Today I want to talk about two different but related kinds of opening:
- Shotgun opening, and
You'll mostly use these with women in social nighttime venues (bars and clubs, parties, networking events), but they're practical by day as well, in the right places (charity events or rallies, beach parties, barbecues and cookouts).
Shotgun opening coupled with reopening is an effective one-two punch for talking to lots of girls while not getting overly bogged down in go-nowhere conversations with women who are only interested in you socially, rather than romantically. This is how you work the crowd and build a foundation in social events that you build on later into the evening.
Done right, you'll frequently find yourself with a bunch of women who already know you and are comfortable with you and who may even be actively chasing you later into the night, when their walls are up to other men just beginning to approach them fueled by liquid courage (that is, alcohol), who will be standing around wondering how you're getting such warm receptions with all these gals while they face one cold shoulder after another.
Shotgun opening + reopening is how.
The term "shotgun" is often used to mean an approach that has a wide area of effect, like the spread of most shotgun shells when fired, and shotgun opening is no different. With shotgun opening your aim is not to pick one girl and stick with her right away... rather, it is to meet lots of women, and keep moving and meeting more. This can be because:
You're good at quick reads and only need a minute or two of talking to a girl to know whether or not she's someone you want to go for and whether you stand a reasonable chance of getting her
You're very out of your element (e.g., not used to being places like this - maybe it's your first time at a loud nightclub, or you're at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand and it's just sensory overload), and rather than try to narrow it down and pick the women you want to talk to carefully, you just want to keep moving and work the crowd until you get more of a feel for things
You're building up your social momentum for the night and just getting the ball rolling
You're still pretty inexperienced, and struggling with making good conversation with women, and want to focus more on doing a lot of opening and getting comfortable in-venue for the moment
Whatever the case may be, you use shotgun opening because you're not planning on sticking around for a long time engaging in chitchat. So, you break out your shotgun approach and start firing off some slugs.
What Shotgun Opening Looks Like
shotgun opening, you're not carefully selecting the
individuals you want to meet; instead, you
open whoever's nearest to you, with only the most basic of
screening. The point is to be continually in conversation with somebody. Attractive women are
preferable, but you just want to be talking.
When you first walk into a venue or event and begin running shotgun opening, you'll start speaking casually to whoever's near at hand. Obviously, avoid anyone who's going to cause you negative social proof or negative preselection - don't get seen chatting up the chubby fat girl or the creepy reclusive guy as the first person you talk to, and even if he or she's the 20th person you've talked to, keep the conversation very short - but more or less grab whoever's close by to you, is open to being engaged, and doesn't look completely terrible to talk to.
After talking for a few minutes, disengage, and move onto the next
person nearby. With time and a little targeting (but not much; talking
to someone is most important,
while picking the right person to talk to is of secondary importance -
keep that momentum rolling), you'll end up talking to really cool guys
and really pretty girls, and these
are the ones you want to spend a bit more time on. Engage them
more; compliment them genuinely, if
you can; make sure you trade names, and exchange a few personal pieces
of information. Banter around a bit and be playful. Then, on a high
point, exit the conversation and keep moving... UNLESS:
You've found a girl you know you definitely want to talk to and who's clearly receptive to you
You've found a guy who might make a really cool friend, or is otherwise very good to get to know right now
Otherwise, pick a high point to get out, and move on.
Here's a sample shotgun opening:
[you step into a bar; immediately, you turn to the guy next to you, who seems unoccupied]
You: How's your night going?
Him: Eh, you know... just getting started.
[chit-chat for a few minutes]
You: ... just make sure none of these girls steal your drink!
You: I'm going to go scout out the rest of this place and see what's going on - I'll catch you later.
Him: All right.
[you walk up to the bar, and notice a cute girl nearby]
You: [preopen her] How's the wait for drinks right now?
Her: Not too bad... I've only been here a few minutes, and he's already getting my drinks. It'll get busier later though.
