In my recent post about online dating, I mentioned some of the reasons why it’s a poor percentage play, and encouraged singles to go out and meet people in person. Today, I want to talk about some of the reasons going out is a high percentage play. I’ll also mention some ways to use group dynamics to your advantage in social networking.
Online Social Groups
With the coming of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, World of Warcraft, Second Life, and all the other online social applications, we’ve entered uncharted territory. South Park recently aired an episode called “You Have 0 Friends.” (Check it out at South Park Studios if you haven’t seen it.) Out of pity, Kyle sends a facebook friend request to some random loser kid who has no friends. For the rest of the episode, the poor kid dances and runs around the house telling his parents all about what his new best friend is doing — what he’s had for dinner, what he’s up to in school, etc.
It’s a good joke. The kid still has no friends, but he gets the endorphin rush as if he had friends. Believe me, if he were to hang out with Kyle and the rest of the South Park gang, he’d be kicked to the curb.
The truth is that online social circles are a kind of surrogate dope dealer. They give us a feeling of belonging and acceptance, which kicks in our dopamine production and makes us feel good. But like the dope dealer’s high, it doesn’t actually get us very far in the real world.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being the old fart who automatically dislikes anything the kids are doing these days. I’ve got a ton of friends on Facebook. I use Facebook for atheist networking and plugging my blog. It’s a very good tool for that, and has me connected to people all over the world. It has its uses.
Real Life Social Groups
But when it comes to dating and success in the real world, it’s just not that useful. Out in the field, it’s about who you really know. For men, I think one of the great failings of books on “Game” is that they sell us short on the power of groups of friends. Sure, it’s important to know how to carry yourself, how to talk to women, and how to escalate attraction. But when it comes right down to it, having a social group is one of the best ways to generate attraction without even trying:
- Social groups are social proof. When you’re happily interacting with a group of people — especially a group of both sexes — it’s proof that you’re not some weirdo loser. You’re accepted by lots of people. You’re entertaining lots of people. You play well with others. These are all qualities that are attractive to both sexes. It’s no secret why the Mystery Method encourages players to insinuate themselves into a group of strangers immediately after entering a bar. It’s creating the impression that you have lots of good friends. Everyone else in the bar notices you with “friends.” But what I’m recommending is one step better than that. Make real friends, and go out with them! Simple, eh?
- Social Groups are Dating Networks. Most people don’t just have one social circle, and you shouldn’t either. Most people have their work cohorts, their family, their sports friends, their bowling league, their book clubs, etc. So when I am accepted into a social group, I’m also one step away from dozens of other social groups, and if I want to, I can use my friendships as social proof for new groups. It’s networking at its finest. And each new group I join is a potential dating pool.
- Social Groups are Comfort Building. Comfort is one of the important steps in finding a mate. Attraction by itself usually isn’t enough. Social groups allow people who are attracted to one another to become comfortable. Instead of having to cram attraction, rapport, comfort, and seduction into one crazy evening, people in social groups can gradually build all of these things while not feeling the pressure of having to focus on each other all the time.
- Social Groups Generate References. Girls love to play matchmaker. Ask any girl. When you’re in a social group, your best advocates are the girls who don’t want to date you! I think a lot of guys make the mistake of abandoning a group when it becomes clear that none of the girls are interested. That’s a mistake. A big mistake. A guy who stays with the group and proves that he’s not just after tail is giving social proof to all the girls he’s not constantly trying to seduce. They may not be attracted to him, but there’s a damn good chance that they have a friend who’s single, and pretty soon, those female gears are going to commence to scheming.
Game in Social Groups
So much literature about Game is directed towards seducing complete strangers! But Game can also be very effective in groups. It just has to be played differently. What I’ll call “Single Game” is about being over the top. It’s about putting a supercharge into the process of attraction in the shortest time possible. “Group Game” is more understated. It’s about being an integral and dynamic part of a group, not always being the center of attention. It’s about demonstrating values consistently — especially towards your desired sex. It’s about showing that even though you have alpha qualities, you are not a micro-manager. You don’t always have to be the object of everyone’s affection. (That will display confidence, by the way… letting other people have the floor for a while.)
