Why Cold Approach Works Better Than Anything Else
A reader comments on "How to Think About Women as You Get More Experienced", linking to a discussion on Reddit where a Redditor asks female members about their thoughts on being approached at random, and whether this is nagging them or annoying them... because he feels guilty about it. Here's the link. Our commenter here notes that this discussion has made him question whether he ought to cold approach.
I sympathize if you're newer and haven't started investing time in
meeting beautiful strangers yet, and are hesitating before taking the
plunge because it looks like a big commitment of time and energy to get
good at and a lot of hard knocks and rejections and bumps to overcome
along the way.
If you're sitting there wondering whom you ought to listen to, hearing a bunch of people say, "This cold approach malarkey doesn't even work - don't waste your time," can be pretty disheartening.
Maybe even enough to give up on the prospect of even trying in the first place.
But if you walk away from cold approach, you are walking away from one of the single most effective, uplifting, and empowering things you will ever learn to do in any way to improve your dating life, your sex life, your search for the ideal partner, and your own general confidence and happiness to boot. Few things in life will alter the direction of your life as profoundly as the ability to cold approach successfully and effectively.
If that's so though - if cold approach really is as markedly effective and life-enhancing as this - why are there so many forces trying to lead you astray?
“TL;DR if you would be annoyed with a canvasser for a charity hitting you up for money in a certain context, odds are a lady is more likely to being annoyed about being hit up for a date in the same context. Imaginative empathy is your friend.”
That's the summary given by om_nom_cheese in her top-voted response to TAKEitTOrCIRCLEJERK's question about whether cold approach is annoying to women and/or a waste of his time.
And it's not wrong. However, it's missing one very key part: om_nom_cheese is only talking about being approached by men she doesn't like.
This is one of the issues you'll run into when asking for dating advice from women that can really lead you far away from where you want to go: like most people, the response you get hinges on them imagining YOU or someone LIKE you doing the thing you're asking about right NOW, and how they'd respond to it in the moment.
They usually don't sit and
ask themselves, "Are there any circumstances in which my reaction is
different? What are those?" or, even if they do, because of the
different emotions involved, those different circumstances do not
fully register, or appear to
be something different / in a different category - when in fact,
they're all just shades of the same thing.
Now let me tell you why that lack of total perspective is so unhelpful and so damn harmful.
The Lover and the Nerd
An attractive woman in a light summer dress walks down the street.
She has a stylish purse, modest heels, and a necklace that sits low
onto her chest, attracting attention to the cleavage of her breasts
poking out from the top of her dipping neckline. Men she passes all
notice her, and she notices them noticing her, and feels at once both
partly annoyed at these lascivious gazes, but also, she has to admit, a
little pleased at her
popularity. The other women
on the street certainly aren't getting the looks she's getting; these men are at her
beck and call if she wants them. She feels both irritated and powerful.
Suddenly, out of the blue, some nerdy guy with sloppy big-kid clothes and unattractive hair and a few uncomplimentary extra pounds walks up to her. "Excuse me, this is really random, but..." he begins. She shrinks back in horror.
Is this guy for REAL? she thinks. Does he REALLY think he has a shot with me walking up to me on the street like this? Are people going to think I'm WITH this guy? Ugh! She politely but abruptly brushes him off and continues on her way.
She reaches the computer shop, where her laptop is in for repairs. They asked her to come down because it's all fixed; only, when she tries it out, the problem is still there. She's irked; the guy behind the desk says they'll have to keep the computer for another two days to find out what's causing the continued problem and fix it. She leaves.
On her way out of the shop, another man glides in to talk to her, but this man is quite different from that
He's very attractive: his walk is powerful and confident; his hair
looks like a film star's; his smile is both sensual and contagious;
his eyes pull her in and hypnotize her; his fashionable clothes accent
his frame and make him look stylish, well built, and well off.
Butterflies instantly flutter into her stomach, and her throat closes
up in excitement and anticipation. "I saw you walking here," he begins,
in a deep, slow, sexual voice,
"and - I had to come and tell
you, that you have the most captivating walk
I have seen all day. I'm George." He extends his hand; she takes it and
introduces herself, and he doesn't shake her hand - he just holds it
delicately, as if about to bring it to his mouth to kiss it, but he
doesn't. He then lets the hand go, and she hesitantly returns it to her
side, letting it linger for a moment in his palm before she does.
