So you’ve spotted someone you really fancy and you want to find out if they’re as nice as they seem. You obviously don’t want to come across as a creepy stalker or make a fool of yourself, so where do you start?
When someone surprises us, it’s natural to retreat or defend ourselves. So rather than tapping them on the shoulder, get into their line of sight and smile at them. If you get a smile back, or at least not a frown or active avoidance action, then slowly make your way towards them. This gives them time to figure out if they know you from somewhere and/or decide whether they’re interested. If they aren’t, they can also prepare a nice version of “thanks, but no thanks”.
Let them control the situation
When you reach them, introduce yourself and ask for permission to talk to them. You might say something like, “Hi, I’m Jack/Jill, and I’d really like to chat to you. Is that ok, or would you prefer to be on your own/spend time with your friends?” Then if they don’t want to chat, you can retreat without feeling too stupid. Whereas if you’re too forceful or made a splashy entrance, there’s no way you can leave without having made a fool of yourself.
Keep it short and simple
Assuming you successfully got your foot in the door, don’t overwhelm them. If you do naturally move into a nice, long conversation, that’s great. Mostly though, people need time to figure out how they feel, so ask some simple questions to get the ball rolling and allow them to respond to you.
Give them space
Then if you change your mind about them, simply thank them for the chat and move on. If you’re still interested though, let them know that. Try, “I’d love to chat to you further. Are you happy with that, or should I give you some space?” If they ask for space, then stick around somewhere close but not too close, so they can come to you or throw you a smile to encourage you to approach again if they like you.
If it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t spend the next few weeks wondering if it would have. And if it does, you’ll know you’re onto a winning strategy!