The science of first encounters
Photo by AndriyKo Podilnyk on Unsplash
There?s nothing inherently sexist or evil about chatting up a girl in public ? and asking her on a date. Almost everything that turns her off or creeps her out involves the how and why part.
You can ask someone out at a coffee shop, a library, a laundromat, a grocery store, or even in the middle of the street.
But there?s a catch:
Absolutely nothing you say or do can make her like you if she?s not interested. The entire point of conversation is gauging her level of interest up front, and building rapport.
Humans like patterns and rituals. You can find one for just about any situation, including first encounters.
Obey the laws of greeting rituals
Linguists study how men and women interact in public. They?ve broken first encounters down into 5 stages:
- Sighting and recognition ? you make eye contact. It?s easy. Just glance her way a few times. She?s not blind. If you?re attractive to her, she?ll notice you and return your looks.
- Distance salutation ? smile at her. Wave. Do something to hold her eyes a few seconds longer. Establish mutual gaze, a brief moment when you?re both looking at each other.
- Approach ? start walking over. If things are going well, she?ll glance away briefly and then reestablish eye contact.
- Close salutation ? stop at conversation distance and say hi. Introduce yourself. Ask her if you can sit down, and how she?s doing.
- Backing off ? shut up and give her a chance to reciprocate.
This works, and not because it?s some pick-up artist gimmick. This is human behavior and courtship, evolved over millennia. It?s the best and only way to establish relations with a stranger. When you follow these steps, you?re being honest and sincere. You?re not trying to game her. And you?re giving her a chance to shut down the encounter at any point.
This makes her feel respected, and safe.
If she doesn?t return your glances, she?s not interested. If she doesn?t smile ? at least a little ? she?s not interested. If she doesn?t look up from her screen, she?s preoccupied? and not interested. If she doesn?t offer you her name, then she?s either not interested, or she?s a fugitive. And you know what? That?s fine. Not every member of the opposite sex has to dig you. If a girl isn?t into you, it means absolutely nothing by itself.
When it?s okay to talk to her
You don?t need a complex algorithm to decide when it?s okay to chat up a girl in public. Just pay attention:
- Does she look busy?
- Is she wearing earbuds?
- Is she in the middle of a serious conversation?
If so, then you probably shouldn?t talk to her ? at least not for very long. Sometimes love means taking a chance. You can do that without trapping her in an awkward conversation.
You don?t have to make her feel weird. Just walk up and hand her your phone number, then excuse yourself. Say, ?You look busy, but I?d like to take you out to dinner sometime.? Walk off.
People do this all the time.
If it?s love at first sight, she?ll invite you to sit down. Or she?ll call you later. Give her some credit, dude.
You don?t need a brilliant introduction
A lot of guys have gotten their heads twisted inside out by 21st-century pickup artists and predatory dating coaches, who want you to act like some suave stereotype of an alpha male.
They?ll tell you to practice your opener. Don?t. A girl takes one look and decides if she?s interested. Trying too hard can ruin it.
If she likes you, then you can say literally anything:
- Hey, what are you listening to?
- What are you reading?
- I?m curious what drink you ordered.
- I like your gym shoes.
- Do you know what time it is?
These aren?t pick-up lines, they?re invitations to conversation. How she responds tells you everything you need to know.
Don?t talk to her just because she?s ?pretty?
Simply finding someone attractive doesn?t give you a compelling reason to talk to them. You have to be drawn to her, even by something you can?t explain. There has to be something else besides her looks, like her clothes or hair ? or the way she carries herself.
Maybe it?s the sound of her voice.
These are aspects of physical appearance, but they make a statement. They convey hints of a personality.
These are genuine signs of chemistry. Being drawn to her means you aren?t sport hunting. You simply want to be around her, find out about her, and that?s a great attitude to approach with.
Getting this part right calls on you to understand yourself and your personality. People who know themselves have a sixth sense about dating they can?t put into words, but they know when they?re looking at someone they?re serious about starting a relationship with.
Keep it under 5 minutes
The whole point of talking to a girl in public is to ask her out, right? So get to the point. Don?t waste her time, or yours.
Taking too long sends three messages:
- You?re not confident
- You have nothing else going on in your life
- You think she doesn?t, either
This isn?t a strategy per se, just a flake of common sense that disappears when you get nervous around someone you find attractive.
Watch for avoidance signals
During first encounters, women and men both engage in what linguists call involvement behaviors. If she?s into you, she?ll do this:
- Flash her eyes
- Mirror your body language
- Orient parts of her body toward you
- Give you long, relaxed smiles
- Nod her head and go mmm hmm
- Let out slow, low laughs
And if she?s not into you, she?ll do this:
- Look away from you a lot
- Cross or fold her arms
- Put an object in front of her
- Purse her lips or clench her jaw
- Keep checking her phone, etc.
Girls don?t keep staring at their devices because they?re dumb or oblivious. They?re doing this on purpose, more or less, to subtly suggest they want you to go away. They just don?t want to risk their safety by saying something that sounds too confident or self-aware.
You don?t have to ask for her phone number
Asking to exchange numbers could put her on the spot. Lots of women do this just to avoid awkward moments.
It doesn?t always mean she?s interested.
Instead, give her your phone number. See if she volunteers hers in return. That shows confidence and respect at the same time. Of course, if she?s clearly into you ? then ask.
Your intentions matter
Strike up a conversation if you actually want to get to know her. Most single women don?t mind meeting someone new if they show respect and true interest. The problem is men who think they can somehow trick, bully, or guilt-trip women into dating them.
Talk to a girl if the following is true:
- She looks relaxed (she?s just browsing her phone, etc.)
- You actually want to date her ? not just bang her
- You?re willing to walk away if she ignores you
Politeness doesn?t mean interest
You should be able to tell when a girl?s just being polite. She?s not being fake or manipulative. Women tend to act super polite around strange men to avoid getting cursed at, or attacked in an alley.
It?s a defense mechanism.
Every single day, men threaten women?s lives for ?being rude.? In case you?re wondering, this is what polite disinterest looks like:
- She keeps trying to get back to what she was doing
- She doesn?t make eye contact
- In fact, she looks everywhere but your face
- She gives 2?3 word answers to every question
- If she laughs, it?s clipped and high-pitched
- She doesn?t ask you any questions
This isn?t shyness. It looks shy, because shyness and reluctance overlap a lot in the body language department.
The real goal of talking to a girl
Confident, mature men and women talk to each other in public places because they want to explore a possible connection. They?re tired of spending all their time in bars swiping on Tinder.
When they meet someone new, they obey greeting rituals and treat each other respect. They know when to take a hint. They don?t expect every single person they meet to flirt back and hand over their phone number. It really is that simple. You don?t need a dozen dating coaches telling you what to do. You just need to relax, and be patient.