Make eye contact and smile.You should know this. It’s a freebie. If you can genuinely show you’re happy and you’re interested in someone, why bother trying anything else? Direct but kind eye contact and a confident smile deliver as much or more meaning than your words do. It works even when words don’t. It’s something you can only do when you and another human acknowledge each other’s presence.
Introduce yourself.When you really can’t think of something to stay, start with your name. You shouldn’t have any trouble remembering that, right? Starting with your name does three things: Begins a conversation with a true statement, offers generosity by giving the other person something without asking for something back and it opens the situation for them to feel comfortable sharing something with you. And wouldn’t it just be the best if they did all the hard work of the conversation for you?
Offer a specific compliment.Say the first thing that really did catch your attention about them, and make it honest — aka not creepy. Rather than saying, “You’re hot,” try, “Excuse me if this is unwelcome, but I saw you passing your fingers through your hair from across the room and was totally captivated.” If it’s real and positive, anyone hearing it will feel flattered, and any significant other you didn’t realize existed will be more likely to forgive an innocent advance.
Use your hands.In the movie “Joy,” the best scene is when Bradley Cooper tells Jessica Lawrence while teaching her how to sell a mop on TV, “It’s all in the hands… hands, hands, hands.” Believe it. Something you do with your hands is certain. It exists. You’ve shown it, and you’ve shown you have enough awareness of a situation and command over it to demonstrate your interpretation of it. If you focus on showing things with your hands, they become artistic, graceful and commanding all at the same time. Your hands make you seem trustworthy, so don’t go limp with that handshake.
Be helpful.This could be something small like offering to carry a bag or opening a door, or it could be something bigger that seems like a duty or chore. Removing someone else’s pain also means introducing simple, unexpected pleasure.
Surrender to something bigger.This could be calling attention to a beautiful landscape, a present reality, or a higher, spiritual power. Think about it: When you call attention to something bigger than you and them, you’re calling attention to something you can both appreciate and accept. By doing that, you and your crush suddenly have something in common; neither of you are that thing. The funny thing about this approach is it’s the most effective but also the one that can get easily screwed up — i.e. “Great weather today, huh?”
Take a second to consider those five tips. Where do you think you’re likely to use them? An app? Hard to hold someone else’s attention. A bar? Too crowded. Someplace around town? Maybe a bit random.
Our advice? Try it while volunteering. You’ll be surrounded by a lot of people you haven’t met with a common set of goals for a defined amount of time, so starting a conversation will be natural. As an added bonus, you’ll feel pretty great by the end of it, too.