After a couple of intense psychology-driven posts last week, I’ve decided to lighten things up a bit. I’m currently finishing the last leg of my European coaching trip and I’m often asked what kind of guys usually sign up for coaching. Are there specific types of guys? Do their personalities and problems fall into distinguishable patterns?

The answer is absolutely. I don’t mean to demean the uniqueness of some of the guys I work with, obviously they’re all unique individuals, but pretty much all of them fall into one of a few types. I think these types and categories could be extended to the entire industry at large to some degree, although I think there are certain demographics of men who are more drawn to coaching than others. But my guess is that the vast majority of people reading this are going to see themselves in at least one of these categories.


I’d say 95% of the men who come to me could be divided up into three typical demographics. They’re the following:

1. The College Kid – I’d say that about 20-30% of the guys I work with are college-aged guys, either in school or just recently graduated. Usually they’re normal, smart guys who are just incredibly shy, inexperienced and are really frustrated that the period of their life that’s supposed to be the most social and fun, they’re spending it worried and anxious all the time. Typically these guys save up money from a summer job or something and want to work on some of the really fundamental skills. The best part about young guys is they improve very, very quickly. It’s easier for them to start/drop habits, and often once they experience a little bit of success, they’re well on their way.

2. The Young Professional – These are the majority of coaching clients. They’re in the 25-40 year age range usually. These are typically the hard-workers and over-achievers: lawyers, software engineers, programmers, entrepreneurs, finance guys, etc. They spent all of their time in school studying, and later spent all of their time working and advancing their career. Now, suddenly they wake up one day, they’re 32, have tons of money and success, and no girlfriend and aren’t quite sure how to meet one. These guys typically have a little to moderate amount of past experience. Usually a couple former relationships and a one night stand or two. Usually these guys are fun to work with, mainly because they’re very professional and take the process seriously. They know what they want and they work towards it consciously.

3. The Divorcee – These are the older guys. Usually over 40 and fresh out of a marriage. These guys have other concerns that most of my clients don’t have — they’re typically far more advanced in their careers and they also often have kids to worry about. These men are getting back into the dating scene after 10-20 years out of it and really want a primer on how to go about it. Usually they’re interested in meeting another girlfriend and eventually wife. Working with these guys varies. Older men require more time and effort to change habits, and obviously the fact that they have age gaps and are often not in the best physical condition (marriage will do that to you) can make the early going rough for these guys.

Categories of Problems

Like demographics, at least 95% of the guys who come to me for coaching are looking to resolve the same three or four issues.

1. Approaching. A lot of guys are just crippled by approach anxiety, have trouble motivating themselves and for whatever reason are unable to find other guys to go out with and push them to approach. Usually these guys want a massive push through a lot of their mental and emotional barriers. Although coaching doesn’t ever eliminate approach anxiety, it can go a long way to making it easier for guys and give them confidence in the future to continue it on their own. These are typically quick and easy sessions. And after the very painful first few approaches, we often end up having a lot of fun.

2. Conversation and Flirting. These tend to be the Type II guys mentioned in my guide. They have trouble with social norms and communicating effectively and being calibrated to the behavior for those around them. These are some of the hardest clients to work with in that it takes the most effort both for me and for them. I also think coaching is the most useful for these guys than anybody else. They definitely get their money’s worth assuming they put the effort in. The reason is that what these guys need most is someone to explain and help them reason through the actions and behavior of people around them, help them to see how what they say and do affects others around them, and help them learn how to read other people’s emotions and body language. These skills are absolutely integral to ever be successful with women (or just about anybody), and it’s more or less impossible to do this in any other way but in person with someone pointing out social cues and explaining them.

3. Sexuality and Escalation. This group is probably the most fun for me to work with, although it’s also the most hit and miss. It’s the most fun because usually these guys are a bit more advanced — they have no trouble approaching, they can get women attracted, they just don’t know how to seal the deal. But the fun part is that these are the guys that I get to approach with them and hit on girls along side them. The hit and miss aspect of this is that some nights you’re just not going to find decent opportunities to escalate very far. So if we happen to go out on a bad night, sometimes we just have to make due. But if we hit a good night, we get to have a lot of fun. I’ve often pulled girls with students working on escalation and sexuality.

4. Day Game. Day game is very, very straightforward and pretty easy to teach. It usually takes no more than an afternoon or two to get any guy getting phone numbers (assuming he presents himself decently). Lots of younger guys often want to learn day game.

