Three Ways To Up Your Game

Although language is a quasi-rational capability (it gives us much of our ability to process ideas internally), facility with language is a critical vector for the lower-level social dominance system of our brains. Three ways a man can adjust his use of language to up his game:


In text message or IM communication, one out of three of your responses should be laced with sarcasm, hyperbole, cocky funny, an inside joke, puns or other be not in earnest. This not only forces her to chase your constant reframing, it shows dominance in directing the conversation. With women of even moderate intelligence, wordplay is endlessly intriguing.

I once had to go into the office on a weekend. A colleague working from home was on the company IM network. (B = your favorite intrepid blogger)

B: “what’s up”

C: “working today?”

B: “yeah, hoping to get some things done before the Monday project starts.”

C: “Is anyone else there?”

B: “Actually the CEO and I just had an impromptu coffee.”

C: “omg really?”


B: “Sike, there’s no one here but me.”

B: “…and my dignity.”

Be careful with the push-pull balance – too much and you come off as avoidant or unserious, not enough and you come across as stiff and inscrutable.

This doesn’t just apply to conversations with girls. Some of your best practice can come outside the aegis of anxiety that women can induce. I got a text from a buddy saying he was going to mail me something, what’s your address. I replied, “Your Mom’s House, [City, State].”

Roissy has written widely on text game, just google “roissy text game.” Athol Kay has as well.


Good conversational humor is not about having a few practiced really funny things to say; it’s about injecting your frame of humor into whatever situation presents itself. Thus your brain should be constantly sifting through quips to drop. You won’t use all of them, but they’ll be ready when needed.

You’ve had that situation where you come up with the perfect comeback ten minutes after it’s needed? If you work at it, you’ll start forming the comeback before the dig is even delivered. (#1 will help you build this skill because you have more time to think outside of face-to-face conversation.)

Quipping helps your game not just because people like to laugh, but because it sets you up to consistently change frame, which makes you interesting and presents an outcome-disinterested attitude (translation: you don’t really give a shit).

To paraphrase Mystery, if you say a funny thing, people will say “that’s funny.” If you say ten funny things, people will say “HE’S funny.” And they’ll want you around, because they feel better about themselves (and/or get turned on) when you are around.

If you ever engaged in locker room talk, this should be an easy transition. Here’s a good list of virtual non-sequiturs that can be deployed tactically at some point in almost any conversation:

“That’s what she said.”

“Hey if you like dudes, you know that’s none of my business.”

“I bet she enjoys it when you do that.”

“Do you want me to hold your purse next time you do that?” (after a display of unforgivable betatude)

“Aw, you’re just bullshitting, do you think I’m that dumb?”

A play on any word ending in -er: “Poker? But I just met her!”

Quips for conversations with women are on a case-by-case basis (carefully calibrated as to the level of sexual intensity), but reframing and light sarcasm are the rule of the day. Don’t make yourself too easy to talk to.


“Never us a long word where a short one will do.” – George Orwell

One of the major failure modes of gameless young men is using too many goddamn words. Language is wonderful, and English is an unusually rich and expressive one. That doesn’t mean you need to voluminate and soliloquize your way through the night. (Plus the more you talk the less brainpower you have to observe body language, group patterns and IOIs).

Over-talking can reflect any one of low projected value, insecurity about being wrong, a need to flatter yourself, going try-hard to impress people, and extending the opportunity to reveal something a woman’s hamster will use to reject you.

When you write texts and emails, bring back the draft – type it up and let it sit for a bit before you send it. Do you really need that extra clause? Does that sentence sound like it’s one too many? Are you going crazy with silly adjectives? Do you have too many “I thinks”, “perhapses” and “maybes”, wishy washy words that betray a lack of confidence in your message? (Pursuant to #1, personal email should normally contain a quip somewhere.)

The caveat: when using few words, make those few words count by delivering with emphasis and confidence. As I’ve said before the words you say are secondary to the frame in which they are delivered. You will cultivate mystery and strength at the same time.