A quick conversation ensues, with her tripping over her own tongue to tell this mysterious new stranger the most impressive things that spring to mind about herself in response to each new casual but inquisitive question he poses, while she bumbles to ask him a few things in return and not look too inelegant or off balance. He tells her he must be going, but that he finds her interesting and attractive and he'd like to get food with her some day soon. She quickly agrees, and says that'd be great, she just has to check her schedule (she doesn't want to seem too available), and he says of course, and suggests they trade numbers. She types her phone number into his phone, he saves it, gives her another smile that makes her heart skip a beat, tells her it was a pleasure meeting her and he'll talk to her soon, takes her hand once more in another gallant gesture, then lets it go and walks off on his way down the sidewalk. The woman is ecstatic; she can't believe this just happened.
It feels like destiny.
In this roller coaster of experiences and emotions - the annoyance and distaste at being approached by the unattractive nerdy guy earlier, and the thrill and nervousness and excitement of being approached by the charm-her-socks-off man later on, one thing is lost to our female protagonist here: that the second man is in fact the first man, after years of refining everything about himself, through the feedback he gets from cold approach.
But these two men are not even remotely connected in her mind.
You're Not the Lover
When you have to ask a woman if she's inconvenienced by you approaching her, you're NOT the lover.
The lover knows he's not an inconvenience to the women he approaches... at least, not to the women he cares about.
The guy who's afraid he's inconveniencing women probably IS much of the time. And women know this. They know instinctively if you ask this that you are not attractive, you are not suave, and you are not the kind of guy they want to sleep with... no matter how they meet you.
So when you ask how they feel about being approached, what they really hear is, "How do you feel about being approached by guys like me?"
And the response, of course is YES: this is an inconvenience.
Because she's never going to go out with you in a million years.
The less interaction she has to have with you, the better it is for HER.
She is not, however, thinking of the men who approach her whom she wants to approach her. Whether she saw these men first, and gave them an approach invitation, or whether they approached her before she even noticed them and simply gave her red cheeks and trembling lips with excitement because they were so attractive, it doesn't matter; she's not thinking about these men when she's answering your question.
Because their "approaches" do not really fit into the same category.
They don't count.
These "approaches" are not really random approaches. They're destiny.
They were encounters that were meant to happen. They were always going to happen, no matter what; put her and him in a room together, and of COURSE they would meet.
When you really are smooth - when you really are GOOD with women - and I mean REALLY good - it doesn't feel like an approach at all to her.
It simply feels like a natural coming to together of two people who were fated to meet.
And the only way you get good at making this happen for women consistently? Scads and scads of awkward, misfired cold approaches.
What's Better for YOU?
Every time you cold approach a woman, you meet one of two women:
The woman who isn't interested in you, and who is inconvenienced by your approach, and
The woman who is interested in you, and who is excited by your approach
When I was younger, I lived my life in respect of the first category
of women, and in disrespect of the second category of women. I did not
approach women, because I did not want to inconvenience any of them
under any circumstances. I felt shame and embarrassment at the idea of
ANYONE thinking poorly of me.
In so doing, I pushed aside the women who actually liked me and did not get together with them in order to not inconvenience the women who did NOT like me.
Think about that for a second, because if you don't cold approach, you're doing the same thing.
It's like saying there are 100 people in the room, and two of them will happily invest $1 million in your crazy business idea that will change the world for the better if you ask, but 98 of them are going to be bothered that you asked them to invest in your crazy business idea because WHY would they want to invest in your crazy business idea, you loon? And because you've never asked for investments before, you have zero instincts whatsoever about which of those people is which.
The guys who don't cold approach are the ones who look at that room full of people and say, "Well, it's better if I just don't ask anyone... I don't want to be a nuisance."
Here's what happens when you don't cold approach:
The 93% of women (or whatever it is; the numbers change as your fundamentals get tighter and you become more attractive) who aren't interested in you save a few minutes because they don't have to politely tell you "sorry, I'm not interested"
The 7% of women who think you're clever and amazing and attractive never meet you and lead lives that are the worse for it
YOU don't get laid or get a girlfriend at ALL, or are forced to settle for the scraps you're able to get a few times a year at best from social circle, which you also won't be any good at if you don't cold approach, usually
In this case, ONE (1) group of people benefits: the women who don't care about you.
