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Cold approach without rejection: 5 checkpoints to reach BEFORE making your move

May 5, 2024
▪ 14 mins read

In a post-pandemic, post-metoo world it’s understandable why you, as a modern man, deeply fear making a cold approach. 

As a dating coach I have over 15 years experience coaching men and women how to successfully cold approach one another. My ideas on how to successfully meet someone in real life have been published in my book “Do This, Not That: Dating” (Simon & Schuster, 2023).

In this blog, you'll get my expert opinion on:

  • What is a “cold approach” and is it okay to cold approach women? 
  • How to cold approach without rejection? Is that possible? 
  • 5 checkpoints you need to reach before making a move on her 

What does it mean to "cold approach"? 

A cold approach is an old pick up term which means “approach a woman who you’ve never met before.” This could be meeting a woman you like at a coffee shop, the gym, or in a bar: In fact it’s probably how a lot of our grandparents met one another!! 

A cold approach also implies there’s no social context. For example if you met a woman at a friend’s party, there’s a social context there. If you start talking to a woman in the queue at a coffee shop, there’s no pre-existing social context. 

If you have shared friends, or hobbies, it will make it easier to meet women. However, after 15 years spent coaching men and women how to “cold approach” and meet one another in real life; I find cold approaching an extremely liberating and valuable skill: Not just for your dating life, but your all round social confidence. 

Also, if you’re a guy whose social circles have dwindled, or you’ve just move to a new city, then you may not have a big social circle to draw on. Being able to talk to strangers effectively will also help you to improve your social life. 

Is it okay to cold approach women? 

Not every woman will want to meet a man in a public place; however a lot of women will prefer being cold approached (provided it’s done in a respectful way) to meeting men on a dating app. I know because I also teach women how to meet men in real life, and met my husband at the gym!! 

The pick up artist industry has a deservedly bad reputation; however I have built my career around creating social skills training that transforms your dating life, without the creepy factor! 

In my coaching, I always think it’s far more important to focus on HOW rather than WHERE. Aside from a few “no go” places, like the workplace; in my experience you can approach a woman respectfully online, or disrespectfully online. You can also cold approach women in real life in a way that’s respectful, or a way that’s disrespectful. 

In this blog I want to teach you how you can cold approach women in a way that takes feedback from how she’s feeling, before you continue.

Cold approaching women is not a one way train towards “get her phone number.” In fact I want you to get out of the “getting” mindset! Instead, see cold approaching people generally as a way that you remain socially open; and if (and only if) you click, you’ll ask for her number. 

How do I cold approach women without rejection? 

It’s impossible for any man to get a date with every woman he cold approaches. However, if you can change your mindset around rejection, it will make it much easier for you to cold approach her without fear. 

As I said before, not every woman is going to like, and you’re not going to like every woman!! That’s not possible. Instead your mindset should be, “initial attraction is my reason to cold approach her, but if she doesn’t have a personality I connect with, then I wouldn’t want to go on a date with her.” 

To help you shake off your fears, take action and become successful with women I’ve outlined 5 “checkpoints” you must reach with her — before you try to ask for her number. I’ve created these based on 15 years experience of coaching men and women in the real world to cold approach one another. 

This means rather than going out on a limb when asking her out, you have taken plenty of feedback to ensure  you’re both on the same page before you make your move.

Apart from helping improve  your confidence  —  in the knowledge that you’re timing your move just right — this also respects the signals that she’s sending you. If you listen to what she’s communicating to you, both verbally and non verbally, about her interest levels this also demonstrates you’re a socially sophisticated guy. Again - a very attractive quality! 

Plus if she’s genuinely not interested, you also want to save your time and energy for a woman who is. So let’s get started. 

5 Checkpoints for cold approaching women

Checkpoint 1. Have you taken action to cold approach her? 

Hayley Quinn Poster saying Checkpoint 1 Have you taken action to approach her?

Don’t try and guess whether she wants to speak to you. See for yourself!