5. Lifestyle and Looks. I give everyone I work with a lifestyle and looks inventory whether they want it or not. In many cases, guys think they need to work on their game when they actually have glaring holes in their lifestyle/looks that is holding them back more than anything else. On top of that, lifestyle and looks literally make everything else easier, every step of the way. So it’s important to have them in order. More recently I’ve been focusing more on looks because I think guys really over-estimate how hard it is to change how they look. Also, men tend to be terrible judges of how good they already look. I recommend haircuts, wardrobe changes, glasses/contacts, joining gyms, etc. to a lot of guys. In extreme cases, I’ll take them to the mall myself and make them do it in front of me. As far as lifestyle goes, I usually sit down for an hour or two and kind of go through a guy’s lifestyle and maybe some ways in which he can enrich it and use it to meet more interesting women. Focus on hobbies, enjoying their free-time and networking comes up a lot.

6. PUA Detoxing. This one is becoming more and more common and is usually unsuspected by guys when they hire me. But these days, if I show up and the guy I’m working with either has a bunch of bizarre and unhealthy PUA-based beliefs (i.e., if I don’t approach every girl I’m a pussy) then I take some time and try to undo a lot of them. Also, guys who are driven by being a top PUA more than actually meeting cool and sexy girls, well… I sit down and have a very long conversation with them. Or sometimes I won’t even work with them. Luckily, these days, I’m running into fewer and fewer PUA casualties.

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27 Responses to Types of Pick Up Students

  1. Jimmy says:

    Good stuff Mark. I definitely identify with some of these problems. And even hyper-identifying with the problem is part of the reason why people (college age) would be stressed, which is rather ironical. I think the PUA detox is interesting, it’s almost weird how sometimes I’ll satire with wings PUA terminology and the lifestyle, but…yeah, jokes on us, sometimes.

    • Mark says:

      One thing that’s definitely true for college age guys — and this applies to everything, not just pick up — is college age people tend to think that their problems are much bigger than they actually are and far more important and influential than they actually are.

      I often get long emails from college guys giving me a play-by-play about how their friend said something behind their back and now this girl thinks he’s a loser and how it’s like ruined his entire social life and what is he going to do… as if the world is about to end or something.

      Everybody goes through stuff like that. It’s called being young and being in college.

      The irony is that the older (40+) guys are the opposite. They’ll often have LEGITIMATE life-altering problems or situations and they act like it’s totally normal and apologize about bothering me about it.

  2. Chris says:

    “Everybody goes through stuff like that. It’s called being young and being in college.”

    Everybody doesn’t go to college dude. Everyone you coach has disposable income therefor a higher likelihood of having attended college, as you have…but the logistics don’t work out well for many of us. Or we have to go later and therefor have a slightly different experience.

  3. Chris says:

    …or avoid it by choice/follow a different path (military, etc).

  4. hilanoga says:

    I like the PUA detoxing part. It seem to me that this is what most of the PUA institutes where I live teach their students. In some cases, these beliefs can actually be dangerous.
    For example, one of the things they teach (judging by their online materials) is that a woman never knows what she wants, so you shouldn’t listen to her when she says no. This approach led to what seem like a classic date rape in one of the “success stories” forums. The story was followed by a lot of “good job, bro!” comments and one or two half-hearted comments that were concerned by the legal implications of what happened (not by the girl’s safety, mind you), and another comment from the institute’s owner who said their lawyer approved everything or something like that.

    In the feminist/PUA rage that followed the publication of this story, many men pointed out that dating advice is important, and that the local PUA centers are the only ones to provide it. I think it is a valid point, and while there are a lot of crap beliefs in the seduction community, there is some good solid advice as well. This is why I am here. I figured that saying pick up is BAD BAD BAD is not going to work as a feminist strategy, so I’m planning on pointing my readers to sane pick up resources (like this one), and providing some feminist commentary where I think it might be useful.

    So thumbs up, Mark 🙂

    • Jon says:

      That’s pretty shocking. I take it from your blog that you are talking about Israel? Was there actual press coverage of this incident over there?

    • Mark says:

      Hilanoga: thanks for pointing them here. I’ve been to Israel and have hooked up with Israeli girls before. If anything I feel like a lot of these cheesy PUA tactics would be even more ineffective over there than they already are in the US/UK.

      Unfortunately most pick up advice does not account for culture. 90% of PUA theory is based on fickle 20-year-old US and UK girls. And as soon as it’s applied in places like Israel or Romania or Argentina or Korea, it falls flat and fails miserably. I see it all the time.

      • Paul says:

        I saw someone in Cambridge recently pulling card tricks and Mystery Method tactics outside of a club. Amazing that people still do that…and amazing seeing it happen all these years later and thinking how silly it is.

      • hilanoga says:

        Really? It is surprising. Many PUA methods seem to me like they should work here too.

        • Mark says:

          My perception of Israeli girls is that they’d have less patience for a lot of the dancing monkey nonsense typical PUA’s would try to put them through (magic tricks, silly question games, etc.). My experience in Israel was that it’s a very no bullshit say-what-you-mean and mean-what-you-say type of place.

          But then again, you have to remember that the old school PUA tactics don’t really work well anywhere… soooooo….