Filed under beta guide

21 responses to “Three Ways To Up Your Game

  1. Dan in Philly

    Additional hint: Never say “Get it?” when they obviously don’t get the joke (with 1 exception below). Treat their inability to get some of your obscure humor as if it’s their problem, not yours. If after your brilliant reference to some obscure “South Park” episode they just give you a blank look or something, just smile as if you are perfectly aware that what you said was the funniest thing possible at that moment, and don’t explain the joke. Once you have the reputation of being a clever quipster, they’ll also start to assume it’s them who’s missing something, and you must have told a joke over their head, but they’ll assume it’s still funny (even if it wasn’t).

    Exception: Sometimes you can get a laugh when a quip bombs by repeating it, as if you intentionally laid an egg just so you can laugh about how lame the joke is. This is called meta-humor, or humor about humor, and can show you don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t use this too often, as it can devolve into beta-self-depreciating humor, but sprinkled in can show your more ordinary side.

  2. collegeslacker

    The Rule of 3 is must follow.

    Too much serious talk and you’re boring, too much joking and you’re the clown.

    Great point about locker room trash talk. I often get warmed up for the night by talking endless shit to my friends, and vice versa. At first it was unintentional until I realized how much of a positive effect it was having later on in the night. It gets your mind going at a fast pace and keeps you on your toes quip-wise, a mindset that carries in well when you start working your game on the ladies.

  3. I don’t know that every man should be armed with quips. Off-the-cuff humor is largely about mental agility, timing, and subverting expectations, and most people aren’t naturally gifted in those areas. It’s better for a man who’s the strong, silent type (or just silent) to play that up with judicious bits of talking than to try to have a zinger ready to go at any given moment.

    Also, jokes have set-ups and punchlines. Sometimes people who try to be funny forget the set-up and just spew endless punchlines to show that they’re ~ironic~. If there is no context for the zinger you’re about to deliver, think twice.

    Dan in Philly, I once witnessed a mortifying exchange of “get it”s and can still feel the secondhand embarrassment. It’s definitely best just to move on without comment if a joke doesn’t work. If you have to explain the humor, it wasn’t funny.

  4. MrLettuce

    Great advice. Im still learning all of this, and I still make dumb beta mistakes like number 3.

    [A key skill is to read when someone else wants to say something, and when they are exhausted by whatever you are saying. It will happen; when it does, shift the conversation to them and ask a couple follow-up “feeling” questions to get them comfortable again. What you want to avoid is the idea that you are just waiting your turn to talk about whatever you want to talk about and the other person is just giving you a chance to catch your breath. Don’t tolerate a woman who treats you that way, either.]

  5. Haley,

    I’m not sure you grokked the post as you’ve said a bunch of stuff that is already in there. A man should always have quips at the ready, he should NOT deploy them constantly. At the very least it keeps his mind moving, silently probing for opportunities to reframe or DHV in the conversation. As to people who aren’t gifted, they are going to have to develop it consistent with their personality; lack of humor is a correctable shortcoming that hurts a man’s game.

    “Sometimes people who try to be funny forget the set-up and just spew endless punchlines to show that they’re ~ironic~.”

    You’ve been hanging around hipsters (does your pastor wear Ed Hardy?) I advise against “jokes” per se because they take a lot of conversation time and dramatic skill and look try-hard, by definition a joke is playing to the crowd. Half a joke is even worse. Jokes are funny, but not really humor.

  6. BTW Lettuce, we’re expecting a field report from the museum :-o

  7. MrLettuce

    I’ll definitely give y’all a report after.

    Honestly, I had a slight ‘beta’ moment with that specific gal last night. When I was on facebook last night, I looked at her profile, and saw I could no longer see her wall, photos, or even her relationship status. 