And two (2) groups are inconvenienced: women who care about you, and you.
Is this not INSANE?! You're
putting the saving of a minute or two each of the time of those in the group of
women who don't care for you at all above
the happiness of yourself and women who find you attractive!
I did it for a long time, and if there's anything I regret, it's that I did this. I was a lunatic. What kind of a self-defeating moron ignores the women who like him in order to benefit the women who don't?!
Now, here's what happens when you DO cold approach:
The 93% of women (or whatever it is) who aren't interested in you lose a minute or two politely turning you down, and get both a bit of annoyance ("Do I REALLY have to tell this guy I'm not interested?") and a bit of a self-esteem boost ("I am SO in demand")
The 7% of women who think you're clever and amazing and attractive are THRILLED because they've met you and they like you and it's wonderful
YOU get great interactions with women, get dates, get laid, get girlfriends, hone your social skills, develop a social intuition that makes you better able to avoid the women who aren't interested and home in on the women who are, and turn yourself into the kind of really attractive man that most women only rarely get to meet and interact with
That's pretty cool, if you ask me.
The women you approach who aren't into you aren't even horribly inconvenienced. It's at worst a bit annoying. For some of them, it's flattering. When you're just starting out, of course, it's going to be silly and annoying more often than it is flattering, because you won't have good fundamentals and you won't be very attractive and your approaches will not be smooth or natural or charming or exciting. That's how it is when you're new at ANYTHING.
There's only one way you get better at it so that you inconvenience the women who don't like you less, turn more of those women who don't like you into women who do like you, and put broader smiles on the faces of the women who like you, though: doing lots of cold approaches and talking to lots of girls.
That's why women will recommend you don't cold approach when you're
new and you ask - because:
Welcome approaches (from men a woman is attracted to) and unwelcome ones (from men a woman is NOT attracted to) go into different categories in her mind, emotionally; the welcome ones "just happen" or "are natural" or "were destined", while the unwelcome ones are "annoying" or "an inconvenience" or "are cute, but I'm not interested." And the less experienced with cold approach you are, the worse you will be at gauging which camp you fall into with any given woman - you won't be able to avoid meeting women who don't like you by accident as you seek out the women who do
When inexperienced guys talk to women about cold approach, women automatically think of other inexperienced guys they've had cold approach them, and will tell them that, no, it doesn't work, and it's a bit of a hassle, really, because when they think of the guys in that box walking up to them, it's not so exciting
If you're skipping cold approach because you don't want to inconvenience women, what you're actually doing is avoiding inconveniencing the women who don't like you, while ACTIVELY inconveniencing the women who DO like you, and inconveniencing yourself as well - that is insane
In fairness to women advice-givers, most women aren't thinking,
"Okay, he's practicing this as a skill he's going to improve at with
the goal of becoming suave, so he DOES need to practice a lot on real
women." Most women, when you ask this, are thinking, "This guy's just
going to walk up to women and keep doing the same annoying thing and
never get any better at it - there are much better ways for him to meet
girls that don't annoy me quite so much." If they realized you were
approaching cold approach as a skill set to methodically level up and
get progressively better at, they might give you different advice.
But that's just getting women's opinion on cold approach. There's still another topic for us to cover here as well: does cold approach actually work - and is it even worth the time you put into it?
Let's have a look.
Most of the guys I've known who really applied themselves at cold approach and still complained that it didn't work had complaints like this:
“Cold approach DOESN'T work. I've approached THOUSANDS of women over the past four years, and I ONLY have 20 lays!”
On the one hand, yes, that is a somewhat low number for the level of
work involved of approaching that many women, and many guys who apply
themselves this hard do have better numbers. So it is a bit
But on the other hand, come on - saying cold approach doesn't work when you've racked up three times the number of sex partners in four years that the average man accumulates in a LIFETIME seems outlandish and absurd. It's more a case of unmet expectations (the guy thought he'd be sleeping with 4 or 5 new women a week, but got more like 4 or 5 a year) than it is a case of the thing flat out not working.
