Kickoff and The Experiment

Dating sucks. The agony of having to make countless first impressions, face rejection time and time again, and constantly put your ego on the line all take a toll. To find someone you truly enjoy and want to date steadily, it can take up to years, during which time you have to deal with all of the aforementioned suckiness.

Common experience with dating... Multipled a couple thousand times over 4 years

Common experience with dating... Multipled a couple thousand times over 4 years

I have an idea for a strategy to avoid all this. And for thirty days, I will run an experiment testing this strategy, reporting back here.

Hypothesis

The hypothesis is that success at dating is primarily the result of effort put in.

So, if I focus a lot of time, meet and court lots of matches, I should be able to attain a satisfactory success level.

Researcher

I am a mid twenties male resident of NYC who wants to have a kickass girlfriend – and a solid strategy to always get a kickass girlfriend.

I’m a somewhat geeky guy with extraverted tendencies. I have an average build, average looks, average height. I’m well educated (though in my experience this tends not to matter that much for dating), self employed, and like meeting new people. I’m really interested in people, psychology and social interaction.

I am somewhat experienced at dating – having had a few girlfriends before and some flings. And am fairly comfortable approaching strangers.

Experimental Setup

Beginning on Thursday Feburary 16th 2012, I will test the Hypothesis by applying substantial and focused effort on dating for thirty semi-consecutive days. I’ll carefully track my progress, and regularly report back with results, thoughts, developments, and maybe even some statistical analysis!

I plan on being pretty aggressive — and shameless — in my pursuit. After all, it’s in the name of science.

Background

I am convinced dating is a numbers game

I am convinced dating is a numbers game

The way I look at it is there are some small subset of people that you are compatible with. Dating is simply the process of identifying these people and, hopefully, both people realizing the match is compatible.

So, dating begins with talking to lots of people you find attractive. Only some of the people who are attractive will be compatible with you. In an even smaller amount of those cases, both people will have realized there’s compatibility. And, in even fewer instances, both will be logistically capable of dating each other (e.g. live in the same city; not moving away soon; no religious, age, or cultural quirks; etc.).

That is, you are seeking someone who is compatible, aware of that, and logistically ok.  I call these trifecta matches the winners.

The default strategy is to spend some number of years or months passively meeting people throughout life until you happen upon a winner. Then cling on for dear life (kidding…. sorta).  So, I postulate the Girlfriend Hypothesis because by casting a large net, there will be more entries into the “dating funnel”, thereby increasing the chance of finding a winner, and compressing the painful years-long hunt into a far more intense, shorter period. This simply takes time, effort, and balls.

Detailed Experimental Setup

  • Spend thirty days (5-7 days a week) meeting, dating, and courting women.
  • Each counted day will have a must have a sufficient level of effort. This is somewhat subjective, but will tend to be fairly intense. For instance, asking 1 girl out will not make the cut, directly approaching 10 random girls will. Note – I’m being less objective here since what I do on a given day depends on the progress I am making (e.g. meeting new girls vs. going on dates).
  • For each day, I will post detailing what I did, what I’ve learned, and what I plan on doing next.
  • I will meet women through any available option – including bars, social functions, volunteering, and even walking down the street.
  • I will NOT count girls I meet through friends or work, or any girls I already know.

Goal

  • Talk to at least 200 women during the day where direct intent is declared (Stopping a girl on the street and asking her out counts. Small talk at the supermarket or a bar does not.). More on why this tactic in future posts.
  • Ultimately, get a girlfriend. Though, this is not really something I have control over as there’s some element of chance to it.
  • Prove that one can be satisfactorily successful at dating by simply increasing effort levels, and in doing so, develop a repeatable strategy to having a successful dating life.

Expectations

I expect to get rejected…. a lot… Based on past history and my arbitrary gut feel, I think it’ll take 40 solid approaches to get into the “dating” phase with someone (going out regularly, hooking up, etc). Probably many more than that for a true “girlfriend”.

I hope to handle rejection like this guy

I hope to handle rejection like this guy

I expect to suck at first. I imagine it’s something I’ll get better at and more comfortable with over time.

I hope you enjoy reading! There’s some framework set up here, but it’s pretty open ended – I think a lot will depend on what I discover as I go. I’ll probably also test out other theories about dating (and feel free to leave suggestions on what to test!).

I hope I meet an awesome girl – they’re out there, I just need to find them. And hope to develop a reusable and effective strategy to find a girlfriend.

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Gearing up for first day

It’s 11AM of what is supposed to be the “First Day”, I woke up late. I should be out on the street now. Am definitely feeling anxiety and nervousness.

