Note: this ‘How To Be Single’ guide is trimmed down version of my free ebook. All the concepts are explained here, but the ebook goes into more detail and includes 25 guided exercises designed to take you from completely inexperienced to having a rock solid dating life. Click here to find out more.
LAST WEEK, a reader emailed me for an advice on ‘how to be single.’ He said that he was in his late twenties, that his friends were all in long-term relationships or getting married and that he felt like he’d missed the boat.
I’ve written a lot about being single in the past. Such as:
But I’ve never really done a ‘how to be single’ guide.
Whether you’re looking to be single for a while, or are looking to get into a relationship – this guide is for you.
If you follow the steps listed below, and genuinely implement them, then you will, through experience, master being single in a way that is entirely unique to you.
Below I’m going to outline everything you need to know (and do) in order to understand how to be single and then succeed at it.
You do not need to get all of this right. You do not even need to do it 100% of the time. I’ve been inconsistent for years. All you need to do is get it right at least 60% of the time. Don’t worry about being perfect, just think about developing your life so that it’s in a better place than it was last year.
Right, let’s begin.
How To Be Single – A Complete Guide
People are awkward, and interactions are awkward and clumsy. That’s normal. Trying to be cool, smooth, suave, and/or any permutation of James Bond is fucking weird and doesn’t work. Cut that shit out.
So many guys have these weird conceptions of how they ‘should’ behave in the world. Typically some kind of archetypical (and shallow) image of masculinity. This can be the bad boy, the suave guy, but in my case, it was trying to look tough.
Yeah, that’s how I thought you got girls.
I took it so far I put on 15kg of muscle and shaved my head. Needless to say, it didn’t work. The truth was that normal, everyday me did far, far better.
When you think you ‘have to act in a certain way’, all you’re doing is setting yourself an impossible standard to achieve, one that doesn’t just make you look weird, but one that is also unnecessary. You don’t NEED to be like that. You don’t NEED to be amazing. You don’t even need to be the ‘best’ or ‘strongest’ version of your self.
That’s all bullshit peddled by guys on the internet projecting their insecurities on to you. Ignore it.
All you need to be is SLIGHTLY BETTER than you are now.
1) Sort your life out
The more you sort your life out the more inherently attractive you become. If you don’t do this, you’re just going to make this harder for yourself. Much harder than it needs to be. You don’t need to max each of these out, you just need to do a little of each.
Here are some really basic fixes that, although superficial, do matter. Whether you’re looking for a one night stand or one true love, sex appeal does matter.
- Looks matter. So dress well. Wear fitted clothes. Understand matching (think: dark trousers, light top). Understand layers. Ideally, you want some kind of archetypical look (think: rocker, suited and booted, rugged guy etc.) but it doesn’t especially matter.
- Exercise (anything will do). This will get your body in better shape.
- Eat well. This will get your face and body leaner. Don’t underestimate this.
- Groom your facial hair and get a decent haircut that suits your face shape. Google it if you’re unsure.
- Have good hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day, and shower every day.
- You also want your own place (rented or owned) and a job of any kind.
Again, these are all easy. If you sort these out, everything that follows will be so much fucking easier because girls will actually want to have sex with you.
Use this a checklist and tick off every box. It takes a few days to one week to sort all these out, and after that, it’s just maintenance.
2) Get interested
If you have something you care about more than finding love or getting laid, then finding both of those will be way easier. Is there something that you do just for you? Is there something that you do purely because that’s how you want to live your life?
I find this has a direct relation to your neediness. The more your neediness goes down, the more you’ll invest here. The more you’re needy, the more you’ll forget about this one altogether.
Think about this section for a minute before moving on, because you do not want to overlook this part.
3) Get a social life
Lockdown a functioning and diverse social circle. This is crucial.
- Pick something you want to do/learn, and go to the social version of that. I.e rock climbing, boxing classes, dancing classes.
- Attend an event/hobby. Ideally multiple.
- Speak to people there.
- Get the contact details of the ones you like.
- Whatsapp them and arrange a time to hang out. Do this with individuals or groups. Say “Hey X, let’s grab a beer sometime.” It’s that simple.
- You should, if you’ve repeated step one and two enough, have multiple friends, or better yet, multiple groups of friends, each of which has no idea each other exists. Invite them all to do something together.
This might seem like a lot but think of it this way. Step one, you repeat weekly. Same with step two. Step three, you can do every few months or so. It takes very little effort, and all of a sudden, you’ve got a decent social life.
