Know When to Fold 'Em

by Eric Disco
Jun 4

I’ve just finished a coaching session.

As I step onto the subway platform, I pull out my book to read while I wait for the train.

A very cute blonde girl with plaid pants and a low-cut blouse slowly walks by as if she’s heading nowhere in particular.

So without hesitation, I tap her on the arm.

“Is the J train running?” I ask her, motioning to the J train sign.

“I don’t know,” she says with an accent. “I think so. The trains are not running well today.”

She’s friendly and smiling. She stops walking. She’s now standing next to me.

“I’m going to hire you as my personal tour guide,” I say to her. “I’m going to take you everywhere with me.”

She laughs. “Oh, I don’t know, I think you will get very lost.”

“You know, call me crazy, but I thought I detected a bit of an accent,” I say.

She looks down and blushes. “I have much of an accent.”

“I’m gonna say French,” I guess.

I’ve gotten very good at guessing people’s accents. 85% of the time I get it right now. And this time I’m on again.

“I have some French friends,” I tell her, stealing a line from my friend, John Keegan. “They dress really well but they’re a little crazy.”

“Ah yes,” she says. “They are not so–how do you say?–’straight’ as the Americans.”

She is not very comfortable speaking English. So I press on, carrying much of the conversation.

I speak slowly, clearly and extra loud whenever I speak with a foreigner.

“So what are you doing in New York? Did you run away from home?” I ask.

“I have an internship,” she tells me.

“What kind of internship? Selling fish at the market?” We’re near canal street where all the vendors sell fish.

“No, photography,” she laughs.

I ask what inspired her to get into photography. She tries, but she can’t quite explain.

The train comes and a crowd of people gather round. I make sure I step onto the train before she does.

I find an open space and she comes over and stands next to me.

“So you never asked me what I do,” I say to her.

“Okay…” she says, motioning for me to continue.

“Go ahead, ask me,” I say.

Even though she’s smiling, she won’t play along.

I launch into a often-used story about how I am an author and the importance of being able to tell stories. I tell her a story about my parents and then I throw the conversation back to her.

But she doesn’t have much to say.

Then I decide to let things drop. I wait to see if she’ll pick up the conversation. I pretend to look at something on the wall in the subway.

It grows slightly awkward.

But I refuse to pick up conversation again. At this point, I decide, if she doesn’t, then I’m done with things.

I don’t care if we have two stops to go.

I could keep going with things. I could continue to try and engage her, but at this point, it simply isn’t worth it.

Part of the problem here–and this may be the entire problem–is that she doesn’t speak English very well.

A girl having problems with English doesn’t necessarily hurt your chances.

The more trouble she has with English, the more difficult it is for her to meet people, and the more likely it is she’ll welcome the chance to hang out with you.

But I simply refuse to put any more energy into this interaction.

Whether she has trouble with English, doesn’t know how to continue a conversation, or simply isn’t into me enough–it doesn’t really matter at this point.

If she can’t take any initiative here, then it’s not worth continuing. I could just as easily walk up to another girl and start an interaction.

In my last post, I talked about the importance of commitment, how some women are shy, nervous or simply don’t know how to continue an interaction.

If you aren’t comfortable pushing interactions forward, it is one of the most important skills to have. Many opportunities will slip through your fingers if you are too quick to leave.

However, it’s also good to know when to walk away from a woman when things aren’t working. Sometimes it’s awkward, but knowing when to end things is, in itself, a skill.

After I let conversation drop, she doesn’t pick it up again. And so, I open my book and start reading it.

As the train nears my stop, I give her a tap on the arm and say bye to her with a smile.

Easy come, easy go.

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posted in Initiative and Inhibition, Self-Improvement Strategies

COMMENTS
10 responses
Francis says:

Great post Eric

Love the opener and the banter, but especially how you *allowed* the conversation die. I’ve been in this situation so many times with girls at the bar and especially with foreign girls and my habit is to just keep ploughing through trying to get connection when they are not taking the initiative themselves.

One question though, how do you pull this off in a bar setting when you’re face to face with a girl who’s not giving you much back, do you just say “pleasure to meet you” and just walk off and talk to someone else it just stand there and keep quite.

