Save the date: the chat-up lines that really work – and ones to avoid

New research into online dating has found that what men say to attract women matters, but not vice versa

Name: Single person.

Age: My picture suggests I’m 25. In reality, I have to admit to 60-odd.

Appearance: Stunning. Though the pic was taken 35 years ago.

Status: Person with a lot of potential who is trying to get a date.

Are you chatting me up? You’ve got it in one.

Any particular reason? Because new research on online dating has come up with some pointers on how to use chat-up lines.

Useful with Valentine’s Day around the corner. You said it.

What does the research show? That whatever chat-up line a woman uses to attract a bloke is irrelevant. All that matters is the picture.

I don’t think you need a PhD to reach that conclusion: True. But for men trying to attract women, the chat-up line is important.

Women are so much more sophisticated. What do they go for? Humour can be good. “Humour promotes positive emotions in two ways,” says Minhao Dai from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, who wrote the report. “First through increased perceived credibility, second to reduce psychological reactance.”

Do they give any examples? Only some rather feeble ones they tested on 237 “young heterosexual adults” who had to judge humorous v straight messages when they were matched to pictures. “Do you have any raisins? No? How about a date?” and “Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only ten I can see.”

How did they perform? Better than “You have a very nice smile” and “Hey! What’s up?”, but they were still way too cheesy for some.

What does previous research tell us? Because women tend to control the interaction, the lines men use matter a lot, but what works will depend on the woman’s personality type.

So what’s best? Relationships expert Vanessa Van Edwards reckons boring old favourites such as “Hello, how are you?” can still work. She also recommends open-ended, non-invasive questions such as “Have you watched any good movies lately?”

Makes sense. Any more tips? “Partnership service” Elite Singles draws a subtle distinction between “funny” and “cheesy”.

Examples, please. It reckons funny is: “There is something wrong with my phone. It doesn’t have your number in it” and “I’m new in town. Could you give me directions to your apartment?” and “Is your name Google? Because you’ve got everything I’m searching for.”

And cheesy? “Wouldn’t we look cute on a wedding cake together?”; “There’s only one thing I want to change about you, and that’s your last name”; “Are you sure you’re not tired? You’ve been running through my mind all day.”

I’m not sure I understand the difference. No one said this dating business was easy.

Do say (with confidence): “It’s been lovely talking to you. What are you doing on Saturday evening?”

Please don’t say: “I think I’m washing my hair that night.”

The GuardianTramp

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