The 5 Big Differences Between Naturals and “PUA”s
When I first discovered dating advice for men on the Internet in the mid-2000s, I was ecstatic; here were exactly the tools I was looking for to take what I was trying to do and put it on rocket fuel.
With these tools, I knew, I could shave years off my learning curve and advance at a far faster rate than I could having to figure every single thing out by myself, on my own.
It didn't take long though before I realized that many of the guys posting on seduction forums and meeting up in pickup lairs were "quirky"; there were things about them that were off, and the kinds of women they were going for were... not the kinds of women I was all that interested in.
I maintained friendships with the cooler and more "normal" guys I met through PUA - and indeed, many of these guys are still good friends of mine today, and are some of the sharpest and most improvement-oriented people I know (many are also quite successful in their businesses and careers nowadays) - but aside from them, I largely retreated to friendships with "naturals" - guys who were naturally good with women, and hadn't studied pickup and had only the most cursory knowledge of what it taught.
What I noticed was that there were some very distinct differences between the guys who were naturally good with women and the guys who were not - and while some of this went away as guys improved, some of it didn't; these differences remained.
And those differences very often meant the difference between being cool and getting the more attractive, harder-to-get girls, and not being and getting those.
I don't really like the term "natural", to be honest... it sort of deifies and mythologizes guys who are good with women without having sat down and studied books and articles and materials on doing better with them, when in fact they're really just normal guys who happen to do very well with women.
I much prefer to just refer to these guys as "my friends who are good with girls", because it's a less loaded term, and more ambiguous... and "ambiguous" is a big part of the "natural's" mystique.
Guys who are seemingly naturally good with women tend to be smoother, edgier, and more sexual than guys who are consciously working to learn these things. That doesn't mean you can't learn how to be these things consciously; rather, what it means is that most of the men who sit down to methodically learn girl skills don't learn these things.
To my mind, that's the biggest part of the difference between "naturals" and "pick up artists" - while the aim of what they're doing is often similar, these two classes of men go about things different ways and focus on learning different things.
This site, actually, is focused predominantly on a fusion of things learned from naturals, things I and the other authors already naturally have come to do that work, and useful things picked up from others in the pickup community. I can't speak for all the other guys on-staff, but at least for me, what I talk about is probably 80% natural, 20% PUA, all jumbled up together and put through a "how to make this as simple and intuitive as possible" filter.
But how did guys who are "naturals" come to be on the pedestal they're on in the pickup... and what's so great about them anyway?
What the Natural Knows
If I had to categorize all the guys I know who are self-taught with girls and are very good with them, I'd say that they all are "students of people" and "students of the mind." They find people, relationships, thinking, persuasion, negotiation, communication, influence, and much more to be extraordinarily interesting topics, and they are constant students of these topics.
They won't often talk about these things, because:
They're wary of being thought of as manipulative, and if there's one thing someone who's very socially aware knows, it's that you want things to seem as effortless and unconscious as possible,
They're very aware of the fact that most people just aren't as interested in how people and brains work as they are... and that these topics are often too "intellectual" for most of the folks they spend time with, and, finally
They usually have some kind of rough objective for their socializing - and talking about how people work is not usually anywhere on the path to achieving these, and even if they would enjoy these topics, unless you're already highly advanced in this field you probably won't have much that's all that interesting to them to say
That makes guys like this somewhat impenetrable to a lot of less socially savvy men, who can't get into their skulls and can't get a good explanation out of these guys on how to do what they do ("You know... you just go talk to girls!").
There's a sort of idea in men's dating advice circles that a natural is a sort of "idiot savant" - he's really good, but he has no idea what he's doing.
In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.
He just doesn't want you thinking he knows what he's doing, is all.
Why Naturals Play Dumb
Most interviews with top business people churn out a lot of the same general, "You can do it too! Just try!" non-advice that sounds great but is practically useless. These are things like:
- "It's all about persistence."
- "You've got to know your market."
- "Make sure you're making something people want."
- "If you don't believe in your business, no one else will either."
Great sound bites, but if you take this advice and sit down tomorrow to go launch your first business, you're going to be every bit as lost as you would've been had you never heard these one-liners.
Are great businessman idiot savants too? Maybe they just do things and don't really know what they're doing?
