Ego Depletion (and Keeping Women Around)
Monday, 21 May 2012
Apologies if you haven't seen me on here much recently. I'm working on a few new things that should help you take your game to the next level; the first one due out is a book on relationships that I'm really thrilled with the development on. I'm aiming for it to be as complete a book on relationships as How to Make Girls Chase is for pick up, and I have some truly outside-the-box thinking in it that I've developed through my own personal relationships and through advising a number of friends and clients on their own, and that I haven't seen or heard anywhere else.
Anyway, I wanted to take a break from all the big project stuff and stop by here with a few of the things I've been working on lately. Today's blog post is a monster, at over 5,000 words, on something called "ego depletion." As you get better with some of the more advanced techniques from this blog and from the programs available here, you're going to start experiencing more and more of this, as one of the downsides to efficient and effective pick up.
If you're familiar with a sales tactic called "hard selling," you know that, even when people know what this is, it still works a lot of the time. You also know from this site that the hard sell can be a useful seduction technique - but that it's not without its drawbacks. And the chief among those drawbacks is ego depletion, and the after-the-fact effect it can lead to: buyer's remorse.
Buyer's remorse is, of course, when you make some headway with a girl - she gives you her phone number, kisses you, fools around with you, or sleeps with you - and then she disappears, never to be seen again, or (sometimes) suddenly acts coldly toward you in social situations. Coldness can also be caused by auto-rejection, but there's one important difference:
- Buyer's remorse is what you get when a girl feels like you made her go too far, whereas
- Auto-rejection is what you get when a girl feels like you didn't take her far enough.
Mildly confused? Great. Confusion's the stage that immediately precedes learning something that will prove, hopefully, rather useful.
So let's talk willpower, decisions, buyer's remorse, auto-rejection, and ego depletion - and let's discuss how you can avoid shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to forming a relationship with a girl you really like.
The Hard Sell
There are various different ways of being persuasive. The best is getting into a real, genuine conversation where you sit down and seriously analyze the topic at hand, weigh all the variables, and each party gives the other a chance to prove its merits.
Of course, when it comes to picking up pretty girls, and when it comes to keeping women around, that's no good.
In a perfect world, you could take all the time in the world to really communicate with a woman and show her why the two of you would make an incredible couple - or at least why going with you is the best decision she's ever going to make.
But she isn't going to give you that chance.
She's busy. Her friends are waiting for her. And you... well, you are just some random guy she just met, and has close to zero social obligation to.
That means that you don't have time to go to work changing minds with anything like a thorough, balanced approach. That means that, if you want this girl, and she isn't already set on you, you need to do something to change her mind fast.
Thus, the hard sell.
Like we talked about in "The Real Reason Many Men Can't Get a Girl" and "Don't Let Her Go," you can get women to do unexpected things with you, unexpectedly fast, by simply asking, being persistent (also see "Persist in Your Insistence"), and continually making a push to get a girl to comply and do things your way. This is the ultimate fast pick up in anonymous settings - by pushing for action, you're putting a woman in a position where she's either going to comply, and do what you want, or else she's going to leave and the interaction's over. In pure pick up, this is what you want, because you don't want to be wasting time on women who aren't interested and aren't going to end up giving you the compliance you need to move things forward and actually get the girl.
As a refresher, a hard sell looks like this:
Guy: (after talking to girl for, say, 5 or 10 minutes, and things are going well) Hey, let's go grab a seat over there so we're not getting run over by everybody.
Girl: Actually, I have to wait for my friend here at the bar.
Guy: Yeah, we won't be too far away, so your friend will see us when she makes it back.
Girl: I'm afraid she'll have trouble finding me.
Guy: We'll be just over there. You can see the bar from that sofa, and plus it'll be a lot more comfortable. Let's go.
Girl: I really should wait here.
Guy: If we don't grab that sofa soon, someone else is going to take it. Let's go claim our territory.
Girl: I can't; I have to wait for my friend to get back.
Guy: Tell you what. Does your friend have a cell phone?
Guy: And do you have a cell phone?
Guy: Okay, then if for some weird reason she makes it back and can't find you sitting at the sofa five feet away, and she's really desperate to find you instead of having fun like I think she probably is right now, she can shoot you a text. Let's go sit.
