The System is a dating course for men by Todd Valentine teaching men how to approach, seduce, and sleep with women.
In “The System”, Todd proposes a 5 step process going from open to close and includes many breakdowns of his own interactions.
About The Author: Todd Valentine is a dating coach with many years of experience, both when it comes to dating for himself, and to teaching. He first started with Real Social Dynamics, and then broke off to do his own thing.
He is also the author of “Day Game” and, he said in one of his courses, a proponent of applying Jordan Belford’s “straight line persuasion” to seduction (ie.: “straight line seduction“).
- There is no such thing as “natural game”: if someone is learning game, then it’s not natural
- There is a lot of good information today: in the past, in the days of “The Game” and “The Mystery Method” there was a lot of bad information, but now you can find lots of great information almost anywhere
- Avoid “models of seduction”: your base of seduction must be being a high-quality man, then you can add seduction models to that core
- “High frequency” is BS: the “high frequency” is woo-woo BS, it’s unscientific, and means nothing
I agree with everything.
The System: 5 Steps
The system is based on the following 5 steps:
- Open: Only goal is to get the conversation going
- Man assessing woman frame (Todd calls it “Premise”): showing there is a chance for you two being together, it’s you auditioning her for a role in your life.
Establish the premise early on so you operate under it for the whole duration. If you do it too late, it’s too late. Compliments that communicate “I’m evaluating you” are a good way of setting premise without giving too much power away
- Direct opener (Todd calls it “intent”) is a subset of premise and it’s best for beginners. Otherwise, you give too much power away
- Evaluate: you must evaluate her to give yourself (and her) a reason to see her again or to keep interacting with her. You evaluating her sets yourself as above her (judge frame) and prompts her to chase you
- Narrative: the story of you two meeting
- Ideally, you two together
- Alternatively, you being a high-value guy, and then try to move to you “the two of you together”
- Seed: For example, you can say “are you adventurous? “ “yes” “well, then we should get a coffee sometimes”. Or “do you live in the area?”
- Frame it as a win: frame it as a win for her (see: frame control techniques)
- Qualify: communicate she passed your standards, even if she didn’t just say “you seem cool anyway”
- Lead: “what’s your number”, assume the close
- The Judge Role: here I explain the social and power dynamics of assessing and qualifying others, both in seduction and in social settings. I feel that “the judge”, both as a name and as a concept, makes power dynamics for easier to understand. In short, the judge” is the person with power in social interactions because he judges others (qualify / disqualify / shit test / emotional reward / emotionally punish are all tools of the judge).
Types of Openers
- Super direct (sexual)
- Direct friendly (push-pull, observation)
- Situational (tease, using environment)
I very much like and agree with Todd general advice on which open to use, which he tailors to skill levels.
Beginners should open more direct, or they risk coming across like friends.
Intermediate students should be more in the middle, in between direct and indirect.
And advanced practitioners should use more indirect openers and try to communicate their intentions with nonverbal and undertones.
The rationale is that directly stating you like her gives your game away and gives your power away.
You place her above you and make her the prize.
Indirect allows you to withhold more power in the interaction and gives her more space to chase.
Overall, I don’t fully agree that an advanced man shouldn’t go direct.
I think that there are situations where you can go very direct sexual, move very quickly, and you will not lose points but instead kick-off a sexual “whirlwind romance” effect.
For example, some of my best interactions came after I told a girl, straight up, “I thought you had very sexy legs”.
But all the rest is spot on and high-quality information.
- Talk to her like you know her
- Assume she will stop
- Know that you are giving her value
- Chatty and friendly first and only later sexual or you raise the bar too high
You don’t want to be too sexual too soon or the question in her mind will be “will I have sex with this guy”.
And that’s a bar too high for the very beginning and you will lose a lot of girls, who will naturally answer “no” even though many of them would have later turned into “yes”.