No. They know what they're doing. Not all of it is 100% conscious, of course... there are always important things you're doing that help you succeed that you're not completely aware of. There's always more nuance.
But the truly important things? They can teach those if they really want to.
They just don't.
Why not? A variety of reasons:
It's pretty hard to do. It's a LOT of work to sit there and analytically figure out how to explain something you do naturally all of the time... it's not very easy. I do it all day and have been for years, and it's still a grind whenever I'm trying to explain something I haven't already explained a hundred times before. And this is especially difficult when you're talking to someone who just doesn't get it... when you're good with girls, and you're talking to someone else who's good with girls, you can just say, "You know, you tease them a little bit, and they go all soft on you and do whatever you want them to do," and he nods his head in knowing agreement. You say that to a guy whose a beginner, and he stares at you like you're talking Martian and says, "But I tease girls all the TIME and they NEVER do anything I want them to do!"
There's no reason to do it. I write about this stuff because my business is writing about this stuff, and because I enjoy writing about it. However, the motivation to hang out with people who don't understand it and explain it all to them piece-by-piece simply isn't there. Sure, it's nice to give back and help out... a couple of times. But eventually, it's kind of like teaching the alphabet to kindergarteners - it's great the first few times, but after a while, you're just teaching the same thing over and over, and if you aren't making the big bucks doing that, there's not a whole lot of motivation to exchange your free time for training up one person, then another, then another...
It's not fun to do. Unless someone views you as an authority figure - and guys who are naturals usually avoid being seen too much as authority figures - even when he asks you for help, he'll still tend to push back on anything you tell him that doesn't mesh with what he presently believes. And if he isn't at your level with women yet, you'd better believe that what you believe and what he believes are two different things. Be ready to have him ask you how to do something that he doesn't know how to do, you'll spend time telling him, based on having done it time and again, and him coming back and challenging you and telling you no, that's not right, because the mainstream advice you've listened to your whole life told you otherwise. There's little in the world more frustrating than someone asking you to give him advice, then rejecting your advice after you give it.
It makes them potentially look scheming. Get a guy who's a natural to really open up - it's pretty rare - and he'll talk to you about the stuff he does with women and knows he does with women. And... it just makes him look a lot more scheming and conniving than you thought of him before. Because this is how anyone looks when he's playing any game at a more advanced level than the other players; he knows something they don't. Which is not to say that those OTHER players wouldn't do the same exact things if THEY were the ones with the information advantage... these imbalances play out all the time between men and women - woman friend zones guy, even though what he wants is a date / sex / relationship with her, because she has a better grasp of what's going on when he does; man has one-night stand with girl, even though what she wants is some kind of an ongoing relationship from him and time to figure out if she wants that relationship to mature into something more. Socially intelligent people know the best thing to do here is shrug and say, "But I thought he/she wanted that!" and play dumb, because then nobody blames him or her for going after what he/she wanted - after all, he/she simply didn't realize.
Add all that up, and you've got a pretty convincing case for a guy who's self-taught to be good with women to play dumb and not get into details whenever envious or aspirational men start asking him how he does what he does.
So, the natural gets to go on playing the rule of clueless, innocent child in pursuit of fun and fornication, while the world watches scratching its head and says, "He's just got something that women love, and not even he know what it is."
If we want to get specific, we can really narrow the differences between your standard self-taught naturals and your run-of-the-mill community-taught pickup artists down to five (5) key distinctions... but that doesn't mean if you fall into the less natural camp you're stuck there, or doomed to end up there.
Rather, like all things, simply by knowing where you want to get to you can start moving yourself in that direction.
Without further ado, here are the five differences:
#1: The Natural's Been Doing This a Lot Longer
Your average naturally-good-with-women man started working on his "game" back in his teenage years - usually somewhere before age 14 or 15. He was sleeping with lots of women in high school, working out how to be charming, working out how to get sexual faster, and had his social skills polishing on overdrive to start racking up more and more results - and more and more lays.
Most guys who stumble into the pickup community don't do so until their early- to mid-twenties or later - as much as a decade or more behind the natural.
Now, there are certain advantages to studying material from professional teachers over having to self-teach; you can generally advance a lot more rapidly this way, all other things being equal.
Except, all other things aren't equal - you will usually never have a more choice testing bed for game skills than the environments in high school and college. Many of my natural friends had taken between 10 and 30 girls to bed before graduating high school, and made it past the 50-lay mark before they left college.
