One hottie is working up a sweat on the tennis court, another is standing behind you at the salad bar, and it’s definitely more than the Bunsen burner that’s heating up your chemistry lab. Your campus is positively brimming with hot guys! But finding the nerve to actually approach one? That can be more terrifying and uncertain than the current job market. That’s why we’ve chatted it up with relationship experts, real college guys, and the collegiettes who’ve put their good advice to the test, to share with you the ultimate guide to approaching college guys.
Tricks of the Trade
“Think of yourself as one of those female newscasters and just start asking questions,” suggests Dan Lier, author of Men: 10 Secrets Every Woman Should Know from Two Guys That Do (available on askdanandmike.com). “The key to actually getting into a conversation with men is to ask a question about them.”
Lier explains that on an emotional scale, men trail behind their female counterparts, making some college-aged men shallow and self-centered. So channel your inner Katie Couric and start asking him about himself. “Because guys like attention, he’ll think, ‘Wow, she’s really interesting!’ But the fact is, you’re not being interesting, you’re being interested,” explains Lier. “And because you’re being interested, guys will want to be around you.”
Like any good journalist, Kean University junior Brigit recommends you ask flirty open-ended questions. “Don’t ask anything that he can answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” she explains.
Gabrielle, a junior at The College of New Jersey, is living proof that Brigit’s advice works. When Gabrielle first spotted a hottie scribbling away in a tiny notebook during their conversation hour her freshman year, she immediately started chatting him up after class. “I caught up with him on our way out of the building and asked him what he was writing,” she says. “I was so surprised with how easy the conversation flowed from there.” That simple question was all it took; the two are celebrating their two-year anniversary this month.
“You never know unless you ask,” says Lier. “If you never take action and go up and talk, you’ll never get anywhere.”
Use context clues
Not sure just what to ask? Gabrielle suggests that you look for something you might have in common. “There are lots of cues that guys give off – their clothes, what they do, where they are, what they read – that might clue you in on a conversation starter, and something you already share,” she says.
“Come up with a question, something that you can talk about comfortably and go ask him about that,” says Lier. Notice that he’s always wearing a sports jersey? Lier recommends asking him a sports-related question. “Most guys like sports,” he says. “ And if you have some knowledge of sports, that can be really attractive to guys.”
Sports seriously not your thing? Don’t sweat it. An excessive knowledge of sports is not necessary for this tactic; just ask about the team and let him do the talking.
Be fun, friendly, and flirty
“Always be positive, upbeat, and fun,” shares Lier. “Guys love to hang around girls who are fun.” You don’t even need to open your mouth to convey your stellar personality. “Flirt!” exclaims Tristan Coopersmith, a Love Styslist who coaches women in the matters of the heart so they can have a healthy love life. “Channel that hot inner flirt inside and show him what you got!” She recommends you use your body language to convey interest. And what’s this love stylist’s go-to move? The wink and smile combo of course! If that’s too bold for you, while talking to him, try biting your lower lip to subconsciously hint that you want him to kiss you. Another great option is a subtle hair toss to draw some attention to your 1000-watt smile.
Avoid taboo topics
While it is always important to be open, Coopersmith gives us a list of some “taboo topics” you’ll definitely want to avoid in the beginning, like exes, religion, bouts in rehab, financial problems, your crazy family, sexual history, and anything about marriage or weddings. “A good litmus test is if the guy would feel like he’s sitting in your therapy session, you’ve said too much!” says Coopersmith.
Stay calm, cool, and collected
Let’s be honest, it takes some serious cojones to approach a random hot guy on campus and strike up a conversation, but according to Her Campus’s “Real Live College Guy” Andy Bensch, the payoff can be big. “In reality, all guys would love it if girls initiated more often,” says Bensch. He does warn, however, that guys might be slightly taken aback at first by your bold confidence, but says that they’ll get over it pretty quickly. Most guys find it sexy when a woman is able to take charge. “You just have to put yourself out there,” says Brigit. “The worst he can say is ‘no.’” But according to Robb, a junior at The College of New Jersey, the chances of a guy rejecting you is unlikely. “He probably wants you to talk to him,” says Robb.
Still not convinced? Coopersmith shares these words of wisdom: “Life’s too short to be on standby. In the game of dating, you gotta play if you wanna win!”
How to approach him when he’s…
Take note of where he sits and how he acts in class. If he’s usually in the first couple of rows, takes notes, and participates in class, it’s safe to assume that he is the studious type. Chat him up after class and ask if he’d like to study with you for that big test next week. If he’s the type who sits in the back row or snoozes during class, he’s probably not too interested in the class. In this case, try asking him if he’d like to grab some coffee with you so you can both wake up from your professor’s latest snooze-fest.
At the gym
If he’s always at the gym running on the treadmill, ask him if he runs track or is training for a marathon. Always see him lifting weights? Ask him if he’ll spot you once he finishes his set. If you spot him out on the basketball court, offer to play a one-on-one match with him.
At a party
It’s pretty tough to start a meaningful conversation once a party gets going and the music is blaring. Your best bet in this situation is to lean in close and introduce yourself, and then ask if he’d like to dance.
Remember to be yourself
The most important thing to keep in mind when approaching a cutie is just to be the fabulous collegiette you are! You never want to feign an interest in something just to impress a guy. He’ll be able to see through that and the situation might get really awkward. And after all, if he doesn't like you for who you are, then he's not the guy for you!