That's like making three times as much money as the average man
makes in a lifetime from selling a business you spent 4 or 5 years
building, and then saying entrepreneurship doesn't work because you
didn't become a billionaire. It's not an on-or-off switch here, folks -
there are shades of gray.
And most guys who put this much time in do better than this, in my experience - we have a number of guys on the discussion boards here, in fact, and even more I've received emails from who are too busy sleeping with girls to tell other guys about their successes or what they're doing, who are doing better than this after only having been cold approaching for a year or two.
The guys who struggle after multiple years of cold approaching and thousands of approaches under their belts generally have a few specific intractable problems where they've picked up bad habits somewhere along the way that play the role of saboteur to their seductions, or they never learned or refuse to learn some very crucial element (e.g., getting a sexual vibe down and learning how to build and direct sexual tension - I notice the guys who struggle consistently have very platonic / friendly vibes and don't "get" how to be sexual or are convinced this isn't important because their favorite dating advice authority never talks about it so it must not matter).
But, if you're inexperienced and still trying to decide whether this is worth your time, let's talk results - because anything else is just a waste of your time.
What's Better - Social Circle or Cold Approach?
There are two forms of approaching:
- The Cold Approach
- The Warm Approach
"Cold approach" is defined as when you walk up to a woman who is a complete stranger, with whom you have no social ties and, thus, no social "trust" factor built in. She may have given you signs of interest already or not; and she may have seen you with social proof or preselection already or not. Regardless, you don't have an easy "in" with her; there's no one to introduce you; and the only way you can meet her is walking up on your own and saying "hello."
"Warm approach" is defined as when you meet a woman you have some kind of social circle tie with. This can be a girl who's in a class of yours at school, or who's in your same workplace; she might be someone at a party from the periphery of your social circle, who's a friend of a friend. She might be at the nightclub you're at to meet the DJ, and you happen to be friends with said DJ. You might meet her at a charity fundraising event where you're one of the MCs. Whatever it is, in a warm approach, you have some level of social trust and familiarity already established because of your ties to her through other people she knows or is trying to get to know.
Which one's easier? Warm approach, usually, most of the time, for most men. You're less likely to be rejected; you're less likely for her walls to be up when she meets you; and you're a lot more likely to reach the hook point with her with less effort expended on your part to do so.
BUT, there's one major caveat here, and it's the one we discussed in "Social Circle vs. Cold Approach": you are greatly limited by the reach and turnover of your social circle.
Here's an example: when you go out with your social circle, you maybe meet one or two new vaguely attractive women once every fifteen or twenty outings, if your circles are like the average guy's circles. Maybe you have better circles, or even amazing circles, where you're meeting a few attractive new women each time, or maybe you have much worse circles, where you never meet new women.
Me, whenever I go out, I meet as many new women as I want. Usually this is just a handful, because after years of cold approaching I'm quite good at knowing which girls are interested in me and which ones are most likely to respond to me, but if I want to meet 20 attractive women in one day, I'll meet 20 attractive women in one day. Some will be interested; some will not be; but I'll almost certainly have something (or, more likely, some things) good come out of meeting 20 attractive new women.
In "The Secret to Hooking Up with Friends", I talked about using the periphery of your social circle to find women to date and sleep with. In "Tapping Your Social Circle to Meet Loads More Girls", Peter went one further and discussed how you can actively grow your social circle to envelope an ever-increasing army of attractive women you can then meet via warm social circle approach.
However... social circle takes time to build and nurture, energy to maintain, and still limits you to only certain classes of women - whichever ones are included in your circle.
If you're a nightclub promoter for a popular nightclub, you'll quickly find yourself being welcomed into a whole host of social circles by all kinds of people who want to get easy access to your club, and you'll meet lots of pretty social circle girls this way. However, they'll mostly be all from the same camp: they'll mostly be party girls.
Or, you can become the main guy for a big activity group, like the ones on Meetup.com, but those, too, attract only a certain kind of person: generally, people in their late 20s to early 40s who are single, bored, moderately attractive, and somewhat professional. Okay people the lot of them, but rarely anything especially extraordinary.
