November 22, 2014 / Pace Your Game
Building attraction isn't always a sprint.
When it comes to approaching women, we’ve advised you to suck it up and do it, to avoid playing the long game, and how passive provider behavior just gets you in the friend zone. In short, platonically orbiting around a woman, doing favors for her and getting repaid with her attention, and hoping that will somehow lead to attraction — is completely idiotic.
But I want to tell you a story that I think addresses a common overcorrection that I see a lot of guys make. Last weekend I went out for a friend’s birthday dinner, to be followed by drinks afterwards. His girlfriend came to dinner with one of her friends, a very attractive girl that was visiting from out of town. For the sake of this story, let’s call the birthday boy Jack, his girlfriend Amy, and Amy’s attractive friend Stacey.
What Not to Do: A Field Report
Besides me, there were three single guys in our group, and I literally saw all three of them fall over themselves hitting on Stacey. Our reservation wasn’t ready at the restaurant, so we decided to get a drink at the bar while we waited. Within the first twenty minutes, before we were even seated for dinner, I witnessed the following:
- One of Jack’s friends — let’s call him Friend A — made a beeline to her and tried to talk to her using the weakest of conversational common threads he could grasp to. "Oh, you live in Chicago? My grandmother grew up there. Well, Illinois. Yeah, I used to visit her all the time. Well, not since she died when I was 11. But yeah, it was great."
- Then he was interrupted by Jack’s Friend B — who interrupted their (admittedly lame) conversation by offering to buy Stacey a drink. Even though the gesture of "buying a drink" was pointless because all these drinks were just going to go on the dinner tab anyway, and her and Amy had already gotten themselves drinks anyway. So then he said, "Okay, let’s do a tequila shot. I just got a huge bonus at my work, I want to spend it." Yeah, suggesting a tequila shot before dinner, right after one of the most painfully transparent DHVs about having a lot of money. Stay classy, Friend B.
- Unsurprisingly, Stacey turned down the tequila shot. Jack’s Friend C then entered the picture by making fun of Friend B, saying something like, "if you got such a huge bonus, hotshot, why don’t you get shots for all of us?" This got a chuckle out of all of us, including Stacey. But then Friend C took her chuckle as a sign that "this girl is totally into me," and basically stuck to her like glue. We were finally seated at her table, and he nearly vaulted over half the chairs just to make sure he had a seat by her. He then proceeded to make one-sided small talk with her for the next 20 minutes, and then before we even ordered appetizers, he asked if Stacey if she was free the next night so he could "show her around our city." She politely declined by saying, "well, I think Amy already had plans for us tomorrow," which prompted Amy to say, yes, they did, and then changed the subject.
I barely talked to Stacey. She was definitely attractive. If I had seen her at a bar or a club, I wouldn’t have hesitated to approach her. I wouldn’t have clumsily tried to draw a common thread from the fact that she was from Chicago, I wouldn’t have offered to buy her a drink in a crude way to express DHV, and I wouldn’t have suggested that we go out tomorrow and "see the city." But I would have done something, within those first ten or twenty minutes, to build attraction and pave the way for future escalation.
So why didn’t I do that here?
Time Not Always Your Enemy
I didn’t hit on Stacey at the restautant for the same reason why I don’t immediately hit on every attractive co-worker or mutual friend. In these cases, time is not my enemy. I will see these women more than once. And when I do see them, it may be for several hours at a time.
Contrast that when you see an attractive woman at a bar or in the most extreme example, in an elevator. In these situations, time is your enemy. You have a very limited time to build enough attraction to escalate or at least have an opportunity to see her again. And if you think you haven’t built enough attraction, sometimes you just have to "go for it" because you’ll never see her again otherwise. The elevator dings. It’s her floor. She’s about to walk out. Were your thirty seconds of small talk enough for her to be interested in going out with you? Only one way to find out!
But I wasn’t in an elevator with Stacey. We were doing to spend several hours at a restaurant, and then several hours at a bar afterwards. Essentially, what I wanted to do was lay groundwork, albeit in the compressed time frame of one evening. I wanted to promote familiarity and passively demonstrate high value. This may sound contradictory to all the other advice we typically give on JoshSway.com, but let me explain how it’s not.
