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The Science Of Pick Up Lines

Updated on August 21, 2016

Every relationship starts with the very first conversation. Some people never make it past this first step. The fact is that first impressions do matter, and our first words can be intriguing enough to get a positive response or cause the other person to look out for the nearest exit.

If you've ever been the recipient of pick up lines at a bars or at parties, you'll agree that a lot of people lack the finesse needed to pull off a classic pick up. Some pick up lines are downright cheesy (“Are you a magician? Because whenever I look at you everyone else disappears”) and some can only be attempted by the truly brave (“I’m looking for a girlfriend, can you help?”) No matter which way you go, the goal is always to get the other person interested in you.

Types of pick up lines

So what can you possibly say to get the desired response every time? Well, let's take a look at pick up lines in more detail before we cast our votes. Below are the 3 pick up lines category as classified by researchers.

1. Flippant pick up lines

It doesn't take much to guess what's on your mind if you are accustomed too flippant lines. Intelligence and trustworthiness are considered to be significant in long term relationships so while flippant pick up lines may be great for short-term connections if you’re looking for something long term, you might want to avoid flippant lines.

Some women might respond to these sort of conversation starters, while the majority will not offer the response you want. Below are some examples:

• “Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Just You?”

• "Your father must be a drug dealer, because you’re dope."

• "Are you a magician? Because whenever I look at you, everyone else disappears!"

2. Direct pick up lines

These are more trusted and straight-to-the-point pick up lines. Most women will find these lines endearing depending on their relationship plans and state of mind. Below are some examples:

• “I like you, and I’d like to get to know you.”

• “I’m looking for my plus one, can you help?” (Cheeky smile)

• “You remind me of someone I know…I’m Joe.”

3. Innocuous lines

When it comes to innocuous pick-up lines, the person's intentions can be for a romantic or platonic relationship. Some people prefer this type of lines because it is safer, and if the other party turns them down, they can walk away with their heads held high. Below are some examples:

• "What do you think of the band?"

• "I think we've met before. Have we taken a class together?"

• "My watch is broken, what's the time?"

The science of pick up lines!

Back in the 1980’s, a hundred pick up lines were analyzed by a team of psychologists who wanted to know which pick up lines were more effective. The team examined different pick up lines and the varying situations they were used like in bars, restaurants, supermarkets, and beaches. It was discovered that men preferred cute or flippant pick up lines, and preferred direct opening lines overall. The ladies, however, liked harmless or innocuous lines more than the guys. This pattern was found over and over during the course of the study.

The majority of the female subjects were more skeptical of flippant pick up lines because it didn't appeal to those with a long-term relationship plan. Women with this type of mating plan were more receptive to supportive and honest pick up lines. Flippant and cute pick up lines, even though funny and endearing, were regarded as manipulative and dishonest, which would appeal only to a woman looking for a short-term thrill. One study conducted on college students determined that women who wanted to have a fling did not mind the content of the pick up lines! In fact, the cute remarks put them at ease and made the conversation flow easily; the more humorous and sexually charged the pick up lines, the better received.

How to interpret the research

While all these research findings are enlightening, they don't address the special situations and mental state of mind of the individuals involved. Pick up lines involve some level of mental and emotional processing, which includes peoples’ thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, when a person is exhausted, a certain amount of mental energy is needed to follow any type of conversation. In some situations after being hit on by a barrage of cheesy lines, your brain may feel a bit fatigued, and even honest conversation could start to sound cheesy.

In addition to the physical differences of the men delivering pick up lines, the state of main of the receiver also plays an important part. But what does that translate to in practical terms? Well, those who are more tired are less receptive to flippant lines and are more amenable to innocuous gambits.

“Girls Are Moved By What They Hear & Guys Are Moved By What They See”

How to choose the right pickup line

There is definitely a thin line between a great pick up line and a cheesy conversation starter. The rule of thumb is to avoid the latter and to do that you’ll want to use a pick up line that makes him/her laugh with you, not at you. There are no perfect pick up lines because it's not a one-size-fits-all. You have to assess your situation and looks before choosing a line that will work for you.

When you evaluate the science behind pick up lines, you'll discover that these lines are basically a way to show who you are. Therefore, to get the best results you have to take into consideration several factors.

What most women want!!

While it's true that individual differences play a large part in what kind of pick up line is more favored, women regard innocuous lines as more intelligent and more alluring than flippant lines. Another study found that women believed guys who used flippant pick up lines were more self-assured, more humorous and more sociable although less educated and less trustworthy.

The pick up lines that work for some ladies are distasteful and useless to others. Should you decide to go with the classic “how come I've never seen you here before?” or a flippant “I hope you know CPR, cos you take my breath away!” remember that every woman is different and have different needs.

For self-conscious or shy women, a pickup line will be most useful when it shows off a man’s best attributes. And for the outgoing and energetic ladies, using the direct approach with straightforward one-liners might work best.

Also, the aggressive or impulsive type of woman will most likely be looking to spend some time with a ‘bad boy’ persona and respond best to pick up lines that are more sexual in nature. However, it’s a good idea to have a few pickup lines ready to dish out if your perception of the lady changes when you are up close and personal.

What some men want!

Men need to know they are valuable, loved, and worthy of attention just like women - and most times they don't know it. Picking up a guy is easy to do, and guess what? They love it! Men like it when a woman is bold enough and makes the first move. They like a bit of flirtation, but all in all, a man will appreciate a direct or flippant approach.


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    • wordsonline profile image

      wordsonline 17 months ago


      "It was either taking a hot bath with a razor blade or coming here for me and I was all out of razor blades. (laughs) What brought you out?"

      Is a really good ice breaker and will definitely get a smile, even in the most awkward situations.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 17 months ago

      Pickup line is nothing more than an "ice breaker" attempt to make someone smile or laugh before introducing oneself.

      In all honesty I believe the most common pickup lines are the "Innocuous lines" or what I call "observation lines". Someone points out something or another person they both can laugh at. Also a little self deprecating humor can go a long way.

      It was either taking a hot bath with a razor blade or coming here for me and I was all out of razor blades. (laughs) What brought you out?

      Having a similar sense of humor can erase all awkwardness when meeting.

      "Men need to know they are valuable, loved, and worthy of attention just like women - and most times they don't know it." - Very true!

      In fact I believe one of the reasons some men are drawn to going to strip clubs or watching Internet pornography is because those women act like they LOVE or crave men! It's a treat to have women flirt or use sexual innuendo.

      Most average guys never experience women initiating flirtatious moves or overtly coming on to them because many women are taught to let the man make the first move. In the U.S. it's usually men who are rich, famous, celebrities, or sports figures that get to experience women throwing themselves at them. (Not no name average Joes)

      Truth be told it's so rare that the average guy gets "hit on" by a woman that oftentimes if it ever happens to him he's completely unaware!

      Someone else observing the exchange will have to point it out to him!

      "Man, I think that girl digs you." Really? What makes you say that?

      Having said that there are also a small group of guys who believe every time a woman says hello or smiles she's trying to pick them up. LOL!