Passive Game

When Neil Strauss’ iconic book “The Game” was released in 2005, it made big waves among communities of young men, and my social circle was no exception.

I had a friend at the time who was a real natural. He was very insecure about his 5’8″ stature, but other than that, a real charmer – physically fit, basically nice and magnanimous with good cooking and entertainment skills, and a smart guy with a good work ethic that tripped the educated girls’ switches. He was not socially dominant as much as he was always doing interesting things that made people want to be around him. All the women in our group were crushing on him bigtime.

We were all having a beer one afternoon when he remarked on this book he had read about in the paper, about a bunch of guys who had developed and drilled systematic methods of attracting women.

At the time I had a very dim awareness of the book’s release. We discussed some of the rudimentary basics, especially the more sensational ones – complicated openers, negs (neutral-value statements), ignoring the woman you are interested in in favor of courting the approval of her friends, fighting off competitors (AMOGs).

Surprisingly, the girls were mum on the whole thing – a calm before the apoplectic storm that would wash over the so-called seduction community and the mainstream world of young single men. Maybe it was the fact that our group was all STEM girls with a bent toward the analytical, or maybe it was the fact that they were all relatively poor performers in the SMP, and so they secretly wished someone would run some game on them.

I found the whole idea interesting, but although I refrained from any moralistic judgments I didn’t really think it was for me. This was a combination of:

  • Beta insecurity (going into the game would be admitting my own failure with women to date)
  • Interest in other things than getting girls (I hadn’t the urgency of the situation I developed later. I didn’t yet recognize the apparent paradox that even though I was very relationship-oriented I still stood to benefit from generalized pickup and game skills)
  • A complete lack of desire to run club/bar game – even if I could kill in those environments with some practice, I didn’t want to because I found them and the women I had already met in them excruciating boring.

It wasn’t until years later, after one of the women in that group had broken my heart (as a matter of fact I let her break my heart twice) that I actually read “The Game” and started my red-pill journey that has brought us all here together on these pages.


There was one part of the whole setup that immediately appealed to me, and that is the skill to acutely read a woman’s signals, the subtext of her communication, and her willingness to entertain your further advances, and to make go/no-go decisions on the fly based on that information.

I’ve come to call it “passive game” because it doesn’t require that a guy change his own core behavior in any way, and it’s the first thing I demonstrate to any guy new to the scene:

  • Read indicators of interest
  • Don’t blow your opportunity cost
  • Read fake closes

You don’t have to buy new clothes, learn any routines, or alter your body language. You can be more successful with women, significantly, by doing these things.


All the advice I had received to that point was along the Cosmo-esque lines of trying to divine a woman’s interest in me by reading a score of obscure “does she seem to like you” tea leaves paired with a healthy dose of undeveloped intuition, and the foolish courage to “take a chance” which was really a blind shot in the dark.

I was floored by the elucidation of subconscious, subrational Indicators of Interest (IOIs) that provided subtle but reliable cues to her attraction and were far less fakeable and confusable than what women themselves told me they did when interested in a man (this was before I’d decide to ignore that advice).

For review, some of the basic IOIs are: fiddling with her hair, clothes, skin, or accessories, touching you, asking you personal questions, asking your name, opening her body language, allowing you into her personal space or invading yours, laughing at things that aren’t all that funny, slapping your arm in response to a tease, staying with you when her entourage leaves the area and finally what Strauss and Mystery called “the doggy-dinner-bowl look” – a visage of captivation, hanging on your next move and desperately wanting to be included in your frame.

This passive-game growth process starts with checking off each item in your head, and as you do more approaches (and observe those of other men) the knowledge subsumes into your intuition and you can just get a feel for if a woman is interested without having to count how many times she touched her wrist or asked you a question.

(One critical caveat: calibrate your expectations for venue and personality. Expect fewer IOIs in a daygame environment, more IOIs at night or in well-oiled environs, and unwittingly fake IOIs from certain people who are just demonstrative and physical in their personal style. Italian and Irish women have been known to touch everybody all the time without meaning anything by it. On the other hand, a relatively quiet or non-outgoing woman who is really into you will probably throw a 4th of July display of IOIs for you compared to her response to an average suitor.)

I immediately realized that good, sound, reliable knowledge of IOIs was a huge step forward – allowing me to dial my own investment in the conversation up or down as needed to mirror her vibe, and ultimately allowing me to make an informed, low-risk decision as to whether to go for the close or just give up the set. Which brings me to…


Opportunity cost is the observation that when you do (or purchase) one thing, you’ve consumed time and resources that could have been used on something else. In this context, opportunity cost means time and social energy you wasted on a poor prospect that you could have spent talking to a woman who was interested in you, OR time and energy spent beyond the point a woman signalled that she was not interested in you (after which it’s better to do nothing by yourself than to keep talking to her).

In addition to time and effort, you’ve induced some heartache in yourself by investing emotionally in someone who’s not likely to invest in you back. It’s one of the harder things in the game to execute, as we beta types have been raised all our lives with rom-com chick-flick archetypes filling our heads that it’s the man’s job to prove himself to the woman and to keep pursuing until she comes to her sense and realizes what a perfect match he is for her.

But it’s something you have to do, just cut it loose and forget about her. There’s an important preselection consequence here: women can tell when another woman is not interested, and so every minute you spend talking to someone who’s not interested costs you points with everyone watching. You look more and more like a guy with poor social skills who can’t take a hint, and it will poison your rep for the rest of the night.

