Hitting on women is not always easy, and there are plenty of potential mistakes that will turn the interaction sour, rather than successful. Picking up women requires a delicate blend of respect, confidence and nonchalance about rejection, and it can sometimes be difficult to strike the right balance. So here are eight pickup rules women wish all guys knew, to help make the task easier for you:
1. Don't Bother Us In Public
It disappoints many men to hear this, but women generally don’t want to be hit on when we’re going about our daily business. Truly. If we’re walking down the street with headphones in or selecting ripe fruit at the grocery store, that’s not a good moment to interrupt us to announce your romantic intentions towards us.
It’s true that there are some women who don’t mind being approached in this way, but so many women find it annoying, off-putting and occasionally even threatening that it’s really not worth it. Remember that you’re probably not the only guy who has tried to approach a woman like this, and she may have had to fend off two or three (or more) similar approaches already that day. That starts to add up to a feeling of constant harassment, so don’t add to women’s discomfort by hitting on them in locations where they’re just trying to go about their daily business.
Stick to traditional venues where it widely accepted as okay to approach women romantically, such as bars and singles events — or, of course,online dating sites and apps, like Tinder. And if you see a woman on public transport or at the laundromat, no matter how attractive you find her or how sure you are she’s your future wife, leave her be — especially if she’s reading or listening to music.
2. Don’t Try To Neg Us
At this point, negging is a pretty dated and inefficient pick up strategy.Negging, in case you are unaware, is the process of issuing a backhanded compliment, or a kind of half-compliment/half-insult, that is meant to confuse your “target” and cut her self-esteem down just enough notches to make her interested in you (e.g. “Nice dress! I’ve seen it on two other women tonight.”)
Sure, it’s conceivable that negging a woman can sometimes work, but it (a) relies on the woman you are hitting on having low self-esteem and high levels of insecurity, which aren’t qualities you should be encouraging in a potential partner (come on: you should care for and respect your partners, sexual or otherwise, on a baseline level!), and (b) sets your relationship off on a negative foot.
Instead, try a more sincere and approach. If you’re going to compliment the woman you’ve approached, do it in a straightforward way. This is likely to make for a more meaningful connection, and avoids the corny, overwrought mind games inherent in so-called “pickup artist” strategies like negging.
3. Keep Appearance-Based Compliments Non-Creepy
It’s fine to tell the woman you are hitting on that she looks good, but try to keep appearance-based compliments above board. Don’t, for example, make sleazy compliments about her body (and, for goodness sake, don’t mention her breasts at all!), and it’s better to use lines like “You look great!” and “You look amazing!” than “You look sexy!” or “You look hot,” especially on a first approach. Crude, body-based compliments are likely to make women feel self-conscious rather than sexy, and that will make it harder to successfully pick up the woman you’re trying to talk to.
Complimenting a woman on her smile, her hair or her outfit is often a safe place to start: It’s thoughtful but not invasive, and chances are she’ll appreciate your attention to detail. Once you know her well and have a good grasp on her comfort levels, you can start to broaden out your compliment range.
4. Don’t Persist In The Face Of Rejection
You’re not going to get anywhere by persevering in the face of a woman’s disinterest. If she has mentioned a boyfriend, for example, don’t say “Well he’s not here tonight” and wink, and if she’s said she’d prefer to just hang with her friends tonight, don’t hound her — that means “no.”
It’s often tempting to keep trying to hit on a woman in the face of these negative signals to prove that you aren’t *really* being rebuffed, because, let’s face it, no one likes the feeling of rejection, and we’d all prefer to pretend it’s not happening. But continuing to chase a woman who has signaled her disinterest comes off as hostile and creepy, and it has the terrible side-effect of putting many women off going to bars and clubs in the first place.
It can be difficult for women to reject men outright because some men get overtly aggressive in the face of rejection, so if her body language is uninviting or she has a string of excuses for why she won’t give you her number or talk to you, it’s best to interpret that as a “no” and move on. As grandpas often say, there are plenty more fish in the sea, so don’t get hung up on pursuing a woman who's not interested to the ends of the earth.
5. Talk To Us Like We're Humans
So much dating and pick-up advice for men centers around the idea that women are a foreign species from outer space, with a complicated set of rules and procedures for activating our approval buttons. You heard it here first: It’s all nonsense! Women are, in fact, human, and we function much the same as men: We like to be listened to, for our interests to be taken seriously and for our whole personalities to be treated with the same (or more!) importance as our looks.
So, instead of chasing women around the bar trying to flirt with pick up lines from the ’90s, why not ask her about her favorite movies or songs, or what she likes to get up to on the weekends? This is a strong way of establishing mutual interests, which will endear you to her, and it will help you determine if she’s an interesting enough person to captivate you long-term.
6. Tailor Your Opening Line To The Environment (Online vs. IRL)
Because so much of our flirting occurs online or on our smartphones these days, it’s important to tailor your opening to the circumstances. OnTinder or online, it’s often more appropriate to go with a longer, more overtly clever opening, whereas a simple “hey!” will be boring; IRL, however, the opposite is true: a simple “hello” is unthreatening and leaves the floor open for conversation, whereas a complicated opener is likely to be perceived as awkward and forced.
Online, you will often know a fair bit more about the woman you’re approaching than you would IRL, so you should use that to your advantage. Whatever quirks and interests she’s revealed in her bio or profile are ripe conversation starters, so don't be too shy about referencing them. If you’re meeting IRL, you’ll have to rely more on confident body language and a simple approach: Perhaps you could walk up and say “Hey!” then offer to buy her a drink if the response if positive.
7. Follow Through With Strong Conversation
Picking someone up isn’t just about your opening, it’s also about your follow-through and ability to sustain interest. You don’t necessarily need to have a lengthy, sustained conversation — that’s what first dates are for — but you need to appeal to her enough that she wants to give you her number, and doesn’t ignore you when you text her later on.
Try to land a few kind-spirited jokes or interesting anecdotes and establish at least a few points of mutual interest before moving on — unless you’re certain that your physical chemistry was so sizzling that there’s no chance she’ll ignore your call.
8. Consider Where To Go From Here
If your initial approach has gone well and you’ve secured her number, you need to think about where you’d like to take things from here. If you’re only interested in casual sex, that’s fine, but it’s unethical not to be up-front about this. Let her know you’re not looking for anything serious, and if she’s still up for some no-strings-attached fun, then that’s a win-win situation. If she’s not keen on keeping things casual, don’t try to dupe her into having sex with you — just move on to someone who is equally keen to stay unencumbered.
If you’d like to date her more seriously, try to come up with an appealing first-date idea. It doesn’t need to be anything wacky or uber-novel like salsa lessons or a game of paintball, but it should be something at least moderately interesting, so that you both have a good time and you don’t come across as dull and uninspired.
Look for new restaurants or cafes that have opened up in the area, or partake in low-key cultural activities like attending gallery openings or live music in bars. Take the charge and be decisive: most people find coming up with date ideas a bit challenging, so avoid the “I don’t know, whatever you want to do?” agony and come up with a clear plan.
So, there you have it: Those are the basics that women wish all guys knew about picking us up. It’s pretty simple, really: approach respectfully and politely and heed clear signs of rejection, and you can’t go too far wrong. Good luck!
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