It’s the classic meet-cute movie scene: Two people lock eyes across a crowded bar and begin to work their way toward each other. They exchange names, flirty banter ensues, and before long, they’re making out and maybe even planning to head home together. Sounds simple enough, right? But in real life, getting someone at a bar to notice you can be tricky. It’s never quite as easy as it looks in the movies. When you’re dying to get their attention, what should you do?
The thing is, bars aren’t always ideal places to try to meet someone new. They can be crowded, dark, and loud — not to mention, people are often there with their friends, which might make it seem intimidating to approach them. But with the right technique, you can have your own rom-com worthy moment with the hottie you’ve spotted across the room. I spoke with Dr. Darcy Sterling, licensed clinical social worker and relationship expert, to learn some tricks for catching the eye of the person you’re crushing on, even if you’re feeling super nervous to talk to them. While you can never be sure where the night may lead, you can feel confident you’ve done their best to pique their interest. Here’s how to make it happen.
1. Make eye contact.
“Eye contact is everything,” Sterling tells Elite Daily, “particularly in our current age of distraction. It tells your crush that you’re into them.” Looking directly at your crush will signal to them that they’ve caught your eye, and that you’re interested in talking to them one-on-one. If they’re also feeling it, they’ll lock eyes with you right back.
2. Put down your phone.
Sterling says it’s best to avoid anything that might draw your attention away from your crush. If you’re looking at your phone, it might suggest that you’re bored or wishing you were somewhere else. You want to make it clear that you’re 100% living in the moment.
3. Step away from your squad.
“Make sure your friends aren’t a barrier to meeting new people,” Sterling advises. Obviously, for safety reasons, it’s smart to tell your pals where you’re going — but don’t be afraid to step outside of your circle of friends so your crush can approach you. By making yourself available for conversation without the intimidation factor of being surrounded by friends, you’re opening the door for your crush to walk up and say hello.
4. Send them a note with a drink.
If you haven’t managed to catch your crush’s eye, Sterling suggests sending them a flirty note through the bartender. Keep it light and fun with something like… “Hi, couldn’t help but notice you. Would love to meet!” If you really want to put yourself out there, scribble down your phone number for them as well.
5. Approach them yourself.
Who says you have to wait for the hottie to approach you? Try going over and striking up a conversation yourself. “We tell ourselves a lot of stories to remain passive in the dating and flirting arena,” Sterling tells Elite Daily. But making the first move is sexy, and it makes a strong first impression on someone. “We’re all attracted to confident people,” Sterling explains. Even if your crush ultimately isn’t interested, they’ll respect your willingness to approach them so boldly — and you’ll feel proud of yourself for going out on a limb.
6. Say something authentic (don’t use a cheesy line).
Pickup lines are rarely, if ever, used in a way that sounds natural. Instead of starting with a cringeworthy opening line, be true to yourself. Acknowledge it if you feel uncomfortable striking up a conversation. “If you feel awkward, own it,” Sterling suggests. Say something like… “I have no idea how people do this so effortlessly, but I just knew I had to come say hello.” You’ve thrown the ball into their court, and they can decide where the conversation will go next.
Approaching someone at a bar is risky — there’s always going to be fear of rejection. And unfortunately, you never know how an encounter will pan out until you decide to go for it. Obviously, if your crush politely declines your advances, you need to respect that and leave them alone to do their thing. But there’s an equally good chance they’ll be totally down to match your flirting.
Sterling says that ultimately, confidence is your best friend when it comes to picking up a cutie at a bar. Never be afraid to put yourself out there. “We all fear rejection,” she explains, “which is why you look hot doing it.” Even if this particular crush isn’t the one for you, you’ll learn with practice how to show your interest in a way that makes you practically irresistible. Now, flip your hair and go do your thing, girl!
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