And if you want to meet the kinds of women that *I* like to meet... beautiful girls with great educations, good careers, and strong independent streaks, GOOD LUCK meeting them through ANY social circle... because most of them are too busy with their lives to waste much time on social circle.
Most guys here aren't going to be the kinds of crazy active networkers you usually need to be to maintain social circles large enough to feed you enough women to achieve what you (probably) want to achieve with girls.
And even if you do... the limits of social circle quickly become apparent when you realize you sleep with a lot of girls, but can't meet one who'd make a great girlfriend in your circle, or that you had a great girlfriend in your circle, but now she's broken up with you and is dating some other guy, and you keep running into her again and again and can't get over her because you can't approach and there are no other women available in your circle.
Perhaps worst of all... when you see that beautiful woman walking
down the street... and you KNOW that the two of you would be perfect
... because you haven't bothered to learn cold approach, the only thing you can do is watch her walk on, and wonder to yourself what might have been.
Don't the BEST Women Only Date Guys They Know?
I think this one's a concern for a lot of guys inexperienced with women.
I've already addressed this question multiple times on this website, but for the sake of having it all in one place, let's do it again.
I've slept with a fair amount of women via social circle, but I've never dated one. That's because I never meet women via social circle who make the cut of what I'm looking for in a girlfriend. Maybe I haven't bothered to spend the years required to build up an amazing social circle with high caliber women, or maybe there's some secret to accessing amazing women via social circle I haven't stumbled on yet.
But I don't think so.
I think you just need inordinate
amounts of patience for this... and I don't have that.
In my experience, there are usually only one or two amazing women per social circle, maximum, and the majority of social circles do not have ANY amazing women (although some may seem amazing in pure contrast to their comparatively more mediocre peers in the group). And amazing women are almost always either:
In relationships with at least above average, if not also amazing, guys
Single, because there are no amazing guys they want to date around them now
And single women don't limit themselves to their social circles for boyfriends.
Most meet them through the periphery of their circles - the guys they meet just in passing who are friends of friends or belong to the same social club or networking organization or whom they meet in that one billiards class they take one weekend or, sometimes, whom they meet at random on the street, subway, grocery store, or shopping mall.
Meanwhile, the guys in their close social circles dote on them with attention, "waiting their turn" - turns that are usually not coming.
Like this guy:
... and this guy:
The problem with meeting a woman via social circle when she's attached - which the majority of amazing women you meet tend to be at any given time - is that you're either going to have to try to steal her from her boyfriend, which is very bad precedent for your own relationship with her if you get her, OR you're going to have to wait it out - but by the time she's done with him, whatever initial attraction she had for you has expired and she's probably relegated you to the friend zone as a valuable but not-sexual person in her life. She'll find someone new on her periphery - not date someone old whom she's known as a friend forever and doesn't want to risk that valuable friendship by introducing an unknown like sex into it.
Meanwhile, because you're dealing with such low quantities of women,
you're out of options. I guess you could always wait some more, though.
Sure, it happens occasionally. Every now and again, a girl dates that guy who's been patiently waiting for her to realize the man she was with when she met him was not as amazing as he is. It makes for a nice story... but it's rare as hell.
Usually, if this is your approach, you'll wait... and wait... and wait... and, after all that sacrifice, the sleepless nights, and the wondering why she doesn't see how right for her you are, the reward at the end of that rainbow of torment is a great big pot of nothing.
You get to watch the girl you've been patiently waiting for go date someone else. Yippee. Good for her.
Not so good for you.
Over the timespan of years, of course, you get lucky and meet a girl on the periphery of your social circle and she isn't exactly what you want but, heck, it's not like you have a lot of options or anything; so, you settle into a relationship with her, figuring it'll just be temporary - you know, until something better comes along, more suited to what you're looking for.
But nothing better ever does.
10 years later, you're married with kids.
All my friends who don't do pickup and meet women exclusively through social circle go this route. They're always tormented about their mates... you can see it on their faces.
There's always an air of "What if?" hanging about them.
They'd like to go... they'd like to find someone a bit better suited to them... but they know they can't. I mean, look how long it took them to meet a girl who's "close enough" - striking back out there on their own as a single again may mean they never find anyone "good enough" again.