Adjust it depending on how social you feel. If you want to hang with people all the time, do that. If you don’t, don’t. The idea is that you understand how to get your social needs met, and you have a structure in place to do so.
Also, it’s just more fun.
Use this basic model everywhere you go. You might meet a friend of a friend. You might meet a colleague or client. Whoever. People are flattered when you get on with them and want to hang out with them.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE WE CONTINUE:
Everything so far has nothing to do with women. Zero. It has everything to do with you building a cool life around whatever it is you want to do. You’ve got your shit sorted out, you’ve got things you’re interested in, and you’ve got a cool social life.
Becoming attractive is about doing all of the above. Being sexually confident is about doing all of the below. It’s really important you understand this. When it comes to learning how to be single, you have to take on board that at least 50% of your results come from things that have nothing to do with women, but everything to do with you.
The only way these two will develop is with lots of experience of trying to develop them. This means you will fail, a lot. This is normal. It’ll also suck. But it’s worth it.
Now, let’s continue.
How attraction and arousal works
A lot of guys make claims as to what attraction is. Some say it’s game, other says it’s status, other’s say it’s looks and money. In my view, it’s pretty simple.
The more you sort out points 1, 2 and 3, the more inherently attractive you are. Why? Fuck knows. Maybe you’re higher status in their eyes, maybe you simply look better. Nobody really knows why, but just look at how any woman responds to a man who has his life locked down.
The more you take care of yourself and the more you build an interesting life (solely for yourself!), the more women become attracted to you.
But in order to be arousing – you need to express some sexual interest. By this I mean approaching, asking them out, going in for the kiss, touching, inviting her back to yours, outright telling her you want to fuck her.
Women love sexually confident men, but unfortunately, becoming one isn’t that easy.
The key thing to remember is that your obstacles to expressing sexual arousal are your anxiety about doing so, and whatever limiting beliefs you have. I’ll cover anxiety below, but in regards to the beliefs, it’s important to questions your beliefs about sexuality as much as possible, and to push your own boundaries.
You have to make yourself vulnerable and invite rejection through your actions. It is the only way.
You might just be surprised at the results you get.
The biggest obstacle you’ll face
The biggest obstacle you’ll face is anxiety.
You’ll generally come up against three main ways in which you try to defend yourself from it:
Anger – “Women suck, they’re just shallow, they only like alpha males, blah blah blah.”
Avoidance – “Despite being in this bar solely to meet girls, I don’t want to approach.”
Intellectualisation – “I need to learn more before I can approach.”
They’re all bullshit, but they never, ever go away.
In fact, the truth about anxiety is that it never goes away. You can’t beat it. You can’t get rid of it. You can only gradually learn to adjust your reaction to it. And that takes self-awareness (spotting which of the three patterns of reaction you have) and then action (approaching, etc.).
This is the only way I know how to manage anxiety.
I know this sounds like bad news, but it’s true. I’ve been doing this for over five years and the other day I was as nervous as I’d been when I first started. The reason? I hadn’t gone out properly for a few weeks, I was tired and I was completely sober. It was hell, and it took me a couple of hours before I could manage it.
But whilst that sounds terrible, I now manage it a lot faster than I did way back when, and as soon as I have, it’s smooth sailing. It’s just a muscle. If you neglect it for a while, it gets weaker.
There are two simple techniques you can employ to help yourself here. The first is that you break the anxiety down into tiny steps and repeat them over and over, progressing the challenge until you finally reach what it is you want to do.
The second is that you just do it.
Why do you have anxiety?
It’s normal to be anxious when it comes to the opposite sex. It seems to be the way humans are wired. Don’t beat yourself up for being normal. You just have to accept it and act anyway.
However, if your anxiety is simply too strong for you to manage on your own, I would recommend seeing a therapist of some kind. There’s no shame in this, I know plenty of guys who’ve done it. Myself included.
Where to meet women?
Being single is a numbers game. There is no hard and fast rule about where to meet people. You just never know where you’ll meet the women that are interested in you.
That said, not all avenues are made equal.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with online dating in the past. It’s always grated on me because it doesn’t teach you to overcome anxiety, but for beginners, it’s the simplest way to gain crucial experience.
The experience that they 100% need.
Online dating is the easiest way to meet people, provided you know what you’re doing. You just need to understand one thing: it’s superficial. Unless you’re unbelievably handsome and have a six-pack, you are going to want to have really good, and/or funny pictures to do well here.
