In this article, you'll discover...
Table of Contents
Once you know my simple secret behind how to talk to guys, including how to start a conversation with a guy, a whole new world of quality single men will be revealed to you.
Having the conversation skills to talk to men – or really, anyone – directly builds upon the social comfort covered in my previous article How to Be Approachable (without saying a word): The Ultimate Guide.
In terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it’s moving from your need for Safety and Security to the next level of Love and Belonging – i.e. a sense of connection to others.
If you’re thinking, “But I can’t talk to guys!” don’t worry, we’ll start slow. There’s no need to approach or chat up the hottest guy in the room just yet (although if you feel empowered to do so, go for it!).
The techniques I’ll show in this article should be applied to everyone you meet – from your dental hygienist to your potential future boyfriend.
All Readers Welcome
While this article was written with single women seeking men in mind, as that’s the perspective I can personally speak to, most advice is applicable to all genders and orientations.
So, if you identify outside of a heterosexual female, let me extend a warm personal welcome!
I’m glad you’re here and hope my content helps you achieve your love/life goals even faster.
- Camille Virginia
How to talk to guys: The tiny shift that works every time
One reason talking to guys can feel hard is because you may be putting on a different person around them.
The habit of showcasing an inauthentic alter-ego can come in several forms.
These may include – but are not limited to – tailoring yourself to different people and different situations, over-rehearsing what to say in a conversation, and/or needing to be “on” with men (or people in general).
Each of those aspects requires energy from you to bridge the gap between the real you and the version you’re presenting to the world.
So, if any of those approaches resonate with you, it’s no wonder you feel drained by social interactions and don’t know how to talk to guys.
Online dating has increased the opportunity for those draining aspects by enabling people to say or be anyone from behind a screen.
That’s part of why dating is so hard: it’s been shown that most people lie about themselves online.
Those online dating lies bleed into the offline dating real world – you can’t be an egotistical jerk online and then flip a switch to instantly become a genuinely kind and honest person in real life.
Back in my corporate days when I attended business networking events, I noticed many of the women at those events used unnaturally high-pitched, fake-feeling voices when they introduced themselves – like…
“Hiiiiiiiii!! Oh my gosh, it’s SO nice to meet you! I LOVE your coat, it’s SOOOOOOO pretty!”
It made me uncomfortable because I felt obligated to match that crazy-high level of energy and enthusiasm, which wasn’t how I truly felt.
Turns out, that’s not how they felt or naturally spoke either; they were presenting their hyped-up “networking persona.”
That meant I had no idea who they truly were which made it impossible to genuinely connect with them.
The same holds true for men.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Why don’t guys like me?”, “Why don’t guys approach me?”, or “Why can’t I get a date?” they may be sensing inauthenticity in you if you’re projecting a persona other than your true self.
Left unchecked, taking these “inconsistency” approaches may even lead to a man not wanting a relationship with you, despite deeply caring for you.
It’s hard to connect with and commit to someone who you feel isn’t being entirely genuine with you.
So, if projecting a faux persona across different interactions is such a draining process, why do people do it?
Consistency is NOT this
Note: When I say “be consistent,” that does not mean to behave the same way all the time.
As a human, you experience thousands of emotions and thoughts throughout your day, and you should honor each of them as they come up. Learning how to talk to guys is simply going with your natural flow.
Alignment is fluid, just like your mood, so stay the course by being true to your ever-changing emotions.
“Consistency” simply means your outer actions match your inner feelings in the moment; the persona you’re projecting to the world is a direct reflection of who you truly are.
This is even true on your not-so-great days, which everyone has. Forcing your external self to be the opposite of how you’re feeling internally is actually what’s inconsistent.
Of course, there are always situations where we need to adhere to social graces even when it doesn’t exactly match how we feel.
Like having a professional manner at work. But if you find yourself always adopting a different persona whenever you’re around other people, it’s time to remedy that exhausting habit.
Take a look at the graph below for a visual depiction of aligning your emotions with your words and actions (“Consistency”)…
…versus forcing yourself to act differently than how you actually feel (“Inconsistency”)…
Here's why we're inconsistent
If you want to talk to more guys but feel like you might have a case of the inconsistencies, don’t worry; you’re not alone.
