“I wonder if that mural is trying to tell us something,” you say to the woman nearby to you while waiting for the train, and she looks at the painting – an image of a thief being beaten by a woman with a handbag – and laughs.
“I think it’s saying, ‘Don’t rob people,’” she responds.
“Good advice,” you say. “Where you headed?”
Situationally relevant openers are versatile, simply because they are among the most innocuous openers out there, which makes them perfect for ambiguous situations where you don’t want to convey your interest too strongly. They’re simple enough to get down – just talk about something interesting or relevant in the environment – but there’s some nuance to them, and if you learn it, you have yet another powerful tool in your toolbox for starting conversations with pretty new girls.
An Overview of Situationally Relevant
While it’s long been my opinion that the direct opener is the strongest opener out there, there are some situations in which it’s really just not very practical. I discussed these in “When to Use Direct Openers Versus Situational Openers”, using the example of the girl you’re sitting next to on the bus – where going direct probably isn’t usually going to be advised, since if it doesn’t go well you’re going to have a more or less awkward ride; and even if it does go well, you and she are both going to be under immediate pressure right away to make things continue to go well.
You will generally use situationally relevant in environments where:
You and the girl are moving at a slower pace or are stationary (e.g., waiting in line, waiting for a bus or train, sitting next to each other in a café or cafeteria, standing next to one another in a concert, etc.)
There is a good deal of social pressure or a lot of social circle activity (e.g., if there are a number of people listening and paying attention, friends of yours or hers in earshot, etc.)
You’re otherwise unable to pull off a direct opener strongly or convincingly enough
Situationally relevant (or just situational) openers allow you to get into conversation without being as obvious as a direct opener makes things, which allows the conversation to flow more smoothly and naturally more easily from the outset, and without taking on the jarring / arresting feel of a powerful direct opener.
On the downside, because situational is so much more casual, you’ll end up in more interactions with women who just aren’t that into you than you will with direct, and you won’t get the positive boost of ramped up attraction that direct provides with women who feel free to express their interest in you after having received such a strong initial show of interest from you to them.
Situationally relevant, then, casts
a wider, less constricting net, and is easier to cast, but also lets
some of the best fish slip through its netting. Still, it’s
extremely useful, since direct is all but out of the question in some
situations... and you won’t always be ready to pull it off in others.
What to Talk About (and What Not To)
Just because situationally relevant takes some of the pressure off, though, doesn’t mean you can just talk about whatever you feel like and not have to worry about making the opener good. There is still an art to this... and two core pieces:
- Cleverness, and
An example of a bad situational opener, that includes neither cleverness nor wittiness:
You: [about a simple concrete floor] Wow, this floor sure has a lot of concrete in it.
Sure... you’ve made an observation about the environment. But it is neither a clever one, nor a witty one, and therefore it’s not really clear why you needed to point it out in the first place.
An example of a better situational opener, including both cleverness and wittiness:
You: [about a dust-caked wall] I bet if someone leaned against these walls, plumes of dust would fly into the air.
Again, you’re making an observation about the environment, but here
it’s both clever (you noticed how dusty the walls are, and are pointing
this out) and amusing (you’re talking about someone leaning against the
wall and kicking up dust; if you’re in a bar, restaurant, or other
establishment, it’s funnier still because you’re taking a dig at the
management of the place’s poor upkeep of the grounds).
Here’s another good/bad contrast:
You: This bar is really packed.
You: I could cook a lobster with the body heat in this place.
One’s pointing out that the bar is full, which is neither a clever observation, nor a witty one; the other is pointing out that the bar is hot due to excessive body heat (a clever observation), and could be used to cook a crustacean (an absurd but amusing remark).
Situationally relevant openers ideally will be both clever observations, and witty ones, if you want them to perform their best for you. If you forget either or both of clever and witty, you’ll end up with boring openers... which reflect on you in a boring way, and make the women you use said boring openers on a lot less likely to snap out of autopilot and pay attention to you – or to want to engage in conversation with you even if they do.
Like anything, you’ll need to practice using situationally relevant to get good at it. And that’s going to include saying plenty of dumb-sounding, boring situational openers you’re going to want to slap your forehead for saying immediately after the words pass your lips.
