Your buddies can give you a million tips about how to pick up at the bar, but there’s a good chance that most of them will bomb. The best way to perfect your pick-up game is to listen to one person who actually knows what women want—a woman!
I’ve been to quite a few bars in my time, and have been hit on by enough men to know the winners from the losers. There were the guys who had such bad game that I actually felt sorry for them, the creepers I wanted to deck in the nose, and then the guys who were so smooth that even I wanted to pat them on the back.
Every man wants to know what a woman wants, right? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to share with you the moves that, from my own personal experience, worked like a charm, plus the ones that completely backfired. Here’s what every guy needs to know to successfully pick up a woman at the bar.
When you set your sights on a particular woman in a bar, it’s because something about her appearance caught your attention. In other words, she’s hot. Appearances obviously matter, but it goes both ways. Trust me when I tell you that even in a dark, crowded bar, a woman will notice every miniscule detail about your appearance, from your hairstyle to your shoes. It’s because, according to us, what you look like says a lot about who you are. You don’t need to be wearing a designer suit to make an impression, but leave your stained sweatpants and hoodie at home where they belong.
While on the topic of impressions, her first impression of you is what’s going to make or break your pick-up game. Remember, you’re competing with virtually every other guy in the bar, and it’s your appearance that can set you apart from the get-go. If a guy approaches me at the bar and he looks like a total slob (or looks like he spent more time getting ready than I did), I’ll be ready to shoot him down before he even starts talking.
Let’s start with what not to do. The most annoying thing for a woman at a bar is being ogled at from the sidelines. Yes, I have boobs, and no, you cannot touch them. That might not be what you’re thinking, but it’s definitely it looks like to us. When men just stare from a distance, it’s disturbing and creepy, so don’t be that guy. If you want to show a girl that you’re interested, just make eye contact with her casually and smile, which shows her that she’s caught your attention. If she smiles back, that’s your go-ahead.
The next step is to make contact. I think the biggest mistake men make in bars is assuming that every woman is interested. Just because she smiles back, it’s not an open invitation to come over and start groping or dancing with her. No classy woman will be OK with that, so keep it in your pants. The best way to get ahead when approaching a woman at the bar is to just strike up a genuine and engaging conversation. And I don’t mean opening with, “You’re hot,” or, “Let’s dance,” and then asking for a number. You’re not going to get it.
As a woman, I want to feel like you’re interested in more than my body. When you approach a woman at the bar, start by at least asking her name, or if she’s out celebrating something special. I remember one night my friends and I went out dancing and I got pretty excited when a particular song came on. This guy came over and all he said was, “I noticed you really like this song. Have you heard their latest album?” We ended up hanging out all night and yes, he eventually got my number. I thought it was really classy that he took an interest in getting to know me.
Compliments are another useful tool, because every woman wants that ego boost. Tell her she has a beautiful smile or that you can’t help but notice her shoes. (She probably put a lot of thought into wearing that particular pair, so she’ll appreciate that someone noticed.) Just make sure that your compliments are genuine, because we can tell when you’re full of it.
The other approach that I’ve found can work is using humor as an opener. But you’ve got to have the personality to match. A friend of mine met her now-boyfriend (they’ve been together for three years now) in a bar and his opening line was something like, “I couldn’t help but notice you noticing me.” She had nothing to do but laugh, and that was it. They talked all night and have been together ever since. Cheesy pick-up lines can be dangerous, but in this case, it worked brilliantly, because it broke the ice, they both had a good laugh, and it showed her that he was a fun and laidback guy.
Buying Her a Drink
Asking a woman if you can buy her a drink should be common sense. Notice that I said asking if you can buy her a drink. Don’t just go ahead and bring her a drink. In today’s day and age, women naturally tend to have their guard up at a bar, especially when it comes to their drinks—it’s just a matter of safety. I know I wouldn’t be comfortable accepting a drink from a random guy I don’t know, especially if I’m not around when the bartender is serving it.
That being said, you can still treat a lady to a drink without alarming her. When she’s at the bar, approach her and simply say, “I’d love to get your next drink for you, if that’s OK?” If she agrees, ask her what she’d like and then order it in front of her so that she knows she has nothing to worry about. She’ll appreciate the consideration on your part and will be more open to accepting your offer.
What If She’s Not Alone?
Girls rarely ever go to a bar alone. If you do spot a woman who seems to be flying solo, she’s probably either waiting for her friends to get there, or is dealing with baggage you probably don’t want to get involved with.
A group of girlfriends at a bar is like a tightknit pack that sticks together. If you swoop in and try to pull one of them away, the group will go into protective mode and you won’t stand a chance. So don’t try to separate her from the pack.
If you’ve got your eye on a woman who’s with a group of friends, the trick is to get accepted into the group first. An easy way to do that is, again, to strike up a conversation, but this time with the whole group. Start by asking all of them for their names, even before you ask the girl you’re eyeing, which shows that you’re taking an interest in the friends first and foremost, but saving the best for last, so to speak.
It’s a classy move that works like a charm, because in all honesty, women always turn to their friends for approval. So if you can impress the group and get them on your side, you’re golden. For the record, this tactic has actually been proven to work. Once you’re all acquainted, offer to buy a round of drinks for the whole group.
What to Do If She Turns You Down
Again, we’re going to start with what not to do. It’s actually pretty simple: don’t act like an asshole if she tells you she’s not interested. There was once this guy who came over and started chatting with our group of girls. He seemed like a really nice guy, but when he asked my girlfriend for her number and she politely declined, he rolled his eyes, called her a stuck-up bitch, and then immediately moved on to another group of girls across the room.
There is nothing less attractive than an egotistical jerk who’s so insecure that he feels the need to put down a woman if she’s not interested. Remember one thing: girls look out for each other. So, if you’re going to act like a spoiled brat and throw a tantrum before trying to pick up another woman, don’t be surprised if word gets around the bar and she shoots you down, too.
Know When to Call It a Night
Nobody likes getting rejected, but if it happens, be a gentleman about it. For instance, if she tells you that she’s already seeing someone, simply tell her that he’s a lucky guy and that you hope she has a good night nonetheless—classy, mature, and polite. And then leave her alone. Any woman will tell you that it’s extremely unattractive when a guy keeps trying after she makes it clear that she’s not interested.
I get that it isn’t always easy for guys to approach women at a bar, especially if she’s surrounded by her friends. But to be honest, it’s not rocket science. We’re people, just like you, and we’re really not as complicated as a lot of men think we are. If you’re sincere and respectful, you’ll stand a much better chance at scoring that first date.