Frame Controlling at the Bakery

So you’re living in Madrid, and you’re loving life. You walk into your favorite bakery, right across the street from your apartment. It’s a nice spring day so the front door of the bakery is open, but as you’re walking in, by mistake the chubby bakery girl closes the door on you, and you have to stop the door from hitting you. She is a nice girl, you’ve chatted with her before, and you know she didn’t do it on purpose — she was sweeping and wasn’t looking up — but this isn’t the most alpha moment of your life, that’s for sure.

So you stop the door from hitting you, walk into the bakery, and then she makes a joke, in Spanish, “That’s called getting the door slammed right on your nose!” She is teasing but she isn’t being mean-spirited. She is just trying to diffuse the situation the best way she knows how, by making a joke.

So what do you say?

Well, most blue pill dorks, I can see them saying something like, “What did I do wrong?” or “Have I been a bad customer?”, something stupid like that, with a dorky “You caught me” smile. Agreeing and amplifying in a self deprecating way, against themselves.

These are the hover hand boys. That is not the way to go about it.

So, what did I say?


Let’s start with two reader replies.

Jason says:

Why would I say anything? She’s a chubby girl who works at a place I am buying something. Smile and get about your business.

Joel says:

I get your point Jason, but in everyday situations like this if you exert frame control it will become much more natural and congruent when you do it in pick up. Also, what if an incredibly hot girl walks in mid sentence. She’ll see you make the chubby girl giggle, smirk nonchalantly and you’ll instantly seem hotter in her eyes. What if the chubby girl has a hot bakery friend workmate who she talks to about you. They’re unlikely but happen more than not. Take every chance. In saying that I would say exasperatedly and over the top with emotion “Consuela! If that’s how you treat your most attractive customer I’d hate to see how you treat everyone else”. Then laugh.

Jason again:

Sorry, bullshit. You want to maintain frame? Behave like a hot chick. Do you think a hot chick would banter with the beta schlub that closed the door in her face? No, she would ignore him and get on with her day.

These are some good comments. Basically, Jason is saying to ignore her, be aloof and arrogant (like a hot chick), and Joel is saying to agree and amplify.

I disagree with both.

Jason’s reasoning, “You want to maintain frame? Behave like a hot chick” is very powerful, and ignoring someone is in fact a great frame control tool — however, there is also something Lovedrop calls being a “social violator”. Remember, this is your favorite bakery, you are friendly with this chubby girl, and she didn’t try to lower your value on purpose. It was an honest mistake. Flat out ignoring her is a very harsh “social punishment”, and even if done with the pitch perfect “hot chick” haughty attitude — or especially if done with the hot chick attitude — it is way too aggressive — and more to the point, I have the suspicion that Jason is taking it to the extreme because he can’t think of a more appropriate “middle ground” response.

Joel, I like your reasoning too, “in everyday situations like this if you exert frame control it will become much more natural and congruent when you do it in pick up” — exactly. Just you like should “Game everyone” (Yohami) and “always be closing” or whatever, you should always be practicing your fame control, so that it becomes second nature. Unconscious competence. And actually, well Jason is practicing his frame control, but he is just taking it way too far. Calibration is a key concept for all social situations, not just in pickup situations.

However, as for your actual reply, “Consuela! If that’s how you treat your most attractive customer I’d hate to see how you treat everyone else”, it’s not so good. I see what you are trying to do there, throwing in “most attractive customer”, but it still comes off as embarrassed, defensive, and like you’re overcompensating. It’s also very long. It’s not nearly as bad as “What did I do wrong?”, but it has that same negative a&a element, where you highlight and emphasis that a door just got slammed in your face.

Okay, so the best reply to Ms. Chubby has still not been said. Here’s a hint. Check out my Four Golden Rules of Frame Control. In particular, the second rule:

If she is asking an aggressive question, you win by framing her as insecure, angry, jealous, or needing attention.

Another reader reply. Johnny Caustic says:

“Be more careful next time.” With direct eye contact and no hint of a smile. Not with a contemptuous expression, though; just a commanding expression. The point being to hold the tension as long as possible, and not let her off the hook.

