Social Circle vs. Cold Approach

I’ve always been a strong proponent of meeting women via cold approach – that is, going and meeting women who are strangers whom you don’t know and who don’t know you – rather than via social circle. Both have their strengths and their weaknesses, but I think overall that the rules of social circle put far greater constraints upon your potential success and mental well-being than do the rules of cold approach.

social circle

To give a quick summary, a man who’s meeting women through social circle is going and hanging out with his friends at parties and bars and nightclubs, talking to the same people night after night, and gradually trying to work his way into success with women in his circle. He’s generally going to be competing for the boyfriend role (see “Telling Women You’re NOT Boyfriend Material”), he’s going to be competing for it with a host of other men, and he’s going to be competing on traditional early boyfriend stuff – trying to act like a girl’s boyfriend before they get together. On the plus side, women here are more accepting of men and less likely to run off quick and be flighty, so it might feel easier.

A man who’s meeting women through cold approach is going to be going up and meeting complete strangers. He’s anonymous, he’s a mystery, and a girl can do things with him and get away with them that she can’t possibly do with a guy her circle knows. On the negative side, because her friends don’t know him and won’t hold her to anything she’s decided to do with him – whether that’s meet him for a coffee or be in a long-term relationship with him – she’s likely to bolt the moment she starts feeling uncomfortable.

Why Social Circle Feels So Seductive

Social circle, particularly when you’re first starting out meeting lots of new women, feels a lot more seductive and rewarding than cold approach. Women treat you better; they’re happy to see you; the do fun things with you, like dance with you, drink with you, even kiss and make out with you. They bond with you, spend a lot of time with you, you get to know them well, and you come to care about them and they come to care about you. There’s the sexual tension between you, if you haven’t slept together, of course, but there’s also a strong, powerful connection, and you come to value them more highly than just about any other girl, as well.

Women you’re cold approaching, on the other hand, might seem, well… cold.

It just feels easier when you do social circle. At least in the beginning. It feels like the girls in your social circle give you a lot more than women you cold approach, like you get farther along with social circle girls, and that you’re *closer* with those girls. It often feels like you’re only two steps away with social circle girls – just two more steps and the two of you will be lovers. Just a little more work, a bit of the right circumstances, and a little luck, and you will get together.

What Social Circle Does to Men

Social circle typically works better as a mating device for women than it does for men. For women, social circle allows time to really get to know a guy, get to review his character relentlessly, weeding out those men who show weakness, and to get him accustomed to doting on them and investing in them, so that by the time the two become a couple, the man will be a proper boyfriend-style provider and will take good care of the girl and be safe and reliable should they decide on having children. Social circle also helps women trust men more and feel more comfortable with them – a woman will feel more safe, generally, with a man she just met via social circle than a man she just met via cold approach. The main disadvantages of social circle for women are some that men have as well: in-group mate competition (Katie likes a guy, but her friend Amanda likes him too) and a limited dating pool.

For men though, the advantages that social circle offers are less compelling than what women get out of it. For starters, it gives them constant access to women – a big advantage for many men. For most men, if they want to be around women, the only consistent way for them to do that is via social circle. It also provides a way of showcasing hidden talents – for instance, the guy who isn’t so good at positioning himself as a Prince Charming on the first meeting may be able to get a girl by slowly wooing her as she gets to know him more and more in social circle.

Those are all well and good, but the disadvantages of social circle to men can be quite crippling. Those disadvantages are:

  • A man who isn’t good with women is likely to watch other, more talented men snapping up all of the best girls in the circle
  • He’s less likely to be included in a circle that even includes attractive women in the first place
  • Social circle generally takes a long time to move forward, which means a man may be wooing a girl for months – sometimes even years – before they get together

Watching other men scoop up women in a man’s circle while one fails to do so is an absolute killer. There was a study on the effect of winning and losing tennis matches on men’s testosterone and cortisol levels I found quite interesting; here’s the gist of it:

Winners with rising testosterone had higher testosterone before their next match, in contrast to losers with falling testosterone, who had lower testosterone before their next match. Cortisol was not related to winning or losing, but it was related to seed (top players having low cortisol), and cortisol generally declined as the season progressed.

