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Women does pickup work on you?
February 26, 2012 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Does picking up women outside of bars and clubs work? A woman's opinion is appreciated.

I just saw an interesting video that shows a group of guys approaching women on the street using rap lyrics as a part of their routine and having a degree of success.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CrQQGMvA8g&feature=related

Simply stated I was astonished to see it working and wondered if it was something that I should start doing.

Women if you've ever been approached on the street, the library or bookstore etc where the guy was respectful, honest and made you laugh and later called you up for a date, would you give him a chance?

After reading some askmefi responses my conclusion is that women generally are afraid of random men and this kind of thing wouldn't work in my favor.

I once saw a really good looking guy, tall, try and approach a woman on a subway and she shut him down when it was clear she was out of his league.

Now if a guy (me) was looking to meet some women to date would you say it would be a safer bet to try something that was along the lines of friends of friends, meetup groups, online dating?

Im 25 btw, living in ny, college graduated.

Im asking this question because I fail miserably at any "pickup type" of place that doesn't provide a conversation starter. College class was easy you could talk about the professor, friends of friends is easier as well you get introduced, meetup groups might be easier you get to talk about camping or hiking or w.e.


I fail miserably at pickup because at a grocery store or bookstore its tough as you sit there trying to come up with things to say, I feel like you have to be smooth and capture her attention and she might reciprocate if she is attracted to you. However each time the thought of starting conversation at a bookstore or grocery store crosses my mind when I see a pretty girl I get very anxious. I know this since having done it a few times in the past. On top of that you know its a numbers game, some wont find you attractive, some are not single, some days you're mood is off and you're not connecting. So its a lot of work of constantly challenging your anxiety and after being tired from work I really don't have the energy to go grab a coffee and try to chat up a girl and deal with all the anxiety.

The bars and clubs, Ive seen girls and guys hookup, I've never managed to make it happen for myself however. It seems if you just grind a girl some will dance, I've asked maybe 10 girls to dance at a club they all said no, not one yes. Maybe its the way I look, I'm indian btw punjabi to be exact I look middle eastern, with a brownish skin color. Maybe I'm not confident who knows.

I also just find it so hard to talk to people at bars and clubs because they are so loud and I feel like I'm competing with other guys.Ive manged to get a few numbers but they all turn out to not respond.

So does pickup work for getting dates women? Or do the majority of you meet men through your social circles, hobbies online etc
posted by curious-mind to Human Relations (93 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
I fail miserably at pickup because at a grocery store or bookstore its tough as you sit there trying to come up with things to say, I feel like you have to be smooth and capture her attention and she might reciprocate if she is attracted to you. However each time the thought of starting conversation at a bookstore or grocery store crosses my mind when I see a pretty girl I get very anxious.
Well if you want to pick up girls this way confidence is key. Not all women like it, a lot of them hate it, but some girls will respond if you come up and talk to them. Outside of a club is probably good, since you can talk to someone without needing to yell, but they're still out to have a good time and meet people. In a subway or grocery store you're more likely to annoy them as they are just trying to do whatever it is they're doing. Probably you'll want to go with a friend, by yourself would be kind of lame.
posted by delmoi at 6:28 PM on February 26, 2012


Please, please, memorize this sage piece of advice and imprint it on your heart forever:

The failure mode of clever is asshole.

That's all I could think about while watching that ridiculous video. Yes, many women will probably laugh and smile politely and give you about a minute of their time- I have done so myself when approached like that. But it means nothing except that women are socialized to be polite. Inside, they're very likely cringing. I really, really doubt the "success" in that video- I suspect about 90% of women were being polite, giving fake numbers, just kept walking, or even that some of those scenarios were staged.

That said, can approaching a random woman ever work? Sure, I guess. It hasn't worked on me, but I could maybe sorta kinda see a scenario in which it possibly might, if I squint real hard- but I mean, you'd have to be one in a million and not try any clever lines- I don't know many rap lyrics, and I would probably take that explicit stuff literally.

The failure mode of clever is asshole. Just be normal and friendly, please. I promise you will have more success that way.
posted by stockpuppet at 6:29 PM on February 26, 2012 [47 favorites]


I totally prefer social circles. A random guy trying to pick up on me like that on the street, uh...yeah, you're right, I am generally scared of those people. Mostly because the guy who is willing to try that also tends to be No Boundaries, Totally Creepy, Won't Take No For An Answer Guy. I am, admittedly, a magnet for those dudes anyway. But even beyond that, I still just don't like a random dude approaching me. Even if he seems nice enough and is respectful, I still feel this major pressure to deal with him on a sexual level right now when all I wanted to do was go to the grocery store and get out without incident. I don't really like having to figure out in 5 minutes if I want to date you or not so much either.

Sorry. Just because I'm female and in public doesn't mean I'm comfy with being picked up on while I'm out and about. I think they're kind of icky, really, and I'm not sure who is actually "good" at them except for the creepy dudes who will make a move on you regardless of your comfort level.

So yeah, I'd say stick to friends and meetups and general opportunities where the lady can get to know you a little better first.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:29 PM on February 26, 2012 [29 favorites]


Pick-up is hard, and fraught - especially at clubs and such. It's never worked well with the people I hang out with, but we tend to be nerdy, non-dancing types.

A really good thing to try is to just being casually friendly - NOT trying to pick people up - at the grocery or bookstore or wherever. This is Great therapy for the anxiety. Look for the humor and the positive in every day life, and if the moment is right, share it with the clerk or the cute person next to you. Make the first comment a throw-away sort of comment that they can just sort of nod at or ignore if they're having a bad day/afraid/uninterested/whatever. It will help you see how often people's reactions aren't about you, it's about them. It will help you get over the anxiety and give you more confidence.

So, yeah, in general I've known Very Few women who liked pick-up style conversations or found them appealing. But casual, fun conversations will humanize everyone around you.
posted by ldthomps at 6:29 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


picking women up outside of bars is good mostly for one night stands and works mostly with men/woman who are naturally outgoing. this doesn't seem like what you're looking for or where your skills are strong.

for myself, i've found it best to date within my social circle. i've also had some success online. i've never really responded to the hard sell pick up sort of thing. it always felt too focused, like the guy didn't care who he found as long as he found someone. it made me feel like i could fit in his plan as long as i had tits - nothing else really mattered. that's not the strongest foundation to build a real relationship on.

i would encourage you to continue to take to heart that many woman feel accosted and afraid when they're the object of pick up type attention - this is especially true for places women don't expect to be seen as an object (like the store, or bus stops, or walking down the street). you have more leeway in this regard when it comes to places like clubs, but i still don't think it's your best solution.

more than anything, finding ways to boost your confidence in non-romantic ways will help you attract woman. be less focused and you're more likely to click with someone over something real.
posted by nadawi at 6:29 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, it can be done. But I think it works best when you start a conversation based on something you may have in common. For example, maybe there is a coffee shop you both frequent. If you see her there a lot, you can comment on her coffee choice, where she sits, etc. This happened to me- I kept seeing the same guy at a coffee shop I go to a lot and eventually he started talking to me, and we sort of became friends.

However, most women don't like it if you just approach apropos of nothing and ask for her number. Most women like to feel that men are attracted to something more than just how they look.

So I would recommend becoming a regular at places, like coffee shops, book stores, gym classes, etc, and having casual conversations with women that you see there on a regular basis.

Well, I see that you don't want to go to grocery stores and coffee shops and do that...but the thing is that you will be at some of these places anyway. Find some places to regularly go to, smile and chat with some regulars while you are there.
posted by bearette at 6:30 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


So does pickup work for getting dates women?

No. Most women will look at you as a predator if you follow any of these get-laid quick schemes.

As a man who has dated a lot of women, I stand by a couple of pillars of how it worked for me:

1) Be well-dressed, neat and clean;
2) Be interesting (i.e., have hobbies, interests and passions), thoughtful and listen as often as you speak;
3) Treat the people around you well, be generous;
4) Flirt a little (compliment, be playful, tell jokes), but make it abundantly clear that you're interested in the woman's company, not just your ability to pick her up;
5) Be patient.

Do not approach 10 women in the same club asking if they are willing to dance with you. Do not approach women on the street with strange rap. Do not pickup The Game or anything like it.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 6:31 PM on February 26, 2012 [48 favorites]


Simply stated I was astonished to see it working and wondered if it was something that I should start doing.

No. If you do that you'll sound like Schmidt. You don't want that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:38 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


My husband and I met outside of a bar. I guess I picked him up, though; I had better lines. That being said, that was the first and only time that ever worked on me.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 6:39 PM on February 26, 2012


Simply stated I was astonished to see it working and wondered if it was something that I should start doing.

