Dealing with Other Guys During Pickup

When you are out in the field, many times the girl you are interested in will be in a mixed group of men and women.  I used to not even bother with approaching girls who were in the company of men, assuming that my efforts would be an exercise in futility if one of them was the boyfriend, or figuring that the guys would know what I was up to and act to block my progress.

Overthinking leads to a point where your mind hobbles your actions with worst-case scenarios, but once you break out of that mental habit and start approaching mixed sets you’ll learn that the reality is usually quite different.

Fact: Most guys in mixed sets are NOT the boyfriend.  They may be interested in their girl buddies, but that is irrelevant.

Fact: If you introduce yourself in a friendly manner to the guys first or address the group as a whole and don’t make it obvious that you are there to steal their girls, the guys will amicably open up to you.

The best way to find out if a boyfriend is present in a mixed group is to ask the question “So, how do you guys know each other?”  This line is standard operating procedure so don’t be cautious about throwing it out there.  People will be happy to tell you the answer.  Just don’t ask it right away; that makes you look like you are trying too hard to ingratiate yourself.

If your game is tight and the girls are enjoying your company, what will normally happen is that the guys will pick up on the girls’ signals and follow suit, accepting you into the group and stepping aside (or even helping you) when you begin to focus your attention on the girl you like.  Winning over the group also serves the dual purpose of raising your social value in the eyes of your target.  Holding court with a group of strangers and keeping them engaged will trigger attraction in a girl.

The guys in a mixed group will not always be neutral entities like Switzerland.  Occasionally, they will be competitors.  You must be prepared for this as well.  The important thing to know is that direct competition with other guys in the field VERY RARELY leads to belligerence.  Even less likely will a physical altercation break out, especially here in DC, land of the overeducated Herbs who fold like cheap lawn chairs in the face of real danger.

Competitors come in three main varieties:

The Boyfriend
If one of the guys is seeing the girl you want, ask them a question about their relationship, like how long they’ve known each other or how they met.  While these questions seem innocuous, they are designed to elicit an emotional flashback in the woman that will clue you in to her level of commitment to the boyfriend.  If he does all the answering and starts putting his arm around her while she looks around the room with a bland expression you can be sure she is open to testing the waters with a new man.  If she likes you, she’ll find a way to get out from under her boyfriend’s watchful eye later in the night to slip you her number.  If she answers enthusiastically, write her off.

Some players advocate gaming a girl right in front of the boyfriend as if he were a non-factor.  If you can generate attraction easily and the girl is really into you, go for it, but in my experience most of the time the boyfriend will bristle knowing what you are up to and physically insert himself between you and her, making for a very uncomfortable situation.

The Interloper
These are the guys who crash your party and join groups you have already opened.  They are usually players or natural alphas because only those types of men have the balls to enter a mixed set.  They will test your state control.  The absolute worst thing you could do would be to appear defensive.  If you clam up, or ask what their deal is, or make it obvious that you are ignoring them and focus all your attention on the girls, you will get blown out.

There are two ways to deal with an interloper.  One way is the power play.  One time I was talking to two girls in a lounge when two guys they didn’t know approached and said hi to them without acknowledging me.  One of the guys was clearly the alpha, tall and good-looking with strong posture, so I addressed my comments to him knowing that if I could get him to scuttle, the beta wingman would follow.

I turned toward him, maintained eye contact, and said “Hey, man, we were just talking about how long you would wait to come over and hit on these girls.  We could totally see it in the way you walked over that you meant business!  But she was just telling me how you may have waited a little too long and how your shirt is just a little too striped.  They are a tough crowd, I can attest.”  I look at the girls and wink.  “Girls in this city will not give a guy a break!  But, you know, you should still go for it, this one over here has a secret crush on you.”

I did not give the guys a chance to get a word in edgewise.  The verbal barrage left them staring at me befuddled about what to do next, while the girls laughed and insisted they did not have a crush on anyone.  After a second, I moved in between with my back to them and asked the girls if they would like to learn something about themselves.  They looked horny from the dominance display that had just gone down.  As the girls talked to me, the guys disappeared.

This type of balls-out tactic is high risk, high reward.  It’s not something I do often or recommend doing because sometimes you will meet your intellectual, physical, or sociopathic match and things can get out of hand fast.  You have to feel completely confident in your abilities to disarm gatecrashers.  Showing hesitation or uncertainty will embolden your foes. They have to think you are a little bit crazy and won’t mind a fight.  Which is why I prefer option two.  Engage the interlopers with a series of logical questions.  Do not give them time to game your target.  A guy’s logical brain is his worst enemy in the fluid environment of pickup where on-the-fly emotional intelligence is needed.  Ask them questions about their jobs, sports, hobbies, where they live, etc and you’ll notice that they are almost impelled to answer your questions straight.  It’s like asking a girl about her feelings — the same unstoppable mental processes are set in motion.

