The conversation starters likely to work – and the ones that definitely won’t.
Striking up a conversation with a sexy stranger can be daunting. Done well it can be fun and flirty and maybe even lead to something more. Done wrong it has the potential to invasive, offensive and embarrassing. Before you approach a woman, ensure you try to read the context correctly. If she’s standing at a bar ordering a drink, she may – read: may – be open to a guy trying his luck. If she’s sitting alone at a café reading the newspaper at breakfast, chances are she’d rather be left by herself. Let common sense and gentlemanly sensitivity be your guide.
Five To Consider
Favoured by Adele and Lionel Ritchie, this is the most direct way to introduce yourself. Make eye contact, utter the world’s simplest greeting and then have something honest to follow up with. “Hello, I was wondering if I could join you?” or “Hello, can I buy you a drink?” Real professionals can use the shortened version of “Hi”.
2. “My name is…”
If the above works, then you should follow up with an introduction and the offer of a handshake. That said, simply introducing yourself can be a stand-alone. But again, you need to follow it up with something.
3. “You know what I’d like?”
This approach is very open and needs to be handled with the right light touch. The expectation could be you’re about to suggest something sleazy. Instead, if she plays along, and asks “What?”, then you can follow it up with something innocuous but honest: “To buy you a drink” or “To introduce myself”.
4. “I couldn’t help but noticing…”
As long as it doesn’t sound a) obvious (“…you’re in a bar”) or b) stalky (“… that you’ve been sitting alone for seven minutes now”) this can be an effective opener. The key is to have something specific and relevant to say – and that you can say something about. Examples: “You’re reading the latest Jonathan Franzen – I love his books” or “You’re singing along to this track – believe it or not I love Five Seconds Of Summer.”
5. “Heavy penguin”
“Heavy penguin – I just thought I’d say something that’d break the ice. If you can pull off a funny and unexpected line, it’s a terrific way to win a woman’s attention. Gentle humour – “Feel my jumper. Know what it’s made out of? Boyfriend material” – or witty compliments – “Apart from being gorgeous professionally, what do you do for a living?” – can also work without making you look like a goose. But don’t go for totally corny old lines – or for something that is in anyway insulting or belittling.
…And Five To Reject
1.“Is your father a thief…?”
“… because he stole the stars from the heavens and put them into your eyes.” This might’ve worked back in the 18th century – when spoken by a consumptive romantic poet in Italian – but the only sort of eye action it’ll induce these days is a dismissive eye roll. See also: “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
2. “Do you come here often?”
What sort of answer do you really expect? If she says yes, are you going to ask exactly how often? If she says no, then your next comment is… what… exactly?” You come off like an idiot. Or a census taker.
3. “What’s A Nice Girl Like You…”
“… doing in a place like this?” – the answer will be “ignoring you” as she turns her back and makes gagging noises to her friends.
4. “Nice legs, what time do they open?”
This sort of comment isn’t just stupid it’s really offensive and aggressive. File it with “Nice earrings, they’d go well with your ankles” and even “If I told you that you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me”.
5. “Have a guess what I…?”
Any boast – “bench”, “earn”, “pack in the trouser”, “do better than any man” – is a total turn off.