1. Be Eye-Catchingly HonestRemember George Costanza’s approach in Seinfeld: “My name is George. I’m unemployed and live with my parents.” Hey, it worked for him. So why not try being straight with women? Tell them you’re not much of a player. David Wells, 31, confirms, “When I was younger, I made the mistake of thinking I had to act suave,” he says. But since then, he’s upfront about the fact that he’s shy. “A lot of women think it’s charming!” he says.
As a guy, you’ve probably heard more than an earful of advice on how to bust out of your timid shell and engage women in witty repartee. Sure, these gregarious mentors may mean well, but they often forget that it’s not easy to change who you are. Think of it in basketball terms. If your team lacks height, you don’t repeatedly try to go inside. No, you use your speed, passing and outside shooting to beat the competition. Same goes with dating: play up your strengths, and you’ll improve your odds of romantic success. Here’s how to do just that.
2. Ask for HelpDamsels in distress have been doing this for years; there’s no reason guys can’t take advantage of women’s desire to swoop in and save the day, too. Just be sure to pick a topic on which women will feel they can offer some assistance. You’ll rarely go wrong seeking style advice (“Excuse me, but I need a woman’s opinion on this jacket. Is it a keeper, or should it never leave my closet again?”) or relationships (“Hey, my pal and I need a woman’s perspective on how long a guy should wait before calling after a date. What’s your opinion?”). Asking for advice will ease the pressure of it feeling like a pick-up line.
3. Choose Your Venue WiselyIt’s much easier to meet and talk to women in places where there’s something to talk about. That’s why shy guys may be better off skipping your typical nightclub or café and attending a place with conversation-worthy surroundings, like an art gallery or charity function. “Did you enter the silent auction?” “What do you think about that painting?” Your icebreakers are already built-in by the scenario. Plus, you’re not some random guy. You’re “a guy at this event,” which will allay her defenses and work in your favor.
4. Just Add a Question MarkYou’re starting to get to know this woman and suddenly you can’t think of what to say. Here’s an easy solution: simply repeat the last notable thing she said and place a question mark after it. “Oh, you work as a female professional wrestler; what’s it like?” Bingo!
5. Bring Your Best WingmanThere are guys who can help you meet women… and there are guys who will do the exact opposite. Go out to the clubs or wherever with the former. If he’s married, that can be even better. Married guys are not competition, and they prove you have responsible friends.
6. Let Others do Your Dirty WorkCan’t bring yourself to move your feet in her direction, smile, and say hello? Enlist someone else to do the ice-breaking honors for you. Ask a waiter, bartender, or your wingman pal to approach the woman to deliver a drink or a compliment like, “My friend thinks you’re cute. Care to join us?”
7. Utilize Today’s Technology to Air Your OpinionsIf talking face-to-face doesn’t show you at your best, go ahead and lean on all that technology has to offer. A thoughtful, well-crafted email can convince a woman that you have plenty to say even if you didn’t chat non-stop in person. For bonus points, refer to something she mentioned during your last date by saying, “I’ve given more thought to the conversation we had about your sister, and something else came to mind that I thought might be useful…” Then let those typed words weave their magic.
8. Take an Acting or Improv ClassFirst encounters are very similar to auditions. She plays her role; you play yours. And the more comfortable and capable you are, the better you’ll be during this encounter. As Alex Fendrich, an actor at Chicago’s Second City, puts it: “Improv helps you get used to making an idiot of yourself.” In other words, it is perfect for practicing your flirting routine.
9. Listen AttentivelyWhat a novel concept this is! Instead of focusing on “What am I going to say next?” or “How am I going to make her laugh?” just pay attention to what she’s talking about, and chances are good that you’ll come up with a relevant response.
10. Seek out the Yin to Your YangIf you’re not much of a talker, someone who yaks up a storm may well love spending time with you. You know the old “opposites attract” adage. And how Katy Perry crooned about her “missing puzzle piece.” Be her best audience ever, and trust us, she’ll keep coming back for more.
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