- Seed: You seed, get a feedback on what she likes and see if she hooks
- “you don’t seem like the worst person to hang out with”
- “it would be funny to take you on an adventure, but I don’t trust you yet”
- “I’m getting tired of this club, I might have to leave soon, maybe a drink or two but I might not stay all night”
- “there is this great place, I would totally take you there, but let’s hang out here a little longer”
- Frame: frame it as a win for her.
- “I don’t take a lot of people there, maybe one day, probably not tonight”;
- if you’re taking her home, say you gotta get up early and you can’t stay with her the whole night
- Qualify: have her work for it. Ask if you can trust them, tell them you’re not sure you can’t take them tonight (have them convince you it’s a good idea)
- Lead: lead with confidence, have a gameplan
9s and 10s: Don’t put them on a pedestal
If you treat them like they’re different, you’ve already lost.
The first step for 9s and 10s is to realize that if all they do is coast on their looks, then they are quite empty.
Many girls who make money off their looks make very little money.
Strippers make more, but they face diminishing returns and are often very insecure.
And many girls who make lots of money on their looks… Well, they are selling themselves.
Dealing with the “blase'” response
Some girls will play the “high-value woman” when you approach them and pretend they didn’t see or hear you.
There are three ways to handle it, says Todd:
- Say right after “hey, nono, it’s OK, I’m (your name)
The idea here is to communicate that you know what’s going on and that they need to play their game to avoid low-value men hitting on them.
With this one, it’s like you were saying “hey don’t worry, I know what’s up and I’m as high value as you are”
- Keep talking from a high-value frame
The exercise “the wall” will be helpful here.
- Challenge her and make her participate
Tease her and find a way to make her react somehow.
The last part of “The System” is for the exercises.
One of the exercises is called “the wall”, and it goes like this:
Talk for a minute to a wall to get used to girls giving you nothing. It will get you used to coming up with things to say.
Level 2: talk to the wall and establish premise. ie.: “I like you, but you’re so flat”, “I like you but hey, white wall, so bland”, “I like a little spunk in my wall”
Level 3: talk to the wall from a high-value frame, from a perspective that you’re wanted, that the wall likes you, that you are used to great social feedback.
A good chunk of the program is about Todd infields plus another one of his student/teachers (JP).
I think that’s where are a lot of the value is as people can get to watch a few successful dates and pulls with the conversation and Todd’s commentary.
JP’s first infield, the one in the teaser, was true class.
The second one I didn’t like it much, it felt like he was coasting on his good looks and got a bit too aggressive with the sexual intent. It would not have worked as well with a guy who was not as good looking and, most important, she felt more in charge than he was:
You can see her hand on his face, usually girls only do that if they feel in charge.
Whenever a girl touches my face I know that she is feeling in charge and I always wonder “where did I fuck it up that she now thinks she’s in control?” (and that’s why Joe Roegan gets so angry when someone touches him, especially on his face).
But then again, the guy was younger than her and that’s more likely to happen when she’s got a few years on him. Plus he had sex with her in the end.
I also like the guy: he comes across as very down to earth and his interactions tend to be very natural.
Plus Todd analyzes a few infields of his students, analyzing their mistakes and what they could do better.
Those guys were a bit beginners level, so beginners will get the most “uplift”.
Yet, because of Todd’s commentary as a very advanced guy, even more advanced people can gain new insights.
Avoid “Alpha Male Strategies”
Todd has been vocal of the dangers of “alpha male strategies”.
In “The System” he comments on one of his student’s videos that it was a dick move to dump a girl right away after she said she had a boyfriend because “she’s a human being”.
And he reiterates the old pick-up mantra of “leaving her better than you found her”.
Well, I like that approach.
And I think it’s more effective, too.
For example, if a girl is talking on the phone the AMS approach would be to tell her to hung up.
But that’s silly, Todd says, because on the other hand of the phone there could a parent, a boyfriend, or a dear friend. And you’re still a stranger.
