Because I’m open about my job, and proud of what I do, I am often challenged by people who presume that anyone who teaches men how to be better with women, must be teaching people to be manipulative.
To be fair, there are a lot of people in the “pickup” and “seduction” business that are clearly manipulative, and teach other people to be manipulative. Mystery was one of these guys, and I worked for him for a period of several months before founding Love Systems with Savoy and the other instructors, so it’s not like I have perfectly clean hands.
But even from the very beginning, I was committed to teaching stuff that worked, without being manipulative. And when we founded Love Systems, we made a specific point of tossing out the old manipulative practices, and making a new system that was effective, yet the kind of thing that an ethical guy could feel comfortable doing. And I think if you read the things that Love Systems instructors are writing about in their blogs, you’ll agree that we’ve changed a lot from the old Mystery Method days.
Another assumption that people often make: that any pick-up technique that actually works well must be manipulative at some level. It’s amazing how many people, both male and female, believe this. In my experience, men believe this much more than women do.
But whether or not a pick up technique is manipulative really boils down to the difference between manipulation, and motivation. Manipulation is defined by Glen Dyer as “getting someone to do something they don’t want to do, without good reason”. The key here is that they don’t want to do it, and you don’t have a good reason to demand they do something. Motivation, on the other hand is defined as “making someone want to do something, that they otherwise might not want to do”.
So let’s say you want a ride to the mall from your friend. There are a couple of different ways you can go about getting that from them.
- A manipulative way would be to try to make them feel bad by saying something like “you never drive me to the mall, you’re selfish”. Or perhaps to pout, or whine to get what you want. Or to harass the person until they drive you.
- Another way might be to mention a good reason. “I need a ride to the mall because I need to get some medicine from the pharmacy”. This is not manipulative because it appeals to a good reason.
- A motivational way to get what you want might be to say “but you know there’s a Cinnabon at the mall… You could grab some Cinnabon when you’re down there”. This is an attempt to make your friend want to do the thing that you want him to do.
The difference between manipulation and motivation is that motivation is a positive sum game. When you use motivation, everybody winds up getting what he or she wants. Manipulation on the other hand means that one person loses out, while the other gains. This is why I think motivation is an ethical way to get what you want, while manipulation is not.
A lot of people, both inside and outside the community, think that manipulation is the only way you can improve your success with women. When men believe this, it is usually the product of low self esteem. After all, in order for motivation to work, you have to believe that you have something women want. If you, consciously or unconsciously believe that you have nothing to offer women, manipulation looks like the only thing that will work.
I should point out that my definition of manipulation isn’t the only definition that exists. Some people would say that trying to influence people in any way is manipulative. They would argue that all advertising is manipulative, or any interaction where one party has any kind of informational or status advantage over the other is manipulative. They would argue that Cinnabon is manipulating you with their fatty, sugary treats.
The problems with these definitions of manipulation is that they wind up encompassing a wide variety of “normal” behaviors, and it becomes nearly impossible to be a functional, assertive human being in society without being “manipulative”. Ironically, these arguments are manipulative themselves; the people who use them are trying to get people to do what they want, by adopting a self-serving set of moral values and then shaming people with them. Naturally, the people who have these overly broad definitions of manipulation are usually completely unaware of the manipulative things they do on a day-to-day basis.
I certainly can’t speak for the “pickup community”, but I can tell you that personally, I think long and hard about whether my actions are manipulative, or motivational. When I’m teaching a class, I always make a point of teaching motivational techniques which help guys get what they want: by teaching them to give women what they want, and need, to feel comfortable, turned on, attracted and happy.
Love and sex are not adversarial relationships. Women want to be picked up, they want to be swept off their feet, they want to meet men who are interesting and bold and confident. Because of this, motivation is EXTREMELY effective; women are already motivated to hook up with you. All you have to do is take advantage of your natural ability and let it happen.