“Use It or Lose It” Maxim Examined
The Familiar Dilemma
I had a girlfriend. But I was in Vegas, without her. Beautiful girls swooped by me—to my left, to my right. The beat of dance music was like a knock at a door that I didn’t want to answer. I’d been 5 months out of the game, happy in a relationship—yet being here, in this City of Sin, I wanted to approach women.
Restraining myself, I tried to put it in perspective. “What do I hope to get out of approaching?” I asked myself. I knew I couldn’t have sex with any of these women, as I was sharing a room with Zack. I knew taking a girl’s phone number would be completely useless, since we were leaving early the next morning.
So, why then was I feeling this immense need to approach women?
When I realized the answer, I felt disgusted with myself. My only reason for wanting to approaching women was so I could make sure I still “had it.” In other words, I wanted to prove to myself that I could still pickup girls. I craved the reassurance that my approach anxiety hadn’t come back, that I hadn’t lost my cultivated charisma, that I could still think on my feet.
I was under the belief that meeting women is a “skill set”—a practiced set of behaviors that might atrophy if I didn’t “work” them.
That “predicament” isn’t unique to me. Almost every guy who studies dating advice has a similar thought at some point in their “dating career.” Most of us fear that our ability to attract women is akin to a building muscle—by not using it we could lose all the positive “gains” we slaved for during those countless nights out.
Well, let me assuage your non-approach anxiety—it doesn’t work like that.
One of the great misconceptions of the dating advice industry is its stance of what it teaches. Learning to become better with women isn’t a “skill,” it’s an understanding. It’s an understanding of social interactions, an understanding of women, and—most importantly—it’s an understanding of yourself. You can’t “lose” an understanding—once you have it, you have it.
I often compare the journey to becoming better with women to learning how to ride a bike. We often begin with training wheels because we’re afraid of the “pain” that comes with falling. Later, when we take those training wheels off, we get our ass handed to us a few times (though, we realize it’s never THAT painful). Each time we’re brave enough to get back on the bike, we inch our way a little closer to riding on our own.
Then, one day, everything clicks and we ride off into the sunset.
And once we have that epic ride—the one where everything clicks—we can’t “unlearn” it. We can’t suddenly forget what it feels like to balance ourselves, to pump the pedals, to ride the fucking bike. Likewise, once you learn the proper “balance” when interacting with women, you can’t forget it. It’s not a “skill.”
Appreciate the One You’re With
You may be wondering, “Why even write this article? What mind-blowing revelation is there in explaining that picking up women is an understanding, and not a skill?” On the surface, it may seem frivolous; yet I believe this might be the most important article that some devotees of the dating advice industry will EVER read.
That’s because this is an article designed to get you to appreciate the moment. Appreciate the time you spend with the woman you want—and don’t get hung up on worrying about losing your “pickup skills.” Worrying about that is like all those people who worried about the Rapture that never came.
Anxiety blocks you from appreciating what’s right in front of your face. Approach anxiety keeps you from enjoying the girls you don’t know, and non-approach anxiety keeps you from enjoying the girls you do know. Don’t be like I was in Vegas, feeling an unnecessary urge to prove to myself that I still I “had it.”
Of course I still “have it.” I always will, and so will you. Becoming better with women is simply an understanding—you may have slaved and practiced to arrive at that understanding, but once you’re there, feel confident that you can “ride into the sunset” anytime you want.
Feel that confidence, and just enjoy the moment. Enjoy the one you’re with, with the cool understanding that if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be just fine.
>>>To Learn More From Rob, Check Out “The 4 Elements of Game” where he breaks down game into four simple adjustments.
About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.