          • hilanoga says:

            Well, the local schools tend to go out to public places in large groups and harass random women with these silly questions and games, so we may have developed immunity 😉 (I run the local Hollaback, so I get to hear a lot of these stories).
            I was surprised because in my view, people here are very aggressive, so I would expect that refined pickup methods would be a breath of fresh air for most girls. I guess it goes both ways, though – it makes sense that aggressive women have less patience.

      • hilanoga says:

        I have a question. you said that 90% of the theory is based on 20-years-old girls. You also wrote that you have older clients, and I assume some of them are interested in older women. How do you adjust your theory accordingly?

        • Mark says:

          I don’t identify as a PUA. I realize that may be splitting hairs… but I don’t identify myself as a PUA or my material as PUA-based. I’m just a guy who really, really likes picking up women and is interested in the psychological/social aspects of it.

          So when I referred to “PUA techniques” above, I was referring to the classic Mystery Method/Neil Strauss “The Game” type stuff.

          But I do teach older men differently than I teach younger guys. Absolutely. As far as picking up older women?

          • hilanoga says:

            And another one – do you have any female customers? I know some women are interested in pickup technique as well.

          • Mark says:

            I don’t… And I’m not sure I’m an expert in the process women go through to meet men. Although, I’ve been getting more and more emails from women for dating advice recently, so that may change at some point…

  5. Axel says:

    Damn. Your coaching sounds like so much fun. We talk. We go shopping. We hit on cute girls. We talk about hitting on cute girls. And I presume this is with at least a few other guys as well? It sounds pretty awesome. Like the shopping spree and club hitting I’ve secretly waited for.

    And the paranoia in college guys is so true but I wouldn’t give it away for anything. Sometimes thinking ten steps ahead is really nice.

  6. Kevin says:

    If I remember you’ve mentioned a few times that the hardest clients, if you even take them on, are guys who have really bad attitudes or victim mentalities, and are either blind to it, or who won’t accept any personal responsibility for their problems.

    Is this type of client more likely to occur in one of the profiles you mentioned above, or do they tend to pop up in all of them pretty equally?

    • Mark says:

      Not demographic specific. And usually these guys are the rare guys who have sticking points across the board with no natural strengths.

      I know it’s cheesy self-help to say that your beliefs and mindsets create your reality, but when you meet some of these guys and spend time with them, you see firsthand that it’s true.

      • Kevin says:

        They have *no* natural strengths? I kind of have a hard time comprehending that, even though I know there has to be guys like that out there. It kind of puts the fact that they may have developed a negative attitude into perspective.

        If you have time to answer, can I ask: If a guy is in that bad shape, and you actually decide to take him on (rather than referring him somewhere else), where would you even start??

        • Mark says:

          Well, not absolutely zero, but they aren’t like the type 1 or type 2 guys… usually they’re both very anxious AND very uncalibrated. Which is rare. It’s rare to find people who are both.

          It’s a chicken-and-egg thing… are they like that because of their horrible mindsets? Or do they have horrible mindsets because they’re like that? Maybe a bit of both…

          But where to start? Therapy, meditation, a lot of long discussions about their beliefs before we even step foot in front of a girl. My experience is that for any change to take place whatsoever, there has to be some honest self-awareness. They need to be able to develop at least a little third-person perspective on themselves before any change can take place. Typically any field work you do with guys like this will go terribly and just reinforce whatever awful beliefs they already have.

  7. Axel says:

    I don’t mean to double-post but the lifestyle/looks part I agree with. I’ve been working out for a couple of months and I went to get fitted for a collared shirt at Tommy Hilfiger. The first shirt, too wide. And during all the recitals I’ve been at, the one I’ve chosen because I did not know any better. So I went down a size, and damn. I looked pretty aesthetic in it. That one glare at the mirror where I had both style and muscle was more fulfilling than anything a girl could give to me. I had given myself the gift of confidence through working out and picking out the right clothes.

    Ahh I was so happy that afternoon. And the best part is I’ve realized that my lifestyle/looks part needed help and inside I said to myself, forget the immediate day to day things, let’s change this now. I’m happy to see you reaffirm this.

    • Mark says:

      Actually gave a client the long looks/lifestyle talk tonight. It pains me to see these guys who don’t realize how good-looking they could be if they just put 6-8 months of effort into their fitness and fashion. It sounds like a lot, but the dividends last a lifetime and literally make EVERY phase of the seduction process easier.

      • Breeeeeeeeettttttttttttt says:

        you ever go out looking like shit on purpose just to boost your active attraction skills? Like going to the gym and lifting more weight…haha

        • Mark says:

          I used to do that years ago when I was going out all the time. Interestingly, I picked up one of the hottest girls I’ve ever been with in a raggedy T-shirt and flip flops.

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