And those are just the girls they got in bed... that's not counting all the girls they got close with but didn't close the deal with; the girls they made out with; the girls they took on dates; the girls they flirted with but had not pan out.
They acquire mountains of experience in environments typically unlike anything else you'll experience for the rest of your adult life. After college, you'll almost never be so surrounded with horny girls your age who are young and inexperienced and don't have their defenses up so high for a guy who knows what he's doing with them.
Sure, you can go get a job working in a college bar, or go live on a party island somewhere (one of my friends spent a year living in Koh Phangan, Thailand, home of the Full Moon Party, and had an understandably wild set of life experiences there), but most people aren't going to do this because they have other priorities in their lives and partying / sex / girls simply isn't #1.
And, you can meet more women by cold approach than the most social socialite will meet via social circle... but, again, most guys are never going to put in the hours to get good at cold approach, and even many of the guys reading this site I know use the material here to improve themselves and do better mainly still with women in social circle. It's just simply how most people meet.
That head start afforded to your average natural when compared to your average pickup artist ends up making him seem entirely different - because he is. He's:
- More effortless
- More confident
- More unflappable
- More inured to the vagaries of random variation in his interactions
While it's certainly possible for a late bloomer who's studying material to catch up, the reality is that most won't put the hours in... if it was something you're that inclined to do, you usually will end up starting as soon as possible - and end up a natural, rather than a PUA.
However, there is a silver lining to this cloud: if you get some natural friends, and pay very close attention to how they are around women (and people in general), you can generally absorb these characteristics and learn to display them yourself.
It's very hard to learn this from reading or even from watching videos. If you end up spending time around a guy like this though, it's quite possible to take the mannerisms and behavior patterns it's taken him 5 or 10 years or more to get down and simply adopt those yourself.
And the cool thing about this is, as you adopt those characteristics and behaviors, the way people treats you changes, and they begin to treat you just like they treat your natural friend.
Which is, usually, as a very attractive man (because you're acting like a very attractive man).
And the more people treat you this way, the more it reinforces these kinds of behaviors, and the more you begin to improvise similar but unique behaviors to these, but in the same vein, and evolve the traits and mannerisms you adopted.
Eventually you just become them.
So, in a way, by carefully studying and mimicking a talented
natural, you can actually skip ahead to somewhere close to where he is
- almost like skipping a few levels
in a video game. Is it cheating? Perhaps. But it's fun
#2: The Natural's an Intense Examiner of People
Something I've noticed that stands out as a very key difference between naturals and most pickup artists is this: guys who are naturals are CONSTANTLY figuring out who the people around them are down to those people's very nuts and bolts. They LOVE getting inside people's heads, figuring out what makes them tick, and divining which buttons to push with those people to generate what reactions.
Most pickup artists don't do this. They're pushing buttons, sure, but the buttons they push tend to be more "one size fits all" buttons - they learn that certain things work well for them, and then they just do those things with everybody.
Naturals don't do that though. They sit back... and observe.
And before you know it, they're under your skin, delicately prying out all your most intimate details, and uncovering those little secret weaknesses you thought you hid so well.
And they're laughing about it with you and teasing you about it, and you feel slightly naked, but, well, whatever... that's what naturals do.
You don't take it too personally, because...
#3: The Natural's Always Having a Good Time
He doesn't go out on a "mission" like a pickup artist does. And he isn't there just "to get laid." Sure, that may happen - and it may be a part of why he's there - but he isn't especially caught up on having it happen.
He's more concerned with enjoying himself.
How does he enjoy himself? Well, perhaps not completely how you think:
Cracking jokes is part of it, yes - every natural I've ever known had a fantastic sense of humor and loved to laugh
Drinking is sometimes a part of it, when out at night, though not necessarily always
Bringing the energy is a big part of it - bringing people together, being inclusive, elevating everyone else's energy levels
Probing into people is a big part of it too - just as I recommend with deep diving and chase framing, you'll find that most naturals will tend to probe and pry a little bit, then turn around and relieve the tension that probing and prying kicked up by introducing some more laughter into the interaction... although generally, most naturals have far more light-hearted conversations than what I usually recommend for deep diving (ultra fun, light-hearted conversations are very good for seduction, but they're a very difficult balancing act and can be hard to pull off if you're not of an inherently whimsical nature)
Leading people is another one that is high on most naturals' priorities list - leading is "fun" because it's both a way of dialing the energy up a notch, and getting a winner effect going on by playful-but-firmly insisting someone do something that's just a little bit outside her comfort zone and getting her to comply
Essentially, men who are very skilled with people enjoy themselves by leading around their interactions with other people, really getting under those people's skin, and using their skill set to make the occasion a good time for everyone.
