September 26, 2013 / The 3 C’s of Pickup: Calibration
Knowing how to calibrate is perhaps the most important concept when it comes to picking up women.
Earlier, I published an article entitled “The 3 C’s of Pickup”. These were congruence, calibration, and confidence. I wrote about congruence in more detail here, and confidence here. In this article I am going to talk about calibration, which is one of the most important concepts when it comes to turning women on, in my opinion.
Recall from “The 3 C’s of Pickup” that calibration is like playing a melody over a harmony. It is the process of figuring out what to say in what situation; what notes to play over what chords. Some men focus on memorizing things to say and do during an interaction with women. This is an ok way to “fake it” but not every routine works on every woman. This makes it crucial to not only have tools that can work on every woman, but to be able to recognize when something is working and when it is not.
Here is a more concrete example: You are out on a date with a girl you are interested in, sitting across from her, sharing a couple drinks. You are an interesting guy with multiple hobbies and interests which you can talk about. At the moment, you are talking about travel. You have been to a few places and are talking about some of your experiences in another country; let’s say Italy. As you are talking, you notice that your date is often glancing down at her drink (which is half full) and often answers your questions with very short one to three word answers.
The signs described above are tell tale signs of disinterest. Now, they could be because of a myriad of factors, not necessarily the conversation topic of travel, but nevertheless, good calibration demands that you change something, because the current situation is not working. Conversation topic is one of the easiest things to change. Instead of staying on the topic of travel, change the topic of conversation to something different that might get your date more interested.
Here’s another example: You are talking to a girl at a bar. She is very hot; call her a 9 on a 1-10 scale. You got her attention by not giving her attention, by “negging” her (a playful insult) and by acting like you were not very interested in her. Now you two are talking to each other by the bar. She is finding a lot of excuses to touch you on your hand, leg, and arm. She is smiling a lot and playing with her hair. What is the play?
One huge mistake that many men do is wrongly assume that they should continue to do what was working; i.e. being an asshole, negging and showing disinterest or lukewarm interest. However, this is a terrible idea and an example of calibration gone wrong. Calibration isn’t just about sticking to what is working, it’s also about knowing when something has worked and is no longer the right play. The girl became interested due to you playing hard to get. Now that she is interested, as evidenced by her touching you, smiling, and playing with her hair, there’s no reason to continue an approach that serves a singular purpose.
The first two scenarios were simple examples, here is a more difficult scenario; similar ones come up often: Your date is very passionate about music. You have some interest in it but you are far from an expert. Your date is clearly very excited about the conversation and continues to talk about it. You manage to “hold your own” in the conversation but it is quickly entering an area where you have very little expertise. It is going to become much harder for you to be able to talk about this topic intelligently for much longer. However, your date is clearly having a great time on this topic and it may even be turning her on. What should you do?
Here you can see the difficulties in being a great calibrator. Is her excitement related to the conversation topic and will it wane if you switch the topic? Do you persist on the topic of conversation, continuing to talk about music, becoming more of a question asker and listener than an active participant hoping that she will not notice? Perhaps what is turning her on is your ability to talk intelligently and to engage her, in which case, it is more important to switch the conversation topic to something you can continue to engage her with.
There’s no way to tell as every situation is different. It is why practice makes perfect and why books and guides and articles can only go so far. It is almost impossible to tell what the “right” play is in the situation described above without having a lot of real world experience calibrating. Too many subtle cues, your backgrounds and history, etc. come into play. A great conversationalist will draw from all of his experiences, knowledge, and history with his date in order to make the “best play.” Reread that last sentence. That is the key to calibration: draw upon not only your experience reading your dates’ reactions and signals, but combining that with your knowledge and experience to take things in a path that is likely to lead to a more successful interaction. When you can master calibration; when you can call the chord changes in the harmony before they even happen, your seduction skills will reach a new level.
Giving concrete calibration advice is difficult because it is a very situational skill, but nevertheless, I will try end this article with my best attempt at sharing some calibration tips that can apply pretty generally.
1. Don’t wait for IODs (indicators of disinterest) to change things up
Once you stop getting IOIs (indicators of interest), already think about switching up the direction of the interaction. For example, by changing conversation topic and or engaging in more (or less) physical contact.
2. Know the purpose of your behavior
This is related to the common mistake I mentioned about going overboard with showing signs of disinterest to attract a "hard to get" woman. Know the purpose of your interaction. For instance, if you are acting disinterested to get her attention, once you have her attention, re-evaluate whether or not acting disinterested serves any purpose.
3. It’s ok to take her bait sometimes
Many men think it is important to always be in charge. In general, being confident and aggressive is good, but sometimes, women will give you "good" bait. In that case, it’s ok to bite! For example, if she brings up something about your apartment, even if you don’t think you have built enough comfort to take things to that level, go with it, because perhaps you have built up enough comfort for her to go home with you.
I believe calibration is the most difficult of the 3 C’s of Pickup but it is also the most rewarding. Dating techniques, tricks, and routines can only go so far. The real art is knowing when to use what. That is calibration.
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