Noooooo!

Or do the majority of you meet men through your social circles, hobbies online etc

Yes!
posted by mleigh at 6:46 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


1. That was NOT working in the video. The girls were going along with it out of socialized politeness, uncertainty, and possibly, given the guys' weird performancy demeanor, the suspicion that they were being
filmed. I would not be surprised if they were giving fake #s.

2. Talking to random girls in public
Could theoretically work occasionally for some guys. I don't think it would work for you, because of your nervousness and attitude about it. If it worked, it would be for a guy to whom it came
totally naturally to be friendly to strangers. The kind of guy who'd also start up a conversation with a man or a couple or an elderly person or a dog. The kind of guy who is super-skilled at reading subtle signals that let him know if the other party is interested in talking to him, or not. From your description of your personality this does not sound like you. (which is fine.)

3. If this worked for a guy, it would be nice normal friendliness that would work, NOT lines or rap lyrics or any other kind of weird performance. I don't know any girls who wouldn't be either scared, weirded out, or simply dismissive of those tactics.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 6:48 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've been approached on the street/in grocery stores/coffee shops/etc -- it's always fucking creepy. I have taken the long way home and looked over my shoulder after a few of these incidents because they made me so uncomfortable. Do you really want to do this to anyone?

However, I'll be totally honest: there have been a few times when I've seen men on the subway/in Target/whatever and halfway wished they would try to pick me up, and each time it's been because I found them astonishingly good looking -- exactly physically my type and well dressed and carrying themselves very well.

Unless you honestly think you are astonishingly good looking, this method doesn't favor you in the least. If you think your most appealing trait is your personality -- which is true for most people, even the relatively attractive -- then don't set yourself up for failure by trying to entice women who have nothing to judge you on other than your appearance.
posted by telegraph at 6:57 PM on February 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Uhh. In that video the first or second girl cringed and said "ugggh, no" after the guy delivered his line. Several of those girls seemed to not speak English/understand what the guys were saying. Several of the girls turned and took a step to walk away quickly after the delivery of the line (the camera conveniently cut away ASAP but not quickly enough to cut that out). One of the girls tried to politely/awkwardly get away from the guy by saying "uhh I'm going to go get something to eat now."

Almost all of the girls had highly uncomfortable/defensive body language. (Arms crossed in front of the chest, hunched shoulders, clutching the friend, etc.)

Not only that, realize in videos/TV you can make things seem however you want. They could have done this thousands of times that day and these few awkward, uncomfortable, and negative interactions were probably the BEST they got. Given that these were the ones used and if they had any better ones they would have used those. I also agree that they probably staged a few of the less bad ones.
posted by cairdeas at 7:00 PM on February 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


In my personal experience and from observing friends and others, pickups involving strangers are successful when the person being picked up (not just the picker-upper) is in the mindset of wanting to be picked up, either in general or in the context of having gone out primarily in order to meet someone. For every obvious line I've heard that worked, I've heard dozens of others that didn't, and the difference had very little to do with the guys involved (extreme outliers of attractiveness, hygiene, intelligence, etc., aside). And as a person who does make the first move when she feels like it, I wouldn't even consider bothering someone who looked like they were just trying to get through their day. Usually, initiating and maintaining eye contact a couple of times, with a slight smile and perhaps a nod, will tell you everything you need to know about your chances both for a hookup or something less casual. If it's not reciprocated in a pretty obvious manner, she's not the one you're looking for.
posted by notquitemaryann at 7:05 PM on February 26, 2012


I also think you should know that this happens to women constantly. For physically attractive women it happens a million times more. Women usually really hate this. Anyone who says otherwise, who peddles any kind of pick-up stuff, is preying on your frustration and selling you lies that won't work in order to profit and make money off of you.

Women if you've ever been approached on the street, the library or bookstore etc where the guy was respectful, honest and made you laugh and later called you up for a date, would you give him a chance?

You only want a minute of her time to try to catch her attention and make her laugh. All those minutes add up. You want a minute and so does the guy at her gym and so does the guy across from her on the subway and so does the guy at her job. It adds up. It gets frustrating, and then really angering.

You sound like a totally friendly and nice guy, I think you would do WAY better with the options you suggested like friends of friends, meetup groups, and online dating.
posted by cairdeas at 7:08 PM on February 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


When pickup lines look like they are working, all you are really seeing is two people who already have chemistry looking for a reason to talk to keep talking to one another. There is nothing special about rap lyrics or pickup lines. Eye contact, confidence, and knowing when to stop will get you much, much further.
posted by juliplease at 7:08 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Totally agree with notquitemaryann. I myself have gone from a state of mind where any man speaking to me as I go about my normal business would have been completely unwelcome, to a position where I welcome it and give the dude credit for having guts. There's little YOU can do about that. Though I should add, the latter sense of welcome is entirely based on the approach coming from a nice-seeming, well-dressed, non-creepy person making friendly small talk to gauge my reaction. So don't be creepy. Don't pull stunts. And I live in a place where people are easygoing and open and friendly and it's completely normal for strangers to strike up casual conversation when they're near each other in public. You have to kind of respond to the norms you're in. Also, grocery stores are tricky. People are busy. Bookstores, coffeeshops, linger-y places like that might be better. I appreciate when men make a comment and then go linger elsewhere, allowing me to decide if I want to approach and initiate an actual conversation or not. Removes the threat, signals interest, leaves the girl to make a call.
posted by oneaday at 7:14 PM on February 26, 2012


Oh my, NO. Why? Because this kind of thing is only playing on the most shallow of attractions. You know why some women say the bookstore is preferable? Because you might actually learn a tiny bit about a person by the books s/he's reading there! I'm sorry, but the numbers game is all you've got going with strangers, no matter how eligible you are.

But outside of a club or bar? That's just looking for a one-night-stand, so unless that's what she's already interested in that sort of thing (no shame in that) and she's already interested in *you*, it ain't gonna work because otherwise, she's going to be thinking "DANGER WILL ROBINSON" and hope to goodness she can get to her bus/cab/bike/car without incident.

Be genuinely nice to women you're interested in. Be interested in them, and not just a possible further relationship. Make them laugh. You'll have a good shot. And really, bars suck for this sort of thing. There's a reason why Meetups & volunteering show up in these kinds of threads all the time.
posted by smirkette at 7:14 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man. That video. That's not success, that is painful, embarrassing failure. You need to watch it again, but paying close attention to what the women in it are actually doing.

If that happened to me, I would probably respond with something like: "...What? Haha... no... no... OKAY BYE." But then I'd spend the rest of the day thinking: "What a complete asshole. That was stupid. I hate myself for not telling him to fuck off. What was he trying, anyway? Man, asshole. I hate him. I hate myself. I hate him."

In short, it wouldn't be welcome.

There are some people who can get away with "moves" like that, but here's why: it's their natural personality. Some people just are out going and gregarious like that. And for those people, it sometimes works. But, here's the thing: if it's not your natural personality, this will be obvious. It'll be awkward, because you'll be awkward. The woman will pick up on your nervousness, but to her it will only make you seem even more sketchy.

You don't have to pick up women on the street to find women to hang out with. If it's something that doesn't come natural to you, find a way of meeting women that works better. There's a reason why online dating has become so popular, you know.
posted by meese at 7:22 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't like to be approached when I am at the grocery store or just shopping...I've been harrassed by enough Quixstar people in grocery stores, barnes and noble, etc(seriously it's like they see me coming,) that I usually try my best not to make eye contact with anyone while I am shopping.

Talking to me at a coffee shop or bar is different. I am obviously hanging out and if I'm doing serious work I probably have ear buds in and am staring intently at my computer/book. Been approached by Quixstar at coffee shops too but a lot of times they get in trouble for bothering people at that type of place so it's not as common.
posted by fromageball at 7:25 PM on February 26, 2012


Thanks guys and gals, much appreciated. If you don't mind me numbering my questions/points it makes it easier for me to ask what I have on my mind so here goes.



1) I see that meetup groups, volunteering, online dating are often suggested as a good place to meet the opposite sex in a non-threatening way. However with volunteering and meetup groups I find most of the women are usually older in their 30's based on the pictures of people who RSVP, and I'm not really looking to date above my age (25). So doesn't that rule out meetup groups and volunteering, unless I'm making a mistake (no attitude just curious).

