Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thoughts On Inner Game

Being a young adult, I often find my thoughts turning to the subject of dating. What makes for a great date? How can you present an honest and genuine, yet interesting and attractive image of yourself when meeting a girl, or taking her on a first or second date? What perspectives lead to the best possible results, both objectively and subjectively? While my thoughts are far from being highly refined, over the past couple of days I was struck with several simple insights.

My first major realization is that the external trappings of a date or interaction aren't especially important. They do matter, but only indirectly. Recently, a friend of mine went on a date with a girl that he was interested in, and a day after the date I asked him how it went. He said that they had gone to some fun places, and that the conversation was okay, but he really wasn't feeling the chemistry. Since the chemistry was completely absent, he told me in no uncertain terms that he wasn't going to go out with the girl anymore. He didn't want to date her. Ironically, a couple weeks later things completely changed and now he is ridiculously head over heels for her. Regardless of what happens with that relationship, I was just reminded that the trappings of a date aren't of final importance. On that first date they did a bunch of fun things, but afterwards my friend didn't want to see her again. It's all about the "chemistry." Such a term always seems to convey some sort of nebulous and mystical factor that is a necessary part of romantic connection. But, the importance of chemistry makes perfect sense when you fully understand both male and female natures.

The necessary implication of this realization is simply a recognition that Inner Game is the most critical determinate of how well your dates will go. What is Inner Game? Several people in the blogosphere have taken a stab at defining Game, and I think that Ferdinand Bardamu has come up with the most succinct and clear definition of Game. In his post, Ferdinand summarizes the seven principles that are most critical determinants of male attractiveness: assertiveness, calmness, confidence, independence, indifference, presentability, and sociability. In trying to hone my game, I've begun setting specific goals for myself before dates, to help me focus on the things that are most important for me to remember. Here are some rules/mindsets that I've set for myself recently, presented in no particular order:

1. Be Relaxed and Calm
Whether meeting a new girl, or going on a date with a girl I barely know, there's always a temptation to be worried about the interaction and how it's going. This self-inflicted anxiety is the most deadly thing possible. Feeling worried about an interaction turns the the interaction into a high-stress situation, which not only keeps me from enjoying some playful chatting, but also is subconsciously communicated to the girl. The calmer I am, the more I enjoy myself, and, in turn, the more the girl enjoys the interaction.

2. If I'm Having Fun, Then She's Having Fun
If I catch myself thinking about whether my date is enjoying herself or not, I have the wrong mindset. The most important goal of a date is to enjoy myself. If I am enjoying myself, then 95% of the time, she is also enjoying herself. There are two reasons for this. First of all, since happy people are more fun to be around, and since emotions are self-reinforcing, whenever I am enjoying myself I am more energetic, more creative, wittier and more humorous. So, whenever I am having fun, I am more fun to be around. Since I'm enjoying myself, she will automatically be having a much better time than she would if I'm not as fun to be around. Secondly, since women are naturally empathic, they cannot help but be directly affected by the emotional state of others. Emotions are contagious. For that reason, when she is with me, if I am enjoying myself, then not only does she enjoy my presence more, but she also feels internally happier, on a completely subconscious level.

3. Plan Dates That I Enjoy
Because of the previous rule, whenever I'm planning a date, I always make sure that everything that happens on a date is something that I want to do. I'll take her to places that I like to go, eat at restaurants that I really love, give her drinks that I really like and generally do things that I love doing. If it's something that I would only consider doing because it's a date, I cross it off the list of possibilities right away. If it's something that I would be perfectly happy to do with my best friend or by myself, then it's a winner. Therefore, any date plan I make will only include venues and activities that I really enjoy. It's always a surefire winner! Besides, if for some odd reason a girl doesn't like any of the places or activities on the date, then I already know that we're unlikely to be compatible. It's nice to find that out up front.

4. Touch Her More
As much as I love giving and receiving affection, I'm also very shy about touching people that I don't know very well. Neither of my parents are affectionate people, so touching people beyond hugs and handshakes has always forced me far out of my comfort zone. Given the importance of physical touch both for building comfort and signaling attraction, this is one thing that I've been putting major effort into. Thankfully, I'm starting to become more comfortable touching my friends, my family and girls that I'm interested in. Eventually it will become second nature; until then, I'll have to consciously focus on touching my date more.

5. Be Interesting and Fun
As a person, I am quite fun to be around and I always have plenty to talk about. However, whenever I have the wrong mindset or priorities, often my date doesn't have the opportunity to see those sides of me. Sometimes I come across as too intellectual. Sometimes I come across as socially awkward. But, whenever I stop concerning myself with whether my date is enjoying herself and what she thinks of me, then I am free to be my usual happy, hyperbolic, and humorous self. Being free to discuss whatever I happen to be thinking about and joke around the way I usually do means that I'm feeling relaxed enough to enjoy myself, and it also gives her a chance to see that I'm fun, interesting and verbally playful.

6. Central Date Focus: Do I Like This Girl?
The most important question of the date is, "Do I like this girl?" Is she fun to be around? Is she feminine? Is she a good conversationalist? Is she a spiritual person? Is she easy-going? Is she a warm and sweet person? Whether she likes me or not is only of secondary importance. That's because if I'm not very attracted to her, then it really doesn't matter how well the date went, nor how much she likes me. Also, women are attracted to men with standards and the very fact that I am sizing her up as a LTR-worthy girl makes me more attractive to her.

