Dating and Calibration

Calibration is one of the most important dating skills to master if you want to truly have a successful dating life. OK, but what is it exactly?

Calibration is the process of adjusting your behavior and actions in response to her actions and the specific circumstances of the date or interaction. One way to think of calibration is to think of a musician improvising over a chord progression–he or she has to quickly identify the changes and adapt their playing, or else while their playing may sound great in certain contexts, it won’t sound great in conjunction with the chords.

Calibration in dating works much like improvising in music: you need to pay attention to what’s happening and adjust your actions accordingly. In the musicians case, it’s what notes to play, in your case, it’s a whole host of potential options.

Calibration Examples

Still you may find the explanation above vague, and there’s no fault in that: it is vague! How calibration looks depends entirely on the actions and reactions of your date (just like how the notes our musician friend plays depend on the underlying chords). With that said, here are a few examples of calibration in action.

Switching Modes

You’re at the bar, talking to a woman you’re interested in. You’ve used jokes and humor to get her attention–basically acting like the class clown. As you keep talking she’s moving closer to you, maybe even touching your arm as you talk. Calibration is what you do next.

You got her attention with humor, but now it appears she’s gotten more interested–as evidenced by her moving closer and touching your arm. At this stage, there’s been a “chord change”. You’re no longer in attract mode, you’re in escalate mode. Being a clown may have got her attention and maybe even attracted her some, but if you continue to act like a clown, cracking jokes non-stop when she’s sent you strong IOIs (indicators of interested) you would be doing yourself a major disservice. Knowing that now is the time to tone down the act and focus on physical escalation and showing a less humorous and more “seductive” side of you is calibration.

Conversation Topic Changes

You’re on a date, you’re talking about food and restaurants, and it’s going great. She’s interested, engaged, and responding to your anecdotes with her own. However, as you keep digging into the topic, her answers get shorter, her body language less animated, and she has slowed in her telling of stories or asking you follow up questions. What’s the move?

Again–the situation has changed, and the concept of calibration tells us we need to adapt to the new reality. Food was a good topic, but it has run its course (no pun intended). Calibration tells us we need to change the topic of conversation. As we mentioned in this article, changing the topic of conversation abruptly is fine–no transitions needed.

How to Calibrate

Hopefully the two examples above gave you a better idea what calibration means and how it works. Unfortunately, not all situations are so clear cut, just like in music, not all chord changes are abrupt and obvious. For this reason, experience is crucial in order to learn how to properly calibrate. Fortunately, there are a few principles you can use to help guide you while you’re developing the experience necessary for calibration to become second nature. Here they are:

1. Pay attention to IOIs, IODs, and their changes.

IOIs (Indicators of Interest) and their converse, IODs (indicators of disinterest), are the harmony to your melody. The first step to knowing how to properly calibrate is to pay attention to IOIs and IODs, and in particular, the changes. It’s especially important to pay attention to when IOIs stop coming in, or when IODs are no longer coming in– don’t wait for IOIs to become IODs and don’t wait for IODs to become IOIs–when IOIs stop, mix things up, when IODs stop, you’re on the right track to recovery and you should press.

2. Risk / Reward

Having a feel for the risk/reward of a particular action can help you properly calibrate. Risk taking is only useful if it serves a purpose and if it leads to better outcomes in a significant set of situations. Many men like to take dating risks despite the risks not performing any better than the safe play, but with much more downside. Before taking a risk, think about the upside and downside scenarios, and decide if they make sense in the current situation. Typically, the more a girl is interested, the less risks you should be taking, and the less she is interested, the more risks you should be taking.

3. Escalate

Calibration ideally culminates in escalation. On dates especially, and in many interactions in general, you should be paying attention to opportunities to escalate. Sometimes she will leave you signs that she’s open to escalation–pay attention to those and act accordingly.

Calibration is one of the toughest skills to master–it’s a nebulous concept that’s hard to articulate and even harder to execute well. However, knowing how to respond to what is the true key to being successful with women.

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