Aspiring pick-up artists spend a lot of time thinking about openers. Ask any PUA instructor, and he’ll tell you that his students invariably want pick-up lines. Some of this makes sense: the opener is easy to teach (by the end of this article, you’ll know more than one). On the other hand, the opener is far less important than most students think it is. Your success or failure in the set is going to depend far more on your mastery of attraction, qualification, kino escalation, and rapport building than it will on your ability to open properly.
That being said, if you can’t open, you can’t work on that kind of stuff. So let’s explore some of the fundamentals of what you should say when you open a new set.
Canned or Spontaneous Openers?
Many new students to PUA hate the idea of using a canned opener. They’re sure it will sound false, or they’re worried about being called out for it. But herein lies one of the great counter-intuitive truths of pickup: a good, rehearsed canned opener sounds more original than most of what you can come up spontaneously.
This shouldn’t be surprising, after all. If you were writing an essay, do you think you’d do better if you spend time working on it and polishing it, or if you just said whatever you came up with in the moment? But it goes deeper than that, because the simple truth is that most of the thoughts that will spontaneously occur to you in the field will also occur to other people. Anything openers based on the situation are likely to be kind of thing she hears all the time.
Therefore, if you want to be original, it’s often best to use a canned opener. Additionally, having a canned opener you trust is a great way to get around approach anxiety, since it means you never have the excuse of not knowing what to say.
This is one of the most common types of opener, and it’s best exemplified by Style’s “jealous girlfriend” opener. And it goes something like this (you should not deliver this verbatim – you should find a way to make the language of it yours).
PUA: “So my buddy has this new girlfriend, they’ve been dating for a couple of months. And she discovered that he’s still friends with his ex. They’re not fooling around or anything, just friends but she wants him to cut if off. Should he?”
Now the set will start talking about this subject, often disagreeing with each other. Now the PUA will start to turn away from the set – a “body rock” – to imply that he’s leaving with his body language, then he’ll come back and continue:
PUA: “But it’s more than that. He has this old box of letters and photos from her. He keeps it in the back of his closet. But she found it and she flipped out. Do you think he should get rid of it?”
The set continues to talk about the situation.
PUA: “Actually, it’s worse than that. She doesn’t just want him to get rid of it, she wants him to burn the box.”
Now, this is a tried-and-true opinion opener, which you can customize and make your own, but let’s look at why it works so you can use it as a template to develop your own opinion openers. It works because it asks a question about which people will have strong opinions, but which most people will not agree about. A bad opinion opener is something like, “What do you think about this hat?” because it doesn’t trigger any sort of emotional reaction, and can be answered with one or two word responses.
By engaging the set emotionally, the set will focus on the conversation, rather than you – giving you plenty of time to display some value before they realize that this is a pickup. That makes a good opinion opener probably the best possible opener.
This is a very common and effective group of openers, as it basically involved coming into a set and giving them a positive energy boost. Mehow comes in to a set and just says, “HEEEEEYYY!” bouncing around. Lovedrop has been known to walk up to a set and say, “Hey, what was that movie ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner?’” He’s not asking like it’s a trivia question, but rather in a high-energy way to get girls to spike emotionally. (That works because the movie being referenced is a movie every woman seems to love).
These openers work best when they’re congruent with your personality and style. Mehow is a very flamboyant, outgoing, fun guy. Lovedrop loves to bounce around on the dance floor. From these guys, a more intellectual opener would be incongruent and feel like a pickup line.
Another opener in this category is this, which I believe originated with DaHunter:
PUA: “On a scale from one to ten, how much fun are you having?”
Set: “7” (or whatever).
Grab the target, and twirl her around: “Now you’re at 10!”
These openers often work well in loud club environments when conversation is difficult. It is important that your energy be positive and slightly higher than that of the set.
These openers are pretty simple and straightforward, and a lot of people use them. All you do is notice something interesting about the room, or her, and share it.
For these openers to be effective, you need to actually be noticing and commenting on something interesting and non-obvious. Saying something like “You look great in that dress,” or “Wow, the club sure is crowded tonight,” doesn’t qualify.
I opened a girl one by noting the graphic design on the back of her book, and saying, “That has to be a book aimed at women.” I was right (it was a book about finding Mr. Right) and that’s a great thing to observe because it segues right into talking about the differences between men and women, which is always a good subject for conversation when flirting.
If you have cold-reading skills, this is a great place to apply them, because a great, accurate observation about her is a powerful DHV spike in addition to a strong opener. But a poor or obvious observation will get you blown out of the set unless she already decided she wanted you to open her before you said a single word.
Useful and easy. You use them on people who don’t work at the venue. A good example is: “Hey, two beers over here, please” These are very effective if the mistake is plausible, and the target hasn’t heard them before.
Anything you can do that gets a laugh is good. A common one is to take note of some entirely appropriate activity the set is engaged in, and tell them it’s not allowed. For example, “Is that alcohol? For shame, drinking isn’t allowed here.” The goal is to get them laugh, or, even better, to engage in a role-play with you. See how far you can take it!
These openers involve simply walking up to a girl and saying, “Hi, you looked so beautiful over here I had to come up and say hello.” Or, “You look interesting, I’d like to get to know you.”
For these openers to work, you must already be perceived as high value. They’re great if you get an approach invitation from the girl (any piece of behavior which clearly indicates that she’d like you to come over and talk to her). They also work well if you are already the social center of the room – if by gaming other people you’ve made yourself a positive center of attention.
Wow. That’s a lot of openers.
Yes it is. But don’t strive to memorize or master them all. Rather, find two or three which you feel comfortable with, and get them down cold so you have them “on tap.” You should be able to find something in one of those categories which is congruent with who you are presenting yourself as. Often, less is more: if you know ten openers, you’ll waste time trying to figure out which one to use.
Don’t Be Afraid!
A lot of beginning PUAs are terrified that their target will recognize their opener, or ask a question like, “Are you a pick-up artist?” or “Did you read ‘The Game?’”
If this happens to you, do not panic. The girl is offering you a new subject to engage her on. “Oh, you know about this stuff. Awesome. Do you feel like it works?” Talk to her about game. Do not be embarrassed about using a canned opener. Simply say that you heard about it and are interested in it – have a conversation about your opener with her! You’ll end up talking about men, women, dating and romance … great material for a great conversation!
And After the opener …
So you’ve delivered your opener and it went great. Some of these openers, you’ll notice, segue right into a conversation. Run with it! Others, however, don’t. In this case, what you do next is very important. Heck, it’s probably more important than your opener.
Don’t let the conversation die. Instead, turn, like now that the opener is done you’re going to go back to your friends. Take one half step away from them, then turn back and say, “So how do you guys know each other?”
And stack forward from there.