There is nothing more frustrating than showing up to a crowded party, hoping to meet someone new (aka a nice guy) and finding yourself talking to your girlfriends the whole night. Trust me, I have been there. You arrive home tired, thinking it would have been better off if you and your girlfriends had spent the night watching Netflix instead. You can't help but feel frustrated with that cute guy you never talked to, wondering, Why didn't he make a move?
If you find yourself in this situation more often than not, it's time you stop waiting for the guy to make the first move and do a little initiating yourself.
If you are worried about coming on too strong or being off putting—don't be. Seven out of seven men I interviewed said they are more than cool with a woman approaching them and actually find it very attractive.
"I personally have no problem with a woman initiating a conversation," says Jake. "Being willing to start a conversation not only shows confidence but it often is a major compliment that this lovely lady actually wants to talk with me and get to know me better."
"I believe it's hard to find a guy who isn't flattered when a woman initiates a conversation with them," Andrew agrees.
When asked what conversations starters they feel work best, the men agreed that there really isn't a formula to that. But the guys did offer up some suggestions as to what they would like to be approached with. Here is what they said.
What's your passion?
Most men agreed, leading with "what do you do?" is not a favorite. "Asking about your profession or the token 'what do you do' can be cliched and can also hint at an over-emphasis on professional prestige," explains Isaac. "So I wouldn't necessarily lead with that unless it was a natural question."
Dan says initiating conversation by asking a guy what he gets excited about, what his passion in life is, is always a good place to start. "I'm not working at the office or going to school because it's necessarily my dream job or my primary focus," says Dan. "Most people, myself included, are inclined to assign a person's identity to a neat little box like job or financial status. Instead, put the focus on the person at the center of all the attributes, the part of them that is in love with life, and you might be surprised at what you find."
Kevin says he too would prefer to be asked about what gets him up in the morning. "Asking me about something I am passionate about, or asking me what my hobbies or interests are, is a good way to get me talking," explains Kevin. "Who doesn't want to talk about their passions and interests! It gets the guy in an upbeat mood and really the rest is easy after that."
Much to my surprise these guys were plenty game for light-hearted hypotheticals or two truths and a lie, but the trick is staying engaged—too often someone asks a question but doesn't really seem to care about the answer.
"Some of my favorite conversation starters are the hypotheticals, such as, 'If you could quit your job and go do anything you want for a year, what would it be?'" explains Jake. "If the guy has a clue at all, the fact that you are approaching him with a thought-out question beyond the 'where-are-you-from' and 'what-do-you-do' standards will show that you are indeed genuinely interested."
"Something like 'two truths and a lie' can be fun," suggests Isaac. "Then follow up on the truths, and maybe even the lie, because it's often based upon a truth." Word of warning: Isaac reminds us to "be prepared to give your own, and make sure you're not giving one truth and two lies, or just three lies, because that's weird (it's happened)."
Finally, once you have gotten over the hurdle of initiating the conversation with a playful game or asking him what he likes to do in his free time, don't glaze over. These guys all want to see that you are interested in his response as well and are willing to keep the conversation going.
Leave the ball in his court.
True to research, men tend to pick up the lead after initiation has been made. The men I spoke to all seemed to want the freedom to make the next move.
"If you're worried about not coming on too strong, make sure you give them an opportunity to leave the conversation, but make it clear that you'd like to continue it. If they are into it, they'll either stay or come back later," says Isaac. "If they're not into it, they'll appreciate you not cornering them (and you'll be glad you didn't waste your time). And maybe they're not sure, but you walking away will give them a chance to decide and come back to you if they decide they are into you."
Jake also says that giving him some space to follow up is a key component to initiating conversation. "Maybe more important than the conversation starter is the conversation ender," Jake explains. "Feel free to create an opening for him to follow-up and continue the conversation. Maybe you bonded over music, so give him your number or email so he can send you a link to those new bands he's listening to. This will give you both even more to discuss the next time you see each other."
Be confident in the fact that a nice guy is going to be flattered by your initiation and likely quite grateful too! If you're up for it, challenge yourself to approach at least one guy at every social occasion you attend for two weeks and tell me how it goes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you!
Photo Credit: Ryan Flynn