    I immediately thought the worst: I had been ‘the side guy’, and was now being hidden from her current/ex-boyfriend (this has happened to me before many times – being used by a woman as emotional toilet paper and/or a free meal.)

    I took a walk, cleared my head, and sent her a simple message: “I see youre not listing your relationship status now. If you met someone you dig more, that’s fine. Just let me know.”

    TOTAL beta. 

    In retrospect, I should have just kept my mouth shut. But at 25, and learning about Game, I won’t tolerate dating bs from women any more.

    Anyway, she texted me back, and said that she had changed her settings in case her students found her page (we both work as teachers, so I do understand). She actually then apologized for the confusion.

    Inwardly, I’m embarassed for how I acted, and am not sure how to ‘re-up’ my alphaness now during the date.

    Any advice?

  8. MrLettuce

    Honestly, I do already have a basic plan for Friday:

    1) Remain the commander for the evening (not to “ask” for things, make the decisions, and decide where we go).

    2) Keep light, but powerful/sexual, physical contact (hold hands or touching her forearm for emphasis during conversation, keeping my hand on the small of her back, etc.).

    3) Waltz around the museum, chatting for other people occasionally.

    4) Hitting up a local bar/restaurant afterwords.

    5) Decide whether or not she’s worth MY time for a third date.

    I think I can do this.

  9. That’s certainly a bump in the road. The key to “not tolerating dating BS” is non-reaction, which shows your frame is stronger than hers.

    Sounds like you know what you did and have a plan for getting out, so I won’t overanalyze it past that. Just know that her beta detectors will be turned up high. Act as if it never happened. DON’T apologize. Be alpha, and she won’t stop to wonder what happened or ask you about it. If the night drags she might get uncomfortable and but as long as her juices are flowing she won’t risk breaking the flow bringing it up.

    The hand on the small of the back is a killer move – discreet and elegant but sexy at the same time. Great to use when getting drinks and turning back into the crowd – as she spins just tap her down there.

  10. OffTheCuff

    This is good lesson, you can and will screw up. I wouldn’t say “act as it never happened” which to me can imply defensiveness — you know it did happen, you can’t deny it. Instead, you need to act as if it was of ZERO consequence. It’s over, it doesn’t matter. That’s the attitude. Denial/defense/explaining/rationalizing = weak.

    If she brings it up again, then it’s a test — simply brush it off… “ah, it was nothing”. Shrug and roll your eyes. You sub-communicate “whatever, yeah, that’s over”.

    I’d add one warning about the hand contact, though, see if she’s allowed you in her personal space first. If you are standing in very close proximity (inches), and she hasn’t backed away, she’s permitted you to be her personal space. Notice when this happens. It’s easy to test for. Stand close to her when talking, side-by-side, and see if she moves away. If she moves away, you have more warming up to do. If not, then you can easily lean into her when making a point, bumping shoulders. Does she pull away here?

    One other body-language that’s good to use in a social setting, is think of yourself as a tree. Pick your space, take it up, and stand there. Don’t flit around, avoiding people, they need to move out of your space. If she bumps into you, so be it, you don’t mind — let her bump and don’t let it move you, accept the bump like a tree. If other people bump into you, then so be it as well.

  11. MrLettuce

    (Forewarning, this’ll be a long post)

    Field Report 4-22

    I felt ready for my date last night. I had showered, shaved, dressed well and was wearing my fedora (thanks Mystery Method). I also planned out the itinerary for the evening, and imagined my ‘high light reel of Alphaness’ for the night.

    I arrived at the museum first, and waited a few minutes until getting out of my car. Around 7pm I got out and waited outside. She got there about 2 minute later.

    First impression: Wow, she’s looking good tonight. She was dressed pretty classy, but also sexy.

    Immediately, she came up, hugged me, and kissed me on the lips.

    …And then shoved her tongue into my mouth. 

    After, I pulled back, and said with a smirk “Hmm… I think you’re move a little too fast for me.”

    She laughed at that.