To shine a light on this and start shifting toward more authentic interactions, let’s cover three of the most common reasons people tend to adopt a fake persona and/or fall into energy-draining emotional labor habits.
The first reason is it can feel safer because if that false tone or persona gets “rejected” by someone, it feels less personal. It enables you to tell yourself, “Well, that wasn’t the real me anyway!”
The second reason behind the need to “be on” is the desire to create a good first impression with others.
Humans have an innate need to be liked and accepted, so after rehearsing a certain “first impression persona” over and over for years, you know the general response it will elicit from others.
Which, granted, likely isn’t a very deep or meaningful one – but it is familiar and safe.
The last reason someone may be showcasing a disingenuous version of themselves is simply that it’s become a bad habit they started doing a long time ago, for whatever reason, and simply never stopped doing it.
Maybe you subconsciously modeled it after a parent or grandparent from an older generation when women were told to always present a sweet version of themselves, regardless of how they truly felt in the moment.
And now, every time you walk into a room full of strangers you automatically turn on that “sweet and perky” persona without even realizing it.
But knowing how to talk to guys (and how to get a guy to talk to you) is all about showcasing your authentic self and enjoying the conversation, so it’s time to ditch those draining faux personas.
Bottom line: It doesn’t matter why you adopted a different persona, only that you stop – and start showing people the real you.
The instant cure for inconsistency
Here’s the secret of how to talk to guys (and everyone) with ease by showing them the real you: Stop distinguishing friends from strangers and talk to everyone the exact same way.
The key to being your authentic self is to talk to every person you meet as if they’re already your friend.
Being your consistent self means you have the same mode of (conversation) operation with everyone.
So simple, yet a total social and dating game-changer once you start applying it with people – whether you’ve known them for 20 seconds or 20 years.
When you can relax into every moment and simply be the same person around everyone, you have the power to initiate any interaction, respond to anyone who approaches you, and build an instant rapport with them.
Accepting yourself on this authentic level is also one of the key traits men want in a woman and a big part of what triggers emotional connection with a man (which is my proven secret to getting a guy to ask you out).
Topics of discussion will vary from person to person, but your natural tone and casual approach should not.
Aligning your thoughts and feelings with your words and actions puts you into a state of effortless flow and enjoyment.
If you want to see my secret behind how to chat up a guy in action, take a cue from Chrissy Teigen.
It’s easy to assume Chrissy’s impressive credentials – which include supermodel, New York Times best-selling author, and foodie influencer with tens of millions of followers – might lead her to have a big ego or diva attitude.
But one look at her Twitter feed or Instagram captions, and you instantly feel like you’re reading a text from a close friend.
A stunningly stylish and super-witty close friend.
Whether it’s opening up about her postpartum depression or sending a fierce clap-back to an internet troll, her honesty and directness are both refreshing and relatable.
Even if you’ve never graced a red carpet or cozied up to Beyoncé, Chrissy makes you feel like you’re right there with her in each of those glamorous moments – and that you’re just as worthy of them as she is.
This is what I call “Chrissy Consistency.” And applying her approach authentically in your own life will instantly transform your interactions with everyone you meet for the better.
Chrissy shares her life as it happens, and her genuine emotions that go along with it – from generous (raising funds for children living in poverty) to kinda embarrassing (acting out not -so-flattering charades on Jimmy Fallon).
Consistently keeping it real and relatable – no matter the situation – makes Chrissy’s fans feel like she is genuine and trustworthy
They know she’ll always say what’s on her mind, stand up for what she feels is right, and be true to her emotions every step of the way.
Take a cue from Chrissy and talk to every man as your equal – no better, no less – and you will never feel drained from a social interaction again.
3 aspects of consistency
There are three key aspects to showcasing your consistent self, which will naturally give you more confidence to talk to guys…
1) Set and keep a similar tone
Keeping a consistent tone applies to my earlier example of the woman at the networking event trying to create a good first impression by talking in a higher-pitched voice.
