Your friend spotted a total campus cutie at that party last night, but she was way too shy to approach him or her. The worst part is that this wasn’t the first time you’ve seen this happen. And with reason—making the first move can be terrifying! What if she gets rejected?
Luckily for her, that’s where you—her wingwoman—can come in. You’ll stand by her side and help her spark a conversation with whichever hot single strikes her fancy. All you have to do is follow these simple rules!
1. Let her ask you for help
Your friend struggles with talking to new people, and, as her friend, of course you want to help her out. But if she doesn’t ask you to help her flirt (i.e., to be her wingwoman), you probably shouldn’t suggest it.
“You should wait to be asked,” says Susan Baxter, president of Hire a WingWoman, a Boston-based wingwoman- and dating-coach-hiring service for men and women. “Your friend may take it the wrong way if you offer her some help.”
Your friend could get defensive if you suggest that she’s doing something wrong, which is perfectly understandable. “Some people don’t want you to just randomly go up to guys [or girls] for them,” Baxter says. “Also, some people aren’t good at taking advice on how they’re flirting, etc. You don’t want to overstep your friend’s boundaries!”
If you think being your friend’s wingwoman could really help her, you can always subtly mention the concept to her and see how she responds. Baxter says you should explain that you could help her go up to people, then talk her up and/or leave the two of them alone to get to know each other. If she doesn’t like the idea, don’t push it!
2. Practice approach techniques
There’s a reason your friend doesn’t feel ready to go up to potential love interests: It’s scary! But if you coach her before heading out, she’ll feel that much more prepared to face her fears.
“Wingwomen should role-play with their friends as a warmup before talking to guys [or girls],” Baxter says. “Practice makes perfect, and the feedback doesn’t hurt.”
So pretend to be that cute someone and ask her to try approaching you. Then, tell her what you think she did great and what she can do to make the conversation even better. “I wouldn’t necessarily encourage ‘flirting’ as much I would encourage being real and approachable,” Baxter says. “Practicing allows for a lot more confidence!”
If this makes your friend uncomfortable right off the bat, you could “show her how it’s done and go up to a different [person] first, and then role-play with her,” Baxter says.
Another reason to practice is that “you have to make sure that the person you’re helping can also handle herself,” says Marni Kinrys, founder of The Wing Girl Method, a dating-coach service for men and women. You introducing her to someone is good, but she’ll need to stand on her own two feet eventually to keep the conversation flowing. For Kinrys, the best method is to “go up to the first couple people with her and then let her do it by herself.” This will show your friend that approaching people isn’t as daunting as it seems!
3. Have fun with it
Being your friend’s wingwoman doesn’t mean you should give up on having fun. “You have to have a good time, too,” says Fran Greene, a relationship coach and author of The Flirting Bible. “Otherwise, it’s a job, and you won’t do it.”
You can have fun with the way you and your friend approach the person she likes. “Make a game out of it,” Greene says. For instance, when going up to two friends, “you could make up a story about a class assignment for an interpersonal communications class about having to approach two cute [people], then tell them the truth. Come up with a story to help your friend make a connection. It’s not deceptive; it’s just an icebreaker.”
Just the thought of helping your friend could be enough to make the night (or the day, depending on the activity) fun for you. “As long as your friend is talking to someone and having a good time, there’s no reason why [you] can’t as well,” Baxter says. “If you take pleasure in helping your friends meet people, then it’s not really ‘a job.’”
One other great thing about being a wingwoman is that you can enjoy the event without the pressure to impress anybody. “You don’t have the anxiety, because you’re not doing it for yourself,” Greene says. “It’s much easier, and it will help you in the future!”
Think about it: The skills you’re using now to hook your girlfriend up could be the key to landing your own crush’s number some day. Everyone wins!
4. Make it about your friend
One pitfall of being a wingwoman is that you could forget what you came for. “Make sure you’re not putting yourself first and getting jealous if someone isn’t into you,” Kinrys warns. “It can sting when somebody gets more attention than you!” Just remember that it’s about your friend finding someone this time around.
