How Not To Approach A Guy in A Bar

An Awkward Guy, Girl Moment

Cali Bradhsaw is a 20-something, serial dater from glorious San Diego. When she’s not having awesomely, awkward encounters with the other sex, she’s blogging about the challenges of dating during the time of Facebook & You can read her escapades at or follow her on Twitter at @Calibradshaw.

You know, I’m always hearing that guys like girls who come up to them and initiate conversation. Supposedly they are nervous, and they appreciate a woman who makes the first move. I am calling bullshit on that one. Very, very rarely have I seen making the first move be an effective strategy, but perhaps I’m just doing it wrong. Since I have yet to come up with a subtle, classy and sure-fire way to go up to a guy, I have compiled a list of ways not to do it.

Ladies, here is how not to approach a guy in a bar:

  1. Hit him – I get a bit feisty after a long night, and from time to time, I seem to think hitting is appropriate behavior. On occasion, when I’ve seen a cute guy, I’ve given him what I considered a love pat (but what actually resembled a smack). Please note ladies, hitting him will get his attention — as well as his annoyance.
  2. Ask him about his drink and or straw - Ok yea, so this is scraping the bottom of the barrel, but sometimes it’s the only thing I can come up with and hey, we are in a bar. Sadly, this never results in a stimulating conversation and it is extra awkward if what he is drinking is water.
  3. Give him a high five – Why is this not an effective strategy? It’s like, “oh heyyyy how’s it going?! High five!” Often, the high five is returned, but as he keeps right on walking.
  4. Asking him to take a photo – Confession, I have tried this one a lot. In theory, it’s a great idea. As he looks through the lens he’ll notice your pretty little smile and he’ll just HAVE to know more about you. But in reality, most guys just seem to be annoyed that you are yet another girl, taking a picture in a bar.
  5. Send a friend to go talk to him – We all have those confident, “in-a-relationship” girlfriends who have absolutely no qualms about approaching a guy in a bar. And why would they? If they get rejected, they still have a warm body to go home to. While these fabulous friends may appear to be a natural solution to our nerves, this plan generally fails. I find that our “in-a- relationship” friends often use this time to validate that they’ve still got it, and occasionally, forget that they are supposed to be talking you up.
  6. Mistake his identity – You know what’s awkward? Going up to a guy you think you’ve met before and chatting him up, only to discover he is definitely not the person you thought. Bonus points if the person you thought he was is his brother — especially if you’ve dated them both. Not that I’ve done that or anything…
  7. Ignore them/Don’t approach them at all – This one is usually my plan of action. It goes a little something like this, “Wow check out that cute guy. Maybe if I pay him absolutely no attention and just stand here looking pretty, he’ll come up and introduce himself.” WRONG. Usually one of two things happens. He either A. leaves the bar, sad that no cute girls came up to talk to him. Or B. leaves the bar with a skanky looking girl. Le sigh.

In truth, there really is no easy way to chat up an attractive man in a bar. Even a well executed plan can go south when you notice the wedding ring on his hand 30 mins into the conversation. LAME. But if¬† there is one tactic that I have found to have at least a semi-decent success rate, it would be what I like to call the “prolonged eye contact.” Sometimes guys just need to “catch you” looking at them to get the courage to come say hey. So next time you see a cutie at a bar, avoid the 7 awesome ideas I listed above and instead try a couple of quick looks, and if you are really daring, maybe even a smile. If nothing else, it should definitely¬† get you farther than hitting.

Photo Credit: BozDoz

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13 Responses

  1. Link

    Single_Blonde said on February 2nd, 2011 - 1:50 pm

    Love the high five. That’s pretty funny. I’ve also tried the “send over a drink” method with limited success.

    Single City Guy, do you have a rebuttal? Any advice to offer us ladies brave enough to make the move?`

    • Link

      Single City Guy said on February 2nd, 2011 - 2:51 pm

      There is a follow up coming “soon”, but not at this moment! Most importantly, ladies, learn from the post!

  2. Link

    Tom said on February 2nd, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    Sweet List. I have to agree w/ @Single_Blonde, though. If we’re watching sport on television and the good guys do a good thing, I think a high five is a good ice-breaker.And it’s free-er than buying a drink. And, unless everyone is super-hammered, far less intimate than a chest bump.

  3. Link

    Single as Fuck (Audrey) said on February 2nd, 2011 - 3:02 pm

    I have one to add to the list- trying to play 20 questions with him. Too often I fire off “where are you from? what do you do? where do you live? what are your hobbies? life goals? pets?” (etc) without giving him a chance to catch his breath.

  4. Link

    single much said on February 2nd, 2011 - 3:18 pm

    Ah, the trusty eye linger. One of my faves as well. Only problem is when guys are too chicken shit to approach. You know they want to but then never work up the courage. :(

  5. Link

    Elle Grace said on February 3rd, 2011 - 6:33 am

    Very well written! All of these things are ringing true in my ears! I’ve tried them all except for hitting a man. I will try it out tonight and let you know how I get on.

    I can add one to the list that Audrey touched on, “So what do you do?” I hate being asked that question and yet I find myself asking it time and time again.

  6. Link

    Cali Bradshaw said on February 3rd, 2011 - 4:34 pm

    Hi All,

    I love all of your comments! Single Blonde – glad you enjoy my affinity for high fives. I just don’t think they get the respect they deserve these days :) And Tom, I have never tried a chest bump but I agree that a high five would probably go over better than that…

    Audrey – excellent addition! I do that as well. It’s mostly because I am trying to figure out “what is wrong with him” but yea, it doesn’t lead to natural convo.

    Single Much – Agreed. It sucks when you do a well executed eye linger, and the guy is still just standing there, awkwardly staring back. #fail

    And finally, Elle, thanks for the lovely compliment! I hope you’ll check my blog from time to time (in addition to Single City Guy of course) :)

    Thanks All!
    – @CaliBradshaw

  7. Link

    eM said on February 10th, 2011 - 1:34 am

    Great list! I agree on calling bullshit on men wanting women to make the first move and lots of other bs men say. Most men are dumbfounded by a woman initiating contact and others’ egos just can’t handle it. Prolonged eye contact from either party also takes a certain amount of skill. Too little makes it a random, meaningless glance. Too much makes it creepy / staker-ish.

    Thank you SCG for having Cali on your blog! :)

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