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I once had a coaching student who was fearless in approaching women, which was good, but he wasn’t so hot at not coming off like a creeper. He wasn’t a creeper, though. He was just a guy who wanted to stop being alone with “Call of Duty” on Friday nights and be with a girl who liked him. But the way he went about it was all wrong.
One time he tried to hit on a woman who was having lunch with her co-workers. I give him points for being gutsy, but what was she going to do — give her number out in front of her boss and colleagues? Needless to say, he got nowhere. I’m sure you can think of a few times when your approach wasn’t so great. Believe me, we’ve all been there.
Below I’m going to share some strategies for approaching women offline and online that will allow you to set some parameters in your head. As you read, think of me as a sports coach for dating. If you’re having X number of success and you want to have Y number, you’re going to have to work on some new skills before your scores will go up and you start beating more opponents.
Here are some tried-and-true, common sense ways to approach a girl based on my thousands of interviews with them.
It takes a lot of courage to approach a woman you don’t know in the middle of a gym, grocery store, bar, or wherever it is. But if you follow these five tips, you won’t feel as intimidated.
As my student demonstrated, if you wander up to a bunch of girls at a work lunch, prepare to go down in flames. However, if you get introduced as a cute and funny guy via the bride at a wedding, your trainer at the gym, or your bartender friend at the local watering hole, you’ll have much better odds. Keep in mind the level of familiarity gives you better odds. The more of a stranger you are, the more women are on their guard.
Clubs where the music is pumping, people are half drunk, and women would rather have a root canal than be approached by random guys is maybe not the best place (although, some guys thrive in these environments). But a seminar where you sit next to a woman for four hours as you both learn about a common business you’re in is much better.
You have a better chance of approaching when it’s natural. At a wedding, seminar, cooking class, or whatever, there are people who probably know you and her or at least there is some common ground. At a nightclub, when you wander up to a woman cold, and she’s on her guard anyway, you have fewer odds of success. The more you can put yourself in a position of having more familiarity the better — you’re just farther ahead on having the right odds of success.
Speed dating is a phenomenon, and some of my students swear by it. There are usually 30 to 40 men and women (evenly split, around the same ages) who gather at a venue for the sole purpose of meeting someone to date. Men move musical-chair style around the room and spend three to eight minutes with each woman. Then, at the end of the night, the men and women write down who they want to be contacted by, and the organizer will share the contact information of mutually interested people.
You see, dovetailing on tip number one, I like to increase my odds. I can go to the club every single Friday and get turned down by women who have zero interest in meeting someone, or I can go talk to 15 to 20 women who signed up for an event where they want to meet someone. Approaching is not about having guts — it’s about being smart. To me, it’s much smarter to go to a place filled with women who want to meet a guy!
Where a lot of guys blow the approach is by starting off with something negative and talking too much. Let me be clear: even if there is familiarity or even if she is at a speed dating event where she wants to meet guys, she does not, under any circumstances want, to hear about your divorce, your bum knee, the ice cream that fell off your cone when you were 10, or anything else that’s a downer.
Your objective should be to make her laugh, get her comfortable, and then get her number. Period. End of story. Remember negatives play to the head but never to the heart. Keep your mouth shut about your bad pile of stuff when you interact with her.
What many guys don’t understand is they have to pass the physical attraction test first, and if they don’t, they’re out. If she likes guys with jet black hair, then the Swedish volleyball player is out (you know, tall, muscular, blonde).
Every woman, just like every man, has things they are attracted to and things they’re not attracted to. We all have a type. If you are not her type, she’ll be shuffling her feet, turned away from you, or giving one-word answers, and you will feel no heat from her direction. If you do pass her physical attraction test, then she’ll be showing it in her body language — asking questions about you, touching you (tapping your arm, etc.), smiling, and keeping the conversation flowing.
The best thing you can do is bail from the women who are giving you nothing and go find the women who will give you the attention you deserve. I know it’s hard because the male ego thinks all it has to do is plow ahead more and she’ll eventually like you. Wrong! This is not a bad Hollywood movie where she’ll start out completely disinterested and end up marrying you. In the real world, all you do is chase her around as she moves from boyfriend to boyfriend!
Be normal. Ask her questions about things she expresses interest in and really listen. If you pass the physical attraction test, then she is going to be open to talking to you and you don’t need to be telling her how pretty she is or saying wimpy things like you can’t believe you’re with her.
And, for the love of being a real man, please, please, please do not get in her grill by touching her, trying to kiss her, or being suggestive with her. Women want to get to know you slowly. You hear me? SSSLLLOOOWWWLLLYYY. Get out of her face and space.
Your sole objective, as I said above, is to get her comfortable and interested enough to give you her number, and that’s it. You cannot win her heart on the approach, but you can blow your chances with her forever during the approach. Be careful and go slow.
If you do get her number, do not call right away. In my dating course, I teach guys they should wait five to nine days to call because every guy calls within two days (or sooner). Women respond to challenge and mystery.
