In July's article on granting social status, I mentioned a delicate social situation as an example of a scenario where you'd unfortunately have to deal with an interruption by throwing someone under the bus. A reader asked a clarifying question, wondering if it wasn't possible to deal with that interruption more gracefully toward the interloper:
“In the example from the networking event, wouldn't a socially savvy person tell the nerdy guy something like "We were in the middle of a conversation here, is it OK if I get back to you later?" as if to give the guy an out?
Would you in retrospect deal with the incident more like this, or if not, why? While the guy was rude to intrude the way he did, isn't it better to not be rude back?”
My response was that, while normally you DO want to respond gracefully here, due to the specifics of this case, because of what's communicated to this new woman you've just met by you explicitly telling someone else you prioritize your just-commenced conversation with her over the one he has just commenced with you (as you would in the graceful way of letting this other individual down), you must take the haughtier tack here, unfortunately, and throw our socially awkward friend to the wolves for stepping between you and this girl and butting into your conversation.
And just what is that bad thing communicated by you telling him explicitly that you're prioritizing your conversation with her over your conversation with him that forces your hand here? Why has he left you with no choice but to dismantle him socially, rather than let him down nicely?
What's communicated to the girl in the explicit case, where she hears you tell him, "I'm in the middle of a conversation with her, please excuse me," is that you're chasing her... that's what.
Why that's communicated, and the other signs you can give off that indicate you're chasing women, is what we'll talk about here.
This article won't be on why chasing women is a bad thing, if you have any interest in ever having a woman as a lover, partner, or girlfriend. If you haven't read them yet, or that question is unresolved or unanswered in your mind, see the piece on chasing women liked to above, or read this article: "Keeping Your Cool: Don't Chase Women."
Instead, what I want to talk about here are all the subtle signs you're chasing, that you may well not even be aware of.
Once you're attuned to these, not only will you be able to control them in yourself, but you'll begin picking them up in women... and that is tons of fun.
These days, my interactions largely consist of sitting around with a woman, neither of us chasing the other, but me intriguing her more and more, until she shifts, and I start seeing these signs from her.
At that moment, I smile; I've got her. She's in pursuit.
Now we can really have fun together.
If you're not familiar with the signs of someone chasing you, though... and you don't recognize chasing behavior at a subtle level in yourself, either... not only will these signs fly over your head when a girl's display them, but you won't be able to stop yourself from giving off chasing signals yourself either, because you won't be able to recognize them and head them off at the pass.
As it were though, you don't need to memorize a colossal list of different signs if you don't want to; simply knowing the dynamics of how much interest you can show at what stage in an interaction without it being chasing is enough.
Let's talk about those dynamics.
Interest Prior to the Hook Point
The single most delicate time with regards to chasing behavior is prior to reaching the hook point. That's the moment in a conversation where a woman decides that yes, she really enjoys talking to you, and she's going to work to try to keep the conversation going (by asking questions, filling in pregnant pauses, shutting down interruptions herself, shooing away friends of hers who try to cockblock, etc.).
Here's why the hook point matters so much for determining how aggressively (or not) you can hold onto and move ahead with a woman you've just met:
If you've passed the hook point and need to express interest in continuing to talk with her or commit to an interaction with her, this feels normal and expected to her because it's what she wants too
If on the other hand you haven't passed her hook point yet, and nevertheless express interest in continuing to talk with her or commit to an interaction with her or otherwise go out of your way to stay engaged with her despite pushes to the contrary, she knows you're more interested in her than she is in you - and you're chasing
You're doing something (trying to keep your interaction with her alive; working to commit to your interaction with her; putting up with shenanigans from her you don't know how to deal with deftly) to keep things going with her that she would not do herself to keep things going with you at that early stage of the interaction... and because of this, the communication is that you are in pursuit.
Which leads us to our boiled down definition of "chasing", and how you can recognize who's doing the chasing between you and a woman.
Something the Other Party Wouldn't Do Yet
Whichever party is willing to go to greater lengths to preserve, maintain, and progress an interaction, that's the party that is chasing.
It's as simple as that.
If that's her - if she's going to swat away interrupters, or put in work to save your conversation from dying - while you lean back and let things either continue or not, no big deal either way to you, she's the pursuer.
If, conversely, that's you - if you're the one who's going to swat away interrupters, or put in work to save your conversation with her from dying - while she leans back and lets things either continue or not, no big deal either way to her, you're the pursuer.