You: Sounds like you know the ins and outs of this joint.
Her: [laughs] I guess I am kind of a regular.
You: No harm in that. [she gets her drinks and pays] I'll let you get back to your table.
Her: Nice to meet you.
You: Oh, I'm Rick, by the way.
You: See you later, Esmeralda.
Her: See you!
... and then you'd just keep going, meeting people as you mingle your way through the venue.
Note that you are letting the girl go here, because it's a natural place for her to leave, and you're also ending on a high point. This does a host of good things for you, including:
Shows you have an abundance mindset, which implies you do well with women, and also reassures her you won't be a social burden
Generates intrigue about you - most guys try to hang onto her and not let her leave; so what's your story?
Leaves her on a high point, which causes her to think about you in a good way during your absence - and as we know, anticipation and mental energy spent thinking about and hoping to meet someone again only ramps up attraction
The only real risk here, of course, is that you don't get the chance to talk to this girl again... but if you're circulating naturally and meeting lots of people, you should be meeting a number of women you like (unless it's a smaller or less popular venue), which means you're going to have options for whom you reconnect with later on.
Shotgun Opening Does Not Mean Social Butterflying
One difference that's well worth pointing out is that between shotgun opening and social butterflying: shotgun opening is NOT the same as social butterflying.
Social butterflying is about making friends with everybody in an event or venue. Shotgun opening is about opening people a bit more strategically, with an eye toward getting to know attractive women. With shotgun opening, the goal is either:
Warm women up to be reopened (discussed more below), or
Keep running through opens until you find a girl you really click with
You must be very aware of when a woman is giving you heavy signs she likes you and showing a lot of interest, and when you see it, full stop and engage with her, and begin running through your process with her.
Effectively, in this way, you're either using shotgun opening to wade through lots of candidates quickly to find the one you want, OR you're using it to warm women up for you to interact with them later.
If you're not running your conversations with a clear objective, you're social butterflying, which is not nearly as conducive to succeeding with women than shotgun opening done right.
If I had to give you one killer piece of advice to take your reopening to the next level, it'd be this: start earlier. The earlier you start, the more women you're going to tend to meet, the lower their walls will be when you meet them, and the more women you'll have to reopen later and the warmer they will be to see you.
But let's backtrack a moment. What's all this reopening stuff?
Reopening, simply enough, is when you re-approach a girl you've previously approached and jump back into conversation with her again. You reopen her, and reinitiate conversation with her.
Reopening's a handy enough skill to have at your disposal, but where it really shines is when you combine it with effective shotgun opening.
Do Women Want to be Reopened?
When I first started going out to meet women, I assumed that if a conversation ended, the girl probably wouldn't want to talk to me again, and I'd be making a nuisance of myself to go re-approach her. But, after a number of incidents of women who'd cut earlier interactions with me short coming up and reopening me, I decided to take a crack at doing the reopening myself.
And I was surprised! Women who'd given me lukewarm receptions before started giving me warm receptions on the reopen. Women who'd been friendly with me earlier became affectionate with me the second time around. Not all of them, not all the time, but the frequency was pretty surprising to me.
"Why are so many girls warmer to me the second time around?" I wondered. "If our conversation ended the FIRST time around, shouldn't that mean they've already decided they aren't interested??!"
What I eventually realized was happening was this:
Unless I'd had an especially bad blowout or rejection, most women weren't 100% remembering later on in the night that they'd cut things off with me a few hours earlier, because it didn't stick much in their minds - they just remembered we'd talked, the conversation had ended... and now here we are talking again!
