Over in the comments section of the post on how to get a girl's phone number, Hunter asked for a review of indirect game:
“Hey Chase, I'm so glad you got to this, I actually had an exact question about phone numbers only to have you answer it with finesse!
I was pondering however about the aspects of city game vs closed space game, small towns or places you return to because you have to, school or work.
I have done direct openers in places like school and around my city of medium size, but it can go awry easily and when it does, you hear about it back! It is almost normal to meet girls again whom I've approached before. The fleeting moment of awkwardness is fine, but if every girl I approached went awry at school, that'd be too much to handle.
I remember your post on direct vs situational approaching. I advocate direct approaching, but I feel they are not the best in places I return to frequently because I have to.
Can you go over the aspects of situational game? I know most guys actually get stuck in situational game, but after doing more direct openers, I'm having a hard time in situational environments coming off too strong or putting too much social pressure on her!
Thanks again, don't you guys stop anytime soon!
If you don't know indirect game, it's essentially using either situationally relevant (ideally) or other non-direct (e.g., not stating your romantic / sexual intentions) openers and conversation to meet new women and move things forward with them.
And, like most aspects of pickup and seduction, indirect game can be very effective - done right.
But also like most aspects of pickup and seduction, there is a right way to do indirect game... and a wrong way, and like most aspects of pickup and seduction (and I'm still not sure why this is) the wrong way is the one you'll usually hear about most.
So let's clear this up and get you using indirect right.
Opinion Openers Not Included
These have by and large been banished from pickup community teaching and literature, but let's go over these anyway: the opinion opener.
If you're unfamiliar with opinion openers, they go something like this:
Guy: Hey - I need a female opinion, let me ask you a question.
Guy: You see, I was reading this article in Cosmo, and it was talking about lying... basically, it posed the question of, "Who lies more? Men or women?" And I was having this debate with a friend of mine, and he thinks it's women, but I'm not so sure. This might just be male bias. So I said, let me go get a girl and see if we can find out. So what do you think? Who lies more?
Girl: Ummm... that's tough... men, I think.
Guy: That's interesting. You know, there's an old Chris Rock stand up routine where he's talking about this, and he says, "Men lie more, but when they lie, they tell small lies, like, 'No, those pants don't make your ass look big.' Girls, they don't lie nearly as much as men, but when girls DO lie, it's always a DOOZY... you know, with like, 'Well you know what it's YOUR baby!'"
Guy: So I can't stay long, I've got to get back to my friends in a moment, but did you see the fight outside earlier? There was a girl who looked like a model and this guy who must've been a midget rolling around on the sidewalk tearing each other's hair out...
Back in 2005, when I first stumbled on pickup community teachings, I
thought I'd found a godsend in opinion openers. I'd been cold
approaching on my own for a year at that point, but I'd been relying
primarily on direct, on what I'd now call "situationally relevant," and
on simply just saying "Hi." But I was still struggling with shaking off
approach anxiety and was only doing a handful of approaches a month at
But opinion openers... now that seemed like an awesome way to get into a conversation with a girl without even having to put yourself out there! Because at no point was the conversation made to be about you and her, opinion openers seemed to offer a free pass: the chance to talk to girls without being judged.
If they rejected you, it was just because they didn't want to talk about dogs, not because they didn't like you!
What I didn't realize at the time was that the opposite was equally true:
When you use an opinion opener and a girl DOES talk to you, it's often just because she likes the topic... NOT you.
It's very possible that a girl thinks you're cute, but gets totally turned off when the first thing you say to her is a question about Elvis.
And it's also very possible that a girl would never hook up with you in a million years, but finds the idea of talking about your friend's girlfriend finding your friend's ex-girlfriend's pictures in a shoebox and wanting to burn them in a bonfire absolutely fascinating.
I know they seem like an easy way to get into a conversation with a girl because the entire dialogue is all laid out, but trust me... they're the lazy man's approach to indirect, and they only work if you've already got solid enough fundamentals and are attractive to women enough to overcome their inherent handicap (of beating around the bush like mad).
So before we say anything else about indirect game, I just want to throw these out of the running for this post and make it clear why we're going to ignore this once trendy form of indirect: because it takes you down a side path and away from a seduction.
Opinion openers are the antithesis of our philosophy of moving fast and cutting out unnecessary details here... and they don't get you any hotter or higher quality women than other forms of game.
Actually, they're more likely to get you flighty women... but we won't go into that here.