You open her; she doesn't immediately hook. You let things die out calmly and naturally, and after the conversation winds down you go back to relaxing, staring out at your environment, and not doing too much. She then reengages you, not wanting the conversation to die. She's chasing.
You open her; she doesn't immediately hook. You plow ahead, trying to keep her talking, confident that if you can just reach the right topic of conversation, she'll hook, and then things will get easier. You're chasing.
You've just met, and are only in the very beginning of an interaction. Suddenly, something loud, distracting, and chaotic occurs. Before the hubbub has died down, she tries to reengage you, even though you're more concerned with the hubbub. She's chasing.
You've just met, and are only in the very beginning of an interaction. Suddenly, something loud, distracting, and chaotic occurs. Before the hubbub has died down, you try to reengage her, even though she's more concerned with the hubbub. You're chasing.
You've just met, and are only in the very beginning of an interaction. Without much prompting, she launches into a longwinded qualifying story about something impressive she's done - that time she modeled, her stint as a backup dancer for some famous singer, her PhD dissertation that astonished everybody. Because she's clearly trying to impress here, and you haven't really asked her about this or reached a stage in the interaction where this is warranted, she's chasing.
You've just met, and are only in the very beginning of an interaction. Without much prompting, you launch into a longwinded qualifying story about something impressive you've done - that killer snowboarding run you made, how you beat out 200 other people for a choice internship in university, how when you started your own business everybody told you you were a fool and it wouldn't work but you did it anyway and won. Because you're clearly trying to impress here, and she hasn't really asked you about this and you haven't reached a stage in the interaction where this is warranted, you're chasing.
You're enjoying your conversation with her, and haven't really decided yet where you see this going or what you want to have happen. She unexpectedly blurts out, "We should totally get together again later!" Because you weren't even thinking this yet and it doesn't feel natural to you, she's chasing.
She's enjoying her conversation with you, and hasn't really made up her mind about you yet or start signaling to you she wants to go home just yet or is sufficiently sold on you for this yet. Out of the blue, you decide to invite her home, and ask her if she wants to get out of there. Because she wasn't at this point yet, and you're clearly ready to move things forward before she is, you're chasing.
Back at someone's place:
The two of you are alone together, and nothing's happened yet. At some point, you declare (honestly, and without trying to prompt a reaction), "Well, I guess I ought to get going," and she says, "No; stay." Because you were ready to leave but she does not want you to, she's chasing.
The two of you are alone together, and nothing's happened yet. At some point, she declares (honestly, and without trying to prompt a reaction), "Well, I guess I ought to get going," and you say, "No; stay." Because she was ready to leave but you do not want her to, you're chasing.
These are just a handful of examples; there are legions and legions more of these. I give you these to give you a feel for what this is.
Per usual, this is a spectrum, rather than a black-and-white,
on-or-off phenomenon. If she was just
about to jump your bones, and you suddenly grabbed her and manhandle
you're not really chasing her here because it was what she wanted too.
Or if she was on the fence about it and you manhandled her, there's a good chance she says to herself, "Well, why not - it's fun," and goes right along with it. In that case, you're chasing, but it's not entirely unwanted, and the effect of the chasing is not too much.
Alternatively, if she has zero interest in you sexually / romantically, and you grab her and plant a manhandle kiss on her, her reaction will simply be, "Eww, gross! He clearly doesn't get that I'm not interested - time for me to go."
If you were paying close attention to those examples above, you might have noticed that all of the actions considered "chasing" at one point would not be considered chasing at a later point where both parties felt mutually:
Reengaging when both parties are hooked is a no-brainer; that's not chasing for either of you. It's mutual.
Telling each other long qualifying stories is part of the connecting and bonding process, and occurs later into many deeper conversations - particularly if you're sharing a story like this after being prompted to by a girl, it certainly isn't chasing.
Trading phone numbers, proposing a date, or inviting someone home isn't chasing, so long as the other party is clearly open to and desirous of this already.
Telling someone to stay when that's what he or she really wanted isn't chasing - it's recognizing his or her desire and escalating things to the point that he or she wanted them to be at.
A manhandle kiss where this is desired and appreciated is not chasing - it's exciting.
"Chasing", then, is not so much about the action itself, as it is about the timing of that action: are you pacing your "chasing" to occur when it IS chasing (too soon or too late), or when it ISN'T (just right)?
Time to Make a Move
So how do you pace things properly?