Online dating, the younger women are naturally swamped with hundreds of emails and even though I try my best to date within my league, meaning I'm not messaging super models because I know that I dont look like one (I'm okay with that), I still didn't get any success. So i'm not very hopeful about that, unless I do some p90x and maybe make a pose on a beach with some abs :)

2.) I went to college in a totally different part of the country and when i came back to new york I found that I had two friends really from highschool that I could rekindle something with. But both of them are in long term relationships so its hard to get them to go out and weird asking them to try and hook me up with one of their gf's best friends.
The place I work at is also filled with lots of older people so thats a no go as well.

So by process of elimination unfortunately despite understanding that pickup doesnt work very well and can be frustrating and annoying on women, isn't pickup all that I am left with to meet attractive women?

3) A question about small talk that I have revolves around actually developing the conversation to the point the woman feels comfortable giving me her number. Suppose you see her reading something in an aisle and you make a comment

me: "hi (smile), is that author good by chance, I've been meaning to read his books"
her: "I don't know he sounds pretty interesting, but I havent read his books either"

(usually my mind goes blank here if I actually tried to do this and can imagine saying something like "cool", but I'll humor myself and try to imagine me being able to carry this conversation out on the spur of the moment)

me: "I'm usually too bust to read as much as I want, how much do you read?
her:

But it seems so difficult to imagine the pathway you call it when the conversation after managing to hold her attention ends up to

her: hahaha, (smiles) you know it was really nice talking to you
me: (smiles) good at least once person had fun (smile), hey how about some coffee some time

4) The bookstore conversation is harder on me than say a classroom since there is little that you have in common other than being at the same place and the same time, you entire conversation has to be out of small talk that is effective when its general and everyone can relate to. A hiking meetup I can see myself asking a woman, why she hikes, what mountain she hopes to hike, which might lead to a story about a trip to florida then suddenly I can talk about my trip to florida. It just seems so much easier. I can see why meetup groups and volunteering are mentioned but see point 1 about my argument for that solution for young guys.

Attractive women in their 20's already have such a large social circle and are well established they rarely if ever go to meetup groups or volunteering and you most likely seem them on the street or in bars and clubs hence pickup


Anyway thanks again
posted by curious-mind at 7:43 PM on February 26, 2012


I was a club promoter back in the day. I am female.

NO.
posted by jbenben at 7:44 PM on February 26, 2012


Oh god oh god oh god oh god no don't do anything in that video. What do you want? If your goal is just to "get numbers", have a friend write down some random digit sequences on pieces of paper and hand them to you. If your goal is simply to go on dates and it's not working out in bars, try online dating. If your goal is to make a likelier meaningful connection with less noise, go do things you like and find other people who are doing the same.
posted by threeants at 7:47 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


With all due respect, I think that if you see anything in that video as "successful" in any way other than freaking out some random women using street theater, you have a lot of self-work to do in terms of learning to relate to women as people. The exceedingly few people who would be appealing enough to make others romantically interested in them based on an intrusive 10-second on-the-street encounter already don't need to do so.
posted by threeants at 7:51 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


And (sorry to triple-header), there's no such thing as "leagues" or being in or out of someone's. USDA doesn't grade women.
posted by threeants at 7:53 PM on February 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


Attractive women in their 20's already have such a large social circle and are well established they rarely if ever go to meetup groups or volunteering and you most likely seem them on the street or in bars and clubs hence pickup.


I've never done a meetup so I can't speak to that.

But, I am an attractive 25 year old living in New York and I was 23 when I met my partner of two years at a volunteer gig. He was 26 at the time. Neither of us was actively seeking a relationship, but we couldn't resist eachother. The place I volunteered was about 50% 18-30, 50% 30 and over. If you're not interested in volunteering, that's cool, but if you are interested in volunteering, yes it is totally possible to find a group that is younger and fits better with where you are in your life right now.
posted by OsoMeaty at 7:58 PM on February 26, 2012


I think you need a wider network of friends. They will be able to introduce you to their friends, which will be a much better way for you to meet women if you are a somewhat shy or quiet person. So the question is, how do you widen your network of friends? That is what the meetup groups or hobby groups, etc, are good for. Broaden the number of people you're meeting, generally, and you'll have more possibilities for meeting women.

Based on your two questions here it does not sound to me like trying to pick up random women as they're walking around in the world is going to be a good strategy for you.

Plus, even if you got someone's number by using some phony line, is she likely to be a person who's interested in an outgoing noisy guy, or a fairly shy/serious guy?

One exception would be if you can establish yourself as a "regular" at someplace like a coffee shop, then if there are women who are regulars there you might be able to get into a casual conversation with one of them, and if you do that a few times you could gauge her reaction and think about asking her to dinner or lunch sometime.

What are your best features? Your sense of humor, your kindness and sincerity, your passion for certain subjects, your good sportsmanship? Try to find a context where those can shine. Very likely, for someone to appreciate your best features they have to interact with you for a while, right? If so, try to put yourself into situations that allow people to do that - not situations like a "pickup" situation where people who are on their guard are making split-second judgments.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:02 PM on February 26, 2012


In response to 3) -- I think you might need to step away from having "getting the digits" as the goal of all small talk. That way lies creepiness. Women can smell that coming and our defenses go up. I think you should see those encounters as a chance to practice confidence, being charming, and speaking to girls you find attractive without having it be a big deal. If you drop a casual comment, have a brief exchange, and let her browse, she may find an excuse to wander back over and say something to you. She probably won't, but that's okay too -- hounding her into an immediate conversation wouldn't have gotten you much farther.

Really, I think people have the most luck meeting people through their circles of friends. The pickup culture is not going to do you any favors.
posted by oneaday at 8:03 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


You've iterated your question a little bit. It seems like you've gotten the message (loud and clear here) about that video, so your natural follow up is "what do I do, then?" The answer is, it's hard to make friends and meet people, especially when you're back in a new place. It's just hard.

Be friendly, be open to people, be confident -- which means, do things that you're into and that you like doing. You are a not-unusual specimen of a person in your demographic cohort, which means that whatever you like doing -- almost as a rule -- there is someone else out there, about your age, who likes it to. You just need to find them and strike up a conversation about how awesome it is to do ... whatever it is you like doing.

And don't rule people out. The 30-year-old woman at your meetup might not be into you, anyway, but she may know someone who you would get along famously with. You don't know until you start getting out there, being friendly and open to people, and being your confident, interested -- which is to say, interesting -- self.
posted by gauche at 8:03 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find most of the women are usually older in their 30's based on the pictures of people who RSVP…unless I'm making a mistake (no attitude just curious).

Two mistakes here. Actually, no, three mistakes. Mistake one: You haven’t actually tried! You haven’t actually gone! Mistake two: Assuming everyone who shows up RSVPS. Mistake three: Not realizing that older women have younger sisters and friends. Not realizing that, although it takes two steps to make a new friend and then have them introduce you to a woman, it gives you a very good “in” to be vouched for, so expanding your social circle in general is absolutely worth it.

meaning I'm not messaging super models because I know that I dont look like one (I'm okay with that), I still didn't get any success. So i'm not very hopeful about that, unless I do some p90x and maybe make a pose on a beach with some abs :)

I don’t want to read too much into this, because it’s a whoooole different question, but there are all sorts of reasons which might explain why you aren’t having success, and I posit that one mistake might be focusing too much on looks, which comes across to women you want to date. Women want to be appreciated for their character, too. Like I say, I don’t want to read too much into this. But I’m sure your strategy has room for improvement in some way.

So by process of elimination unfortunately despite understanding that pickup doesnt work very well and can be frustrating and annoying on women, isn't pickup all that I am left with to meet attractive women?

Sure, try it. But don’t expect much, and don’t use lines.

3) A question about small talk…blah blah blah

This is your REAL problem. You need better conversational skills. Not weird, clever lines. Just learning to make small talk. The good news it, you can practice on anyone! On old ladies at the park! On your friends! On people at work! On dudes! The possibilities are endless, and if you practice, you will get better. It’s a whole ‘nother question, but here are general tips: Let your thoughts flow- be yourself- don’t clam up in fear, and be humble and self-depreciating. The ability to make small talk is essential in life, for starting as well as maintaining relationships. It will be worth it to try harder to improve this skill.
posted by stockpuppet at 8:03 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Women does pickup work on you?

No.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:06 PM on February 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


what about the advice from you last question didn't you like?

there's no shortcut, no stable of women you can visit to get immediate success. you've asked for advice from women and we have overwhelmingly told you that this is something that we don't like, that doesn't really work, and can make us feel unsafe. yet, your response to that is:

So by process of elimination unfortunately despite understanding that pickup doesnt work very well and can be frustrating and annoying on women, isn't pickup all that I am left with to meet attractive women?

this further confirms that you aren't the kind of person this is going to work for or that you won't find good mates in this way. you understand it's uncomfortable for your targets but you're so focused on your goal, you're willing to trample all of those boundaries.
posted by nadawi at 8:07 PM on February 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


Attractive women in their 20's already have such a large social circle and are well established they rarely if ever go to meetup groups or volunteering and you most likely seem them on the street or in bars and clubs hence pickup

...

