Reader Question: How do I Handle 1-Word Responses?


Written by DJ Fuji         Topics: Mailbag,Pickup


I want to address a question I received via email today that I’m guessing a LOT of you are wondering about:

Hey man, love the blog. I have a question about routines. When I got started I used a bunch of routines for the attraction phase and got decent results out of it. By the end I could get phone numbers on a pretty consistent basis, and some were flaky but some were solid. I wanted to check my skill level without routines so I started using a social opener, and then following it up with relying on my conversation skills off the bat. What I find is that most conversations went well, but some girls would just stand around and give one word input indefinitely. I imagine this is sometimes because they aren’t interested, and sometimes because they are just boring, so in either case I usually just walk away after a minute. Is there something I am missing here? Am I being too quick to judge? If so, what’s the best way to deal with this contingency? -J

There’s actually several variables at work here, J.

The first is that in a cold approach scenario (especially nightclubs), you have to take social value into account. Generall speaking, the bigger the difference in social value (e.g. contextual social status) between you and the girl, the more resistance you’ll face opening the set. Let’s imagine you’re an “8” on the guy-looks scale (Note: Looks obviously aren’t the end-all-be-all of social value/status but it serves as a good example). Now imagine a girl who would be a “2” on that same scale. 400 lbs, acne, ugly, maybe disfigured. Even knowing that we are doing cold approach a lot and are therefore more social/open to meeting people, don’t you think there would be some resistance we’d put up towards that girl? Now take that level of resistance you might feel and multiple it by 10. That’s what many girls in nightclubs feel in terms of social pressure when a lower-social-value guy approaches them. That doesn’t mean they always blow the guy off, or even that they won’t “give him a shot,” but it doesn’t change the fact that the social pressure is there.

Now I have no idea what social value you’re coming in with, but it’s important to realize that having the perfect thing to say isn’t going to guarantee a good reaction when you’re dressed poorly, are out of shape, aren’t smiling, smell bad, etc.

In your specific situation, I’m going to assume that since you’re getting decent reactions through routines that you’re a fairly normal/average/well-adjusted guy. That being the case, having some girls give you one-word answers is normal. Like you said, it could be because they’re boring, but it’s more likely because they’re uninterested. Unless girls are physically attracted to you right off the bat, you’re always going to start off an interaction with some level of internal resistance. We all do it — we are resistant to opening up to new people unless there’s a reason.

The key then, is to give her a reason to open up. She may be giving you 1 word answers because of a disparity in social value. She may be stereotyping you or she may not be into you physically. She might even just be having a bad day.

The solution is the same: Change her MOOD (Credit: Owen/Tyler).

When you get 1-word answers, your objective is to immediately get more investment because otherwise you’re on a downward-spiraling path to blow out. In order to get more investment we must give her a reason to invest. Logical reasons don’t work for the same reason that the aforementioned 400lbs girl could tell us she’s nice and rich and a really sweet girl and it wouldn’t make us want to invest more in her. We must give her an emotional reason to invest.

In short, you must make her feel “attraction” for you on some level. That doesn’t mean she has to want to take you home with her that moment, but you do need her to associate positive emotions with you.

By far the easiest way to do this is humor.

A lot of gurus in the community like to downplay social skills and humor because they would have you believe that sexuality is all you need. “Just escalate and have intent and everything will be right in the world.” If only it were that easy. That’s like saying you don’t have to have skills to beat Michael Jordan in a 1-on-1 game, you just have to believe you can. Riiiiight.

The Secret

Humor is one of your most powerful tools in the game because it’s so versatile. It disguises escalation. It changes emotions. It creates attraction. It nullifies tension. It gets you out of damage control/bad situations. It creates rapport and comfort. It exudes confidence.

It took me SO long to figure this out. I literally went the first 2 years in pickup without having a developed sense of humor and it was a painful process. I remember when I started integrating humor into my game because my results doubled almost overnight. I credit a big part of that breakthrough to my wingmen who were mostly naturals and really funny guys. Some of you guys know Mike Kamouflage, who was so good at damage control because he could make a girl laugh on command. It’s hard to be mad at someone when they keep making you laugh.

So coming back to your question, the key to working with 1-word answers (e.g., a neutral or negative response) is to provide value, which in most cases is through humor. It doesn’t matter if she gives you a 1-word answer if you can make her laugh off of that answer. You do this by being able to generate humor from very little investment.

One of the key things I teach on boot camps is how to do this. Because then you don’t have to rely on routines anymore. They’re icing on the cake and not the cake itself.

Here’s one drill I teach that will help you develop this ability. I call it the Investment-Value Cycling (IVC) drill.

Step 1: Ask a generic open-ended question that will get a 1-word answer. Ex: “Where are you from?”

Step 2: She will answer predictably with a location/state/country/city/etc. Usually in 1-word form. Ex: Canada. If you are doing this by yourself, then come up with the answer or location yourself. You can probably predict some of the common answers you might get if you ask this question.

Step 3: Your job is to tease her or poke fun of her based on that 1-word answer using stereotypes, sarcasm, satire, etc.

Ex: “oh my god I LOVE Canada. They’re like our little ‘special’ brothers and sisters up north that we have to defend when bullies come around! That’s soo cute. <pinch her cheeks>”

Ex2: “You know, I’ve always wanted to live in an igloo. It just seems so cool. Haha but wait, does your house fall apart when you turn on the heater? That must suck.”

See how this works? Don’t panic if you can’t come up with something right away. When I first started doing these drills, it took me like an hour to come up with a single answer. But you know what? The more I did the drill, the faster I got with it. An hour turned into 30 minutes, which turned into 15, which turned into 5, and then 1, and then 30 seconds, and pretty soon I had an answer in under a second. That’s where you eventually want to get to. I did this exact drill for 15+ hours per week for almost a year. That eventually brought me to the point where I’ve got about a 90% chance that I’ll have something pretty funny to say within 1 second of her answer. That’s not natural talent, that’s synthetically-developed humor through drills and technique.

The last thing to address is stop false-ejecting in night-time environments. Stay in your sets until the girls excuse themselves or ask you to leave. It’s harder, and you’ll blow out of more sets, but you’ll learn WAY more than you will by quitting early every time. Take your lumps like a man and stay in until it’s over. And it ain’t over til the fat lady sings. There have been plenty of times when I ended up taking a girl home whom I almost walked away from at first because it seemed like it was going nowhere the first few minutes. You gain nothing from false ejecting aside for not hurting your ego. But you lose a LOT.

I hope this answers your questions, J.

P.S. I’m actually thinking about compiling a giant PUA FAQ on the site which will break down about 100 of the most common scenarios (like this one) and what to do when you get into them. I’ve never seen anything like this on the internet and I think it’ll be a great resource. If you guys think this might be useful, or if you have your own ideas, please let me know in the comments..

Posted on December 25, 2010