In other words, the men who won the matches got boosts in their testosterone and felt stronger and more manly and more confident, not just immediately after a victory, but before the next attempted conquest, as well. Losers lost testosterone and felt weak and unmanly and beaten. The top guys in tennis had low levels of stress hormones – so, were very relaxed – while the guys who were losing again and again and watching other men beat them were tripping out on stress hormones.

And that’s just tennis. Imagine that now with winning and losing with women. Impact might be possibly even a little bit greater, no?

I have done social circle off and on throughout my seduction career, but it has remained a distant second to cold approaching for me since nearly the beginning. I have, however, been afforded to see the effects of social circle on all kinds of men, and you might be a little surprised by them. I’ve noticed this:

  • Even the most successful men in social circles tend to be a little on-edge, a little defensive about girls they like, and a little prone to emotional mood swings
  • Even the most successful men in social circles tend to fall into doting on girls and getting all twisted up over girls and treating them like princesses when they get them, because even as successful as they are, quality women are still difficult things to come by and they have to do a lot of work to get them (see “Absolute Abundance”)
  • The men who aren’t getting success tend to be meek and quiet, and often angry and bitter. They come along to social functions, but you almost might wonder why, and they often leave early and alone

So, think about that: even the most successful men in social circle are still needy. Don’t believe me? Go find a guy who’s successful in his social circle and go start talking to his girl in front of him and get her flirting with you. More often than not, he’s going to come in frightened and try to tool you and scare you off, because he feels threatened and he’s afraid of losing his girl. On the other hand, go find a guy who’s successful at cold approach and go get his girl flirting with you, and he’s generally just going to smile a little bit and maybe laugh to himself, because he knows she’s his girl and she’s just being social, and anyway, that’s how the game is played.

One of the other main disadvantages of social circle ties back to point two of that short list just above; there is a very limited amount of women available in any social circle. Men who do primarily social circle tend to get tunnel vision; they say to themselves, “Oh man, there are only three cute girls available, and they all have boyfriends! This sucks!” Meanwhile, they fail to notice the legions of beautiful girls standing all around them in the bar they’re partying at with their three boyfriend-happy social circle girls.

Before we go on, I don’t want to come across like I’m saying social circle is all bad. It isn’t; it’s very necessary, and it’s something I recommend you spend time on and develop your skill set with. Social circle teaches a number of valuable things you will have a great deal of trouble learning via cold approach, including:

  • Getting to know women personally very well, and learning to relate to them
  • Learning group dynamics of various kinds of groups (particularly if you participate in a variety of social circles)
  • Learning how to integrate with new circles
  • Learning how to operate within large and small groups
  • Learning when to talk, when to lead, and when to simply be quiet and listen
  • Developing local knowledge – e.g., where different kinds of people hang out in town, what people think is fun and interesting to do, and what kinds of relationships people are having in your area in that demographic

I know for me, personally, I will attest that immersing myself in a large variety of different kinds of social circles and social circle activities in 2007 and 2008 helped me immensely in rounding myself out more as a social man. I am today able to captivate and hold the attention of large groups with ease, and am just as easily able to blend in and join a group and be accepted as “just one of the group” rapidly after being introduced, to the point where people are later saying, “Whoa, it’s crazy that we just met Chase tonight. It’s like he’s been part of the group forever!”

Social circle is a great, incredible, wonderful way for developing your overall social skills. However, I highly recommend against retaining it as your sole means of meeting new women, because the number of women available to you is extremely limited, and the amount of time and effort you need to put in to get any one of those women, relative to the amount of time and effort you need to put in to get a woman through cold approach, is much greater.

Cold Approaching as an Alternative

Cold approaching is a little scary and a little intimidating for maybe the first month or two you start doing it, and it can be frustrating until you start getting results. I know in my early days doing it, when I expected immediate results because, of course, how could women not recognize how incredible I was? well, things didn’t quite work out the way I envisioned and I found it quite frustrating. But, you forge ahead and that all starts changing faster than you might think. One day, you look back and realize, “Oh – wow. I’m actually doing pretty good.”

The hardest thing about cold approach is that initial hump you get over. In body building, they often talk about the first 12 weeks – in cold approach, I think it’s very much the same thing. For those first 12 weeks, you may have to drag yourself out of the house kicking and screaming to get yourself to do it. Once you get over the 12 week hump though, it becomes routine, and rather than looking at the clock and saying, “Man… maybe I’ll just go out tomorrow instead,” you’ll be looking at the clock and saying, “All right – time to head out and go meet some girls.”

