The Rules Of The Game: Just Be Yourself

Neil StraussThe Game

I finally got a chance to read through some of Neil’s old forum posts from the Game period and was amazed with what I found.

Pure gold.

His advice to questions that come up again and again are priceless. Over the summer, I’ll be going through this archive and looking for nuggets of wisdom to share on the site as these core principles are timeless.

Here is your first life lesson.


Anonymous writes:

My first Sticking Point is that I have trouble getting off my couch and going to loud, smoky, annoying clubs. I’d rather sleep or watch TV most of the time. And when I do go to these places, it’s hard for me to get talkative and even harder to get enthusiastic – at least until I get a success or two under my belt.

Style responds:

This post was very interesting. It sort of reframed some thoughts I had about you. I notice the way you post in this newsgroup. In my mind, you are a TAKER. Every thread, you are ASKING for something. You want some pattern, some help with your game, some way to fill in Mystery’s missing routines. But you GIVE very little here. Before I even click on one of your posts, I can always guess that it’s going to be a short thing asking for something. You’re like the guy who quits smoking by not buying any more cigarettes, and instead just bums them off other people and ends up smoking just as much.

Okay, not the best metaphor: But what is interesting is this. You WANT to give. You just don’t have the CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF to do this. It makes me see you in a whole new light and want to respond to your threads more. It’s not greediness and selfishness, it’s insecurity. (By the way, that’s a reframe: I suggest buying the book Sleight of Mouth and practicing the techniques with a wing; it’s fun.)

Somehow, I don’t picture you as a cool guy. (No offense, CB, because I do like you.) But I picture you as a guy in the shadows, withdrawn into himself. A guy who I would have to go out of my way to talk to, but once I did, I would find him very interesting. This brings us to what, in my mind, is the goal of a lot of the stuff here: TO PUT YOUR
BEST FOOT FORWARD ALL THE TIME. Don’t make other people wait to find out.

Anyway, on to your sticking points:

Regarding your problems getting out of the house, I have this too. But, every time, once I make myself go out it’s great. I have this problem with everything: work, sports, gym, dates, etc. It’s called inertia. BUT: Once you get off your ass and out the door, you’re there. You know how to solve this: As soon as you QUESTION whether you should go out or not, then make the decision right then and there to GO OUT. It’s not laziness or the smokiness or tiredness that’s preventing you: it’s your own fear of success.

Getting into a talkative state is also a normal problem. We all need some warm up sets. Read my responses above: warm up on the way out with anyone you run into. And KEEP SARGING until you get a good set. After that, you’ll be on fire.

Anonymous continues:

My biggest sticking point is the whole idea of just be yourself. I like people and adventures, but I don’t feel like I’m special or fun or interesting to other people. And even when I’m enjoying time with my friends, I’m never the center of attention.

Style responds:

It should be the phrase “be the best parts of yourself, and share those parts always”

Even as you write this, you KNOW your thoughts are not true. You just worry that others won’t RECOGNIZE the special things in you. You know you are special and interesting, dude. It’s part of being human and having an ego. You just worry that others won’t GET IT right away. You have to find a way to help them GET IT right away. And not to take it personally when the rare HB doesn’t.

Dude, from what you say here, you’re perfectly normal. You have an interest in people, you like to learn what they have to say about life. You don’t need to be juggling fire while riding a unicycle while playing the kazoo to get attention. Just relax, and be interested in other people. And when the opportunity for a routine or gimmick you know comes up, share it and enjoy the attention and admiration. If you’re SO worried about HAVING to be the CENTER OF ATTENTION and ENTERTAIN all the time, you’re going to come off as a flawed person if it doesn’t come naturally. All you have to do is: BE INTERESTED AND INTERESTING.

Like I said in a post above, NOTICE what stories you tell and lines you use that get a good response. Write them down and make them part of your routine. And learn from those others that you think have more experience: write down their good lines and routines. Model them.

Dude, if you are TRULY interested in other people, you will have NO problem being in groups as long as you can BRING THEM OUT. Make sense?