How do you know if it's too soon to do something, or gauge where the escalation windows are at with a girl?
How do you avoid both chasing early (doing too much too soon, before the feeling is mutual) and having attraction expire and/or sending a girl into auto-rejection from you not moving things forward soon enough?
That all comes down to being able to read a woman's levels of interest in you (see "How Girls Show Interest" for a primer on these), and respond at the appropriate moment.
The main things to be aware of?
Whether she's signaled she wants to be approached. You're looking either for an approach invitation or indications that a girl is looking for men that day or night. If you have one of these on opening, you can be a lot warmer and treat a girl like a close friend from the outset. If not, you generally want to err on the side of behaving a bit more aloof and a bit more skeptical.
How warm she is on the open. Similar to the previous point; women who are very warm to you on opening (warm smile; asking you questions right away; turning the majority of their bodies to you immediately; ignoring others and creating a "bubble" with you) you can start taking more initiative with much sooner and not have to worry about it coming off as chasing.
When she's hooked. When your fundamentals are solid and you're doing a good job of targeting women who look like they'll be receptive, you'll frequently find yourself having women hooked immediately upon the opening, or very soon thereafter. When your fundamentals still need work and you don't have those instincts developed yet for which women are going to be most receptive (and these instincts come primarily from lots of experience meeting new women and learning through repetition and trial and error), the hook point takes longer to reach, and women stay skeptical or uncertain about you longer. Regardless, you must be aware of when you've reached it - and when you haven't yet. The things you can do and what you can get away with vary tremendously between women who are hooked and women who aren't yet - you must be aware of this one.
How sexually interested in you she is. Sexual tension makes most of your problems with women melt away. That's because the more sexually interested in you a woman becomes, the more receptive to your advances she becomes, and the more willing she'll be to do things to keep the interaction rolling and moving forward - and the more accepting she'll be of your attempts to do so, too (and more likely to view them as "what I would have done" rather than "oh, he's chasing me").
If you're aware of those four elements and where you stand on each of them, you'll have little to worry about when it comes to whether your actions will be perceived as chasing or not - with the one exception of where it feels like what's needed is something that she's going to view as an indication that you're in pursuit.
Do You Sometimes HAVE to Chase?
Here's an interesting question: do you ever sometimes just HAVE to chase?
The answer is this: not if you completely know what you're doing.
If you completely know what you're doing (that is, you're reasonably advanced with women, and you've achieved absolute abundance and outcome independence), you will never encounter a situation in which you either a.) have non-chasing social maneuvers at your disposal, or b.) could've avoided altogether by doing things correctly.
(as an experienced seducer, you may occasionally run into situations
where the hard push is the only choice
available for moving ahead or saving an interaction, but if done right
that one comes across as calm, measured persistence, rather than
In other words, if you're good, you're always going to have options to achieve your desired outcome, or be able to avoid situations before they occur.
Here are a few extreme examples and how a socially very experienced man will handle them:
Guy meets girl on train; girl gets off next stop. How does guy move things forward with her without chasing? Socially experienced man: first thing he does after introducing himself to a girl on the train and exchanging a few pleasantries with her is asking her, "Where are you heading today?" He then finds out her stop. If it's soon, and the vibe with her is good, he gets her phone number very quick in a socially adroit way, and bids her farewell. If it's soon and she's not very certain about him yet, he makes a snap decision: do I like this girl enough to go 10 minutes out of my way, or do I throw her back into the pond and keep fishing? If it's the former, he tells her he's doing something at her stop and gets off with her, continuing to talk as they exit the subway station. He plans to part ways with her as soon as they do exit, so moves to create a quick connection and attraction fast, and then grabs a phone number. Once she's out of sight, he turns around and re-boards the train.
Guy meets girl in very high energy, loud party, where everyone has super-short attention spans. How does guy move things forward with her without chasing? Socially experienced man: he's looking for strong interest on opening here, and relying on his fundamentals to carry the day for him - they're important everywhere, but crucial when attention spans are limited and distractions reach cacophonic levels. If he gets strong initial interest: he quickly moves her somewhere with somewhat fewer distractions where they can dial down the mood and connect a bit and see if they can move things forward more. If he does not get strong initial interest: he throws her back out into the pond and keeps fishing, figuring either he'll meet someone else, or maybe he'll run into this girl again later and she'll be more interested (when you calmly part ways with a girl after meeting her the first time, 80% of the time she's noticeably more interested when you meet her again later - assuming no one else has scooped her up and hit it off with her in the meantime).
