Cold Approach Power Dynamics

cold approach chart explanation

We’ve already spoken about approaches here:


There is still confusion around the most effective strategies of cold approaching and starting conversations.

So in this article, we are going to learn the true power dynamics of approaching, what’s most effective, and how you should “open”.


There are fixed crucial “seduction milestones” in dating to go from first meeting to lovers.

And the approach is the very first of these “seduction milestones”:

dating progression chart
The approach is one of the most crucial milestones to successfully going from strangers to lovers

To pass each milestone, you need to have enough leverage to lead her to the next step.

That leverage, is power.
And the problem is that most men lose too much power during the approach to advance to any successive step.

As a matter of fact, if you’re not careful, the simple act of approaching often gives power away:

The simple act of approaching gives power away

That is because:

The person who makes the first move sub-communicates that he needs or wants something, while the one who gets approached is in the chooser -and power- position.

The approacher has “tipped his hand” with the approach already: he wants his target, and that sub-communicates interest.
The approached instead hasn’t shown any interest, and is judging the approacher.

Luckily, there are ways to change that.
And it all starts by understanding the general principles:

Approach Power Dynamics

As a general rule:

The more interest you display in the approach, the more power you give away

On the other hand, the less interest you display, the more power you maintain.

And since power and attraction are tightly interlinked, maintaining power increases your effectiveness.

In chart terms:

cold approach power dynamics
The more power you maintain, the higher power you start

Let’s now review the age-old question of direct VS indirect:

Direct VS Indirect Openers

In the dating literature, there’s an endless debate over “direct VS indirect” openers.

This is the difference:

  • Direct means to verbally state your sexual or romantic interest openly and quickly, and its proponents say that it’s ballsy, “masculine”, and time-saving
  • Indirect means to start a conversation with a woman you find attractive, without explicitly stating your sexual or romantic interest, and its proponents say that it’s more versatile, has wider appeal, and it retains mystery and power.

Both have a point.

And, generally speaking, you want an opener that combines the best of both worlds:

  1. Maintains as much power as possible, while it
  2. Sets a man-to-woman sexual vibe

When you’re more advanced, you can combine both because you won’t need words to set a “man-to-woman” frame and spark attraction.

Beginners though might need to be a bit more direct to avoid remaining at a platonic level.

However, you still don’t want to go too overboard because the more you spell your interest and intentions, the more power you give away:

cold approach and power matrix
The more you make your interest and intentions clear, the more power you give away

Direct Openers Power Dynamics

Direct openers sit on a conundrum:

With a solid delivery they can be honest and ballsy, and thus can give you lots of points.

However, they also show a lot of interest before she’s done much to earn it and before she invested anything.
And that can self-frame you as lower value than her.

When Direct Works

Remember that what’s high power is relative.

It’s not how much interest you show, but how much you show compared to her interest levels.

  • The smaller your interest compared to hers, the more power you have
  • The bigger your interest compared to hers, the more power you lose

In theory, showing interest is only an issue when it’s not returned.

As a matter of fact, if she’s really into you and she returns your interest, then you’re on a fast track to quick seduction.
In chart terms:

direct opener approach chart
If you show interest and if she likes you and reciprocates, the direct approach puts you on fast-track seduction

The frame at that point is “we really like each other“, a win-win frame that leads to fast romance.

And, if she likes you a lot, direct openers can also help prevent self-rejection -such as, when women think you are “too much for them” -which is why direct approaches usually work better for very high value men-.

The only issue is…

Works great for top 1%, but you don’t make the rule with the exceptions…

This scenario is an exception for most men, and not the norm.

On average, going direct works best for very high sexual market value men.

Brad Pitt can open directly and women will drop their jaws and profess their love back (Brad Pitt is so high value that he runs little risk of giving power away: when he opens he’s already coming from a high-value position).
Good for him.
“Nos otros”, we have to work out way up.

That’s part of the fun.