You want your pictures to reflect all of points 1, 2 and 3. This is, incidentally, why online dating is so inherently lame. You have to advertise what in reality you should just be.
The pictures will really make or break your profile.
But despite this, it’s still the easiest. Set up a decent profile, using that advice, and you’re set. As it’s a numbers game I’d bare that in mind when sending people messages, swiping right, or whatever it is you’re doing. Volume is key.
Probably equal with online dating in terms of it’s ease in meeting people. Simply put, the more you socialize, the more women you’re going to meet. This is amplified by how many social venues/ events/activities you go to where women are present (i.e women are more likely to attend a salsa class than a boxing class).
That said, try to avoid going to social activities solely to meet women. You want your choices to stem organically from your interests. There are two reasons for this:
- You’re not prioritizing women over your own interests.
- Any women you do meet you immediately have a mutual interest with.
Another way to do this is to ask the girls you’re friends with to set you up with their friends. If they like you, and you’ve got your shit together (1,2,3) they’ll be more than happy to do so and will actually wingman you really well with the girl.
Unless you have a really, really, really, really good connection with someone, I wouldn’t bother about doing this one. It’s just asking for a problem and you’re there for your career, not girls. There are occasional exceptions, sure. But they’re very, very rare.
Be smarter than the average horny work guy and get the girls you work with to set you up with their friends.
During the day
Approaching a girl during the day is a pretty socially ‘out there’ thing to do. It’s also hit or miss when it comes to meeting people.
The pros are that it requires a shitload of balls, is enormously flattering, and very out of the ordinary, so it makes you that much more attractive (and arousing) in the eyes of the girl you’ve approached.
The cons are that it’s very out of the ordinary so some find it frightening, and its fairly inefficient as most girls are doing something when they’re out and about. Although, a caveat to this is that a lot of girls do like the idea of an attractive guy stopping them in the street.
To do this, don’t holler at them – just stop them, be upfront about why you did it (she’s cute you wanted to meet her), have normal chit chat, get the number and move on. She’s got places to be and hopefully so do you.
It’s a worthwhile skill to have, but ultimately not a big deal.
For more on this see this article – I’m not sure how much I agree with it these days, but it’ll help you understand the ‘how to do it’ part.
During the night
Bars and clubs are the worst places to meet women. But weirdly, the one guys want to know about the most.
There’s an allure about picking girls up in bars and clubs that appeal to the male ego. Every guy wants to be able to do it, but in reality, it’s a terrible way to go about being single.
The simple reality is that there is no worse venue on earth for playing the numbers game. 90% of girls in clubs aren’t interested in having sex, and it takes a lot of effort, time and money to see results from it.
Can it be done?
Is it worth doing unless you really like the challenge of it / really enjoy nightlife?
No. Don’t waste your time.
For more on this see these articles:
How to meet women efficiently
You’ve got shit to do so you don’t want to be wasting time chasing women 24/7. You want to focus on finding the avenues that correspond to how you want to live your life. If you’re a stay up late, heavy drinking party boy, then learning to approach in bars and clubs might not actually be a bad idea.
If you’re a guy who likes rock climbing, meditating and 9 pm bedtimes, then I’d suggest you start attending hobbies and asking the cute girl in yoga pants for her number.
Find the way to meet women that slots most easily into the life that you want. Do not chase a fantasy of how you think you should be able to meet women. (i.e. another generic pickup artist)
You don’t have to do everything, but if you want a decent single life, I’d recommend you attend some kind of hobby regularly. I’d also recommend you supplement it with online dating. Those are the areas where you’ll meet the most women. Once you’ve locked those down, work on cold approaching at night or during the day if you want to. But don’t feel like you have to.
The easiest way to know who to approach
Regardless of where you are – bar, club, the street, the gym – approaching is really fucking hard. Your nerves are up, you don’t know what to say, and suddenly it feels like you’re on the Truman Show and your failure is going to broadcast worldwide.
The easiest way to help yourself out with this is to learn to pay attention to indications of interest. These are any conscious or unconscious body language ticks that a girl will have if she’s attracted to you. If you anything like most guys, you’ll be oblivious to most of these.
They range from – glances, prolonged eye contact, deliberate proximity, touching to complements. But really, there are dozens of things you can work with. The key is to start paying attention to these and using them as reasons for yourself to approach.
Beyond that though, the easiest way to know who to approach is to ask yourself this:
“Am I attracted to her?”
If the answer is yes, get on with it motherfucker.
