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How to Survive a Pickup Line

What to Say When You Approach

“Pickup line” is a dirty duo of words. It connotes cheesy gimmicks and amateur comedy. You can just imagine the guy who swears by pickup lines as a gold-chained, hairy-chested, Hawaiian-shirt wearing, sleazy loudmouth (probably with a toothpick dangling from the corner of his mouth). No self-respecting man who genuinely wants to meet women would ever wish to embody such a slimy stereotype.

Yet, paradoxically, any guy who wants to go out to meet women relies on “pickup lines.” Very rarely will a woman walk up to a man and begin an interaction. And so, as men, we’re expected to initiate the conversation with a pickup line.

Guys who believe they approach women “under-the-radar” are simply delusional. Women always know what you’re trying to do—no matter if you ask for an opinion, ask for the time, pretend you’re gay, or simply introduce yourself. If you initiate a conversation with a woman you’re attracted to, you’re trying to pick her up. As such, you’re using a pickup line.

Rather than debate or detail the taboo of pickup lines, let’s just accept it and move on.

Sometimes you can make it work

Sometimes you can make it work

Having tried thousands of different pickup lines, I’m going to detail what I’ve found to be effective pickup lines rather than cheesy gimmicks or amateur comedy. In my experience, pickup lines generally break into 4 categories: Party Starter, Shameless Satire, To-The-Point, and Preplanned Script. Let’s examine each category and give some examples.

Party Starter

Difficulty to execute: Fairly simple

How much confidence is needed: Moderate

When to use it: Mostly nighttime situations like bars, clubs, and parties; can also be used in day time situations where it’s okay to be loud like the beach or a street fair

Who to use it on: Works especially well on larger groups, people who are already having fun, or girls who seem like they have a good sense of humor (e.g., look for tattoos, hip clothing, and/or smiles)

The rationale:
It’s no surprise women love a guy who’s fun and laid back. If a guy seems like he brings positive emotions or can add something to her night, a woman will want such a guy to stay around. Moreover, large groups of girls are less likely to “cock-block” because they’ll enjoy the guy’s company as well. As such, approach by “starting a party” is one of the fastest and most effective ways to make a great first impression.

The nonverbal: To make a “party starter” pickup line work, it’s important to be high energy and animated. Often the best way to approach is when you’re laughing or feeling good. You should not think too much about before approaching or hesitate as they’ll siphon off the good, fun emotions that’s an absolute necessity for this opener to work.

What to say:
“Yes! Awesome, I’ve looking for you all night and here you are!”

(Laughing) Hey guys, get this. My friend just said _____ (insert funny situation or comment, some I’ve used are “My friend just said women find handle-bar mustaches sexy” or “My friend just said it’d be a good idea to wear sweatpants to a job interview.”)

Shameless Satire

Difficulty to execute: Simple

How much confidence is needed: A decent amount

When to use it: Works well in subdued venues like bars or lounges; can also be used in day time situations; can be used (cautiously) at parties or in social circles

Who to use it on: Use on smaller groups; girls who’re are alone (e.g., you catch her on the way out from the bathroom, by the bar ordering a drink); girls who seem open to being approached

The rationale: I once asked an attractive woman I was dating, who’d heard every pickup line in the book, if there was such a thing as a good pickup line. She said yes, but only if a guy is funny and ironic about it. That way, it seems as if he’s acknowledging the awkwardness of it and, by doing so, makes it funny and not awkward.

The nonverbal: The key to the “shameless satire” pickup line is to convince yourself that 1.) the girl is going to like you, and 2.) it’s a formality that you have to “open” her. Having a smirk on your face when you deliver the line is crucial, as it’s really important she sees you don’t take things too seriously.

What to say:

“So insert random pickup here. I thought you were cute and wanted to come over and flirt with you. Shamelessly. I’m Rob…”

“Hey, as much as I’d like to revert to the 3rd grade playbook of ignoring girls, I had to come over and meet you. I’m Rob…”

To-The-Point

Difficulty to execute: Extremely simple

How much confidence is needed:
A good amount

When to use it:
Works well in any nighttime venue; also great in the day time; avoid using in social circles, work, or any other situation where your reputation may be at risk

Who to use it on:
Use on any girl who makes eye contact with you; a girl who you can separate from her social group (e.g., by taping her on the shoulder and getting her to turn away from her friends); girls you meet in stores, on the street, or anywhere in the daytime

The rationale: Occam’s razor decrees this is probably the best way to get an interaction going. While it doesn’t have the flash or glam of more elaborate pickup lines, its beauty is in the simplicity. Rather than wasting time navigating the minutiae of the opener, you instead cut right to the chase and establish the “her and you” dynamic.

