You’ve seen the movie poster. Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr are making out on a Waikiki beach while the waves lap at their feet. But have you seen the 1953 classic film, From Here to Eternity? If you did, you would remember this scene: After an emotional discussion, Burt abruptly turns away and starts to head out.
“What are you doing?” Deborah inquires.
“I’m leaving. Isn’t that what you want?” Burt replies.
“I don’t know, Sergeant… I don’t know.” Deborah’s desire is tested and proved. They end up kissing, of course. By playing hard-to-get, Burt led an ambivalent Deborah to jump into his arms.
The term “takeaway” actually comes from the world of business sales and marketing. The best sub-communication of the takeaway is that you are not desperate. Desperation is a huge turn-off. You can offer an invitation, and you are not emotionally dependent on her reaction. You will be somewhat pleased if she accepts, but not at all concerned if she declines or defers. In fact, if she insists on fence-sitting, you can just as easily suggest a takeaway of the invitation altogether. Your willingness to discontinue making invitations demonstrates personal integrity of mind and spirit, keeping your emotional center whole.
A girl named Ami declined three of my invitations. She then told me, “I appreciate you asking me out. I really want to hang out with you more because I had such a good time the last time, and I appreciate your invitations. It’s just been that I really have been really busy lately with my family and with issues at work.”
She was being earnest and not indifferent, so I’m not going to employ a takeaway with her. In contrast, this other girl I know, Mary, liked me quite a bit, but had some issues about becoming more serious, so I had to do a great big takeaway. “It’s been fun hanging out with you, Mary, but let’s just be friends.” I told her. She cried from the thought of losing me and realized how important I was to her.
One of the reasons why a well executed takeaway works is because of persuasion expert Robert Cialdini’s principle of scarcity. According to this principle, a higher value is attributed to items that are more challenging to attain, especially when you have to compete with others. A takeaway can be used anytime, with varying magnitudes. A mini-takeaway like a back-turn could be a response to a qualification that didn’t meet your needs, and a maxi-takeaway like a “talk to the hand” gesture could be given if she misbehaves in some major fashion.
You might have heard of a socio-intimate technique called “push-pull” whereby you communicate disinterest (pushing) then interest (pulling) in an alternating fashion to pump buying temperature. Well, too many guys were starting with a “push” that was too strong or timed too early in the game and ended up pushing their partners away permanently. A proper takeaway, or push, must be timed after some “pulling” has occurred first to bait your partner. So, I’ve renamed this technique “pull-push-pull.” You can think of it as “interest-disinterest-interest,” or “hot-cold-hot,” or “giveaway-takeaway-giveaway.”
The risk of a takeaway is that she might return your disinterest with her disinterest, so be prepared for any result. A sensitive soul may respond to a takeaway by chasing you, but a stubborn, hardened, jaded spirit may feel snubbed and respond with a permanent and irreversible rebuff. But remember, if you build anticipation with teasing, you must eventually complete the circle with the satisfaction of the desire you were titillating. If you don’t finish properly, you will have bad karma.