I’ve stopped random girls before and have been direct (“wanted to talk to you because I find you attractive” kind of stuff). But the thought of purposefully doing this is still very intimidating. Especially doing a whole bunch in a single day.

Will girls just think I’m a creep or weirdo? Even more scarily, will surrounding people? Will folks laugh at me? Or, worse, call the cops (I know this isn’t illegal, but for some reason this seems scary)? What if someone I know sees me stopping an a bunch of random girls? Will I get a reputation?

How I imagine onlookers

How I imagine onlookers

All of these are concerns of mine. In my experience, this is my subconscious trying to talk me out of doing something hard that will be worth it (why is it that in general hard things are generally worthwhile?).

Yet, on a bigger level, what if I discover this is really hard or impossible? What if I don’t find a great girlfriend or even a promising hint at that? Will I be left forever alone with a potential dating pool of folks I’m not that into? This is far scarier prospect.

I have to keep in mind that once I get going, it will be all easy after that. Just need to get over that hump. I’ve got it written here, so I’m committed now. Readers, thanks for that.

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Day 1 – Discovery: Girls don’t like rain

Figures that on the day I begin, it’s ridiculously rainy. I spent a good amount of time walking around in the rain with nothing to show for it (save a few warm up chats). I also did this during work hours in a relatively sparse neighborhood. Lesson: mind weather, location and time.

I wonder if my lack of approaches after ~1.5 hours is due to the weather, location, and/or time, or if I’m just making excuses. Not gonna lied, still pretty intimidated.

How the first part of the day went

How the first part of the day went

Later on, I went to a more dense area. Had much better success. Ran after this girl I saw walking and opened very forwardly. Went really well – could tell from the little things she did to help move the interaction (e.g. stepping off street onto sidewalk, picking up the conversation, etc). We ended up grabbing coffee and had a great chat. We left with plans to meet up in the future. Win!

Had to do some errands and sissied out of other day approaches until it was night. Generally, I think meeting girls on the street at night isn’t as powerful or efficient as during the day, but I didn’t want my first day to be weak.

All told, in the span of 3 or so hours, I did 9 approaches that were all very forward at night about the town / on the street. Some went well but generally I find it can be intimidating for girls even in crowded areas. Lesson: try to avoid night street stuff, and when doing it be extra cognizant of not scaring the shit out of girls.

Went to friends party then out with some of the guys. Bunch of drunkish borderline sleazy bar interactions not worth writing about / tracking. One solidish lead from that (which I’ll count since I’ll be following up).

All told the day went pretty well!

All told the day went pretty well!

Data:

  • 11 countable approaches
  • 3 to follow up on
  • 1 quick date that was super solid

Summary

  • Be mindful of weather, location, time.
  • Night street approaches not a great idea.
  • Funniest rejection: girl asked if I was mugging her or if I was doing some kind of experiment. We talked for a while about this and she shared intimate and unusual details about her life and relationship status that convinced me I shouldn’t pursue her.
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Day 2 – Get out earlier

Meetings went late until 4PM or so. A little less than 2 hours of sunlight and I haven’t talked to any girls.

Got on it quickly and managed to approach a few. Nothing super great to report.

Though I did notice that the first approach was the hardest. Once I got over that one, things got a lot easier. I kind of got into a “zone” where I wasn’t caring what the girls thought or really about what I said. I was just having fun.

When the sun was setting and I was satisfied with my work, I saw a girl standing on a corner. Easy target. I had already mentally finished, but decided to go for it anyway. I had had a string of rejections and expected the same. Surprisingly, this actually went really well. Sure, I was more “in the zone”. But nothing was really different. This makes me think how well it goes is predominantly random.

I guess I didn’t really care too much since I already have some solid leads from yesterday. This seemed to make things a lot more relaxed and natural I am also already noticing a huge increase in social confidence. If I’m out on the city, I’m just more comfortable… Can go to a bar alone and just hang out with no sweat, etc.

Didn’t get out early enough, but am still satisfied with the leg work. Ultimately, not satisfied with these amount of approaches – I’d like to be doing 10 total day street approaches. I did 1 yesterday and 4 today, which is an improvement. Let’s get to 20!

Data:

  • 7 countable approaches
  • 1 to follow up on

Summary:

  • Go out earlier – need more sunlight!
  • Scant evidence suggesting success with each girl is random (I can’t determine it beforehand).
  • Funniest rejection: girl talks to me for a while before revealing she has a boyfriend but mentions her roommate is cute and single and offers to set us up. I figure why not, and told her where I’d be hanging out later. I went to a different bar.
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Day 3 – Sucky Saturday

Today sucked. Hardcore. All approaches were rejections. Nothing really positive from them – didn’t even really have a conversation – all were girls “instantly fleeing”.