The nonverbal: Like the “shameless satire” approach, you have to be confident the girl is going to like you. If there’s any doubt or “chink in your armor,” a girl will sense it immediately and shut you down before you even begin. If you can walk up fully convinced that you have a lot of offer and that she’s going to like you, then this opener will not only work most of the time but it’ll also get interactions off to a great start.

What to say: “Hey, you’re cute and I had to come meet you. I’m Rob.”

But don't use this one, ever

But don't use this one, ever

“Hey. Finally, a girl who looks like she could be girlfriend material. What’s up, I’m Rob.”

“You’re Wisconsin* gorgeous, what’s up.”

*Using “Wisconsin” as an adjective has absolutely no relevance whatsoever, but by adding an irregular or weird adjective you accomplish 2 things: 1.) make yourself standout even though you’re using a very generic line, and 2.) immediately bait her into a conversation because she’ll ask why she’s “Wisconsin gorgeous.”  Feel free to replace Wisconsin with an adjective of your choosing.

Preplanned Script

Difficulty to execute: Very hard

How much confidence is needed:
Very little

When to use it:
Can be used in any venue or situation as long as the noise level and music is low enough so that people can hear you clearly

Who to use it on:
Works essentially on any girl or group, large or small; can begin interactions with women who are initially cold and/or closed off; can be a waste of time as it can “win over” a girl’s attention, but not her attraction (recommended for newer guys who are looking to improve their conversation and social skills)

The rationale: While it may seem revolting to most people to recommend guys approach women with a “script,” newer guys often find it extremely comforting to have a canned “stack” to handle every objection or reaction. Having a script can alleviate the pressure of “what to say,” letting guys concentrate on their body language, vocal tonality, and other aspects of a solid approach. While I had reservations about putting a “routine stack” on this list, I decided to include it for new guys. While this “opener” will almost guarantee you won’t get “rejected,” it has a much greater chance of fizzling out soon after as no guy can (or should want to) keep up the entertaining dialogue. Use this pickup line to build your confidence, and then abandon it.

The nonverbal: Simply memorize the lines and practice delivering them with conviction and expression.

What to say: The Script

Guy: “Hey guys. I gotta send my friend back a text in a second, and need your help. What do you think is an ugly-sounding name for a guy? Tell me quick, I gotta tell him ASAP…” [the bait]

Girl: Igor!

Guy: “Ohhh, did an Igor break your heart and that’s why you’re saying that haha?” [Built in flirty tease]

Girl: Nooo! Why are you asking us anyway…?

Guy: (pretends to text his friend) “Ha, this is a crazy story. Get this. My friend gave his number to the creepiest girl the other night! We were out at a dive bar, enjoying the magic of two-for-one drinks. It was ‘80s night so everyone was rocking to Journey…no one’s stopped believing. All the elements of a good night were in place. But when I go to order another round, this chick makes a beeline for my friend. If I had to describe this girl, picture Tony the Tiger as an overweight woman. Okay, so she’s got this fizzy hair thing going on and this big hungry grin on her face. So Tony is like muscling her way through the crowd, clawing through people to get to my friend. He makes unfortunate eye contact with her and…it’s on! Before my friend even had a chance to get out of her way, Tony the Tiger has one hand on his back, telling him they’re gonna dance! Well, he pries her hand off one finger at a time, but she just goes back to molesting him! My friend said it seemed like this chick had eight arms because whenever he pealed one hand off his back it felt like two more hands took its place! Anyway, she ended up buying us a round of drinks so my friend felt bad and gave her his number. Now she won’t stop texting him. But she doesn’t know his name. So we’re trying to figure out the worst sounding name so he can flake her off. So that’s why I needed your input…hopefully [Igor] will scare her off!” [The ice-breaking story]

Good luck using these pickup lines. While pickup lines are great for getting your “foot in the door” it will do only that. If you want to learn how to get the girl—from opening her to making her your next girlfriend—check out my book, “The 4 Elements of Game.” In there, you’ll learn all the secrets I could never share in this article.

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About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.

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