Social circle - the way most people meet their mates - works for most people, but it just does an okay job. It's average.
It gives you a "good enough" life.
I don't know about you, but for me, "good enough" has never been enough.
You Will Sweat for Cold Approach
... and you will bleed.
You will push yourself out there, and know that you are being socially awkward, and know that you are being a pest, and know that some - maybe even a lot - of the women you meet, at least when you're just getting started, and even long after, would rather you never said "hi."
Your ego will take a royal beating.
You'll fail to see progress for a while, and wonder if you're spinning your wheels. You'll wonder if you CAN improve yourself with women - is it even possible?
Dressing better, walking better, sexing up your voice, tightening up your facial hair, getting smooth, getting sexy, getting socially savvy - you know these things should help, but will they? How do you know you're not a lost cause?
You will have days and nights where you feel like a complete social reject, doing something that few other people are doing, looking like an idiot in the process, and no doubt attracting the scorn of women who gossip after you've gone away about how ridiculous it was that you thought walking up the way you did and saying the things you said would ever get you a date or a phone number.
But on the other side of it, if you keep your nose to the grindstone and don't let your emotions get in the way, is a skill set that few men ever possess: the ability to meet beautiful, amazing women, anytime, anywhere, at a moment's notice.
You'll never be perfect with women - you'll never be able to point at a girl and say, "That girl will be my new girlfriend," then walk up to her and make her be this - at least, not all the time.
But you will train your social instincts to such a razor's edge that you will be able to intuit with reasonable accuracy which women will respond to you, and what you must do to get that response. That's an intuition that does not come from reading or theorizing - it only comes from lots and lots of approaches in lots and lots of different situations, and a mental model informed by many successes and a lot more failures.
Over the past 8 years, I've had incredible relationships with women who were:
- Financial strategists
- Financial consultants
All had advanced degrees, or have gotten them since, and all were
quite brilliant, usually in the top 5% of their classes in school, or
All were charismatic, and the types of women who lit up the room and immediately had all eyes on them all the time - some of them incredibly gregarious, outgoing, and charming, and others of them incredibly sensual, demure, and alluringly feminine.
All were beautiful.
And every single one of them I met via cold approach:
- In nightclubs
- On the street
- In mass transit
- Even in elevators
I've met and slept with plenty of women I didn't have relationships with, too - some of them amazing as well, some of them just "okay" on the girlfriend scale, but all of them really quite wonderful people with whom I connected well and shared magnificent conversations and unforgettable experiences.
Today, everyone who meets me tells me how warm a person I am, how
intimidatingly charismatic I am, how powerful I seem, and how easy
conversation is with me. But I'm not special. I wasn't "born" this way.
I trained myself to be this way.
I had a social phobia right through college. I didn't even talk to people until I was 19. Women thought I was scary and stayed away from me throughout most of my university years. I was poorly dressed, mumbled my speech, and was 20 or 25 pounds too heavy.
Maybe that makes me an imposter. When I look at old photos of me, or show them to girlfriends of mine, the feeling though is that he is an imposter - that old version of me staring back from a static image of times past.
Locked away somewhere inside of you is a real you, who is attractive to women, and who is not inconveniencing women when he walks up to them - instead, he is charming, he is suave, he is attractive, and he is welcome.
But the only way you will find him, and cast off the uncomfortable-in-his-skin imposter you are now, is by approaching one woman after another, suffering the repeated sting of repeated social rejection, and refining yourself and your approach a little bit more each time, then a little bit more, then a little bit more.
Because that same girl you inconvenience with your approach today will think your approach a destined encounter if she meets you again years later, once you've become a different man and perfected the art of approaching a girl in the most attractive, natural, effortless way possible.
But she will never get to meet the real you if he's kept hidden under thick sediments of fear, uncertainty, inexperience, and inaction.
Cold approach is not for everyone. If you'd rather wait and hope you stumble into something good enough in order to avoid going through the meat grinder, you certainly have that prerogative. Most people find someone eventually... and she probably won't be terrible. She'll probably be "okay."
But if you can stomach the early pain, and if you can take the hits and keep on going, there are riches in life that await you that the more timid men out there will never permit themselves the opportunity to know.
Do you have the courage?
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