Logical banter will lower their value instantly.  Eventually, they will seem boring and pedestrian and this is when you switch gears to playfully undercutting them.  If they ask you questions about your life, you can say “Hey, what’s with the 21 questions? I’m not on the market guys!”  Including them in the conversation and demonstrating your social prowess at their expense with a friendly vibe without escalating the interaction to code yellow will be a big turn-on for the women.  The girls will then devote more of their attention to you and the guys will give up and leave.

The Incumbent
If you approach a group that already has a guy in it working the magic with the girls (as opposed to guys they came with), then you are dealing with an incumbent.  Since most incumbents are average guys with no game trying to impress the girls with drinks or manufacture a connection with boring interviewer questions, it is a simple matter to subvert them.

When he is out of earshot, ask the girls how they know the guy and they will usually say “Oh, we just met him tonight.  He bought us drinks.”  Once armed with this information, you can segue into an incumbent-unseating routine: “Oh I bet you really like him if you let him buy you drinks.  You know, come to think of it, you two almost look alike.  Jeez, you’d make the perfect couple!”  She will, of course, protest, and in the act of verbalizing her protests negative feelings will get anchored to him.

If the guy is part of the conversational flow, just like with the interloper pepper him with logical questions.  Once you’ve become part of the group dynamic, steer it in the direction you want.  If you and he are gaming the same girl, call him out on his motives:

“Hey man, how’s the pickup going?  Are these girls friendly or are they giving you the bitch shield?  I need to know so I can adjust accordingly.”  This will slightly embarrass him into denying that he was trying to game the girls. Once that happens it’s game, set, match in your favor.

If he’s interested in a different girl, then let the conversation progress naturally until he is acting like a de facto wingman and the two of you are gaming your own targets.

Very occasionally, you will run across an incumbent who is a seasoned veteran of the field.  Real players who know their stuff will not fall for the traps I’ve outlined above.  They will banter right back with you until a point is reached where the two of you are in your own world playing out a high drama of verbal volley and counter-volley.  While this is entertaining for the girls, it will not move you closer to sealing the deal.  It’s best to tip your hat to a worthy opponent and recruit him as a wingman.

If you can master opening mixed sets then those times where you are approaching girls-only sets will seem like a breeze.


  1. This sounds extraordinarily complicated and requires a huge amout of effort.


  2. Excellent post. This stuff is challenging for me because I am not a good on-the-fly thinker with respect to potentially awkward social situations. I also have a hard time figuring out people in clubs/bars. Just this last Friday I was on the dance floor at an indie club (I went to the club on my own), when this attractive cheerleader blonde started dancing right next to me, with her back to me (the floor was not overly crowded at that point, so her positioning on the dance floor appeared deliberate). I even had to back up a little bit . . . the problem was that she was with another guy –it was hard at first to tell whether or not he was the boyfriend. He seemed none too pleased by her proximity to me on the dance floor, and occasionally employed cockblocking techniques by, for example, positioning himself between me and the girl.

    Was this girl fair game? Should I have started to chat her up? (She did smile directly at me a few times.) It’s possible that she was just using me as a prop and enjoying
    the extra attention . . . I think I should probably be bolder in these situations and be willing to risk a fight with a competitor –this is not the type of club where people would be carrying concealed weapons, in my estimation (some of these types might, indeed, “fold up like cheap lawnchairs). Although I’m not a big person, I am quick, and I don’t think a fight would be allowed to escalate for very long –it would quickly be broken up.


  3. Nice explanation, but it’s too advanced of a concept for men who don’t have their shit together. Also, much of what you advocate accomplishing by words can be achieved with a single look — the “what the fuck do you think you’re doing” sort of look. When you give the matching body vibe (tensed muscles), you send a message that the interloper should find an easier opportunity. The look and vibe should last for no longer than a few seconds, and then your attention should be back to what you were doing. Perhaps this is also too advanced of a concept, but it’s a great deal less work than verbal sparring. It has the added advantage of showing a bit of a bad boy edge, which if played right, can make you seem exciting and a little dangerous.


  4. Willingness to chat-up groups of people at bars does not constitute “having one’s shit together”.


  5. Verbal sparring, if done well, is better than a threatning glare. Girls who are open game will be more impressed by a guy who can verbally outmanouver and intimidate his competition. Also, besides giving you an additional boost of confidence, a good rap will put away a rival for good. The glare can make you look weak/threatened to both the girls and the interloper.

    The “what the fuck do you think you’re doing” glare is more appropriate with an interloper who approaches your wife or girlfriend, not realizing that she is taken.


