What do you say when you meet someone for the first time?
If you feel totally inept at flirting and meeting, join the
club. The truth is, I've met very few single people, men or
women, who are truly comfortable meeting another single for
the first time. So here's some advice for handling the
dreaded "Singles Scene."
First, as I've said elsewhere, go out alone to parties and
social events; you're more approachable and less encumbered
that way. And for heavens sake, try to look like you're
having fun. Smile. Move. Dance. If people think you're
enjoying life, they'll be drawn to you.
Next, don't get hung up on appearances. Noticing a "10"
takes no particular insight. But remind yourself that the
"10s" are probably spoiled and impossible. Instead, just
think about your criteria and
work the crowd looking for someone who seems to fit. At
almost any singles bar or function, you can eliminate the
"bottom three" and "top two" based on appearance and still
have lots of "possibles" left in the middle.
Be smart, though, in whom you approach. If they haven't
even glanced your way, or if they seem to be wrapped up in
an involving conversation, cool it. Wait until they're
looking your way. At that point, there's nothing wrong with
a good old-fashioned flirtatious look (eye to eye, with a
smile). If they don't return the smile, holding eye contact
for a second or two, it's probably best to keep moving. If
they do, be prepared with some conversation.
"Breaking the ice" is an apt old expression. There is an
inevitable awkwardness when you first meet someone -- even
when you sense that they want to meet you too. So here's
the most important part of my advice: simply accept the
awkwardness, and understand with certainty that the other
person feels it too, and you will bring a little grace to a
situation that needs it badly.
This means you don't have to be glib. If you're not
naturally extroverted, witty and quick with a response, it's
a mistake to try to be cutesy. This is not Burt Reynolds
and Sally Field "spontaneously" charming each other for the
first time. It's two uncomfortable real people in real
So what do you say? Something simple. The simplest thing
is to introduce yourself -- "Hi. My name is ____, what's
yours?" Actually, any opening line will probably do,
because that's the easy part. What you need to be prepared
for is the deadly monosyllabic answer: "Jim." Or "Betty."
The point is, you can't expect the other person to start
rattling on just because you've introduced yourself; have a
second question in mind which can't be answered with just
yes or no, such as, "How do you know (the hosts)?" Say
anything to get the conversation past the first
question and answer. Remember, the other person is finding
it just as difficult.
Once you know their name and you've exchanged a sentence or
two, more self-disclosure may be in order. For example,
"Oh, I just have the worst time meeting people for the first
time -- and you seem so (cute), (intelligent), (popular,
etc.). I don't suppose it's the same with you, is it?"
That's it. You've broken the ice. Ask more questions if
the person seems interesting, or if not, just say, "Well,
I'm going to circulate a little; let's talk later."
Related Keywords: Meeting People, Attracting, Dating Strategies
Return to Library Top Page
Return to "Ask Dr. Tracy" Home Page
copyright 1995-2011 Tracy Cabot