28 Ways To Break The Ice IRL

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.

I've been getting the same lunch order for forever. Do you have any other suggestions?

This one works whether you're chatting up the cashier or a fellow customer at your regular lunch place.

Do you know any of the openers?

Waiting through some unfamiliar opening acts during a concert isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it can be good fodder for striking up a conversation.

Who do you know at this party?

If you feel awkward mingling at a party, you're probably not the only one. Break the ice by sussing out whether the two of you have any mutual friends.

It's my turn to buy a round of drinks for my friends — do you want to join us?

Hey, group hangs need not always be a buzzkill. If you spot a cutie sitting alone at the bar, inviting them to join you all. Your friends can help break the ice and leave room for a little one-on-one time later on.

I’m trying to decide what movie to see this weekend. Do you have any suggestions?

If they don’t have a suggestion, you could always figure out something to see together.

I'm headed to a party — do you have any opinions about these beers?

There are way too many beers in the bodega fridge, if you ask us. Luckily, that surplus lends itself to a key icebreaker. Already a beer expert? Ask them to pick between your two favorites as a tie-breaker.

I've been thinking about reading that book! Are you familiar with the author?

See a bae browsing at the bookstore? Strike up a conversation. You may find yourself bonding over Neruda in no time.

I can't figure out which drink to order. Do you like what you're drinking?

This works especially well at a cocktail bar. But people are usually extra chatty when booze is involved.

Your dog is adorable.

Commenting on a pup is paramount to complimenting a child to some people.

Those sneakers are great!

Who doesn't want to feel good about their footwear choices?

You seem like someone with an opinion on good coffee.

If you're at a coffee shop, this line is a great way to break the ice — and get you to try a new coffee drink.

We're short a team member for trivia! Want to join?

Since you're asking them to join a group, the pressure is off. Use the time between questions to get your flirt on — and see how up-to-date they are on current events.

Is this seat taken?

Simple, but effective.

What's for dinner?

Use this one while waiting in line at Whole Foods, and then segway into a conversation about soft cheese vs. hard.

Have we met before?

This is great for those people you know you've seen at your local bar or on dating apps, but haven't actually spoken to yet.

Do you mind taking our photo?

Employ your friends to help you break the ice. Even if you don't score a number, you'll score a photo for Instagram.

I have one credit left on the jukebox. What song should I play?

Spread the music love while also getting a sense of what kind of tunes they're into.

Are the lines usually this long here?

Misery loves company, right?

I love this instructor! Have you taken any of her other classes?

Put those post-workout endorphins to use by bonding over your mutual love of indoor cycling.

Do you know of a good coffee shop around here?

Screw Yelp — ask a cute stranger instead. If the conversation goes well, you can even invite them to join you.

Can you help me reach that?

Hey, markets put the best things in hard-to-reach spots sometimes. And who doesn't need a little help from time to time?

Do you know which way Houston Street is? I'm all turned around.

Put Google Maps away and ask a local! It's more fun looking into their eyes than looking into your phone screen.

You seem like someone who has a good karaoke song up their sleeve.

Double points if they suggest a duet for you two to sing together.

Can I get your advice on this gift?

Shopping for a gift for your friend/cousin/sibling? Ask the object of your affection if they'd be stoked to get it themselves.

Do you know how to tell if this avocado is ripe or not?

Seriously, though. Does anyone actually know this?

Which band are you here to see?

Who knows? You may learn something about a band you never knew.

My friends and I ordered way too many nachos. Do you want to split?

No one would ever turn down free food, right?

I just really wanted to come over and introduce myself.

Sometimes, a gimmicky pick-up line is just that — a gimmick. Muster up the courage to just introduce yourself. It could turn out to be a pretty amazing decision.

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