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When you are out in the field, many times the girl you are interested in will be in a mixed group of men and women.  I used to not even bother with approaching girls who were in the company of men, assuming that my efforts would be an exercise in futility if one of them was the boyfriend, or figuring that the guys would know what I was up to and act to block my progress.

Overthinking leads to a point where your mind hobbles your actions with worst-case scenarios, but once you break out of that mental habit and start approaching mixed sets you’ll learn that the reality is usually quite different.

Fact: Most guys in mixed sets are NOT the boyfriend.  They may be interested in their girl buddies, but that is irrelevant.

Fact: If you introduce yourself in a friendly manner to the guys first or address the group as a whole and don’t make it obvious that you are there to steal their girls, the guys will amicably open up to you.

The best way to find out if a boyfriend is present in a mixed group is to ask the question “So, how do you guys know each other?”  This line is standard operating procedure so don’t be cautious about throwing it out there.  People will be happy to tell you the answer.  Just don’t ask it right away; that makes you look like you are trying too hard to ingratiate yourself.

If your game is tight and the girls are enjoying your company, what will normally happen is that the guys will pick up on the girls’ signals and follow suit, accepting you into the group and stepping aside (or even helping you) when you begin to focus your attention on the girl you like.  Winning over the group also serves the dual purpose of raising your social value in the eyes of your target.  Holding court with a group of strangers and keeping them engaged will trigger attraction in a girl.

The guys in a mixed group will not always be neutral entities like Switzerland.  Occasionally, they will be competitors.  You must be prepared for this as well.  The important thing to know is that direct competition with other guys in the field VERY RARELY leads to belligerence.  Even less likely will a physical altercation break out, especially here in DC, land of the overeducated Herbs who fold like cheap lawn chairs in the face of real danger.

Competitors come in three main varieties:

The Boyfriend
If one of the guys is seeing the girl you want, ask them a question about their relationship, like how long they’ve known each other or how they met.  While these questions seem innocuous, they are designed to elicit an emotional flashback in the woman that will clue you in to her level of commitment to the boyfriend.  If he does all the answering and starts putting his arm around her while she looks around the room with a bland expression you can be sure she is open to testing the waters with a new man.  If she likes you, she’ll find a way to get out from under her boyfriend’s watchful eye later in the night to slip you her number.  If she answers enthusiastically, write her off.

Some players advocate gaming a girl right in front of the boyfriend as if he were a non-factor.  If you can generate attraction easily and the girl is really into you, go for it, but in my experience most of the time the boyfriend will bristle knowing what you are up to and physically insert himself between you and her, making for a very uncomfortable situation.

The Interloper
These are the guys who crash your party and join groups you have already opened.  They are usually players or natural alphas because only those types of men have the balls to enter a mixed set.  They will test your state control.  The absolute worst thing you could do would be to appear defensive.  If you clam up, or ask what their deal is, or make it obvious that you are ignoring them and focus all your attention on the girls, you will get blown out.

There are two ways to deal with an interloper.  One way is the power play.  One time I was talking to two girls in a lounge when two guys they didn’t know approached and said hi to them without acknowledging me.  One of the guys was clearly the alpha, tall and good-looking with strong posture, so I addressed my comments to him knowing that if I could get him to scuttle, the beta wingman would follow.

I turned toward him, maintained eye contact, and said “Hey, man, we were just talking about how long you would wait to come over and hit on these girls.  We could totally see it in the way you walked over that you meant business!  But she was just telling me how you may have waited a little too long and how your shirt is just a little too striped.  They are a tough crowd, I can attest.”  I look at the girls and wink.  “Girls in this city will not give a guy a break!  But, you know, you should still go for it, this one over here has a secret crush on you.”

I did not give the guys a chance to get a word in edgewise.  The verbal barrage left them staring at me befuddled about what to do next, while the girls laughed and insisted they did not have a crush on anyone.  After a second, I moved in between with my back to them and asked the girls if they would like to learn something about themselves.  They looked horny from the dominance display that had just gone down.  As the girls talked to me, the guys disappeared.

This type of balls-out tactic is high risk, high reward.  It’s not something I do often or recommend doing because sometimes you will meet your intellectual, physical, or sociopathic match and things can get out of hand fast.  You have to feel completely confident in your abilities to disarm gatecrashers.  Showing hesitation or uncertainty will embolden your foes. They have to think you are a little bit crazy and won’t mind a fight.  Which is why I prefer option two.  Engage the interlopers with a series of logical questions.  Do not give them time to game your target.  A guy’s logical brain is his worst enemy in the fluid environment of pickup where on-the-fly emotional intelligence is needed.  Ask them questions about their jobs, sports, hobbies, where they live, etc and you’ll notice that they are almost impelled to answer your questions straight.  It’s like asking a girl about her feelings — the same unstoppable mental processes are set in motion.

Logical banter will lower their value instantly.  Eventually, they will seem boring and pedestrian and this is when you switch gears to playfully undercutting them.  If they ask you questions about your life, you can say “Hey, what’s with the 21 questions? I’m not on the market guys!”  Including them in the conversation and demonstrating your social prowess at their expense with a friendly vibe without escalating the interaction to code yellow will be a big turn-on for the women.  The girls will then devote more of their attention to you and the guys will give up and leave.

The Incumbent
If you approach a group that already has a guy in it working the magic with the girls (as opposed to guys they came with), then you are dealing with an incumbent.  Since most incumbents are average guys with no game trying to impress the girls with drinks or manufacture a connection with boring interviewer questions, it is a simple matter to subvert them.

When he is out of earshot, ask the girls how they know the guy and they will usually say “Oh, we just met him tonight.  He bought us drinks.”  Once armed with this information, you can segue into an incumbent-unseating routine: “Oh I bet you really like him if you let him buy you drinks.  You know, come to think of it, you two almost look alike.  Jeez, you’d make the perfect couple!”  She will, of course, protest, and in the act of verbalizing her protests negative feelings will get anchored to him.

If the guy is part of the conversational flow, just like with the interloper pepper him with logical questions.  Once you’ve become part of the group dynamic, steer it in the direction you want.  If you and he are gaming the same girl, call him out on his motives:

“Hey man, how’s the pickup going?  Are these girls friendly or are they giving you the bitch shield?  I need to know so I can adjust accordingly.”  This will slightly embarrass him into denying that he was trying to game the girls. Once that happens it’s game, set, match in your favor.

If he’s interested in a different girl, then let the conversation progress naturally until he is acting like a de facto wingman and the two of you are gaming your own targets.

Very occasionally, you will run across an incumbent who is a seasoned veteran of the field.  Real players who know their stuff will not fall for the traps I’ve outlined above.  They will banter right back with you until a point is reached where the two of you are in your own world playing out a high drama of verbal volley and counter-volley.  While this is entertaining for the girls, it will not move you closer to sealing the deal.  It’s best to tip your hat to a worthy opponent and recruit him as a wingman.

If you can master opening mixed sets then those times where you are approaching girls-only sets will seem like a breeze.

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