Instead, he recommends a more subtle approach.
- Violating social norms is bad advice
Withstanding social pressure is good, but breaking social norms just so to do it is not attractive (garish clothes, straws in her nose, laying down on the floor, talking overly loud etc.)
The ability to violate social norms is good, actually doing it is bad.
- Approach interaction with a mindset of “self-amusing”
If you go in to have fun, you will naturally have a non-needy mindset.
I’m personally not the biggest fan of this “self-amusing” approach, which if you take it too far leads to more clownish behavior and the girl will take you less seriously.
But in smaller doses, it can be good.
- When she says “I admire your confidence”…
She is actually pushing you low down.
She is saying “I admire that a guy lower in value like you are is not afraid of approaching me”.
Also read “covert power moves“.
- Social circle game is about your status in the group
Just being around cool people won’t get you results by itself.
It’s not just about being in the group but about your role in the group.
Social media and social circle game should be on top of your core seduction skills, but not seek to replace it.
That’s true, but if you are very close to a very high-status person, then you can reap almost equal benefits because he will attract more women than he can take.
In evolutionary psychology, this is called the “satellite strategy”, and can work wonders (see Buss, 2013).
Todd Valentine is one of the best pick-up coaches around.
Maybe even the best one when it comes to content and YouTube channel quality.
The main con, in my opinion, is the pick-up artist schooling he trained in that sometimes leads to over-gaming and lower-power approaches.
I’m going to post some examples here, but please consider that I am going to nitpick here, as well as only showing the worst moments. So don’t fall for the trap of sampling bias: this is still an overall top-notch course, delivered by a master PUA.
1. Cold approach is high effort / lowish returns
Todd espouses cold approaches as the best way to meet women.
And I LOVE cold approaching.
Even beyond meeting women, I love it for the challenge and self-development.
However, it would stupid of me to confuse what I like or do, with what’s most effective.
Compared to higher-power strategies, walking up to random girls is a high-effort, low-ish returns strategy.
A few things will help increase efficiency:
- Great looks
- High confidence / power
- Great game
- A place with LOTS of women walking around
But even if you score high on those, you still need to trawl the streets to find a girl whom you like -and you won’t find that many if you’re picky-, who is in the right mental space to date/bang new guys and, of course, who likes you back enough to come with you on a date.
That’s all doable -done it plenty of times, too-.
But whether or not it’s a strategy that suits you best, is not a given.
The rewards of cold approaches are also smaller compared to more “winners take all” strategies such as fame, jetset lifestyle, or high-status social circle game with lots of attractive women in and out -basically, all strategies where women come to you, or naturally gravitate around you-.
You don’t need to take my word for it. That daygame takes effort you can see it from dating coaches as well.
Take some videos from James Tusk, the ones which are not cut-out to make it seem like a breeze, and you will see.
James Tusk is handsome like a model, and still spends hours and hours in packed streets to get a few numbers:
Or you can watch it from Todd himself, when he shows his not-so-good interactions:
(and I love the honesty of people showing the duds, would have liked to see even more of them):
By the way, this is no dissing on cold-approach, which is a great tool of freedom for most normal guys.
Especially for those who love it. If you love it, then it doesn’t even need to be the most efficient method.
But if you want to be efficient, you need to date with power dynamics in mind. Pick-up artists running up and down the street are not the highest value guys around.
And for those shooting for more, than there are more effective dating strategies.
2. Sometimes over-gaming
Todd comes from RSD, which was based on routines, push-pulls, and a lot of “game”.
A bit your old-school stereotypical PUA-style kind of thing.
And you can see that a lot in Todd’s method.
He was the best of the RSD pack, in my opinion.
But just sometimes I feel Todd overdoes the teasing and laughing at the girl, which can lead to a combative dynamic. And combative dynamics are OK if you can win and manage them, but they’re inherently more mercurial and less stable.
This isn’t just my opinion by the way.