  6. What if you’re looking for a fight. I seriously want to try out all the MMA sparring stuff I’ve learned. What’s the point of learning striking and punching wood until your hands are numb if you can’t use it on another person :-/


  7. Hey man, you’re looking for girls or a fight? 😉

    Looking like you could hold your own in a fight if necessary helps with game, though. For a calm-tempered, average-sized, middle class guy, I’ve been in a surprising number of fights — and lost only one, which was against a much bigger guy.

    In any case, when threatened by another guy, not being afraid of possibly getting punched, and looking like you aren’t, goes a long way toward making the other guy back off.


  8. My gawd. This is the kind of shit that reminds me

    a) of what a loser I was when I was young–having NEVER had any success in a bar

    b) how grateful I am to be an old married man long past that sort of thing

    c) of watching nature films of male animals fighting (sometimes to the death) for mating privileges–but that’s the way it is, so might as well get used to it

    Unless I were REAL good, I wouldn’t even put myself in this sort of environment. I once read that better relationships are with those you meet in daylight hours. Sounds good to me. Better to make a move on that girl you see sitting out on the plaza of your office building at lunch every day.


  9. Ha ha ha, This is on some straight pickup artist shit. I agree with Jay G, most guys don’t even know how to talk to girls and be if the “set” their opening up even wants THEM there, let alone what to do if other guys come in.

    I’m just lucky enough to naturally intimidate other guys; I rarely ever have to worry about this. Alpha to the max


  10. You don’t intimidate jack shit.


  11. This is some sneaky ninja shit.


  12. Sic ’em, Nullpointer! Kill, kill!

    Man, do you need to get laid. Or something.


  13. […] Break up the guys, pick up the girl… […]


  14. […] To find more information from the source here […]


  15. You are such a fucking pussy dude.

    – An Alpha


  16. on September 27, 2008 at 8:46 am Russian-canadian

    just fucking come and talk to girls.. right when you see her/them… no thoughts no pre-set combinations of words. just pick up ur balls and come and say u are pretty and so on… works!!! if u are a man.. other than that.. who cares! even in the subway/bus


  17. Ah! Right up my alley. This post reminds me of my comments in the last two recent “Coffeehouse Girl” threads, where I mentioned the differences between Whites of a certain sort and Blacks or another. What Roissy described, where there are rivals in essence competing for the same girl, can in Mu’s World get ugly real quick. It is a scenario that brings to mind one of the late great philosophers of the last century, The Notorious B.I.G.:

    “Number Ten, a strong rule called Consignment, strictly for live men, not for freshmen…”

    -Ten Crack Commandments

    OK, so like the last “test” here’s how I would assess the situation:

    Niteclubs, coffeehouses and the like are Mating Grounds areas; while its possible for couples to frequent them, where I come from guys tend to keep their women home; bringing her into such an environment can put you in danger. So, I assume that the guys in the group, no matter how long they’re known the girls in question, are basically after the same thing that I’m after.

    I like Roissy’s line of questioning the Interloper/Incumbant; keeping the opposition on their heels is a good move. The best defence has always been, and always will be, a damn good offence.

    Like the last scenario, I’m making use of situational awareness and body language, but this time I’m focused just a bit more on the guy(s) than the girl’s, and for good reason. Like I said, where I come from things can and often do get ugly quick; brothas don’t like having the rug pulled out from under them, and its quite commonplace to hear of shootings and the like going down at innercity nitespots. So its a delicate act of trying to keep the target in view while also keeping an eye on the competition/wingman. I’m also scoping the place for any other hostiles in the area; homies often roll to clubs in groups or at the least have friendlies there. Eyeing the bar for the nearest bottle doesn’t hurt either, and if at all possible, slowly moving toward it.

    Roissy’s words about having one’s hands in pockets usually is sound advice, but in this case I’m making an exception, again, based on where I come from. Since clubs search for weapons I wouldn’t be allowed to bring in my usual compliment of tools. But I would be allowed to bring a few sturdy bic pens. In such an environment my pockets would one in each. During the course of the play I casually slip my right hand in my pocket, gripping the pen…just in case.

    I agree w/Roissy, this is a high-gambit, and definitely not for beginners. Moreover, in a deep innercity environment the results could wind up very, very ugly, and one has to question long and hard as to whether its worth it. I’ve done it before and come out on top, but even Mu doesn’t want to press his luck.



  18. Roissy,
    Man it’s frightening how spot on you are about this post, I read this post religiously, and applied the going on a weekday and I had both an incumbent and and interloper. I have to admit I started to falter with the Interloper but I manned up and fought him off with aplomb. The incumbent had no talent, but It was really funny to see that you really are spot on and you know your craft. Whenever you have your book signing I’ll be there.



  19. The logical questions idea is spot on. Tyler Durden suggested it before as well, except in terms of being cockblocked – guys will deliberately “pull you out of state” by peppering you with logical questions, making you look boring to the girls you were trying to game.