Johnny, I like the idea of being commanding, but it simply comes off as too serious and too harsh. Like you’re in a bad mood and not enjoying life.

More reader feedback. Chaotic Great says:

On the bakery thing, 
-That’s what I call getting hit in the nose
-I just call it bad service (no smile)

Actually, the smile would calibrate it nicely. That’s the thing I am noticing. Too much Tough Guy Posturing. CG’s answer isn’t exactly TGP, especially if he smiles. But still. TGP is rarely needed. Actually, it usually betrays an emotional reaction.

Tough guy posturing. Yeah. That’s an important point, an important breakthrough even, in explaining why so many of the answers are wrong. TGP is the opposite of the vibe we want to give off. TGP is when your bristle, when your spikes come up, when you show that the other guy has gotten to you.

Of course, I understand the impulse to TGP. It’s natural. It makes sense. Someone is fucking with you, you gotta stand up for yourself. You can’t let them walk all over you.

And so the question is, how can I teach frame control so that guys overcome this instinctive, knee-jerk TGP response and reply with the superior, more enlightened SFC (sympathetic frame control) style that I recommend?

I wonder if maybe this educational problem is similar to the daygame video problem, where real daygame looks boring, and fake daygame looks more impressive, with all the spinning and hugging and laughing.


Introducing Sympathetic Frame Control (SFC).

The key is to diffuse. But not from fear, but from zen enlightenment, from sympathy, from love. The thing is, it can be genuine love, or it can be deeply condescending fake “sympathy” — I was calling it on my old blog something like “cancer sympathy”, arrogant, haughty “I feel bad for you” sympathy which is so withering and aggressive. On my current blog I am calling it condescending kindness. That also works. It’s all the same feeling. Yeah, the I feel bad for you condescending kindness arrogant sympathy.

One of my biggest influences for developing this concept was the book The Celestine Prophecy. It has one chapter on drama patterns and how to diffuse them. It is brilliant. Then of course, Lovedrop has several great tracks on frame control, and the Mystery Method Interview Series Vol 5, was also great in helping my formulate my theories.

This whole diffusion concept is the key to SFC. It isn’t bristling. It isn’t absorbing the spotlight and retaliating. It isn’t being self conscious, angry, or self deprecating, or agree and amplify — none of that stuff. It is calmly redirecting the energy back on the other person, flowing the “spotlight” back on the other person, and putting him under the microscope, finding out what is wrong with him, why is he acting so weird, so jealous, so angry, so upset, so hostile — is everything okay with him? Is he having a bad day? Does he hate his life? Poor thing, what is wrong with him? I feel so bad. I really do. If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.

Boom.

Now THAT is frame control. That is SFC. My life is beautiful. My life is full of joy, pleasure, sex, money, friendship, healthy — everything I want, I have. I love my life. But you, you are acting kind of strange, you seem angry, you seem upset, is everything okay? Do you need someone to talk to?

Boom again.

This is the vibe we want to give off. Pure powerful love coming from a very powerful source, from a “higher up” place. It’s like when the mega alpha male picks up a crying baby and gives him a kiss. He has so much power that he is generous in helping the weak and the struggling.

THAT is the vibe. Coming from above. Above the fray. God-like. Not petty and sniveling and struggling and easily offended like your average loser. Nope. That is the defintion of butthurt, and that’s not what we are. We are above the fray. Above it all. Walking through the world with ease, as Tyler would say. Loving life.

So, our vibe can be pure powerful love, or it can be withering sarcasm, but either way it comes from above. It’s like my southern friend Amanda was telling me, how in the South they preface an insult with “bless his heart” — withering. Oh Mary, bless her heart, she tries to get it right, maybe next time she will have more luck. Bless her heart. Poor thing.

Brutal.

Just found this:

“Bless your heart. This is a term used by the people of the southern United States to express to someone that they are an idiot without saying such harsh words.”

Exactly.

So SFC can come from a genuine place of concern — that’s why originally I wanted to call it empathetic frame control — or it can be withering sarcasm, but either way it is calm, caring, kind — and it blasts right through the other person’s drama patterns, their anger, their posturing, their ego — it punctures their ego, undresses them, and leaves them standing naked.

