Speaking words out loud to someone you're attracted to IRL is challenging. You can blame dating apps, DM-sliding, and the constantly-expanding emoji vocabulary for that. Even though you know words, it's all too easy for them to fly out of your brain the second you're around someone you're interested in pursuing romantically. And unlike the Bumble world, you don't always have a deadline to make a move, so it's easy to abort your mission and let the opportunity pass you by.
Luckily, experts say figuring out what to say shouldn't require too much thinking. "It's not necessarily about what you say, but whether or not you say something that feels genuine or right to you," says Gabrielle Applebury, a sex and marriage counselor in Orange County, CA.
If you try some cheesy pun that you'd normally never use, that's probably going to backfire. Applebury likens this type of thing to the "uncanny valley" phenomenon, in which a human talks to an AI robot and can tell that something is off, which makes them feel icky. She says the same thing can happen when you try to say something that's just not you. "It's going to register on the other person that something is a little bit off," she says.