Learn The Rules Of The Game: Rule Two

Neil StraussThe Game25 Comments

Hesitate and All is Lost


One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to meeting women is thinking about it too much.

Last column we discussed walking into the club and looking like you’re having a good time, instead of ogling anything in a skirt. Now it’s time to start learning how to make your approach.

The most important advice my pickup mentor, a gangly illusionist known as Mystery, taught me was the three-second rule.

This means that when you see a woman you’re attracted to, you have three seconds to approach her.

If you wait any longer, one of two things will happen.

Either she’ll notice you staring at her and get creeped out, ending the game before it’s even begun.

Or, more likely, you’ll think about it for too long and get too nervous to approach. You’ll talk yourself out of it with any number of excuses, such as, “She’s not that pretty anyway” or its opposite, “she’s so pretty she probably wouldn’t go for a guy like me.”

Guess what? It doesn’t matter whether she’s pretty or not. If you stop to evaluate her, you’re going to look desperate and shallow (which, of course, you are, but she doesn’t have to know that yet).

Instead, take a deep breath, tell that anxious voice in the back of your head to shut up, and go in. The worst that can happen is she’ll ignore you or pretend like she has to go to the bathroom. Don’t even stop to think about what you’re going to say. Once you’re committed to the approach, you’re going to have to say something. (We’ll give you some fail-proof opening lines in a future column.)

Then figure out during the conversation if she’s the kind of girl you want to spend more time with. If she isn’t, the worst that happens is that you look popular to the other women in the club. After all, if this one doesn’t work out, you’ll be approaching them next.


Next Week: Body Language.



25 Comments on “Learn The Rules Of The Game: Rule Two”

  1. Excellent Post Neil, Mystery has everything down to a science. Last night I was at a radio show case and used the three second rule. I started with magic tricks (I’ve been doing magic for over 6 years now) and then went in to an opener. Within 3 minutes or less, I was away from the blaring house music and the target and I were enjoying each others company secluded from the group she was with. I ran the cube and she said it was a 9.5 on the scale of accuracy. Great times. Only thing is, I totally forgot her name and she left before I could get her number. Oh well, fun night all in all!

    1. I can’t help wondering what tricks you did… and how you avoided coming across as a hired entertainer or a show off.
      I ask this in all sincerity, I don’t mean to offend you or such, I’m just curious.

  2. Neil, first of all, great post. As a woman, I can tell you that the 3 second rule is true (of course you already know that…). Girls like it when guys pay attention, but not when they stare too long, because it turns stalker-ish and awkward. But the main reason is the second point: the guy loses confidence and sabotages himself.

    Most women have an innate sense about this; they automatically reject a guy who is struggling. Perhaps it’s evolutionary…I don’t know, but it’s not fair or right, since many an awesome guy has choked and been written off for such a superficial reason. It takes a lady with class, compassion, and intelligence to rein their “programming” in and not knee-jerk reject a guy who tanked himself with too much build-up. We do exist. Perhaps not in the LA clubs, but we are around.

    My only issue is how guys who follow the Game and other pick-up schools of thought relegate women so easily to impersonal and detached roles like “target” or “HB whatever”. The men memorize scripts and tricks, approach her like she’s a hostile hill to be conquered…where’s the spark, the electricity, the lust and longing? Where is the point in these guys’ game for two people to connect–it becomes a choreographed routine. It’s like the whole process of meeting someone has been transformed into a script to follow. It’s a bit sad, honestly, this de-personalization.

    Now, I have read everything you’ve written, and I love your writing. I love following your journey of self-discovery, and I love how I can see you grow, develop, and evolve through your work. I have read The Game so many times that my copy’s falling apart (my husband loves it, too, we have great conversations about it), and I think it’s brilliant and incredibly accurate and astute. But I also think that way too many guys don’t see through the talk of routines and techniques and get the real message, which is one of becoming your own man, secure and confident. They hide behind tricks and tactics and completely lose the spirit and heart of the Game–if they “strike out” with a “target” they think they need to learn a new magic trick, wear a different shirt, whatever, not that they need to do some internal work. They keep track of their “approaches” to the minute, chart their progress…it’s just a bit impersonal and dry. Are these guys happy?

    I know guys are more logical and tactical. I understand the desire and even need to try to distill things into an easily-practiced routine, especially for those men who have issues like shyness and fear of rejection and need some solid help. Really, I do. But there are also obviously men who take it too far and lose their way–the object of trying to pick up a girl isn’t to have something to boast about online, analyze like a statistic, or improve your standings in a pickup school message board. It’s to find someone, whether for a moment or forever. And that someone is a person…not a number or demographic to test routines on.

    I’m not a hater, I’m a genuine fan and a lover of men. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. You make an important point here Jessie, this should be fun and enjoyable for all involved, and getting too scientific/target orientated about it all can only hinder you in the long run anyway.