Ariel says:

Thanks for such a detailed account of the approach. To strengthen your point about the last post – I think in the case of most guys staying in is the more relevant skill. I know this is the case for me – an example from just an hour ago:
Saw this really cute girl on my campus she was looking at some pieces of paper. I came and said `Hi, how are you doing?’ She kind of looked and said `Hi’ and went back to organizing her pieces of paper. I waited a few seconds and then said
`Well I just wanted to say hi I can see you’re in the middle of something’
She said
`Ye, and I’m so glad to be done with this project..’
I said `Good’ and then left cause I was nervous- but afterwards thought that her remark was a clear opening to continue talking

Eric Disco says:

Ariel, I agree that for most guys, the problem is that they aren’t tenacious enough in staying in interactions.

Eric

Ariel says:

A somewhat technical question:
In the `approach a day’ excercise what exactly should be considered an approach?
For example: If I say `Hi how are you doing’, she says `good’ and I walk away – is that too little to be considered a `Level 3′ in your terminology?

Another example: I’m at this weekend dance seminar with 100 people and approach there. Can that be my approach for the day? Or does it have to be somewhere more `public’ where more anxiety will be evoked?

Eric Disco says:

One question though, how do you pull this off in a bar setting when you’re face to face with a girl who’s not giving you much back, do you just say “pleasure to meet you” and just walk off and talk to someone else it just stand there and keep quite.

Francis, I talk about this a little bit in this post, After the Intensity, Release the Pressure.

In a social setting, like a party or a bar, walking away from a woman is one of the best things you can do, particularly if she’s not giving you the attention you deserve.

For maximum effect, you don’t even need to say good bye. You simply walk off. Don’t even say goodbye. It’s powerful and makes her really think about you in your absence.

On top of that, if you are able to start an interaction with another woman or some other people, that’s the best situation. You show what a social and fun guy you are and she sees that. You can build her interest just as much by interacting with other people as you can by interacting with her.

Flirt with women in the vicinity. Get them laughing and having fun. Take advantage of the social situation where everyone is just hanging out. Eventually wander back to this girl later–if she doesn’t open you again first.

Eric

Eric Disco says:

In the `approach a day’ excercise what exactly should be considered an approach?
For example: If I say `Hi how are you doing’, she says `good’ and I walk away – is that too little to be considered a `Level 3′ in your terminology?

For me, a good goal for the day was to exchange names with a woman–or at least announce my intention to do so. So if I were being indirect, I would need to at least introduce myself. If I were being more direct, I might say that I saw her and wanted to come say hi with the intention of next saying, “I’m Eric.” If she said that she didn’t want to talk before I could introduce myself, I still counted that.

But don’t discount the value of saying something like, “How are you?” and walking away. That in itself is a worthwhile goal depending on where you are with this stuff. If that is challenging you, then keep doing that for a while. There is no shame in that. I still do that with some women. Once you’ve practiced that a while, then move on to more challenging situations. There will always be more challenges, so start with something manageable, something you know you can do every day.

Another example: I’m at this weekend dance seminar with 100 people and approach there. Can that be my approach for the day? Or does it have to be somewhere more `public’ where more anxiety will be evoked?

Meeting women in social circle situations does tend to be less challenging than meeting a woman on the street. You’ve already got something in common. But don’t for a minute think that it’s not worthwhile. In fact, I highly recommend going to more social events like this. You’ve already got an in because you can talk about the event. “Have you taken lessons before?” etc.

Many would say that this is a much more effective way to meet women than random people on the street. It’s easy to see whether a woman is physically attractive but not as easy to see whether a woman does anything interesting. Therefore it makes sense to go to places where interesting women will be and interact with the hot ones rather than going to places where hot women will be and trying to find the interesting ones.

Eric

Ariel says:

Eric,
Thanks so much for going into such detail about how you practiced. That was quite helpful

Ariel

Nick says:

Bro

I feel if you had a connection with her(as Cory puts it), things would have been way different. I bet, she would have tried everything in the world to engage you into the conversation, even if you were reading the book.

I hope you could post more FRs of how you had a connection with a girl and she stalked you for the next hour. I discovered Cory Skyy through your articles man and it changed my life. Thanks for that.

Cheers

Cameron says:

“It’s easy to see whether a woman is physically attractive but not as easy to see whether a woman does anything interesting.

Therefore it makes sense to go to places where interesting women will be and interact with the hot ones rather than going to places where hot women will be and trying to find the interesting ones.”

I love this! Thanks Eric!

dave says:

Eric – Man, what a GREAT conversation! I have gone through it 20 times pretending that I was the one approaching and that I was the
one talking to her. My imagination just is not THAT good! Since my last
“attempt?” was more than 30 years ago, I have been laughing by
thinking ( remembering) of what she would really have said to ME,
even back then.

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