That’s fine. You have to stumble your way through awkward and unengaging situational openers before you get the art of stringing these together down well enough.
The big keys to learning situationally relevant are:
You must use it. Obviously. If you aren’t using this one, trying it, failing with it, and eventually sometimes succeeding with it, you won’t learn how to do it very well.
You must look for things to use in the environment. This is hard at first, but just like picking out interesting things to deliver genuine compliments on, it’s a skill that you develop with attention and use. I can find something to craft a clever, witty situationally relevant opener out of in almost any setting or situation, simply because I’ve done it enough that a.) certain things I’ve used repeatedly before pop out at me, and b.) my mind is trained to look for quirky things about the environment around me and use them to get into conversation with whoever I want to get into conversation with.
You must be mindful of not complaining. You’ll stumble on this repeatedly early on, and occasionally even later on, and it’s never fun, but it’s part of the learning process. That is, you’ll intend to say something witty, but only end up sounding sour grapes: “I’ve been waiting here forever!” “What’s taking the train so long?” “We must have the slowest bartender in North America.” That’s fine; just realize it when you say it, and resolve to be more witty and less annoyed in your openers the next time around.
Don’t talk about the girl. If you want to compliment her, use direct. If you include her in your situational openers, though, it’s too easy for her to misconstrue what you’re trying to say and take it as an insult. Telling a girl you bet plumes of dust would fly off the walls if she leaned against them, or that you bet she could cook a lobster with all the body heat here, is a lot more ambiguous than using the far more neutral “I” vs. a personal “you.” In one, it’s clear you’re making a witty remark; in the other, it sounds like you might be taking a shot at her.
Done right, situationally relevant openers are interesting, witty, and feel like just a natural, normal remark that a sociable person is making to someone standing near to him. Of course, it just so happens that you took a moment to position yourself next to someone attractive before delivering that remark.
More Examples of Situationally Relevant
Here are a few more examples of good situationally relevant openers you’d use in various situations. These are not for memorization – just examples of what the look and feel of a situational opener is like.
In a Clothing Store
[holding up weird-looking clothing item] “Think they have this in my size?”
[in the swimwear section] “I’m so mad they don’t have Speedos here.”
[gesturing toward a silly-looking mannequin] “Which one of the employees do you think dressed him?”
Waiting in Line
[pointing at a funny item in the basket of the girl] “I hear those are really popular in Sweden.”
[to a girl in front or behind you] “Hey, do you mind saving my spot? I’m going to go take a nap under that table over there. [pause] No, but seriously, the wait here is pretty long.”
At the Bar
[gesturing to a painting of some really strange looking man] “Good thing he’s watching over us to make sure no one gets too drunk or rowdy.”
[pointing at menu] “See that? Cucumber cooler. So you can get drunk as healthily as possible.”
[gesturing to guy dancing crazy by himself] “That’s my dance instructor. [girl reacts; you laugh] No, I’m just kidding. But I was thinking about hiring him. Think I should do it?”
Just remember to point out something at least a little bit clever
and interesting, and give it a witty turn, and you’ve got a
solid-enough situationally relevant opener you can use to jump into
conversation with girls in just about every environment.
How Often Will You Use This?
Because situational is both low pressure and versatile, this will usually end up being one of your bread-and-butter styles of opener. You can use it in a lot of scenarios where direct is going to be over the top, and where you don’t want to expose the girl to unneeded scrutiny from those around her, who are going to be paying very close attention to her reaction if they hear you open her direct and they know her well or are very close in proximity to her (sometimes it’s fun to go direct on girls you’re meeting in, say, a tightly packed subway car; when it works, not only is the girl extra excited because of your confidence in front of so many people, but everyone around you thinks you’re just bad ass, too).
Situational is a key part of running most variations of indirect game, and you’ll be glad you’re good at it any time you’re feeling low energy and going direct just doesn’t feel like something you’ll be able to pull off all that well.
If you’re new to situationally relevant, and your situational openers are coming off a little clumsy and boring or you’re having difficulty figuring out what you can use to open with, don’t worry – as with everything, practice makes perfect. Make it a regular habit to use clever and witty remarks about the environment around you as an opener, and you’ll have it running smooth as butter before you know it.