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Getting Over Pick Up Rust

Getting Back In The Game

Pick up rust. Game atrophy. Most men suffer from it at one point or another. What happens is a guy worked on getting good with women a bunch, went out all the time for a year or two, then suddenly stopped for six months or a year and are trying to get back into it.

Often it?s because they got a nice girlfriend. Sometimes it?s because of work or family obligations. Whatever the reason is, they were taken out of the game and now they?re trying to get back into old form.

I suffered through this last year. I came out of a two year relationship, and it felt like I had to be single for a good 3-6 months to even get my bearings and feel out where I was again. It was a big shock to my system. I felt completely different ? in some ways better and in some ways way worse.

Over the years I?ve worked with a lot of guys who have had to shake the old rust off too. So I figured I?d put together a little laundry list of things to expect.

Lifestyle/Inner Game

This tends to improve while you?re away. Whether you left for a relationship, to get your career in order, or to just relax and explore other hobbies, you generally come back with a more solid foundation and stronger sense of confidence.


This is the first and most obvious thing that you lose. The good news is that it comes back very quickly. Approach anxiety returns, but it?s not nearly as bad as it used to be. Usually within 4-5 approaches and you?re more or less where you left off. I say 1-2 days to recover this tops.

Connecting and Conversation

I find this gets better while you?re away from the game if you were in a relationship. A girlfriend will emotionally open you up and make you more sensitive and calibrated to the emotions of others around you. If you weren?t in a relationship, this is probably a wash.


Flirting takes a bit longer. When you?ve been away, you get very accustomed to non-sexual and plain friendly conversations. As a result, the next issue you usually hit coming back after getting the approaching back is the, ?we had a nice 45 minute boring conversation about our jobs,? — i.e., you become the friend zone guy again, i.e., she never calls you back.

Good news, is that once again this comes back kind of like riding a bike. I?d say 4-5 nights out tops, and you?re going at 90% of where you used to be. Just take a couple nights, or maybe about 10 approaches and some focus on teasing the hell out of them again and seeing what happens.

Follow Up

This one actually mind-fucked me for a while. Depending on how long you were away, all of the second-guessing and awkwardness of following up with girls comes back. This surprised me and actually drove me nuts and made me feel like a newbie again for a couple weeks. Just remember to trust your gut, you?ll doubt yourself, but just go with it. Eventually you?ll fall back into a comfortable groove of calling and texting the girls you meet.


Here?s the biggie. For whatever reason, the single hardest thing to work up when you?ve lost it is your sexual aggression. This skill takes massive repetition and a concerted effort. I?d say you?re looking at 4-6 weeks minimum and a lot of lost lays because of it. It can be VERY frustrating because you?re in a strange place where mentally you know what you should be doing, but your actions just aren?t following through like they used to.

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About Mark Manson Mark Manson is a writer and dating coach from Boston. He spends most of his time abroad visiting exotic places and fornicating with exotic women. He's also the creator of the acclaimed Mark Manson website.

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