And the beauty of Group Game is that it can run simultaneously with Single Game. If you’re out with a group and you see someone you’re interested in, you can still turn on the Single Game and try to either pull her into your group, or merge the two groups. And seriously… how much better is it to pull your target back into a group that will banter with you about that ski trip two years ago? Sure, you could just make your own group on the fly, then pull a girl into it, but there are a lot of unknowns. You never know when your new group is going to turn on you or just abandon you completely. That’s not going to happen with a real group.
Groups of Girls
Most of what I’ve been talking about has been directed at guys. After all, girls know about groups, right? They travel in packs. It’s very rare to see a girl by herself in a club. Very rare.
But I think there are distinct advantages for girls who integrate their groups. Admittedly, it’s not always so easy for girls to form stable groups with guys, since the guys will tend to hit on the girls they’re interested in, then leave if they don’t get the response they want. But it can be done. One of the easiest ways for girls to get into integrated groups is to join some sort of league. Bowling leagues, dart leagues, softball leagues, poker leagues, etc… these are usually stable long term groups. In other words, once it’s become obvious that a girl’s not interested in anyone on the team, the team’s still going to keep showing up every week. And every week, there’s a new group of guys to check out on the opposing team.
There are also lots of clubs in the world. Most girls have at least one hobby or interest that’s compatible with guys’ interests. (If you don’t, you should look into that.) Joining a club is a great way to gain an instant social group. A girl who brings her single friend into a social group is a hit with everybody, too. It’s a win-win.
The Power of the House
Entertaining at home is magic. By letting all of your friends see you at your most personal, you’re building significant comfort with lots of people all at once. By showing off your cooking skills, your wine collection, and your taste in art, you’re demonstrating value. The fact that your house is clean and you have kept several plants alive demonstrates long term commitment possibilities.
The trick to good networking from home is the “plus one.” Don’t just invite your friends. Invite your friends, and give each of them a “plus one” to invite one of their friends. (The trick to this, by the way, is to give one “plus one” to each couple. That way, they are more likely to bring a single friend than one of their couple friends!) Get names, get phone numbers. Get yourself invited to parties at other people’s houses. It’s magic. Really.
Unfortunately, groups in and of themselves are not necessarily magic. Groups can isolate themselves just like individuals. I’m reminded of a group of twenty-something guys that used to hang out in a remote corner of Starbucks and play Magic The Gathering for six or eight hours a day. It was the exact same guys every night for months.
Groups work best when they’re dynamic. In leagues, new players come while old players quit. With good clubs, there are usually conventions to go to. If a “Beer Club” goes to the same club every week, it’s not going to be as effective as if it picks a new club each week. The group that sits in the corner is not as effective as the one that mingles in the middle of everything.
Finally, groups work best when they encourage people to join. (This is part of the “Group Game” I was talking about.) If someone comes up and asks what the bunch of you are doing, tell them, then ask them to join you! The beauty of this tactic is that it’s confident without being threatening. Even if it’s a group of two girls joining a table of guys, it’s still a group joining a group, and most people are more willing to do that than to sit at a table with only one or two people.
Some groups encourage outreach. Political groups, activist groups and such… these are groups where recruiting new members is a priority. If you have an interest in something like this, consider being part of a recruitment drive. You get to meet all the new people first! Even if you’re not that socially comfortable, just joining a group will go a long way towards meeting new people and making new friends.
Let the Dating Happen
Once you’ve expanded your social networks, don’t worry too much about finding the love of your life right away. Don’t try to run Game on every girl in the first month. Just relax. Make real friends. The group is not there to get you laid right now. It’s there to give you the social power to be more attractive when the right person crosses your path. And the beauty of it is that even if you don’t find a mate right away, you get to do something fun, and get all the dopamine rushes from being accepted socially.
Use the group as a safety net when you go out. Branch out, invite people to join you. Hit on people you find attractive. If it works, introduce them to the group, then relax for a little while, and then start running the separation and seduction. If it doesn’t work, shrug it off and go back to the interesting conversation you were having before. It’s soooooo much easier to take rejection when you’ve got a group to fall back on.
Finally, if you really want to pony up the money, you can still go home after a night out with the group and check Match.com. If someone’s interested, you can invite them to do something with your group. How awesome is that!