So by process of elimination unfortunately despite understanding that pickup doesnt work very well and can be frustrating and annoying on women, isn't pickup all that I am left with to meet attractive women?


But remember attractive women in their 20's have hobbies and activities they like to do. Here are my suggestions if you're not seeing them in Meetup.

-Go to the gym and do aerobics classes. Do Zumba, I dare you. Do the abs classes. Do Pilates. Do classes that are about interval running on the treadmill.

Do any class that has to do with either cardio or "toning." [Especially classes that meet regularly for a certain length of time, like say a 6 week class or an 8 week class that people pay for all up front. (Lots of them offer the first one free so you can check it out)] And I assure you that you will be absolutely surrounded by women in their 20's. Do not try to pick up any women in these classes. Don't try to corner them in any conversations. Just go to something you would find enjoyable and have a really, really good time. Say hi in a friendly way to the people you see regularly not just the attractive ones you are interested in. I would be shocked if you didn't develop some friendly acquaintanceships with some people. Especially if you do Zumba.

-Get into partner dancing. Swing, lindy hop, balboa, ballroom, Latin, etc. There will be a range of people but it will be absolutely full of young women and it's a good way to just meet a lot of friendly people.

-Church, if you are at all religious/Christian. Find one with a large youth ministry.

Ask your female friends/friends' girlfriends what kinds of hobbies they and their social circle are into, I'm sure they could brainstorm a lot more.

Pick one you have some genuine interest in and just go and have a really, really good time.
posted by cairdeas at 8:07 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


To add on to cairdeas suggestions (which I think are all good! Especially the "just go and have a good time" mentality), taking a beginning art class of some sort at a local community college might be a good option. Also perhaps a yoga class.
posted by Squee at 8:12 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The three I watched looked horrifying. I would run for the hills. It is conceivable someone could pull this off, but the execution here was kerrap. Choosing "I like big butts and I cannot lie" when you walk up to medium-sized girls is likely to offend. "No, but they need an excuse to suck our cocks". SERIOUSLY? I couldn't watch after that one. Very, very, very un-ok.
posted by parrot_person at 8:15 PM on February 26, 2012


Hmm...dont worry I won't be doing pickup ladies.

I seem to be getting the same advice, meetup.....groups of interests etc....so to not be stubborn I will make time in the week to take up something I like.

I been playing the electric guitar now for 5 years into classic rock so maybe I'll find some jamming group.

I get this vibe of "just have fun" and "make small talk" and I understand that but how does "small talk" and "just have fun" actually turn into "hey lets get some coffee" I'm a little confused on that part. If I don't ask a woman out then nothing will happen.
posted by curious-mind at 8:16 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I don't ask a woman out then nothing will happen.

NOT TRUE. I have asked PLENTY of men out. But the key is that I felt comfortable around them. I knew them because they were friends of friends, or we belonged to the same hobbyist group or whatever. They weren't using sleazy, creepy pickup tricks on me.
posted by palomar at 8:20 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I get this vibe of "just have fun" and "make small talk" and I understand that but how does "small talk" and "just have fun" actually turn into "hey lets get some coffee" I'm a little confused on that part. If I don't ask a woman out then nothing will happen.

Small steps. See girl regularly, build up rapport. One day, say on Friday afternoon after you've just been dancing, say, "Hey, I'm heading across the street for some coffee, want to come along?" Boom. At coffee shop, escalate flirtation subtly, then ask for her number or tell her you'd like to take her out to a proper dinner sometime. Done.
posted by stockpuppet at 8:21 PM on February 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just in case you were serious: don't say "ladies."

Back in my single days almost all the guys I went out with were friends of mine, first. You need more friends who are women. Work on that, and the dates will happen on their own.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:23 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


By the way, let me just explain why my thoughts came back to Zumba several times. It's not because I think Zumba is some magic bullet for picking up women, or it's necessarily the best thing for you to do, it's this:

If you've spend any time around PUA sites, you've seen them recommend being "Cocky & Funny" a lot. A lot of guys misinterpret this to mean you should act like an arrogant stand-up comic or something.

That's not appealing, but what is appealing is the ability to enjoy yourself and have a great time, and feel awesome, even when you're being vulnerable and a little silly. To have the the guts to put yourself out there and know that you are awesome for enjoying something that other guys would be too insecure to enjoy.

If a guy came in and had a blast doing Zumba even though he was aware he looked goofy as heck (like everyone does in Zumba), I would just think he was the shit. Lots of girls would. That's the appeal for that particular thing.
posted by cairdeas at 8:23 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


It is a thing where you see/interact with a woman several times, doing some activity of mutual interest. She gets to check you out, see what your deal is -- are you a considerate, funny, appealing person that she would like to spend more time with? -- over a period of time. Then you can assess her signs of interest and ask her out.

Or more likely, you see/interact with a guy/gal you're NOT attracted to several times, strike up friendly conversation, and they invite you along when some of their friends are going to a bar, because you're a funny considerate good guy -- and you go and meet one of their female friends. Because you were introduced (vetted) by her friend, she knows you are an ok sort - so she's much more likely to be receptive to small talk and exchanging information.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:24 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think you're having a confidence crisis. Nervousness and anxiety is not a turn on and is a vicious cycle. Working on that is likely to be the most efficient way of getting where you're trying to go.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:25 PM on February 26, 2012


I get this vibe of "just have fun" and "make small talk" and I understand that but how does "small talk" and "just have fun" actually turn into "hey lets get some coffee" I'm a little confused on that part. If I don't ask a woman out then nothing will happen.

I think the idea is to get yourself in a scenario where you're seeing the same women several times. Rather than a single chance meeting where your only chance is to make a move right then. That way you can slowly build up to it over time.
posted by cairdeas at 8:26 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everything you have written screams "desperate" and that scares girls off big time. It is clear that you must be trying to jump directly into "hey, let's date!!!" which hardly even works online. Aim to make friends first, no matter what. You're not allowed to think "dating" until you've had a decent conversation with her 3x.
posted by lizbunny at 8:34 PM on February 26, 2012 [18 favorites]


I get this vibe of "just have fun" and "make small talk" and I understand that but how does "small talk" and "just have fun" actually turn into "hey lets get some coffee" I'm a little confused on that part. If I don't ask a woman out then nothing will happen.

Throughout a lot of your comments, it sounds like you're thinking of INTERACT WITH WOMAN as fundamentally different from INTERACT WITH PERSON. This is a problem that a lot of guys without much experience have -- they think about (and thus treat) attractive women as if they're some strange breed, totally different and removed from ordinary people. But, they're not. And treating them like some totally foreign and unusual creature will make it look like you're only interested in them for their attractiveness, uninterested in what actually makes them human, and generally not that interesting. (Note: it's not that you're not interesting. Everyone is interesting, when you meet them in the right way! The problem is, there are ways of interacting with others that can totally hide a person's interesting features, and this is one of those ways.) It will be useful for you to stop thinking of this as, "How do I get a date with a woman?" and more as "How do I get a larger circle of friends, of either sex?"

Finding friends is hard for everyone. It takes work. But it does happen. And, once you have a group of friends, well, some of them will be women. And you'll meet their friends, some of whom will be women. And you'll go out and do fun things with your friends, and this will provide more opportunities to meet women. The point to "just have fun" is seriously to just have fun. Live your life. Do things that you like, find people (of either sex) that you enjoy. Don't go through life, thinking of every interaction as MEANS TO FINDING WOMAN -- that sort of behavior is blatant and quite a turn off.

In other words, I think you should be focusing on learning how to make friends, in general. Maybe put off the explicit attempt to find a girlfriend until you have a larger group of friends. Yeah, it's hard. But, you can do it. And you'll improve your people skills, in doing it. And it'll give you experience bridging the gap between "Hey you seem cool!" and "Hey, let's hang out like friends do!", which will be great experience for, in the future, bridging the gap between "Hey, you seem cool!" and "Hey, let's go get romantic coffees."

In short: women are people. You're making a mistake by thinking that you need special skills for meeting and picking up women, when what you really need are better opportunities to (and better skills at) meeting and becoming friends with people.
posted by meese at 8:42 PM on February 26, 2012 [52 favorites]



In short: women are people. You're making a mistake by thinking that you need special skills for meeting and picking up women, when what you really need are better opportunities to (and better skills at) meeting and becoming friends with people.


