It’s really hard to chat up someone without being a creep. The trick is to notice whether they actually want to talk to you (and whether they want to keep talking to you). #ConsentInnit
If you want to chat up someone the first thing you should know is that it’s really hard to do. Because of this lots of people choose not to do it (which is fine). It’s hard because there is a strong possibility that you are going to get rejected. It’s also difficult for the person being approached because it can make them feel scared and uncomfortable.
The difference between rudely harassing someone and gently talking to them really comes down to consent – do they want you to chat to them? Working this is out is difficult because uh, a) you haven’t talked to them yet, b) you don’t know them and c) everyone is different. Still want to give it a go? Here’s a handy flowchart and some more ideas about how to make this work below.
Do they *want* to chat?
Be honest, do they really want to chat to you? Do they look at you? Are they smiling at you? Do they turn towards you? Have they deliberately made eye contact with you? Are they mouthing “hello”? Have they written “come and talk to me” on a paper aeroplane which they threw at *your* face?
These might be signs that someone is interested in you talking to them. But even if you think they want some of your chat, this doesn’t mean they actually do. If they turn around, or walk away as you start to move over, or ask you to go away – STOP. They don’t ‘really want’ you to talk to them. Believe them.
If you’ve been staring at them hoping that they are going to look back, they may not be thinking “hmmm they’re hot” but might be thinking “why are they looking at me, it’s creepy.”
I *think* so, what now?
First of all try and relax. Take a big breath out. Loosen your jaw. Stand up tall and smile gently. Then walk over.
Try not to stand too close to them. Stand at an angle so they feel like they can walk away at any time. Eye contact can be good, but don’t stare at them wide eyed like a weird serial killer (remember to blink!). If they look back at you and start to smile it might be going well (for more on these moments see this). Don’t stare at their body.
There aren’t any killer chat up lines that always work and many people think that they are a bit sleazy. Some people say that it depends on the context and how a chat up line is used. If they’re interested in you talking to them then just saying anything may work. Maybe you could just go and say something like “hi, you seem nice, wanna chat for a bit?” or just introduce yourself “hey I’m ______ .”
Be nice enough but not over the top with compliments and affection. Remember, you don’t actually know them yet.
Maybe try to be funny or lighthearted – some people like a bit of ‘bantz’ but some people really don’t. Putting people down (also known as negging to make them feel bad about themselves is a pretty bad thing to do – so stop that yeah?
OMG they’re interested
The most important thing is to actually listen and to take part in a CONVERSATION, but nerves can make this normally quite easy thing really difficult.
There can be so much going on in your head (do they like me? am I being creepy? are they going to kill me? what’s their name again? am I sweating? is everyone just staring at me right now?) that it can be hard to just stand and pay attention to what the other person is saying. Also try to think “are we getting along” rather than “I must make them like me.”
So show that you are listening by use of body language – don’t fold your arms, or yawn, turn your back or look at your phone. Be attentive, notice what they are actually saying and how they are saying it and, you know, actually listen. Remember to keep breathing. If you’re feeling anxious or nervous that’s OK – allow it.
If they seem like they want to carry on chatting you could ask if they want to sit down somewhere, or go for coffee. You could give them your number or email address or twitter name to arrange a sit down at a future date. Give them space to change their mind – don’t ask for their deets, give them yours. Some people even have their own little cards to give out – which I think is a great idea.
Dealing with rejection
Lots of people are not going to be into you. If you’re not for them, they’re not for you. So deal.
You might wanna think about *how* you deal with that. Check these posts about self-esteem and bigging yourself up. Don’t cover up your difficult feelings or fear of rejection by being a **** (see below), just accept that you might feel crap for a few seconds or minutes and ride it out.
If someone does reject you or isn’t interested in you, just move on. They don’t need persuading, they have made their mind up. Persistence or isn’t romantic or sexy, it’s creepy and non-consensual.
Don’t be a d***
Just shouting or staring or giving random ‘compliments’ to people in the street isn’t the best way of telling someone you like them. Many people really hate this as it makes them feel like objects and can feel scary and uncomfortable.
If you do this you don’t care about whether they actually want you to talk to them – it’s non-consensual. Just because someone is looking hot or existing in the same space as you, does not mean they are asking you to talk/shout at them.
© Justin Hancock, 2015