23 Ways To Break The Ice IRL

Photographed by Refinery29.
Breaking the ice on dating apps is pretty low-stakes. Since you're not face-to-face with the object of your affection, if they blow you off, your ego usually doesn't take the biggest hit. But ask someone to approach a complete stranger in real life, and you might watch the color drain out of their face. How do you even go about breaking the ice IRL? And what if the person blows you off?
Well, according to Megan Stubbs, EdD, a sexologist and relationship expert, people rarely blow others off face-to-face. "Most people are polite, and chances are they aren't going to reject you outright," she says. That said, thinking of an opening line can be rough.
But it doesn't have to be. Whether you're at a bookstore, a coffee shop, or just walking down the street, it's surprisingly easy to strike up a conversation with someone. And a lot of the time, the best way into a conversation is to just ask a question, because it immediately gets the person talking about themselves (which tends to be a lot of people's favorite topic). This helps spark conversations with people of all genders — and whether the person you want to talk to is a potential romantic partner or someone you just want to learn more about.
(Though just in case it doesn't go without saying: You should never have to play dumb to get a date — if you already know the answer to a question, it's best to find another way in.)
Ready to break the ice? Ahead, find a handful of ways to start a conversation face-to-face.