By the time this goes up, it will be the end of April and the start of May. Hooray, hooray, the first of May, outdoor fucking begins today.
With the warm spring sun slowly turning to summer (or not so slowly for those of us who live in the south – THANKS GLOBAL WARMING!), we’re entering prime time for going out and meeting new, sexy singles. Women are breaking out the sun-dresses that cling to every curve while men are breaking out their shorts and tighter tees. Sex is in the air and everybody is looking forward to hooking up.
So there is no better time for you to brush up your skills and get ready to meet the woman of your dreams.
Now it’s time to quit talking and start walking. It’s time for you to actually get out there and start meeting those awesome women you’ve been thinking about for so long.
Yes, it can be profoundly intimidating. Coming up to a total stranger and trying to get her interested in exploring the possibilities of a sexual or romantic relationship with you can be difficult and stressful. In a lot of ways you’re making yourself emotionally vulnerable and being rejected can sometimes feel like a rejection of everything about you.
But fortunately you don’t have to worry; I’m here to walk you through the steps, as well as the common pitfalls that you need to avoid.
Side note: While this article is written with a predominantly male audience in mind, this advice applies equally well to women who want to make the first move instead of waiting for guys to approach them.
Consider The Context
Social context is incredibly important when it comes to approaching women; different social context will directly affect how you should approach someone and how you will be received. A party or a bar with an active social scene is a completely different situation than, say, approaching a woman you don’t know at a bookstore during the day or out on the street at night. If you approach a woman late at night, in a situation where it’s not as socially expected – the parking lot of a bar, for example – you’re running a very high risk of coming across as a threat rather than someone cool that she should get to know.
The social context will affect how you approach people and when. At a party, for example, you’re supposed to mingle and get to know people. It’s generally accepted that people will flow in and out of conversations or to come up and introduce themselves. Similarly, at a rowdy bar – one where the focus is on talking and having fun rather than sullenly nursing your beer – or a club, it’s understood that you are there to meet strangers, flirt and have a good time. You can be much more touchy at a bar; it’s generally accepted that people will be slapping backs, touching shoulders or pulling people in for side-hugs.
At a bookstore, on the other hand, different rules apply. While you might be able to simply insert yourself into a conversation at a party without too much interference, interrupting a group of friends talking will be considered rude at best if you don’t have a socially relevant reason to intrude. You’re better off approaching someone who is by herself and striking up a conversation. Asking for an opinion about a book or making an observation about the books on the shelves – ever notice how much urban fantasy covers all seem to look exactly the same? – is a socially relevant and acceptable conversational opening for that context.
Being situationally relevant is key here; if your actions are not relevant to the location and situation, you’re going to come across as odd or disconcerting.
Keep this concept in mind. It’s going to be incredibly important.
Follow The Three Second Rule
Part of the problem of being nerds and geeks is that we spend a lot of time lost in our own heads. As a rule, we have active imaginations and a tendency to try to game things out before we actually make a move. While this does have it’s uses, it’s also a huge handicap when it comes to dating. That tendency to want to plan for every possible eventuality ends up leaving us in a state of paralysis, too afraid or intimidated to try to talk to someone we like for fear of inevitable rejection.
Hence: the Three Second Rule.
We’ve talked about the Three Second Rule many times before, but it’s worth repeating here: if you see someone you like, you have a count of three seconds before you must go up and introduce yourself. The Three Second Rule is there to keep your brain from going into vapor-lock; if you take longer than three seconds, you’ve given your brain all the time it needs to game out every single reason why you shouldn’t approach and every way it could possibly go wrong. Before you know it, you’ve gone from being about to introducing yourself to someone cool to picturing a series of Rube Goldberg-esque social missteps that ends with you clawing at your newly maced eyes while cops slam you to the floor and haul you off to a jail cell with a burly outlaw biker who is gauging your value in cigarettes.
Is that likely to happen? No. But the whole process will drain away any motivation you had to go over and meet her and leave you feeling depressed and frustrated with yourself.
The first rule of meeting awesome women: you can’t get a date without actually making a move in the first place.
By forcing yourself to move as soon as you see someone you like, you’re changing your immediate reaction from freezing like a terrified bunny to forward momentum – and that momentum will help carry you along emotionally as well as physically.
Use Correct Body Language
Body language can make or break an approach. The way you carry yourself speaks volumes to your intent and character; if you’re slouching or curling in on yourself, you’re telling the world that you have no self-confidence. If you walk with your back straight and your limbs loose, you let everyone around you know that you’re money and you know you’re money. If you’re moving with short, jerky movements or shifting your weight constantly you will seem as though you’re nervous or hiding something. Moving with slow, deliberate movements, on the other hand, makes you look at ease.
When you’re approaching a woman, you want your body language to tell her that you’re calm and confident – even if your heart is pounding out more beats per minute than Sky Bar on dubstep night. You want to be walking with a straight back, your head held high and your arms loose at your sides.
And smile. For fuck’s sake, smile. No matter how confident your body language may be saying you are, walking up with a dour face is going to just turn women off… if it doesn’t make them wonder whether you’re sizing her up to see how much of her will fit in the freezer in your garage.
