– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound
Cold-approach pickup is one of the best ways for an introvert to improve his social skills.
Meeting high volumes of women in social settings is an effective way to get dates and even find a long-term partner. Yet the benefits of pickup extend beyond just getting laid, including honing your conversation skills, enhancing your assertiveness, and improving your self-confidence.
But there’s a dark side to pickup. And I’m not just talking about the tendency to sexually objectify women, the very real risks of sex addiction, and an increasing difficulty in forming stable relationships.
If you’re not careful, pickup can start to warp your personality, where every part of your being is so focused on what might get a girl to come home with you from a bar, that you start having trouble functioning in other social spheres.
We’ve all seen the guy who’s basically a walking parody of a “pickup artist,” clearly pretending to be someone he’s not with his cringey lines and gimmicky moves.
But it can be subtler than that and it can catch you unawares.
Usually, it’s younger guys who are most susceptible to this, who have gotten into pickup before their personalities solidified. But it can happen to anyone.
Once in a while I catch myself putting on a bit of an act and can usually tone things down. But sometimes, I don’t notice it. In one instance, a woman I was talking to said that I wasn’t coming across as “genuine.” Instead of just moving on to the next approach, I considered whether or not that might be true, and vowed to take a closer look at my interactions.
From that night on, I focused on just conveying who I was as a person to women and tried to strip away as much of the “gamey” packaging as possible. As a result, I felt more at home in my own skin AND my results improved measurably.
The irony is that focusing too much on pickup can make you into a caricature that might impress other “PUAs” but come across as phony to nearly everyone else—even girls boozing it up at dance clubs.
And, of course, these bad habits can carry over into other social situations, such as friends’ parties, where, since your goal is fast sex, you talk only to attractive women and ignore everyone else, never have any genuine conversations, get a bit too pushy and handsy, and basically weird everyone out. Thanks to this behavior, many pickup guys can’t talk to women in everyday, “normal” situations and often have a hard time finding friends outside the PUA community.
Understandably, a lot of PUAs grew up feeling very insecure about their social status. Maybe they were bullied and picked on, excluded from groups, had very few (or no) friends, didn’t interact much with girls, or overall, just felt alienated from society.
As they discovered pickup, they may have improved their social interactions and had some success with women, but they never quite kicked that feeling of insecurity. And instead of looking deeper into themselves as to why that might be, they just tried to fill the void with more pickup.
The good news is that the guys who are honest with themselves about those lingering insecurities are able to work on them and start conquering them. Even if they never achieve “player” status, they are often liked and respected—by both men and women—because they come across as genuine and self-aware.
Unfortunately, a lot of other pickup guys who don’t take a hard look at themselves will try to emulate some warped version of what they think it means to be “alpha.” So they talk over everyone else with no real interest in what anyone has to say and see every person they meet as either a stepping stone to enhancing their status—from whom they can extract something useful—or a pariah who will make them look bad.
They’ll often pretend to know everything even when it’s obvious they don’t, because they think that asking a question means they’re a failure, since that is always how they’ve felt about themselves. They don’t realize that humility is a trait shown mostly by those who are secure in themselves.
Sadly, these guys have difficulty functioning in most social groups because they either don’t want to or don’t know how to interact with guys who aren’t just like them. There’s nothing wrong with hanging out with guys who you click more with than other guys. But that’s not the reason why many PUAs won’t put themselves out there in terms of expanding their social circle.
Instead, they’re petrified of being seen with someone who might be perceived as “low status.” So they’ll actually base who they hang out with on meaningless measures—including, believe it or not, whether or not they see the guy as conventionally physically attractive—that not even the majority of women succumb to.
They judge others the way they judge themselves, harshly and with arbitrary, ever-changing parameters. In turn, they limit their social sphere and with it, their worldview and growth as a person.
Of course, if you’re in pickup only to get laid, none of this matters to you. But if you use it as a tool for self-improvement, you might want to pay attention to the ways in which pickup might be negatively impacting the way you socialize and make a conscious effort to also develop some social skills outside of the cold-approach arena.