Do you own a Sharpie? Please write this answer backwards on your forehead so that you see it in the mirror every time you go into the bathroom or look in the rearview mirror in your car.

Seriously, women are people, period. If you can talk with people, you can talk with women. All the answers you got in your last question still apply; there's not a shortcut (despite what you might think you are seeing in the video) that can get you past needing to make conversations and make connections with people.
posted by Forktine at 8:50 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


A question about small talk that I have revolves around actually developing the conversation to the point the woman feels comfortable giving me her number....

[snip]

me: "I'm usually too bust to read as much as I want, how much do you read?
her:

But it seems so difficult to imagine the pathway you call it when the conversation after managing to hold her attention ends up to

her: hahaha, (smiles) you know it was really nice talking to you
me: (smiles) good at least once person had fun (smile), hey how about some coffee some time


I've had pretty good luck with dating, but I have never in my life gone from "Hi, how are you" to "Let's go out sometime" in the course of a single conversation. None of the other couples I know have gotten together that way either. Outside of Hollywood romantic comedies (and the obnoxious meat-market-type bars you're trying to get away from) it is really just not a normal or common thing for people to do.

There's a reason people keep recommending you join clubs and meetup groups and whatnot. It's not that meetups are some sort of magical place where you can just swoop in and pick up a woman immediately. It's that if you join one, and go regularly, you'll see the same women week after week. At that point, you don't need to treat every conversation like it's some kind of sales pitch and you need to "seal the deal" immediately. Just be friendly and open and Not Creepy, and gradually you'll get to know other people in the group — and eventually, there'll be someone who you've been chatting with for a few months, and you'll find yourselves having a longer conversation and really enjoying yourselves, and then "Hey how about some coffee" will seem like a totally normal and natural move.

Also, that bit about "at least one person had fun"? Don't do that shit. Negging someone you're trying to flirt with is creepy as fuck, and will lose you a lot of points in the eyes of any woman with a lick of sense or self-esteem.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:15 PM on February 26, 2012 [26 favorites]


I get this vibe of "just have fun" and "make small talk" and I understand that but how does "small talk" and "just have fun" actually turn into "hey lets get some coffee" I'm a little confused on that part. If I don't ask a woman out then nothing will happen.

Here's why you're confused: You are thinking that "just have fun" and "make small talk" will work as an instant pickup for any woman in general. But the idea behind "just having fun" and "making small talk" is that by doing that, you will have time to make friends with many women, and decide which specific woman you want to invite to get coffee.

You're still thinking "i want to get any random woman, it doesn't matter who." The idea is to get to a point where you are thinking, "I want to ask out Cindy in particular, and no one else." And the way you get to know Cindy well enough to KNOW that you prefer her and no one else, is -- by making enough friendly small talk with Cindy, and with other women, to have made up your mind that "yes, it is Cindy I want."

Don't try to pick up "women." Try to pick up "Cindy." And the way you find out who "Cindy" is, IS by chatting with a lot of women in a friendly way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:20 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Picked them up in the Metro and on planes, yes.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:22 PM on February 26, 2012


her: hahaha, (smiles) you know it was really nice talking to you
me: (smiles) good at least once person had fun (smile), hey how about some coffee some time


Er, missed this. I don't even get it. Implying to someone that talking to them was unpleasant is a surefire way to not get to talk to them again.
posted by threeants at 9:33 PM on February 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


her: hahaha, (smiles) you know it was really nice talking to you
me: (smiles) good at least once person had fun (smile), hey how about some coffee some time


Oh my god. Please tell me you are not actually saying this to women that you're trying to pick up. Hearing this from a man that I'd just met would make me IMMEDIATELY think he's a total asshole and not worth any more of my time, ever ever ever. Seriously.
posted by palomar at 9:40 PM on February 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


good at least once person had fun

I think some people are reading this as "well I'm glad you enjoyed talking to me, because I *didn't* enjoy talking to you". But that can't be what curious_mind meant.

I'm guessing he meant something like "I'm glad at least one person enjoyed talking to me" (meant to be self-deprecating humor). Though, if that's correct, note that self-deprecating humor is a somewhat risky move in that kind of conversation, because it risks sounding like you are far too self-critical, which puts the conversation into kind of a darker psychological territory than you want.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:46 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Right, if that's how he meant it then there's nothing assholish about it. Though I'd still be wary of a line that's ambiguous between asshole and non-asshole readings.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:49 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's the problem with ambiguous lines -- they can be interpreted in a way the speaker doesn't intend, so it's best not to use them when you're trying to score.
posted by palomar at 9:55 PM on February 26, 2012


I've been "picked up" as it were in bars, clubs, and on the street. not pick up artist stuff, but genuine "hey, let's go out some time" sort of stuff. It only works when I think the person is being genuine, I'm in the right mood, and I find them attractive. All of this is very rare, though.
posted by loriginedumonde at 10:12 PM on February 26, 2012


That said, I've picked up guys too.
posted by loriginedumonde at 10:14 PM on February 26, 2012


One of the best ways to pick up a woman anywhere in a non-threatening way is to mention something very specific about her appearance or the activity she's doing. What is it about her that is special or interesting to you, at least that you can ascertain as immediately as possible? You need to figure out which things about women beyond "hotness" appeal to you and focus on those. Is it fashion? Philosophy? What do you like, why do you like it, and when you see a girl with those qualities you need to be able to tell her why you think she seems interesting in a specific way.

Examples:

"Wow! Nice Herve Leger dress! I can't believe you have a tattoo of Ayn Rand! That haircut is awesome, it reminds me of Mary Quant. What?! No way you're reading Spinoza on this bus. Your dog is so great, what he's from a shelter, mine too!"

If there's nothing about her you think is rad, then you basically just think she's hot or cool and saying, "You're hot. You seem like a really cool girl, wanna hang out?" is lame because guess what? You don't really know her, or anything about her, in her mind you're just another dude who is superficially into her for a hook-up, probably.

So get specific.

Umm, but if you just wanna bang drunk bimbos, I have no advice for you.
posted by devymetal at 10:17 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great advice and will most certainly incorporate into the attitude that I bring when I go meet people at meetup groups etc. Meeting people, not trying to meet women specifically with a laser focus.

I'll also be honest and say there are some other issues that I need to deal with, one of them being laziness. As others have mentioned its tough making friends and requires lots of effort. Most weekends its hard for me to make myself get up and go do something new. I can't really find that energy to go out, by the end of the week I feel spent honestly and just want to sleep and do nothing.

Then on the rare occasion I do force myself to go out which has been bars and clubs up till now (which I am going to changing btw) I face a whole other level of obstacles that will make socializing hard no matter where I go.

I think that I have low self confidence and that stems from feeling like my ability to make interesting small talk with people is lacking. I also feel like my skin color is a disadvantage, because society does not consider a brown guy to be ideal so when talking to white women I feel inferior and like I wont make the mark in her eyes.

Ive witnessed times when I went to a club with this tall white guy 6'4'' attractive looking guy friend, however I was doing all the approaching (i force myself to do approaches at times) and keeping the conversation going and his contribution at maximum was "hey whats up, hows it going ladies." He wouldn't speak for about thirty forty seconds and yet these white women kept their eye contact on him. I noticed a trend throughout the night where he would just nod at women in a misogynistic way and they would smile right back, while they wouldn't make eye contact with me.

My take home lesson is : Yeah I don't look like the ideal male for a white woman (and thats okay she has every right to like who she wants to like its not racist in my opinion) and I probably will have to suffer more rejection to find the ones that dont really care, meaning even in meetup groups if there was a nice white girl and there where no indian girls I would hesitate to start a conversation because I wouldn't know if my color would even be attractive to her.

Thats a big issue for me my skin color, and my insecurity in how I wont be found attractive by the majority of women. Secondly I feel like I'm a bore and I wont be able to keep an interesting conversation going so thats another reason why I usually wont even try and will hold myself back from talking to a woman at a meetup group.

I've read ways to make yourself feel confident but honestly telling myself "you are smart attractive and funny" really doesnt work when you dont believe what you are saying or have trust in the person (me) who is saying those things to have any truth behind them.

I was teased horrendously while growing up almost everyday I was teased until I left HS and started College. Lots of that negativity is still stuck in my head. How does one gain a true appreciation for ones self worth and self efficacy so that I really do feel inside "yes I am attractive" and "I am not a boring guy"

Its feel like my insides are always screaming that to me and its hard to even act and start a conversation when you have so many limiting beliefs.