        1. you’re perfectly right, but i think that the sense of “the game” is that, some people just needs to learn some tactics to come out and excape from inner fears. these routines are correct just for unconfident men..
          the objectif is to light on the electricity you’re talking about, with the help of some tricks

    2. jessie, you are right, those aberrations may happen. Neil calls these people social robots. Yet, most men will lossen up when tey feel that they get successful with their approaches. And this is why the routines are training wheels. You start with them, and then you can use them less and less. YOU remain after the training wheels are gone. Neil’s teachings make it a whole lot easier to get to that point, and reaching that point is the true goal

    3. “the better you get at it, the less you need it”

      I personally look at routines as a type of litmus test, a way of guaging social reactions from complete strangers. These routines are not just for females either, they are useful in making frineds as well. The terms, I feel like, are just jargon as opposed to dissociative. If Neil described woman in his book like they do in romance novels it would be pretty long.
      Great to have you Jessie

    4. Jessie, all the men reading your post gobbled up every morsel of knowledge you offered, since you offered a rare (but welcomed) woman’s point-of-view.
      I’d like to offer insight on your “de-personalization” comment, coming from both a psychology major and personal experience.
      Men do this de-personalization strategy for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it’s a defense mechanism. I’ll use myself as an example. If Suede has been building up the courage to speak to that cute brunette in the corner (CB7), yet gets demolished after the opener, the person behind the mask won’t take the damage. Suede will. Alternate personalities can (when used safely) keep the discouraged sane.
      Additionally, they do this because in most men’s history, they haven’t been enough. “You’re perfect just the way you are” hasn’t been good enough. They are to be who they WANT to be. Who they ARE won’t get that cute brunette in the corner. The person they want to be, will.
      Lastly, some men do this because they have become numb to women – either out of thinking of them as the lesser gender or not respecting them as humans.
      Whatever the reason for de-personalization, it can be either beneficial or detrimental. For a “lady of class”, they can observe men’s true nature (be it good or ill). For other women though, de-personalization can be a viable option for men of, what really is, the game.

    5. I agree, when I hear of guys doing magic tricks in clubs to try impress girls I laugh. I mean the fact that you bring a deck of cards with you on a night out shows that your not confident in your own pick-up ability and need a pack of cards to try impress someone I honestly think it’s pathetic. I’ve read lot’s of Neil’s stuff and most of it is true and can be effective in picking up girls but I feel bringing out cards and doing magic tricks is going a bit too far. Some simple tricks can impress girls and lighten a mood but bringing your own pack of cards out with you is pathetic in my opinion and I would be very surprised if any woman would be impressed by these kind of antics. Negs, confidence, and a bit of charm and a smile is the best way to pick up any girls, there is no need to have rehearsed pick ups although they may help, but in most cases they won’t. I may be wrong with this theory but i’m just expressing an opinion.

    6. The only reason we reason we use these detached or impersonal roles such as “HB” or “target” is because before we actualy get to know someone thats excactly what they are is impersonal or detached. Even in Neils book The Game every women that he mentions he only refers to them as “target” or “HB” untill he gets to know them, then he uses there name.

    7. You summed it up perfectly here..

      “But I also think that way too many guys don’t see through the talk of routines and techniques and get the real message, which is one of becoming your own man, secure and confident. They hide behind tricks and tactics and completely lose the spirit and heart of the Game”

      I think its great to finally read a females point of view on this.. 2yrs ago you people could read the book and follow scripts and tactics.. And im sure most males can say this that it comes to a point where that book “THE GAME” caught the attention of a female and most likely read or discussed between each other more then oprah’s book club… and dont take that the wrong way.. it made it become more of a challenge because 8/10 girls knew what you where trying to do cos they had read the book or was told briefly about it from a friend.. so what was i left with … .. Just me … being me … and still having the confidence i had learned and gained from after reading the book.. and i noticed i became very popular with the ladies.. and im not the most attractive person out.. but it made me realise its not looks that attract but its how someone see’s your persona and enjoys being around you…. by just being you…

      so thankyou “JessieB” for the positive comment above as i’ve always wanted to hear a females point of view about it .. as usually its the kind of topic that girls “put down or frown upon and laugh about” and then they ‘click’ and realise know you know a lil sum sumthink. .about running game and they look at you as a player and sleezy for trying to read a book about how to pick up chicks.. which clearly they havent read the slights bit about it to see the true nature of the book as a guide on building self confidence to approaching that random woman or making yourself look desprate or stalkerish.. and then immediately your struck out… so thankyou its a thought ive wondered or wanted to converse about with a female on a serious and honest side of things .. 🙂

  3. I laughed a bit to myself when you wrote:”or pretend like she has to go to the bathroom.” I can’t tell you how much times I’ve heard this excuse in a college party when I talk to girls/woman. I have Yet to kiss close, but I am having a good time and trying my best.

    Quoting a Famous Fitness trainer:
    “Do your best and forget the rest!”

    Keep up the good post Neil! I love these posts so far! Its great for study and has great Hindsight!

  4. i find im opening fine but as my conversation goes on i run out of things to say and the moment goes stale what can i do?

    1. try to have topics at hand and readily available stories of interest. The cheat sheet is a tool that should not be over looked. By having a simple list of topics and stories available you can avoid awkward pauses in the conversation.

  5. Easily the best piece of pick up advice I’ve heard and used, and amazing for getting people out of their shells. Great to be reminded of the basics!

  6. I spent four years trying EVERYTHING in Online Dating, and through a huge amount of trial and error, I produced a system that I will share for you. This book will take you, step by step, through everything you need to know to double, triple or even quadruple the number of women you meet online.

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