To use the terminology of the Celestine Prophecy, it calls out their drama pattern, and since they are not expecting that, they don’t know what to do. They are expecting hostility, so they are ready for that. When you hit them with love, or “love”, they are thrown off, and are befuddled, and turn into a little child, with their emotions and insecurities exposed.

So, with the bakery example, this is how it worked.

Her: That’s what’s called getting hit right on the nose!
Me: Yeah, you’re right. You must be upset.
Her: No, I am actually in a good mood.
Me: Good, because I like it when you smile. 
Her: *big smile*
Me: *big smile*

Boom!

And here it is, with anotations:

Her: That’s what’s called getting hit right on the nose!
Me: Yeah, you’re right. You must be upset.
Her: [already thrown off, not expecting so much “sincerity” from me, expecting an A&A joke or a testy reply] No, I am actually in a good mood.
Me: Good, because I like it when you smile. [Now I am getting flirty]
Her: *big smile*
Me: *big smile* [God-like, above the fray, spreading love everywhere I go]

The thing is, this doesn’t sound like much on paper, I realize. It’s almost like you have to be there, you have to live it, you have to feel it, to see how powerful it is, to see how the other person almost melts, they are no longer tense and ready for war, they soften, they even feel self conscious, they are simply not expecting the spotlight to go back to them. They feel self conscious, and they usually react with sincerity too — and then you have them. It’s like controlling them with calm assertive love, with deep psychological power over their brains. Sort of like the Jedi mind trick, but with incisive ego-popping psychological insight into the other person’s insecurities.

Again, the key is to frame the other person as jealous, angry, upset, weird — THEY have a problem. Your life is great. They are the one acting weird. By saying something so simple and so powerful like “Yeah, you must be upset”, it turns the tables. This isn’t about the bakery door, or my nose, or me being embarrassed, or me losing social value in the eyes of the people at the bakery — I’m fine. I’m doing great. This isn’t about me, it’s about her. It’s about the chubby bakery girl. Is she okay? Why is she acting so aggressive and so erratic?? Is she okay? Does she need help? Did something happen to her, is she having a bad day, did her boyfriend break up with her because she got fat, what is wrong with the poor little bakery girl? Maybe I can help. Maybe I can help her find a new job. Poor little thing. Bless her heart.

Kill them with kindness. Kill them with psychological insight into their fears and insecurities. The other person is “acting out”. Bakery girl’s temper tantrum, it’s a cry for help. This isn’t about me. Again, my life is beautiful. This is about poor little bakery girl. Is she okay?

Before I forget, there is a huge difference between saying:

“Yeah, you’re right, you must be upset.”

And

“Yeah, you’re right, you must be upset with me.”

HUGE difference.

Remember, this has NOTHING to do with me. That is going into self deprecating, agree & amplify territory. Remember, I am doing great. I am amazing. I am God-like, above the fray. She is having her own issues, in her own head, in her own life. Poor thing. Maybe I can help her. She looks like she is having a rough time.


Whenever I teach frame control, I always get some disappointed readers. Some of them feel angry, some of them feel duped, some of them feel like I wasted their time, some of them feel that I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s okay. I take full responsibility. I don’t blame the students, I blame the teacher. Then again, if frame control was so easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

Instead, what does seem to be easy is for people to get reactive, get emotional, and get sucked into the other person’s frame when they are being teased, fucked with, or put down. It’s normal. It happens. We are all human.

What’s interesting to me is how the answers from the readers are so consistently similar. Any time I set up a frame control scenario, the answers basically fall into three categories:

1. The reader addresses the issue at hand, and tries to be witty and funny in his reply.
2. The reader addresses the issue at hand, and responds with Tough Guy Posturing (TGP) in order to intimidate and feel strong again.
3. The reader rejects the scenario and explains how this whole frame control thing is a waste of time

For example, with this Bakery Store example, a good number of you addressed the issue at hand — getting hit by the door — in order to either make a joke or punish the bakery girl — but the questions is, why? Why are you choosing to reinforce a negative frame by talking about it more, why continue going down that road?

The truth is that “addressing the issue at hand” is usually a bad idea because you end up falling into the other person’s frame. In fact, “addressing the issue at hand” really means that: addressing the frame the other person set, falling into their frame. The bakery girl tried to set the frame by slamming the door in my face. The more I talk about the door, the more I am letting her set the frame. Does that make sense?

