You knew this article was coming…
I went out with a client this weekend and saw swarms of people playing Pokemon Go in Boston. Walking down streets, sitting on benches, strolling through parks – everyone was furiously swiping up on their phones.
I thought about how incredible it was that complete strangers could sit close and talk to one another at Pokestops. And it wasn’t just a total brofest, tons of girls were playing, too.
And then I thought about how it would be a missed opportunity for these people to stay buried in their digital world while surrounded by such a friendly real world. For all you gamer introverts out there, you’re not going to find a better, in-person commonality than Pokemon Go to help you start easy conversations.
Accept that it’s okay
If you need a refresher on why it’s completely acceptable to approach and flirt with new people – check out my articles here and here. Whatever the circumstances, there will always be haters who say not to bother other people when they’re out in public. (Mostly, because they’re too scared to do it themselves.)
But this is a SOCIAL game in a SOCIAL space. You SHOULD be using it to meet a new friend or someone you’re interested in. If you think that’s wrong, it’s because you’re thinking of it the wrong way. We’re here on Earth to make connections with other people – if one of those connections happens to spark something romantic, awesome.
I’ve seen people meet their romantic partners at cafes, bookstores, yoga classes, trade shows, and even on the ultimate Frisbee field. If a girl is outdoors doing something and you can relate to her, there’s a decent chance she’s open to talking to you. You don’t need a bar or party to hit it off with someone.
Go to high traffic areas
It’s just good Pokemon strategy: stick to the busy locations. From what I understand, the algorithm spawns more Pokemon based on where more players are. So places like malls, parks, and historic landmarks or monuments give you the best chances of meeting people.
Use lures at Pokestops
Rather than constantly searching for other players, bring those players to you. Use a lure and everyone in the nearby area will come running for the next 30 minutes. It’s by far the easiest way to engage a lot of people and get everyone talking.
Consider going with a friend
During the day, I often advise a lot of guys to approach solo. That’s because many women are also alone (reading, getting lunch, sunbathing) and being approached by more than one guy at the same time can feel overwhelming and scary.
But with Pokemon Go, many players are with their friends or in large groups. So while talking to them by yourself is still a very viable option, you may find it easier to bring a friend along. This way you don’t have to engage multiple people at once by yourself and can also feel more natural to the group you’re approaching. It’s a group of friends coming to say hi to another group of friends playing the same game.
Start conversation through Pokemon
The most organic way to talk to someone playing Pokemon is to…talk about Pokemon. That obvious commonality gives you an easy jumping off point.
This could be using something really generic to start. Don’t think you need some amazing opener — it’s just to get the conversation going and then you can build a more interesting dialogue from there.
Personally, I’m a bit of a goofball and like to be silly, mostly for my own self-amusement. So I’m going to provide a few funny examples as well.
- Are we friends or enemies? Valor or Mystic? Oh god, please tell me you’re not Instinct.
- Are you trying to get in on my territory? (At a Gym)
- You guys playing Pokemon? Wow, everyone’s in on this, huh?
- So which Pokemon do you think is the cutest?
- Catch anything good out there today? (Could even use a funny southern accent for this like you’re fishing)
- What’s the best thing you found recently?
- You can thank me for all these Psyducks (Using a lure at a Pokestop)
- Wait a second…you’re not a Meowth… (She’s standing near a Pokemon you saw)
- So what am I supposed to do with this giant fish thing? (If you’re new to Pokemon, be curious and a little playfully naive)
- Did you ever play the original games or cards or is this your first journey into Pokemon?
If they’re in a group, you want to at least hold conversation with everybody f0r a minute or two. Then you can focus on a girl you like, especially if you have a friend who can talk to the other people.
Transition into new subjects
Where I see a lot of guys potentially faltering is sticking to the topic of Pokemon Go and not taking the conversation anywhere. While that may be a good starting point, a girl isn’t going to want to keep talking to a stranger about the game. She can do that with her friends.
What’s going to get her excited is having an engaging dialogue that reveals more about who you are, who she is, and the vibe you guys have together. So after 30 seconds, a minute, or two minutes at most — switch topics.
Don’t stress out trying to find the perfect thing to say. The transition from introductions to real conversation is often a simple question or observation. Your discussion can get more personal and build based on her answers. Use conversational threading techniques to keep fleshing out topics.
- What do you do for fun when you’re not trying to catch ‘em all?
- How do you guys know each other?
- So where are you from?
- What else have you been up to this summer?
For even more ideas on transitioning, use one of the 4 ideas in my guide “What to Say After Hello”.
Exchange numbers or move with her somewhere else
Within 5-15 minutes, most girls will want a change of pace. They’re either going to want to get back to the game and hanging with their friends or if they’re having fun with you — go do something together.
If you’re not looking to continue hanging out in that moment, suggest plans for another time. Make it a statement rather than asking for permission, “We’re heading out but it would be fun to hang out again — let’s grab coffee soon.” or “Hey guys it was great meeting you! Amanda, we should check out that new exhibit at the Met.” Pull out your phone and if she’s interested, exchange numbers.
If during your conversation you talked about anything else you guys have in common: a love for sushi, hiking, concerts, art galleries — you can use that for a suggestion. “I’m going to catch up with some friends but I want to show you this amazing sushi place I recently found. Put your number in and I’ll text you this week.” Having an idea that she’s already excited about makes her more likely to say yes.
Reference my guide on going for numbers for more tips.
Now what if you have some time on your hands and the girl you’re talking to seems really engaged? You can be spontaneous and offer to do something then and there. “I could use a pick-me-up. Come grab a coffee with me for a few.” or “We’re gonna walk to the park and see what we find there, you guys should join us.”
If she’s interested, you can continue building a connection from there. If not, it never hurts to still try to exchange numbers. Sometimes a girl may not want to leave because she has other plans. “Cool, we can get together another time over a drink. Call my number and we’ll set something up.”
There are AT LEAST 151 types of women out there. You may not catch ’em all…but if you say hi, I guarantee you’ll catch one.