You can use the hard sell with anything. The chief points in a pick up you'll usually use this the most, however, are:
- Getting a girl to move with you
- Getting a girl to go somewhere alone with you
- Physical escalation
These are the points where her logical mind starts battling with her emotional mind - they're the points where you're most likely to encounter interruptions in the flow of things and end up spell broken and disoriented. That's the point where her brain is disengaging and trying to reassess the situation - unless you're so smooth at moving girls, getting them alone with you, and escalating that the flow is never broken (and it is possible to get that good, although even after 7 years of hard practice at this stuff I still have a spotty track record at keeping the flow smooth during transition points, personally. That's not to say you can't focus on this and master it fast with practice and concentration, though).
The moment someone starts disengaging, you need something dramatic to pull them back into things - and that's where the hard sell comes into play. You force a decision - stay with you and comply, or refuse to comply and end the interaction. If she's not that into you, it's done - but if she is into you, she'll comply and you can move things to the next step.
Sounds great, right? This is one of those "magic bullets" you can use to make learning how to pick up a girl immediately faster, easier, and a lot more painless than it was even a day earlier when you didn't know this and didn't use it.
But, there's a hidden cost - a pick up penalty, you might say - to the hard sell that you must account for, and must adjust for - otherwise, you can risk sinking yourself with the girls you really like, either in the midst of a pick up, or after that first night together when you'd hoped to see them again - but end up not getting to.
And it all has to do with the willpower reserve, and a little-known phenomenon called "ego depletion."
Ego Depletion and Buyer's Remorse
In 1998, a team of researchers set out two plates in a number of rooms, each room holding one college student. On one of the plates they set out sat a pile of tempting chocolate chip cookies. On the other plate sat a pile of radishes. The researchers then instructed each college student to do one of three things with the two plates in front of them, and left the room to let the students get to it.
Each student was either to:
- Eat nothing,
- Eat a couple of chocolate chip cookies, or
- Eat a couple of radishes.
After each student had finished his assignment, he was then given a geometrical drawing puzzle, asked to solve it, and told that he could notify the researcher at any time if he wanted to quit. Unbeknownst to any of the students, the puzzle had no solution.
And what the researchers found was, the students who’d forced themselves to eat the radishes and leave the chocolate chip cookies quit far sooner than the students who ate the cookies instead, or even the students who ate nothing.
What they found was that we do, in fact, have a willpower reserve, and that tapping into that willpower reserve leads us to something called ego depletion - where we have, effectively, used up our willpower and can maintain no more.
What they further found was that people have two distinct modes of thinking:
- Slow, deliberative, and logical, and
- Fast, intuitive, and emotional.
And what they found about these two modes of thinking's relationship to willpower was, the more depleted someone's willpower was, the greater the difficulty he had using the slow, deliberative thought process, and the more likely he was to fall back on fast, intuitive thinking. And when this happened, the researchers discovered, people made decisions they sometimes came to regret.
Think about that for a second.
It's possible for someone to get their ability to reason things out logically worn down, and to fall back on listening to their emotions instead, and that when this happens, sometimes people end up regretting the emotional decisions they make.
What's this sound like?
To me, it sounds exactly like what women have been reporting to have happen to them since the dawn of civilization - hooking up with the wrong guy, and regretting it the next day. Why'd they do it? They can never tell you if you ask, but you see the pattern again and again: the guy's always persistent, and eventually the girl says "yes."
Historically, this is why in most civilizations society has kept strict controls on what men and women could do together. It's why society frowned so much on men and women spending too much time alone up until the 1920s or so in America and even more recently in much of Europe and Asia and South America. Men want sex, and persist until they get it, and women often end up regretting giving in and feeling disgust or anger toward men for "making them do it" later.
We can have endless debates about who's responsible for women's actions: is a woman responsible for her own actions? Does a man have some responsibility for the actions of women, or is the responsibility for a woman's actions that woman's alone?
Personally, I detest politics and think they're a colossal waste of time; so if by any chance this article gets some attention and people decide to battle it out in the comment section about what they think people should or should not do, I'll leave that to them. All I'll say is that I view a woman as responsible for her own actions, and I'm very careful to always make sure a woman's aware she can part company with me at any time she chooses, however I tend to run under the assumption that if a woman is spending time with me, it's because she likes being with me, she likes that I'm moving things forward with her, and she wants this to continue, otherwise she'll leave.