And part of the fun is being strategic about it.

Issue #1. You Don’t Know Her Interest Yet

Yes, if she thinks the world of you, direct works great.

Problem is, when you first open you don’t know her interest levels.

So, in the absence of clear data, it’s best to “hedge your bets”.

Issue #2. She Might Exploit Your Candor

Even if she’s interested, you don’t know if she’ll be candid and honest back.

Instead, she might prefer to play games and hoard power, or feign disinterest to make you chase and self-frame as the relationship prize.

This is not an issue if you’re looking for a relationship because you can just drop her. But it’s an issue if you’re looking to play the field.

Also see:

Issue #3: Early Vulnerability Is Dangerosly Close to “Weakness”

Showing lots of interest is a vulnerable act.

We talked about vulnerability power dynamics here already.

And vulnerability works after you have shown your value.

But it doesn’t work nearly as well when your value is still unknown.
And even worst, vulnerability as an unknown makes you a prime suspect for being low value.

Finally, “naive vulnerability” is just bad strategy.

In a “fight for life analogy”, giving all your interest away is like emptying your magazine first, offering a flower, and hoping that your opponent will do the same.
Might work great, but… Is it the most effective way to negotiate win-win peace?
Probably not…

Issue #4: No Mystery, No Tension

When there’s no mystery, there is no sexual tension.

Plus, in this “cards on the table” frame, she is firmly in the chooser position.

She asks herself the whole time:

he wants me, we know that, but… Do I want him?

She will be in charge -and in power- as the chooser.
And women aren’t attracted to men who are lower power than they are.

Finally, it’s only when women aren’t 100% sure you want them that they will chip in -invest, show interest, and potentially even chase you-.
When they know you want them, they’ll wait for you to make all the work.
And that almost always decreases their attraction.

So it’s best to let her wonder with some mystery.

Issue #5: The More Attractive She Is, The Better It Is to Maintain Power

Generally speaking:

The more attractive and in-demand she is, the higher-power men she wants.

And the less likely it is that she will take a shine to (yet another) random, “unproven” guy who happens to be into her.

So don’t make this is an iron rule, but the tendency is that:

The more attractive she is, the more power you want to keep because the more attractive she is, the more unforgiving she is of those who start lower power:

The more power you give away, the tougher it is. And the hotter she is, the more this is true

Let’s now review a few popular “direct openers” around:

Extreme Direct Openers

There are several “extreme” versions of openers in the pick-up literature.

Generally speaking, less extreme is more effective.

For the details, read on:

Direct Sexual

The most extreme direct sexual interest are:

  1. Open with direct sexual interest
  2. Maintain frame
  3. Keep on building on the sexuality (for example, what you want to do to her)

When that works, it works great.

When it works

It works great if she is:

  1. Super into you
  2. Very into highly dominant and sexually aggressive men
  3. Horny
  4. Rrisk-taking

Why it’s not ideal

If we define effective as “giving yourself maximum odds with the largest number of women”, then it’s the sexual direct opener is not the most effective.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. Drives away many women, including women who could have been into you: sexual direct casts a smaller net because most women are risk-avoidant. Even many women who are turned by sexual boldness will subconsciously override their excitement with self-preservation. It’s not a coincidence that many women only orgasm after they’ve known a man for some time: it’s because they need some time and comfort to drop their defenses and “let go”
  2. There’s no upside for skilled and high-value men: if you’re generally high-power and have the capability to be more direct and bolder together with the emotional intelligence to realize when you need to be bolder -a big ask, actually-, then you can up your dominance and leadership on a “per-needed basis” and still move fast and succeed with the women who’d respond well to super direct.
  3. Lots of small personal risks add up: you can come across as threatening or harassing and get wild reactions and burn bridges

You can mitigate those downsides with sexual direct that is not crude and doesn’t come across as threatening.
That works a lot better.

Examples in Seduction University.

