We all get those moments in the romcom when the endearing nerd stereotype tries to talk to the Popular/Plastic. It’s a basic case of generic male fantasy wish fulfilment self-insert and you always cringe with second hand embarrassment. And I mean the proper stuff.

Like, close your eyes-put a pillow in front of your head, ‘pause the film’ because it’s so agonising.

Yes, we all are well familiar with cringe.

And no, none of us ever really learn how to talk to our crush.

Typically, we will always be fine talking charmingly and wittily to people we’re comfortable with. Or people that we have no vested interest in, whatsoever. Obviously, the laws of the universe means that they get our best material and smoothest (accidental) flirting. Because that’s the sort of justice system that we’re operating under. No I’m not bitter, how dare you (wink). 

My point being, some of us could stand to learn a little more about some starting points to start up an interesting conversation with the person you have your sights set on. A conversation, that I must clarify, won’t leave us wanting a hole in the ground to swallow us up in.

Some great starting points – the old faithful, if you will…

Ask about themselves! I know it just feels like small talk, but everyone has to start somewhere, in any relationship. Moreover, you can make the questions as interesting or broad as you feel comfortable doing. It’s important to read the room here, because if you aren’t getting the vibes from the object of your attention after a couple of ‘work/school’ related questions, don’t take that as an excuse to panic and ask about the name of their dead pet. It’ll sound like you’re trying to phish for their online banking security questions. Kind of a buzz-kill, realistically speaking. 

This is where you have to pay attention to your responses. It’s not the time to be insincere and blind them with a smile and over keen ‘uhuh’ every three seconds. That comes across as disingenuous and false. Even patronising, which is the last thing you want to express when trying to get to know someone new. By all means, ask if they have any pets, and try to find some common ground, but also think about what you have to contribute to a conversation.

After all, no matter how interested you are in dogs, if you don’t have any pets, and they don’t either.

It’s a pretty short, uninspiring conversation.

That also makes it sometimes feel like guys are trying to play a game or check off a list of ‘safe’ small talk as the fail safe prerequisite of trying to get a girl. It makes it seem like a game or like you have a shallow ‘tactic’, rather than just going with the flow of conversation. 

Another hint, don’t panic! Don’t feel the need to ask them loads of questions and find about their hometown or parents’ first jobs – if it’s not relevant, don’t push it! Otherwise it sounds like an interrogation. The goal is to find things in common or things that interests you about each other, not to help them fill out their taxes. More still, this can feel like a waste of time if the conversation isn’t going anywhere in particular.

That’s really where you can sell yourself short.

To keep things interesting, maybe think of a few interesting facts or anecdotes that you can think of that flows with the conversation. Either blow their mind with a cool, distinctive fact (but try not to seem too rehearsed!), or show them that you are interesting and fun with a story of your own. You shouldn’t let them talk forever without making comments, nor should you interrupt them or monopolies conversation trying to convince them about just how great you are. There’s a fine line, trust me! No one wants a boaster.

That’s a sure fire way to get an eye-roll and one way trip to the toilet. 

If you’re still looking for a couple more tips – think about your outfit and whether that supports the personality that you are presenting to your crush. If you are a chill person, don’t confuse that by wearing suits to the pub. Equally, if you are expressing a mature outlook, you can do better than trackies and messy hair. 

Just think about what you would have done to you, that’s the golden rule of dating! Consider the other person and try to anticipate their needs.

Above all: communicate.

Best of luck!