Cold approach seems harsher than social circle because if you mess things up with a girl, she disappears. Say something weird or awkward or unusual with a cold approach girl? Gone. Fail to move fast, miss an escalation window, get bogged down in one spot for too long? Gone. Build a super fun vibe but forget to deep dive and get a connection going, and someone comes and interrupts you and the spell is broken? Gone. Seems harsh, right?

But then you stop and think about social circle rationally, and ask yourself how many of the girls you get together with in social circle once you’ve messed things up with them. Sure, they hang around, and they stay your friend, but… once the attraction is gone, it’s probably not coming back. Most men don’t realize this though, and that’s why they spend so much time running in circles, working their asses off trying to win over gals in their circle, pulling their hair out, while new guys without the bad precedent they’ve already set come into the circle, do things right, and get the girls. That’s not fair, say the old guys from the circle. I put so much time and work into her! And that guy just came in and got her! That’s because he had no bad precedent, hadn’t let himself get slotted into “platonic guy friend” territory, and did things properly from the beginning and moved fast.

So, while social circle seems like it keeps your options alive, it’s really just keeping hopes on life support. Chances are, if you don’t get together with a girl within a month or so of entering her circle, you’re probably not going to get together with her. You hear the stories of guys who knew a girl for four or five years and finally won her over, but what the stories aren’t telling you is that usually the guy is a nice guy who doted on her for years, and after she’d been shagged and chucked by enough bad boys and started feeling her age and noticing her looks slipping and feeling her biological clock ticking, she said to herself, “Crap, I better find a nice guy to make house with.” So, Mr. Hanger On finally got the girl… after, that is, all the bad boys were done with her.

Nice guys get the leftovers. We might even expand that by saying that quite often, social circle guys get the leftovers – if they get anything at all.

One thing that annoys me personally about social circle – may just be a personal peeve that has nothing to do with the actual efficacy of social circle vs. cold approach – is the “trade the date” mentality. e.g., yesterday, Chris was dating Suzie, Ben was dating Gina, and Harry was dating Kelly. Then they all broke up, and now Chris is dating Kelly, Ben is dating Suzie, and Harry is dating Gina. Maybe because I’m a big fan of “purpose” in things, I guess, I tend to look at the whole social circle dating carousel as one big clueless merry-go-round, with people jumping from horse to horse and no idea where they’re trying to get to. Seems pointless and inefficient.

Cold approach is where you will hone most of your “get girls” skills. Stakes are both higher (you could sleep together that night) and not quite as high (if you lose a cold approach girl, you’re only losing an hour’s work, versus six month’s work for a social circle girl). Turnover is far greater; if you’re going out a few nights a week and doing an intermediate number of approaches, you should be meeting at least twenty or thirty new women a week and developing your skill set with them. In social circle, you’ll be working on maybe two or three or four girls in a week, generally, and you’ll be far less likely to try crazy, experimental stuff that might have phenomenal results or might blow up in your face.


Cold approach can be a little scary and intimidating when you’re new; I started a post a little over a week ago on the beach in Boracay called “Acclimating to Approaching” that I’ll try and get back to sometime this week to address any approach-related anxiety guys might be having. But wow, once you get it going – cold approach is great. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been out with friends who are fixated on this girl or that girl from their social circle, and I look at them and I’m like, “Dude… this girl is seriously average in looks. Average in intellect. Average in personality. You’re above average in all of those departments. Why on Earth are you focused on an average social circle girl when you could just be going out and meeting amazing women anywhere you want?

Usually, after me giving them that message a few times, they come out of dream land and say, “Chase, you’re right; don’t know what I was thinking, man. It’s probably like you said, I just invested so much time in her, I was really hoping for it to work.”

My recommendation? If you’ve been investing a ton of time into a social circle girl and it still ain’t happening – cut your losses, stop wasting your time, and go get yourself cold approaching in a hurry. Before you know it, that social circle girl won’t seem quite so amazing, special, and unique anymore; because when you give yourself the kind of options that cold approach gives you, you give yourself a ton of perspective on things, to boot.


