How to Approach Women

Different women want different things, but there are some things that would be universally helpful for you to do.


I’d just pulled out my debit card to pay at the grocery store when I felt a touch on my arm. I turned to see a man who’d smiled at me earlier in front of the ground meats.

His hand still on my arm, he said, “I’m interested in you. Can I take you out sometime?”

I flushed and darted my eyes to look at the cashier. “Uhh, I’m sorry. I’m dating someone.”

He nodded and walked away. The cashier, bagger, and the three people waiting in line behind me all watched him shoot his shot and get shot down.

Men have it tough. They are often expected to make the first move, and that means they’re going to get rejected too. But, as Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Many people don’t know that the rest of that quote is, “Even though there is only a 1–5% probability of scoring” (January 16, 1983 edition of Hockey News).

The lesson is simple: make the shots, but know that you’re going to shoot a lot more than you’re going to score.

While different women will want to be approached in different ways, here are some things that are universally good to consider.

1. Don’t trap or corner her.

When you approach a woman, always make sure she has an exit route and that you aren’t blocking it.

Most men don’t consider the fact that women have to think like this. Men, in general, are physically larger and stronger than women, and a whopping 81% of women have experienced sexual harassment (quantified as verbal sexual harassment, unwelcome sexual touching, cyber sexual harassment, being physically followed, unwanted genital flashing, and/or sexual assault).

When you approach us and our only exit route is through you, many of us are going ot be immediately frightened. I promise you that we likely aren’t thinking about how nice and cute you are. We’re probably thinking, “If this goes south, how am I going to get out of here??”

Approach her in a way that ensures she has a way to leave. She’ll then be able to give you her attention since she’ll be less likely to worry about how she’s going to leave.

2. Skip the pick-up lines.

Most women prefer you just talk to them like they’re…people. As a Relationship Coach and a person who’s dated, I can tell you that I’ve met no one that a pick-up line has worked on. NO ONE.

Just go up to her, smile, and say, “hello.” Ask her about where you are, and pay attention to her body language. If she keeps eye contact and is pleasant, continue talking and then ask her for her number. If she’s avoiding eye contact and giving you one-word answers, move on.

3. Consider where you’re approaching her.

Many women would appreciate that you not approach them while they’re at work, at the gym, or in front of a lot of people, but there are exceptions, of course. It’s important to remember that there are rules and then there are exceptions to the rules. Rules > exceptions.

For example, if she’s at the gym, headphones in, not making eye contact at anyone, she’s not open to being approached. But if she’s pulled her headphones out and keeps looking at you, she’s probably open to you coming over there and chatting with her.

My first job was as a waitress, and plenty of men asked me out or left me their numbers, but I never went out with any of them.

I might have been interested if I hadn’t been working when we’d met, but this was my work. I don’t know about you, but I don’t associate work with “fun sexy time,” so it might be best to approach women when they aren’t being paid to speak to you. You also might have a better idea if she’s actually interested in you if she’s not trying to get you to buy something or tip her more.

Lastly, a lot of women don’t enjoy being hit on in front of an audience (think Mr. Grocery Meats above). If you want to ask her out or hit on her, maybe see if you can pull her aside first or catch her when she’s alone.

4. Make sure you have her attention.

One day I was at a coffee shop working when I heard a guy near me talking. I continued going about my business.

Then I heard him say, “What do you think?” When I didn’t hear a response, I looked up. It turns out he’d been talking to me.

I’d given him no indicators that I was listening. He hadn’t said “Excuse me?” or “Miss?” or anything else to grab my interest. He’d just…been near me and started speaking.

Since then, I’ve seen this too many times: men just assuming women are listening to them because they’re in the same general vicinity.

If you’re going to talk to a woman, make sure she’s paying attention to you before you start talking. She needs to be looking at you. She needs to have responded in some way before you start on it.

5. If it doesn’t work, find someone it does work with.

You’re not going to score every time (see the Gretzsky quote above), but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. It actually means that if it doesn’t work out, try again.


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