Qualification – How to Have Real Standards

Generally, we recognize our attention is valuable.  We don’t give it undivided to every cause, petition, prospective employee, or stranger who asks for it.  We screen.  We have standards.

Yet when with a pretty girl in a bar, everything gets flipped.  Instead of screening, guys offer their unmitigated approval before it is even asked for, often for no reason other than looks.  This is insane and counterproductive.  If you want anyone to value your approval, you need to have standards.  You need to qualify.

What is qualification?

Qualification is the part of an interaction where you make sure a person lives up to your standards for a continued role in your life.

Qualification is NOT

“So what do you do for fun”
“Tell me something cool about you”
“What’s the craziest thing you’ve done”

Those are questions with 100% right answers.  That’s hitting on her.

Think of it this way: there needs to be a chance the girl DOESN’T qualify.  Qualification requires a bar.  And that bar needs to be set before she answers any of your questions.

Qualification starts with a statement, not a question.  In fact, you are often better off NOT screening her particularly, just talking about your dealbreakers.  So THIS is legitimate qualification

“If a girl is not sexually comfortable and affectionate, I don’t care what you look like, I’m out.”

“Dude we love Sam.  We bring people out all the time and they need us to babysit them.  Sam is the kind of girl who we can bring out, walk away from, and come back to find her dancing on the table.  She creates her own fun.  I love that about her.”

“I love NYC.  I have met a ton of awesome people here.  But I talk to tons of people, and a lot of the girls I meet, while beautiful, are not interesting.  They are decent people, but there isn’t much more to them than their looks.  Three things I value more than anything else are tough to come by: affectionate, chemistry, and spontaneity.
I can tell you are affectionate by the way you constantly hug your friends and touch everyone when you speak–which is awesome–but I’m not so sure about spontaneous  Are you?”
“Yes I totally am”
“So what’s the craziest thing you have done lately?”

Then the crucial bit . . .


Remember, we are not offering our unmitigated attention and approval to the entire world.  If she doesn’t come up with something really cool, she isn’t spontaneous.  She does not pass your standards.  Release her back into the wild.

To qualify, you can also express that she HAS NOT passed a minimum threshold (for whatever reason cuddling comes up often with me and for whatever reason girls love to pretend they hate it)

Her: “Ugh, I am totally not a cuddler, I can’t stand to be touched”
Me: “Really!?  For me, that is everything.  That human contact, being naked and close is the definition of intimacy.  Sure, you can have sex without it, but it makes the whole thing way less enjoyable.  You and me would never work out.  Good to know in advance though.”
Her: “Well actually, with the right guy . . .”

Again you should WANT to cut girls who don’t meet your standards.  You need to get to a place where that becomes obvious.  If the girl in the previous example had followed up with “Really?  I don’t really like being touched, I don’t really like being affectionate” then she gets friend zoned or we simply part ways.

An Example of Bullshit Qualification – “Oh my god, you like to travel too — that’s AMAZING!”

If you aren’t seeing many women, you’re probably faking  qualification (or ignoring it outright at worst).  As long as she is reasonably hot and is not a serial killer you are probably in.  This is when you catch yourself in dialogues like

Her:  “I just got back from Rome.  I love to travel”
You:  “Oh my god, you love to travel, too — that’s AMAZING!!!”

No, it is not amazing.  Fucking everyone likes travelling.

Remember the kid in class who tried to make friends by telling everyone how wonderful they were?  No one cared what he thought because his praise was empty.  He had no standards.  Don’t be that kid!

The secret?  Actually care about her answer

Now, what you should feel free to do is dig deeper.  Ask probing, legitimate, screening questions.  Pretend you were trying to figure out if she could be your best friend.

Her:  “I just got back from Rome.  I love to travel”
You:  “Cool!  Do you travel and learn the language to interact with different cultures, or are you a 9-day-in-and-out-Facebook-photo-collecting traveller?”
Her:  “Well this last time in Rome I only had a week for work and I don’t speak Italian.”
You:  “Oh really?  I love travelling too, but I find you can only get a really superficial sense of a place without spending significant time there.  And if you can’t interact with the locals that kills it for me.  Aside from random vacations with family, I’ve promised myself to only go places where I can spend at least a month and would learn the language.”
Her:  “I agree.  I actually spent my junior year in Argentina learning Spanish . . .”

Putting it into practice

Define your standards.  Write ‘em down.  You can have more, but make it a point to screen each interaction for at least 3.

Mine are: honest, affectionate, fun

Start screening girls you meet for these traits.  Put it out there that they are fucking crucial to you.  These should be dealbreakers.  You should be able to look at this list and say: “If a girl does not have these traits, I’m not interested”

You’ll screen out the girls that aren’t good matches for you, and you’ll be more successful picking up the ones that are.  That’s bi-winning.


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3 Responses to “Qualification – How to Have Real Standards”

  • Hey man. Awesome article. It definitely helped me realize I wasn’t qualifying anyone, friends or otherwise. I have my work cut out for me.

    Quick question: Your example on traveling in Rome. If said wrong, it could easily be interpreted as saying “your method of travel sucks, mine is better” which would end quite badly or clam them up very quickly. I would probably chalk it up to a violation of a minimum qualification and cut, but do you have any tips for how to work around this?

    • Thanks for the kinds words Mike 🙂

      I think the key here is TONE. It’s tough to convey when it’s written out like this, but my tone makes it clear that I am not criticizing anyone. I emphasize that I am speaking personally. So extra emphasis goes to the words “I” and “me.” If someone were being a dick about it, you’d hear them stress the words “superficial” “kills” and “least”

      I come from a frame of “different strokes for different folks.” I truly believe that there is not one best way to travel (or do anything for that matter) just one that I prefer. I think that’s they key to qualification without being a jerk: you aren’t saying people are right or wrong to have their beliefs, just jointly discovering if they are a good match for you.

  • Good shit man.

    I have been doing this semi-subconsciously, partially because i’m not interested in wasting my time praising everyone for ever tiny detail they tell me (unless I am being sarcastic, which is a common response for me..).

    I like your articles and shall continue reading them.

    Keep up the good work.