    And from there, the date went swimmingly. I was the leader of the night, deciding where we went and what we did. She had a good time being ‘lead’ around – I wasn’t overbearing, but was confident and stead-fast in my movement and speech. She never mentioned the facebook message, so no shit-test there.

    Over drinks, we first sat and listened to some of the live Jazz there. She moved her chair right next to mine, and had my hand around her. She held my other hand in her hands. At one point, I also had my free hand on her thighs (nice thighs, btw).

    We talked a lot this evening: about music, politics, work, family. I’d say I did 80% affirmative statements and 20% questions, generally because I enjoyed talking to her.

    After the drinks, we stepped outside, and I brought her to a secluded spot outside, and made out for a few minutes with her. It was, uh, very nice.

    We were at the museum for about an hour and half, and then I told her “lets go get something to eat”, and we went down to a nice Italian place for a bite to eat. After that, we walked around the city for a little bit, and enjoyed the moment. For the most part, she was pretty much attached to me for the night, keeping her arm around me or holding my hand.

    Finally we walked back to our cars, made out some more, and I told her we’d go out again next Friday. She readily agreed, and said she had a nice time tonight.

    With flashes of Han Solo in my mind, I roguishly replied, “I know.”

    She laughed at that part.

    So yeah, the date went very well, even better than the first. My plan is for her to come visit me this time, hang out at a nice local park, come back to my place… and well, ‘see what happens’.

    I’ll probably give her a call on Monday and plan it all out for her.

    (About the girl: looks wise, she’s about 6 physically and 5 or 6 in the face. I’m a 6 myself, 7 at best, so that’s fine with me. From talking with her, I’ve notice a few different green/yellow flags. No red flags so far.

    Green Flags:
    -family oriented
    -mentioned her cousins’ marriage/kids often, and in a positive light (I’m using Game more for LTR/marriage-material, so that’s a positive for me)
    -HATES romantic comedies (thinks they’re “stupid and unrealistic”)
    -seems to care more about people/experiences than possessions.

    Yellow Flags
    -fairly opinionated
    -parents are divorced (but it hasn’t soured her opinion on marriage)

    Red Flags
    -None (So Far)

    All and all, good so far. Thanks for the advice, guys! I’ll keep you updated.

    I’m trying to get my older brother into Game, but I’ve got no idea how to broach the topic. He does okay with women, but I know he can do better too.

    Of course his first introduction to Game was SomethingAwful’s “coverage” of The Spearehead Forums. *sigh*.

  12. Lettuce,

    That’s great! Sounds like you are on your game and she’s responding. My only advice for the next date: have some breakfast foods in your fridge ;)

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  14. @MrLettuce
    *Swoon* That sounds pretty much like the absolutely perfect date. She’s obviously really into you, and she probably enjoyed the reassurance/comfort of your beta moment. The occasional glimpse of vulnerability in a man you’re already liking can totally make a woman’s day! So don’t sweat it, even if it happens once in a while.

  15. OffTheCuff

    I’ve read this a few times over, and it’s flawless, Mr. Lettuce.

    Thanks for taking the time to post this, we need more examples like this of Game, put out there for men to see. It’s a lot harder for women to trash Game then, because this doesn’t look like Game to them — they only see an attractive (confident) guy *finally* being “nice” to them. Whereas, we know what’s really happening. You’re already a decent guy *finally* learning how to be more attractive in a systematic way.

    Women think Game = Roissy = Dark game = manipulation = pump & dump. Most can’t see that Game is the set of underlying tools that can be used to do either.

  16. MrLettuce


    I’ll be sure to keep that in mind! Haha.


    I can see that. However, I would like to have more control over showing vulnerability or my beta traits.


    Thank you for the compliment.

    I was… decent with dating before Game. The main issue was I couldn’t really determine how/why I was successful with one woman and not another. I feel that I am more aware of inter-gender conversations/situations.