You’re Still Making the Same Mistake
As I wrote about in my bio, I was a Nice Guy. I hovered around attractive girls, hoping they’d see all my great qualities and fall in love with me. Whenever I did actually have the guts to ask one of them out on a date, they said things like "you’re a great guy, but I don’t see you that way, can we just be friends?" and I took that as a compliment. Eventually, when I met Josh and he showed me the error of my ways, I realized this ‘friendship’ was mostly useless.
You may be at the same point I was. You’ve learned that if you’re interested in a girl, you grow some balls and make a move. If you take her out on a date, you make it clear it’s a date and you’re romantically interested. If she asks "can we just be friends?" you tell her no, you have enough friends.
But I see some guys, like Jack’s friends A, B, and C, despite their aggressive moves to hit on Stacey, are actually making the same mistakes that Nice Guy Trent was.
Let me repeat that, because this could be one of the most crucial points I’ve ever made on JoshSway.com.
If you hover around girls being nice to them and hoping they’ll like you, or hitting on them in a short time frame when you don’t have to, you are making THE SAME mistake.
And that mistake is…
Escalating With Women With Insufficient Attraction
That’s the mistake both types of guys are making,
Nice Guy Trent would hover around a girl for months, and then would sometimes confess his feelings in some sort of dramatic display. The girl was not into me. She was never into me. Why would she be? I did nothing to build attraction. I just went out of my to do favors for her and thought that would somehow translate into attraction on her side.
Friend A, B, and C are have made the same mistake though. They all made a bee-line to Stacey and immediately tried to escalate their interaction within the first couple minutes. They did this, probably because they were used to hitting on girls in a much more time-limited fashion. But it’s not a mistake if you ask a girl out that you just met in the elevator. You escalated because you had to, otherwise she was just going to walk out the elevator and out of your life. You didn’t have the option to keep building attraction.
But it’s a mistake to do that with the cute executive assistant that just started at your office, or the new girl on your intramural sports team, or Stacey. If you ask girls like that out in the first ten minutes of meeting them, you will get shot down, and it will be for the same fundamental reasons Nice Guy Trent did: you failed to build sufficient attraction.
To their credit, Friend A, B, and C didn’t waste a fraction of the time that Nice Guy Trent did. So at least they can say that. But while it’s all good to be direct and aggressive when making your intentions known with women, if you do it in the wrong context, you still end up with the same outcome: rejection.
What to Do: A Field Report
So let’s revisit my story, and talk about how I succeeded where Jack’s friends failed.
I didn’t talk to Stacey much at dinner. In fact, since she was getting so much attention from those guys, I actually made it a direct point not to talk to her. I wasn’t rude, I didn’t blow her off. But I made it clear that I wasn’t going to fall in line as a fourth suitor that would stumble all over myself trying to impress her.
During dinner I tried to think of a way I could passively demonstrate value without bragging about "huge bonuses at work." I had a good opportunity to act like The Bank. No, I didn’t blow a whole bunch of cash buying dinner for everyone or anything. But I organized all our Uber rides, and made sure our group was on the guest list for the bar we were going to. I made sure Jack, Amy, and Stacey rode in my car. I sat in the front seat with the Uber driver, so I still had minimal contact with Stacey at that point. I just wanted to isolate her from Friend A, B, and C.
We get to the bar. I order a round of shots for everyone in honor of Jack’s birthday. This is where I decided to make a more direct move on Stacey. I hand everyone a shot but her. She looks at me expectantly. "Sorry," I said, "only friends of Jack get a shot." I let the priceless look on her face hang there for a few seconds, then laughed and handed her a shot.
We toast to Jack and a happy birthday. Right afterwards, Stacey came up to me and we had the following conversation.
- Stacey: You know, I really started to wonder if I had done something to piss you off."
- Me: "Why do you say that?"
- Stacey: "Well, it’s almost like you were ignoring me the whole time at dinner, and in the cab, and I don’t really know you, I guess it’s like you were acting like I wasn’t in Jack’s special friend club or something."
- Me: "Well, you should get to know me better then."
- Her: "Oh yeah?"