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Pickup lines? Try meaningful conversation

The secret to a sucessful relationship is becoming friends first, and then dating afterwards

Hello lovely readers of The Tech! This week I’m going to tell you about how to get to know someone better whom you find romantically interesting. This article is advice for someone interested in a potential relationship, so if you want tips on one-night stands or random hook-ups, you might want to look elsewhere.

As MIT students, we all know some awfully geeky pickup lines such as “I wish I were your derivative so I could lie tangent to your curves,” but I’ve only heard them used in a joking manner.

We all poke fun at how nerdy MIT can be at times. However, it’s sometimes a distraction from being honest about how one actually feels about another. Oftentimes, people say lines like the above when they are really thinking, “Haha, look at me, I’m using this really nerdy line, but really, I want to get to know you better.” So, the question becomes, how do you actually do that?

Honestly, I feel like pickup lines are just a general don’t unless you want to come across as a stereotypical frat boy. Guys using pickup lines have hit on me before, but I’ve never taken them seriously. Sure, I’ve been flattered, but I instantly think, “How many others have you used that on?”

I went to Italy for the second time two summers ago. A girlfriend and I traveled together, and over the trip we became accustomed to the flattery and words of Italian men. But by no means did we ever consider ourselves “special.” Those men do that to women of all shapes, sizes, and ages; it’s a great ego-boost! So while they caught our attention, they retained it but for a moment. If you really want to get to know someone and maybe go out on a date, there isn’t a quick method. Like baking a cake, there are several steps to asking someone out.

Say you meet someone in a situation where you could see them repeatedly (a class, recitation, club, etc.). That’s great! Make an effort to sit next to them. Maybe arrive close to when the class starts, so you can just slip into the room and pull up a seat. Or, if they’re the early type, make an effort to arrive early! Use the common ground of the class/club/group as an initial topic of conversation. Pay attention to what the other person is saying so you can add on to what they just mentioned or suggest something else they might like given their known interests.

Don’t force a conversation. We all have days where we’d just prefer to be quiet. That’s okay! There will be plenty of other opportunities to talk. If you really want to say something, at the end of class you can say something like “Hey, you seem a little down. If you ever want to talk, I’m all ears. Might not be much help, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone listen to you.” Also, depending on how well you have gotten to know this person, it’s also a great way to subtly give your number/email. Although, I wouldn’t stress that point if you haven’t conversed much. I’d feel comfortable texting/emailing someone after I’ve spoken with them a handful of times, assuming the conversations haven’t been only two minutes long.

If however, you find yourself regularly chatting with an interesting person, and you want to see them outside of class, p-set buddies are the greatest! Having something like a class in common is a super easy way of socializing with your person of interest. My boyfriend and I met by taking the same class. I saw that he was good in the class and I knew I needed help; he saw that I was cute or something and knew he wanted to get to know me. Without even thinking, it was just natural to say “Hey! Want to p-set together?” Turns out we became super close friends and, seven months later, well, the rest was history! That brings me to my next point: go slowly. But not too slowly ­— as in you can’t just wait around for the other person to suggest options for getting together. You need to be actively involved in creating reasons to see the other person like, “can you help me with this p-set?” or, “shall we grab lunch together and then work?”

I firmly believe the best relationships are those formed first in friendship and then develop into something more. When that happens, you feel comfortable enough with the other person that you can say, “Hey, you’re being a douche bag. Stop that.” With such freedom to call the other person out, both of you have extremely clear lines of communication, which is essential. Basically, give it some time to naturally develop. Do things together to better your understanding of the other person. And when you’re on the West Coast and your “friend” on the East Coast is staying up until 2:30 a.m. just to catch you for a moment before you go to bed, when he has to be up for work at 7 a.m., I think it’s time you had a talk about the future of your relationship.

A quick summary of key points:

• Be leery of using pick-up lines, as they can often make you come across very differently than you intended.

• Start conversations: first in class by sitting near them/teaming up with them, then as p-set buddies outside of class (exchange numbers and emails), and then just hanging out for fun. Don’t stress romance!

• Grow the friendship first, and then see where it goes.

Thanks for reading! Again, feel free to email me at with any requests. Catch ya’ next week!



1 Comment
Anonymous almost 12 years ago

I think that college aged Americans are more insincere and have more dubious intentions. Both girls and guys throw themselves at each other for a warm body. I think a few "flattering" lines is the least of your problems. Way to alienate and judge the entire community of Italians. American girls are easy, right? Isn't that the stereotype and the experience of most foreigners and tourists? Yet, you don't see people at top universities in other countries writing about that. You are clearly a lame person who has no idea about matters of the heart since you didn't even realize there was more with your bf until 7 months after knowing him. I suspect he is probably your first real boyfriend too. Maybe next time- think before overgeneralizing about a group of people and take a hard look at what that means about you if others overgeneralized about Americans.