The Rules Of The Game: A Lesson in Frame Control

Neil StraussNeil, The Game38 Comments

Ready for your next lesson?

Good. Because I was up until 4 a.m. last night working on it for you.

One of the things I want to do in the Inner Circle is discuss slightly more advanced concepts and go more in-depth than what I’d do for a general audience.

So let’s discuss . . .


This is the very essence of everything from attraction to survival.

A frame is the context or belief through which a person, situation, or a conversation is perceived.

If you look at the big picture of the techniques in The Game, frame control is the confidence of being the master of your own reality, and treating everyone else as a lucky guest in it. If you can embody that in a charming, humorous, and congruent way, the rest of the attraction process is easy.

As a small-chunk example of reframing, if someone bumps into you accidentally and apologizes and you ask them, “Did you just grab my butt on purpose,” you are now in control of the frame. And the frame can then be one of flirtation or harassment, depending on what outcome you want.

As an Emergency example, I think of the principle I learned at Tracker School: “A fleeing animal is a vulnerable animal.” The final video in the playlist below will show you what happens when the fleeing animal stops running, turns around, and decides to “change the frame.” Even in the animal kingdom, frame control ensures survival.

So, because it’s always better to show rather than tell, I’ve compiled some of my favorite video examples of frame control in real-life situations, and created an introduction and a playlist for you all.

In the videos, we’re going to see many different styles and examples of people walking into situations where they are supposed to be passive and reactive (usually being interviewed on someone else’s turf) and then taking control of the frame. The Howard Stern clip where he’s telling David Letterman and Paul Shaffer how to do their jobs and the Jon Stewart interview where he roasts the Crossfire hosts on their own show are particularly inspiring examples, while Russell Brand continually reframes an interviewer’s questions into a seduction.

Frame control is a powerful art, and it is essential when meeting women that you are in control of the frame—so that she is seeking your approval, rather than the other way around. Men with a weak frame, or who try to fit into her frame, are the ones who come off as needy and supplicating. Note that this doesn’t mean you have to be a loud and overbearing alpha male, which is why I’ve included examples from Bob Dylan and Norm MacDonald, who accomplish the same goal but with very few words.

Enjoy. And send me any great examples of frame control you’ve found at [email protected], and I’ll add my favorites to the Playlist.

Always Be Reframing,


Jon Stewart takes over Crossfire.


Howard Stern owns David Letterman on his own show.


Method Man controls the frame.


Russell Brand games a reporter.


Stephen Colbert runs rings around O’Reilly.


Man turns the tables on bouncers.


Bob Dylan proves that power sometimes comes with slowness and silence.


Norm McDonald being Norm McDonald.


Fritz Perls mindf—s a patient.


Physicist one-ups spiritual leaders.


Cat takes on a Gator


Tom Cruise famously makes a prankster feel foolish.

View on YouTube


Robbie Williams takes control and a kiss.

View on YouTube



38 Comments on “The Rules Of The Game: A Lesson in Frame Control”

  1. These videos are really cool. About frame control, I used the butt grabbing line in an elevator. Made for a nice conversation.

  2. Aussie represent! Love that you included the Australian Chokito ad Neil! That actor is on one of my favourite Australian shows. But more to the point, these videos are are truly good representation of social/conversational dominance. It’s a brilliant help seeing celebrity examples of seduction principles 🙂
    P.S. There’s definitely no shortage of Russell Brand at his prime on YouTube. These are two of my personal favourites:

  3. love this!
    i remember cultivating early pua/social skills and learning to master feeling good for emo projectile absorption. frame game is key.
    to this day im a teddy bear and i’ll always be.
    these days i put on the bouncer mask and endure heinous situations.
    recently managed to talk a 7 foot talk homeboy with 3 foot machete in mid kill frenzy to walk away like my sorry child. all it took did was to walk up to him like a disappointed father. so strange.
    the puss in boots factor is such a paradox. becoming the mask without surrendering to it completely.
    no wonder so many comedians are tormented. blaaah
    love ya fuckahs

  4. This is one of those things that is so fundamental in life. Been focusing on it especially while at work trying to get my view across.

    Cat vs Gator is amazing!

    Good clips

  5. Am I right when reframing is basically to suprise your counterpart with something unexpected and lead him to a state of unconsciousness and unclearness, so that he/she/it has to think again or act instinctively? Then you try to use this one moment to take control the frame – am I right?
    So in my opinion the challenge is to stay in control of the frame…

  6. Does this also mean that when you’re asking in depth questions (which makes the other more internally focussed) while being externally focussed yourself not only creates rapport but also allows you to control the frame?

  7. I love Norm MacDonald! He has that everyman quality about him. He’s the type of guy I’d love to sit and chat to in a bar; whereas I find Russell Brand and Howard Stern very abrasive. They both have very strong frames but I think it would be difficult to enjoy their company.

    I’ve become a big fan of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart – I didn’t even know who they were a week ago. They are very good at dismantling people using humour – watching Colbert take on O’Reilly was just great TV.