I think if I can get those psychological issues under hand, I am good to go. The practical advice on here has been great and i can say has laid a pretty good road map in that regard

Thank you guys
posted by curious-mind at 10:22 PM on February 26, 2012


To be honest in your postings I find you to be quite likable and the more you post I find you even more likable. I get the sense that the majority of people who had the opportunity to get to know you would not find you boring at all.

So I really think the key for you will be to give people the chance to really get to know you over a long term. When you have success with that, I think you will start building up the skills and confidence to be better at small talk in a shorter time frame, which is much harder for pretty much everyone. Just start from the first step, not the most advanced step.
posted by cairdeas at 10:29 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I been playing the electric guitar now for 5 years into classic rock so maybe I'll find some jamming group.

Really? You play electric guitar, you're 25 years old, and you're not in a band? JOIN A BAND. Or has life changed so much since I was in my 20s that being in a band no longer means anything when it comes to meeting women? Who do you think has a better chance of meeting women - you at a house party or bar, or you at a house party or bar having just put down his guitar and stepped off a stage?

I was teased horrendously while growing up almost everyday I was teased until I left HS and started College... Its feel like my insides are always screaming that to me and its hard to even act and start a conversation when you have so many limiting beliefs.

Sorry, dude. Racism (and I'm guessing some of that teasing was racist, or corresponded with racist stereotypes, based on what else you've said) sucks. Therapy is one obvious thing to try to deal with those limiting beliefs.
posted by mistersix at 11:01 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you feel like you're getting overlooked in pick-up situations, and like you have a hard time sustaining conversation in those situations (where there is no natural context, no shared activity you can talk about), then you definitely should re-focus your social efforts to other venues!

If you're doing a shared activity - whether it's a physical one like hiking or exercise class or casual soccer games, art/sculpture/photography/etc class, volunteering somewhere, or an intellectual one like trivia, book club, etc - then you will have a shared subject to talk about. It makes conversation easier.

And if you have a weekly meeting where you are showing up and seeing the same people repeatedly, in a no-pickup-pressure situation, they will get to see your many good qualities, rather than just seeing your skin color/physical bearing/whatever superficial thing they can see in a split-second in a bar. Just make a point of being pleasant, considerate, etc and you will gradually make friends (and possibly more).
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:03 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


if there was a nice white girl and there where no indian girls I would hesitate to start a conversation because I wouldn't know if my color would even be attractive to her

Oh no, don't let this stop you! I take it you're Indian? I'm a 25 year old white woman and I often find Indian guys extremely attractive. Not everyone in the world is going to be attracted to you but that's totally normal and true for everyone regardless of skin color, because everyone's tastes are different. If you assume that no white woman could find you attractive because of the color of your skin, you're doing yourself a huge disservice.
posted by ootandaboot at 11:24 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


if there was a nice white girl and there where no indian girls I would hesitate to start a conversation because I wouldn't know if my color would even be attractive to her

For whatever small data point it's worth I look about as physically white as it gets, and although my crushes have been as varied in looks, ethnicity, and race as it gets, and are really more based on personality --- if we're just talking about color, I'm most frequently attracted to guys in that range encompassing Indian, South/Native American, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, etc.
posted by cairdeas at 11:34 PM on February 26, 2012


When watching this video, ask yourself "are these fellows gentlemen?" The answer is no, as is the answer to your question.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:40 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I agree that if you still feel as if your high school bullies were correct about you, therapy or counseling is worth a try. You are not a bore, you are a good interesting person with a lot to offer as a friend or boyfriend. Therapy might be helpful in coming to believe it.)

You say:
"even in meetup groups if there was a nice white girl and there where no indian girls I would hesitate to start a conversation because I wouldn't know if my color would even be attractive to her."

The other thing about going to meetup groups or the like is, start conversations with everyone there, without thinking about whether they will find you attractive. That's the beauty of these non-dating situations: you don't have to worry about whether they find you attractive. You're just having a good time doing some activity, and enjoying a little conversation with the other people there. This takes pressure off you (so you don't worry about whether you're boring or unattractive or whatever) and takes pressure off the other person (so she doesn't worry about whether you're trying to pick her up/whether she's sending you mixed signals, etc). You're just people, making conversation, enjoying an activity.

If you're lucky you'll find someone in the first group that you want to be friends with. If not, no problem, it was still an enjoyable activity and you got a lot of practice in making conversation, maybe you picked up some good tips about your city or your hobby or whatever. Try again with another group. etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:50 PM on February 26, 2012


4) The bookstore conversation is harder on me than say a classroom since there is little that you have in common other than being at the same place and the same time

I think you missed an important step here. The point is that you don't just approach someone randomly because they're there - you approach them because OMG they just picked up your favourite book ever, tell them how good it is! Etc. That kind of thing is the only reason bookstores are more appropriate than anywhere else: because there is a chance to actually have something more in common with them than being in the same place at the same time.
posted by jacalata at 12:15 AM on February 27, 2012


because society does not consider a brown guy to be ideal so when talking to white women I feel inferior and like I wont make the mark in her eyes.

Nope, plenty of white girls like brown boys.

My take home lesson is : Yeah I don't look like the ideal male for a white woman

Put Angelina Jolie and Michelle Williams next to one another - who is every single dude going to batty over? Does that mean that Michelle Williams isn't attractive - absolutely not.

Your mentality is setting you up for failure but your reality can be quite different if you let it.

Therapy helps for things like that.
posted by mleigh at 1:39 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't really answer on behalf of women, because I am not a woman. On the other hand, I don't think any woman can answer on behalf of all women either, point being that you are not trying to date women in aggregate (or if you are, you might want to think about how that comes across) so much as particular individuals that you find interesting and attractive. I'm not saying that groups of people don't display trends in their attributes or behaviours (what most people would call stereotypes), but that these stereotypes are a bad guide for interactions with particular instances.

Rather than worrying about what a stereotypical individual you associate with the appearance of a person you meet would think, how about aiming to openly and honestly engage with people in the hope of finding a good reciprocal match, whatever it is you are looking for?

The best setting in which to do this is probably just somewhere where you feel comfortable and able to be open, and where you might hope to have a good chance of detecting what's important to you in the other person as well. This is why bookstores or classrooms etc. work well for some people; they are interested in the life of the mind, and are relaxed in these settings. On the other hand people like the tall white bloke you mentioned sound relaxed in the nightclub setting, and are perhaps interested in different signals which are more to do with physical appearance (given how hard it is to learn much else in a nightclub).
posted by larkery at 2:09 AM on February 27, 2012


I completely agree with the advice that you should make it your first priority to make some more friends. Even if the friends you're making are all dudes at first, that's fine. In the process of making new friends, you can hone your social skills, learn how to get better at making small talk, and build up your confidence. As your social network grows, it'll likely grow to include women. Not just women as potential dates, but women as potential friends.

And I don't mean you should try to befriend women under the guise of being platonic friends, while secretly wishing you could get in their pants. That's a role that many dating-challenged men fall into, and it's not a good place to be. Any woman who has been down that road before has learned to smell it coming from miles away. I have friend-dumped a guy who I realized was using me as a surrogate girlfriend. I did not feel flattered at all, just betrayed and creeped out. Don't be that guy.

What I mean is, once you get to know women as regular people, and learn to value them for who they are instead of simply their femaleness and what they look like, your awkwardness and nervousness will fade away. But it's not just that you'll become more comfortable approaching women, I suspect you may actually find that you no longer have an urge to randomly ask out any woman who looks cute. Looks alone may not be enough to grab your interest anymore.

Perhaps that seems odd to you, but I can honestly say that the majority of guys I've had crushes on have not been goodlooking in a conventional sense. Appearance-wise, they've looked like any average Joe I walk by a hundred times a day and never give a second glance to. That didn't stop me from falling hard for them after getting to know them. Attraction and chemistry doesn't have to be instant, and I'd argue from my experience that it usually isn't, especially not when it comes to finding real compatibility and forming lasting bonds. I have no trouble initiating things with men, but I have never, ever hit on a stranger because I found him to be that nice to look at. It's just not enough for me. Don't put so much stock in looks, whether it's hers or yours.

By approaching strangers in one-shot situations, you're really, really stacking the odds against yourself. Merely approaching a woman cold usually sends red flags up for her, so you're starting out at minus points. For all the reasons other women have enumerated above, unless you are like, George Clooney or something, it doesn't work. I have never given my number to any guy who has asked me out cold, and most of the time it's extremely awkward and uncomfortable and I'm relieved when the guy finally goes away. Not to mention the types of men who do this tend to be either really creepy or really desperate, or both, which doesn't set the best precedent for when you come along. No wonder these experiences haven't been good for your self-esteem.