Also, if she doesn’t respond when you call her, then think “next!” In my experience, some women give out their number with no intention of going out with the guy. Don’t be a persistent guy and bug her endlessly. I would call two times without a response, and if she won’t set a date when you get a hold of her, then forget it. You have to move on because wasting your time with a woman who’s half interested or not interested at all prevents you from getting to one who is fully into you.
So, we’ve talked about some offline approaches, but what about online approaches? That’s a whole ‘nother ball game, but you can master it by sticking with my advice below.
You think your odds are bad offline approaching a woman cold on the street? Try sending messages through social media, especially LinkedIn. Women get really angry when you try to use a business social network to approach them. Do you know how many other guys are trying this? Some women get hundreds of messages and friend requests a day.
I know it’s easy for you to send a private message, but your odds are very bad. You can take some of the tips above and apply them to online (e.g., finding common ground, having someone introduce you, etc.), but I suggest getting the social media approach out of your head.
And forget about your random buddy who met his wife that way. The odds are so bad that it’d be like quitting your job to buy lottery tickets because your second cousin hit the Powerball. It can happen, but most likely won’t.
Dating sites and apps can still be difficult places to approach women because of the volume of messages women receive, but at least these women are there to meet someone. Why can’t that someone be you? You should only concentrate your online efforts on sites and apps where women are there to meet someone. Anything else online is a waste of time!
Most guys on dating sites and apps are clueless because they just wing it with their profiles. You shouldn’t do that. Be different and actually have a strategy.
It’s not hard for a woman to blow you off online. She just has to click to the next profile or delete the message. How can you stand out? You should have two professional photos (one casual, one business), and make the investment in your photos. They’re the only thing she will use to decide whether to respond to your message or stop on your profile.
If you’re on an app where you can only get one photo, then make it a professional but casual one. You have to pass the physical attraction test online, too. And if you put photos online that don’t look so hot, then how will your results be?
Also, don’t write The Gettysburg address on your profile. It’s enough to say you’re a gentleman looking for a self-reliant woman to have fun with as you get to know her slowly. If she likes you physically, that’s all she needs to know. The objective of approaching online is not to develop an online relationship but to get her to meet you in the real world.
You must be efficient online. Send one message to a woman you’re interested in, and if she doesn’t respond, then say to yourself “next!” Don’t keep peppering her with messages. The women who don’t respond aren’t into you physically. The women who do respond generally like you physically, so your job is to be friendly and just talk to them about their interests.
Again, don’t write the Magna Carta, but pick out something from her profile that you noticed (like she’s a championship pool player) and ask about that. You want to come off as normal as possible because you are a complete stranger who she can easily block.
I want you to do a max of two to three emails back and forth with her where you build a normal rapport with her. Then ask something like “Can I meet you for coffee or a drink at [a popular place that is well lit and where you’ll meet her when it’s still daytime] so we can see if we have chemistry in the real world?” She needs to be as comfortable as possible. You can only tell so much online.
Then say something like “Now, you just never know if our online photo attraction means we’ll actually like each other, so let’s make this meeting a max of 45 minutes. We can always schedule something longer later if we happen to like each other.”
That’s it! All you want to do is get this woman in the real world to see if you have chemistry, and you need to take the pressure off by putting a max time on it. There are two benefits to this:
1. If you don’t like her or vice versa, you’re not stuck all night.
2. If you do like each other, she’ll be anticipating your next time together, your first official date. Remember you want to go in slowly with women and have them anticipate their time with you. It’s good to cut this off even if it’s going well.
I take a step-by-step deliberate process to dating. I believe you can’t win her heart early on, but you can blow it with her early on. So, your only objective of the coffee date is to get her wanting to go out on a first date with you.
On the coffee date, you will not touch her, tell her how gorgeous she is (it’s OK to tell her she looks nice), nor come off as a creep. Be a normal guy, ask her questions about what she’s really interested in, make her laugh, and see if she touches you (the more she taps your leg or arm, the better as more touching equals more interest level on her part).
Then directly ask her for her phone number at the end of your time together. Do not try to hug her, kiss her, or be in her space. If she hugs you, then fine. But your objective is to get her to anticipate your first date at the end of the coffee date. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sometimes people exchange numbers prior to the coffee date in case something changes (e.g., they’re running late). While I’d never ask a girl for her number online (it’s too forward, as you are worse than a stranger), if you happen to have it due to her wanting to exchange numbers beforehand, I’d still ask for her number if I was interested at the end. It’s a class move. You could say “I know I have your number already, but I want to use it for a date with you — can I officially have it?” It’s a bit corny, but a girl who likes you will smile and be flattered.
I honestly believe these offline and online dating strategies will help you. My student who I mentioned at the beginning of this article decided to stop wasting his time approaching girls cold in public, and he chose instead to get good at online dating. He made sure his photos were on point, got good at the coffee date, and never gave up even though he had some, shall we say, “interesting” encounters on some of his dates. He has been with a great girl over for a year now and could not be happier. Will that be you? Start internalizing what I said above, and it could be.