Is “Game” and Pickup Artistry Hurting Men Everywhere?


If there was ever a topic I spent some time feeling conflicted about, it’s this one. On this very site, I allude to some level of the “game” paradigm; and unfortunately it’s incorporated (at least on a subtle level) in some of the Developed Man books written by myself or contributors to this site. This is inevitable because it used to be how I’d think in many situations. Even when I thought I was moving from dumb Mystery-method nonsense to more “natural game”, I was still working within an outdated, harmful paradigm.
Game-theory overall has been a major part of the loosely-knit men’s self-development movement since at least 2006 and 2007 when Neil Strauss’ “The Game” became a best-seller; and it dates even further back to the inception of the Internet with writers like David DeAngelo, and the whole concept of men writing about how to pick up chicks (and be attractive to the opposite sex).

I am going to be direct here: when I started learning game, I experienced a net decrease of women in my life. When I ‘detoxed’ from that paradigm, women began coming back into my life. For me, that is not a good indicator of the effectiveness of “game” in general. It results in the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to provide.

What is ‘Game’ and Why it May Not Really Be Working For Us

Game is a paradigm of men seeking women that requires specific steps and “moves” along the way. Like any game, it is confrontational in nature. Men start off having poor game, and they learn many principles of inner and outer work to become a better game-player. The end result is a kind of ultimate goal of female abundance.

The paradigm runs very deep. Anytime a man sets about any course of actions, whether internal (self-help, enhancing physical looks, etc) to external (running a series of scripted lines and techniques on a woman), for the purposes of trying to acquire a woman, he is “gaming”.

As I went deeper into this paradigm, I came to the inevitable conclusion that any action with the intention of acquiring her sex, affection, approval, etc actually sabotages one’s effort.

The reason is because in almost all situations, when you meet a woman, attraction and connection building depends on effortless flow and self-expression. She becomes attracted to who you really are, and any woman with an iota of social acumen can detect when a man is putting on a fake front for the purpose of taking something from her. It’s the same feeling we may get when a panhandler approaches us on the subway.

And this goes for ANY interaction where the game paradigm is present.

During my unfortunate foray into the PUA world, I would meet guys who would approach every single interaction with any moderately attractive woman through the prism of trying to manipulate her into bed with him. As somebody who studied this material, it becomes blaringly obvious that when a guy starts playing “thumb war” with a girl, it’s not out of a genuine playful spontaneity but an underlying motive to “F-close” her, or at the very least score contact info.

At its heart, almost all game / PUA material is about trying to fake attractive behavior. In the thumb war example, you are posing as a spontaneous, playful, fun attractive man. On the more extreme level, pickup artists who make up DHV routines are literally lying about themselves.

The Solution?

You should completely unplug from “game” and pickup. Get back to socializing from the heart and soul. Expressing your personality, including your vulnerabilities, is a hundred times more effective than any technique that comes out of the game paradigm.

But this requires some serious work. If you were like me, stuck into the “game” mindset, you have to begin to change how you think. You have to literally reprogram your brain. One of the first important ways is to lose interest in any sort of outcome. Practice talking to women while having no interest in sleeping with them, approval of other men, practicing your pickup lines or approaches, etc. Just totally unplug. Focus instead on genuine connection building and expressing yourself.

But That Sounds Beta! We Need a Roadmap to Sex!

Expressing yourself also involves doing things like going in for a kiss when you feel the time is right, leading her back to your bedroom, etc. In fact, these things become a lot easier when you come from a place of authenticity. It’s why so-called “naturals” have so few issues compared to the guys leafing through PUA booklets.

But authentic men also won’t sit around lamenting if their “techniques” failed them and they go home without a woman. That’s because they were never using techniques to begin with, and they never needed her, or they knew that things just didn’t “vibe” right to make something like that work, and its fine with them. Their attention is ultimately elsewhere.

As soon as any guy makes trying to get with women such an important thing, they always become the panhandler and without fail, that underlying tone of neediness comes through.

Self-expression and being able to communicate in an uninhibited way, on the other hand, is a path to a kind-of social abundance and inner-enlightenment. But you can’t learn these things under the principle of trying to get better with women. You have to transcend that entire goal. You have to put your fantasies of sexual abundance on the shelf for a while and walk a completely DIFFERENT path. And then, in the future, return to those old goals and find they’ll have fixed themselves.

Where to Learn More

There’s others disenchanted by the toxic “game” paradigm. I’d suggest to Google David Tee (NotPickup) and John Cooper (Social Heartistry).

In the meantime, if you’re struggling with women and sex, and you’re not sure what your next move in the “game” is, consider not playing the game at all. A PUA detox might be of vital importance to you.

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