  8. Great list of videos showing frame control. I have found that using frame control in social and professional areas to be a great technique to understanding what people really think and feel about a situation, outside of their normal thought process (Auto Pilot, if you must)

  9. Something interesting about framing just occurred to me: Sarah Palin is not only a poor framer (or re-framer), but she appears to be consistently de-framing. Recently, she has come into focus once again for this with her incorrect count of history with Paul Revere. A reporter asked the question, “What are you going to take away from your visit?” And what did she do? She took that perfectly good frame and destroyed it with her ignorance unnecessarily.

    She talks often about the news media basically framing a situation with “gotcha” questions, and I realized that that is her actually de-framing the situation instead of re-framing it positively for herself. And her attempts at using terms like “lamestream media” and “gotcha questions” are also poor attempts at reframing that actually have the opposite than desired affect on those with half a brain.

    1. There is nothing more attractive than an honest, ‘together’ woman. The truth frame is the ultimate state, both selective and happiness-seeking (not seduction-seeking). Conservative women sleep with you for your real merits more often, though they sometimes do not lose themselves in the bedroom as easily.
      Sarah’s got the truth down, just maybe lacks the training to defend against the often chauvinistic left. The truth is the ultimate frame. The trick is keeping that frame impersonal.

      Frames can be employed without shock-and-awe radical shifts and, contrary to Mystery and Strauss (with all due respect for the center-of-conversation technique), without lying. There’s plenty of room to play with the truth. The truth is that we want women to build attraction with us, to get revved up like a Corvette engine. We have to heat up first, not seduce them instantly.

      For instance, when I approach a woman, do I really want her to take off her blouse, grab me, take me to a shady spot and instantly bang me?
      No, not really. I want to escalate with her.
      The male ego protects us from understanding that. We do not want her instantly. We want her to want us the same way we want her.
      The trick is keeping the truth frame intact, honestly assessing our likes and dislikes about her without hurting her pride, and then moving gradually more direct as the situation becomes more permitting for sex.

    1. It’s funny looking at the comments to this video too, such as:

      “i really don’t know why I am really? attracted to him”…96 likes

  10. Well, i can say 3 thing that are general in all videos, 1.- never give what is expected from you, 2.-get comfortable about the ideas coming from your mouth, 3.- never let someone else interrupt you

  11. Powerful to be able to make the distinction of who is in control and understanding from my own experiences how it has benefit me. Thanks for sharing.

  12. No wonder russell brand got Katy perry. the man who played bouncer is very intresting too. all videos are awesome neil, nice job!

  13. I enjoyed the bob dylan video, I’m pretty reserved myself so it’s nice to know that you don’t have to spit out every little thought that comes to mind just to have frame control…

    just saying one random comment after another has to come off as try hard eventually right?…or am I looking at it in the wrong light?…

    This is one aspect of the game I’m not sure i’ll ever get good at, holding court is pretty difficult as well…even in one on one conversation…I think I just get lucky sometimes.

  14. Be her bad boy, be her man , be her weekend lover, Magnetic force , to attractive to her, but nor so nice to her as a normal friend.
    temp her , tease her……

  15. This is slightly off topic – but it occurs to me that the reason our politics has become such a mess is that everyone (politicians and media organisations alike) has learnt that reframing any issue is the key to getting the result that you want. It’s a very alpha thing to do, and it works in personal interactions, where we can make our own reality and people will follow our lead.

    But there’s a problem when we try to take what works on a personal level and apply it to society. Game theory tells us there’s only room for a certain number of alphas in any one group. It’s a strategy that only works as long as that number is relatively low. Since our democracy relies on people coming to a consensus (by agreeing to a common frame of reference), we can predict that if people continue to out-alpha each other and reframe every issue, our democracy itself will break down. The alphas will still “win”, but everyone’s slice of the pie will be smaller on average.

    You’re presenting people with powerful info Neil, I hope people realise that there is risk as well as reward for using it.

  16. woooff! Wolfman here. When I was a kid I pretended to be stupid, in order to misunderstand the words of my peers, in order to make myself laugh, because I thought my peers were pretty useless. They were into shallow things and never really judged anyone on their merits. Well I realise now that that was frame control. The only problem was that they thought I was stupid because I did quite a good job. More-over they wanted to believe it because it made them laugh too. I was doing what Ali G does before knowing about Ali G. If you look at Ali G, there’s a perfect example of frame control. The only problem is that the person he’s interviewing DLV’s him because he’s not IN ON THE JOKE. For all the viewer knows he is that way… Lots of you will frame control but the trick is to let the person IN ON THE ACT, so that they attribute your skill to you and DHV you for being so artful.

    I am contactable every full moon at leomumford *at*
    Check out my cinematography website (I make movies)

  17. Love it Neil. I, like many others, occasionally find my personality being influenced by the social situation I am in rather than the other way round.. Does anyone know of any books that specifically focus on developing a stronger frame?

  18. Worth staying up till 4am, Neil! Great lesson. I´ve been doing this intuitively without knowing that it´s an art that can be perfected. John Stewart was simply amazing!

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