You’re out at a bar (or wherever) and you see a woman sitting on the other side of the room. You decide you want to walk over and introduce yourself. Your friends are egging you on to go over there and say something, but you find yourself stricken with fear and a total lack of confidence.
What are you going to do? More than likely, you probably come up with some excuse to avoid going up to her, and you go about your night. Talking to strangers—especially those you may have romantic interest in—is difficult. It’s easy to come up with a million reasons why you shouldn’t try to talk to that girl who caught your eye.
While there’s no magic trick that’ll make talking to women easier, there are several things you can do to help get yourself on the right track. You’ll still need to get the guts to take that first step. It won’t be easy, but armed with these tips, at least you’ll have some knowledge to fall back on should you get nervous.
1. Look for Positive Signals
You don’t want to walk up to just anyone when you’re out and about. You need to look for signals. Sometimes these signals are obvious—if she looks directly at you and smiles, that’s a good sign that you should go over and say something.
But in general, it won’t be that simple. She might never look in your direction, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t giving off signals.
- Look for women who look relaxed and/or comfortable.
- Open body language is a sign she’s at least open to talking.
- Avoid approaching anyone who looks angry or upset.
- Don’t go up to anyone who looks busy or preoccupied.
A key thing with looking for signals, though, is to not spend too long looking. If you’re sitting at your table awkwardly staring, she’s probably going to notice at some point, which will quickly establish you as creepy in her eyes. It’ll also give you too much time to talk yourself out of approaching her. Once you notice any of the key signals above, you’ll want to move quickly.
2. Keep Your Approach Simple
You might feel tempted to learn a bunch of complicated pickup lines and fancy moves to break the ice. The fact is, most women have heard all of these lines. They’ve seen all the tricks. They know all the moves better than you ever could.
Instead, just keep it simple. Walk up to her and say, “Hey.” Raise your glass near hers and offer a simple “Cheers.” You just need to break the ice, and sometimes, the simplest approaches will get the job done best. And if you get rejected, at least you didn’t embarrass yourself with some ridiculous pickup line.
3. Be Prepared for Conversation
If you actually get past the ice-breaking stage, you need to actually be able to hold a conversation for an extended period of time. All of your nerves will be for naught if you end the conversation at hello.
This preparation can actually begin before you even go out—find out the scores of sporting events from the night prior, read the news, and be aware of local events. These will give you plenty of conversation points, and ideally, the conversation will be able to flow naturally from there.
You can also come prepared with some interesting anecdotes and stories to talk about. You don’t need to go memorizing them word-for-word or anything, but it never hurts to have some stories prepared for a conversation.
While in the location, you can work on some preparation as well. Take note of some interesting characters around you and her. You might see someone with a weird outfit on or an out-there hairstyle. If the conversation starts to lag a bit, you can make a quick joke about something you see around you.
Being prepared offers two benefits: it increases the chances that your conversation will go well because you’ll have a plan, and it decreases your level of nervousness because you’re going into the unknown conversation with a plan. This leaves you one less thing to dwell on as you prepare to approach this stranger.
4. Don’t Just Converse
Talking is obviously a great way to get to know someone, but in the beginning, it can behoove you to make things more interesting. Make a bet or play a game with her to make things interesting. This actually comes back to planning, because you’ll want to go in knowing what sorts of games or bets you to throw out there.
For example, you could throw out a challenge that if you can guess her favorite color, she has to give you her phone number. If you can’t, you have to give her yours. She’ll obviously pick up on the fact that either way, numbers are exchanged, and if she goes along with it, you’re all set (or she won’t, and again, you’ll still good to go).
You could challenge her to a game of tic-tac-toe and come up with a funny stipulation that benefits you both. For example, you could say the loser buys the winner a drink. Sure, if you lose, you’re out the money for the drinks, but that doesn’t matter. If she’s agreed to this, then she’s also agreed to hang out with you while playing the game, and more likely than not, for some time after while you have the drink. Either way, it’s a win-win.
Not that I want to make you more nervous than you already are, but she’s probably had quite a few guys attempt to talk to her already. And she’ll probably have other guys talk to her after you. You need to make yourself memorable, and a fun little game like this can do exactly that. The key is to make the stipulation of the game something that causes you to win, even if you lose (and also, don’t be creepy or pervy with the game and the rules).
5. Be Confident (Or Fake It)
Don’t sheepishly walk up to a woman and try to make conversation. Hold your head up high and walk up to her with confidence. Don’t look smug and cocky, but give off the vibe that you’re something special and that she should want to spend some time getting to know you.
Obviously, this is easier said than done. You’re nervous. Maybe you’re beyond nervous. Maybe you feel you’re going to vomit all over the bar and look like a complete and total idiot. This is all completely normal. So even if you’re not confident, the key is to pretend you’re confident.
You’re probably going to get rejected the first few times you try to talk to random women. That’s okay. If you fake confidence enough, eventually you’ll actually start to feel confident. Eventually, someone you’re interested in will actually give you the time of day, and you’ll gain more confidence. It’s all about getting over that initial hump.
Generally, most women aren’t going to talk to a guy who visually lacks confidence. After all, if he doesn’t like himself why should she like him? So put on a brave face, stick your chest out, and pretend you believe in yourself. If you pretend enough, eventually you won’t be pretending anymore!