How to Talk to a Girl Sitting Next to You

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Approaching a girl is like rolling the dice. She might be delighted to talk to you or aggravated that you've interrupted a private reverie. Keep a few strategies in mind to help you smoothly initiate a conversation. And remember, if she declines your conversation, there's always the girl sitting on the other side.

Look Around

Find something in the environment that makes a good conversation starter. If you noticed that the magazine on the table next to you at the doctor's office has the headline,"Heal Yourself with Meditation," grab the magazine and say, "Wow, I guess I'll go cancel my appointment, then. Do you think there's anything to this?" This approach beats "Do you come here often?" any day, especially when you're in the podiatrist's office.

Make a Statement

Making a statement is a risk-free way to approach a girl, says psychologist Jeremy Nicholson in a December 2011 article in "Psychology Today." Saying something like, "I love this song," or "These chairs are so comfortable," does not require a response. If the girl feels like talking to you, she'll respond with, "Oh really? I just downloaded her latest album," or "No kidding, I think they're made out of marshmallows." If she doesn't feel like talking to you, she's not required to say a thing, sparing you a look of annoyance if she'd rather not be bothered.

Timing Is Everything

A girl will be much more likely to talk to you if you choose the right time. If she's been sitting next to you at the bar for 10 minutes desperately trying to catch the bartender's attention, she's unlikely to want to engage in chitchat. If she's sitting in front of a laptop at the coffee shop staring at the screen and typing with a vengeance, wait until she takes a break. Otherwise, you risk blowing your chance to have a conversation because you broke her concentration.

Give a Compliment

Give the girl who's next to you a compliment. Avoid making a generic remark such as, "You're very pretty" and find something specific on which to compliment her. You might say, "I admire your ability to order in French without destroying the words. Did you learn the language overseas?" Giving a compliment increases your chances of having the girl agree to have dinner with you later, according to a study published in the February 2013 edition of "Psychological Reports." In that study, a man would approach a woman in the street, asking her to accompany him for a drink. The men had significantly more takers when they complimented the women before asking them to have a drink.