5 Signs You’re Dating a Pickup Artist

You’re a straight woman, and you like this guy. You have fun, you have chemistry, and then you have sex. At which point, he seems to disappear. But not totally. Sound familiar? Chances are he’s read the Pick Up Artist lit and is following it to a T. Below, read up on the 5 tell-tale signs that’s he’s a PUA from our MVP commenter, Johnny:

1. Engages in “Push-Pull.” Yes, in PU lingo that’s the name of the ‘move’: he’s keeping you off balance by pulling you in one day and pushing you away the next. It can work like a charm and get you hooked.

2. Takes you on an emotional roller coaster. Just repeating PU theory here! Which claims that women live for this emotional up and down. PU theory would hold that if he were just a nice guy who liked you as much as you like him, you’d be bored of him already. So he’s not that nice to you.

3. Has slotted you as a fuck buddy (if you’ll forgive the crassitude). He is following prescribed PUA protocol for keeping a woman slotted as a FB (stays distant to begin with – “once a week” is actually the recommendation – and he backs WAY off when you push for more). This leads probably means that you’re one of multiple women in his life. Guys only act this way when sex is abundant in their lives.

4. Withdraws from commitment. With every push YOU make — with every demand for more time, more attention, etc. — you drive him further off.

5. Only engages in low investment/high reward activities with you. He cooks for you at home, invites you for a movie at home, only hangs out with you if you’re DTF (down to fuck), only texts/phones to arrange logistics — these are all standard PUA moves.

So there it is. He might like you, but he likes his independence and his multiple partners more. You’re probably not going to get more out of him than this because — abundance — he doesn’t have to give you any more than this to get his needs fulfilled.

Read more from Johnny on the types of PUAs out there and ways to engage them (should you choose to do so — hey, it’s your life!). 




  1. I could see how an education in Pick Up Artistry would give a guy techniques for his dating toolbox. And it’s up to him how to utilize those techniques. I guess some are gonna try to juggle several women at once, but others will simply try to punch above their weight in the dating game – or even land a date. I could even believe that it shows some women the folly of their own behavior – “That DID work on me, didn’t it?” Johnny, I bet that you have a theory as to why a percentage of women like bad boys. My own take: someone stuck in that phase is averse to commitment, and with a bad boy, there’s not much risk of that because it’ll probably blow up before too long. Regardless of the reason, PUAs march right into that situation, right? Heck, if she’s looking for a wolf, who can blame a sheep in wolf’s clothing for stepping up and having a kickass time?

  2. All good points, Dave, so I’ll just say that PUA’s suffer from the same PR problem as feminists: a small number of very loud, very dysfunctional individuals give the whole thing a bad name.

    As for the rest, I just accepted a long time ago that love and sex are full-contact sports. Sports with rules, sure, and etiquette, but definitely full-contact. Choosing to play guarantees bruises.

    I guess I was trying to sound more circumspect than “battle of the sexes-y.” I don’t actually see it as men vs. women. I like having women on my team.

  3. When I used the word “douchey”, I had put a little thought into it, and still feel confident with that characterization. I guess I thought you felt that way too, based on the phrases “not nice”, “chauvinists”, “a bunch of sexists” and “they justify being dicks”, but it’s probably a matter of differing perspectives on our parts.

    It looks like PUAs often think in terms of the battle of the sexes. I’m sure some women think that way too, and if they see that they’ve been left in the wake of a PUA, are probably saying, “Aw jeez, I’ve been played. Touché.” But then there’s likely just as many who feel discarded and cry themselves to sleep. I’m guessing any monogamy/commitment conversation goes uninitiated or unresolved, and discarded girl is kinda naive for not reading the signs, but I still can’t help thinking that PUA conduct is weasel-y and disingenuous(OK, not lying) instead of just part of a competition.

