If you’re going to muster up the confidence to approach a girl at a bar, you might as well make sure you’re using a pickup line that actually works. Research conducted from the 1990’s to now show that some types of pickup lines are more effective than others (Kleinke & Dean, 1990; Senko & Fyffe, 2010).
Flippant pick-up Lines are the humorous, flirty, kind of sexual lines that we stereotypically think of as pick-up lines. Two of my personal favorites:
“Did it hurt…When you fell from heaven?”
“Are you from Tennessee? ‘Cause you’re the only ten I see.”
Flippant lines are the LEAST effective type of pick-up line according to social psychological research (and my anecdotal evidence). This kind of line won’t get you anywhere.
On the other hand, Direct pick-up Lines and Innocuous pick-up lines are more effective than corny, flippant pick-up lines:
Innocuous pick-up lines completely mask the purpose of approach, therefore minimizing the likelihood of rejection (Senko & Fyffe, 2010). Walking up to a girl and starting a conversation about the band that’s playing or the drink she’s holding are examples of innocuous pickup lines. These conversation starters are great if you’re nervous about talking to the cute redhead in the corner, but they could get you friend-zoned quickly if you don’t turn up the charm once you’ve started talking.
Direct pick-up lines show sincere interest and are based on flattery. Something like “I saw you from across the room and would kick myself for leaving without saying hello” is a direct pick-up line. This kind of pick-up line shows confidence, for not concealing the purpose of your approach, and also compliments the recipient without being overly sexual. Direct pick-up lines are the most effective and straightforward type of pick-up line – exactly what girls want to hear.
In research conducted by Senke & Fyffe (2010), women rated men who used those over-the-top, flippant pick-up lines as less trustworthy and less intelligent. Guys who used flippant lines were also rated as more humorous, but there is no evidence to support that being funny helped those guys score any digits. Keep it simple – girls don’t care about how much polar bears weigh (enough to break the ice…in case you were wondering). What they do care about is determining if you’re interesting enough to spend time with at the bar, and maybe after.
In case you needed citations, smart-guy:
Kleinke, C. L. & Dean, G. O. (1990). Evaluation of men and women receiving positive and negative responses with various acquaintance strategies. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 5, 369–377.
Senko, C. & Fyffe, V. (2010). An evolutionary perspective on effective vs. ineffective pick-up lines. The Journal of Social Psychology, 150(6), 648-667.
Jess is a recent graduate of Millersville University. As a Psychology major and Sociology minor, she is actively involved in research on topics including male body image, eating disorders, perceived masculinity, relationship satisfaction, and promiscuity.