Do any of these common excuses for not cold approaching her remind you of someone?

  • “She looks busy.”
  • “She’s with a friend, I don’t want to intrude.” 
  • “She’s messaging on her phone, she’s probably waiting for her boyfriend.” 
  • “She’s got her headphones in.”
  • “She doesn’t look friendly.” 
  • “She’s out of my league.”
  • “I would say hi to her, but I’m wearing my ugliest sneakers.” 
  • “Even if we do start talking, what am I going to say next??” 

Notice how these assumptions about who she is and what she wants are actually great excuses for you not taking action in this area of your life! If you’re being weighed down by your excuses you will be slowing your progress to a halt.

To get in a great mindset ask yourself “is it worse THINKING about it, or DOING it?” 🤔

Stop hypothesising what the outcome will be.

Start learning. 

You will learn by consistently taking action. 

If you haven’t attempted to speak to her, in any way, you’re falling at the first hurdle. Start putting yourself in the top tier of men who are comfortable meeting women in real life. 

Checkpoint 2: When you cold approach her, does she pause what she’s doing and make eye contact? 

Hayley Quinn Poster saying Checkpoint 2 When you cold approach her, does she pause and make eye contact?

This checkpoint is important because if she’s not focused on you, or paying you attention, it’s going to be near impossible to make any impact on her, no matter what you say. Think of it like being a stand up comic. No one will laugh at your jokes, no matter how funny they are, if the audience is not yet in their seats and is still ordering their popcorn. 

If you’re having serious issues at this checkpoint, from my years of coaching experience I can tell you now, it’s largely going to be down to your body language, positioning and tone of voice.

To make your cold approach more successful can you quickly check that you’ve got the basics right here? 

  • You’re speaking slowly and clearly. 
  • You’re projecting your voice, not to the point of shouting, but louder than its normal range. 
  • You’re standing upright (no hunched shoulders.) 
  • You have your feet slightly wider than hip width apart.
  • Your hands are visible, not tucked into your pockets or behind your back.
  • You’re smiling.
  • You’re making eye contact.
  • You’re approaching her from her 10 o’clock or 2 o'clock. Being slightly in front of a woman (without in any way obstructing her path) is very important as if you’re too far to her side she might not even realise you’re there - bummer! 

This last bullet point is actually the most common reason you might think your cold approach has failed. For example, if you cold approach a woman at a bar, but you’re standing too far away from her side, and not projecting your voice. She may not even know you exist! Not because there’s anything wrong with “you” but because she genuinely doesn’t realise either that you’re cold approaching her, or even if she does, she doesn’t understand the purpose of you speaking to her. 

If you follow every single one of these non verbal steps successfully in the vast majority of cold approaches she will listen to you. If she doesn’t just move on, some people are too busy to talk, or simply don’t want to talk to anyone new - and that’s okay! At least this way around you know her answer, rather than guessing it. 

To really hone your skills here, I can’t say strongly enough the power of in person coaching. My Academy programme offers you 17+ hours of in person coaching with me and my coaching team over a 4 day intensive in London, plus 8 weeks of mastermind classes and online learning. 

We get life-changing results - just read our reviews page

I am always looking for the most motivated and worthy guys out there to coach. If this could be you, and you’d like to be considered for the Academy you can apply for the program on this page. 

Checkpoint 3 - If you offer her your name, does she give you her’s in return?

Hayley Quinn Poster saying Checkpoint 3 If you offer her your name does she reciprocate?

After you say your ice breaker or opening line to her (if you’d like some help on what to say make sure you get my free guide to ‘what to say when’ to her of battle-tested ice breakers), you’ll need to proactively continue the conversation. Otherwise, guess what? She’ll say ‘thank you’ and move on and she won’t even understand that you want to continue talking to her.

So you need to show her that you’re interested in continuing the conversation. The easiest way I’ve found in 15 years of cold approach coaching to do this is, to offer your name. Say, “I’m Sam by the way.” 

Please notice here that I’m not advising you to say “what’s your name?” This can put her on the spot and feel intrusive. 

