Between the instant gratification of dating apps and a pesky pandemic, romantic hopefuls haven’t had as many opportunities for a happenstance romantic encounter lately. But as the world opens up, we have every reason to believe this is changing.
Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Raya, OkCupid, and The League are all great ways to meet people. But after spending a year indoors, many of us are ditching our phones as much as possible in favor of human interaction. The social climate is just right for romantic comedy-style meet-cutes. Below you’ll find simple tips to strike up a conversation with an attractive stranger.
They’re so easy; I suggest you pick one and try it out right now.
Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket.
Checking out a babe who’s also checking you out? Find a way to make it look like you accidentally dropped a dollar and give them the opportunity for the all-too-wholesome, “Excuse me did you drop this?” You can blush and excuse yourself for having your head in the clouds or make a joke about how wealthy you are that dollars just fall off wherever you go. I once was so bold as to reverse this trick and asked a guy in a cafe if he’d dropped the dollar I’d stealthily pulled from my pocket moments before. He said no, but lingered, so I followed it up with, “I figured it was yours… you look rich.” He laughed and ended up buying my lunch in exchange for my phone number.
Chat With Everyone.
Imagine a sexy stranger who hears you tell the barista it’s your first time in the coffee shop, so you’re not sure what to order. This gives them the opportunity to welcome you to the neighborhood or suggest their favorite beverage. Plus, chatting with others in the vicinity lets someone hear your voice, notice you in a crowd, and most importantly, gives them topics to open with. I always find a way to get chatty with servers, dog owners at the park, even people seated nearby at a concert. You don’t always know who’s single, but everyone knows at least one single person, and an introduction can come from anywhere. I once chatted with an elderly man on a plane and, the next day ended up on a date with his handsome son.
Bring a prop.
A book, a dog, needlepoint work, even a sketchbook. Just have something you’re playing with, and the weirder it is, the better. This gives them something to ask you about and keeps your boredom at bay if you’re out and about on your own. When I eat alone, I always sit at the bar and bring a pen along with a few pages of something I’m editing. One time a waiter with arms like baby seals asked me if I was grading papers, and I had the opportunity to flirtily say, “I’m working on an article about dating; got any tips?” He blushed, we flirted, and even though that was it, we both still had a worthwhile thrill. If you’re not a writer yourself, you have my full permission to print out this article and pretend you’re working on publishing it.
Show up early.
Whether you’re meeting friends, your parents, or even a date, show up to the vicinity with 20 minutes to spare. Stroll around, find a bench, or simply take in the ambiance. If you spent the time to get ready, go show off your sparkle. At the very least, it gives you a chance to practice mindfulness, and at best, perhaps your next romantic fling approaches you to compliment your style. A friend did this strolling around her San Francisco neighborhood recently and must have been noticed by a handsome stranger because later on that night, he approached her and a friend at the bar and inquired about taking her out on a date.
Ask for Help.
Ordering a round and don’t have enough hands? Good. Choose your ordering location at the bar carefully so that when your drinks arrive and you can’t carry them all, smile and shrug at an adjacent able-bodied suitor and allow him the pleasure of helping you. I once did this with a friend while traveling abroad, and we didn’t hit it off with the gentlemen who helped us with our drinks, but another table saw our interaction and used it as an opener to ask us if they could pick up our next round. Very smooth.
Sit at the Bar.
A single person is more likely to sit at the counter than take up a table. This works whether you’re with friends and you can double down on your flirting game, or perhaps you’re adventurous enough to go it alone. Don’t be afraid of sitting, eating, or drinking alone. At best, you meet your soulmate, and at worst, you enjoy some time with your lovely self. Plus, you can practice flirting with the bartender. You don’t have to be interested, but you can showcase your friendliness just in case that babe two seats over is looking for an opening to chat with you.
Make a Face.
Do you know that face you make when you’re not trying to make eyes with someone but rather just minding your business? Some might paraphrase this as “RBF,” but on behalf of every woman on planet earth, I’d like to make it clear that we reserve the right to rest our faces in whatever configuration makes us most comfortable. However, when aiming to attract a good-looking stranger, it can be helpful to offer a more approachable facade. To do so, Camille Virginia has a great tip in her book, The Offline Dating Method. Virginia suggests, “Open your mouth,” yep, it’s that simple.
In the book, Virginia explains that this little trick relaxes your face, makes you seem like you’re talking, or simply more apt to talk if approached, and trying it out in the wild, I find it works nearly every time I use it. Whether I’m pretending to chew gum, gasping in surprise at my phone, or just letting my lips relax, this works so well; it might be the only tip you need. When you make eyes with someone, find a way to open your mouth, and there’s a much higher chance that person will make a move on you.
Normally I might add a disclaimer like use these tips with caution, but the truth is, it’s been a long pandemic. If you’re vaccinated and ready for action, take the leap, make the first move, orchestrate that meet-cute. Then DM me on Instagram and tell me all about it.