Now that we have covered how hard and somewhat nauseating dating can be and how not to be an idiot, I think it’s time, my Nerdlets, to discuss making the approach. Now, this is the worst part. As I previously said, you should feel your palms sweat and possibly a brigade of butterflies in your stomach when you approach someone you would like to go out with. That makes you normal. If you don’t feel that, you might be a sociopathic dater, and you might need serious help. 😉
I want to start this post with some advice: be confident in yourself, but expect nothing. That’s right, you need to be confident in who you are, because I’m thinking that person is probably pretty damn awesome. People can sense someone who is not as confident as they seem, so if you walk up to someone without confidence, you are walking up to failure. But, if you square your shoulders, look the other person in the eye, and walk tall (no matter your height), then you are already doing better than others who are in the same predicament as you. Now, being confident is important, but I tell you to have no expectations because then it makes the interaction more fun and less crappy if the person you are approaching says no (for whatever reason). If you have no expectations and the person you are approaching brushes you off or says no, you won’t be angry or crushed with disappointment. Same goes if the person you approach is already in a relationship or not looking for a date or whatever reason he/she gives you for saying. Don’t be angry if you get rejected; obviously, you just didn’t have something the other person wanted, and if that’s the case, the dating relationship wouldn’t have worked to begin with. Without expectations, you can approach someone and be happily surprised if they respond positively, but it’s not skin off your nose if they say “thanks, but no thanks,” or even “Get the —- away from me!”
When you make the approach, you want to make sure you look and act your best. Now, everyone’s style is different, so there are different kinds of looking and acting, so use whatever works for you. This is important because we live in a culture obsessed with looks. I don’t expect to be hit on when I run to the store in baggy sweatpants, a dirty shirt, and crocs, or in my sweaty gym clothes (so it’s always a happy surprise when I am), but I have more confidence in myself and in my ability to approach or be approached when I look good. Now, this doesn’t mean you always need to go around in your best clothing or with perfect hair and/or makeup, but it does help in the confidence department, and it does help if someone wants to approach you. Also, and I’m going to try and say this as gently as possible, don’t reach too far when you approach someone. This is why a lot of people get shot down at the approach. For example, I personally think that on a scale of 1-10 of beauty, I am a solid 6 (on the scale of awesome, though, I break it : ). Now, if I were to try and approach someone, I would look for other 6’s or maybe 5’s to 8’s. I wouldn’t try to go for a 10, or if I did attempt to approach a 10 I really wouldn’t have any expectations going in. Basically, if you’re nervous, stick with your own level. Yes, this sounds shallow, and it might be shallow, but this looks-obsessed culture we live in shows us images on our tvs and movies and magazines of beautiful people meeting beautiful people and falling deeply in love forever. But we don’t all look like movie stars, tv stars, or models. We look like people, and I like people, but I, and most likely you, have felt the sting of rejection when you approached someone who was outside of your scope. It feels like a high school dance, when the nerd asks the star of the football team to dance. It, sadly, just doesn’t happen or happens so rarely that it is the story you remember, but not the norm. If you stay close to your own level of beauty and brains, you have a better chance of meeting someone who you can date and enjoy on equal terms. If you aren’t looking for equality in a relationship, take a good look in the mirror, and ask yourself why you think you deserve less than who you are in a person you will be spending time with.
Now, for pick-up lines, I have to admit that they don’t generally work. Personally, I love them. I’m the type of person that, if someone came up to me in a bar and said, “Damn, if being sexy was a crime, you’d be guilty as charged!” or “Do you have a map? I’m getting lost in your eyes,” I would laugh hysterically and ask for more, engage the person in conversation. I love them, but most people don’t. Most people see pick-up lines as cheap and lazy. Pick-up lines don’t make you seem smooth, they make you seem unoriginal. However, I have the best pick-up line for you. It’s so good, it will work every single time. It goes like this: you see someone you want to talk to, you make eye contact with them, you walk over, and you say, “Hi, my name is (insert your name here).” Most likely, this will make the other person tell you their name, and then you start your conversation as if you were talking to an old friend (meaning relax, don’t get fidgety or weird, and try to find some common ground to talk about- ask about the place you are approaching the person, maybe, or what you both are doing, like drinking coffee, beer, wine, or dancing). Another way to approach someone is to watch them for a while, not in a creepy-stalker way but in a gentle way, notice something about them, say they are reading a graphic novel or drinking a specialty beer or wine, and then approach them with a planned topic in mind. That also works, because it keeps the topic on something external and breaks the ice, but you will still have to use my line, “Hi, my name is…” at some point.
From this point, you will want to watch for body language to see if you can ask for the person’s number. If they are actively listening to you, leaning toward you, and, maybe, touching you lightly as you speak, you can ask for their number or ask if you can go out sometime. You might just get yourself a date. If, during the conversation, the person you approached doesn’t seem to be listening or won’t make eye contact with you, then you may want to lower your expectations. You can still ask them for your number, but don’t be surprised if you get a fake number or get told no.
If you keep all of this in mind, approaching someone will get easier. It should never be completely easy, or you have gotten jaded about dating. That never ends well. Personally, I would love to go out sometime and play the “Have you met Ted?” game, as seen on How I Met Your Mother. Do you know it? If you don’t, the wingman (wingperson?) walks up to a potential date and says, “Have you met…” and then walks away. I have a friend who says he will be my wingman to try it, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. Have any of you tried it? I would love to hear your stories. How have you all approached someone or been approached? What has worked and what hasn’t?