Picking up girls is never easy, particularly if you’re doing it through through cold-approach day game or night game. That said, a great many guys will self-sabotage in an interaction in order to hang on to the misconceived sense that ‘things are going really well.’ This is a mistake and something that you must avoid at all costs.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation? Say you are out at a lounge bar. It’s midway through the evening and you bump into an attractive young lady by the bar. She smiles at you, her eyes light up and you begin a conversation. Fifteen minutes later you are still there, chatting away as if you’d known one another for years.

To add an extra element of pressure to the situation, perhaps a group of your male friends are watching you from a nearby table. Maybe they are raising their glasses at you, congratulating you for the great progress that you seem to be making.

Naturally this makes you feel good. However stone-cold alpha, most guys have an Achilles heel: they like to bask in other men’s approval of their sexual successes. There’s a famous joke about a man being stranded on a desert island with Claudia Schiffer and having sex with her. When they’re finished he asks her to put on his suit and tie. She’s confused by does so. Once she’s dressed up like a guy her turns to her and says ‘You’ll never guess who I just had sex with . . . ?!’

So you enjoy the approval of your friends. And you enjoy talking to the girl. She’s pretty, sexy and intelligent too. Finally, after all these bimbos you keep meeting, here’s a real ‘quality girl’.

Now all of a sudden your mind starts going off at a tangent. This girl is cool. What if we started dating? I could take her to that cool restaurant that’s just opened. We could talk about books and philosophy. This is going to be so great.

What happens is this: a combination of social pressure from onlookers and internal pressure from yourself, having built up this girl you just met to be something that perhaps she’s not, effectively freezes you and prevents you from taking the right actions. In other words you won’t spike up your conversation, you won’t be flirtatious and you certainly won’t try to escalate.

A Quality Girl

Under other circumstances perhaps you’d ask a girl to meet you elsewhere for drinks later once she’d finished with her friends. But you don’t want to do that this time because you want to do things ‘properly’. After all, she’s a ‘quality girl’. Also, you don’t want to risk rejection in front of your friends. That would be humiliating.

But most of all, you don’t want to risk rejection in front of yourself. This conversation has gone so well, but there’s a tiny part of you that is uncertain whether or not she actually ‘likes’ you in that way. You assume that she must because she’s spent such a long time talking with you. But you don’t know for sure. Better to simply take her number and contact her another time. That way if it does turn out to be a rejection then at least you can hear it in private.

Unfortunately it is precisely this approach that will lose you more girls than it will win you. It’s been a maxim in pick-up for a long time that you should approach every pickup in the same way regardless of how hot the girl is. If she’s a 10 then treat her like a 5, in other words.

This is very easy to pay lip-service to, but unfortunately in the heat of the moment it’s easy to forget. The stakes just feel higher when we are talking to a girl we really like. It seems more significant, like there is more to lose.

The reality of course is that all pick-up is binary. You either get the girl or you don’t. D either enters V or it doesn’t. There is no credible middle ground. But too many of us would rather linger in a grey area where we can hope that something might happen rather than pushing the interaction in front of us as far as we can to test whether something actually will happen.

When you think about it, these are the exact same bars that the friend zone prison is fashioned from. When a man is in the friend zone he is essentially saying to himself, ‘OK, I recognise that things aren’t as I’d like them to be between me and this girl right now. But I’m hoping that things will change. That she will wake up one morning and realise that she wants to be with me. That she can’t live without me.’

On a micro-level this is what you are doing when you talk to that girl in the bar or club or street but you fail to escalate. Because you are getting a modicum of positive feedback you would rather continue to hear that than to ask her on a date directly and risk her turning you down.

None of us like to see our dreams shattered, and yet we must be prepared to watch pick-up after pick-up come to nothing if we are ever to hope to have an abundant sex life.

Make It Plain What You Want

When you are having any kind of interaction with a girl you must make it absolutely plain what it is that you want. I’m not saying you should be crude, but even if you go indirect I would advise that she should know through your eye contact body language and vibe that you are a sexual guy and you’re interested in her in that way.

At the end of the interaction you must either escalate sexually (by, say, asking her to come back to your place) or you must propose a date. Again, it must be very clear that you are talking about a date as opposed to a friendly meetup for coffee.

If she says no then she says no. That’s her prerogative. But a lot of game is actually just about getting girls off of the fence. She may like sitting on that fence, and she might value the attention that you give her while she does, but it’s not doing you any favours. In fact, it’s doing you harm and the longer it goes on for the more harmful it will become.

It’s always far better to go for what you want quickly and unapologetically. If things don’t go your way then at least you tried and were true to yourself. But as they say, fortune favours the bold and you’re much more likely to get good results by being upfront that you are by biding your time and losing momentum.

Want to find out more about how to get great at game? Check out Troy’s book The 7 Laws of Seduction and follow him on Twitter and at realtroyfrancis.com 

Read More: The One Girl You Absolutely Must Approach Every Day