I’m a big believer in cold reading but not as a PUA-y gimmick to impress birds with palmistry nor as a weirdo speed seduction thing to mesmerise a girl. Rather, I think it’s a great way to screen girls so you don’t waste time on ones you don’t like and can instead focus laser-like on the girls who really get your blood bubbling. So let’s define terms.
Mentalist books would call cold reading “the process by which the reader creates the effect that he has knowledge of an unknown subject’s life – past, present and future.” For their purposes this is true. For pickup it’s more about showing you understand the girl, can build rapport quickly, and learn about who she is. I don’t like the mystical side at all. To break it down further we need to consult Sherlock Holmes who outlines three pieces to the science of deduction:
Observation + Deduction + Knowledge
While observation tells you a girl with a rucksack and a map of London is a tourist, deduction tells you that when she’s still alone at 8pm wearing shorts and trainers with slightly dishevelled hair then she’s been out all day, done lots of tourist sites, and is now pretty bored and starved of social contact. That’s a girl who will open and idate easier than average. Knowledge requires you to really learn about people from watching and talking to them, a side effect of doing lots of sets. You just get a feel for the girl’s biography and character as you pick up all kinds of incidental details about her country and identity. I’m not suggesting you have to take it as far as Holmes and research a monograph on “the influence upon trade upon the form of the hand, with lithotypes of the hands of slaters, sailors, cork-cutters, compositors, weavers, and diamond-polishers” (Sign of the Four) but keep your eyes and ears open.
So with this in mind lets apply cold reading to the beginning of the street pick-up. I dislike the old PUA mindset of “get any girl” by figuring her out and then changing your character and technique to fit her. I think it’s bad for inner game and will lead to unsatisfying lays with girls you have no chemistry with, and it’s inefficient to boot. I believe the main purpose of a cold read is screening. You maximise your own personal qualities and then turn over stones (opening) until you find a girl that matches you. So I’ve broken it down into stages. I don’t consciously follow these stages (I try to be natural and intuitive) but for intermediate guys it might help clarify the underlying dynamics.
Stage 1 – Introspection
So many students / regular guys seem to have little idea of what they want in a woman. These are men who probably have extremely finessed tastes in music, books, clothes, video games and porn….. but women? Scarcity mentality means they’ll fuck anything vaguely pretty. So, have a good think about all the women who ever turned your head, the ones who you feel good around, and boil it down until you can articulate what you like. Here’s mine:
- High oestrogen
- Feminine essence
- 18-25 years old
- Introversion / thoughfulness
- Respect for male authority
Once you’ve narrowed the field you’ve also narrowed the amount of knowledge you need to acquire. I’ve never bothered learning about career women, native English speakers, party girls and so on because I’m just not interested in dating them. I learn what is relevant to the girls I like. You’d be surprised how much I know about Eastern European culture and history, for example. Also, you are now ready to learn to recognise these girls. You have to be able to pick them out of a crowd and confirm your guesses while talking. Examples from my list:
- High oestrogen – long silky hair, bright eyes, wide hips, radiant skin
- Feminine essence – lilting walk, shows her shape through clothes, often bare legged, girly clothes, soft body language
- 18-25 years old – smooth skin, inexpensive clothes, signs of her identity subculture / hobbies in her dress and accessories
- Introversion / thoughfulness – alone, preoccupied in thought, slow aimless walk, carrying a book, muted colours, lack of makeup
- Respect for male authority – looking down or around, absence of any outward display of defiance (e.g. look-at-me slogan t-shirts)
Again I stress that these are not conscious thoughts in my mind when I look at a girl, it’s a feeling I get where the emotion comes first (the “that’s a Krauser girl” feel) and it’s only now I’m explicitly trying to unpack the feeling that I’m able to make the list.