The proper use of body language can also keep you from being inadvertently creepy. Approaching a woman from behind, for example, will likely startle her – not the reaction you want. Similarly, marching straight up to her and planting yourself directly in front of her can feel aggressive and make her feel cornered. Your best bet is to approach from the side or at angle. Position yourself at an angle away from her or even speak to her from the side or over your shoulder and you won’t be giving the same danger signals. The more comfortable she is with you, the more directly you can face her.
The amount of personal space you need to provide will vary. Remember what I said about social context? Different locales and situations will change how close you can stand; at a crowded social situation such as a party or a bar, a person’s personal bubble will contract, allowing you to stand closer without making them uncomfortable. In a grocery store or walking down a street will cause that bubble to expand. Making sure you know the proper distance is the difference between getting a phone number and getting told to fuck off.
Your Opening Lines Don’t Matter
This is frequently a sticking point for guys: what the hell are you supposed to say? Are you supposed to make a joke? Maybe start off with a deliberately cheesy pick-up line in hopes of making her laugh? That “jealous girlfriend” routine you picked up from The Game? Ask her if she comes here often?
Guys sweat the opener more than almost any other part of approaching a woman. They seem to think that the right opening line is like having the cheat-codes to her brain; say the right thing at the very start and all the work is done for you. Find the right combination of words and women will swoon into your arms and clothes will explode away into a cloud of doves and Bonnie Tyler lyrics right? Right??
Look, I can’t emphasize this enough: your opening lines are ultimately unimportant. The point of an opener is for is to get the conversation started. Period. You are, for all intents and purposes, just stalling for time in order to hook them with your charm and gift of gab. As long as you don’t start off with something along the lines of “Your skin looks soft and supple. It would make a great leather jacket”, you’re fine. I have started conversations (that eventually lead to either dates or sex) with “What are you drawing?”, “You’re very tall! High-five!”, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like a Bond Girl?”, “I like puppies. Your turn.”, “Holy God, please tell me you’re talking about something interesting. My friends just keep talking about derivatives and I’m about to blow my brains out”, “Do you believe that men and women can be friends and still have sex?” and “Do you know how to cook this?”
You can make an observation. You can make a joke based off the situation around you. You can just say “Hey, you seem like you’re cool and I wanted to meet you. My name is…”
It ultimately doesn’t matter. 99 times out of 100, they will not remember what you said. Sweating the opening is just one more way your self-doubt tries to psyche you out of approaching women.
There’s only one rule: Don’t make her uncomfortable. Social context (there it is again) is important here. You can get away with being a little offbeat and goofy at a party, where the accepted social contract encourages talking to strangers. Coming up to a woman at a grocery store and saying “You’re very blonde,” is going to be off-putting. However, asking her “Hey, what spices do you think would work with this?” or “Do you know anything about $FOOD_PRODUCT?” is relevant to the situation and gets the conversation started.
Don’t forget: “You seem cool and I just wanted to meet you” is almost always socially relevant.
Don’t Be Afraid of Her Friends
A lot of guys, especially if they’re flying solo will be afraid to approach a woman who’s hanging out at the party with her friends. Either they’re too intimidated, convinced that her friends will form some sort of impenetrable shield or they’re his competition. This is a mistake. A group is actually easier to work with than someone who’s hanging out by herself or with one other person. They’re all there to have a good time and as long as you’re someone cool who can bring the fun, you’re not going to be unwelcome.
Making friends with her friends – being able to charm the group and help them to recognize that you’re actually someone they would like to get to know – is powerful. It gives you instant credibility in her eyes when her friends are willing to vouch for you.
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
This is the tough one.
The hard and fast truth is: you’re going to get rejected. Even Brad Pitt doesn’t go 10 for 10 when approaching women. Dating means taking risks and one of those risks is that you’re just going to meet women who, for whatever reason, just aren’t into what you bring to the table.
It’s hard, especially in the moment, not to take being rejected as a judgement on you as a person. However, you can’t let it throw you off your game. If you allow one rejection to shatter your self-esteem and send you running home crying, then you’re never going to find that special someone; you need to be willing to take the hits when they come.
While you’re out meeting people, you cannot let rejection get to you. While you’re out “in the field”1, you can’t assume that rejection had anything to do with you. As far as you’re concerned, it wasn’t your fault. It was bad timing – she was having a bad day, you looked exactly like her asshole ex-boyfriend… something that has absolutely nothing to do with you. While you are out and about, rejection rolls off you like water off a duck’s back. You take a step back, laugh about it and move on to the next person, one who would be love to talk to you. To do otherwise means setting yourself up for emotional paralysis and losing your emotional momentum.
When you get home: that’s the time for figuring out what went wrong. I’m a proponent of being as analytical as possible when it comes to trying to pin down your sticking points and trouble spots… but not while you’re out making looking to meet your next girlfriend. While you’re out, you need to just shrug it off and keep moving.
And remember: every time you get rejected, you’ve just eliminated one more person who’s wrong for you… putting you one step closer to finding the one who’s right.
- a phrase that I don’t particularly care for, but it is apt in this case [↩]