Ronan Loughney • • 3 min read
What do you say after the pickup line IRL?
After all of your hard work and courage, figuring out what to say after the pickup line can seem like the be-all and end-all, the point on which everything depends. But what if what was needed was a reframe of how you are viewing the situation?
For many of us, the concept of approaching someone and engaging them is too terrifying even to consider.
But there are a few brave souls out there who have taken the leap and put themselves on the line. This is the stage you’ve reached if you’re reading this post.
So, let’s imagine a scenario:
You approach someone you find attractive in a public setting, a bar or after a yoga class or in a queue for the bank.
This is a big deal, something you have rehearsed over and over in your head, so you turn to some line you have found somewhere on the internet. Something funny, charming, direct. Something to break the ice. ‘How much does an elephant weigh?’ Something like that.
To your amazement, the attractive person responds with a smile. They laugh, turn their faces welcomingly towards you. Your heart leaps and does a little dance inside your head. ‘I did it!’
And then, as you celebrate, it dawns on you…
What the hell do I say now?
I’m sorry to tell you that this whole article up until now has been a set-up.
You had already begun to dig your own little socially awkward grave the moment you asked ‘What do I say after the pickup line?’ in the first place.
That’s not because pickup lines are bad or rude or even necessarily outdated. People like being flirted with a lot of the time, it's apparently good for you and it can be an innocent and charming thing to do.
The problem is that pickup lines are premeditated and impersonal. Therefore, they may get you in the door, but then you find yourself standing behind 10 more doors, each needing another cleverly calculated line to get through.
One option here would be to have an entire series of conversations cued up inside your head before you even start. The problem with that is that, if it does not come from some authentic and real place inside of you, you will quickly go off course as soon as you see that the person you are speaking with isn’t reacting the way you had hoped. You will become like a trauma victim minutely analyzing their expressions as you search for something indicating their moment-to-moment approval, veering off course the moment you perceive any rebuffal to your chat.
Because the truth is that the first thing you say should be no different from the second or third or last thing you say, in the sense that it must all come from you. This way, you don’t need different strategies for what to say after a good pickup line or what to say after a bad pickup line. The only rule is that, whatever you say, make sure it’s something you believe. Say things which you yourself find interesting, otherwise, they never will. Amuse yourself, because otherwise, what’s the point? Remember that whatever you say from a position of vulnerability, heart connection and presentness is innately valuable, because it is a moment of truth and authentic expression.
Most importantly, remember that if this person doesn’t resonate with that, you don’t want to pursue the conversation anyway. If they do not enjoy your genuine essence, you should not waste your time with them.
Because here is the important thing: we put all of the pressure on ourselves in that initial interaction - I have to prove myself attractive to this person. But in fact, that initial interaction is a trial for both people. You are assessing whether there is some natural chemistry there, whether this person can impress you. Whether you actually feel something, rather than just the beating of your heart in your throat or some entirely physical and superficial lust.
Approach someone looking for connection and not conquest, and you cannot lose. They are just another person, as you are just another person, bumping around in the chaos of life. Be interested in seeing if there might be something between you, out of the 8 billion conversations you could also conceivably start.
There’s nothing more to it than that.
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Ronan is a writer, musician and coach, committed to seeking truth, finding beauty and deepening human connection and community.