Women may well recognise this little scenario. You’re standing in a bar with a girlfriend. (Perhaps slightly intoxicated) man enters, stage left.
“Hi. How are you ladies?”
We’re good, thanks.
“Having a good night?”
Yes, it’s great.
The questions just keep coming, fired off in quick succession with little regard for the answers or any real conversation:
What are your names? Do you come here often? (Yes, really.) Do you live nearby? What do you do for work? Have you worked there long?
Needless to say, women are quick to shut down these interrogations. And we’re not always nice about it.
Men, we don’t mean to be defensive and dismissive when you approach but you have to realise you’re not adding anything to our night by coming over, interrupting our conversation and then probing us with boring questions.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard the same rundown of tired job-interview style questioning. In fact, it’s probably not the first time that night we’ve heard it. So you can see why we might get a little weary.
I understand it’s nerve-wracking to even approach women in the first place.
And more than that, women expect men to do all the legwork for fear we’ll be seen as aggressive or desperate.
But for your own sake, and ours, come up with some new material. Surprise us, make us laugh, engage us.
I’m not talking about pick up lines here. I’m just talking about some fresh and original conversation.
One of the best nights chatting to strangers in my recent memory was a pair of guys who came up to me and a friend right after my martini had exploded on the bar (no really… warm glass, cold ice. It’s physics. And it did happen, even if the bartender thought I’d just knocked it over).
We talked about my exploding cocktail they’d witnessed, about facial hair and how manly it was (so manly, one claimed, that I could instantly become impregnated just by touching his beard), we analysed the other patrons in the bar and came up with back stories for them all.
At one point in a lull I did ask what they did for a living. “That’s boring – let’s not talk about that,” they said.
And so we didn’t.
Not once did I get grilled about my day, my job, whether I went to that bar on a frequent basis… we had a fantastic time.
Men, we don’t mean to be awful to you, if that’s what you’ve experienced.
If women are out in a bar, we’ve purposely come to a social space so we can interact with the people around us. Just learn to do it in the right way and watch how receptive we can be.
Women, for your part in all this, be more open to talking to strangers in bars. Let them be nervous, be kind when answering questions… crushing their egos is not helpful for anyone.
In fact, you’re ruining the next girl’s chance because by the time he gets around to talking to her, he’s probably so soul-destroyed by you that he can’t get his game back together.
Be nice. You don’t have to be vicious to get your point across. If the conversation is leaning towards the mundane, try to steer it away to more colourful pastures. Say: “You know what? I’ve been in the office all day, let’s talk about something other than work.”
Hopefully he’ll take the cue and come along for the ride, but if it turns out your personalities just don’t mesh, spend a little time, then thank him and gently move on. Or he might do it first, once he realises you two aren’t clicking.
Let’s just all try to be a bit nicer to each other. It’s an important social skill, and I feel like it’s been missing for awhile.
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