There are many obstacles to overcome when you’re trying to meet someone IRL at a bar, as opposed to Tinder. In the world of app flirting, you have all the time in the world to craft a perfect witty response and are free from the pressure of someone looking you in your real face. In the bar, there’s nowhere to hide from your own self-sabotaging ways. Here, the most common mistakes everyone makes when attempting to flirt at a bar. Take heed.
Making a move too early in the night
Any time before 9:30 p.m. is way too early for any suggestive conversations. Slow your roll, and give the night (and him or her) some time to breathe. No one wants to arrive at the bar only to immediately be bombarded by cheesy pickup lines and dinner date propositions.
The bar might be loud with a large crowd and music, but that doesn’t give you permission to yell directly into someone’s face. Keep that space bubble well intact.
Making a joke only you and your friends would get
Try to keep your joke OCD in check and avoid blurting out something like “all joking a salad.” Chances are that the other person doesn’t listen to the same podcasts as you, and you just sound weird.
Treating the other person like prey
We’ve all done it. We’ve sat up like a prairie dog on alert and clocked an attractive person across the bar. Then, we’ve spent the rest of the evening quietly stalking them from bar to back patio to bathroom line. But while you might think you’re being as sneaky as a jaguar, you’re actually more like an overeager Golden Retriever. The object of your affection definitely knows what you’re doing and certainly will not be going out with you.
Forgetting to say, “Hi”
It’s a simple word, but an oh so important one.
The first time you meet is not the time to talk about that cyst on your back or your parents’ recent divorce. Save the latter for your fifth date and the former for 20 years into marriage when you’ve run out of things to talk about.
Getting self-conscious about the way you’re standing and then ending up readjusting so you’re in some sort of unnatural s-shape
Acting natural is hard. Don’t force it, or you’ll wind up looking like some sort of snake person.
Bringing up an ex
If you’re telling a story, just call him or her your “friend.”
Getting into a fight
Some gentle ribbing or playful repartee is perfectly acceptable, but getting into a genuine argument with someone is not the best way to get them to agree to go out with you. Arguing about politics? Double strike.
Showing the person pictures (plural) of your cat or dog
One is fine—if it comes up naturally in conversation (definitely do not lead with, “Wanna see a picture of my Schnauzer?”). But whatever you do, do not continue to swipe through picture after picture of your cat or dog in minutely different positions.
Continuing to sip your drink when it’s clearly finished
The jig is up—the other person saw you finish your drink. Stop slurping. There’s nothing there. And do not, repeat, do not chew on the ice. Excuse yourself, and grab another drink.
Getting stuck on a boring topic
Oh no, how did you ever get on the topic of water treatment processes? Abort! Abort! Quickly change the topic to something fun like roller coasters or marsupials or Jeff Goldblum’s latest project.
Not knowing when to bail
Keep your eye out for these telltale signs: They’re not engaged at all in the conversation, they’re staring at you blankly, they’re looking desperately around for a friend to save them, they’re trying to slowly edge away from you. Cut your losses and move on. There’s someone better out there who will actually appreciate your take on koalas. We promise.