So yeah, work on building a good social network, whether it's through your existing friends, or by joining clubs, hobby groups, or meetups. For the time being, no more trying to pick up. No more glossing over women because they're not attractive to you. Learn to see women as whole people, not just potential girlfriends. You seem like a good guy, just a little clueless. I'll be rooting for you.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:00 AM on February 27, 2012


I'm going to plug online dating. You say you've tried it and it just doesn't work for you. But have you asked your female friends to look at your profile and give you feedback? Do you email lots of women you think would be interesting to have coffee with and not worry about whether you hear back from any of them?

Go out on some dates with some of us only moderately attractive ladies and really get to know us. Some of us are fun and sexy and decent human beings, too.

Read some books, play that guitar, take some classes - these things can give you more confidence and give you more to say in a small talk situation. But remember the real key to rocking the small talk is a balance between talking and asking questions.

And therapy might be a good idea for you too.
posted by bunderful at 4:48 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just read this entire thread and I really want to say a few things.

First, I'm in my late 20s, I'm female, I've dated a lot, and I was in the singles scene for a very long time up until about a year ago, so I have current frame of reference.

1. I'm unendingly glad you've decided to not try pick up or any of that garbage. The last thing this world needs is another asshole trying that crap. You're better than that, and the people you'd wish to flirt with deserve to be treated better than that. So high fives to that.
2. Agreed with above, don't call women "ladies".
3. If you play a guitar and are in to classic rock then you NEED to play that up! That is a wonderful way to make more friends and a great way to find cool women who have similar interests. ( A year ago I would have been extremely interested in getting to know you more as a potential mate because I, too, love classic rock. )
4. FOCUS ON BEING FRIENDS! Everyone above who said the same thing is 100% correct. When people are out to make friends their personality and attitude is way different from when they are out to find a date. Ironically, the "looking for date" persona is very often less appealing than the "looking for friends" persona. Your goal #1 should be to just make more friends with women AND with men. Just make friends, widen your social circle.
5. There are no leagues, so you aren't out of any of them.
6. Racism is horrible and I sincerely am sorry that you had to experience that. If I could I would kick in the junk whoever made you feel that way.
7. EVERYONE isn't appealing to someone for lots of different reasons. I'm a "big girl" and I know that because of that I wouldn't be considered by lots of men, but I decided ages ago that I'd let THEM decide and to quit deciding for them. I put myself out there to anyone I found appealing, and I acted as though I was everyone's type. Because of that I dated quite a bit, more than a lot of my conventionally attractive friends, often the men I dated very attractive men who I could have easily written off because I would have assumed they wouldn't have found me attractive. You feel like the colour of your skin is going to be a deal breaker for a lot of women, and for some it will be, but I think that it is a lot fewer than you think. And you need to let them decide, don't decide for them or you run the risk of majorly overlimiting yourself.
8. I really don't think you sound boring, but if you are sincerely concerned that a woman would find you boring then your best cure is to just do things. Get some activities, join some clubs, and build on your existing interests. Then you'll have lots of things to talk about!

Good luck out there, my friend! You sound like a polite, well spoken, cool guy. Keep being like that and you'll find someone before long.
posted by gwenlister at 4:54 AM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Secondly I feel like I'm a bore and I wont be able to keep an interesting conversation going so thats another reason why I usually wont even try and will hold myself back from talking to a woman at a meetup group.

I say this as a follow up to my previous post; be interesting. Stop focusing so much on meeting and wooing women and start cultivating hobbies, travel, join groups you find interesting, read books and go to music shows. You'll find the conversation flows a lot easier when you have a number of things that you're doing that apply to a conversation.

If you spend the next 6 months doing fun things you're interested in, you'll start finding it a lot easier to talk to people. If the only hobby you're cultivating is picking up women, that's neither interesting nor a good conversation starter.

So yes, if you play guitar, start finding other people to play with. Don't play the guitar because you think it impresses women, though, play it because you really enjoy it. If you start enjoying life and stop worrying about who you're going to meet, you'll be a lot more approachable, interesting and attractive to the women around you.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:56 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


One other thing--a friend had a good rule for hetero advice--dont take advice from a member of the opposite sex unless they are 20 years older than you.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:06 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your posts have taken me from "this guy is a desperate creep" to "this guy is a decent dude with some confidence issues". That's a positive, and while I'm a married guy, I think that anyone with whom you would want a relationship will see the latter, too.

So, work on the confidence thing, and lay off the "I MUST MEET A WOMAN!" mindset. You'll meet people when you do things that put you into contact with them; going to bars and clubs is the least common denominator of activities ("I like to drink and hear music!"). Instead, find stuff you like doing for yourself. Pursue those activities. Gradually, you'll both (a) have a set of hobbies you can discuss, and (b) be exposed to people.

Try to avoid putting a timeline on this. Don't walk into activities and scope out the single women, and then try to turn a trick and "pick them up". Just chill, pursue hobbies that you enjoy, and let friendships happen organically.

Oh, and stop saying "ladies".
posted by ellF at 5:06 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


You feel like the colour of your skin is going to be a deal breaker for a lot of women, and for some it will be, but I think that it is a lot fewer than you think. And you need to let them decide, don't decide for them or you run the risk of majorly overlimiting yourself.

Just to pile on, remember that you are the product of literally millions of individuals successfully attracting a mate. Your physical attributes are the product of eons of genetic sorting and shuffling to produce offspring who will themselves be likely to reproduce. Unless you're way, way over on the left of the attractiveness curve, it's not your looks.* It could be how you are dressing those looks, or how you are carrying yourself -- in other words, it could be choices you are making around your appearance -- but the good news is that you can make different choices about those things if you want to.

But my guess is that the consensus on your two questions is right: you are coming across as someone who wants to be paired off too early. So make friends, get out there and meet people. Be who you are, and enjoy being that person. You're not deficient or flawed because you're not paired up, and maybe put "being paired up with someone" lower on your list of goals for a while.

*And if you were, you'd know it.
posted by gauche at 6:21 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


her: hahaha, (smiles) you know it was really nice talking to you
me: (smiles) good at least once person had fun (smile),


It might just be that I'm older now and my dating pool has gotten older. But I used to think the all-important thing in dating was for me to be clever and my date to be clever. I've learned that nice and sincere go a VERY long way. When a guy looks me in the eye and says "I really enjoyed talking with you," or "I'm really glad we did this" - not with high pressure intensity, just with gentle honesty - that can go a *very* long way.
posted by bunderful at 6:24 AM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's not totally clear but it seems like you're only or primarily considering white women as potential dates/sex partners/girlfriends. You might want to try talking to other Indian girls, or those who belong to different minority groups. Even if just as friends. They might have a better understanding of where you're coming from, they might even share your background and experiences in school. You might feel more comfortable with them because of that shared experience and that could lead the way to seeing ALL women as people, not a sub-group with distinct rules. Even if you live in a heavily white area, going to the effort of seeking out some diverse friends might make you feel less "other" in your social/dating life.

Also, this:

be interesting. Stop focusing so much on meeting and wooing women and start cultivating hobbies, travel, join groups you find interesting, read books and go to music shows


is so true! I'm not in your demographic, but even when I was younger, guys who spent their time doing exciting things or even just sitting alone reading interesting books were SO much more attractive and worth talking to than guys who spent all their time looking for girls to hook up with and/or date.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 6:48 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Two things: Confidence and agenda. Confidence you must have, an agenda you must not have.

I've found the most effective path to confidence is a little bit of narcissism. So maybe break out the P90X or do something to spruce up your wardrobe. Do something for yourself that makes you feel like, "yeah, i'd date me!" If you feel attractive, you will attract. But pick something that works for you, what makes someone else feel sexy might not work for you.

Do not enter into a social interaction with any intention other than to have a pleasant conversation. There's no bigger turn off than having a nice chat and then "sooo...number?" if you just have a chat and then once the break off point comes move on to the next interaction
posted by FatRabbit at 6:49 AM on February 27, 2012


I also just find it so hard to talk to people at bars and clubs because they are so loud and I feel like I'm competing with other guys.

You're going to the wrong kind of bars, then. Go to dive bars. Ones that aren't packed to the gills with people all dressed up trying to flirt and impress. Ones with good jukeboxes and a tv that plays crappy movies, where it's not so loud that you can't hear the person you are trying to talk to. Bars like this exist, and especially if you're in a group, people will often times just start up random conversations with you. Which is to say, you could start up a random conversation with someone else, too.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:05 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I met my husband at a wine bar I was 23. Talk inside not outside. Even if you are a nice decent male outside I think that you would try to throw me in the back of a van; so don't do that.

