One of my most popular articles ever is the 15 Things I Learned in Five Years piece, which covered the most important lessons I gleaned from my time in the Pick Up Artist community. Towards the end of that article, I listed what I believe to be the most overrated ideas/techniques taught by PUA’s as well as what’s underrated and not taught enough.

This article will be similar, although I will cover picking up women in terms of the Pareto Principle, more commonly referred to as the 80/20 Rule.

If you aren’t aware, the 80/20 Rule states that in just about anything you do, 80% of your effort will produce 20% of your results, and 20% of your effort will create 80% of the results. It’s used all the time in a wide array of areas of study, including economics, business and self-help among others. 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your profits. 80% of your friends you’ll only hang out with 20% of the time. 20% of a country’s wealth will come from 80% of its population. On and on… it can be applied to almost anything.

Author Tim Ferriss recently popularized the idea of applying the 80/20 Rule to your lifestyle in order to make everything more efficient. He recommended applying it in everything from hobbies (focus on the 20% of your interests that give you 80% of your enjoyment), friends (focus on the 20% of people that you’re closest to), clutter in your apartment, time management, etc. Again, you can apply it to anything.

So let’s apply it to dating and women. Shall we?

The 20% of Your Effort That Will Bring 80% of Your Results

  • Your Appearance – The quickest and easiest thing for a man to change that will affect his results more or less immediately: getting nice clothes, bringing his hygiene up to par, getting a nice haircut, exercising somewhat regularly, correcting major body language flaws. All of these things can be done within days and will immediately double or triple the amount of positive reactions you’ll get from women. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, looks do matter, but they have diminishing returns on them. For instance, as a man, the difference between being a 5 instead of a 3 in the looks department will go much much farther than the difference between being an 8 over a 6. Being good-looking is nice, but NOT being unattractive is far, far more important. And every man has it within his power to not be unattractive. Dress well, take care of yourself, get a little style, stand straight. This is non-negotiable.
  • Going Out and Approaching Often – Woody Allen famously said that 80% of success is just showing up. Picking up women is not much different. At its core, we’re dealing with a numbers game. And if you’re not going out and not taking shots, you’re not going to get much success. A large portion of this is simply finding a the right girl on the right night (or day). You can’t find them if you’re not going out looking. The funny thing about this stuff is that a girl who may love you on Saturday would have hated you on Friday. And another girl who loved you Friday would have hated you on Saturday. For that reason, make sure you’re out on both Friday AND Saturday.
  • Being Relaxed – The quickest turn-off for any woman is a man who is intimidated by her. Long-time readers know about my firm belief that if you removed all fear and anxiety from guys, that the vast majority of their sticking points would evaporate or quickly resolve themselves with experience. I believe that a lot of guys think that they lack conversation skills, or a good enough sense of humor, etc., when really they’re just too nervous and intimidated by the situation to communicate what they feel properly.
  • Listening and Relating – The perfect seduction involves saying little and listening a lot. Women will tell you everything you need to say or do with them, it’s simply a matter of opening up your ears and hearing what they’re saying. It rarely comes in the form of words, but rather in hints, subtleties, intentions and emotions. Women go out wanting a guy to sweep her off her feet, to give her the night of her life, she’s rooting for you to succeed as much as you are, she just can’t come out and say that. But the entire time she’s sending you signals as to what she wants and what you should be doing.
  • Social Circles – Having friends, a lot of friends, continues to be underrated. Hooking up with girls through a social circle is so easy that many guys don’t even consider it a legitimate method. Let’s just put it this way, if you meet a hot girl, and her roommate has already told her about you, and you’re really good friends with her friend’s boyfriend, then it’s going to be about ten times easier than it would be to meet her cold in the first place. Meeting women through a large and robust social circle is easier and more fun than going out to meet women solo all the time. It’s also a far more efficient use of your time and energy.
  • Touching – You could have the best lines and jokes in the world, the coolest date planned out, the most interesting and engaging topics of conversation… but if you’re not touching her, nothing’s going to happen. Ever. Sexual touching early in the interaction is the single difference between being a girl’s best friend and being her boyfriend. On the other hand, you could have dumb jokes, a lame date, and typical conversation, but if you’re physically aggressive, more often than not you’re going to end up hooking up with her anyway.
  • Logistics – If you still live with mom, live an hour outside of the city, don’t have a car, share a room with two roommates, or live in a town that simply doesn’t have many single women, you’re going to always struggle no matter what you do or how tight your game is. If you have a pimp-pad in the middle of Manhattan or are staying in a suite on the Vegas Strip… well, let’s just say you don’t exactly have to be Don Juan to get laid a whole lot.