Instead of doing that (please… just don’t), simply speak in the normal tone that you’d use when talking to your mom or your best friend – starting with the first word that comes out of your mouth.
Forcing any false enthusiasm outside of how you truly feel is going to feel uncomfortable and come off as disingenuous to the person you’re talking to.
It’s also exhausting to keep up that unnatural level of energy for the rest of the conversation. Once you start in a high tone, how do you transition to talking in a normal one?
2) The script is the same
Being your consistent self also means you talk to guys about the same random yet relatable topics you’d casually mention to a friend.
This approach is especially helpful in breaking the ice with a stranger or when responding to a man who engages you.
To apply it, share with strangers the same random thoughts that pop into your head that you would naturally turn and share with a friend sitting next to you.
This will feel more natural (and fun!) than putting pressure on yourself to come up with “the perfect line” or over-thinking what you should say.
It’s a small shift that will take you down a completely different path to an easier and more enjoyable conversation.
Start every conversation with a guy on a casual topic that’s instantly relatable in the moment.
Years ago, in one of my live workshops, I came to this part of the training and one of my attendees, a beautiful Black woman in her late twenties, said to me…
“Camille, will you please tell White guys the script is the same? They don’t need to come up to me and start talking about Kanye.”
She described how a White man had tried to engage her using an icebreaker about Kanye West, apparently in an attempt to better relate to her because she was Black.
But Kanye had nothing to do with anything in that moment, so it totally confused her.
Lesson learned: Don’t customize what you say to someone based on what you think they want to hear or go overboard in trying to speak to their specific age, race, ethnicity, or any other factor.
Just as most celebrities want to be treated like an average person, most people want to be seen and spoken to as a fellow human being – not an impersonal demographic.
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3) Assume everyone gets your humor
Sticking to the same script includes sharing your style of humor with everyone.
Maybe you make a funny quip out loud asking what that giant orb in the sky is after such a long dark winter and four out of the five people around don’t get the joke.
But that one person who does get it will think you’re hilarious. And that is the person you want to connect with.
Purposefully showcasing your authentic self – especially your humor – is how you find your people, including the right man.
I. Cannot. Emphasize. This. Enough.
It’s like casting a fishing line into a big lake and waiting to see who bites – and knowing the right ones will.
Adopt a mantra that you say every time you walk into a new space, like “I’m here to share my awesome self – which of you lucky devils is going to get it?”
Just make sure the side you’re showing is a nice side of your humor and not self-deprecating or judgmental.
Boldly share your quirky sense of humor and assume everyone gets it – because the right people will.
That’s another benefit of showcasing your authentic self: it speeds up the filtration process of finding the people you truly resonate with.
Showcasing your humor could be flirting with a guy, or simply saying a short quip out loud to yourself (but within earshot of that handsome man sitting two seats over at the museum lecture).
Here’s an example: I was in a restaurant lobby waiting for a friend, watching the rain out the window, when a man walked in and shook off his umbrella.
He said to the hostess, “It’s pouring outside, I almost slipped in ten different puddles!”
Without missing a beat, I said with a smile, “Well don’t make it eleven…” and pointed to the puddle of water that had gathered at his feet from his umbrella.
He looked down, laughed, and we started talking. A minute or so later, I received a text from my friend canceling our dinner date, so the man invited me to join him for dinner.
The fact that I shared that comment which showcased my slightly sarcastic sense of humor was a risk.
He could have stared at me like I had three heads or been offended. But I took the risk because…
- I thought it was funny and I love to crack myself up.
- I didn’t need him to validate my awesome sense of humor.
So, I went for it and ended up attracting a dinner date!
If humor is a core value you’re looking for in a partner, using it to talk to guys will help you achieve the first part of my three-part process to attract the right man:
Not everyone is going to get your jokes because not everyone is meant to come into your life.
An example of this that didn’t work out so well was when a coaching client of mine, Harriet, was on the phone with a man she’d met at an event a few days earlier.
They were having a “getting to know you” chat when she saw an opportunity to add some humor…
Should Harriet have stopped pursuing things with this guy because of that misfire? Not necessarily; humor may not be one of your values of a good man.
