Approaching women can be a nerve-wrecking proposition. She’s right there, looking at you (or hasn’t even seen you and is about to be walking away, forever). You only get that one chance, and you don’t even know where to begin.
What do you say?
Should you smile or look tough?
Approach friendly-like? Business-like?
Memorize some pickup lines?
Say the first thing on your mind or rehouse some openings?
I went through this mental process all through my teenage years. I started out in elementary as a nerdy kid, lanky with thick glasses and tight clothes (back when that was not cool) and glasses. I would never have even thought of approaching a girl.
By middle school I got contact lenses and immediately noticed the female attention had increased. Girls smiled at me. Teased me playfully. But I still had no idea what to do around them. I was nervous eating food when there were girls at the same table. Girls just looking at me made me nervous. I did get my first kiss sometime in middle school, but only from the girl that wanted me, not the one I wanted.
In high school, the female attention was immediate. But I was awkward and quite inexpereinced. Girls gave me looks that said, “I’m interested. Come talk to me!” And I ignored those looks — not because I dind’t recognize them, but because I had no idea what I was doing. I was nervous around attractive girls. I was scared to talk to them. Less attractive males got the girls I daydreamed about. By 10th or 11th grade, I grew comfortable enough to talk to girls and ask them for their phone numbers; I became pretty successful with that. I finally lost my virginity as a senior in high school and the rest is history.
This post is about how you can approach girls yourself, though. Here’s a basic checklist, that applies no matter your age or location or who the woman is. This is not some The Game pickup artist one-size-fits-all guide; the principles I share here apply to females as people, not objects you’ve identified to try and bed within the next 72 hours.
What you need to remember is that, as Malcolm Gladwell explored in Blink, we humans make snap judgments about people within seconds of noticing them. What happens later — conversation, learning about others’ interests and histories — can shape things too, but that first impression is difficult if not impossible to break. The first impression you make needs to be the one you wish to make.
- Follow Instinct And Do Not Hesitate. As soon as you see her and she sees you, walk right up to her and say the first thing on your mind (a simple smile and “Hello” never fails). This shows that you’re bold and not intimidated by her attractiveness — which will score you points with women, especially those whose beauty keeps men starting, but few having the balls to talk to her. Hesitation belies your lack of…
- Confidence Is Everything. Approach as if you expect to have her attention and you know you have something interesting to say and you expect to walk away with a phone number or email address or date. Your mental expectations manifest themselves in your walk, talk, the look in your eye — all unconscious signals that she will pick up on.
- Smile. A smile is a welcoming signal to other human beings — it’s hardwired into all of us. Smile at a baby, the baby will smile back. The baby doesn’t know what the smile means or even why you’re doing it, but she smiles back. A smile puts people at ease. A girl sees you as less of a threat and is much more likely to have a positive snap impression of you when you approach with a friendly, confident demeanor.
- Face Her Directly. I shouldn’t even need to say this point but many men get it wrong, appearing too passive when talking to a woman. When men talk to other men, face-to-face body language reads as animosity or aggression — that’s why you’ll see men who are friendly with each other standing side by side or 3/4 to each other. With women it’s the opposite — stand right in front of her, look in her eyes. Make your body language direct so she knows you’re talking to her and you mean what you’re saying.
- Ask For The Damn Sale. If you want her number, you have to say it. Not necessarily in those words — do it in the way that works for you. You can ask: “Can I have your number?” But this is a very direct and sometimes awkward question, and direct communication like this is becoming much less prevalent these days. Maybe a more circular approach: “We should meet up for a coffee/check out that new bar you mentioned — give me your number and I’ll call you tomorrow.” For you (or those) non-callers, “How about we text tonight and see what works?” You still get your point across, wrapping it in another, smoother reason for her to give it to you. Expect it and she will.
- Keep It Brief. People are attracted to those who are, or appear to be, attractive to other people. When you talk to a woman in the street, keep it short. Approach, say your piece, exchange information, and move along. Have somewhere to go, a call to make/take, and appointment to be on time for. You’re a person whom people know and are waiting on, not some random lonely guy waiting to hear form the one girl he talked to this week (which may very well be the case). Perception is reality.
- Close Smoothly. As you take her info, or just after, keep the conversation going and end things pleasantly. How long has she been in this neighborhood? Does she follow the local sports team? Where’s her family live? Does she have pets? How did she spend the most recent holiday or planning to spend the next one? Get an answer, throw something back (best to ask about something from which you can share something interesting), and let her go — better yet, you need to go. “Hey, I need to get to this meeting.” “My friend is waiting 3 blocks away — talk later?” “I’m going to be late — what’s the rest of your week looking like?” Find what works for you. Give her a positive vibe-ending to the interaction, so when you reach out next, you could even pick things up where you left off.
Idris Elba made the most pithy point about approaching women in a magazine I read some time ago (and I’m paraphrasing): The most important thing with women is that you take your ball sack out and put it right there in the table and say what’s on your mind. This puts the ball in her court and challenges her. Since most of us — men and women — these days are so averse to direct communication, you’re showing her something she isn’t seeing much of, and this alone makes you unique, someone she’ll remember and respect (even if she’s uninterested or otherwise unavailable). Which puts you in pole position to get her phone number and/or builds your confidence for your next encounter. When you hesitate, and look at her and look again and question yourself over-process it, you’ve blown the moment. You’ve shown your lack of confidence in yourself. You’ve shown that you’re somewhat intimidated by her and/or the thought of approach in her. Women want a man. Men take control. Men don’t wait for an invitation — they act.
Stop thinking about it. Go. Now.