I talked about it with Kether. Kether is one of the best, if not the best player in South Korea. He gets real results and he’s a man whose skills and mindsets I personally respect and can vouch for.
I hold Kether’s opinion in high regard, and he felt the say way about Todd “over gaming” sometimes.
- Over-gamers get lots of shit tests
I feel one reason PUAs talk a lot about shit-tests is because they attract lots of shit-tests.
And they get them because they come across as too gamey. Women don’t know if they’re for real, so they feel the need to throw stumbling blocks.
The bad news is that it’s not true that the better the woman, the more games you need.
As a rule of thumb, the better the woman, the more over-gaming will doom you.
Higher quality women and alpha females are more likely to want direct alpha males who go for what they want, without too much verbal smoke.
Which is exactly what this smart woman tells Todd:
Todd: I’m very shy, I rarely travel, I get really nervous around girls in particular, I never had an interest in life experiences..
Her: You know what your problem is (already a bad frame…) you’re overconfident (= you try too hard…) you do have this things where it looks like girls are your enemies (= you overgame)
Todd was going for the old PUA technique of “DHV” (demonstrate higher value).
But, like with the early PUAs, it’s a bit too obvious. It feels like cheap social climbing.
And as a rule of thumb, the higher you go in life, the more your demonstrations of high value need to be subtle or indirect.
Sometimes Todd also pushes women who like him a little bit too on the edge, and when you do that you might not able to bring them back.
You can turn women off with over-gaming and too much push-pull. Especially when they already liked you.
Over-gaming also leads to “self-rejection“, and you can read more here:
Once a girl likes you, it’s best to set an “us together” frame (collaborative frames) VS continuing to tease.
Here is an example:
Over-teasing and over-gaming past the mark leads to self-rejection. That’s why she left. There is something as “too much power”. Once you have enough power, focus on getting to know her and moving forward, not on acquiring more and more power.
Reviewing the footage, Todd himself said he was over-gaming sometimes.
But he prefers over-gaming he says because it’s better to a reservoir of power when you pull her.
Great point of view.
Still, I think it was too much -Todd himself said so, but I think it was more than “slightly” overdoing it and it almost pushed her away-.
That being said, this was a great interaction to learn power dynamics.
And because he focused so much on teasing and showing value without getting to her enough or without showing enough interest, she self-rejected.
But Todd is a game beast and has a good feel for power dynamics. So before she left he re-built her up and later they ran into each other and left together.
In chart terms, this is how over-gaming conversations go:
Later in the interaction, he is warmer, and gives her more genuine appreciation.
He even tells her to be more genuine (but without taking sh*t when she “breaks the agreement”).
And that’s what changed the game.
Be careful not to overdo the power though, because many women will self-reject forever.
3. Sometimes could be higher power
One of the consequences of gaming a lot is that it comes across as lower power.
And this is a criticism I also often make of myself by the way.
Alpha male types tend to be more direct and grounded.
They talk slower, tease and laugh a bit less and, especially, they don’t laugh to release tension.
See an example of releasing tension with laughter here:
The girl was being confrontational. From a frame control point of view, she was one-upping him. Laughing as an attempt to look superior by not taking her seriously was good. But still, it was too much laughing resulting in a loss of power, dominance, and leadership.
Higher power is especially recommended when you already have attraction, when you are high SMV, or when you simply want to be bold and efficient.
If she reciprocates, higher power leads to quicker sex, zero LMR, no shit tests and, as well, also makes her lust for you far more.
You can see a story/example here:
4. Some “Risky” jokes
Todd jokes often about the girl taking advantage of him.
One of those jokes is the girl “stealing one of his kidneys”. He wants to convey that they want something from and that they will spend the night together.
I would personally stay away from those types of jokes because they invoke violence and the risk of a serial killer.
Women do think about that stuff sometimes.
And since women are risk-averse, I would completely avoid any joke that injects violence or abuse in a woman’s mind.