But it is typically an enjoyable part of relationships, so something to keep in mind during the dating process. Most people want a partner who can make them laugh, not one who they have to explain their jokes to.
If your sense of humor falls flat with someone, create your own little moment and enjoy it yourself. Here are some lines I’ve used to follow up on some of my jokes that elicited anything other than a positive response…
Saying anything along those lines as a follow-up to radio silence or a weird look after sharing your humor naturally closes up the interaction, so you can confidently move on to talk to the next guy.
How to start a conversation with a guy: The 5 icebreakers
If you’d like to understand how to talk to guys, including getting a guy to talk to you, it can help to have a few icebreakers in your back pocket before you head out.
Time to share my five simple approaches to starting a conversation with any man.
Note: These all need to be done in the real world, without the apps. You can’t exactly “cut in” to a conversation online or perform a random act of kindness on a dating app.
As you read through them, pick the one that feels the most comfortable for you.
The topic of conversation will change depending on the situation you’re in, but the general approaches will work the same way across every interaction.
Here are five easy icebreaker approaches you can use with anyone, anywhere…
#1 Pull a RAOK
You can never go wrong with a Random Act of Kindness (RAOK), no matter how the recipient reacts to it.
It’s a great way to break through your fear of talking to people because it makes the interaction more about them than you.
Doing something nice might be putting your umbrella over someone else while you’re both walking down the street in the same direction, or saying “Bless you!” when a stranger sneezes.
One of my favorite ROAK examples happened on a train ride home from work one night.
It was rush hour, so the train car was fairly crowded, and I saw a man who was seated get up and offer his seat to a woman standing near him.
She smiled and accepted it, and the man beamed with pride and accomplishment. But he didn’t stop there.
At the next stop, another seat became available, so the man tapped a woman who was standing on the shoulder and pointed to the free seat that she hadn’t seen. She mouthed “Thank you,” and sat down.
At each stop, different seats would open up and Captain Save-a-Seat would find open seats for the women on the train. I watched as he lit up with even more joy and pride after each placement.
If you can just channel even an ounce of that into being nice to random people in your own way, you’re going to become addicted to how amazing it feels to make other people happy like that.
You also have the potential to attract a high-value man in the process, who appreciates that you value helping others.
#2 Drop a Compliment
Here’s a simple way to give a compliment that only involves two words: “Nice” and then fill in the blank with whatever you’re complimenting – his shirt, socks, watch, whatever you genuinely like that he’s wearing.
You can talk to a guy in just two words: “Nice______ [watch / shirt / socks / etc]”
You can of course expand on this too, for example…
You can go from talking about a watch to talking about his trip to Switzerland in two seconds.
Just make sure the compliment is authentic, otherwise you’ll feel out of alignment and will start off the interaction on a lie – even if it’s well-intentioned.
#3 Casually Cut-In
When you overhear an interesting conversation in public, permission granted to chime in about it – as long as you keep it positive.
Then give the other person, or people, a little space to see if they bring you into their interaction.
My general rule is: If someone is talking about a topic in public, loud enough for other people to hear, it’s open for (positive) public comment.
Taking this approach has even led to me being asked out on a date.
I was in my apartment building’s lobby checking the mail while around the corner a man was talking to the doorman about a bad date he’d just come back from.
So, of course, my ears perked up when he said the word “date”. I walked over to them and chimed in with, “Ooo, I love bad date stories. What happened?”
He shared the story (yep, it was bad) and at the end of it said to me, “Wanna go grab a drink right now?” and we headed out on a spontaneous date together!
#4 Sprinkle Some Value
Another tip to confidently talk to a guy is to add a little value to his life, or his conversation.
If you see something or someone who piques your interest, share your thoughts out loud.
That could be suggesting your favorite seasonal drink to the man in line behind you at Starbucks who just said “I have no idea what to order” – or giving directions to someone who looks lost.
My friend Beverly actually met her husband while sitting in a coffee shop reading a book on Buddhism.
She caught his eye, and her book made it easy for him to approach her and say, “I’m into Buddhism too. Mind if I come sit with you?”
