How to Get a Number

I know getting a number can sound like such a daunting task. You’re basically telling a complete stranger that you like what you’re seeing and you want to see more of it. But if you’re prepared, getting a number can actually be a thrilling and non-threatening experience!

Step one is to accept the previous sentence as true. (Consider what it must be like to water-ski in white-water rapids while standing on the back of a bear. Now go back and re-read the above sentence. See what I mean? Thrilling and non-threatening!) If you think that getting a number is scary and impossible, it will be scary and impossible. If you think that it’s no big deal, it will be no big deal. Like many situations in life, the key to success is having confidence in your ability to go out there, be fabulous, and get those digits!

Building that confidence is different for different people and different situations, but when it comes to getting a number, the easiest way to boost your confidence quickly is to look awesome. (Let’s be honest—no matter how awesome you are, the first thing a person will notice about you is your appearance simply because they will be looking at you before talking to you.)

Some quick tips for looking awesome are:

  • Know where you are going and dress accordingly. If you are going to a dive bar, dress casually. If you are going somewhere hip, wear something cooler. It’s easiest to go places that fit in with your personal aesthetic because you will be more comfortable with the surroundings and more likely to meet people like you. Also, it’s easier to feel confident if you are comfortable
  • Give yourself adequate time to get ready. I’ve always found it’s difficult to feel good about the way I look if I didn’t have time to do my hair just right or if I feel sloppy because I was rushed.

As superficial as that may sound, when people feel like they look good, they get a certain glow about them that is very magnetic.

Once you feel good about the way you look, you should start pumping yourself up by thinking about how great you are. You’re funny, you have a cool job, you’re easy to talk to. Whatever you love about yourself should be in the forefront of your mind, and whatever you are not-so-thrilled about should be pushed aside for now. Overconfidence is underrated.

Finally, you look hot and feel good, and you’ve made it to the bar with your friends. Take a few moments to scope out the scene to see what you’re dealing with. Chances are there are plenty of good-looking people all around you (because they’ve all already followed the first two steps, duh).

Before going off and finding the one you want to land, take some time to hang out with your friends. You’re obviously out with them for a reason (you like them, right?) so enjoy being with them. Don’t talk about anything too heavy because remember—even though you’re now focusing on your friends, others are scoping at all times. You don’t want anyone to be scoping you while your friends are comforting you over the bad week you just unloaded on them. Try to keep the mood light by talking about positive things, like the fun project you are starting or the hysterical thing that happened at work. Having engaging conversation within your group and laughing with friends will show those scopers that you are a fantastic person to hang out with.

While talking with your friends, you may have noticed someone looking over at you or found someone you want to notice you. Try to catch their eye. Looking someone in the eye signals to that person that you notice them and want to notice more.

When you do catch their eye, make sure your face isn’t expressionless or creepy. Try to lightly turn up the corners of your lips (like a closed-mouth smile, but not a blatant/eager smile) and keep your eyes aware and knowing. This look signals to that person that you notice them noticing you back and you accept their gaze.

Continue having fun with your friends for a little bit longer, but position yourself so that you can be approached by someone if someone so desires. Since it’s hard for anyone to go up to a group of strangers to talk to one person, excuse yourself to use the bathroom or get a drink so you can separate from your group and make yourself available for a little bit. On your way back, if you have not already been approached, consider what the person is doing. Standing by the bar? Go stand at the bar too. Relaxing on the couch? Go take a breather. Dancing? Dance! (Of course, if you are going to dance, feel free to bring your friends.)

Most importantly: don’t feel weird about approaching anyone. You look hot and feel good about yourself, so let your confidence guide you. The hardest part is getting the first sentence out of your mouth, but once that first sentence is out you are golden! Next, just remember to end everything you say with a question about them. (People can always talk about themselves because they obviously know a lot on the subject. Not only does it make a person feel smart to consistently know the answers to your questions, but your interest in this person is very flattering.) Even though the first line is the hardest to get out, luckily it can be very simple: “Hi there, how’s it going?” Friendly, fresh and cool.

Even if you only get a one-word response back, “good,” let them know that you are doing well also and follow-up with another question: “Yeah, this is a really cool bar. It’s not my usual scene, but I like the vibe! My friends recommended it. How did you end up here tonight?” Soon enough the questions will be reciprocated and you will have a solid conversation going.

(Pro tip: smile during the entire conversation. A person will automatically mirror the expression of the person they are looking at, even if only for a moment, and when that person smiles back it will (a) make you feel good about yourself, and (b) tell that person’s brain that they, too, are enjoying the current situation.)

Once you decide that you actually do want to know this person, asking for a number becomes a natural progression. Worst-case scenario: they say no. Despite the rarity of getting a no, you need to approach it like it’s no sweat off your back. Look around you; there are lots of other potential yeses. Don’t sound too desperate or eager, just keep it simple: “Hey, it was great meeting you. I’m going to get back to my friends but I’d love to get your number.” They can’t resist your cool, confident, fun self and respond, “Yeah totally! It’s 555-555-5555.”

Photo by Meaghan Morrison

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