A Woman's Guide To Approaching A Guy At The Bar | by Alore | The Productivity Revolution | Medium

8 Guys Share The Thoughts That Go Through Their Heads When They Approach Women At A Bar

Even though it can seem like online dating is the way to meet people these days, it’s not impossible to go the old-fashioned route and make a romantic connection at a bar. That, of course, requires one person actually working up the courage to walk up to a complete stranger knowing that the underlying message will be, “Hello, person I don’t know. I find you attractive and would like to know if that feeling is reciprocated.” Since heteronormative conventions dictate that men should always be the ones doing the approaching (which is wrong, but annoyingly pervasive), we got eight guys to share what goes through their minds when they’re heading over to strike up a conversation.


1. How can I bail if this goes south?
“Whenever I approach a girl at a bar—which is rare because I am so very afraid to do this and am terrible at it—a few things go through my mind. The first is usually hoping that I look OK, that my breath doesn’t smell, and that my hands aren’t too extremely sweaty for if a handshake occurs. (They are always extremely sweaty.) But the thing I find myself thinking the most about—and this is probably horrible, because it’s not helping me go into this approach with confidence—is how I’m going to gracefully exit if I’m shot down or flat-out ignored. Before I even make my approach, I’m already plotting out a route of egress.” —Scott M.

2. Is she sending any signals?
“I’m thinking about how to play towards her signals. If she’s been glancing around the room, not even necessarily at me but at other guys, I would acknowledge that maybe she’s trying to meet someone of the opposite sex. I don’t really feel nervous about going up to someone or potentially being rejected. I’m there to have fun, so why should they influence my life that much? It’s like when you do that thing with someone on the street where you both step to the left, then the right to get out of each other’s way—that’s an awkward moment, but it doesn’t ruin your day.When in doubt, I compliment an un-sexual part of her outfit, like her earrings. Sometimes I also just do a ‘this or that,’ question, like ‘pineapple or kiwi?’ It’s so innocent. ” —Willie W.

3. I hope she doesn’t shoot me down.
“I’m always pretty nervous when I do this. As much as I’d mentally like to write off a rejection at a bar, my ego’s too big, so I try to search for some sort of common ground we could pursue outside of normal social niceties. Gauging whether she’d be a good fit for me rather than keeping it general is a defensive strategy. That way if she’s not into me, I can tell myself we weren’t a match. If we only talk about general things, it’s easier to think she specifically didn’t like me.” —Theo B.


4. What facial expression does she have going on right now?
“Before going up to someone at a bar, I try to clear my head. I pause and do my best to think of nothing else so I’m not distracted. Then I analyze the situation to determine the best way to start a conversation, so I look around to see if there’s anything interesting going on. And other times I look at her to see what she’s wearing, or if she looks happy, frustrated, or sad about something so I can bring that up to get the ball rolling.” —Zach T.

5. I wish she’d come up to me instead.
“What goes through my mind before approaching a woman at a bar? Fear. Not just fear of rejection, but of judgment and embarrassing myself. That’s true even if I somehow knew she wanted me to approach her. Whether she’s sending me signals or not, it’s still brutal. If women help open the conversation, I’m good from there, but opening it myself is so stressful. Why can’t you make the opening?!” Ed note: at this point I said, “Well, women are terrified, too! And we’re in the position of being taught that men will approach us if they’re interested, so that makes it extra scary. His response: “But consider that most guys are just as scared of striking up a conversation, and not going up to us filters out shyer ones who could be great. If a woman says literally anything, the coast is clear for me to have a conversation. But short of that, I feel like a creep walking up to girls and bothering them.” —Nathaniel V.

6. Here goes nothing.
“I’m not a pickup artist or a robot, so it depends on the situation. I think it does for most guys. Sometimes your confidence steps up in the clutch like David Ortiz late in a Yankees game, and other times you can barely get your name out.” —Jake M.

7. Is her boyfriend about to pop out from nowhere?
“I used to go up to women a lot, but I don’t anymore. I want to meet someone in a more organic way. But when I used to do it, I was always so worried she had a boyfriend. That’s happened way too many times in my life. If I still decided to approach her, I’d have the end goal in mind of opening on her and then grabbing her number. The best openers are random questions, although sometimes I’d point out things about her clothing or ask if she’d take a picture of me and my friends. I tried to always come up with something on my way over that was substantive and that implied that I was down to get to know her, not just hook up.” —Jamal P.

8. Don’t be a jerk.
“The only thing on my mind is, ‘Don’t stare at her boobs, don’t stare at her boobs, eye contact.’” —Bryce A.


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