If that sounds stupid – go back to the part on anxiety.
How to know what to say
The basic rule about knowing what to say is that it doesn’t matter what you say, what matters is why you’re saying it, and how you feel when you saying it. The only other thing that determines how she’ll receive what you say is how she feels.
So in total, you don’t have much control over anything. Let that liberate you. You can’t control it even if you wanted to, so stop thinking and go talk to her.
Generally, just say whatever you feel like saying. You cant go wrong with “Hi, I’m X”. However, you do want to take into account what’s appropriate to the environment. For example, if you’re on a dance floor, shut the fuck up and spin her. She doesn’t want to talk and neither should you.
Once you’ve gotten past the approach, think about these concepts here:
In general, the basic gist is to lose your filter. Say whatever comes into your mind. Take the attitude that you’ll apologize if you need to, but you’ll never ask permission. Be offensive, be loud, be weird, be whatever the fuck you want.
If you focus on that, everything falls into place.
Because there is zero way to predict conversation, there is no rule or theory that can truly help you. The only rule is that there is no rule – so just say whatever you want to say, and then adjust to the situation.
The faster you learn to do this the faster you’ll learn to improvise in the moment.
If you’re attracted to a girl, then you want to sleep with her. So move the interaction in that direction. If she’s attracted to you, she’ll find this arousing.
You do this by sexually complementing her, touching her (start with the hand, move to the thigh), kissing her, and when things get hot and heavy, tell her you that want to fuck her. Keep making things more and more sexual until you’re having sex.
Pay attention to what she is and isn’t comfortable with. Consent is your responsibility so listen to her when she says no. If you keep coming up against this, then you haven’t screened properly.
You can do this at whatever part of the interaction you want. In my opinion, the sooner the better. Think she’s cute? Tell her. Once things have proceeded, take it from there. One of the things I tend to remember is that she might like another guy more, but the guy that gets is the one that makes the move.
Also, take into account the social context. There have been countless times when I’ve been at a bar with a girl trying to make out with her and she’s shot me down, but as soon as we leave and we’re alone, she’s been all over me. Why? She didn’t feel comfortable if other people could see.
As I said earlier, the main thing is that you invite rejection. If you’re ever wondering “should I kiss her?” or “should I tell her I want to fuck her?” just go for it and see what happens. When you adopt this mindset everything in relation to escalation will take care of itself.
This is the single most important factor to understand when it comes to how to be single. Whether you’re trying to get laid right this second, or you’re looking for love, this is the most important thing you can understand.
Screening is deliberately acting in a way that will get you rejected by people you don’t want to be with.
This is massively important for three reasons:
- It is the opposite of what neediness will tell you to do (“avoid rejection”, “win her”).
- It stops you wasting your time with people who aren’t that into you and who aren’t what you actually want.
- It finds what you actually want.
If you want a sexual girl who is open and honest about her emotions, then being sexually forward and honest about your emotions will deliberately screen out any girl who isn’t like this. They’ll simply not be comfortable around you.
The flip side of this is that if you act in a needy, game-playing, or any ‘trying to impress her’ kind of way – all you’ll end up doing is screening for needy, game-playing girls who want to you to impress them.
Which do you want?
The one exception – Persistence
Yeah I know I said screening was the most important step, but there is one exception and it is this:
Remember how I said arousal works in response to demonstrations of interest? Well, the caveat to aiming to get rejected is that not ALL rejections are final. In some instances, all that’s needed is some persistence.
There have been countless times when I’ve approached a girl, been blown out, only to approach her later on and get a much better reaction. Sometimes I got blown out again, but afterward, when I tried one more time, she was suddenly interested.
It’s hard to say for certain, but I’ve always chalked it up to arousal. Persistence takes confidence, which is arousing, and demonstrating attraction is arousing. I also usually realize that I wasn’t very physical the first time, and fix that on the second.
In many cases, however, the first rejection is the final word. You never really know, and you just have to find out for yourself. My general rule is 3 rejections and you should probably move on. 5 rejections and you’re really not getting the message. Move on.
Getting a relationship
Getting a relationship has an enormous amount to do with screening. First, you’ll screen for women who actually want one. Second, you’ll screen for women who are actually compatible with you.
The rest is a combination of factors:
1) Connection – the more you speak to one another and connect on an emotional level, the more important your relationship will become to one another. This requires you to be emotionally vulnerable.
2) Shared experiences – the more you share experiences together, the more important your relationship will become to one another. Think about the experiences you want, and take her with you.
