What Are The Most Effective Pick-Up Lines For Women To Use?


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockDec 3 2019, 22:23 UTC

Subtlety don't work on straight men. Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

A team of scientists have explored which pick-up lines used by women work best on men. According to the small study, direct pick-up lines are most effective, but the attractiveness of the woman is the main discriminant when it comes down to it.

The research, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, was produced in three parts. The first pilot study employed 18 heterosexual women to come up with pick-up lines. The lines were divided into innocuous, direct, and flippant. The second pilot study had 205 self-identifying heterosexual men, mostly Caucasian between the ages of 18 and 53 years who were found on Reddit, to rate photographs of women for both high and low attractiveness and high and low promiscuity. The team then randomized the pick-up lines with 12 images of the women. 


“The initial communication that occurs between prospective romantic partners is critical in determining whether an interaction and subsequent relationship will continue or not,” the team from Saint Mary's University and Bucknell University wrote in the paper. “Results indicate that direct pick-up lines are preferred over flippant or innocuous pick-up lines, with the innocuous being the least preferred. Further, regardless of the line that is used, once a woman has been viewed as attractive by men, she is rated positively.”

Examples of innocuous pick-up lines ranged from “Can you recommend a good drink?” to “Where did you get that tattoo? Did it hurt?” Direct lines were “Want to have a drink together?” or “Can I have your number?” Flippant lines included “Shall we talk, or continue flirting from a distance”, “I always see you here, you must be the bar's best customer!” and the not-beating-around-the-bush “I'm easy, are you?”

Attractiveness was a crucial factor in getting positive reactions across the board, but it doesn't mean that being less attractive leads to only negative reactions. The research showed that women perceived as less attractive but that used flippant pick-up lines were rated positively by men. 


The study has several limitations. First of all, the women used in the photographs are all clothing models, so they are not a representative sample of the whole population. Also, a photograph and a written line is a poor imitation for real-life interactions, missing both interpersonal interactions and mannerisms. 

"It may be advantageous to investigate one's preference for long and short-term relationships, as it may influence ratings of pick-up lines’ effectiveness," wrote the team. "It is possible that individuals currently seeking short-term relationships may rate more lines as being effective than those seeking long-term relationships." 

[H/T: Psychology Today]