The 80% of Your Effort That Will Bring 20% of Your Results

  • The Clever Things You Say – Clever lines and witty jokes are nice and help generate attraction, but guys over-emphasize them and over-estimate their usefulness. Guys tend to assume they need to be saying something hilarious and witty at all times. I’d say the ratio is more like you should say something clever and funny a minimum of once ever 3-5 minutes depending on how engaging and serious the conversation is. Early in the interaction, you may need to say more. But honestly, the combination of physical escalation, listening and relating, and logistics all trump the best verbal game in the world hands down. A lot of intermediate guys resist believing me when I tell them all of this. But seriously, go to a country where no one speaks English, go out by yourself and pick up a girl. It sounds impossible, but it’s actually not much harder than picking up a girl back home, if at all.
  • What You Open With – No one remembers the first thing you say to them. You could open conversations all day with “Fuzzy purple mittens” and if you did it confidently and followed it up with a strong conversational thread, then it’d work. What you open with is possibly the most pointless and wasteful use of guys’ time and energy. It’s a ruse. What you say doesn’t actually help anything. You just convince yourself that it matters and that in turn makes you more confident when you walk up to her. Every time I hear guys excitedly start discussing what to open with and what lines are best I want to slap myself in the face.
  • “Obstacles” – You have two options when confronted with friends of the girl you’re trying to get with. You can either see them as enemies and barriers that you must conquer and push through. Doing this will require a massive amount of effort and will alienate the people closest to the girl you want to get with, making everyone’s life more difficult and night less fun. Or you could see them as friends and allies and befriend them. It’s really not hard to make a decent first impression. Introduce yourself, shake their hand, look them in the eye, smile, and ask them a question about themselves. Maybe compliment them. I’ve regularly gotten emails for three years now complaining that I never discuss how to deal with cockblocks or other guys, and it’s because I don’t deal with them. Never. I’m nice to them, I make a confident and friendly first impression and more often than not, they decide that I’m a decent guy and leave me alone with whichever girl I want to talk to. It’s not unusual for them to help me out with the girl.
  • Texting/Follow Up – 80% of your texting and follow up is going to be wasted on girls who are only going to show up 20% of the time. The girls who really like you and can’t wait to see you again are only going to require 20% of the effort. I’ve said forever that attraction is never built over text, that the phone is merely a means of arranging logistics between seeing each other. By far the single best way to prevent women from flaking on you is to do a better job picking them up in the first place. In my experience, almost nothing you do over the phone is going to change that. The only thing that will is once again, Woody Allen’s “Showing Up” rule. If you text a girl who’s mildly interested every other day for a couple weeks, chances are eventually you’ll catch her on a day that she wouldn’t mind seeing you. But that’s a lot of time and effort. Might as well just find a girl who is excited to see you again in the first place.
  • Working a Room/Social Proof – Waste of time and energy. If you genuinely enjoy it, that’s fine. But the whole social proof thing in the context of a bar or party or club as a means to get laid is so ridiculously overrated. Only the most vapid and soulless girls are really going to care if you know the DJ or not. People don’t care if you can get free shots from the hot bartender. Or if that hot blond across the room was talking to you earlier. Chances are, most of the girls didn’t notice you talking to her, or getting shots from the bartender. Most people are way too busy being concerned about themselves to notice who some stranger across the room is talking to. It just doesn’t matter. This is another red herring, guys think it matters, but really all that matters is that you’re approaching twice as many girls as you would normally.
  • State Pumps/State Control – I covered this in my state is overrated post. But I’ll say it again: your emotional state is overrated. You can go out feeling like shit and still take a girl home. Sure, it’s harder and less likely, but it happens all the time. Remember… 80% of success is what? That’s right, just showing up to the party.


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18 Responses to The 80/20 Rule of Women

  1. Paul says:

    “So go out Friday AND Saturday” Heh, nice one. Gave me a real laugh.

    Good post.

  2. Jon says:

    Great post, one thing that seems missing from the first list – leading the interaction (things like isolating, going for the number, planning the date, inviting her home, etc.).

  3. B says:

    But the entire time she’s sending you signals as to what she wants and what you should be doing.

    Like what?

    This article was good, but it’s a broad stroke. I think alot of your readers would learn more if you’d drill down into each category (or at least some of them) and give some real life examples.

    • Mark says:

      Put links in most of the paragraphs to other articles that go into more depth for that reason.

      • B says:

        Not trying to nitpick or disagree necessarily, but in the article you linked to, you even said that those examples were fabricated (but based on problems guys have).

        I think what I (and some others) would like to see are real life examples from your interactions (or student interactions) and then possibly link to your articles that explain what’s going on/theory/etc… This would help make the connection between theory and practicality.

        Not trying to tell you how to run your blog, just stating how I learn best, and I’m sure I’m not alone. You’ve even said you learned quite a bit from reading reports on real interactions (LRs etc).

