A lot of guys stress about what to say when approaching a girl for the first time. Really, it really doesn’t matter what you say. Trying to come up with some clever pickup line or witty thing to say will probably just make you sound like you are reading from a script, and leave you unprepared for whatever her response will be. What is important is knowing what NOT to say. And, after this initial approach, it is all about knowing how to respond to her replies in a way which builds ups attraction.
The Rule of Social Relevance
In our post about how to meet women, I wrote a lot about a major problem guys have when approaching women: they come off as creepy. This is because most guys aren’t aware of the rule of “social relevance.” This basically just means you’ve got to be aware of your situation and make conversation which is relevant to the place.
You see a sexy girl in a nightclub wearing a little blue dress. You approach and say, “I just had to tell you how much I love that dress on you!” The girl is flattered, she knows exactly why you are approaching, and (assuming you approached with confidence), she will probably be open for conversation.
You see a hot girl in a Laundromat. She is taking a sexy little blue dress out of the dryer. You approach and say, “I just had to tell you how much I like that dress. It probably looks great on you.” The girl will probably be totally freaked out because a laundromat is NOT the place to talk about intimate things!
In the Laundromat scenario, you’d be much better off approaching with some banal-but-appropriate line, like “Hi, I’m ___. You look like a savvy woman. Do you by chance know how to get wine stains out of silk?”
Being socially relevant can also spare you the pain of coming off as boring. For example, it would be perfectly okay to approach a girl at a bookstore and ask her to recommend a book. If you ask a girl at a bar about what books she likes to read, she will probably think you are a boring nerd.
Avoiding the Boring Factor
When talking to a girl for the first time, one of the worst things you can do (along with creeping her out and insulting her) is boring her. First of all, if you are boring, she will have absolutely no interest in getting to know you further. Second of all, if you respond with the exact same things that she has heard a zillion times before, she will assume that you are like every other guy she has met before. And you don’t want to be lumped into that pool!
Here is an example:
Guy: How long have you lived here?
Girl: All my life.
Guy: I’ve lived here for 3 years.
Girl: Oh really? Why did you move here?
Guy: Because of my job. I work as an engineer. What do you do?
This sort of conversation is probably going to end up being a line of interrogative back-and-forth dull questions, or they will end up talking about their jobs. The first time a girl meets a guy, she might want to hear about his job. By the 10th guy, it is trite and dull.
Don’t be afraid to move into more exciting lines of conversation!
For example, here is how that same conversation could have been much more exciting:
Guy: How long have you lived here?
Girl: Yes. All my life.
Guy: (Laughing) You don’t sound too happy about that! Why, is there somewhere else you’d rather live?
This broad question opens up all sorts of conversational possibilities. She might tell you about how she has always dreamed about living on the beach because she is obsessed with dolphins, that she hates how dirty the city is, or so on. In any case, it is much more exciting – and intimate – than the standard “getting to know you” questions and responses.
It is perfectly okay to approach a girl by asking a question, and this approach is especially good if you are meeting women in places which aren’t social by nature (such as a bookstore or library). But you’ve got to make sure that the initial question leads to conversation, or else you are just going to end up interrogating the poor girl!
For example, imagine how painful a conversation this would be:
Guy: Where you from?
Girl: Chicago. You?
Guy: I’m from Detroit. Did you go to college in Chicago?
Girl: Yes. At DePaul.
Guy: What did you study?
Girl: Business management.
Guy: Oh? What do you do for a living?
To avoid the risk of your opening question turning into an interrogation, you need to ask broad questions. By “broad questions”, I mean questions which cannot easily be answered with yes/no or a single word or phrase.
For example, the previous conversation could have gone like this:
Guy: You are from Chicago? I’ve always wanted to go there. I guess it is because I was obsessed with gangsters when I was a little kid. Are there still lots of gangsters in Chicago? (flashing a flirtatious smile at this point)
Girl: If there are any gangsters, I wouldn’t know about them!
Guy: Really? You seem like the bad girl type. I can totally see you in one of those 1920s dresses and on the arm of some gangster – like in that Leonardo DiCaprio movie. Did you see it?
Girl: I love Leonardo DiCaprio, but didn’t see that one yet.
Guy: You will love it. We should watch it together sometime. But first I’d like to take you out to dinner, of course.
If the girl has been significantly wooed by the guy’s confidence and flirting skills, she might hand over her number right then and there. If not, the girl will probably make some flirty comment like, “That’s assuming I want to go out with you!” The guy would respond with some more bantering and flirting until the attraction has grown more. (Hint: you can download our guide to flirting for free here!)
