualities that you possess as a human being. By that I mean: Yes, you’re confident. But confident of what? Confident about the fact that you’re confident? And, I suppose, the fact that you’ve slept with a bunch of women? Maybe…?
That’s why “pickup” is nothing more than a hack. It’s a tautology. It’s like those lifestyle design bloggers whose main writing topic is their paid blogging business. It’s a self-referential phantasmagoria with no actual bedrock foundation other than itself.
Nobody likes the guy who is in fifteen honor societies, but never had an original thought in his life. That’s what pickup artists are.
And, eventually, the house of cards falls down on these people. They hack their way into bed with some women, but those same women eventually discover that the man behind the curtain is just another insecure, manipulative narcissist; that this dude doesn’t really have anything interesting going on in his life beyond an interest in sleeping with more women; that the sure-to-be fascinating attributes that are the wellspring of his massive ego don’t actually exist. Then they bail.
And here’s what’s even worse: You know those smart, kind, attractive women that you want to date? Those aren’t the ones who fell for your pickup bullshit. The only ones who couldn’t see through your “game” were the insecure, easily-manipulated, and dull women that you really don’t want to be dating in the first place.
So, sure. If you are painfully shy and feel like you need a little nudge in the right direction, read The Game or The Red Queen and learn a bit of psychology to try and understand what women want and what they find attractive. That’s fine.
But here’s how you really meet and date awesome, admirable, enviable women:
Be. A. Mother. Fucking. Boss.
Or — maybe that sounds too dramatic — you could just work on yourself first. Be somebody worth dating; be a better man.
That means: Be kind. Be strong. Be humble. Be a good listener. Be compassionate. Do some pull-ups. All of it. Now. Tomorrow. Yesterday. Go!
If you do all of that (or, at least, whatever your own personal version of “be a better man” is), you’ll start to develop real, authentic confidence — the kind that comes from being 100% comfortable in your own skin because you’re occupying the exact right place that you need to be in the universe, working hard to make the people around you happy, and getting better at it every day.
If you do that, you won’t need tips, tricks, or pickup gimmicks to meet women. All you’ll need is to exist on planet Earth, eyes clear, ears open. You’ll find them. Or, rather — they’ll find you.
“Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And stay.” – Will Smith