With the interactions women did remember ending things with, because I was cool about it, smiled and shrugged, and continued on meeting new people, many of these girls gained respect for me on the exit - unlike many guys experiencing a rejection, I didn't get upset, didn't chase, didn't act needy, and just went happily on my way and soon found myself in conversation with someone else attractive. Girls watching this after sending me on my way sometimes saw this and thought, "Oh, wow - this guy's a stronger dude than he seemed on first glance"
Even though I wasn't all that good with women yet, and wasn't terribly interesting or intriguing, and certainly wasn't remotely sexy at that point, women were happy to see me later and greeted me with like we were old friends simply because we'd had a positive interaction earlier and we'd parted ways smoothly and cleanly.
The most surprising thing for me to realize was how few men let women go without being weird about it in bars and nightclubs. Simply not being weird when the interaction ends nets you TONS of points with most women that it's not even funny. You stand out purely on the basis of being "normal" (which isn't really all that normal after all).
What I figured out was that women go through a thought process like this:
On open: "This guy seems okay. Is he going to get weird and start hanging onto me when I try to go off and do my own thing though? Oh man, I hate meeting randoms just for this reason."
On first split: "Oh. He was totally cool about that. He didn't even get a weird look or beg me to stay or try to buy me a drink or something. Huh. That guy was cooler than I thought."
On reopen: "Oh! It's that cool guy I met earlier. Thank GOD, I'm so tired of being bombarded by needy weirdos. I'm glad Cool Guy came up to talk to me again... I'd better hang onto him this time in case I lose him and end up with no one but weirdos to talk to now."
So... why do you get a warmer reception by women on the reopening than on the initial opening, so much of the time? Because you've shown nonchalance, built scarcity, and come back in like a breath of fresh air once she's had a chance to compare you to all those other men who've approached her in the meantime (or, alternately, if she's been not getting approached, a breath of fresh air compared to sitting around by herself with nothing to do and no one exciting to talk with).
The Rules of Reopening
Reopening fortunately isn't too rule-heavy. You don't have to follow some exact sequence or do anything dramatic.
However, there are a few important rules worth keeping in mind:
End on high points. Mentioned in that example of shotgun opening above, ending on high points is how you prepare women to receive you again more favorably. You don't have to end on a high point to reopen - you'll have reopens go fine sometimes even if the original interaction petered out or she broke it off by telling you it was nice meeting you and drifted away. But... things just go so much smoother if you end well. End well, and she'll be thinking about you while you're gone, paving the way for a smooth reentry into conversation again.
Wait a good while. Reopening doesn't mean you end a conversation, then circle back around 30 minutes later. That's pedestrian. If you want the FULL effect of a good reopen, make it at least an hour and a half later... otherwise, you don't seem all that scarce. An hour and a half?! you might say; Won't she leave??! Well, she might - that's what makes reopening a risky move. That's also why if you really hit it off with a girl the first time, you don't break things off... that's just silly. But if it's only going just okay, or her interest levels in you are only moderate, or she isn't clearly the one you're looking for then and there, at least not at first blush, you can break off your first conversation with her, and if she's still around later on in the night, you can resume with her again later.
Come in like an old friend. This one seems obvious to me, but always worth covering the basics. Do not deliver a standard opener all over again, as if she's a stranger... of course. Instead, just be happy to see her: "Heyyyyy! Fancy running into you again, Esmeralda! How's your night unfolding?" Using the "suddenly notice her" opener discussed in the article on approaching girls sitting down is very good too - especially if she's sitting down.
One reopen is really all you need. If a girl isn't very warm on your first reopen, she usually won't improve much if you leave a second time and return again later a second time. I say "usually" because you will see scenarios where, for example, things fell through with the guy she was really hoping would take her home, and now, screw it, she'll just go with that guy who's been checking in with her off and on all night. These are rare though. Most of the time, butterflying back and forth between her and a lot of other people isn't going to do anything other than waste your time; reopen her once, and if it's more on the second time, make something happen; if not, bail and reopen another girl from earlier or meet someone new.
See? Not too hard, right?
Now let's put these two together.
The Combo: Shotgun Opening + Reopening Later
Here's that one-two punch we kicked off the article with: starting off your evening with shotgun opening, and finishing up with reopening.
