I've been really surprised to see some of the responses that have come in on last weeks post about me quitting. In particular, I'm shocked at how many people think it's okay, or even best, to quit.
I can only assume that I did a poor job explaining why I'm getting back into pickup, because I can't imagine anyone in their right mind thinking it's okay to quit given the actual situation. So, first a recap of why I'm doing this, and then a specific response to why I won't quit, which I hope will make sense given the context, and then a few other comments on people's replies.
Why I'm Doing This
I'm thirty years old. I used to be excellent with women. As a result, I had good women in my life, which made my awesome life even more awesome. My adventures were shared with girlfriends. Things were good.
Now, due partially to extensive travel and an insane amount of work, but mostly to me not living up to my own standards when it comes to meeting new people, I have no girlfriends. I have no prospects of girlfriends. I'm not dating anyone.
This is a pretty absurd position to be in, and it's embarrassing. Not embarrassing in that I care what other people think about it, but embarrassing because I have internal standards that I try to live up to, and I have fallen short.
This isn't a decent situation, or a subpar situation, or a compromise. It's straight up unacceptable.
When I'm not living up to my own standards, I do something about it. I take the time necessary to formulate a plan, and then I execute the plan. I proactively correct problems in my life with the force and direction necessary to get it done.
I'm doing this because I need to. There's a problem in my life, so I will fix it. The alternative is to lose faith in myself and become passive towards my own shortcomings. That idea scares me a lot more than talking to girls in the mall does.
Why I won't quit
Being able to proactively approach girls in everyday life and attract them is extremely difficult. I don't have an ordered list of every difficult skill a man could acquire, but if I did, this would probably be somewhere near the top.
Even if I've been through this before, can I really be so arrogant to assume that I won't have any serious speed bumps along the way? Of course not. Last week I encountered the first of them.
So the question becomes: how do I respond to difficulty?
When faced with such a clear-cut example of falling down and choosing between staying down or getting back up, the choice becomes extremely important. It's not just about this particular stumble; it's a template for how I deal with tough problems in my life.
Why did I stop approaching girls after only three of them? It wasn't because approaching another seven wouldn't have been beneficial. Nor was it because having girls in my life suddenly became unimportant. It was because I was scared, and I gave into my fear.
Given these two facts, the solution is simple: conquer my fear. I can't dream of any other alternative that would leave me with self respect.
I'd like to address each comment to my last post, but I don't think it's necessary, because I think many stem from similar misconceptions (which I take responsibility for, as it's my job to clearly communicate here). I think that a lot of the replies are good advice for a goal I don't have, and bad advice for the goal I do have.
My goal isn't to get a bunch of numbers, or to sleep with a bunch of girls, or even to meet one special girl. I can end this month without a single phone number and still be satisfied that I reached my goal.
My goal is this: to be a person who can and does approach and start interesting conversations that move things forward with girls he's attracted to.
It's not a results goal, it's a process goal. It's fully in my control. We can all have different standards for these things, but my standards dictate that when I'm attracted to a girl and want to talk to her, and I don't do so, I have failed.
My standards also require me to be conversationally proficient enough to hold her interest and move things along if I like her. I knew that I lost my ability to approach, but I assumed that I still had this level of conversational proficiency. I was wrong. This is what happens when you rest on your laurels.
A few of the comments questioned the idea of going to a mall and talking to ten groups of girls. One girl said she was offended by the idea, another guy said it was dishonest (since I wasn't telling the girls that they were x/10), and a couple people mentioned that girls at malls might not be exactly what I'm after.
What IS the perfect method of learning pickup? The answer is that there isn't one. Social dynamics are complicated and messy. All of the girls I might be interested in aren't just lined up, ready for me to approach them with full intent until I find the right one. Instead, they're scattered all across the world, with other people, doing other things.
To get good at anything, you have to practice. I have to talk to a high volume of women. A lot of women go to the mall during the day. Some of them ARE women that I would be interested in-- I know this because I've met some of them there. Even outside of pickup, I go to the mall many days because there's a Chipotle there. Just because a girl goes to the mall doesn't mean that I won't be interested in her.
If I AM interested in her, I don't just cut off the conversation and move on to the next for the sake of reaching my tally. Yesterday I really liked the first girl I talked to, so we ended up talking for over an hour, until I had to go and do some more work. I didn't write that up as a failure, because it obviously wasn't.
The mall isn't a dreamworld of dozens of beautiful women who are exactly my type, but it's the best place I can find to give myself good odds at both talking to a lot of people, and occasionally finding some I genuinely like.
Last, let's talk about integrity. The only situation in which I lie or deceive is where I'm speaking with someone who has authority but no authority to reason. For example, I lie to TSA and say that I don't have liquids or razors in my bag because they aren't given leeway to be reasonable.
In all other situations, I go WAY out of my way to be proactively honest and forthright. A couple weeks ago a company processed a refund for some stuff I bought and refunded more money than they should have. I called them, waited on hold, and had them charge me for the difference. I once had a girlfriend who I loved, and through a weird set of circumstances I ended up sleeping in the same bed as a couple girls. Nothing happened, but I still told her about it proactively because I believe in always telling the whole truth.
I'm obviously not perfect, and these are my own standards that are different from other people's standards, but the point is that I value integrity immensely.
Yet I don't tell a girl she's the sixth person I've talked to that day. It's not relevant. If she asks if I'm trying to pick her up, I'll tell her exactly what I'm doing. When girls ask what books I've written, I tell them about the pickup book. I walk through the mall wearing a jacket with my name on the back, and if you search for that name on Google, you'd find this site, which blatantly talks about how I used to be a pickup artist.
This post is long, rambly, and maybe comes off as being defensive. I wrote it and didn't cut large parts out, not because I think my own personal pickup situation is that relevant to my you, but because I think that the principles behind it are worth considering and apply to everyone.
This post doesn't touch on all of the nice supportive comments and the ones with good advice, just because it was already getting so long. I appreciate everyone who comments, whether supportive or not, and whether I agree with them or not. That people actually take the time to write stuff here means a LOT to me.
This probably goes without saying, but I've gotten over approach anxiety now and am doing my approaches with little or no hesitation. Still have a lot of work to do in other areas, though.