By the same token, if a woman is really responding to you, you want to increase the intensity of the conversation and go for the insta-date or get her number before you leave. One of the benefits of correctly reading a woman’s positive interest is that your game doesn’t have to be all that tight, you just have to move things along and leave her wanting more. It’s a good investment to maintain an approach if the woman is clearly interested, and to push for another meeting.

Speaking of next meetings…


Women are famous for indirectness and subterfuge in their communication; it has been a source of endless frustration for men over the thousands of years of human history. One aspect of this is “letting him down easy,” a phenomenon I call the “fake close.” Put simply, she gives her number but doesn’t really plan on responding when you call or text (perhaps she just wants to get rid of you). Or she touches/gropes/kisses you, but was really just looking for some quick validation or a good time that night. It’s another red-pill lesson to swallow that not all women are desperately waiting for Prince Charming to walk in the door and sweep her off her feet. Sometimes she’ll take a nice bout of conversation, or a good kiss, and leave it at that.

If she wants to see you again, numbers will come spilling out of her mouth, or she’ll enthusiastically take your phone and punch in her number and her name (and make sure to spell it right). Or even ask you what you’re doing later and try to isolate you herself. If she doesn’t want to see you again, she might pause before accepting your request with an “uh…sure.” Or not make eye contact when she’s spelling out her number in a droll tone. It seems women are loath to be direct unless they’re motivated enough to deliver a pyrotechnic rejection that aims to humiliate the guy.

(My advice to women on this point: be direct, but unemotional. Men generally want to take criticism without a chaser so there’s nothing to be gained sugarcoating it except a false sense of esteem that you’re a nice person for kissing his butt while rejecting him. A bunch of fake smiles and tones of perfunctory flattery, “you seem like a really nice guy, but…” are just going to make it harder to swallow.)

Keep your expectations reasonable – you won’t see a good number of your number closes ever again – and learn to pick up signs that she’s BSing you on the way out the door. Try not to take it personally; give her an ounce of credit for a misplaced aim to spare your feelings and move on with the night. In fact, every time you close a woman, you should aim to open a new one, if only to get your mind off the first one for a little while.


As a coda, reading women can be used as a parlor trick of its own when talking to a woman. Most women I meet love people-watching, and an semi-accurate cold read of a nearby set can peg you as a goddamn psychic in her eyes.

This is core game stuff, and it’s not that hard to learn if a guy is persistent and observant. It’s easy to implement because it’s fundamentally indirect (hence the name passive game) and it really does pay off when you can tell within 30 seconds whether a woman is going to be worth your time.


Filed under beta guide, dating and field game, original research

11 responses to “Passive Game

  1. Theophilus

    Indeed it is core stuff, and so important to be on top of. Your emphasis on learning this early on is well taken. Accurately reading IOIs should be a mainstay of game for all men, but it’s remarkable how so many will act like clueless morons and just not stop talking to women who are signalling as hard as they can that there’s no interest. And as you point out, that is not lost on the other chicks in the room.

  2. Nice guideline for newbies.

    Those 3 principles shouldn’t be difficult to grasp.

  3. Very solid, Badger. I used to be clueless about IOIs and it cost me a lot of tail. Just spotting them, or their absence, is a HUGE calibration helper.

    Along with an ACCURATE accounting of what IOIs are, and are not.

  4. Truth-
    I have a copy if “the game”, it was a gift from a girl I know. Never cracked it open; not once. As she described the premise I told her how the book ended.

    Her response- “Well that was a waste of $17.00.” lol.

  5. danny,

    Are you responding to the right post?

  6. Pingback: When You Work Your Passive Game, Detecting Female Interest Becomes A Sensitive and Intuitive Skill | The Badger Hut

  7. “Along with an ACCURATE accounting of what IOIs are, and are not.”

    The thing that’s nice about PUA IOI teaching is that most of the IOIs are (or are at least posited to be) subconscious in nature, and so while they can be faked, they are difficult to NOT do when a sweet-smelling man enters the frame. So we’re not dealing in “what did she mean when she said/did that?” kind of analysis, we can rely on the sub-rational communication as a guideline.

    Interest is just that – a desire for more of something you don’t at the moment have. Her interest may flag when you open your mouth, when you touch her, kiss her or later in the relationship. Interest doesn’t mean she’s sealed on your doorstep. It does mean you have a green light to go to the next step, where you’ll both decide again whether you want to proceed.

    A caveat: Fly Fresh and Young had a post where he described shyness in some young women as shutting down their IOIs, and he discovered by accident that some cases of cold, no-IOI response were in fact highly interested women who were so unnerved they couldn’t even signal. So it’s worth a risk every now and then (don’t build your strategy around it).

  8. Badger-

    check your email. lol.

  9. Big Bang

    Some IOI’s are not subtle. I asked a co-worker how she “signaled” to a man in a bar that she is interested. Do you smile? Play with your hair? She said, “are you nuts”? “I would walk over to him and say hey are you gonna take me home or what”?

    If the girl wants you she will let you know.

    I think a good portion of game is dedicated towards manufacturing some sort of attraction the female does not realize she herself has.

  10. Pingback: The Question You Need To Ask Yourself While You’re Gaming | The Badger Hut

  11. Pingback: Remember That Women Get Approachee Anxiety | The Badger Hut

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