That being said, Todd is very self-critical and goes back in the videos an analyzes his own mistakes.
That’s a great bonus of his program: you get his own commentary on his own interactions.
And he has a very good grasp of social dynamics, power dynamics, and dating power dynamics.
5. Bit of a complex system to internalize & strange names don’t help
Todd is very smart.
And probably also because of that, “The System” can be complex.
However, it doesn’t HAVE TO be that way.
In my opinion, it’s complex in good part because of the names Todd chooses.
The old concept of “showing interest” becomes “showing intent“.
And it’s not the same because “intent” can be established in the negative or with push-pull. I get Todd, he’s great at power dynamics and games.
But “intent” is not intuitive.
Much better in my opinion to keep the name “showing interest” but change it into “interest-hedging” to avoid giving too much power away (the term I use now).
And then “intent” becomes a subset of “premise”.
But “premise” sounds a lot like “frame”, and it’s not intuitive at all.
And Todd also talks about frames, so now there is major overlap among similar concepts, but with different names.
And then there are “premises within the premise” and some terms, like qualifying and validation, that are used somewhat differently.
Making up new words adds unneeded complexity and confusion.
If you’re anything like me, chances are that after a few weeks you’ve gone through “The System”, you will not remember “the system”, because the names and steps are not very intuitive.
- Not everything is a shit test
And when it comes to shit tests, the opposite is true and I wished for more nuance.
Almost anything non-positive from a woman Todd calls it a “shit test“.
But they’re not all the same.
Some are disrespectful lines or behaviors that should be dealt with strongly.
And some are about playful one-ups and frame control.
6. Filler words = less confidence
Todd is a great teacher.
And when gaming, he knows which words to use because he focuses a lot on them.
I think he could step it up even more if he addressed the how to speak. For example:
- Fewer filler words
- Better diction
- Remove upspeaks
You can hear an example of upspeak.
Filler words are useless utterances like “uhm”, “ah”, “so” that people use to fill the silences. Filler words are known to make you come across as less confident and more nervous.
Also see the “verbal expressions of submissiveness“.
Todd Valentine Review
Todd is a beast.
He’s a smart, logical, rational, and incredibly verbally talented man.
He’d have been successful at anything he’d done, and he decided to put his genius in the service of pick-up.
And I think Todd Valentine is one of the best dating coaches around.
I like his approach: rational and level-headed, based both on experience and logic.
And I like how he relates to people and women.
Demands respect, and enforces his boundaries, without going all macho, “alpha male posturing” style.
He also moves beyond the typical black and white thinking of red-pill style dating advice, which has tainted quite a few dating coaches.
Todd Valetine is free of bitterness and the anger that taints some fringes of the manosphere. And yet, he is no idealist. He just calls it for what it is.
In my opinion, being a pick-up artist is also the main drawback of learning seduction from Todd.
Having learned game with the early pick-up theory and having grown professionally within RSD, his style can sometimes come across as a bit “gamey”.
In his YouTube videos talking to the camera, he is very grounded and rather high power.
But in his in-fields he changes personality and becomes way more talkative, more playful, some laughing feels forced, and he becomes somewhat less powerful and less authoritative.
That can be great, sometimes, to put women at ease -it increases warmth and that offsets some of his games-.
It works great for him.
But sometimes I feel he could laugh a bit less.
And some other times I feel he exaggerates with the game, especially the teasing and push-pull.
Still, all in all, he is one of the best dating coaches around.
At the time of writing, I think Todd’s YouTube channel is the best when it comes to game.
The System Review
Todd is logical, methodical, and good.
And his products are high-quality.
When it comes to “The System”, I really liked it.
And I learned a lot from it.
Most of all, my “stock approach” was very direct, and that’s what I used the vast majority of times.
Following Todd’s advice of trying out different styles, I moved slightly more towards an indirect approach, and I’m liking it.
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