Pick-Up Lines Only Work If You Follow These 5 Rules

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Woman using pick up lines on the man in the booth behind her

From the classic but cheesy pick-up lines like "Did it hurt? [Did what hurt?] when you fell from heaven?"’ and "Can I have directions? [To where?] To your heart?" to crass pick-up lines like "I would never order a rack of lamb with you if you and your rack would have a drink with me," guys use all sorts of pick-up lines to approach women. But do they work?

When it comes to hitting on someone at a bar, club, or wherever else you are sourcing girls, one-line pick-up lines can either work or be a total flop. Corny pick-up lines can either be funny and sweet or be too much, degrading, and too forward. So do you go for the elaborate gesture or a lively conversation and simple complement?

There is a reason that there are professional pick-up artists out there — because sometimes they work.

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When they are presented in a way that, “comes across as non-threatening and not specifically to be intimate, pick-up lines do work,” says Stef Safran, Chicago’s "Introductionista" and owner of Stef and the City.

The good ones “get the conversation going and can be the deal maker for a date and the catalyst for a relationship that goes the distance!” says relationship expert April Masini. But the bad ones are, “inappropriately crass, desperate lines” that show to the girl you are just hoping for intimacy, she says.

Relying on a witty pick-up line alone isn’t enough to woo the opposite gender, you need to also have a combination of the 3 Cs: confidence, connection, and the ability to effectively compliment.

A genuine connection with lively banter is also important. Recognize her inviting smile and read her eyes to see if she is giving you the time of day. You can’t go in with a pick-up line and think you're golden; you need to make a true connection with the person to get their attention.

And also make sure to give her compliments, about her smile, clothes, etc. as it will earn you some much-needed brownie points!

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Jonathan Bennett who runs Bennett Twins Hypnosis notes that women often react negatively and are guarded in environments where pick-up lines are often used (clubs, bars, etc.), thinking “Oh great, not again” because “usually many pick-up lines are boring and poorly delivered.” But guys do need to approach women and sometimes a line, if delivered and appropriate, "can be a good method because it sets a tone for the conversation," adds Greg Dudzinski, Licensed Professional Counselor, relationship and intimacy specialist at The Art of Relationships.

Pick-up lines are not just about throwing something out and expecting a miraculous connection. So if you do use a pick-up line, make sure you have a strategy in mind of how to build off and start a conversation.

Yes, pick-up lines can work — Just follow these 5 rules:

1. Be original

Stay true to yourself and don’t falsely advertise. Don’t use some pick-up line you saw in a movie, make up your own and try to make it seem organic. If you aren’t that suave/slick guy, stick to a fun and light pick-up line that portrays who you are. And if you think of yourself as more of that slick macho guy, go all-out with a cringe-worthy line as you’ll be able to back it up.

2. Be funny

Comedian Dan Nainan, by his self-admission, says that he is an average-looking guy. He believes and is proof that pick-up lines do work — as he dated two Playboy models — and that women love a guy with a sense of humor, "the key is to come up with funny, self-deprecating lines that make her laugh."



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3. Be flirtatious

Flattery will get you everywhere! Flirting as a form of flattery can, “break the ice and help set who you have in sight at ease,” says Lori Salkin, matchmaker and dating coach at Saw You At Sinai. A well-spoken flirtatious pick-up line, while admittedly cheesy, can be appreciated by women if, “if it is not just to compliment someone's looks, but their whole self: profession, intellect, and inner beauty.”



4. Be observational

Make sure you are saying something relevant and not just pulling something out of the blue sky. Say something about the restaurant you are at, like ‘It’s good to be with someone who gives you the same feeling as when you see your food coming to the table’. Something in current pop culture is also always a winner.

Matthew Morgan, a dating coach, frequently sees great success between potential couples who use quotes from movies and music. “It’s a very quick way to articulate who you are, what you like, and what you stand for without having to be overly deep and drawn out on a first date.”

5. Remember that delivery is everything

Since first impressions and judgments are formed almost instantaneously, delivery is critical. Make sure you're sincere when delivering the line as you don’t want to come off as corny or fake. Display confidence not arrogance.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a pick-up line that “makes someone want to date you or sleep with you,” says dating coach Nick Savoy. The best conversation starters will lead naturally to a romantic/flirtatious context but it is “ridiculous to think that grown-up human beings can all of a sudden lose their free will and become hopelessly attracted to someone.”

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Jarone Ashkenazi is a freelance writer and blogger whose work has been featured in Fast Company, Just Luxe, Elite Daily, CBS LA, and Ask Men.