Don’t take everything in this newsgroup as gospel. Find out what’s working for you and who you are. Just because someone has found THEIR way to PUA-dom doesn’t mean it’s THE way.

Anonymous continues:

I think my biggest inner fear is that in groups I feel isolated and alone and out-of-it. And when I stop to think about it, I can’t think of any reason why anyone should like me or think I’m special.

Style responds:

You realize that’s YOU, not THEM. It’s in YOUR mind. Just relax and go with the flow of the group. You are PRESSURING yourself to HAVE to do something FANTASTIC. I may have posted this before, but this is how I think of group sets. I imagine that everybody has a wood-burning fire
in their belly. And my job is to keep it all stoked. So whomever’s fire is dying, I give them attention to get it blazing again. In a group set, I just divide my attention and commentary amongst everyone. I wish you could see me work.

Answer to the second part of your comment: Don’t think about it. They like you, don’t ask why. It should give you CONFIDENCE not INSECURITY. You have self-esteem issues. It sucks. One of your parents didn’t do their job correctly. Same here, to tell the truth. You MUST defeat them to get good at this game. That is your BIGGEST goal. As I said in another post, love thyself. If you don’t, no one else will. I want to see you start contributing here, sharing what’s special about you. You NEED to do homework: self-improvement books (maybe The Artists Way? I’ll think of the right book for you). Write out the good qualities about yourself, and focus on them. Then you’ll be surprised when someone DOESN’T LIKE you instead of being surprised when they DO.

Remember, no two people are special in the same way. That’s the definition of Special. You are a hard case, man. I WANT to see you improve. But you’re going to get nowhere if you don’t get over these insecurities. You must make that a priority and do what it takes. You don’t know how hard I’ve worked on myself in the last year: I’ve taken posture classes (Alexander Technique), improv comedy classes, speech classes, dance classes, and started lifting weights. It’s not easy. It’s a commitment: not just to the game, but to making yourself a better person.

Anonymous continues:

There are things I’m passionate about, like tai chi, yoga, self-improvement, graphic design, swimming, and music. But everyone likes this kind of stuff, and it doesn’t give me any charisma like other guys.

Style responds:

Oh my god, dude! This is ALL interesting shit! Inner martial arts, meditation, self-development are ALL big female topics. Dude, you are sitting on a gold mine, but for some reason you are too lazy to sift away the dirt to see it all!

Anonymous continues:

I feel like when I do the community stuff, it’s not the real me. It’s just a disguise. And if I have sex with the woman and see her again, the disguise will disappear and she’ll see the real raw naked me exposed.

Style responds:

Bullshit. That WILL BE the real you. You can’t change overnight. It feels awkward at first, then you internalize it and it starts to BECOME you. I can’t even do field reports anymore because I’m not even AWARE of all the techniques I do. I SAY I don’t do NLP, then Nightlight9 watches me and says I use tons of it. It just has BECOME
me. And, dude, there is NOTHING that’s a bigger turn on for a woman than to catch a glimpse of the REAL you, the RAW NAKED(as you say) personality. Don’ try to hide it, man.

Anonymous continues:

I know I need to find the special thing in me and show it to the ladies, but what if even then they don’t find it special or care about the things I do? Sorry this post is so long, but I feel better already after writing my insecurities down.

Style responds:

No one considers the things you care about BS. But if you express them poorly, they’re going to lose interest. If you express them with passion and a confidence that the other person wants to hear it, they’ll be DDB in no time.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this here. You are at the beginning of a long road that you MUST take. Here is your first homework assignment:

1. Write out a complete sentence (or two) that describes the way you think that other people see you right now.

2. Write out a complete sentence (or two) that describes the way you would like other people to see you.

3. Draw a picture of the first person.

4. Draw a picture of the second person that you would like to be.

Then, if you want, share it here and I’ll tell you what to do next….

Related Stories from The Inner Circle

Every Second Counts
If You Think You Don’t Have Time
The Meaning Of Life, The Secret To Happiness, and Wii Tennis