Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen – Valentine’s Day is almost here, which means that love is in the air whether you like it or not. If you’re an English student abroad looking to meet that special someone, you might feel unsure of how to strike up a conversation that sounds friendly and natural. Here are a few phrases to avoid when trying to win over the guy or girl of your dreams!
1. “I spend so much money on boats / cars / shoes…”
OK Romeo, you’ll want to avoid this one like the plague. All this does is make you come across as either very insecure or superficial. Women will take someone kind-hearted and with a good sense of humour over someone with an expensive hairstyle or the latest iPhone. Remembering to take a shower once in a while certainly doesn’t hurt either…
2. “Whoa, look at that / those [body part/s]!”
This should go without saying, but sadly many men still don’t seem to realise that objectifying women always results in the opposite of the desired effect. Some dating coaches also call this the “machine-gun flirting” approach, it’s like shooting wildly in all directions until you hit something. Think less Tony Montana from Scarface and more Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.
3. “My ex was nothing like you.”
This is a confusing message to send; it might imply that you have no idea what you’re looking for in a match. It could also make the other person feel as though they are secretly being compared to a former partner. Not a nice feeling!
4. “You should smile more!”
Telling someone they have a nice smile is sweet. Telling someone TO smile is not, and it might make them feel self-conscious about their facial expressions. Men especially should avoid saying this to women, as some feel that it is condescending. If you do want someone to smile, try making a few jokes or offer a compliment – they’ll be grinning from ear to ear in no time!
5. “Is your body from McDonald’s? Because I’m lovin’ it!”
Say no to cheesy pick-up lines! They tend to sound trite and insincere – and studies show that it’s not only men who try to use them. However, they’re great for making others laugh if you use them sarcastically or as a joke.
So what should I say instead?
The best advice we can give is to just be yourself and be confident. Imagine that you’re talking to a friend of yours or a classmate that you get on really well with – like this, the conversation will flow naturally and won’t feel forced.