    Honestly, I was put off by Game first, because of Roissy. But the more I read Citizen Renegade, the more I realized that he made sense.

    I tend to think of Game as more as learning a new language. Men and women don’t think/speak the same way, so it’s good for me to learn both ‘languages’.

    So, about this gal, I do have some more questions.

    1) If I deem her as relationship-material, when should I mention exclusiveness/relationships to her? I generally feel like I’ve got a keeper here with her.

    2) When can I introduce her to my friends?

  17. OffTheCuff

    Dunno if I’m the best advice for dating. I’ve only had one LTR spanning 20 years. Depending on your perspective, either I’m an expert, or a total loser. Here are the rules I applied to myself:

    1. I’d say don’t bring it up, but behave as if you not looking. This is what I did. 20 years ago, the proto-Mrs. asked me if we exclusive, a few weeks into the relationship. Inexperienced me responded with “I thought were already were” because I simply had no clue, but looking back, it was a good answer. On the other hand, be careful to avoid pedestalization, one-itis, or scarcity thinking. You can’t be afraid to lose her.

    I do have strong feelings about this. Mrs. C and I were compatible *because* we both did not believe in “playing the field”. Maybe mine was rooted out naiveté or scarcity thinking, but it was there. She’s one of the few women who refused to date more than person at a time. PUAs will tell you *no* women are like this, I think they’re wrong, because once you set strong values for yourself, you will automatically find people who share those values.

    2. Personally, I don’t think there is a “too early” unless you are trying to hold something back or form explict short-term relationships. I think YES, introduce her to your friends, but in the context of inviting her along to something you’d do anyway with them.

  18. MrLettuce

    I’d say you’re an expert. I’d rather a stable LTR than a series of short flings. But that’s not for everyone, I know

    When you say ‘not looking’, is that ‘for a relationship’ or ‘for other people to date’? 

    I can tell she digs me a lot, and I doubt she’s dating anyone else now. A) because of her work schedule, and B) honestly, she’s not ultra gorgeous or an easy lay. Still, it’s not impossible.

    So yeah, I’m really not sure how to handle this. Other than keeping my oneitis under wraps.

  19. OffTheCuff

    I meant don’t date other women, or get physical with them. The fastest way to emotional intimacy is via building trust by putting yourself at risk, and IMO you can’t do that while holding back part of yourself. Dating other people *is* holding back. I think this is timeless, and the only people who advise against it are not good at building deep, lasting emotional connections. Maybe they don’t want to.

    I’m sure other people will tell you “always keep 2 in the kitty” or something like that, but I really think it’s self-defeating. The women you meet will either have 2 in the kitty as well, or, you’ll break her heart. Is that what you want?

    Anyway, I don’t know if this applies to you, or in today’s dating market. It could be entirely wrong advice. From what I read, women today will be shocked that you aren’t “playing” them, and actually dating them… but with a strong alpha frame, it’s a killer combination. You’re not a needy beta groveling for a date, you’re the strong alpha with options who is choosing to giving her undivided attention.

    Keeping oneitis under wraps will be easily accomplished by keeping your alpha frame, having strong boundaries, leading, maintaining your male friendships, being a good ender, detachment from outcome, etc.. It doesn’t mean you have to avoid love.

  20. MrLettuce

    I gave her a call last night, and left the plans for Friday on the message. I kept short and concise.

    I do Understand the idea of building trust to build intimacy. I honestly haven’t tried that before. Usually, if I date one person, I’m looking for or am dating others too. Unless in a relationship, I usually date/meet multiple people.

    But I think it’s time to change that.

    Difficult as it may be, I will stick with this one girl, but still remain alpha in my pursuit. I’ll fit her into my frame.

    Perhaps thats part of my issues with dating in the past – fear of rejection and outcomes. Even now, I still seem to be on the look out for signs that she’s not into me – as if I’m trying to protect myself.

  21. Good luck with that Mr Lettuce, she seems like a nice woman.

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