    Regarding the list of behaviors that women exhibit, I know what you mean. I should say that I don’t have nearly as much experience with relationships as most guys my age, but enough to have seen these things multiple times. I would be comfortable using the word “douche” to describe at least a couple of the examples on there. It just fits! The rest I don’t ascribe to the kind of manipulation that you contend, and PUAs use as justification for their existence. But before y’all go patting me on the back, I say that it’s due to just plain wimpiness – not having the courage to do the right thing. It’s pretty ironic too. Women are supposed to be good at communication, right? Well, if you need a shoulder to cry on, sure. I see it as an extension of girls hardly ever asking guys out – namely they’re afraid of how the guy will respond/react(rejection?). On the list, there’s lots of avoidance maneuvers of possible negative reactions: the “avoid saying she likes or doesn’t like you”, the “feign interest and then don’t call or answer”, the “not sure how to break up, so I ghosted you or switched horses”. I’ll add in the “keep dropping subtle hints, then feel exasperated when he doesn’t get it”. The unfortunate, counterproductive thing about avoidance and stringing-along is that it’s more likely to incur unwanted blowback. It’s trite but true that communication is key. Tell him that, sorry, you’re not interested or that you want to break up instead of being misleading or wimpy. It’s safer and more honest. Shit, even ask a guy out! Now, before folks go claiming that I have a giant case of sour grapes, the reason I’ve had a dearth of relationships is not due to major league striking out or heartbreak. Rather, I’ve just felt too messed up inside and didn’t feel right inviting someone else to share in that.

    But a question still remains. If becoming a PUA and returning fire in a perceived battle of the sexes is not the right way to react to the shortcomings of the opposite sex, then what to do? I guess an experience I once had is illustrative. So, I asked out a nice girl who worked in the same large establishment where I worked. She said, “Sorry, I don’t date people in the workplace”. On the surface, perfectly respectable. Except that she had a long relationship with another employee and dated a couple of others – and didn’t use the word “anymore”. I thought it was more hilarious and strange than anything else, and had a laugh with a friend about it. Me, I try to stay honest and genuine, and hope to meet someone else who is too. But then I’m not comfortable being manipulative.

  4. I’m not too quick to use the word “douche,” Dave, because if these things make a small percentage of guys douches, then they make the majority of women douches too.

    Some men are naturally attractive to women and succeed in most of their romantic pursuits. Not so for the average guy.

    Most guys will see 9 out of 10 prospects fall through in exactly these ways. Almost all guys will have almost all of these things happen almost every time they like a woman.

    How many times has a woman said to you, “hey, I really like you, let’s see where this goes”? Or, “sorry, but I’m not feeling it, thanks but no thanks”?

    … Ever? Once each? Now compare that to the number of times a woman has –

    – exchanged numbers then never answered your call;

    – said she’d be interested in seeing you again then never returned your call;

    – flirted with you only to shoot you down when you make a move;

    – spent the night with you, several times, only to disappear without explanation;

    – dropped you like a bag of rocks when you thought everything was going great (because she let you think everything was great!);

    – flaked on you when you had firm plans;

    – left you when a guy she wanted more came along;

    … etc.

    Most women have done these things. Some women do them when they’re young and haven’t figured out how to navigate these things yet; some women will always handle things this way. But almost all women will – at some point, if not at most points – handle disinterest or semi-interested churlishly.

    … so PUA’s don’t get too bent out of shape over the ethics of what they’re doing. PUA’s are vehemently opposed to getting laid through lies or force, but not through manipulation, which they would say is a naturally occurring thing that everyone does, and that you’re a sucker if you neglect to learn, because it sure is happening to you.

  5. Thanks for “lifting the veil”, Johnny. I’m sure people will get mad at these bullet points, or say they’re full of shit, but I think they’d be sorta missing the point. A guy employing the techniques is douchey, but they look well-researched and probably work………on a segment of the population. Whenever I see Steve Harvey on TV dispensing relationship advice, I act like I’m gonna puke because that crap just wouldn’t work for me. But any more disdain would be wasted ’cause his advice is a fit for part of society. I suspect that having great friends in one’s corner won’t be enough to block the PUA in many cases. Uggh, we usually need to make our own mistakes. Parents can know that it’s ill-advised for their daughter to follow her unimpressive H.S. boyfriend to Wassamatta U when she’s been accepted to Stanford, but try breaking up the two lovebirds.

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