Onto the main event.
So what is indirect game, exactly?
Is it not telling a girl you think she's cute?
Is it pretending you just met her by accident?
Is it acting like you're a super-social guy who just talks to anyone?
Is it removing any sign of interest in her at all?
Well, it can be any of those... but not all forms of indirect game are created equal.
To my mind, there are two main forms of indirect game:
True indirect, the type you'll hear bandied about most frequently
Indirect direct, which is the type I advocate on here (Ricardus too)
As you might suppose from those bullets, I consider true indirect the "wrong" way to do indirect game, and indirect direct the "right" way to do it.
But what's the difference, and why's it matter?
True Indirect: Playing Hide the Banana
The theory behind true indirect is that women aren't interested in a man until they have a chance to see his qualities, and true indirect - by taking a woman out of "assessment mode," where she's judging you right off the bat to decide whether she'll accept or reject your advances - ups your odds by giving you more time and more of a chance to display your attractive traits.
What true indirect practitioners actually end up doing, of course, is presenting themselves as neutral, uninterested parties, and seek to get women to pursue them first.
You know I like the second part of that.
It's the first part I take issue with.
In the book Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes, Frans de Waal, the famed Dutch primatologist, talks about the observed tendency of beta males and subadults to sometimes grow an erection in the presence of fertile females, but then in the presence of a dominant male who's around, those beta and subadult males will take their hands and cover up and hide their erections, so as not to attract undue attention.
Meanwhile, of course, the alpha male prominently strides about, erection in full view - or just goes for the female he wants, mounts her, and takes her.
I tend to think of the difference between the dominant males and the nondominant males in terms of them "hiding their bananas"... or not.
And every time I see a guy doing true indirect, all I can think to myself is... he's hiding his banana.
Only he isn't even hiding his banana from a dominant male... he's hiding it from the female herself - something even the beta chimps don't do.
Here's why that's wrong: there's a certain thought process a woman goes through when a man's doing full-on true indirect...
"He's talking to me, and I know he has a reason. It's not like he's talking to EVERYONE here... he came up to ME."
"He's acting like he's not interested in me at all... but he just keeps talking to me. Weird."
"Okay, I've got it - he LIKES me, he just doesn't want to ACT like it. I'll play along."
In effect, it doesn't
take a woman
long to realize a man using true indirect is playing hide the banana.
But how's a girl react to a
guy hiding his banana around her?
Well, for one, she doesn't treat him rude... after all, he's harmless. He's hiding his intentions - and she knows he has them, women aren't dull, they know if someone's talking to them it's because they want something - and guys who hide their intentions aren't a sexual threat in any way... there's not much danger of her ending up with a guy like this.
So, if she's getting some enjoyment and entertainment out of the conversation, she'll play along... she'll give him reactions instead of results... she'll flirt and chat and laugh away... because it's fun!
And at the end of the night, he'll leave thinking he did GREAT... even if he never talks to her or sees her again - which is what usually happens.
But he just keeps getting those reactions, and he just keeps thinking things are working perfect.
They're not though - he's not getting results, he's not focused on moving girls, he's not focused on inviting them home. He's just playing hide the banana, and the girl's playing along and pretending she doesn't know there's a banana underneath his hands there.
Indirect Direct: Letting the Banana Hang Out
There's another way of doing indirect game though, and that way is indirect direct.
Or, as I like to call it, letting the banana hang out.
If you think of true indirect as hiding the banana, and true direct as shoving the banana into a girl's face (or other part of her anatomy), indirect direct is not making any effort to shove your banana in her face right away... but not making any effort to conceal it, either.
Indirect game that's deployed with a direct twist comes down to a few components mixed in together:
- You're on the surface just chatting to her for the sake of chatting
- Simultaneously, you maintain a very sexy vibe and air about yourself
- You employ the sexual frame and chase framing to set the tone
- When women test you on your
attraction, you tease them back... not play dumb
The overall feel of an indirect direct interaction is that it's all a big tease... you're pretending you're just talking casually to her and are not really interested in her, but she knows you are, and you know she knows you are, she knows you know she knows you are, and you aren't actually trying to hide it from her, but rather tease her about it instead, and paint the facetious, but very fun and exciting for her, picture of her being the pursuer instead.
You're letting the banana hang out.
Indirect game in this fashion is talking about the weather... with decidedly sexual undertones.
It's taking the conversation down winding alleyways that explore her deepest dreams and desires... while being physically close and firmly in command of the trajectory the two of you are on.
