Three Second Rule
This rule states that once you have spotted a target, you give yourself no more than three seconds before approaching. The idea is to combat getting too much into your own headspace. When you think about the approach too much you begin building up anxiety, you worry too much about getting the line just right, and shit begins to get awkward because now when you approach she’ll know it took you this long to build up the nerve to do it.
This is a great rule for beginners, because the biggest thing most beginners need is more experience. Rather than trying to deliver great opening lines, beginners need to be in crash-and-burn mode and just practice opening at all. It also is really great for forcing you to think quickly; you can still use canned routines, but you have just 3 seconds to pick one out of your toolbox.
More experienced guys might want to ditch the rule. If it’s working for you, great. But, some situations require a bit more observation, analysis, and strategy before opening. Consider using the three second rule for the first hour that you’re out, and after that try to think more critically about the situation before going in.
This is a really simple concept, but surprisingly powerful: Approach from the side. If the direction the girl is facing is 12 o’clock, approach from about 2 to 4 o’clock (or 8 to 10 on the other side).
Why not the front: A direct approach appears by instinct as confrontational. This will naturally make her defensive. Approaching from the front also can create the awkward situation where she sees you approaching, you see her seeing you, and there’s still 20 feet to cover. You can recover from that, sure, but it’s better to avoid that landmine.
Why not from the back: Because it’s creepy. Also, if she’s in a group, you’re forcing her to turn her back on her friends. You want to use this for isolating her later on, but if you start this way, she’ll feel awkward and her friends are going to feel the need to immediately get her back from you.
Why the side: Because the other two options suck, and you have to approach from somewhere.
This idea has been around for a long time, and it also appears in mediation theory of all places (that’s mediation as in trying to avoid or settle a lawsuit). When mediators place opposing parties on opposite sides of a table, they become very combative. But, they’ve learned that by having them sit at the corner of the table, at 90 degrees from each other, they take a more cooperative attitude.
Which Set Size?
Open all the sets!
Seriously, don’t spend much time trying to select the right target, odds are you’re going to get blown out anyways, so it doesn’t matter which one you pick first!
But that said, the ideal set is either a 1set or a 3set (meaning a lone individual, or a group of three). The 1set should be obvious. As for why the 3set is so good, it’s because you’ll eventually want to isolate the girl from her friends. If she’s there with only one other person, she won’t abandon that friend. If she’s there with two friends though, they can keep each other company. Of course, if you roll with a wingman, 2sets are great, 3sets are tricky, and 4sets are pretty good.
What About Mixed Sets?
What about them? A lot of guys get hung up trying to find a girl not talking to a guy, but what they don’t know is that about 60% of the time they’re not involved. It’s more often a friend/orbiter, a relative, or some other dude at the bar trying to pick her up.
There’s no harm in finding out. Any simple situational opener will allow you to open a mixed 2set and then you can try to feel out what their relationship is.
Who in the Set to Open?
Typically you do not want to open your target. By talking to her friend first, you disqualify yourself. Once you’re DQed to her, she is no longer actively trying to reject you. Instead she’ll begin to try to get your attention and qualify herself to you.
Opening the friend also helps to disarm obstacles. The less attractive girl is often a buzzkill and will try to cockblock. But, if you approach the less attractive girl, she’s no longer feeling jealous of the more attractive friend, and won’t be as much of a problem. You’ll still have to deal with her when you make your move to the target later, but that’s a different issue.
If there are guys in the group, open them. Again, this is obstacle removal. By approaching the guy you want to implicitly acknowledge him as the alpha of the group. He’s less likely to try to AMOG you if he doesn’t perceive you as a threat to his social station. This doesn’t make you a beta though. You’re the alpha of your group, just visiting his group. It’s like saying “Your house, your rules.” Doesn’t make you his bitch, just means you’re acknowledging that you’re in his house.
How to Get Their Attention
Eye contact. Making sounds with your mouth. These are the easy, obvious ones. But, if you’re coming in from the side and she doesn’t turn to face you when her proximity alarms go off, all you need is a very light, brief touch on the shoulder, as if to say “Excuse me…”
The Actual Line
Ah, the meat and potatoes of the opening, the thing everyone gets hung up on. What the hell do you say?!
Frankly, it doesn’t really matter that much, most people can’t remember the opening a few minutes later anyways. I was in a relationship with a girl for six months, and I not only can’t remember my opener, but I can’t remember anything I said to her that night other than “We’re heading out, can I get your number?” and also asking how to spell her name. So really, just say anything.
Having a few canned routines in mind can be helpful if you’re not good at talking off the cuff or having trouble with confidence, but situational openers are generally much stronger.
You may also want to use a False Time Constraint. “Can I get you opinion on something real quick?” The “real quick” part implies you’re going to leave immediately after. Or, the less easy off the tongue, “I have to get back to my friends in just a minute, but…” Only trouble with using an FTC is that it gets awkward if you don’t leave. They’ll know you were lying, and start asking why you aren’t going back to your friends, and hey, do you even have any friends? If you use an FTC, be prepared to leave, but then re-open the set later on.
I like to use the opposite of the False Time Constraint, the Earnest Time Commitment. “Hey, my friends all bailed kinda early, and you look like you’re having a good time, so you’re my new friends tonight.” I’ve had a lot of success with this, and I think it’s because it’s entirely plausible, and most people can understand the awkward situation you’re in, so they empathize and want to help you continue having a fun night out. It’s weird with a 2set, because honestly, 2sets rarely look like they’re having fun. Better with a mixed group.
If you do care about the actual line, situational openers are the best. Comment on something going on. “Did you see the dude wearing a tux and sneakers?” “Stop eyeballing the bartender, he’s mine.” “Roll Tide!”
Sometimes there’s not much to comment on, especially at clubs (sports bars on the other hand, always something), so the next tried and true method is the opinion opener. “Hey, can I get your opinion on something? I’m thinking about getting a hamster. I think they’re really cute, buy my friends keep saying it’s not an appropriate pet for an adult.” (You can then transition into discussing fun names for a hamster.) As you’re going through your day, just observe things to ask opinions about. Get a notebook, and write them down. Soon you’ll have a huge list to draw from.
And when all else fails, just pay her a compliment. Yeah, I know it goes against what you’ve been taught about supplication, but with a 7 or 8, this can be really strong. It’s best not to compliment her for how she looks. That’s just what she was born with/had surgically enhanced. Compliment her on her clothes or accessories. This is a bit closer to her earning the compliment, because she did have to make the decision of what to wear. She earned your compliment by having good style.
Final Word on Approaching
The compliment approach transitions nicely into my final point. Some people will have the reaction that you should never open with a compliment, that it’s the worst thing you could possibly do. False. It’s not the strongest opener, but the worst thing you can do is not open at all. Better a weak opener than no opener.
So the most important thing to remember is to just freaking open. Don’t try to make it perfect, just try to make it happen. And above all else, don’t sit around on the ‘net all day trying to come up with the perfect opener. Get out in the field, open sets, get blown out, and open more.