Let’s review the answers that talked about the door, either to make a joke (strategy #1) or to intimidate (strategy #2), or a mixture of both.

Joel tries to make a cocky funny joke:

I get your point Jason, but in everyday situations like this if you exert frame control it will become much more natural and congruent when you do it in pick up. Also, what if an incredibly hot girl walks in mid sentence. She’ll see you make the chubby girl giggle, smirk nonchalantly and you’ll instantly seem hotter in her eyes. What if the chubby girl has a hot bakery friend workmate who she talks to about you. They’re unlikely but happen more than not. Take every chance.
In saying that I would say exasperatedly and over the top with emotion ‘Consuela! If that’s how you treat your most attractive customer I’d hate to see how you treat everyone else’. Then laugh.

Johnny seeks to intimidate and punish:

“Be more careful next time.” With direct eye contact and no hint of a smile. Not with a contemptuous expression, though; just a commanding expression. The point being to hold the tension as long as possible, and not let her off the hook.

Wake tries to be playfully dominant:

Make a gun with you hand, aim at her, say “Bang” in a slow sultry way, and conclude with a smirked “I won!” statement. Laugh shortly. Ignore her.

Shabby tries to agree and amplify, positioning himself as a cocky funny invincible man:

‘That’s what I call getting hit on the nose’
‘Yeah, I hope the door is alright’

Spence goes for the dominant, arrogant approach:

I would of gone with a very small smirk, direct eye contact, and “Yeah, you wouldn’t have done that if you saw it was me.” Wait a half sec to see if she wants to reply. Walk off with a small smile if she can’t think of anything.

Dax Hill also goes for the playfully dominant approach:

“I have you fired next time, Consuela!”, delivered with a smile and followed with a “How’re you?”
In all honesty I think:
A) It doesn’t fucking matter.
B) If it does, it should tease her with a reprimand for her behavior.
I feel like the key part of no matter what you say is knowing that this is my world and I’ll say what Iwant. If that’s how you carry yourself, then it doesn’t matter what you say.

Do you see how all six of these answers address the door, either directly or indirectly, and thus reinforce her frame — do you see how that works?

Dax Hill’s response in particular is a great example because he uses Strategy #1, his answer reinforces her frame, and then he goes on to attempt Strategy #3, of saying that frame control is bullshit and that it doesn’t matter.

Ondrej also tries Strategy #3, two times.

Here:

Fuck low level pickup. Level 1: Verbal Level 2: Frame Level 3: Subcommunication. Source: Steve Jabba’s old book. Do you even study pickup, man? :)
That said, I recently “frame controlled” a hotel owner who wanted to charge me an extra day based on the original contract, and a guy who brought us two beers instead of one. I didn’t even notice I did something cool, but later on people admired how I handled it. I basically just stayed calm and informed them what happened and what happens next. Also I must have developed some killer look, because a man sitting opposite me started to apologize to me “It wasn’t me who closed the window!” in a train while I was just lost in thought with neutral look.

and later again:

Doesn’t the very attempt to reconstruct imaginary situation and find perfect verbal response to unimportant girl go against modern game theory, mainly sigma style? Sigmas create love bubbles with girls they want and everyone else is just unimportant. Words and frame are way less important than subcommunications affected by your identity and state. When on Level 3, you just don’t care about L1 and L2. Steve Jabba talks about Frame Control Weirdos in Primal Seduction.

Of all the reader comments, the three that come closest to being proper frame control are these.

Jason says:

Why would I say anything? She’s a chubby girl who works at a place i am buying something. Smile and get about your business.

Shade Zero says:

I would’ve just teased her about being mean or in a bad mood and doing things like that to all the customers.
Things happen in life, doesn’t mean you can’t joke about them when you’re “alpha”.

Tyndalion says:

I’m not particularly alpha, so without much thinking — I’d probably go something like “Really?” (said slowly) with a raised eyebrow or a smirk. That way I give her some space to confirm that it was an apology, but don’t let her break my frame enough that I’m taking her seriously.

I will go over these three answers next.