It's teasing her like the two of you are old friends... and implying that she's been trying to get together with you forever.
That's indirect game done right. You're not telling her outright that you like her style or think she's beautiful or sexy or even qualifying her all that much, as you would with direct...
... but that's because you don't need to.
Of course, all we just covered on indirect direct - on infusing your indirect game with barely-contained sexuality, with raw, latent energy, and with a smooth but firm grip on the flow of the interaction and the course of the conversation - all that's easier said than done.
First, a cautionary note on true indirect, just to hit this point
There's a reason why so many guys use true indirect, and why so many teachers recommend true indirect to their students:
Pay no mind to the fact that it hardly gets results, of course - the important part is that it gets you talking to women!
Personally, I'm okay with someone sacrificing some return in the short term in order to acquire more data points... but not if they're the wrong data points.
And the data points you gather running true indirect are most certainly the wrong data points.
As someone teaching this stuff, let me tell you, the hardest, most hopeless cases you will ever encounter are NOT the brand new guys who don't know how to talk to girls and don't know how to kiss a girl and have never had a girlfriend before.
Those guys are like wet clay. All they want it for you to form them into something that's effective with women, and let them go to work.No... the guys who are the worst to work with in the world are the guys who've been running true indirect game for 4 or 5 or 6 years. Why? Because they've acquired so many reference points from this style of game that they've become completely convinced it's the only way to do things, and that because getting results with women this way is really hard, then so far as they're concerned getting results with women itself clearly is inherently really hard.
These are the guys you look at and say, "Dude, why are you doing that? You're adding like 30 extra steps to your pickups, extending them by about 5 unnecessary hours, and increasing the odds that you trip over your own two feet and never get the girl EXPONENTIALLY! You're making it way harder than it needs to be!"
And they look back at you and say, "These steps are all necessary if you want beautiful, high quality girls. I don't get those girls, but some true indirect guy told me years ago that's the case and I believe it. I don't know what you're doing with all your step-skipping and fast game, but you're probably only getting easy girls and low hanging fruit."
And I'll say, "Amigo, the only girls I date are beautiful, charismatic, driven, ambitious, life-of-the-party type social butterflies who are pursued by hordes of men and never get caught. I DATE AND SLEEP WITH THE GIRLS OTHER GUYS CAN'T GET! If you want to date and sleep with and have relationships with these girls, instead of just talking to them and getting blown off by them, just try this out!"
And they say, "It won't work, trust me."
They've been conditioned to fail by
years of running true indirect.
That's the real reason I think true indirect isn't just downright ineffective... it's harmful.
It's like training a guy to play piano with his fingers starting on the wrong keys, or training a guy to play basketball with a really awkward shooting pose, and then the guy just does it that way for a half decade. You'll have a beast of a time trying to untrain years and years of actively working to learn an incorrect form and open his mind to trying something different again.
Too much true indirect conditions men to expect to not achieve results with women.
So, I know it might be tempting to use because it's easy and a lot less scary not to show any interest in girls, but what it usually leads to in my experience is learned helplessness.
You've been warned. Let's get on with how to do indirect game right.
How to Do Indirect Game Right
The image I have in my head of the perfect indirect direct is James Bond. You'll almost never hear James Bond tell a woman he can't stop thinking about her... instead, his entire dialogue is innuendo that pretends to be neutral but drips with sexual undertones.
Sean Connery did this great as Bond. Pierce Brosnan did it well too... I'm thinking of Halle Berry walking out of the sea and Brosnan's Bond saying, "Beautiful view," which on the surface was meant to be about the scenery, but they both knew what he really meant.
Like Brosnan's Bond, indirect game done well makes use of situationally relevant content and context to pain a seemingly benign, ordinary conversation over a layer of sexual thrust and romantic intrigue.
I'll give you a fuller example of this so you can see what I mean before we go more into specifics:
Guy: [slowly, sexually] So what's the story with this place?
Girl: [turning to face him] What do you mean?
Guy: This whole coffee shop... it seems so gauche.
Girl: I think it's supposed to be chic.
Guy: Does it seem chic to you?
Girl: No... no it does not!
Guy: You don't seem like the kind of girl who'd be in such a gauche place that aspires to be chic.
Girl: Why do you say that?
Guy: [waves his hand in front of her torso, gesturing] That. Your whole style-thing. Not gauche chic. More like just light, trendy... on top of things.