        • Mark says:

          Conversation Demolitions go through about 30 real-life conversations my students have had and I explain exactly where they’re dropping the ball and screwing up. Probably 80% of the analysis in there involves stuff like this.

          PickupTube shows a lot of footage of guys doing it correctly and has my voice-over analysis explaining what they’re doing well, how they’re reacting to each girl’s signals and why it’s working.

          The kind of specificity and analysis you’re asking for takes hours and hours and hours to put together and explain. So unfortunately, it’s not free.

  4. Chris says:

    This 80/20 rule is an interesting concept, to me it boils down to “isolate and then focus on what gets you the most enjoyment/results”.

    It’s funny how a lot of advice (I think mostly “old school” stuff) extensively focuses on the tactics that will only get you 20% of the results, like openers and clever things to say as Mark pointed out.

  5. Breeeeeett says:

    I had a friend in high school who got SO MANY GIRLS and was a COMPLETE retard, and I could never figure out wtf he was doing and why girls liked him. I was SO MUCH funnier and smarter, and more interesting than him. Then, once I started doing this stuff and understanding a little…I saw that he would go out to a bar, approach a random girl, let the MOST RETARDED crap pour out of his mouth, but he would do it while smiling/laughing, and physically mauling her with his hands while he made eye contact. (Not really mauling but physically escalating like a beast). God I wish I had realized it was that easy a long time ago.

    • Mark says:

      I’ve got a really good friend from high school who is similar. Hell, he’s still that way. I still hang out with him a lot. He’s awkward, says tons of dumb shit, has a weird sense of humor. But he goes for it no matter what. He’s always making a move on a girl. Sometimes it’s so awkward its hilarious, but he doesnt care, he just does it. He gets laid all the time, even in situations where he has absolutely no business getting laid.

      • Kevin says:

        Weirdly, that may just be something I’d pay to watch, footage of semi-awkward guys making all kinds of fuck-ups but managing to pull anyways.

        Seems more appealing than the idea of watching super smooth ‘PUA’s that I have a hard time relating too.

  6. Breeeeeett says:

    That’s also why I sometimes thing dumb people have a natural advantage when picking up girls…they don’t over-think shit. Stupid brain.

  7. ^Chris* says:

    Woh… I’m so guilty of trying to find clever things to say. Really when I just follow a general set of ideas, which are very easy to hold in my head, what flows tends to turn out smooth…sometimes too smooth, lol

    So I assume you go in depth into touching & escalation in G^3? I think being more aggressive physically is what I need to do more…but it feels kinda awkward to get it going for me at the moment. =/

  8. Kurt says:

    “No one remembers the first thing you say to them. You could open women all day with ‘Fuzzy purple mittens’ and if you did it confidently and followed it up with a strong conversational thread, then it’d work.”

    I remember another community guy making this point, and said he never used more than a couple of words as his opener. Then I found one of his field reports.

    He opened with something like “Hey, what’s up,” or something like that. Then the “strong conversational thread” he used to follow his “opener” was a classic opinion opener. Though this guy knew community material very well, he still didn’t realize that if you precede an opinion opener with “What’s happening” or “Wow, great night”, it’s still an opinion opener.

    As I see it, the “strong conversational thread” you start with is your real opener. Anything you do before that is just greeting them and making sure they see you, and I think it needs some other name, like “pre-opener” or “greeting” or something.

    • Mark says:

      This applies to direct openers as well. The first thing I teach about opening and this used to be point #1 of my old “Night Game Model” on my old site was basically this:

      “It’s not what you say first, it’s what you say second.”

      What you say first really only needs to get their attention or get them to pay attention to you, or get them to stop if they’re walking. What you say second is what determines the conversation.

      • Breeeeeeeeettttttttttttt says:

        still, isn’t the point that it doesnt REALLY matter what you say first or second, as long as you say it with confidence and it leads to conversation? You dont need to plan THE PERFECT opener. I open girls all the time with, “Hey – my names Brett, I thought you were cute and I wanted to come get to know you.” And then I follow with whatever the fuck pops into my head (I like your x, you seem like y, I can’t believe I’m doing this because xyz happened to me today, blah blah blah)=> conversation starts => and we’re off….Doesn’t work 100% of the time because like Mark has said time and time again, this is a numbers game and there are a multitude of outside factors you can’t control like the girls mood or type or whatever, but it works enough. Just make sure you smile, hold eye contact, keep the conversation light hearted to start, maybe touch depending on time of day, venue, etc. No?

  9. Michael says:

    You should add Pre-Selection. If you approach frigid girls, you have no chance for a ONS at all, often not even for her telephone number. If you approach a party girl, bingo!

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