Direct Romantic

Many dating coaches recommend a direct expression of interest.

For example:

Direct gushing interest: I think you are… Gorgeous

Or blander:

Direct compliment opener: I thought you were cute and wanted to talk to you

When it works

It can work great if:

  1. She invests and/or shows interest: for example, if she stopped to talk to you and looks at you raptly. Then it works because, at that point, you’re power-up
  2. You come across as high-value and/or “top boyfriend material”, in which it can turn into whirlwind romance -this is how lovers’ seducer types date, like Casanova
  3. She likes you, and especially if she noticed you before you approached

Why it’s not ideal

Look at this chart:

direct opener bar chart
The more power you give away, the more likely it is you’ll start in a negative “value hole”

Think of it this way:

The more direct -and gushing- you are in your expression of interest, the more you “extend”.
If she extends as well, you lunge together forward. If she reaches out to “break your fall”, you might be still in the game -but because she decided to “give you a chance”, not the best spot to be in-.

But if she was unsure -including if you’re high value but she hasn’t seen it yet-, then you may be out of the running before even starting.

No, “Making Her Day” Is Not Your Goal

Some dating coaches say that big compliments “make her day” -sometimes with nice descriptions of how big the smile grows on her face-.

However, “making her day” is not a goal for effective dating.

Your goal is not to make her day -or, at least, not with a big compliment right before she says “thanks” and leaves to have sex with someone else-.

Approach Body Language

Of course, approaching is not all about words.

Body language plays a crucial role.
This is a brief preview, the full lesson is in Seduction University:

Bad body language

cold approach body language example

Bad because:

  1. He looks at her before she looks at him
  2. She moves forward going her own way, he self-frames as having nothing better to do
  3. He has his whole body towards her, she just looks at him

Overall, he sub-communicates lots of interest and he’s in the chasing position.

If he insists, he might get her to stop and then regain some power.
But it’s a big IF, and he’s not making himself any favors starting lower power.

man approach body language example

Bad because:

  • He approaches from behind, already in a chasing position
  • He is looking at her, she is not looking at him

A video example of very poor body language first-approach:

bad cold approach example

Good body language

And now some positive examples of high-power approaches:

good cold approach example

It’s good body language because:

  • It looks very natural
  • He goes one step ahead

A few things could be tweaked:

  • Walk with her a few more steps or until you hook: he tried to stop her too soon. Should have walked with her, gotten some investment
  • Open at a more convenient location: steps are mind taxing, it’s better to open before steps and escalators, or after
  • Stop at a more convenient location: right after the steps is a sub-optimal place to stop
  • Make her look at you first: he avoids the startling “predator in pursuit”, but would have been better to look ahead in the beginning

And now a scripted example from “Dr. No” to get an idea of “warmer” approaches:

Bond: (walks ahead, doesn’t look at her) Tomorrow afternoon, then (doesn’t even specify it’s a date invite, making her invest in the verbal meaning-making of setting up a date)

Bond walks without waiting, which forces her to catch up to him -big nonverbal investment-. It barely started and she’s already shown strong interest while he hasn’t shown any.
Then he reclines against the booth (locking in) and leaves her on the outside, which is the higher investment position.

For now, this is enough to get the gist.
More body language in Seduction University.

Problem: Beginners Need The Verbal Support of “Directness”

It’s not as simple as to say “be less direct”.

Because to have a man-to-woman vibe without verbally stating it requires some skills.
It’s all about body language, tonality, undertones, and… Personal value and self-confidence.

Flirting can help, but even there, not all flirting works. If it’s too obvious or surface-level then flirting is more like harmless banter -or even try-hard-.

So for beginners, it’s OK to start out with direct interest.
As a matter of fact, for beginners, it’s recommended to start out with more direct expressions of romantic interest and/or romantic intention.
It ensures you won’t end up friend-zoned and, if done well, it can give you added points for boldness and honesty.