Keeping the Conversation Moving
So, you’ve approached a girl and she has responded to your initial pickup line. Now, you’ve got to keep the conversation going. This can seem like a daunting task, but there are some tricks which are sure to keep any conversation moving forward in a way which is comfortable for the both of you.
Let’s say that the girl from the previous example had told you she was from Jenkinsville, Missouri and not Chicago. You know absolutely nothing about Jenkinsville or even Missouri. Instead of asking a question which might be insulting, or risking your conversation turning into an interrogation, use transition words to move on to a new topic.
Transition words include things like “Oh, really?” and “Yeah, I…” The key is that you acknowledge what she has said before moving on. Otherwise, you sound like an inconsiderate jerk who doesn’t care what she says.
Carrying On the Theme
Let’s a girl mentions this line in a conversation:
Last summer, I went on a great vacation birdwatching in the Faroe Islands. You know, between Iceland and Norway? They have such great wildlife there!
You could continue the conversation by asking for details about the trip. But, let’s say that you have absolutely no interest in learning more about birdwatching or the Faroe Islands. You can easily move on by picking any key word and using it to generate new conversation topics.
In this example, the “key words” are: summer, vacation, birdwatching, Islands, Iceland, Norway, and wildlife. Just use any of these words in your reply and it will be considered a logical flow of conversation. For example, you could respond with any of these comments:
“Oh really? Last summer I went to…”
“That sounds great. I love Islands because….”
“Yeah? You know where there is some great wildlife nearby?…”
Great seduction artists will use this trick to keep the conversation moving in the direction they want it to. That way, they never end up stuck listening to a girl drone on about some boring topic. Not only would that mean getting bored to tears, but they probably wouldn’t get anywhere with her because no connection or attraction is established.
NEVER, EVER INSULT HER!
Okay, in some situations, guys can actually use clever insults disguised as complements to pick up a girl. The insults are called “negs” and they are all part of the game of getting a woman’s attention. You can read more about this in our guide on how to pick up girls. Other than these carefully-delivered and playful negs, you should NEVER, EVER INSULT A GIRL.
Of course, you would never go up to a girl you like and tell her something like “That looks terrible on you” or “You look tired.” But a lot of times guys end up insulting girls without even realizing it.
Guy: What do you study?
Girl: I study photography.
Guy: Really? How do you plan on making money from that?
This might be a legitimate question, but it is downright insulting. It supposes the girl is too stupid to realize that photography is a tough business, and that she lacks the talent required to make it.
This would have been a much, much better response:
Guy: Really? You must be really driven to get into such a cut-throat industry as photography!
In this example, the guy still has mentioned how difficult a career path photography is. But, instead of insulting the girl, he turned it into a complement.
Building Up Sexual Tension
Once you get more comfortable approaching and chatting with women, you can work on the art of building up sexual tension. We talk about this a lot in our free guide to flirting, which you can download here. But here are the basic steps:
Stage 1: Keep It Friendly
When you first approach a girl, it should always be friendly. If you are in a bar or club, it is okay to compliment her appearance, but then move onto “safer” lines of conversation.
Stage 2: Teasing
You’ve initiated conversation and she’s responding favorably (she’s making eye contact, her body language is positive, she’s smiling and laughing…). Now, you can start teasing her. Make friendly jokes but not about anything too overtly sexual.
Stage 3: Testing the Waters with Sexual Jokes
If she is laughing at your teasing instead of getting annoyed by it, then you can move on to sexual teasing.
For example: A guy and girl are flirtatiously chatting in a bookstore. She is a painter and he mentions that he dabbles in photography. She says, “I’d love to see your work.” He responds by saying “I’ll show you mind if you show me yours!”
If the girl laughs, then you know the waters are safe for more explicitly-sexual flirtations, which will build up into some insane attraction. If she doesn’t respond well, then back off!
What to do if you cross the line
Keep in mind that every girl has different comfort zones when it comes to sexual flirtation. If you cross the line, don’t worry. You can usually quickly and easily redeem yourself by doing this:
1) APOLOGIZE! Acknowledge that the comment was out of line and say you are sorry. Then quickly move on to safer conversation.
2) DON’T DO IT AGAIN! Your apology won’t mean anything if you keep doing the offensive thing. So stop it or you will just end up being one more creepy guy for her to avoid.
Now that you know what to say to a girl when you approach her for the first time, go out there and put the knowledge to use! Practice makes perfect – and you will have a lot of fun practicing this line of knowledge!