Instead if you share your name, she’s likely to give you her name in response. If she doesn’t this strongly suggests she’s not socially comfortable, and it’s better for you to wish her a good day. You really need women who are as open to meeting people as you are. 

If you find you’re constantly chasing after women who aren’t reciprocating then again you need to start developing the mindset of a man who is confident with women, and luckily I have a free advice series on this exact topic! 

Checkpoint 4 - Does she match your contribution to the conversation?

Hayley Quinn Poster saying Checkpoint 4 Does she match your contribution for conversation?

When you’re talking to a woman, during your conversation you must be both interested in her, and interesting as a person.

If the conversation becomes inbalanced (by you interviewing her and sharing very little information about yourself, or by you talking at her with her adding very little) this will stop you forming a strong enough connection with her to justify asking for her number. 

Just being aware that a conversation should feel balanced is a good place to start. 

After you cold approach her, it takes a bit of time to get to a balance in the conversation. In the first minute or so after you cold approach, she may not feel ready to contribute to the conversation. At this phase she’s thinking, ‘who is this guy?’

Before she’ll step up and match, or exceed, your conversational contribution, she’s going to need to know some basic facts about you to feel more at ease. So at the very start of a conversation you’ll need to share more. 

That’s why it’s often a much better conversational route to go down to share statements about your life, rather than ask questions about her. 

For example, rather than saying, “so what are you up to?” or “do you work around here?” (Where she may assume you’re about to stalk her!!) Instead offer the same information about yourself, with an option for her to contribute i.e. 

“It’s funny I bumped into you, I don’t know about you but I work over in blank, and live around blank, so I hardly ever come to this bar.” 
“You look like you’re having a more relaxing day than me. Even though it’s a Saturday, I had to do a work meeting.” 
“Ah I can tell from your accent that you’re a real Londoner. I’ve lived in the city for 6 years now but still sound Italian.” 

All of these examples suggest you’d like to know more about her, but you enquire in a subtle way. 

They also offer a few pieces of information about yourself: Whether that’s where you’re originally from (helpful to disclose if you have an accent), or an indication of what you do for work. 

They give her the space to choose to respond, or not. If you’re able to successfully talk to a woman in this way and you’re met with tumbleweeds, after a couple of attempts at building the conversation, let it go! Most women, when they’re comfortable and given the opportunity to do so, will chat right back to you. If that’s not happening - mission abort! 

Which is why noting whether she’s contributing to the conversation to the same level as you is your next checkpoint. 

Checkpoint 5 - Can you compliment her, or playfully tease her, based on something she’s contributed to the conversation?

Hayley Quinn Poster saying Checkpoint 5 Can you compliment her based on something she's said?

90% of men go about getting a woman’s number the wrong way. 

First of all they see asking for a woman’s number as the outcome they need for an interaction to be a success. In my opinion, it’s better for you to filter out women who aren’t that open, interested or attracted to you, and focus on the ones who are.

Newsflash: You don’t need to get her number. Instead, asking for her number should be the natural next step in a great conversation. If you haven’t had a good connection, don’t ask. This also reduces pressure on you. You don’t need to “win” with every attractive woman you cold approach, this isn’t even possible.

You just need a game plan for how to move things forward with the women who are best suited to you! 

So provided you’ve gone through checkpoint 4 and she’s freely contributing to the conversation ask yourself the following questions about what she’s saying:

  • Is she saying anything that really resonates with me?
  • What excites me about her?
  • Is there anything we could have fun disagreeing on? 
  • What qualities is she expressing about herself?
  • Do I like those qualities in women?
  • Is there anything idiosyncratic about her that I could tease her about? 

These questions are designed to help you focus your mind: To get out of that internal panic where you feel you have to get her number, and it’s all on you to not mess it up. Instead, asking for the number, a consequence of you both experiencing a connection to one another. 

