Josh Sway
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/ Finishing Second, But Placing First

Second place doesn't automatically mean you're the first loser.


You arrive at the party and make your way to the kitchen to pour yourself a drink. There's a cute girl already there, and you take the opportunity to introduce yourself. You both make some small talk, and soon she suggests you both do a shot of the party host's tequila. You happily oblige, thinking this is going pretty well. Then the bathroom door opens. She excuses herself to go to the bathroom, and you know it'll be weird if you just stand around waiting for her, so you exit the kitchen and go back to meet up with your friends. Thirty minutes later, you're looking around for her to reconnect. Across the room, you see her sitting on the couch with the party host himself. They're talking intimately, their body language is all pointed at each other, and you realize this girl is quickly disintegrating as a prospect. The guy she's talking to has already isolated her, is in the process of escalating, and has the "home field advantage" to isolate and escalate even further if he wants. Looks like it's time to throw in the towel, right? Not necessarily.

Love is a Battlefield

We've talked about the Alpha Male of the Group on JoshSway.com before, but this isn't really an AMOG situation. Generally AMOG situations involve some sort of confrontation between you and him. In this case, there was no confrontation, just competition. Attraction isn't just about building a strong connection between you and a woman, but it's also about building a stronger connection than any other guy can. It's not enough for her to be attracted to you, she needs to be more attracted than all her other options. A lot of times, you really can't do much about the competition besides, well, compete. If you've met a girl through online dating, it's safe to assume she's also dating at least a few other guys in parallel. You shouldn't worry about them, and just focus your game on maximizing your attraction so she prefers you to them. It's unlikely she'll tell you how you "rank" against her other options, and you shouldn't care anyway. But other times, such as the example I used to open this article, you'll see that competition in plain sight and your "rank" will be painfully obvious. She may be interested in you, but she's clearly interested in the party host more. You're her second option. Is this a good thing? No. But is it fatal? You may be surprised to hear my answer to this is also "no." Sometimes, whether due to dumb luck, clever logistical planning, or a combination of both, you can still succeed as the second option. I'm going to tell you how.

For You to Succeed, Your Competition Must Fail

Let me be clear about this: I don't advocate intentionally pursuing these situations. Nothing I'm about to suggest will matter if your competition plays his cards right. Having already built considerably more attraction with this girl than you, all he has to do is escalate at the right time. Is it possible he'll fuck it up and give you an opening? Yes. But is it possible for you to get that opening without him fucking it up? No, not really. Similar to what I don't advocate talking to girl's with boyfriends, it's way easier investing your time and effort on a girl where you have an even playing field. If that's an option, I recommend you do that. But sometimes it's not an option, like if she's the only desirable girl at a party that you're going to be at for awhile. Playing for second place isn't a bad idea if the only other option is to go home empty-handed. Just make sure it's really your only other option.

How Your Competition Can Fail

So the first part of this strategy is basically just waiting around and seeing if Mr. First Option somehow screws the pooch. If this happens, it will typically happen one of these ways:

1. Escalation Crash and Burn

Even if a girl is very interested in a guy, it doesn't mean getting to the next step is a slam-dunk. I wrote about how not screwing up is a skill, and I mean it. It's not the hardest skill to master, but it is a skill that many men, including very good looking men with strong attraction skills, haven't mastered. You may know someone in your group of friends who seems successful with women, but can't ever seem to "seal the deal." Hell, you may be that person yourself! So why assume your competition is going to escalate flawlessly? There's no guarantee Mr. First Option won't make a crucial mistake, and suddenly you're the superior option.

2. Bad Logistics

In the example I used to open the article, the competition was also the party host, which gives him pretty great logistics for escalating. But this won't always be the case. The competition may hitched a ride with a friend, but now that friend has to go home early and so does your competition. Just like that, he's out of the picture. Logistics are crucial, but many men don't think about them. Play your cards right and another person's poor logistics can be to your benefit.

3. His Lack of Interest

Just because a guy and a girl are sitting together intimately in the couch, doesn't necessarily mean the guy cares to take it to the next level. For all you know, this girl is his second option. This form of "failure" is also the ideal situation for you. Not only is he effectively not in the picture, he acts as a blocker for other guys. She's interested in him, and she will probably follow him around, hit on him, and do a whole lot of, well, just about everything but go after other men! The end result is that when the eventual rejection occurs, she is already turned on from the previous interaction and you can be waiting in the wings.

What You Need to Do

Another man's stumbles aren't enough for you to win as the runner-up. You have to be sure that you are in the position to capitalize. This isn't necessarily easy, but it can be done. Here are the basic principles:

1. Don't Sabotage Him

In all likelihood, trying to make the other guy look bad is not going to end up with any positive outcome. If you try and sabotage him, he's probably going to redirect it to make you look like a jealous loser (which he'll have a distinct advantage in doing -- she likes him more than you, remember?) Or maybe he'll take your bait, but all you've really done is change his focus his attention from her to you. This may reduce her attraction to her, but it doesn't matter, because you aren't actually increasing your own attraction to her. You're just starting an impromptu dick-measuring contest, which will probably just result in her being turned off entirely and abandoning both of you. Cock-blocking your competition may feel good for a few minutes, until you realize your goal should be to get girls for yourself, not make it harder for other guys to get girls.

2. Remind Her -- Subtly -- Of Your Presence

While you don't want to confront your competition, you still want to do things to stay on the girl's radar and maintain contact with her throughout the night. This does not mean stalking them and then pouncing on them the second your competition goes to the bathroom. Your goal is to make her aware you are still at the venue and keep you in her mind. For example, organize a game at the party, suggest everyone do a shot and make sure you hand her one.

3. Be There When It Counts

If your competition does fail, remember: play it alpha-cool. Don't immediately run over there with a big-ass grin as if to say: "you still got me!" Don't approach right away, and don't approach aggressively. One of the best techniques is to position yourself so that you aren't approaching her, but it's highly likely she will have to pass by you to get wherever she is going. Wait until she walks by, then start talking to her. Do not mention your competition in any conversation. Don't ask, "what happened to that guy?" or "glad you made your way over here, that guy you were talking to looked like a tool." That's because the competition is now irrelevant. Think of yourself as an Olympic track sprinter. To win the gold medal, you have to beat everyone else. But your actual goal is to run the race in the fastest time possible. Your goal with women should always be to maximize your attraction, and not worry about how "far ahead" you are with anyone else.

Caution: Use Sparingly

I said this earlier in the article, but it's worth repeating: this strategy will work if Mr. First Option fucks up, but you shouldn't bank on that happening. If you find yourself constantly playing this "Second Place Game," then you either need to step up your game so you're Mr. First Option more often, or you need to find better places to approach women. And if you do use this strategy, realize you can execute this in parallel with multiple women at once. For example, maybe you're at a frat party, and all the girls there clearly prefer one frat brother or another as their first option. By keeping in the periphery of several of them, it's a much safer bet that one of the guys will "bro out" too hard, giving you the opening you need. This is why I suggest making your presence known in ways that involve a larger group of people -- this way you can stay in contact with several girls at once. Lastly -- don't use this strategy with your wingmen. You may have that aforementioned friend that sucks at escalating, but he probably already feels shitty enough whenever he blows it and some other guy swoops in to hook up with the girl. How is he going to feel seeing his own friend do that? Your goal should be helping him seal the deal, not waiting around to wait for his inevitable crash and burn.



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