Note the trend: in extreme high variability environments, he's looking for strong interest and, in some cases, gauging how much time he has to connect before the environment interrupts. If there's strong initial interest, he moves things forward immediately, because this is made environmentally necessary and because he knows the girl understands this and will agree with his actions (i.e., not consider them chasing).
If on the other hand there is not strong initial interest, he looks for a way to give himself more time without appearing to chase (he happens to be getting off at the same stop; he leaves, then runs into her again later) or he elects to simply move on and looking for better prospects elsewhere.
Why doesn't he chase? Because chasing - especially in rapidly decaying, low interest on the girl's part situations - has very low probabilities of working, and very high probabilities of wasting his time and emotional energy; time and emotional energy that could much better be spent on meeting new, more interested women (or on other noble pursuits).
When Chasing is Worth Doing
How do you develop this social instinct for when it's chasing and when it isn't? How do you learn how to discern intuitively whether what you're about to do is going to come across as pursuing a girl and turn her off or shift the balance of power into her corner, and against you?
The only way to do this is by taking things too far and venturing into the realm of chasing. And if you're a beginner or an intermediate, you should be chasing... at least some of the time.
Probably much of the time, actually, if you're a beginner.
Like we talked about in the article on sprezzatura, you need to spend a
little while at Jester before you become the King.
It's the only way you learn where the boundaries are, and how you get a feel for what simply doesn't net you girls in your bed at the end of the day. Bear in mind as you chase that reactions don't equal results; some women enjoy chasing and encourage it because it makes them feel validated, but that doesn't mean they want to go a round in the sack with their pursuers. They just enjoy the attention.
If you're a beginner, you don't get to say, "Well, it would've been chasing, so I decided not to do it." A beginner can say, "I knew it was chasing, so I tried doing X instead to see if THAT would work," or a beginner can say, "I knew it was chasing, but I couldn't think of what else to do so I tried doing it anyway"; either of those are fine. So long as you're getting more experience trying different things, you're golden. If you're denying yourself experiences because you don't think it will work though... and you're a beginner... well, let's just say you're not in a position to accurately assess what's likely to work and what isn't at this point in your evolution quite yet.
Learning dating and girl skills is not an entrance exam. You don't get points for being "right", at least not when first starting out. What you're really after is more and varied kinds of experiences:
- "What happens when I try X with girls?"
- "What's the outcome when I do ABC?"
- "When I think I shouldn't Z, but I do anyway, does it really hurt me or doesn't it?"
When you're new, you want to be testing your preconceived notions about what works and what doesn't, and re-training your brain to look at things differently... until it's looking at things the way an experienced seducer's brain would, because it is an experienced seducer's brain.
The main thing you're looking to acquire? A better read of how into you women are or not. The inexperienced brain thinks it knows, but it tends to mistake things like flirting for interest... and the two are not the same.
You must try things with women, see what they respond to and how long the interaction proceeds before it dies (or if it ever dies), and gradually learn how to gauge exactly where you're at with women reliably enough that you can match your actions to where they're at emotionally.
That's how you get to the point where you can lean back and smile to
yourself when women start chasing you... because you are now better at
reading them than they are at reading you.
Would She Do It or Not?
The takeaway from this article is the question to ask yourself about any action you're about to make:
Would this girl I'm with do this thing herself to keep things going / moving forward, or not?
When the answer is "yes", you can safely do it - whatever it is - without having to worry about her interpreting it as pursuit (and instead, many times, being delighted with your actions and increasingly excited about where things are leading).
When the answer is "no", you want to find another way of dealing with the situation or buying yourself a bit more time to up her attraction and help her reach a place emotionally where she'll accept you doing what you need to do without it being interpreted as you pursuing her.
Once you can properly gauge this and answer this question with women, you'll never have to worry about chasing a woman again, because - unless you lose all control of your mental and emotional faculties and just panic over some girl, which really only happens when you have some degree of scarcity, either in pickup or in a relationship - you'll know what actions you can take and when to advance things forward without throwing red "he's chasing me" flags up for her.
And, you're able to lean back and let her do the chasing instead, as you create an atmosphere of intrigue, excitement, and scarcity, and do just a little bit less than she feels needs to be done to move things forward - prompting her to take matters into her own hands.
That's when things really get fun.