Monday, September 13, 2010

How to pick up chicks: A reasonably informed response to pick-up artist guides

It is really hard to meet men I want to date. I hear that men also have trouble meeting women. (I smell an arbitrage opportunity here!) Hence, the abundance of guides on "picking up women" all over the internet. Some of these guides have really disrespectful attitude towards women, which makes me wonder about their true intent and efficacy. So, here are some of my tips for sparking a woman's interest - all should also work with men!

  1. Ask - and remember - her name. This is really simple, but is an easy way to show respect and interest. If names give you trouble, try repeating it right after she tells you (i.e., "It's nice to meet you, Rachel"), and repeat it a couple of times in your head.
  2. Actively listen to what she's saying and ask appropriate questions. People love talking about themselves, and feel extra special when someone is really engaging with what they're saying. Don't use her conversation as a way to change the subject to yourself. When I recently told a guy in a bar that I liked books, he used this as a way to start talking for 15 minutes about his own collection, which was not particularly endearing. A smoother dude would have asked me more about what I liked to read, or maybe the most recent book I had purchased.
  3. Make eye contact, but not too much. The main thing here is not to stare at the woman's rack while you're talking - it really bothers most of the women I know. However, don't lock eyes too intensely either. If she's backing away, fidgeting a lot, or keeps looking away, you are probably being a little too strong. Eye contact, look away, eye contact, glance away, etc.
  4. Don't swear profusely, say bigoted things, or indulge in excessive vulgarity. Dropping F-bombs is not going to impress anyone, and being sexist, racist, or homophobic will not score you any points. This is your first conversation with this person, so put your best foot forward.
  5. No negging. Negging is a common pickup artist tip where you catch a woman's interest by insulting her. Don't do this - it's stupid, rude, and makes you look like an inconsiderate jerk. Compliments are totally the way to go. You already know this to be true, so just trust your instincts. Anecdotes of successful negging are just that - rare stories. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
  6. Make her feel great. This is your antidote to negging - instead, give her a nice compliment, laugh at her jokes, take interest in her conversation, use her name, buy her a drink. This is a classic sales strategy and common sense: everybody loves a charmer.
  7. Accept no as an answer. Don't be too persistent, and allow her an easy escape from the conversation. If she's not interested in you, it behooves you to be as polite as possible and not make her uncomfortable. Not only is this the right thing to do (harassment is bad!), she might also have friends with her who might be more receptive to your advances. If this sounds like bad advice, read this harsh piece about too-persistent men. Don't be that guy!
  8. Follow up with a call. If the stars align and you get her number:
    1. Call when you promised or within three days.
    2. Call once, leave a voicemail. This is really important - calling half a dozen times is inappropriate. Just leave a voicemail with your name, a reference to where you met so she can remember the context, and your number.
    3. If she doesn't return your call, try again, but only once. (See #6 for rationale.)
  9. Ask her out on a date. In a world of online dating and a hookup culture, it seems that people are increasingly afraid of the face-to-face rejection inherent in dating. Rejection is a normal part of the dating process, and picking yourself up and moving on is a big part of improving your game.While and hookups can be great, a dinner date is a really good way to get to know someone through a relatively sober and private conversation. It sounds intimidating but there's nothing to be scared of - and it gets much easier with practice!
These might seem really simple, but I've seen so many men (and women!) blow their chances by messing up on common courtesy. Any more basic tips out there for meeting people?

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