Again, pretty simple; all you're doing is going around doing a lot of opening early on into an outing, and then circling back around and building on that foundation via reopening as the evening progresses. There are just a couple of things to be mindful of here:
The earlier you start, the better. Shotgun opening becomes increasingly impractical the later into the night you get, the louder the music becomes, and the more wary the girls get after being hit on by one un-smooth drunk after another. It's easiest at the very start of the night, as people just start to drift into a venue, walking in excited and ready for a night of fun and socializing. When I want to do a lot of shotgun opening, I almost always arrive at a venue first thing as it's opening, to build that foundation with everyone as they filter in, and I'd advise you do the same.
Don't start trying to settle into an interaction too soon. When you start sufficiently early, and there are few people there, you'll tend to circle back and reopen people you talked to already naturally fairly quickly because there's literally no one else there. That's fine. These people can serve as your "base of operations" for later in the night... you don't have to follow the "hour and a half rule" with them. But, don't get too comfortable just sitting around and chatting with them, unless you've met a girl you're really hitting it off with (and in that case, you ought to be pulling her fairly soon, not hanging around to get plastered with her and her friends). Keep it moving, and keep shotgun opening new people (and especially new girls) as they appear.
As the night progresses, shift into "targeted" mode. Shotgun opening decreases in effectiveness as the men in a venue begin to get drunk and start opening the girls there, and also as the venue gets increasingly crowded and girls start feeling less protected and less secure. This is typically when you want to start switching into a more targeted opening mode, and start looking for women you met earlier to reopen (as well as new women you judge are likely to be more open to meeting you).
If you're still not getting anywhere by later in the night, and your reopens have failed to pan out, you can run more shotgun opening toward the very end of the night - this is often the most effective way to work a crowd and figure out which girls have shifted from "party mode" to "oh no, I don't want the night to be over mode".
Much of the time though, if you set enough of a foundation for yourself with your early shotgun opening, you'll find you have a pretty easy time getting in with at least a few cute girls later. The only thing to be careful of here: that they're happy to see you because they're attracted, and not because they're just glad to see a familiar face in a sea of unknowns. As always, follow your process, and rapidly escalate compliance and have girls move with you, and you'll quickly screen out the ones who are only socially interested in you, rather than romantically interested.
When Should You Use This Approach?
I've always used the shotgun open + reopen combo most often in:
- Big, loud nightclubs where everyone's in fun / party mode
- Networking events where everyone's mingling
- Situations where a girl's with a big social circle
On that last one, that's one of the time you'll use this in a more targeted way; e.g., you'll see a girl you like, wait for a moment to ping her and get into a small conversation (best if you can do this when she's momentarily away from her group), then, later on, run into her again, and have her pull you into her group, provided you can't pull her away.
Even if there are other men there angling for her, it's a lot more difficult for them to gang up on you and get you shunned from the group if the girl says, "This is Rick! We met earlier. He's a dentist!" (which makes it sound like she must really dig you, if she met you earlier and wants to talk to you again) vs. her saying, "This is Rick! He's a dentist, and we just met!" (which makes it sound like she's just being nice, and you're some guy they can easily get rid of).
Another way of reopening girls in groups, provided they liked you
enough earlier, is simply locking eye contact with them and motioning
them over to you, getting increasingly fun and emphatic about waving
them over every time they refuse (if they do). Basically, just get more
playful and dramatic in waving them over until they give in and comply.
Shotgun opener + reopening isn't a magic "works every time" approach, but for dealing with situations with a large crowd of women to work through, or in which you'll be better served warming things up early and coming back to them later, it's a very solid combination. Just don't forget to keep your antennae out for that girl who really hooks into you and doesn't need you to peel off and reopen her while you're doing all that shotgun opening... no sense passing up a girl who's already ready when all you'll be doing is coming back to her later trying to get her ready. Keep your thinking cap on!