Stage Two – Observe and Deduce
So you’ve picked out a likely target and are commited to opening. Take a few moments to see as much information as possible and then apply your knowledge of girls to make a few working assumptions. This is an art that requires considerable practice. As homework I’d recommend you sit by the window in a cafe and just watch people interact, trying to invent biographies for them. It doesn’t really matter if you are right, just get your brain into the Sherlock Holmes groove of seeing the elusive obvious and applying knowledge. Here’s a few ways to make working assumptions on a girl’s logistics, country and mood:
- Rucksack + slow walk + evening = a solo tourist likely bored and aching feet from walking around all day
- Camera + guidebook + shopping bag from Harrods = also a tourist, somewhat adventurous
- Union jack or “I love London” souvenier clothing = anglophile who’d love to speak English and get an English boyfriend
- Striding purposefully + eyes fixed ahead = somewhere to go, things to do
- Chatting on phone + checks watch + headed in direction of station = meeting someone or going home
- Scarf around neck, elegant fashion, jacket over blouse or t-shirt, handbag, smoking = French
- Flowing thick black hair, dark colouring, good fashion, black eye liner = Italian
- Flowing thick black hair in a strange / punky style, big eyes = Spanish
- Long shiny black hair, beautiful striking eyes, heavy make-up, slightly gaudy fashion, skin mostly covered = Persian
- Long slim legs, efficient fashion with few items, heels, high cheekbones = Slavic
- Tall with good proportions, a bit chubby, not as hot as you’d expect from a distance, quite expensive clothing, shopping bags = Nordic
- Slow walk with wandering eyes, frequent impulsive stops to look at shops, changes of direction = bored foreigner
- Slow walk listening to music on headset, fully-stuffed handbag or visible book = has been or expects to be by herself for a while and currently starved of social contact
- Hips sway during walk, showing more skin than other girls today, attention-getting behaviours such as tossing hair, fussing with bag, big smile = horny and happy
None of this is science. You are working probabilities and intuitive feel. Ask any student who has been out with me and I can normally sum up a girl in a couple of seconds before I send him in to open. There’s probably a way to spot which university an American girl attends or which coast she’s from, but I’ve never learned it because I don’t talk to native English speakers. Learn the knowledge right for you.
Stage Three – Calibrate you energy, teasing, directness and friendliness
You are working from an initial assumption about the girl which, under my method, informs your choice of opener and in particular the details of the compliment and tease. Based on your initial profile, a knowledge of psychology and current trends, you are able to make a number of opening statements about the girl. These will intersperse specific information about the girl (based on your observation) with fun assumptions (based on your deduction and knowledge) and general assertions that are likely to be true about almost anyone in that demographic. Probative statements will follow in which you read the feedback for hits / misses and try to get her to open up. Everyone likes talking about themselves so if the girl has any attraction for you at all (even if she’s already taken) you can expect her to start giving answers that help you make your reads warmer and warmer. Here’s a few tips for how you open:
- Easily approachable girls, shorter than you, around 6-7 in hotness will generally stop with any kind of opener and should only be mildly complimented. They will find a strong compliment disingenuous. Make sure any teases are soft and not too direct to her sexual value.
- Purposeful girls who are in a hurry need a strong commanding stop and you need to quickly imply / outright state that you are hitting on them with a fairly direct compliment.
- Tall trophy girls who fit the archetype of highly-sought-after need far more masculine dominance and eye contact to stop them, a clearly direct opener and make sure the tease is quite personal. Take a risk then hold your frame against a challenge.
My usual London opener has me saying a simple deduction (e.g “You look Spanish”) then three observations (e.g “It’s your long black hair, big eyes, and silly shoes”) but there’s no neeed to stick closely to that model, especially if you have something more inspired spring to mind.
Stage Four – Try ons and Ropers
Now that you are starting to branch into a real conversation through the assumption stack you can get a bit more creative, more fun, and start prodding her to give information back. It’s at this point that it becomes more important to figure out where she is on the introversion/extroversion scale. Now, I much prefer introverted girls because being an introvert myself I prefer girls who have a long concentration span, are thoughtful, and not into attention-seeking. Few things kill my attraction quicker than a girl who won’t give me her full attention. There’s a few early indicators to pick up:
Introvert: muted clothing, lack of jewellry, closed body language, startles a little when you open her, looks down or away alot in the beginning, lets you lead the conversation, gives you full attention
Extrovert: mostly the opposite, so loud clothing, brash jewellry, opens up immediately, offers information unbidden quickly and soon tries to redirect conversation, checks phone
I’ll only pursue an extrovert if her interest level is high. They make for excellent high energy sets but I generally tire quickly around these girls. Each to his own. With introverts you can really get the slow verbal game going and slide into deep rapport without too much silly vibing which suits me because I like to drop the game and get real as soon as possible. Assuming you’ve picked an introvert (bear in mind extroverts overwhelm them 3-to-1) it’s easy to drop in character reads by rephrasing these tendencies to relate to her:
- You are more comfortable alone than in a crowd
- You tend to draw your energy from personal activites such as reading, listening to music, computers, or working on little projects
- You have a few select long time friends
- You become drained of energy when you are out in large groups
- When your study and family require you to be outgoing you need to take time off alone to recharge your energy
So just pick out little bits of her life and retell it to her with one of these themes, for example if she tells you she’s out for a walk around, say “I often like to just stroll around cities, by myself, absorbing the atmosphere of the culture and seeing interesting buildings. It’s often nice just to be in my thoughts, not talking to anyone, enjoying the anonymity of it.” Boom, instant commonality and rapport. Remember the goal is to relax her, get her to open up, and to build rapport. You are not trying to impress her with feats of intuitive ingenuity – that’s performance art and try-hard, which will prevent a successful flipping of the script. Don’t go directly into mentalist statements, just ask questions and apply many of the cold reads to yourself so that she agrees and finds commonality.