3) Frequent Sex – If you do both of the above, you’ll probably start having a lot of sex with one another. That certainly doesn’t hurt. Although realize that sex is a result of mutual happiness, not the cause of it.
Weirdly getting a relationship is the least complicated part of this. And, to be honest, the whole thing isn’t very complicated. You meet someone you like, you spend more time with them.
It’s really that simple.
The most important thing to remember
Assuming you’ve made it this far, and you’ve found yourself a girl, it’s important to remember this:
Always be willing to walk away.
Any toxic neediness, manipulation, jealousy games and other stupid shit that everyone has the habit of falling into is cured by this simple principle. When you’re always willing to walk away, you’re free to honor your own boundaries without trying to force someone to honor them for you.
You don’t need to be great
This might seem like a lot to learn, but really, you just have to half-arse most-to-all of these things.
That might sound like a strange thing to say, but it’s true. A lot of dating advice seems to imply that you need to become some form of the ‘perfect man’ in order to be good with women. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
All you have to do is be slightly better than average. And then you just have to express your desire.
Don’t put arbitrary pressures on yourself to be perfect. They don’t match up with reality. And for what it’s worth, don’t let other people do this either.
Here’s the reality
No matter what you do, not every woman is going to be attracted to you.
In fact, the majority aren’t.
Don’t waste time trying to convince them otherwise and find the ones who are.
Your life is your responsibility. Nobody else’s. There’s that old Spider-Man saying that goes “with great power comes great responsibility”. And yeah, that’s really nice and all, but if we reverse it, it’s even more relevant.
‘With great responsibility comes great power.’
The core belief that permeates this article is ‘responsibility’. Don’t blame the world for your results. Take the actions you can to improve your life and you will get the results you want.
For some guys, this will happen faster than others. Some guys will have to work harder than others. This isn’t fair, but then again, I never said it was. Life isn’t fair. You just have to accept your starting point and put in the work.
How To Be Single – Answers to FAQs
Because these are always brought up, I’ll answer them here:
- Being rich doesn’t matter. I’ve got friends who are wealthier than probably everyone reading this combined will ever be. They’re also hopeless with women. That said, being rich doesn’t hurt.
- Being tall doesn’t matter. I’m 6’3 but I’ve had plenty of times where guys shorter than me (sometimes comically so) have gone home with girls I couldn’t get. That said, being tall doesn’t hurt either.
- Looks matter, but only in the sense that they work as an amplifier for whats already there. Use this to your advantage.
- Whether your friends are single or not doesn’t matter (or mean that you’ve missed the boat).
- Despite what the internet might tell you, women don’t have astronomically high standards. In fact, their standards are pretty low. You don’t actually have to be ‘Mr. Right’, you just have be enough. For what that is, see point 1.
- Being happy when being single is determined largely by the quality of the connections in your life, both with romantic partners and with friends. If you dedicate yourself solely to chasing sex, then you will always find something lacking.
- Being comfortable and confident being single is largely a product of two things. The first is how much experience you have being single (in regards to both failures and successes). The second is how happy you are with everything else in your life.
- The easiest way to be successful at being single (read: meet lots of potential partners) is to have a shitload of sexual confidence and to approach every hot girl you see. The more you work on this one element, the more women will have sex with you. But 99.99% of guys can’t and will never do this, so it’s impractical advice. It’s also not necessary.
- Don’t try to be perfect. You don’t have to.
- Sort your looks, hygiene, and life out.
- Have interests that are more important to you than anything else.
- Have a functioning social group.
- Do 2,3 & 4 to be inherently attractive, then develop the sexual confidence to be arousing.
- Understand how you respond to anxiety and then act despite it (it never goes away).
- If you truly can’t, see a therapist.
- Understand the various ways in which you can meet women.
- Invest 90% of your time in the ways which suit your lifestyle best (read: activities).
- Pay attention to indications of interest from women.
- Lose your filter.
- Express your sexual intent – if you’re attracted to someone, this is normal!
- Deliberately get rejected by the ones you don’t want.
- Don’t discount the role of persistence.
- Escalate your relationship through connection and shared experience.
- Always be willing to walk away.
- You don’t need to be great, you just need to be better than average.
- Not everyone is going to be attracted to you. So what?
- Take responsibility for yourself and everything will fall into place.
For specific exercises connected to each point – check out the full ebook which can be found here. I’ve updated it with 25 specific exercises designed to help you improve your dating life.