There are two basic styles of initiating interactions with women you don’t know. One is ‘direct’ and the other ‘indirect.’
When you are direct, you are up front about the fact that you are interested in her and you let her know right from the very start.
An example of that might be “Hey, I just had to come tell you that you are unbelievably cute! My name’s Eric.”
When you are indirect, you act as if you are interacting with her for another reason other than sexual interest.
An example would be asking a girl “Hey, do you know how to get to the library from here?”
Both styles are great. There are times when I’ve focused a lot on direct, and others when I’ve focused on indirect.
I know a lot of guys who are amazing with women. Many of them swear by the direct method and others swear by the indirect method.
However, the best guys I know are able to use either direct or indirect, depending on the situation.
Going direct is like a sledgehammer. It’s the nuclear option. You are laying everything down on the table.
It super-charges the interaction with an amazing energy.
Why? Because you are risking so much.
She will either be very into you, or she may reject you–harshly.
You are showing a lot of bravery when you go direct because you’re making yourself vulnerable.
Here are some examples of going direct from some great guys I know:
Glenn P will walk up to a girl and say “I just had to come tell you…” with a quick sexual look up and down her body, “that you are fucking delicious.”
Cory Skyy has talked about how, in a bar, he will walk up to a girl and look her in the eye. He reaches down, takes her hand in his and says, simply and slowly, “Wow.”
Lance Mason uses a high-energy approach where he walks up to a girl and, with a great smile on his face says “I was walking by and I had to say, you are unbelievably cute!”
In terms of approach anxiety, I pioneered a very low-energy direct method that is literally impossible to fuck up.
“Hi. I was just walking by and I wanted to come say hi. My name’s Eric.”
It’s powerful because you don’t need to convince her of your sincerity and at the same time she knows exactly why you’re there.
Robbie Kramer from Inner Confidence recently told me about a fun direct approach.
He walks up to a girl and says “Can I get your advice about something?”
“If you were a guy with brown hair,” he continues to describe himself “and a silver necklace and striped shirt on, and you were interested in a girl who had short blonde hair, a nose ring and a cute smile just like that [he’s describing her] what would you say?”
It’s great because you can either take it really sincere or be more playful and bust on her afterward.
Going direct is good when you really like the girl. It’s great because she can feel your energy and interest.
If you are not sure whether you’re really into her, it’s better to go indirect. That way you can warm up to her and talk to her a bit more and find out if you are feeling it more.
Going direct is bad in certain situations as well.
For example, at work or in social circles, you don’t want to risk things getting weird.
If there’s a chance you are going to have to see the girl again, you probably don’t want to go direct.
It’s also not great to go direct in places where you or her can’t walk away, like in an elevator or a crowded subway train.
In those situations, indirect can be a lot more fun.
If direct is a sledgehammer, indirect is a scalpel that allows you to do things a lot more subtly.
Some great guys I know primarily go indirect.
Awaken uses a great opener “Can you tell me if there’s a place to get on the internet around here?”
It’s very innocuous at the start, but it also allows you to ramp up a conversation without the risk of her becoming uncomfortable.
Lee also normally goes indirect and has a whole slew of fun openers. He’ll walk up to a group of girls and say “Let me guess, you guys are talking about boys!”
Going indirect is powerful because she isn’t put on the spot to decide whether she likes you from the very start.
She can acclimate herself to you and get a better picture of who you are with very little pressure on her.
I came up with an opener I use in very low-energy situations like on the subway. “Hey, do you know if there’s a zoo in central park?”
The key a lot of times with an indirect opener is to follow it up with a few more probing questions and probably some banter.
The banter helps to show your confidence and personality and gets both of you in a playful mood.
Indirect is also usually preferable at night in bars and clubs.
It is possible to go direct, but usually a high-energy light and playful mood fits the environment better and holds people’s interest.
Which to choose?
It’s good to be proficient at both methods of opening.
In certain situations, going direct is by far the best option.
A girl walking down the street at a fast pace. You run to catch up to her. Definitely go direct.
But other situations certainly call for a more laid-back non-direct approach.
A gallery opening where everyone is focused on the artwork. The situation pretty much calls for an opening talking about the art rather than going direct.
Approach Anxiety and Direct vs. Indirect
In terms of approaching anxiety, there are a number of considerations when going direct vs. indirect.
When I started out, I liked the whole low-energy direct approach. There wasn’t anything to think about.
I walked up to a girl, said my thing and if I got rejected, it didn’t matter. I did my one approach for the day.
It was good because it forced me to commit. If she was into it, I would definitely have a conversation.
However if you are dealing with approach anxiety, there are some good aspects to going indirect.
With indirect, you can ramp up to interactions.
You can ask one girl for directions and walk away. And then ask another girl for directions and banter. And then the next girl you can transition into conversation.
The indirect method allows you to somewhat painfully acclimate yourself to the process instead of trying to do it all at once.
When I started out, I focused on going direct for a few weeks/months and then switched to going indirect for a while. It was the best way to master the method.