Girl: Oh [looking down at her clothes]. Well what are you doing here?
Guy: I didn't realize it was going to be so gauche chic before I walked in.
Girl: [laughs] Well why did you stay?
Guy: By the time I noticed how terrifying the decorations were, it was too late, and I'd already paid for my hot chocolate. So I'm stuck here.
Girl: You could just leave.
Guy: And miss out on analyzing the patterns in that throw rug over there? Not in a million years.
Guy: How about you, why are you here? You seem like the type who'd be too busy to hang out in a wannabe-trendy coffee shop.
Girl: Well, I have the day off from work today.
Guy: Oh really? And what's work?
Girl: I work in a clothing store.
Guy: Is it... a gauche chic clothing store?
Girl: [laughs] No, it is NOT a gauche chic clothing store!
Guy: [laughs] Okay, well that explains why you have better style than most I suppose. How long have you been working at the clothing store?
You'll notice that this isn't too different from the ordinary approach you see me talk about on here, and that's for good reason - my own normal style with women is largely indirect direct. I modeled my approach after James Bond, after Val Kilmer in The Saint, and other seducers with smoldering sensuality like that.
When you pretend to be asexual and uninterested in women, as in true indirect, why on Earth should they be interested in YOU? But, when you come out and tell a girl you like her directly, well... that just kills all the fun. Those are my philosophies, anyway. Even when I use a direct opener, I transition very quickly into indirect game with sexual undertones like this, because it's the style of pickup I feel works best for my personality (lower energy, not overly talkative).
To help you understand the difference between true indirect (the wrong way) and indirect direct (the right way), I'm going to set up the how-to walkthrough as a compare and contrast illustration.
Difference #1: Impersonal vs.
Have a look at that example we just went over, and compare it to the opinion opener example way back at the beginning of this article. Notice any differences?
If you've been at this for a little while, the biggest difference should be glaring: our proper indirect game example is extremely personal, while the opinion opener example is extremely impersonal.
Imagine you were on the receiving end of these two conversations (pretend you're the girl, or that some guy is talking you and you're still you):
Which conversation do you feel more engaged in?
Which one do you feel like you're contributing and sharing and involved?
Which one do you feel like you're actually really starting to like this guy, and which one do you feel like is just an empty spectacle and nothing more?
That's right... the second one makes you feel engaged, contributing, sharing, involved, and a growing respect, admiration, and intrigue for this this new individual you've just met... he seems like a cool, interesting person.
The first one - the opinion opener example - is interesting for its spectacle value, but do you really care if you never see this guy ever again?
And a major part of the difference in the feel of these two conversation is the personal nature of the second one - it's all about getting to know the girl, building an emotional connection with her, and finding out more about her.
The first one's just about trying to throw some bizarre and interesting stories at the girl and hoping that somehow she realizes this guy is the man of her dreams. Not exactly a "strategy," per se.
Difference #2: Monologue vs.
Another part of the "engagement" difference is that, as you might notice, our second guy is talking with his girl... while our first guy is talking at her.
Guy #1 is monologuing... he's just going on and on and on about his openers, then his DHVs, then his stuff. He doesn't want to show interest in a girl, so of COURSE he can't ASK her about herself! That'd be showing INTEREST!
So she never gets engaged.
Guy #2 is dialoguing, though... he's not going to go into any lengthy stories until later in the conversation, when it's more contextually relevant. Instead, he's guiding the conversation along a steady, natural progression, from his situationally relevant opener into eventually finding out what she does and getting into his normal conversation flow.
Here's what ends up being the main contrasts between each:
Guy #1 monologues, trying to impress a girl and grab her attention, thinking that by not showing direct interest in her, she won't realize what he's doing
Guy #2 dialogues, assuming that of course a girl's going to realize he's talking to her because he wants to get to know her, but instead of try to impress he digs into finding out more about her, effectively asking her to impress him.
Guy #1 monologues from the start, likely under the impression that if he stops talking too early, the girl will just blow him out or go away.
Guy #2 dialogues from the start, knowing that it's better if he can get her contributing early and that he can always put more oomph into things if she doesn't respond warmly out of the gates.
Guy #1 monologues on impersonal topics to the girl, mistaking surprise, excitement, laughter, and interest for attraction, desire, and investment
Guy #2 dialogues on personal topics to the girl, deliberately keeping things somewhat interesting but largely toned down... he's far more interested in getting her attracted, desirous, and invested than excited, laughing, and interested in the conversation.
