For many people seeking a romantic relationship, the biggest challenge is meeting potential partners. There’s no one “right” way to meet someone new, but many people find it helpful to widen their social circles to bump into like-minded people organically. Activities such as art, music, and exercise could introduce you to women with whom you have a lot in common. See below for more detailed tips.
Why Does Meeting Women Feel So Difficult?
If you’re experiencing difficulty meeting romantic partners, you’re not alone. For many people, uncertainty about how to approach others is a major part of the problem. Some fear they’ll be perceived as creepy or harassing if they attempt to speak with a woman they don’t know. This concern is understandable since 1 in 3 women report having experienced sexual harassment in a public place according to the CDC.
However, research also indicates that people in general tend to overestimate how reluctant strangers will be to talk to them. Plus, of course, the way you approach the interaction can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived. Following a few simple social guidelines—respect and consideration being at the forefront of these—may improve your success in conversing with someone new.
How To Start A Conversation With A Woman You Don’t Know
Before we continue, it’s worth noting that most of this advice may apply equally well to conversations with people of any gender since gendered differences in psychology are often exaggerated. You'll generally be better off approaching a prospective partner as an individual rather than viewing them through the lens of popular ideas of “what women are like”. That said, here are some tips that may make it easier for you to have a successful interaction when meeting someone new.
Make Eye Contact Before Approaching
A conversation often begins even before any words are exchanged. If you’re considering approaching a woman in public, you may want to wait until she notices you so that you can see how she responds. A few glances her way is often sufficient to make her realize that you’re expressing interest. It’s usually best to avoid staring, which can be perceived as threatening or unsettling.
When she spots you looking her way, you can give a brief, nonverbal acknowledgment like a small wave or a nod and a smile. Her response will often clue you into whether she’s open to interacting. If she appears to be trying to avoid eye contact or otherwise looks uncomfortable, it likely means she’s uninterested. In a case like this, it’s usually best to leave her be.
Project Openness With Your Body Language
People often react as much to a conversation partner’s nonverbal behavior as they do to the words spoken aloud. Once you’ve made your approach, you may be able to put the person you’re talking to more at ease by maintaining an open posture. For instance, you might consider:
Keeping your head up and shoulders open
Not crossing your arms or legs
Not clenching your hands or putting them in your pockets
Tilting or turning your body toward a person when speaking with them
Smiling or keeping a relaxed, neutral facial expression
Making eye contact with those around you now and again
These behavioral cues can help signal that you are relaxed, confident, and friendly, which may make others more willing to engage you in conversation. There’s even some research suggesting that confident body language can boost your self-confidence, so adopting these postures might make it easier for you to approach women.
Some people may assume that they need a clever, witty opening line to impress women right away. However, it can often be just as effective—or even more so—to simply show a genuine interest in the other person by asking them questions. You may be able to get a conversation going by noticing something interesting she’s doing, saying, or wearing and asking about it. It may also be possible to use the context of your location to come up with a topic. For instance, if you’re at a concert, you could ask how she was introduced to the band that’s playing.
Once you begin talking, you may be able to build up a stronger connection with further questions about her life and interests. You don’t want to seem like you’re interrogating her, but demonstrating an interest in who she is can go a long way.
Be Ready To Back Off
The ability to end an interaction when appropriate can sometimes be as important as knowing how to get it started. Taking up too much of a person’s time—especially if they’re giving cues that indicate they want it to end—could come across as rude or even threatening. A brief conversation is often all that’s necessary for both parties to decide whether they’re interested in getting to know each other better.
Once you’ve had a short, pleasant chat, you may simply want to mention that you’d like to see her again sometime and offer her a way to get in touch with you if she feels the same way. If she declines or seems uninterested, it’s generally not a good idea to press the issue. The best course of action, in this case, is usually to smile, thank her for her time, and walk away. While rejection may sting, the ability to accept it gracefully is a sign of maturity and consideration in many cases—as well as a potential indicator that you’re in a good place mentally to participate in the dating world.
Pay Attention To Subtle Cues
You also may need to be prepared to leave if the other person’s body language or verbal tone signals that they’re disinterested. Many people are reluctant to explicitly tell another person to leave because they’re afraid of being perceived as rude, or because they fear an extreme reaction. Instead, they may show their discomfort with signals like:
Hunching their body
Turning or leaning away from you
Looking around the room instead of making eye contact
Looking at the ground
Crossing their arms or otherwise showing closed-off body language
Giving short, curt responses
Not speaking unless directly prompted
If you notice these signs, it’s usually time to politely end the conversation and leave.
Ways To Meet Women
The advice above may make it easier for you to initiate conversations, but you may still be unsure of where to meet women you’re interested in. The good news is that there are many ways you may be able to expand your social circle if you’re willing to open yourself up to new experiences. You might like to consider the following ideas for meeting women.
Take a class. Have you always wanted to learn to cook, paint, rock climb, or repair bicycles? Signing up for a class may be a way to learn a new skill while also meeting people with similar interests.
Join a sports/exercise club or group. Your area might have a group that meets regularly to run, bike, skate, do yoga, or engage in other forms of exercise. Not only can this provide you with an opportunity to meet new people, but it may also be good for your health and sense of overall well-being.
Visit bars or coffee shops. You might be rolling your eyes at the idea of trying to meet a woman in a bar, but there is a huge range of venues to choose from. If you don’t like loud, dark nightclubs, perhaps you’ll feel more comfortable at a casual bar with board games and funky cocktails. If you don’t drink alcohol, a coffee shop, tea house, or smoothie bar might work just as well.
Hang out in museums or go to art events. You might be able to find interesting women to talk to at museums, bookstores, concerts, or other artistic events. Special events like exhibitions and book signings may also offer built-in opportunities to mingle and converse.
Use dating apps. Some may be hesitant to try and meet women through dating apps. While the process can have its challenges, there’s no denying that it can open you up to a wider dating pool. One study found that, as of 2019, online dating was the most popular way for couples of all sexual orientations to meet.
Anxious About Dating? Therapy Can Help
You may find yourself experiencing anxious feelings when it’s time to put the advice above into practice. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 12.1% of Americans experience a social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Even if you don’t have a diagnosable disorder, you may experience nervousness and stress when it comes to trying to meet women and find love.
A qualified mental health professional may be able to help you manage these emotions and develop the confidence to start dating. Online therapy in particular can be a great option for those experiencing clinical social anxiety or general nervousness around social interactions. Meeting with a therapist over the internet may feel less intimidating than doing so in person, potentially giving you a greater sense of control and comfort.
Reviews of scientific literature on the topic have found that cognitive-behavioral therapy delivered online can be just as effective as face-to-face counseling. Additional research has found online CBT to be very effective for treating social anxiety specifically. One study following 446 adults in treatment for social anxiety disorder concluded that internet-based therapy produced “a large treatment effect” with “continued long-term improvements”. If you’re having difficulty meeting women due to anxious feelings, you may want to consider seeking online assistance from a trained counselor. If you’re interested in online therapy, you might try a service like BetterHelp to get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or online chat. Read on for client reviews of BetterHelp Therapists.
“My experience working with Dr. Smith has helped me to find tools & ways to reconnect with myself, recognize my unique qualities and restore my core confidence. I enjoy the safe and supportive space he created for our conversations and I greatly benefit from his professional help and his decades-long expertise.” Read more on Christopher Smith.
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