This is fun for a natural... and it's also something you very rarely see your standard-issue pickup artist busy himself with.
#4: He's an Expert at Target Selection
This one's partly the result of experience - you can't help but develop an instinct for which women will be receptive to you and which women won't as you grow more experienced with them - but again, it's also partly a matter of focus.
The guys who study pickup frequently employ mass approaching - that is, going up and talking to lots of girls. Which is... exactly what you need to be doing when you're not very good yet with women and aren't so good at picking out which women are interested in you and which women aren't.
Yet, as you're approaching, you should always be asking yourself, "Does this woman want to meet me?" before the approach, and try to figure it out in advance. You train up your instincts this way - because afterward, you either say, "I was right on the money - I KNEW that girl was going to be open to me, because she [blank]," or, "Yeah, I could tell she was going to be closed, because she [blank]," or, "Wow, I had no idea she was going to receive me so well - I thought from her [blank] she was going to be ice cold!" Over time, this makes you refine your ability to estimate how open women will be to you more and more - and you get better and better at target selection.
I've been out with guys learning pickup who didn't do this at all - they just spam approached everything that moved, and didn't bother paying attention to any signals those women were giving off one way or another - and I've been out with the guys who do this to the point of paralysis, second-guessing every potential approach with, "No, but, she just turned her body away... I don't think she's interested." There's not much of a happy medium there.
When a natural is first starting out, his state of mind is, "Okay, I think this girl is interested... but let's go see what happens," or, "Hmm, I don't think that girl wants to talk to me, but she looks so good I've just got to go find out for sure." Over time, he trains up his instincts this way - and if you adopt this mentality, so will you.
#5: He Knows Girls are Just Girls - and That There are LOTS of Them
For your average pickup artist, girls are a BIG deal. They're one of the main things he thinks about. He eats, breathes, and thinks girls. He often pedestalizes the really pretty ones, and resents the really unattractive ones. He beats himself up when things don't go the way he wanted them to, and is prone to falling in love with that one special girl who shows up and is better than what he usually gets.
Naturals don't operate this way. Probably because he has had an abundance of women in his life since not long after he first wanted women in his life, a natural has never had to live in a world where women were a scarce resource - and, thus, he has a natural, and more or less unchangeable, abundance mentality.
He doesn't take women very seriously.
He doesn't get too worried about what they do.
To him, girls are silly and cute, and they're not some über-big-deal thing to stay up late worrying about.
Sure, they're interesting.
And he loves to pick them apart and get down to the nitty-gritty.
But he doesn't worry about them a whole lot... because there's always another girl just like this one around the next corner - that's not to say that all girls are the same, but if you want to find a girl who's almost the same as any one particular girl, you can probably find her - you did it once, you can do it again.
Girls are great.
They're just not that big a deal, is all.
The Natural and the Pick Up Artist
You can adopt any of these mentalities you care to adopt - it's really mostly about being intensely interested in people, and never really turning your "analysis mode" off. Because as much effortless fun naturals look like they're having, they're always holding a magnifying glass up to everything happening around them socially they can see.
It's also about wanting to control the social environment around you - both probing (to understand who these people around you are and what it is they want) and bringing the energy (to keep everybody high in spirits and, thus, more likely to stick with the program - your program) - in order to get things to go the direction you want them to go in... a direction that everybody will end up being happy in, and especially you.
Naturals legitimately love helping other people have a good time around them, because they've learned through experience that when others have a good time around them, they have a great time - all kinds of good things manifest out of thin air (including horny women).
If you want to emulate a natural - and get the kind of results a natural gets - part of it is just hard work to get yourself up to a not-so-tiny social and sexual experience level.
But a big part of it is just plain old emulation - pick a role model, and go be like him.
You can't be "natural" over night, but don't worry - even naturals weren't born naturals.
They were just born interested... and persistent.
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