Other examples where you can showcase your expertise or add value might be when you’re both volunteering at a homeless shelter and you show the new guy the best way to serve the meal.
Or maybe you spot a man who’s wearing a shirt from your favorite sports team and, still excited from last night’s game, you say, “That was such a great game – grand slam!” and engage him in that mutual interest.
A great warm-up to this value-add approach is by doing a drive-by advice drop.
Drop some unsolicited advice or a recommendation on a person who might appreciate it, then walk away before they can respond.
It will take the pressure off you to continue the conversation and help you get comfortable talking to strangers.
#5 Try a “Hi”
The final approach to start a conversation with a man is just one word and four quick steps: Catch a man’s eye, flash him a smile, say, “Hi,” and then go back to doing whatever you were doing.
- Catch a man’s eye
- Flash a smile
- Say “Hi!”
- Continue doing whatever you were doing.
In just one word, you’re showing him that…
That is a great way to make a man chase you and naturally tap into your feminine energy by putting you in a position to receive, instead of initiate.
This approach is perfect for when you find yourself exchanging glances with a man and wondering, “Is he going to say something? Do I say something? What the heck do I do now?”
Just say, “Hi!” and break the sound barrier.
This helps you cut through the silent tension and opens the door for him to engage you.
Important note on cultural differences
In the process of learning how to talk to guys, you’ll want to stay consistent in your words and be true to yourself, but also be aware of each setting you’re in.
Women from dozens of different countries have reached out to me asking how to navigate the cultural nuances in their corner of the world.
For example: “In Sweden, strangers don’t talk to each other,” and “In Indonesia, people think you’re weird if you smile at them.”
I always respond the same: cultural customs may be different, but at the end of the day we’re all still human, which means we all have the same fundamental needs of acceptance, appreciation, and love.
After dating men from across the world and traveling to thirty-plus countries, I’ve seen first-hand this universal desire across different cultures, ethnicities, and religions – as well as ages, professions, and personalities.
Maybe in your culture, it’s not considered normal to talk to strangers, but you personally love chatting up people you meet on the street.
I encourage you to do what feels right for you and to trust that even if most people around you are conforming to the non-chat norm, the right ones will be open to connecting with you – and that’s all you need.
Just that one person who sees your willingness to connect and thinks, “Finally, someone else who likes to meet new people!”
That’s your person, and it’s often worth pushing through perceived social norms to find him.
Just be sure you’re not breaking any local laws or putting yourself in a situation that could be dangerous.
Always use your best judgment and knowledge of each circumstance, especially if you’re in a place where women don’t (yet) have the same rights and freedoms as men do.
The same goes for when you’re traveling the world and want to connect with people in different countries, or even different states within the U.S.
Enter every interaction with a genuine intention and love of connection and trust the right people will find you because of that.
The lesson with this is: No matter where you live, always stay true to yourself and what feels right for you.
If you want to chat up a stranger or connect deeply with the lady passing out samples at Costco, chances are there are other people within arm’s reach of you who want the same thing.
They may not know how or have your same skills or courage to go for it, but they’ll be delighted when you do.
Hiding your need for connection will only prevent you from finding the people who can give it to you.
How to handle “one of those days”
Remember, being your authentic self means aligning your internal thoughts and feelings with your external words and actions.
There will be days when you don’t feel like being friendly or social, and that’s okay.
Instead of feeling even worse by forcing yourself to practice your social skills that day, honor your emotions in that moment and take a break from engaging.
If you’re up for minimal interactions, try a compliment drive-by – which will make you feel good without committing to a full-blown conversation.
Conclusion: How talking to a guy can change your life
If you’ve been feeling like, “I really want a boyfriend” but also nervous about talking to guys, just remember…
The secret behind how to talk to guys (and how to get a guy to talk to you) is simple: speak to him in the same casual and comfortable way that you would your best friend.
Just keep it casual by finding an everyday topic around you that he has instant context for, use it to break the ice, and see if he opts in to the conversation.
You can use one of the five icebreaker approaches to kick things off:
Coming up next...
The next article in our series is Why Don’t Guys Ask Me Out? The Brutal Truth (+ how to fix it) – where you’ll discover…
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