With a new semester comes endless opportunities to meet new people in your classes, residence halls, apartment complexes or simply standing in line at Starbucks. Somewhere along the way, however, you may find a particular individual who catches your eye. It might be that guy sitting in the front row, or the girl who lives a few rooms down. Whatever the case, the act of approaching a new love interest can be quite nerve-racking. Throughout history, society seemed to create its own set of guidelines for handling romantic relationships. There exists a basic etiquette while executing “the approach” which seems to be common sense, but at the same time completely foreign.
The first step to forming any relationship is to “break the ice,” or to introduce yourself. Sounds easy, right? Not always. It can actually prove to be the most challenging part of the whole equation, as making a good first impression sets the tone for whether or not you’ve established a connection.
Your approach is key, and there are many different techniques you can use to hopefully spark a conversation, instead of the other person awkwardly scurrying away. SDSU senior Tiffany Fernando has had good luck offering random compliments to people she met in the elevator. “I used to always find a compliment or see what [the other person] was carrying,” Fernando said. “Leaving a little mark on someone’s day makes you more memorable and makes people more friendly toward you.”
Showing genuine interest in the other person is also important because it demonstrates that you truly want to get to know them. Ask what kind of coffee they are drinking or what book they’re reading. Relate the conversation to school-related matters if nothing else comes to mind. When talking to someone new, SDSU senior Octavio Hernandez uses a similar tactic. “Ask what major she is in or what classes she is taking,” Hernandez suggests. Junior Kristen Erickson also believes show- ing an interest is a good way to talk to someone new. “Ask them lots of questions about themselves and give them your full attention and be fully involved and interested in what they have to say,” Erickson said. “Make them feel special.”
If saying someone’s hair looks nice or their backpack really matches their eyes isn’t quite your game, try humor. Say something funny to get the other person’s attention.
“For me, it’s all about laughter,” San Diego State junior Danielle Gardner said. “I love it when a guy can make me laugh.”
While pick-up lines may seem un- conventional or something that onlyworks in movies, it just might prove to be a unique opener for starting a dialogue with someone, so long as you don’t ask if they are wearing space pants or tired from running through your mind all day.
With any of these suggestions, however, comes caution. It is crucial to keep your ego in check, as excessive confidence is not always attractive.
“Don’t try to act too cool and collected and try too hard to impress,” Erickson added. “It can make you come off as fake or just make you look completely ridiculous.”
More than anything, show your true self, as honesty is also a key component to any successful relationship.
While this may seem daunting, it all boils down to confidence. This may sound easier said than done, because sometimes nerves over- come you until you can barely form a sentence. Sometimes all it takes is saying “hi” with a friendly smile to open the door to conversation. In doing so, you should realize even if the person doesn’t respond the way you would like them to, there are al- ways other “fish in the sea.”
Senior John Carlo Gucilatar supports this notion. “Know that rejection is not a bad thing,” he said.
The next time you introduce yourself to someone you want to get to know or simply strike up a conversation with, the easiest thing to do is just say hello. Be friendly, show interest or even offer a compliment or two. Hopefully it will lead somewhere. It may not. Either way, you took a chance. You put yourself out there. In the end, that’s all that matters.