Chase AmanteAbout the Author: Chase Amante

Chase woke up one day in 2004 tired of being alone. So, he set to work and read every book he could find, studied every teacher he could meet, and talked to every girl he could talk to to figure out dating. After four years, scads of lays, and many great girlfriends (plus plenty of failures along the way), he launched this website. He will teach you everything he knows about girls in one single program in his Mastery Package.


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AidenWest's picture

What about social circle within a promoter or party thrower's circle? Those guys consistently have new girls entering the circle and those chicks are more likely to bang the high value men in that circle rather than a cold approacher. Love Systems say its the most efficient way to get consistent with 9/10game.

Al from London's picture

Honest to God, I have just spent the last 6 months of my life learning this lesson. I agree with every word and don't think it's even possible to explain it than in the above article.

I got good at cold approach after getting over my ex early last year. Started meeting girls frequently, also improving quality of girls i was meeting and hooking up with... Got a reputation at work, and had two of the most attractive girls after me (few months apart), but got absolutely nowhere.

On the cold approaching i was using super fast escalation, then persistance and also playing the numbers game. At work i was just using C&F, rapport, jealousy, being nice (!), everything i could think of but kept missing escalation windows through not wanting to take risks. In both cases got attached, one case of Oneitis, and serious harm to my game for a couple of months.

Now back on the cold approach, which has really gotten me my confidence back and have one work girl super-target on the backburner (she's a 'Shy Exited Girl', just read that one)... Read the article on Hooking up with Friends too, and also loved that... Based on that, I'm going to keep the work girl on the periphery as far as possible for a while, as I cant move again yet (practical reasons). We're both getting friend-zoned and she's too good a catch to let that blithely happen. So it's distance + cold approach now!

This site is awesome by the way, cant believe I hadnt heard of it! ...I live with several dating coach PUAs and thought I'd heard of / seen all of them lol :)

Mothman454's picture

Lets face it: C/A rules because most men would never do it, and it communicates bold behavior to the woman. Its 100% Alpha.

Daniel's picture

Hi Chase,
Firstly, gr8 articles m8, congrats.
Alright the situ is this.
I started training with a personal trainer about a month ago via referral. I see her about 3 times a week to train but it is a professional relationship because it is her business obviously.
There has been obvious attraction escalating between us and I'm almost certain she's interested except every thing I've ever heard about this sort of thing says bad idea. I was planning on training for another month or so with her then dropping the training sessions and soon after asking her out. I don't want to enter friend zone tho. Do u think its a hard fast rule that these trainers do not mix work with play or can I crack the door open gauging of the signals I'm getting?
Cheers in advance mate;)

Johnny's picture

When you say cold approach do you mean cold approaching in bars and clubs?

Carlito's picture

Hi chase,
First of all I must say that I learned from your articles things that I would have worked on years just to discover. It is well explained,detailed,and most importantly very true.
But there was something I always thought about how can you lead and dive into deep conversations obeying then law of least effort? The two ideas seem to be controversial. I'm only saying how to use the law of least effort the right way without seeming quiet and weird.
Btw I think that the cold approach is much easier than the social circle: one on one gives you more confidence to lead and to act.
Thank you in advance:)

Call me KaZ's picture

Hey Chase! Great advice on the sight! Just need help... I go shooting twice a week and there's this girl I really like that comes up once a week, we typically have a great time talking to each other but she lives quite a way from where I live(about 10 km) so to meet up its a bit of a problem. Also I have no idea what so ever as to how to ask her out. Please help!

April O'Neal's picture

Behaviors can take time change. Whether trying to cold approach or be the party thrower; buying new clothes, making new friends and hanging out with a crowd of your choosing can be helpful however the core of one's character and personality still may not change. When getting to know someone, a girl, guy or a even group, core beliefs come to the surface in every interaction, it's the vibe. Discovering the foundation of who you are and why certain things happen to you require learning the tricks of the trade as well as a therapist who can help you find the why and how.

Mike's picture

Just wondering what you think the best way to pick up girls that work as waitresses and bartenders. Usually they're the prettiest girls and have a lot going for them, but after all your a customer just like every other dude at the bar. Just start a conversation ?

Anonymous's picture

What if you live in a small town? Cold approaching might get you labelled as a creep or weirdo.

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