Dating Tips
For Men

The first 30-90 seconds of conversations explained

November 21, 2015
▪ 4 mins read

What to say to leave a lasting impression

You may not know this about me, but when I first got involved in the dating industry, I worked with a dear friend of mine, Marcus Oakey, at a disreputable pick-up artist company. Although not great for business, this experience helped us understand how to help you get through the first 60-90 seconds of conversations. 

As Marcus has phrased, these first seconds of any interaction are like walking on a tightrope: once you’re onto the other side, it gets much easier, but those initial first seconds are actually hard! That’s because different people have different fuses and (although you might consider yourself to be a mind reader) truth is, you can’t distinguish between the conversationalists and those that are closed-off. 

The only thing you can do to find outtakes that action step and approach them! 

So here are some tips for managing those first few seconds: 

#1: Do not expect automatic approval from the woman 

Most men feel that they’re doing something wrong unless a woman takes that compliment and continues the conversation. Truth is, I haven’t seen many women reacting this way. If you think about it, modern dating and contraception are still very modern. There is a long history of women having to be very selective in the mating process, so being wary is hard-wired into the female brain.

The point is, if you’re expecting immediate approval, you need to shift your expectations. 

What’s important in that initial interaction is to hold your space. You have no control over how someone reacts to you, but you’re in control of how you respond to their reaction. If can respond with a respectful but enthusiastic, humorous manner to their negative reaction, you will get so much better at approaching people!

#2: Don’t overestimate the power of the ice-breaker. 

There is no perfect ice-breaker that will ensure your success. You can’t get it completely right and, chances are, the other person won’t even pay attention to that first thing you say to them.

No, it’s not because you’re not interesting, but it’s because you’re using that sentence to snap them out of their zone! 

What do I mean? Well, when we’re going about our days, we are pretty much in our head thinking about that drink we had the other day with our friends, our work or our family. So when someone approaches us, they are snapping us out of our zone. That’s why that first sentence acts as a buffer zone: it eases the other person into the reality of you speaking to them. 


So, let go of that need to have a `perfect’ line to approach her. Instead, it’s about understanding what the other person needs to enter the right emotional space and be able to trust you!

#3: Be consistent in your approach! 

What do people trust? Like Marcus emphasizes, consistency in behaviour is key!

If you’re complimenting someone’s eyes and you’re fidgeting instead of being spontaneous and expressing your attraction, you will create an uneasy atmosphere because she won’t know why you’re approaching her. We have all been approached by people on the street, and there is that initial uncertainty that makes you act closed-off and grumpy before you know what they want. They might end up offering you something great like a free coffee, but that initial uncertainty and lack of trust is an automatic response.

So, when you’re approaching a woman, rather than trying to create a great impression, try to create a great expression!

#4: Disarm, then charm & the Go-First Principle.

There is a general tendency to ask the other person personal questions when you approach them like "How’s your evening going?" or "So, what do you do?". The problem is, they don’t know you yet to understand if you’re genuinely curious and want to get to know them... so their first thought is "why does this person want to know? I don’t know this person, so why should I tell them anything about myself?"

Women won’t want to talk to a stranger that they don’t know if they can trust. Instead, they want to talk to someone they feel is in a similar social sphere and someone they’re curious to get to know too!

The way to achieve this is by talking about yourself first.

This is where most people get stuck. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking "But Hayley, how do I show my interest in her AND talk about myself?"

The thing is, by talking about yourself in the right way, what you’re actually doing is helping her trust you enough to continue the conversation and tell you things about herself too! It’s not about the actual conversation, but about the permission, you’re giving her to open up too.

You can say something as simple as "I don’t know about you, but I...."

Final tip?

If you can smile and hold it until the other person smiles too, you can create magic! You radiate positive energy and creating an emotion in the other person that will stay with them and make meeting you memorable!

Hayley Quinn smiling profile
About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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