However, for the longer term, it’s better to work on:

  • “Man to woman” vibing (examples later)
  • Qualifying and showing your interest later on, after she’s also invested and when she earns it
  • Increasing your investment in lockstep with hers

Solution: Go “As Indirect As Possible”

Maintain Power Using Vibe, Rather Than Words

Considering all we said:

There are too many downsides and too few upsides to direct openers.

HOWEVER, beginners need the verbal directness for a “man-to-woman” frame.

The solution?

The solution is to go “as indirect as possible”.

To know how indirect you can go, you need to self-assess.
You can look at your past interaction, and if:

  • You get friend-zoned a lot
  • Women never get that you want to date them
  • When you invite women home they either think it’s weird, or think it’s as friends
  • When you make a move women never expect it

Then, there is not enough “man-to-woman” vibe, not enough attraction, and you’re going too indirect.
You need to go more direct.

If on the other hand you’re getting good results, women “know” what’s up and some women are attracted to you… Then go try out more indirect and “casual” openers.

In either case, you’ll start doing better.

Technique: The “Bashful Direct”

The “bashful direct” effectively blurs the line between direct and indirect, combining the best of both worlds.

See Seduction University for the example.

Women’s First Approach Tactics

We’ll focus on interested women here.

And interested women will either:

  1. Show interest the “genuine” non-game player attitude
  2. Hide interest to conserve power and self-frame as “the prize
  3. Actively feign disinterest to entrench her power position. Feigning disinterest can be both a game and a test

What early PUAs used to call “bitch shields” is a subset of “feigning disinterest”.
Bitch shields refer to women who are either attractive or hit on too many times and who put up a nasty facade to discourage and quickly shut down suitors.

However, it’s not necessarily attractive or high-value women who put up bitch shields. Often, it’s inveterate game players or jaded party girls instead.
So don’t necessarily take it as a test or sign of quality, because it can often be a red flag instead.

See Seduction University for how to deal with bitch shields.

Indicators of Interest

It’s certainly helpful knowing how to recognize indicators of interest.

Marisa Tomei in “Crazy Stupid Love” shows some dramatized examples:

Her: I’m Kate (high-pitch, smiling and nodding, obviously happy of being approached)

You can read some of the typical “indicators of interest” here:

And there are many similar lists online -more or less accurate-.

However, don’t over-sweat the presence (or absence) of indicators of interest because many women won’t send nearly as many signals -and some won’t send any at all-.

See “Seduction University” for concrete signs.

Gaze Power Dynamics & Coquette Games

We can consider eye contact the very first (pre-)step in an approach.

As a general rule:

The more you’re seeing looking, the more interest you sub-communicate -and the more you’re chasing-.
Conversely, the more you’re looked at, the more power you gain.

A dramatized but good example of eye contact power dynamics (and games) from Sex and the City:

Her: (lowers her gaze, then looks at him) I have no doubt (looks away and keeps on walking)
Him: maybe we could have dinner sometimes
Her: (looks away)
Her: (looks at him for emphasis before delivering the keywords) call me (looks away first, moves away first)

Her: (self-talk after she turns to look at him and he sees it) damn, would have been so cool if I hadn’t looked back

Albeit this a show, it was written largely by women and for women.
Indeed, notice the top two comments from real-life women, confirming it’s part and parcel of most women’s innate programming:

women psychology of approach dynamics example

If you spot a woman playing these games, you have two options:

  1. Play the same game back, so you avoid being framed as the one chasing her
  2. Go assertive and bold and tell her to stop playing games, a slight risk, but if she likes you, it’s actually low-ish risk and big returns.

If you go assertive -and potentially “meta”, see PU- and she accepts your frame, backtracks and/or changes her behavior it’s a huge boon for the seduction.
At that point, she’s almost ready for intimacy.

Strategic Action Steps

See Seduction University.

This is an excerpt from Seduction University, where you find real-life examples and strategies.

Scroll to Top