How to Make the First Move on a Guy

A woman who learned how to make the first move on a guy, hugging a guy from behind and flirting while he smiles.

Long gone are the days where men are given the responsibility of making the first move—and that’s a wonderful thing! Nobody should be afraid to tell someone else how they feel, and it’s empowering to tell someone you’d like to take them out on a date. Especially when they say yes.

But if you’re a woman who wants to make a first move on a guy, it can be scary to go for it and ask a guy out. (And hey, it’s scary for the majority of guys too.) But the majority of guys love it when women make the first move. In a recent survey, an overwhelming 94% of men said they like it when a women makes the first move when they’re out at a bar or in a social setting, and 96% said they prefer it when a woman messages them first while online dating. So if you’re tired of waiting for a guy to make the move on you, go for it yourself.

Not sure how to go about it? Here are some tactics to help you make the first move on a guy, whether it’s someone you just met or someone you’re close friends with.

1. Ask him if he has a girlfriend.
This one’s really important, since it’s a bit unsettling to try and pick up a guy who’s already taken. Aside from his words, make sure to look at his body language. By asking if he’s romantically involved with someone, it shows you’re interested in his status—but really, it could also look like an innocent “getting to know you” question too. You probably know the answer to this if you’re trying to make a move on a friend, so instead, use a line like, “I’m surprised a great guy like you is still single.”

2. Buy him a drink.
Really, it works. The majority of guys are super impressed by a lady who takes the lead and buys him a drink. Stereotypical gender roles are slowly dying out, and guys like to feel appreciated. You could even make it personal—if you have a signature drink, maybe start by saying, “Listen, you really have to try this. On me.” It’s a good conversation starter for sure, as well as proof that you’re willing to invest in him.

3. Use observational humor.
If you’re both out at the same place, you have one surefire thing in common right now. People like it when others can casually relate to them. If something funny is happening at the other end of the bar or there’s an interesting game on the TVs, bring it up with him. If you’re asking out a friend, you might already know his sense of humor—so be on the lookout for things he’d find amusing to get the big moment started.

4. Compliment him.
If you’ve known a guy for a while and want to move things out of the friend zone, try giving him a compliment about his looks or personality. Does he always make sure to make others feel included? Is he always smiling, no matter what? People like to hear this kind of stuff, and it’s a great way to brighten his day. Same goes for guys you just met. Does he have a cool pair of shoes or a distinctive haircut or tattoo? Maybe the way he holds his drink is cool and different. It could be anything. Just remember to be sincere, since if you end up having a relationship that goes the distance, you don’t want it built on a false love of Crocs.

5. Smile. Seriously.
It seems simple enough, but a lot of people forget to smile at the person they’re with. If you’re happy, and you’re happy to see him, make sure your body language is showing it. Smiling makes you look and feel more approachable, which may build up your confidence to spark up a conversation.

6. Get your friends in on it.
It’s always good to have a little backup, so use your friends. For example, if you see someone you’re interested in, approach them and say something like, “My friends and I were just arguing about what the cheesiest romantic song from the 80’s is.” It’s a good way to spark up a conversation, while also giving you a boost. They’ll be there in the background to cheer you on while you score that number.

7. Remind yourself why you’re a catch.
By boosting your own confidence prior to approaching someone, you’ll be able to really shine. Remind yourself that you’re worth striking up a conversation with. That you’re an amazing, beautiful person who just so happens to be pretty cool and kind of a big deal.

8. Make a game out of it.
Not to say that guys should be treated like game pieces, but by making a point to approach new people every time you’re out on the town, you’ll get a lot better at it. That way, when you see someone you’d like to pursue, you won’t be so nervous. Think of trying to talk to one new person every day. Or make a point to strike up a conversation every time you’re in an elevator. Your interactions don’t even need to be flirty—just friendly. Pretty soon, making an actual move on someone will be second nature.

9. See how he responds to physical contact.
This works if it’s someone you’ve known for some time that you’d like to start a romantic relationship with. Since you’re both comfortable around each other, you’ll be able to feel if there’s actual chemistry. Of course, don’t get too hands-on, since not only might that make him incredibly uncomfortable, but seeing how he reacts to a hand on his arm or brushing against him while you lean in close to talk can tell you a lot.

10. Have an out in case things get awkward.
You shouldn’t be planning out your entire interaction, but sometimes, having an out will give you a little more confidence to make the move. Say you chat someone up and find out that—yikes—they’re married. Instead of freezing in place, make sure to practice saying, “She’s a lucky woman, have a good night!” These things happen sometimes. Even the best maneuvers and icebreakers can lead to somewhat disastrous results that are actually pretty funny by the end of the night. Just dust yourself off and keep trying.

Making the first move on a guy can be intimidating, but letting someone you know you’re into them can also be really fun. Just remember to stay confident. Things might not work, but you never know until you give it a shot. And like all things in life, practice makes perfect. Pretty soon, guys will start thinking you’re fearless and find your take-charge attitude to be pretty impressive.

Karen Belz

Freelance Writer

Karen Belz has written for sites like Bustle, PreviouslyTV, Heavy, and HelloGiggles. She’s also the founder of Best Recap Ever, a site that’s focused on television news and reviews. She’s a fan of sketch comedy shows and most movies that involve Muppets, and has been addicted to Sugar Free Red Bull since 2005.

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