If you’ve developed a good enough connection, you should be able to authentically make comments like these: 

“I like that you’ve got an adventurous side, I’m also big into blank.”
“I don’t believe that you’re into blank!! If we get to know each other better I’m going to convince you why blank is better.” 
“You really light up when you’re talking about BLANK, I can tell you’re passionate about it.” 
“I like how open/ warm/ fun/ smart/ witty you are.” 
“I like how you make such good eye contact. You’re confident.”

If you can say a compliment like this to a woman, that’s authentic to the moment and who she is, it’s the most natural thing in the world to follow up by saying, “I’ve gotta run but let me get your number.” 

Equally you could playfully draw attention to a part of her personality:

“I can tell already you’re going to disagree with me a lot. That’s okay, I like a woman who knows her own mind.” 

Simply noticing her, and having the courage to call out how she’s expressing herself, is automatically flirtatious, without trying too hard. Playfully noticing her, equally sets you up really nicely to ask for her number. 


If you follow these 5 checkpoints I hope you’re not only going to feel more confident making your approaches, but that you also get into the mindset that you too are choosing her.

You want to choose a woman who sails through these 5 checkpoints and also shows her interest in you.

This will really help you to only put your time, energy and effort into women who are also invested in building a relationship with you.

By following my checkpoint system you will also only get women’s phone numbers who are more interested in a date with you. Greatly reducing your numbers that go nowhere. 

As I said earlier the best, best way to coach you on this is in person. Online courses will get you so far, but for the best and fastest results you better come and see me and my team in London for our Academy. Remember to use this link to apply.  See you there!

Cold Approach Without Rejection | FAQs

Why is the cold approach best?

Cold approaching is the best method to meet new people if you value meeting women in real life, and an approach to dating that also allows you to improve your social skills and confidence. Many men who have learnt how to cold approach women, will go on to meet their future partners through a hobby, friends or online; but they often credit cold approach training as giving them the confidence they needed to make a success of those interactions. 

If you meet a woman who is a friend of a friend, or through a shared hobby, you’re more likely to find getting a date easy, compared with the cold approach. However, without mastering the cold approach first, you may not yet have developed the social life, and social tools, to meet women in other ways. 

How to get over the fear of a cold approach? 

You never totally get over the fear of the cold approach: It’s exciting talking to someone new! However, whilst many people will start cold approaching with a higher degree of social anxiety, and finding meeting new people daunting; after practising your cold approach for some time the feeling of fear softens into one of exhilaration at meeting someone new. 

Start by accepting your fears around cold approaching as natural, and start to create a lifestyle where you’re able to regularly practise cold approaching. Just like anything else you practise you’ll have to regularly put time, effort and feedback into cold approaching to make good progress. With regular practice, a good mindset and realistic expectations for your progress, cold approaching can become a fun and rewarding part of your dating life. 

How effective is the cold approach? 

The cold approach is a very effective tool to work on your social and conversational skills. Many men I’ve personally coached have also found their future partners through cold approaches. In our near past, cold approaching is also one of the ways our grandparents would have met one another. 

Whilst modern society has given us many new tools, like dating apps; a lot of people find the experience of using apps unrewarding and unsuccessful. If your profile doesn’t perform well on dating apps, or you dislike them, it’s a brilliant idea to focus on real life encounters instead. 

Mastering the cold approach will also help you to develop your confidence and make the most of other everyday opportunities to meet people. By developing your cold approach skills you’ll probably find it easier to make friends, build your social circles, and successfully approach women that you meet through other channels. 

What’s the success rate of the cold approach?

The success rate of the cold approach varies depending on the individual: and none of us should seek to, or expect to impress everyone! If you begin a conversation with someone you don’t know, and have followed the steps recommended in this blog, on average around half of people will have an extended conversation with you. Whether you both feel a strong enough connection, or attraction, to take your interaction forwards to the next level is dependent on who you are as individuals. However, if you master the cold approach, and vastly improve your social skills; whether you’re a man or a woman you should feel confident that everytime you step outside your front door you can get a date, if you want one! 

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