A few times I've run into situations where I genuinely came to believe that a girl was going to get hurt if we slept together and I couldn't give her a relationship; those times, I didn't feel right continuing with her and ended things with her instead, despite her clearly wanting to spend more time with me. I'll only sleep with a girl if it seems to me she genuinely wants it, or she at least isn't opposed to the idea.
The point is, just like as happens with ordinary guys who don't know anything about pick up or seduction and are just following their instincts, it's possible for you to wear down a woman's ego throughout the course of a pick up - and if you're using the hard push, it's even more likely you will.
The hard sell is all about forcing a woman's logic to overcome her emotions. Her emotions are saying, "I'm not sure," and you're asking her logic to say, "Okay - yes."
But when a woman's emotional brain kicks back in again after she's done something with that sexy man, it can be upset and it can make her feel regret.
Because here's the thing: logic is not really logical at all. In fact, it usually only serves the facts present at the moment. A man might convince a girl logically that sleeping with him is the best possible thing she could do, only to have her think about it later while not feeling emotionally satisfied, and then go back and rationalize that in fact she made a logically bad decision, then feel unhappy.
And that's what we want to have not happen.
Telling Buyer's Remorse from Auto-Rejection
How can you tell if you're seeing buyer's remorse or auto-rejection?
The two are related, and both have an element of shame; but both also stem from different emotional sources. Buyer's remorse comes from regret, and its shame factor comes from being ashamed of having been "tricked" or "fooled" into doing something. Auto-rejection, on the other hand, comes from disappointment and frustration, and its shame factor comes from feeling "ignored" or "marginalized."
Needless to say, a woman feeling ashamed of dealing with you is bad, bad, bad, but it happens a lot and it happens to every guy. Worse still, most men don't even realize women are feeling this way. They just think girls are being rude, or mean, or short, or callous, rather than responding with a feeling of shame to something that, at least as far as the girl is concerned, is entirely the man's fault.
Here's an easy trick for recognizing which of these two you're seeing (since they can seem quite similar):
- You'll see buyer's remorse after you've moved fast and pushed for women to decide
- You'll see auto-rejection if you've moved slow and her excitement has faded
Now, here's the tricky part of the trick: you're not likely to see either of these until you try to get a girl to do something.
I'll say that again, in case you need a minute to wrap your head around it: you won't see auto-rejection or buyer's remorse in full until you ask a girl for compliance. That is, you ask her to show you something, tell you something, move with you, go home with you, kiss you, or come over and see you again a few days later... and she says no, or gives you no response.
You won't always be able to tell, if too much time has passed. Typically speaking, if you spent a lot of time on a girl and were very caring and considerate and she goes cold, it's likely auto-rejection; whereas, if you moved very fast with her and didn't spend much time on her and rushed things forward and didn't take time to take care of her emotions and she goes cold, it's usually buyer's remorse.
An Example of Auto-Rejection:
A guy talks with a girl for forty-five minutes, just chatting about life, and he can tell she's really interested in him: she's touching him, laughing at all of his jokes (even the lame ones), and giving him super strong eye contact. After working up the courage, finally he... grabs her number, then bids her farewell. He calls a few days later - but she doesn't answer. He texts her, calls her... nothing.
He didn't move fast enough, and she auto-rejected, and told herself she actually didn't like him all that much in the first place to protect her ego after facing the disappointment and apparent rejection of him not moving things forward with her after she made it clear to him (she thought) that she was interested.
An Example of Buyer's Remorse:
A guy talks with a girl for five minutes, then tells her to come sit with him. She resists a bit, but he persists, and she does. He mostly talks about himself once they're sitting, and goes on for a bit, then says, "Hey, let's go get some pizza!" She declines, he persists, she says "no thanks;" he continues persisting, but this time she holds firm. "No, sorry," she tells him, "I've got to go," and then gets up and leaves. He scratches his head, wondering why she was willing to sit with him, but not to go get some food.
He moved fast - which is good, and that's what you want to be doing - but he didn't stop to rebuild her comfort levels after putting her through ego depletion. Depleted, and now in an unsatisfying position (listening to this guy try to be impressive by talking about himself), she begins to regret having sat down with this guy she doesn't know who's made her uncomfortable, and when he tries to get her to go somewhere else with him, she takes that opportunity to leave.