Why did this happen? Few possibilities:

(1) Pure luck / numbers

(2) Attractive girls aren’t primed for meeting random dudes on Saturdays

(3) I was in a bad mood (tired from going out all day and night the past two days)

No idea, but fortunately I’m not really dissuaded. My perspective is that I really need to make some number of attempts before I get a solid candidate (I’ve said previously this is 40). So, now I’m a lot closer to that number. And I’m tougher. Roar!

Also on the positive side, all of the approaches were direct street!

I also didn’t leave until 3PM, so maybe I just didn’t have enough time to warm up, or just go through enough rolls of the die? OK, I’m going to go out earlier! I promise.

I’m also noticing it’s pretty difficult to find girls I’m attracted to enough to approach. Surely, they exist – especially in NYC. I think this is due to a number of reasons. First, it’s still a little chilly outside (especially for the fairer sex), so a lot of gals are bundled up. Second, in the day, girls don’t necessarily put terrific care to their look (esp. in the winter!). Third, I think with only a small amount of time, it’s hard to make that kind of snap decision. A solution is just to approach the maybes and eject immediately if it turns out they’re not what I thought. Another is to investigate further (but that just seems a little creepy).

I also may want to do warm up conversations with random people so I’m in the right mindset / mood. Didn’t seem like I was in a great mood today.

Data:

  • 6 countable approaches (all direct street, which is a win!)
  • 0 to follow up on

Summary:

  • Really tough day – constant stream of rejections
  • I NEED TO GO OUT EARLIER – started today at 3PM!
  • The big winter coats aren’t helping here, ladies.
  • Funniest rejection: “I’m gay”. And I believe her.
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Day 4 – Powering through that cold-streak

On the subway to denser areas, this middle-aged Italian woman (very happy/friendly) personality just started talking to me. And she persisted. Cool, I’ll take the warm up opportunity. She was super cool and we continued chatting on the subway. If only she were 15 years younger!

Got up earlier, and did my first approach at 11 AM. Note – getting up early is AWESOME. It just feels great (even though it’s hard as hell to wake up), and I think there’s less possibility for mental excuses (e.g. “oh I should go hang out with friends”) since everyone is at work or sleeping. It also gives me much more time to approach in the day, which I think is the best strategy. Ideally, I’d do my first approach at 9. Let’s not get too ambitious and work our way there.

So, getting up early and having this warm up, I was feeling great… But, the cold streak from yesterday continued. In fact, it kept going, and going… Until… Lucky number 13. It took 12 rejections before a girl said she’d want to grab a drink and exchanged contact info. That’s what, a 19 rejection-straight cold streak. I am super proud of myself for not letting this get to me. 19 straight rejections (many of them pretty harsh like one girl rolling her eyes and sauntering away and many others just fleeing).

There are many things that could have caused that cold streak (maybe time of day? location? my mood?). I tend to think it’s really just random – my chances of success with any girl is random. Though, it was particularly weird because the successes were batched together.  Maybe I’m getting better? Maybe I was more warmed up (my successes did happen at the end of the day).

I managed 4 numbers today. All pretty solid – I’m pretty excited!

Keys: be more persistent! One of the best numbers came from a girl I normally would have let walk away, but I walked with her. Turns out we have a lot in common – and she’s successful / very cute! Slow down when speaking. Be calm. Let them know you’re not a crazy, homless guy begging. Do NOT let rejection get you down – it’s a random function!

Random idea to find more mid-twenties girls: look at rent map of manhattan, go to cheaper places!

Anyway, I gotta jet to a date!

Data:

  • 21 countable approaches (20 direct street!)
  • 4 to follow up on
  • went on 1 date

Summary:

  • Getting up early is GREAT!
  • Persistence! Give it a few tries before giving up on a girl!
  • Dry streaks appear to be a thing I’ll have to deal with
  • Funniest rejection: girl just rolled her eyes and walked away. Another: foreigners dad came out of building and I had to explain to him I was hitting on his daughter.
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FAQ ready!

Hey guys -

I didn’t know what to expect by making this blog public, and almost didn’t even do it. But, I gotta say… Wow! What a response. Thanks so much for your encouraging and kind words and thoughtful discussion. I’ll try my best to make GH interesting, fun, and informative!

I’ve been getting tons of questions now so I threw up a FAQ: http://girlfriendhypothesis.wordpress.com/faq/

As always, feel free to email me with questions: girlfriendhypothesis+blog@gmail.com

Rock on.

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