WHAT IS FRAME?
I talk a lot about Frame. Indeed, I even wrote an article on it here.
But I’ve realized as I’ve gotten more and more questions about Frame that many only have a vague idea of what it is, let how to set it.
So in the next series of articles I’m going to address it.
But today, let’s take a big picture look at it all. I want to focus on helping you understand the nature of Frame – what is frame – and why it matters so much. Let’s dive in.
What Is Frame? Frame is The Set of Assumptions Subconsciously Agreed Upon By People.
There are many different layers of Frame. For instance, on a macro-level there is the socio-political Frame. “Politics” is little more than a battle for control over this Frame. Even deeper than the socio-political frame is the cultural frame: the unnoticed, psyche-influencing shit most of society believes without understanding why (this is similar to the Overton-Window).
On social and interpersonal levels, however, Frame also exists… and when it comes to dating, these are the areas we care about focusing on.
Why Does Frame Exist? Because We Follow Each Other.
To answer the question of “what is frame?,” we must first understand why we have a frame in the first place.
Frame exists because at our core we are social creatures. We have a genetic disposition to follow each other and “be on the same page.” If we didn’t, group dynamics would collapse and in the wild we wouldn’t survive.
This goes into the way we reason and interpret situations. As independent as we like to think our beliefs are, in truth we are constantly being told what to think. We are constantly determining our opinions based on what “thought leaders” (i.e. the media, entertainment, education) tell us what we are supposed to believe. This is then reinforced by our social groups, which parrots these opinions back at us.
As mentioned, this is the deep, cultural frame. And it is exceedingly difficult to extract ourselves from.
(Read: The Civil War Began On Facebook)
When it comes to person-to-person interactions, however, another strong Frame also exists: the dominance / status hierarchy. This Frame also goes back to our evolutionary roots. Some people are seen as more powerful and influential (and consequently, attractive) than others. These are the people that lead the tribe. It was true then, and it continues to be true now.
Why Bother Setting The Frame? A Positive Frame Works For You.
I poke fun at Pick Up a lot, but my biggest issue with it bar-none is its lack of focus on Frame. “What is frame?” is a question they hardly ever ask – because it’s not profitable to do so. Instead they emphasize techniques because techniques are “hacks” – quick fixes.
But in reality it doesn’t matter if you know every technique in the book if you have a weak Frame. If you have a weak frame, you will look unattractive or only succeed in keeping a girl interested for a short amount of time. Frame is exceedingly important for attraction.
Not to mention, Frame does most of that “attracting” work for you. The stronger your Frame, the less work you need to do to attract women. You just do you, and they will come to you.
(Have you ever wondered why some men seem to know nothing about women yet seem to do above-average with them? These men almost invariably have a strong frame. They don’t understand why guys follow dating stuff because they get enough decently-attractive girls in their lives without trying.)
What Is Frame Influenced By? Everything.
The question immediately asked after “what is frame?” is almost invariably “what determines the frame?”
The answer is disappointing but crucial to understand: Everything.
Everything you do influences the frame.
You’ve probably heard it before, but just for the hell of it I’ll keep beating that dead horse and remind you – most of communication is subconscious. You need to be aware of how the little things you do at every moment help shape the narrative about you (and your relationships with other people). These are the things you want to work on projecting in a positive way.
Some of the numerous factors that influence the frame range from your physique, body language, game, environmental dynamics, how other people respond to you, to the other person’s own mindset and world-filters (completely outside of your control). The more variables you set positively for yourself, the more you rig the Frame in your favor.
However, at the end of the day, only one thing really, directly controls it.
What Is The Key To Frame Control? Confidence.
Confidence lies at the core of interpersonal dynamics. Humans sense each other’s confidence levels viscerally; even animals can smell it. It effects everything we do… but nothing so much as the Frame. Indeed, in a certain sense “what is frame?” can be answered simply by saying “the assumptions of the most confident person in an interaction.”
Key takeaway: Confidence is the single biggest variable determining whether or not you are going to persuade someone to buy into your frame.
Confidence tells people that what you are offering is valuable. (after all, if it wasn’t, why would you have so much confidence in it?)
Confidence persuades people to buy into your assumptions. And seeing as how shared assumptions are the foundation of a frame, confidence the tool for setting it.
Note that sometimes this persuasion isn’t conscious. Sometimes – often, actually – we subconsciously respond to another person’s confidence; we can’t control ourselves. This will manifest itself in our body language. If, for instance, the person we are dealing with is more confident than us, we have a tendency to respond submissively to them. We react to them, not the other way around. This is a sign we are falling into the other person’s frame.
(Hint: Generally the more you react to someone, the more you fall into their frame. This is a major reason why reactiveness in men is unattractive. Women do not respect men who fall into their frame.)
Understand that frame control and techniques are different things, however. Everyone agrees confidence is sexy, but everyone also agrees it’s a bit different from skills. Confidence doesn’t directly help you maneuver throughout an interaction with a woman, it just creates an easy, attractive frame for her to fall into. Skills are valuable too.
They’re just different.
The Difference Between Frame And Skill. (And Which One Is More Important)
There’s a reason why most Pick Up Artists not only struggle long-term with women and tend to be loners socially: they are high on skill, but weak on frame.
Let me explain.
Pick Up Artists (and 95% of guys asking for dating advice) understand – or are at least trying to understand – female psychology and learn how to interact with it. They are learning about attraction and looking for short-cuts to implement it.
But the problem is, more often that not, they lack confidence and so despite their knowledge, show themselves to be absolutely disastrous with women.
I don’t say this to criticize guys; I was one of these “pick up dudes” myself. My point is not to condemn, but to illustrate why so many guys who know nothing about women do better than men who’ve read everything they can on the topic. The guys who know nothing have confidence and naturally control the frame. They have no problem talking to girls and attract enough of them that learning “dating skills” seems like a bizarre way to spend their time.
Now, in my experience many of these guys DO run into problems down the line – and I’ll talk about that more in a later article. But there’s a big lesson in the fact that guys can achieve solid success with women by simply controlling frame, despite being otherwise clueless.
Skills are a great thing, but if you don’t have the Frame you’re going to have a rough ride ahead of you. Put the cart before the horse. It’s ok to grow your skills, but make sure you’re working on your frame at the same time.
When it comes to success with women, frame is the cake; skills are the icing. You can have a cake by itself and still have a dessert, but you can’t have a plate full of icing and expect anybody to want to eat it. (Even if they do, they’re bound to get sick afterwords.)
So if you have to choose, Frame > Skills. Put your focus there.
But still – that doesn’t mean skills don’t have a valuable role.
How Frame And Skills Work Powerfully Together
Generally speaking confidence determines the frame. But what determines the skill?
Although confidence sets the frame, competence determines the quality of the interaction within the frame – and consequently the frame’s staying power. When answering “what is frame” this concept is essential to understand.
Confidence may get you in the door, but it’s Competence that makes sure you own the house.
Strong frame makes a woman receptive to what you say. This “frames” you to her as an attractive man, and she expects you to prove it… and your skills ensure that you do.
This is important.
Confidence may get you the frame but it is competence that keeps it.
A confident guy who is incompetent with women will gradually lose control over her frame and, consequently, her interest.
What This Means For You.
This article is just an overview of frame, mostly just answering “what is frame.” We’ll be breaking down some specific situations and talking about frame more contextually in the next article.
For now, just get in your head “what is frame,” how important it is, and why it is so different from skill.