Yes, you’ve seen those pickup lines work time and again… in movies. But should you use a cheesy line like that for what may be your only chance to impress that beautiful stranger at the opposite side of the bar? A study has looked at what men and women prefer when it comes to opening lines in a variety of situations, and it might prove to be very helpful with the next time you try to strike up a conversation.
The study, led by University of Alaska psychologist Chris L. Kleine asked 600 university students and employees to rate opening lines used by men on women in general situations, and 431 other respondents to rate the same opening lines for specific situations, including bars, restaurants, supermarkets, laundromats and beaches.
In a separate survey, Kleine’s team asked 831 university students and employees to rate lines used by women for meeting men in general situations.
The study grouped opening lines into three categories, including cute-flippant (or pick-up lines), innocuous and direct opening lines.
“You must be a librarian, because I saw you checking me out” is one such option, as highlighted by Business Insider, that doesn’t do well with either group. Both men and women preferred other options.
The men in the study tend to prefer the more direct approach – such as “You’re cute, can I buy you a drink?” – while women preferred open-ended innocuous questions like “What do you think of this band?”
So if nobody wants pick-up lines, why do we still use them? Because they’re “reinforced by popular books and magazines that stimulate our fantasies with stories overplaying the number of ‘successful pickups’ that actually occur in real life,” the authors of the study revealed.
“The advantage of innocuous opening lines is that they offer a less threatening context for the recipient’s response,” the authors wrote.
There you have it. Now, put down your smartphone and that beer, and head on over to that gorgeous stranger at the opposite side of the bar, and start talking without suggesting he or she may have fallen from heaven.