I just saw a video recently of a guy running indirect game who was clearly experienced - he anticipated the objections he was about to receive from women and circumscribed them easily before they even occurred - but he also talked far too much, mostly about himself, and his interactions ended on decidedly neutral terms.
This is common in guys running flawed indirect game... they assume they've got to do all the talking and position their value very high so the girl will chase after them. But that's not what makes girls chase.
Difference #3: Tough Transition vs. Easy Transition
Let's say you open with true indirect, and you're not asking anything about the girl, you're acting totally disinterested in her, and you're just talking about random neutral things that have nothing to do with either of you.
How do you transition to anything MORE than that?
How do you get to talking about her... to pulling her off somewhere with you... to escalating with her physically?
Whatever you do, when you're starting from true indirect, it's going to be an awkward transition. And awkward transitions are one of the major ways that most men lose women.
Now look at the guy who's doing indirect game properly... talking about things that are situationally relevant (so his thought process makes sense) as opposed to things that are all over the place and not-so-relevant to the situation (as most true indirect guys do... there's only so much situationally relevant stuff you can talk about before it's either talk about her, or talk about you).
Because the guy running indirect direct is already talking about her, and already implying, though not stating, that he finds her interesting, transitioning her to the next stage of the interaction once she's sufficiently impressed him is a snap. It's natural. It's what's expected.
With the true indirect guy, no progression is expected, because there's no reason for it. Why should she go sit with him... he doesn't know anything about her!
A true indirect guy will argue here: "That's not GOOD true indirect you're talking about, because a guy who does true indirect RIGHT will use screening and qualifying, too!"
But screening and qualifying as used by true indirect practitioners tend to be unwieldy tools, clumsily hefted and inaccurately turned. Because a true indirect guy is NOT focused on the girl, his screening consists of questions tossed into his monologue that only test pieces here and there, e.g.:
Guy: ... and ever since my ex cooked me that meal, I've loved Mexican food.
Girl: Yeah, Mexican food's great.
Guy: Do YOU cook?
Girl: Yeah I do.
Guy: Do you cook... MEXICAN food?
Girl: No, not really. Mostly just regular stuff.
Guy: Okay, well, you still get one star for cooking, but we're going to have to work on that Mexican food thing. So get this: about a year and a half ago, I was IN Mexico, when suddenly...
This is really the only kind of screening and qualifying women available to the true indirect user, and it's okay, but it's not even close to being as effective as natural screening woven effortlessly into the conversation you're having with a girl through a deep dive.
(This kind of screening and qualifying is still worth playing around with when you're new, but it's not the final stop for this skill, and it's not a justification for using an ineffective style of indirect game, either.)
If you've played around with true indirect (and really, I think most newer guys do... *I* certainly used it for far too long), you know what I'm talking about: those impossible transitions you can never quite seem to master.
I remember how FRUSTRATED I was trying to transition to different stages of an interaction... God, why is this so HARD? I used to ask myself.
It isn't. It's just that true indirect makes it hard, by not setting the proper groundwork for a seamless transition.
Indirect Game Wrap-Up
If we go back and review those guidelines on indirect game done properly, we've got three main differences between (wrong) true indirect and (right) indirect direct. They are:
- Impersonal (wrong) vs. Personal (right)
- Monologue (wrong) vs. Dialogue (right)
- Tough Transition (wrong) vs. Easy Transition (right)
For newer guys, this hopefully points out where along the path you've veered off the trail if you have. It's easy to fall into the trap of true indirect, if primarily for the reasons that it seems to offer more ego protection and be less likely to result in a personal rejection.
But when you reduce the risks, you also reduce the rewards, and true indirect offers the greatest reduction of both risk AND reward of any style of game out there.
And you've still got a couple of great choices anyway... you can be the alpha male walking around shoving his banana in the female's faces (direct), or you can be the alpha male strutting around with his banana just hanging out in the wind (indirect direct).
Just don't, please, for the love
of God, get yourself caught playing hide the banana. Girls
really don't have a lot of respect for the guys that do that, and
they're not going to take your hands off and pull that banana out
themselves (unless they're REALLY aggressive)... take my word for it.
You've got to help them
get their hands on your banana. Man up - direct or indirect direct,
either one's fine and either one works. They are what you want to be using
(if, that is, you want results).
And whichever path you so choose, may the force of situationally relevant dialogues be with you.