What are the best pick up lines? And do pick up lines actually work? When I asked my Twitter followers this question, only 30% of people said yes! 

While I wasn’t surprised by this response, I do think that the negative reputation that pick up lines have isn’t entirely earned.

Check out this video to find out why:

While people use plenty of pick up lines that are awkward, confusing, and/or just flat-out inappropriate, they’re not supposed to be that way. 

A pick up line is supposed to do two things:

  1. Intrigue someone enough that they begin to reciprocate your interest.
  2. Initiate a conversation.

In other words, a pick up line is supposed to be intriguing and captivating. 

When doing research for my book Captivate, I sought out the most effective ways to spark conversations and make great first impressions. I found that the mistake people make with pick up lines and other ways of approaching people is that they forget to consider what the other person would be comfortable with – this is true of both online dating and meeting people in real life.

When trying to come up with pick-up lines, think to yourself:

What would intrigue you?

How to Come Up with the Best Pick Up Lines

So you’ve read our articles on attraction and confidence, you’ve bought a new outfit, and you’re ready to meet the person of your dreams.

The secret to coming up with pick up lines that work is context. Usually when people think of pick up lines they look to other person’s appearance for inspiration. This is what leads to a lot of the bad pick-up lines that people are used to hearing and that often come across as offensive.

The key to coming up with the best pick up line is context.

Instead of looking at the other person or agonizing over how to be funnier (although that works too!), look to your surroundings when thinking of a conversation starter. Here are some examples:

  • If you’re at a friend’s party, ask them how they know the host.
  • If you’re at a bar and they order an interesting drink, ask them what it is.
  • If you’re at an event, ask them what brought them there or how they’ve liked the activities so far.

Think of coming up with a pick up line like playing the game I Spy. 

Look around the room for something interesting and bring that up to someone around you.

Why does context work for making good pick up lines? They are comfortable commonalities. If you are in the same place it is a commonality. You don’t have to guess or probe, all you have to do is look around. 

And for my fellow recovering awkward people … if you struggle to approach new people because you have social anxiety and it makes you feel awkward, check out my book Captivate. In it, I provide step-by-step instructions on how to look and feel confident in social situations that trigger your nerves.

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Pick Up Line Do’s and Don’ts 

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re approaching someone else – mostly, be polite, considerate, and respectful. Also…

Do

  • Have a real interest in their response. If you are just waiting to talk, you’ll miss something interesting about them and come across as self absorbed. 
  • Be genuine. It can be nerve wracking to approach someone, and you might be tempted to exaggerate or lie about yourself. This will only come back and bite you, so it is important to be honest. 
  • Be aware of how your words or actions might come across. Men, particularly when you are trying to open up a conversation with a woman, consider your body language and tone and watch how she responds. If you have any incline that she might feel uncomfortable, respect her, and leave the conversation. 
  • Take rejection graciously. There’s really nothing worse than someone taking rejection personally. The chances of two people being single, interested, and available, are really slim, so brace yourself for rejection and be respectful. 

Don’t

  • Comment on someone’s looks. As a general rule, compliments go down better if you’re complimenting an outfit they chose rather than their eyes or hair. 
  • Force a conversation if it doesn’t feel natural. You’ll know if your interaction is forced because one or both of you will be acting awkwardly, and they might be giving you short or one worded answers. 
  • Be creepy. Approaching a woman alone at a bus stop at night to tell her she smells nice isn’t romantic, it’s terrifying. 
  • Disturb people wearing earphones. Earphones are usually a clear sign that someone doesn’t want to be disturbed, so unless they remove their earphones to talk to you, just leave them alone. 

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The 10 Best Pick Up Lines to Get You Started

For this article, we’ve avoided the traditional (often, tacky) pick up lines, and instead have curated some lines that are genuine and personal to help you really connect with a new person. They work as conversation starter on a first date, or even just approaching a stranger. 

Do you come here a lot? We know, ‘do you come here often?’ is overused, but the sentiment is great. It opens a conversation about the other person, and helps you to connect over a common experience. It’s also a great chat up line because you can use it almost anywhere – the pub, at a cinema, a nightclub, etc.

Can I buy you a drink? Simple, to the point, and non invasive, this chat up line works to open a conversation. Ladies, you can do this too – it might feel a bit awkward at first as its traditionally been men that offer to buy women a drink, but it’s 2019. Keep an eye on his body language. He’ll either be impressed with your confidence or he won’t be worth your time anyway.

Can I buy you a book? A variation of the above (but more suited to the book worms among us) this is the perfect chat up line in a store when you see someone looking through the books. If you’re both in a book shop, the chances are you already have something wonderful in common. Also, it’s super romantic, and if they say yes, you can ask questions about what they like to read.

What did you think about the [event]? You’ll have to change this depending on the situation, but whether you’ve just walked out of the theatre or you’re watching a band at your local pub, this chat up line works to start talking about a common interest.

The weather is nice / awful today – I hope it stays / doesn’t stay like this. Okay, one to take out of the British book of chat up lines, commenting on something mundane like the weather is really a non intimidating way to spark conversation. And it works anywhere!

Do you have a lighter? Okay, this one only really applies to the smokers (perhaps the modern day equivalent is vape fluid?) but it is still a classic way to open a conversation with other smokers.

Do you know the way to [a place you’re going]? This can be a bit hit or miss as it tends to involve approaching someone completely out of the blue. But it does open a conversation. You can ask if they know the place, and what do they think about it. If the conversation is going well, and you’re getting good body language vibes, you could even invite the person to join you.

Can I ask your opinion on something? Be careful with this one, as it can come across weird or intimidating, but it can be used in almost any situation. If you’re speaking to someone at the bar, you could ask their opinion on a restaurant someone else recommended, or perhaps you’re writing an assignment in a library and could ask their opinion on the title of your work. It can be a great segue into a natural conversation.

Isn’t this [building / area of the town / room] beautiful? Again with commenting on something mundane, remarking about the area around you is a nice way to connect with someone.

Ohh, what’s that? This works a treat in cafes, bars, and even restaurants. Be careful you’re not intruding on someone else’s time with their friends, but commenting on something someone has ordered (whether an interesting cocktail or an exotic dish) is the perfect way to start talking to someone.

Also check out our 57 killer conversation starters.

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The Single Best Pick Up Line Ever

Ok I have one more for you…Do you know what the most effective pick up line is? Researchers at the University College London tested hundreds of pick up lines ranging from sweet and cheesy to flat out sleazy and they found that the single best pick up line for both men and women is:

Hello, how are you?

It’s really that simple! That question works because it’s easy for the other person to answer, it’s appropriate, it’s non-invasive and it shows you’re interested in hearing about them.

Once you’ve got the conversation started the other person is interested in engaging with you, you can move onto more personal topics. Here are a few of my favorite questions to ask when getting to know someone new:

  • What does a typical day look like for you? This is a great question to ask to learn about their lifestyle.
  • Have you watched any good movies/read any good books/listened to any good music lately? Learn their taste in entertainment and see if you have anything in common.
  • Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? You’ll get to hear about who they admire and what types of conversations they like to have.
  • What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend? Find out how they like to have fun and get potential date ideas.
  • Would you like to be famous? In what way? An easy question to ask to learn both their goals and what drives them.

Most important of all — be confident. You are a great catch. All you need to do is find your person.

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is a national best selling author & founder at Science of People. Her groundbreaking book, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People has been translated into more than 16 languages. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma. She regularly leads innovative corporate workshops and helps thousands of individual professionals in her online program People School. Vanessa works with entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and trillion dollar companies; and has been featured on CNN, BBC, CBS, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, the Today Show and many more.

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