Coffee shops can be great, unassuming places to meet people, and it can be much less intimidating to approach someone there than at a bar.
People in coffee shops are usually there to read, get some work done, catch up with a friend, or sit quietly and people watch. Unlike at bars, where there is sexual tension in the air and the added pressure of finding someone, people at coffee shops are generally more approachable and relaxed, and it’s easy to start a conversation with someone without feeling like you’re playing some elaborate pick-up game.
But how to break the ice? Below are ten suggestions on how to start a conversation with someone over lattes.
1.”Can I borrow your plug?”
Competition for outlets can get pretty fierce at coffee shops. Easy way to start a conversation! Also a good excuse for sitting right next to someone–extension cords can only extend so far. (Also, sexual innuendo! Or is that a bit of a stretch?)
2. Steal their drink.
“Oh, sorry–didn’t realize this said ‘Marcia’ on the side, let me buy you another…”
3. “Can you watch my stuff for a minute?”
Sure they will! And then you can start a conversation when you get back from the bathroom/getting some napkins that you didn’t really need. (Possible backfire: if they steal your stuff.)
4. Either get really into the music or really visibly hate it.
“I LOVE this song” and a horrified “…is this Pure Moods Volume 3??” are equally good ice-breakers.
5. Get a really huge brownie
And then say you can’t finish the whole thing, and offer to share. (Even if, who are we kidding, of course you could finish the whole thing, you have a stomach of steel.) (Also, I’ve SEEN this in action and it TOTALLY works.)
6. Comment on the book they’re reading
Which you know ALL about (because you’ve secretly wikipedia’d it before making your move).
7. Compliment their work ethic
If there’s someone who has clearly been there all day, try this: “Sorry to bother you, I just couldn’t help but notice you’ve been working really hard all day. I don’t know what you’re working on but man you’re making me feel like a slacker. Next cup is on me, ok?”
8. Use the newspaper
Don’t walk into a coffee shop on a Sunday morning without the paper. Sit next to someone who looks like they’re there by themselves, and just sip your coffee and read your paper. (Trust me: they’ll notice you.) Then casually offer them a section (or the whole thing) when you’re done.
9. “Do you need a refill?”
Simple and elegant. On your way to the counter for your second cup of coffee, just stop by the person’s table and, casually, as if it’s nothing, ask them if they need a refill.
10. “Do you think they’re on a first date?”
Look around the coffee shop. Find the couple. (They’re there.) Lean over to the person you want to pick up and, in a conspiring manner, ask them: “Do you think that’s a first date?”
What coffee shop pick-up strategies have you seen successfully executed? Which ones have crashed and burned?