Keeping Women Into You
As you might've noticed in the example above, the girl was suffering from ego depletion after that hard sell. That means she's more likely to make gut decisions at that point, rather than logical ones, and her emotions will have greater say. That's great if you're good at making women feel the right emotions and building an emotional connection, but not if you're not, which is why this is something I consider pretty advanced.
Here's the (arguably) good thing about ego depletion: it cuts down a woman's emotional protests and allows her to make decisions based on logic, which is what you need if you require fast decision making and to combat emotional obstacles. However, it's your logic she's listening to, and typically you're going to be better versed at making your case in favor of her doing what you want her to do than she is at convincing you logically she shouldn't. So, with that understanding, here's the bad thing about ego depletion: it can lead to women making decisions they aren't emotionally certain about and only make because you've disarmed their logical objections and saying "yes" feels easier than continuing to say "no." In effect, when a girl makes a decision while ego depleted, she's "giving in."
How do you compensate for this? You certainly don't want women getting together with you just because you out-muscled them verbally and they just gave in. Not only is it morally questionable, it also leads to a lot of sticky situations, like a girl you like who now doesn't like you anymore because she felt like you were too pushy or she felt like she did something with you she didn't want to do.
In fact, there are specific steps you can take to minimize the odds you elicit a buyer's remorse reaction, to get yourself keeping women in your life a lot more easily and reliably.
Here they are:
- ALWAYS make women feel REWARDED for complying. This one's colossally important. It's long been a rule in my playbook for dealing with scenarios where you're getting investment from a girl, but I just knew that women felt bad if they complied with a request or demand, then didn't feel rewarded. Once I understood ego depletion, I knew why: the more a girl's resistance is overcome, the more she feels she's relinquished control to you, and the more she's going to be looking to feel she made the right choice. How do you reward her? With deep diving, with giving her attention while she opens up about herself, and with an accepting and sexual vibe, and with warmth.
- Take breaks between hard sells. Here's the thing about the hard sell: it can make things happen strongly in your favor, but it can also make things blow up in your face. If you had to work very hard to get a girl to go sit with you, don't then try to hard sell her on getting out of there but a few minutes later. Instead, give her some time to enjoy the benefits of complying with you and understand she made the right choice and that you're a man whose company she enjoys and who takes good care of her emotions, and let her build up some of her energy again.
- Get a woman as on-board emotionally as possible FIRST before attempting a hard sell. A woman's a lot more likely to listen to your logic if her emotions are already feeling pretty good toward you. The less emotionally on-board she is with you, the more difficult a time you're going to have logically convincing her of anything. This isn't always possible, especially in high-pressure, fast-moving situations - if, say, you've just met a girl in a hurry to get somewhere, and you're trying to talk her out of her schedule to spend some time getting to know you because you're only in the country for that day and you can't meet her later. Most of the time though, you'll have at least some time to interact with a girl prior to a hard sell scenario and build up positive emotions - this is what you want to be doing.
Keep in mind that you're dealing with two brains with every woman: her logical brain and her emotional brain. Contrary to pick up community logic, you aren't always trying to get her listening to just her emotional brain and short-circuit her logic. Instead, you can often convince her with logic, then catch up with her emotions after.
However, you must catch up with her emotions after a hard sell and deliver good emotions. When you fail to do this is when you face pushback and regret. "Why did I listen to him??" she thinks to herself, should you fail to emotionally satisfy her. "How did I let him talk me into wasting my time?" or "How did I end up going back to his place? I don't even like him!"
And then you've got buyer's remorse.
Here are some specific recommendations for each of the major stages of a pickup where you're likely to encounter buyer's remorse, and how to get women's logic and emotion aligned so they come out having a great experience and having positive emotions toward you and wanting to see you again:
When you move girls, this is often the first time in an interaction you encounter a hard sell situation. If you have to hard sell a girl to get her to move with you, immediately after moving, do the following:
- Get closer to her than you were before
- Stare at her warmly and with a sexual vibe
- Ask her something interesting about her that she'll enjoy talking about - NOT boring stuff about her job, school, or generic stuff about the venue you're in or the people's she's with; it must be about her and it must be personal to her
Leaving with Her
Once you invite her home and you leave the venue with a girl, you're now faced with two or more distinct scenarios for her to encounter buyer's remorse:
- During the transition point, when you first start walking
- In transport, if you're driving or taking a train or bus
- Home alone with her (if you're going to an apartment)
The last point also applies if you're taking a girl to get food or coffee or ice cream. There's a moment of awkwardness much of the time as you first start walking toward where you're going, as you start driving, if you're driving a car, or as you're settling into a new environment, where the girl wonders to herself: "Okay, did I make the right decision going with this guy, or is this going to be weird, and awkward, and a mistake?"
