My Openers A-Z

Everyone goes about opening in a different way. Will you approach direct or indirect? Will you be wordy or laconic? How many openers should you have in your back pocket?

Respectively, my answers to these questions would be (in general): indirect, laconic, and many. I also like opinion openers because they provide a lot of conversational hooks from which to direct the conversation beyond the initial pleasantries. Note that I am not criticizing any other style; this is simply what works for me.

The last answer is likely where I differ from many PUAs, who suggest a small rotation of openers. While I understand the reasoning for this, I personally like to have an array of them so I have more options when approaching a set. My personal system is also easy to memorize. I have one opener for every letter of the alphabet, so sometimes I’ll just pick a letter at random and roll with it. Sometimes I’ll have a friend choose three letters and I’ll decide on one of them. Or, since they’re so engrained in my mind, I’ll calibrate through a few of them and select the one that seems to fit the set, or more importantly, the mood I am in.

The openers I use are from a combination of sources– my own design (i.e., “About to Leave Town”), Roissy (i.e., “Ultimatum”), Logan Edwards (i.e., “Maury”), Mystery (i.e., “Poltergeist”), Neil Strauss (i.e., “I Love/In Love”), and possibly others. Remember the key to a good opener is not where it comes from, or even how “used” it is, it’s in your delivery. Can you get your foot in the door by delivering your opener in a genuine, straightforward manner? You need to sell your opener. If you don’t believe in your opener, you won’t believe in the rest of your game. And you will lose.

So without further ado, here is my A-Z of openers (with a little bit of fudging of the English language here and there):

ABOUT TO LEAVE TOWN: “My friend was in a serious relationship with this girl. She was totally in love with him. But he found out he was going to get a job in Pittsburgh and had to leave in two months. To his surprise, she broke up with him right away. Would you do the same or would you have fun for the two months?”

BORN AGAIN: “Do you girls believe in reincarnation?” (Follow-up: “What would you come back as?” “What would you not want to come back as?” “What do you think you’ll come back as?”)

CLOTHING STORE: “Do you girls know a good place around here that sells men’s clothing?”

DRUNK I ❤ U’S: “Do drunk ‘I love you’s’ count?”

ENGAGED FRIEND: “Our friend isn’t out with us today because he’s out with his girlfriend…again. He’s head over heels for her and told us the other day he’s going to propose to her. But I can’t stand her and neither can any of our other friends. We seriously do not believe she can make him happy. Should we tell him he shouldn’t marry her or should we hold our tongues?”

FIGHTING GIRLS: “Did you see the girls fighting outside? The crazy thing is, it was over this 5 foot 5 guy named Herman. It looked like UFC out there.”

GF PHOTO: “My friend went out with this girl and they just went to the mountains for the weekend. Had a blast. The strange thing is, they took a ton of pictures, but when they got home, she deleted all the ones where they were kissing or otherwise looking like a ‘couple.’ All the platonic-looking pictures were still there. What do you think that means?”

HEAD SHAVE: “Do you think I should shave my head?” (Great for kino– 75% chance they will touch your head)

I LOVE/IN LOVE: “What’s the difference between loving someone and being in love with them?”

JEALOUS GIRLFRIEND: “My friend’s been dating this girl for about a year now. Anyway, the other day, she discovered a box under his bed that had a bunch of old memorabilia and pictures and shit, and some of the stuff was from his ex-girlfriends. When she saw it she got really pissed at him, threatening to break up with him, if he didn’t throw it all out. He says his past is part of who he is and he doesn’t want to get rid of it. What do you think he should do?”

KITTY KAT: “Are you dog person or a cat person?” (Follow-up: cold read– “That’s what I would have thought.”)

LOOKS OR PERSONALITY: “What’s more important to girls when looking for a guy, looks or personality?”

MAURY: “My friend over there recently got contacted by the Maury Povich Show. They want to fly him out to L.A., pay room and board for three days and three nights, everything, if he goes on the show. It’s an episode about secret admirers. But the catch is that they can’t tell him who his secret admirer is until they film it. Should he do it?”

NOT COMFORTABLE: (point to some schmuck out there AFCing all over the place) “What do you think that guy is doing wrong that’s making the girls around him so uncomfortable?” (Follow-up: “Defend” him by pointing out any behaviors women say they want but in real life reject)

OTHER GIRLS: “Why do girls check out other girls more than they do guys when they go to the club?”

POLTERGEIST*: “You know that movie Poltergeist? Where Carol Anne gets taken to the other side by ghosts and starts talking to her family through the television set? Do you think that’s possible?” (Follow-up: Whatever they say, challenge it; i.e., if yes, ask “Is it a common occurrence in your house to communicate with the dead via television?” If no, point out, “Well, they were right in the movie that a channel not receiving a broadcast is free to pick up signals from other places. Why not from people who have crossed over?”)

QUTE RIGHT EYE: “You know, I just had to let you know you have a beautiful right eye.”

READ EMAIL: “If you suspected your boyfriend of cheating, would you hack into his e-mail?”

SORRY MA’AM: “I’m sorry ma’am, but this [table/area/seat/whatever] is reserved.” (You’ve gotta act like you own the place though.)

TEXT BREAK-UP: “Is it ever okay to break up with someone through text message?”

ULTIMATUM: “Do you think it’s ever okay in a relationship to give your partner an ultimatum?”

VALK: “Did you know you can tell a lot about a person just from the way they walk?” (Demonstrate some different walks in an exaggerated way. Point out the walks of nearby people.)

WHICH ONE ARE YOU: (works best on a four-set) “Every group of girl friends has different characters in it. In groups of four, there’s always gonna be the smart one, the funny one, the sweet one, and the kinda slutty one… So which one are you?”

X‘ES STAY FRIENDS: “Can exes ever stay friends?”

YOU’RE IN MY SPOT: (similar to the “Sorry Ma’am” opener) “I’m sorry, but you’re in my spot.” (Possible follow-up: “I reserved this seat like two hours ago”– works great if you can deliver it in a wry way, especially in a place unlikely to be reserved.)

ZINCERE COMPLIMENT: “Are you someone who’s secure enough to accept a sincere compliment from someone you don’t know?” [Yes] “Great, me too. You first.”

*This post is dedicated to the great film “Poltergeist” on the 30-year anniversary of its theatrical release.

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