How to Meet Women at Parties

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About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.


  1. Dr, how about an article on open ended questions that can help a conversation start and continue. I have trouble figuring out wtf to talk about hence I often just don’t bother talking.

    • For conversation there are two basic elements: talking and listening. Of the two listening is by far the more important and also more neglected element. Its also much much easier. So become a really good listener. I can’t emphasize this enough. How do you listen? You say nothing, give the person your full attention, acknowledge what the other person is saying, occasionally comment and learn to be comfortable with silence. If you can be silent while paying attention you give the other person a chance to think. You should focus much much more on this than talking.

      The second element is talking. All conversations start with some opening. Situational is probably the easiest and best. Its where you notice something about the situation: setting, person’s dress, behaviour, emotional state etc. Questions are always useful. Conversations also follow a predictable structure:

      “How do you know the host”
      “We both volunteer for X”
      “Oh I have always wanted to volunteer….do you enjoy it?”
      This is the typical kind of conversation you will have at a party.

      You can also use the underline method. Every time the person says something. Underline in you head keywords and then ask questions about those things or things closely associated with the keywords. Open ended discussions usually involve motivations, reasons, explanations, stories etc. Closed ended questions involve yes/no or simply stated facts. If you want open-ended discussion you need to aim for questions that draw out stories, motivations, explanations, opinions and reasons. If you want interesting open-ended discussions than focus on things that are interesting and aim for stories, explanations and motivations. What is interesting? Stuff that is unusual and not commonly known. For instance if someone told me they were studying to be a veterinarian I would focus on that because its unusual and I would ask open-ended questions about that such as “What made you want to become a veterinarian?”. You also want to talk about things you know are important to the other person.

      Finally there are the things you want to talk about which should come up periodically. Try meditation and you will discover you mind is continuously observing, thinking and coming up with different things. You can’t think about nothing. So during the conversation you can shift the discussion to something you randomly just thought about which should happen continuously. This is a non-sequitor style of conversation that can be interesting. Example:

      “What are you studying?”
      “I am studying to be a veterinarian”

      My brain is know thinking: veterinarian->animals-> pets->dogs->Caesar Milan->Dog Whisperer->I like that show->TV shows I like->True Blood->Movies I like->LOTR…..animals also triggers other associations animals->evolution->Richard Dawkins->atheism->God. So now there are a number of different directions I can take the discussion. I can ask her Why she want to be a veterinarian, does she like animals, does she have a pet, has she ever watched the Dog Whisperer, What TV shows does she like, I can tell her about shows I like and why I like them, I can explain why I like the Dog Whisperer, Or why I like dogs…Wait is she a dog person or a cat person….I like dogs because they are energetic and warm but cats are too independent. In no time I have tonnes of directions I can take the conversation in. Every single word has a web of associations and these associations in turn have other associations and on it goes. So there are a tonne of things to talk about that are being randomly generated by my brain. All I have to have is the courage to blurt them out.

      The only problem here is that you become so good at talking that you become bad at listening. And listening is more important than talking.

      • I’ve been told I am a great listener, had some women mention how great it was even since apparently here not many men listen lol. I’ve had a multiple hour long convo with a stranger at a party once and have no idea how it even started. Trouble I have is approaching people, knowing what to say/ask/etc and intitiating a convo. Some convos I find easy to continue and can talk for a while with some people but sometimes you get people who aren’t very good either at talking and it devolves into silence. I guess being nervous doesn’t help my cause much:P

        Thanks for the reply though!

  2. AnonymousDog says:

    “….it’s hard to go wrong with a suit….”
    I don’t think I’ve ever been to a party where a suit wouldn’t have looked out of place.

  3. Or, alternatively… Walk over to a woman and say “Hi”

    It’s not rocket science.

  4. (1) Grab a bottle of champagne or wine and go around the room pouring for people….introduce yourself and say something pithy…then move on…

    (2) Wear a crazy Christmas sweater and tell a funny story about it…my friend from grad school would tell us about his Ke–y (ex-GF’s name) sweaters and how she gave him one for each special occasion….then they split up and he still wore them while uncomfortably bumping into her all the time in grad school!

    (3) Tell a dumb joke or just laugh and have a great time with a buddy…laughter draws desirable people closer…

    • In case of (3), make sure your buddy isn’t much more attractive than yourself, or he’ll get all the attention.

  5. wellokaythen says:

    Bring highly illegal and highly expensive drugs and be generous with sharing them. You’ll make lots of friends. Of a sort.

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