To avoid buyer's remorse here, you're going to want to:
- Make the conversation casual and light (in contrast to the deep diving you did when you first moved her), but not goofy
- Move quickly to physical escalation, but only once you're home with her
The reason you're keeping the conversation casual and light is to avoid getting into any deep conversations now that are engrossing but break the mood for intimacy. Deep conversation followed by light conversation normally presages physical intimacy, and you want to set this tone by moving to light conversation as you transition to somewhere private.
Sleeping with Her
After sleeping with a girl is another very critical point where the girl now wonders to herself, "All right now... was this guy legit or was it all an act to get into my pants?"
If it feels awkward, she'll decide she made a mistake sleeping with you. If she feels rushed out or kicked out or ignored, she'll decide you used her for sex (incidentally, this is probably the #1 leading cause of false rape accusations... yet another good reason to make sure a woman feels great after sleeping with you, and not neglected or insulted).
On the other hand, if you're every bit the same with her after sleeping with her as you were before, she'll feel like what she saw was what she got, and she made the right choice. Even if she'd been unsure before sleeping with you, if you are exactly the same with her after intimacy, plus a little bit of interpersonal warmth, she'll feel like she got what she expected and she'll be satisfied.
How about for keeping women around? For that, I strongly recommend the following:
- Give her good sex. Important, but not as much as the next four points
- Talk to her afterward, about sex or anything. Don't be judgmental - especially important to be mindful of if you're new to picking up
- Sleep with her multiple times. This one's the most important. Why? Because sleeping with a girl multiple times in one night tells her it was real. You're communicating to her that, in fact, you really are attracted to her, and weren't just sleeping with her just for sex
- Sleep with her the next morning. It's fine to ask girls to leave after sleeping with them - you can just tell them you've got to get up early the next morning, and usually you'll be fine with that - but if you really want to cement a bond, have her spend the night and sleep with her the next day. The morning's awkward for a lot of people - "Wow, was that just last night?" she's wondering - so take that awkwardness away and kill buyer's remorse by showing her you want her as much in the morning as you did last night
- Finally... get breakfast with her. Nothing makes a girl feel respected, liked, and reassured like sex and breakfast the next day.
If you can do all of those, you can convert virtually any woman you sleep with into a girlfriend. The only ones that resist this sometimes are the ones who were only looking for a cheap thrill - that is, the girls who only wanted a casual sex partner and nothing more. Those girls are the exception to #1 - for them, the better the sex, the more likely they are to come back.
A Parting Thought on the Hard Sell and Ego Depletion
The hard sell is a very effective tactic when used right, but the risk that you turn an ego-depleted girl into one with buyer's remorse is high if you fail to deliver on her expectations.
For a comparison, imagine that you go to a car dealership, and a used car salesman hard sells you a car, and you buy it. Driving off the lot, you wonder whether you made the right choice... or if you'd been had.
Now imagine that a week later the engine light comes on, and you find out there's an expensive engine problem that, upon taking it back to the dealership you just bought it from, you're told, "Sorry bro, we sold that to you as-is."
Buyer's remorse - big time. You'll look back on that salesman and say, "I got conned. He took my money and ran."
But now imagine you're sold a car via hard sell, and wonder the same thing driving off that lot ("Did I make the right choice?"), only to realize the car's even better than you imagined: it handles like a dream, it stays problem-free, and it gets 40 miles to the gallon. Not to mention that, but all your friends love it.
Chances are, you'll look back at that pushy salesman and say, "That guy knows what he's doing. I'm glad I let him talk me into this car."
That's the guy you want to be. You want to be the guy who delivers on the promise that's implied in a hard sell - you are everything you purport to be, and a whole lot more.
Make women feel amazing for investing in you and complying with you. By listening to you and going with you - to sit down, to your home, to your bed - she's saying, "I trust you to give me a great experience and show me I was right to choose you."
And that's a big responsibility - so don't let her down.
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