I cannot remember what he said but I think it was along the lines of how are you, I'm Matt. Are you new to x city?
posted by ibakecake at 7:46 AM on February 27, 2012


You might find this article interesting and possibly helpful. How you think you are approaching a woman is most likely not how a woman is seeing the situation, specially one out alone.
posted by wwax at 8:53 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just want to comment on how you feel like you're boring. I relate really strongly to that, and it's been a huge confidence issue for me in the past. It still is something that crosses my mind sometimes, but I'm better now at realizing that it's just negative self talk, and totally not true.

Many of my hobbies are pretty house bound and sedentary. I love to read, and play on the internet, videogames. I sometimes feel like I'm this lame person who never gets out and *does* anything. When I feel like this I remember that I'm doing things that are interesting to me, and that are fun to me. At first glance, playing around on the internet seems like a pretty lame waste of time. But I realized that it's one of the ways I've learned so much in the past few years. And reading adds perspective and ideas, even if you're reading cheesy stuff. I've found that whether people interpret your hobbies and activities as boring or as interesting has a lot to do with how you present them. When I talk about this interesting post on metafilter, and the conversation there, and I do it with obvious enthusiasm and like it's the most fascinating thing ever, people respond positively. If I bring it up and kind of hedge my bets with it, because it might be boring or lame, my enthusiasm doesn't come through, and it all seems pretty lame.

Building a strong social circle helps with this issue as well. When I start feeling down about being a boring person, I try to arrange to hang out with my friends as soon as possible. It reminds me that I think they're awesome, and that they think I'm awesome. And they love me for who I am, and understand that I have periods where I'll be sort of like a hermit. They think I'm interesting and fun.

As a bit of advice, the best way to come across as charming and engaging is to find the person you're interacting with fascinating and interesting. The best way to seem interesting yourself, is to be interested in someone else. Whoever you're interacting with will feel like you see and appreciate who they are, and in turn they will look at who you are and will appreciate that. Look for those connections between yourself and another person. They're always there, and being able to see what's in common and what ties you together as people will serve you well in every part of your life. From making friends, to being successful professionally, to finding romance and companionship.

You seem like a great guy, and I hope all the great advice everyone has given you will help you feel confident in that. Keep working on it. It might take some time, but you're gonna rock this one :)

Good luck
posted by f_panda at 9:58 AM on February 27, 2012


Please don't take as fact the theory that "at a basic level, the sexes are at odds", that being a sleazy mofo in a club constitutes any kind of success, or that there is a "should" about how to behave that applies to half of the 6.8 billion people cohabiting the planet with you.

If you want to date well:

* Don't be a jerk.
* Have interests and pursue them.
* Be confident in your interests and pursuits.
* Don't listen to anything even vaguely "PUA" related. (But I repeat myself.)
posted by ellF at 10:52 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The thing that I finally learned around your age was that yes, some people can get dates by being loud and confident in public - but not me! Whenever I tried to meet people that way, it was a lot of work, and not much fun, and I wasn't successful because people could tell that I was trying too hard. Luckily, if you stop trying to be something you're not, and just get comfortable with who you really are, you'll attract friends and romantic opportunities naturally. It sounds like you know who you want to be, so get off the couch and go to a guitar meetup. Practice small talk in low-stakes situations with people you're already acquainted with through work or school or whatever. Start jogging or rock climbing or learn tennis or whatever exercise sounds like fun, even if it won't give you ripped abs. Just be your best self, be open to whatever happens in life, and let the rest take care of itself.
posted by Chris4d at 7:27 AM on February 28, 2012


I can tell from reading the responses that this advice is some of the best I've ever gotten. I think soon I will look for a therapist to help me deal with the psychological issues that I have got going on in my life.

I can safely say that the advice here summarizes to "be social" and from there see what develops.

However for the past year or so being social was the last thing I wanted, I'm not sure exactly why but staying home and away from people is what I've been doing.

I don't like spending time with the two friends I have, I don't really want to talk to new people at meetup groups if I ever went, I dont want to (insert anything social)

Even though I understand that if I dont I will be alone the desire to be around people isn't there.

I know when you have a genuine desire for something, it become so much easier to follow through on it.

I have no desire to socialize and I'm not really sure why. I just want to sit home and watch youtube videos, eat, play video games and sleep
posted by curious-mind at 12:34 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh and forgot to mention a big thank you for taking the time to write such excellent response
posted by curious-mind at 12:35 PM on February 28, 2012


the two things are related though - if you don't already have a social circle that you can date a girl from without much effort, you're going to have to go out. and woman can smell "i'm in pick up mode" a mile away and it's generally a really big turn off. if you never want to leave your house or hang out with people, how does that translate to dating for you? part of your anxiety about being boring will diminish as you start to do more things. you honestly sound depressed (trust me, i understand, i have social phobia depression). my best advice to you is to fake it until you make it. pretend you're playing the character of someone who loves being out in the world, talking to people. you might find that it starts to feel less like a part and more like you.

good luck.
posted by nadawi at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2012


I think therapy is an excellent first step - it sounds like this lack of motivation to be social is a recent development for you and with help it will be just a temporary thing.

Could it be you are looking for a fling rather than a real relationship right now? Something to consider.

Good luck!
posted by bunderful at 5:29 PM on February 28, 2012


I have no desire to socialize and I'm not really sure why. I just want to sit home and watch youtube videos, eat, play video games and sleep

(1) This sounds like how I act when I'm depressed. Could be depression in the psychiatric sense, could be what's called "situational depression" — which is shrink-speak for "feeling horribly lonely and discouraged because you're in a shitty situation."

(2) When I'm depressed, I tend to feel desperate for social validation. Like, "OMG please someone sleep with me right now so I know I'm not hideous and unlovable. I'm not picky! I'll take anyone!" Dating and gradually getting to know someone ends up feeling like way too much work, and the sort of quick-pick-up fantasy you're getting caught up in here starts to seem sort of appealing.

I dunno. Your mileage may vary. But maybe you're in a similar spot?
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:38 PM on February 28, 2012


Wait, curiousmind, you're in New York? You know what New York has a lot of?

Metafilter meetups.

You'll get to hang out with people like the ones who are commenting in this thread. You already know you have something in common with them, and you'll probably have some fun talking with them.

If you comment in the thread for a meetup you're interested in, people will know to expect you and will keep an eye out for you at the venue. Even if it's a little awkward at first, keep going. Some of those people will become friends. And that's how these things start.
posted by tangerine at 1:24 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


One more quick thought - you say you don't feel like hanging out with anyone. But when you hang out anyway do you find that you enjoy yourself anyway?
posted by bunderful at 4:46 AM on February 29, 2012


The guys I know who are getting laid in their mid-twenties meet these women through work and through friends, and on very, very rare occasions through a hobby, like online games. The person upthread who suggested you develop your friends network nailed it. While I don't think you'll maximize your potential through meetups, I think your reason behind it is not a great reason. Don't avoid women who are older than 25, because they often have younger friends and if you are charming to the older women, they just might set you up. I've certainly set up friends, and I've had friends set me up. Also, the more friends you have, the more parties you get invited to.

The reason pickups don't work is not because you're not dazzling enough, but because women get this all the time, and 99% of the time the guy only wants sex, and it's stupidly obvious.

The next best thing you can do is develop a hobby where you will meet lots of women. I always recommend knitting. Guys always snicker at this and then I hear them complaining six months later about how they still can't meet women. Seriously, a knitting meetup will be 100% female. 50% of those will be older, and a small percentage of the rest will be married. That still leaves a large number available. The one or two guys I know who knit are stupidly popular. But in my experience guys want it to be easy, or do things that improve their image to other guys.

Re, online dating and volunteering. Online dating is brutal for young men, and unless you're a killer writer (and those killer writers make out like bandits, don't think they don't) this may not be the best strategy for you. As for volunteering, I've done it for three organizations, and in two of the three the other workers were all older and/or male. Volunteering is one of those things that can work, but you have to know what the demographic is like.
posted by thelastcamel at 4:11 PM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


The one or two guys I know who knit are stupidly popular. But in my experience guys want it to be easy, or do things that improve their image to other guys.

I could not agree more. Girls LOVE guys who do "girl stuff" and are super secure about it and have a great time with it. This cannot be overstated. I have seen this over, and over, and over in life. I think it's always why women are drawn like flies to the gays guys who are into stereotypically feminine activities, and pine uselessly over them.
posted by cairdeas at 4:50 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


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