So far, these are the rules that I've set for myself to ensure that I keep the right mindset and improve my overall attractiveness. Inner Game is all about having the right internal attitudes and perspectives, which will always lead to better external results. Of the seven principles mentioned in Ferdinand's post, my rules definitely embody assertiveness, calmness, confidence, indifference and sociability. The only principle not included is presentability. That's one aspect of my game that doesn't need much work. We'll see what happens this month. After almost a year of not feeling ready for or desirous of a LTR, I'm feeling quite confident and excited about the prospect of finding an amazing woman and dating her.


  1. Good for you, lad. Don't let all the Game-sters out there with their jaded views of women get you down, there are plenty of good ones out there.

    I made a huge breakthrough when I realized that good women are absolutely desperate for a good man. No matter how good looking or in-demand she appears to be, as a good man, YOU are the rare and valued commodity.

    I don't recommend the "indifference" trait, though. Doesn't sound like it fits your schtick anyway.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Silas. I like these rules - you've got this thing down pat.

  3. Sounds like a plan. Regarding these two maxims:

    "2. If I'm Having Fun, Then She's Having Fun"

    "3. Plan Dates That I Enjoy"

    though, it then seems somehow mysterious that inviting girls along to my Dungeons and Dragons games somehow never resulted in a second date -- or even a first one. After all, those were activities I definitely enjoyed, a setting where I was calm and relaxed and having fun, as well as showing some creativity and spontaneity. According to your line, this should have worked perfectly, right?

  4. Good advice, and great delivery. After getting bogged down with PUA acronyms, it's refreshing to see advice that's simple, straightforward, and common sense.

    Specifically, I can't agree more with 2. When I first internalized the basic concepts of game, it kicked my ass out of being needy and seeking approval, and as a result I had success with more women. Ironically though, the hottest girls I'd been with were from my "pre-game" phases, which drove me crazy - what was I doing right?

    An unintended side effect of learning game was that I just wasn't having as much fun with women. I was focusing on routines and sets, dealing with girls like they were analog computers (just get the command right). Women, in their infinite emotional sensitivity, picked up on this right away, and it didn't help.

    It wasn't until I realized that pre-game, "beta" though I may have acted, I was extroverted, happy, and happy to be around girls. Women, in their infinite emotional sensitivity, picked up on that too, and it helped.

    Merging pickup concepts with a more positive, "natural" outlook on human interaction has been the best thing that's ever happened to my game.

  5. @Justin: Thanks for the perspective, mate. Sometimes it is too easy to adopt a pessimistic view, which leads to apathy. A couple weeks ago a friend was asking how my dating life was going, since he knew I was going on a bunch of dates during the summer. I told him that it was difficult to find awesome girls. He immediately said, "It seems like there are plenty of them, to me." It was at the moment that I realized I had let my perspective become too negative. I had set myself up for failure by viewing the dating scene in such a negative way that I wasn't even trying. That momentary burst of insight was all I needed to change my view and get my game on again.

    Regarding indifference, I actually think that it needs to be my "schtick." It's a necessary trait for any man. The principle of indifference doesn't mean that you don't care about any interaction, or that you don't care about the emotions of others. It simply means that rather than getting tunnel vision, a man should always keep the big picture in mind. I can afford to be indifferent about the outcome of a particular interaction or date because I know that there are more great women out there who are attracted to me. But, my broad-scale indifference doesn't mean that I should be completely emotionally detached from the interaction either.

    Similarly, indifference towards the present emotional state of my date or LTR doesn't mean that I truly don't care or that I am unaware of how she is feeling. It does mean that I don't ever allow my emotional state to be heavily influenced or dictated by what she is feeling. Indifference is crucial. My last LTR fell apart, and 50% of it was due to the fact that I was too intertwined with her emotional state, which would cause me to lose sight of the big picture. My lack of indifference caused her to lose respect for me, and eventually led to the destruction of the relationship. Indifference is a non-optional trait for any man.

    @Anonymous: These rules aren't supposed to be comprehensive. These ones are just the ones that I need to focus on. Taking a ordinary girl to play Dungeons and Dragons, while it may be fun for you, is a sure sign of lack of social calibration. Part of planning good dates is doing something that is fairly universally enjoyable, and avoiding highly niche interests, unless you already know that a specific girl has a similar niche interest. Even though I enjoy playing D&D, I would never even invite my best friend to come play with me, since I know that such an activity is something he would tire of very quickly. Most girls would either be utterly bored or actively replused by such an activity. Social calibration, or knowing your audience, is a critical part of planning good dates.

    @lifescansdarkly: I can definitely relate to your experience. I also was very happy, extroverted, talkative, and glad to be around girls during my pre-game days. While learning game is important, focusing too much on routines and doing things "just right" can totally take the fun out of meeting and dating women, and can be actively detrimental.

    I like to think of Game as a toolbox. I take what's useful for me and leave the rest alone. Even when working on an aspect of game, it's crucial to keep the end goal in mind. Otherwise it does become dull and mechanical.

    Once fully integrated into one's life, game should help a man be more like a man in all of his interactions, and especially in his interactions with women. Game should not be something that radically changes you, but simply something that radically improves you, by bringing all the best to the surface and eliminating the neediness and emotional dependence that American men often have.

  6. Silas, I think you were a victim of the negative worldview that Game inspires, and that is the reason why I have said Game is poison to a man's soul. I am glad to hear you snapped out of it, but I would also recommend you stop advertising Game. What you discovered is the ancient male truth that we cannot be reactive to women's emotions or follow their leads. Anyway, good for you for your breakthrough. It is wisdom indeed.

  7. @Justin: In the end I see very little fundamental difference between "Game" and the "ancient male truths" that you mention. To me it seems to be merely a difference of semantics. But, I certainly see your point. I may consider using non-game terms to convey the essence of my thoughts and insights on the matter.

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