Let’s be real: guys generally have no idea how to start conversations with women.
Either we come on way too strong, or we’re so nervous that we talk ourselves out of it entirely. But it’s really not as difficult or as scary as we tend to think; in fact, once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.
Why Do We Avoid Talking To Strangers?
If your childhood was anything like mine, talking to strangers was a big no-no. (So was fire — I was a little bit of a pyromaniac. Long story, don’t worry about it, I’m fine now.) In fact, 15 million people suffer from social anxiety disorder [R], and who knows how many millions more avoid talking to someone new?
There’s also the fear of rejection. Add those two together, and it’s obvious why so many people avoid approaching women. But learning how to start a conversation is a valuable skill that will serve you well, in dating and in life.
Here’s how to do it.
Get Comfortable Initiating Conversations
None of the advice I’m about to give you will be worth anything unless you’re comfortable making the approach. Here’s how to increase your comfort level.
Work On Small Talk
Even if you hate small talk, there’s value in knowing how to do it, not just with pretty women, but with everybody. In fact, learning how to talk to strangers to whom you’re not attracted is a good way to start — you don’t have to worry about saying the perfect thing, and you can focus on enjoying the conversation.
Start small: make eye contact with people you see on the street, and if they return the eye contact, give them a nod and a smile. Then, work your way up — have a chat with somebody in line at the store, walking their dog, wherever.
Make A Commitment
The only way to get better at the art of conversation is by doing it regularly. So make a commitment to talk to at least one stranger a day. It doesn’t have to be a deep conversation; you just need to get over what’s called “approach anxiety.” [R]
“To better the art of conversation is to practice it regularly”
With time, you’ll learn how to have a truly casual, light conversation with a stranger, so when you do approach a beautiful woman, it will be natural and relaxed. (Unless, of course, you do what I do and start every conversation with “HELLO MISS, I AM GOING TO START HITTING ON YOU NOW. COMMENCING ROMANCE IN 3…2…1…”)
Read Her Body Language
The biggest mistake a lot of guys make is ignoring a woman’s body language before they approach. [R] Women hate when guys ignore the signs that she’s not in the mood for a chat. [R]
A conversation is a two-way street; you want to talk to her, not at her. Before you approach, ask yourself: Does she look busy? In a hurry? Are her headphones in (another big indicator)? If the answer to any of these is “Yes,” feel free to offer her a polite compliment (“You look very nice today”), but no more. If she’s interested, she’ll respond; if she’s not, respect it and move on.
Pick Your Spots
Most guys think the best place to start a conversation is at a bar or a club — there’s alcohol there, which can help with nerves, and if a woman is out socializing, she’s probably going to be more, you know, social in that setting, right?
[cue “Family Feud” buzzer]
Women don’t go to bars solely to meet guys; in fact, many women aren’t interested in talking to a guy at a bar or a club because it’s difficult to have an actual conversation there. And do you really want to be shouting “SO ANYWAY, THAT’S HOW MY DOG DIED! CAR HIT HIM!” over the din of your average bar?
Aim For Unexpected Places
The best places to meet and talk to women are places where they aren’t expecting to be approached. (Public places, that is — don’t lurk in dark alleys waiting to pop out and introduce yourself.)
These are some great options:
- Grocery store
- Coffee shop/café
- On the street
- A concert
- A park
- Her parents’ house (kidding!)
That said, there are some instances where “unexpected” might mean “unwelcome.”
Any Enclosed Space
We’ve all seen the movies where a guy and girl lock eyes on a crowded subway car or chat in an elevator, and by the time they get off, they’re practically married. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…movies aren’t real.
If she’s on a subway or an elevator, odds are pretty good she’s, y’know, going somewhere — she might not be interested in dropping everything to talk to you.
More importantly, the enclosed space might make her uncomfortable — you could be a stalker, and she has nowhere to go if it turns out you are. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid this one unless she initiates the conversation or otherwise gives you a clear sign she’s interested.
While She’s Doing Something
You’re in a café and you see a beautiful woman reading a book — instant conversation-starter, right? Yep, and an instant conversation-ender if you go over there and say “How’s the book?” or “I love Nabokov!” Why? Because she’s doing something, and you’re interrupting her.
If you see a woman reading your favorite book and you just have to introduce yourself, go for it…just not while she’s reading it. Wait until she closes the book and is getting ready to leave before you approach her.
Women receive a lot of unsolicited attention, and the underlying message is “I don’t care what you’re doing, I’m the center of the universe and you have to pay attention to me now.” Don’t be like those guys; instead, use the AASK method. (Pretty cool acronym, right? Just made it up.)
- Approach her & get her attention (verbally — no touching)
- Acknowledge that you’re intruding on her day
- State your case — why are you there?
- Know when to leave — read her body language so you don’t overstay your welcome.
In practice, the AASK method should look something like this:
“Excuse me (Approach), I hope I’m not bothering you (Acknowledge), but I noticed that you’re reading one of my favorite books. It’s so rare to find another [author name] fan that I just had to say hi (State).”
Find Common Interests
You can also try meeting new people through a common interest. For example, you can join a club on MeetUp [R] or, if you’re an active type, join an adult rec league team. Common interests means you’ll have more ways to start conversations; plus, since there’s an activity going on, it’ll be easier to have a relaxed, natural conversation with a new person.
Striking up conversations with strangers doesn’t come easily at first, but trust me, it’s worth the time and effort. Once you get comfortable with it, you’ll open up entirely new avenues of meeting women, and when that happens, just remember my advice. You’ll be surprised by how naturally the conversation flows.
However, there will come a time and place when you’ll want to move on to the next level and ask her out. If you want to speed up this process then the guys over at Attract Women show you how. Find out more on the 3 secret ‘tricks‘ guys use to cast a spell over women by going here
Resources & References
Still intimidated by the idea of talking to women you’ve never met? Then why not take a look at our sources?
- Starting a conversation is the beginning of any potential relationship, but be sure to stay in tune with your instincts while getting to know her as recommended by The Social Man on this article
- 8 facts about anxiety and anxiety disorders – Elements Behavioral Health by Sean P. Egen
- How to deal with approach anxiety – Psychology Today by Wayne Elise
- Interesting insights by Tripp Advice on how to start a conversation with a girl you’re into (while still being your genuine self)
- Reading basic body language for dating and persuasion success – Psychology Today by Jeremy Nicholson M.S.W., Ph.D.
- alpha m. give us insight on the importance of small talk for conversational starters
- Dear men: This is how you should be approaching a woman on the street – EverydayFeminism by Melissa A. Fabello
- Meetup – A club where people with common interests meet up