Stage Five – Hopes and Dreams
People like to consider themselves unique but in aggregate they are hugely predictable and both society and the human life-cycle tend to shunt people through the same critical stages. The challenges, dreams, hopes and regrets differ for each stage but the one that interests me is of course women 18-25. What concerns them? Here’s a relevant summary from a Cold Reading textbook:
“Before 18, the beginning of young adulthood – the battle cry is often, “I must get away from my parents!” However, there is seldom any real action behind the words. After that point, most people “do” begin the process of physically breaking away from the parental bonds of childhood. A person may go away to college, go into military service, take short-term trips, or lease an apartment.
During this period, young adults seek to establish a base of their own, while separating their views of the world from those of their parents. While “testing those beliefs,” according to Sheehy, young adults are likely to be “drawn to fads, preferably those most mysterious and inaccessible to their parents.” All the while, however, these young adults harbor a secret fear that they cannot really make it in the adult world – that they are still children. These feelings are masked by defiant behavior and acts of false bravado.
Young adults look for friends and peers whose views mesh with their own and for a time, they serve as a surrogate family. At some point, these friends may have a falling out – resulting in a return to the comfort and safety of the family home. “Rebounds are common between the ages of 18 and 22.”
At the end of this “test” period of independence, the young adult is better prepared to leave home from both a physical and emotional standpoint. Again, according to Sheehy, “A stormy passage…will probably facilitate the normal progression of the adult life cycle.” Conversely, those who fail to break the parental bonds during this period are destined to face an even harsher transition down the road.”
This will help you relate to her and allows you to again take a punt at framing her the direction you want as the idate progresses. It’s tough to frame a girl against her basic character but quite easy to nudge her closer to the desired frame if you are beginning with a legitimate dream of hers. For example:
- Focus on her identity and hobbies, the things that define her in opposition to her parents, and reassure her it’s good to break away and be a bit naughty at times
- She probably finds boys her own age immature. Frame them as lacking confidence, direction and experience, and instead full of fragile bravado. Position yourself as a man of the world who has accumulated wisdom
- She’ll be thirsting for new experiences and adventures. You are it. Let her know this is just an adventure and doesn’t define her character, making her a girl who “usually does that.” It’s always good to answer the question “what if?” rather than wish you had
- She’s restricted by family and societal rules. Give her permission to live a secret life with you. Pitch it as freedom and finding herself.
- Young girls rarely have money and still reliant on parents and part time work. Most would love to travel but haven’t been adult long enough to follow their dreams. So get them talking about it. There’ll be maybe one trip they’ve already done that holds strong sentimental value so get her talking about it.
- Never take a girl seriously as a relationship expert. She’s likely dating a boy from her social circle who was simply the best available at the time and she’s still learning how to date and doesn’t particularly like him. She hasn’t really found her type. So even if she says she’s been dating him a few years it’s better to assume (and frame) her as bored rather than in love. If she is in love, there’s nothing you could’ve done anyway
- Assume she sees you as a powerful, intriguing man of the world. It’s easy to forget how young people look up to and overestimate older people. That means it’s good to frame her as a silly little girl who doesn’t know anything. She knows that relative to you, she doesn’t. If she challenges give her qualified assurance that she’s very knowledgeable for a young girl.
Ok, that’s enough for now. I could write a book on how to cold read all the way through to a complete soul collection / deep conversion but I shan’t. That enough to see you through the first hour.