April 01, 2014 / 5 More Thoughts on Laying Groundwork
Clearing up some misconceptions when it comes to laying groundwork.
Last week I discussed laying groundwork and its respective principles. However, there are five more points about groundwork that I thought were worth mentioning.
1. You don’t need to limit groundwork to one woman at a time.
Do you have two co-workers in your office that you’re attracted to? Don’t hesitate to lay groundwork for both of them at the same time. After all, groundwork is basically just multiple interactions of small talk. You’re just trying to promote enough familiarity so you can ask them to hang out outside of the office. It’s not like one girl is going to think you’re the "office player" just because you asked another girl how her weekend was.
You’ll probably have different conversations with both of them, and so your groundwork will progress at a different pace. It’s very possible one of them won’t be interested in going out with you, or they might both be interested but you’ll ask them out out several weeks or months apart. So don’t feel that you have to lay groundwork in some sort of sequential order, because you’re probably artificially limiting yourself if you do.
2. Laying groundwork is passive.
Remember: the goal of laying groundwork is to promote familiarity. The goal is not to actively build attraction and escalate. You don’t need to "run game" and use any sort of techniques or routines. It’s literally just small talk.
If you’re still struggling with this mindset, think about it this way. Your goal is to interact with them a few times to give them the opportunity to impress you. If they do impress you, you’ll ask them out. If they don’t, then they won’t.
3. It’s normal if you end up losing interest.
In the process of laying groundwork, you may realize you’re less attracted to the girl than you thought you were. This is totally normal. Your initial interest is usually based only on their physical attraction. What else could it be based on? If you knew more about her, you would know her well enough that you wouldn’t have to lay groundwork!
So in the course of your interactions, you may realize you’re actually a less compatible than you thought. Maybe they’re a lot older or younger than you assumed, or you don’t have much in common, or they’re just really boring. That’s totally fine. But all the more reason to lay groundwork with multiple women if you can. And also…
4. Groundwork should complement the women you meet in your social life, not supplement it.
If you’re already meeting girls through your social circles, going to bars with your friends, online dating, etc, then you may feel like laying groundwork isn’t worth it. It can be a long process and if you’d rather just keep your social life separate from the other areas of your life, that’s fine. You don’t need to try and date every single attractive girl in your office, or even any of them.
However, if your only prospects for meeting women are those you have to painstakingly lay groundwork for before you ask them out, you have a problem. That means your opportunities for dating women are few and far between, and you need to be more active in meeting women in your free time. The only exception may be is if you have especially fertile ground where you can lay groundwork with multiple women on a continuous basis, For example, if you’re a bartender or a DJ.
5. There’s no "minimum time" for groundwork.
You may start laying groundwork with a girl and your interactions may accelerate faster than you expected. Maybe the second time you talk to her, you ask her how her day is going, and she says: "I’m exhausted. Want to get a coffee?"
In this case, consider your groundwork laid! There’s no reason not to ask her out at this point. If she feels comfortable enough getting coffee with you, there’s no reason why she would think an invitation to hang out and get together later that week/weekend would be weird. She may not be interested, but it won’t be because she thought your suggestion came out of the blue.
What you don’t want to do in this situation is to keep "laying groundwork." Once you’re past the point of familiarity, you will quickly move from "acquaintance" to "friend." And once you’re "friends," you’re going to eventually become "coffee buddies" with this girl and she’ll forever think of you as a fixture in that part of her platonic life. The optimal amount of time to lay groundwork is always relative. The moment you feel you can suggest going out without her saying, "wait, who are you again?" is exactly when you should do it.