First, make sure you’re scouting out for people you think she could be interested in, as opposed to people you think are cute. “Remember to keep an eye open for [people] that your friend might like,” Baxter says.
If she asked you to be her wingwoman, it means she needs that extra support. “It can be hard to go up to that intimidating [person] across the bar [or gym or coffee shop!],” Baxter says. You can do it for her and casually bring her into the conversation. You can also distract the person’s friend if the situation calls for it – anything she needs!
Something else to keep in mind is that, according to Greene, “if there’s rejection, you’re not the one getting rejected,” which will make it a lot easier for you to do your duty as a wingwoman. “If your friend gets rejected, at least she has you and can move onto the next person,” Greene says. This is her night, and you’ll be there for her no matter what.
5. Talk her up
Maybe your friend needs a wingwoman because she’s struggling with her confidence. It’s up to you to make her feel awesome!
“Talk your friend up, both to her and the [person] she’s meeting,” Baxter says. “The best thing to do is boost confidence; tell her she’s hot and [anyone] would be crazy not to talk to her.” You know how great she is, so make sure she believes it.
According to Greene, “the biggest roadblock in not approaching someone is the fear of rejection.” This means that your job is “to reframe rejection. If the [person] lets your friend know that he [or she] has no interest, then the world doesn’t come to an end and [the two of you] can move on.”
Baxter explains that “everyone gets rejected at some point, at least once in their lives.” A good way to reassure your friend is to place the blame on the person who rejected her, saying he or she was probably having a bad night or isn’t in the mood to meet people.
You’re there to help her forget about any negative experiences and move straight onto the next person. “It’s up to you to make her feel comfortable, to push her to talk to other people,” Kinrys says. “Help your friend laugh it off if she gets rejected. You’re there to be an ego booster.” In other words, being a wingwoman is just like being a good friend—and you do that all the time already!
6. Give her a playful dare
Maybe your friend has been out of the dating game for a while or was never really into it in the first place. This might mean she doesn’t know how to go about talking to someone new and just needs instructions! Whatever your advice is, encourage her to be bold and follow it. “It doesn’t matter what she’s doing as long as she’s breaking the ice,” Greene says.
Another great way to encourage your friend to flirt is to “start off with dares for each other,” Kinrys says. For instance, “‘go kiss that guy on the cheek,’ ‘buy [that girl] a drink,’ ‘tell him that you’re from outer space.’ Go online and look up dares and just go for it!” Kinrys suggests. Doesn’t that sound like fun? We think yes.
If your friend really needs an extra push, there are a couple things you can do to bring her out of her shell. “You could push your friend in front a [person] she thinks is cute,” Greene says. That way, she will have no choice but to talk to him or her (as long as nobody gets hurt!). They’ll also have something to talk about already—your friend could apologize for you, for instance.
If neither of you feels comfortable with this daring strategy, you could promise to do something for your friend if she goes talk to the person she spotted. Say you’ll do her laundry, give her a manicure or “just anything that’s a cute incentive,” Greene says.
7. Know when your job is done
Now you know how to get your friend talking to a cutie, but how do you know when to take a step back? “Each time [you] introduce [your] friend to [someone] and their conversation is off and running and you can tell the [person] is into her, then your duty has been fulfilled and you can slowly excuse yourself,” Baxter says.
But wait—don’t leave the venue yet! “You can never be completely done, because you should keep them in the corner of your eye in case the conversation starts to die down,” Baxter says. “If so, think of some great, interesting things to say about your friend. Has she been to 10 countries? Does she know how to juggle? What will intrigue the guy [or girl]? Basically a wingwoman is always on call until the end of the night!”
As a general rule, “I don’t think the wingwoman should leave her friend with someone she just met,” Baxter says. However, if your friend set out to go home with someone or told you she’d be okay with it, “[your] job is done if their conversation is flowing nicely and the [person] seems legitimately a nice person,” Baxter says.
But how do you know when it’s time for both of you to leave? According to Greene, the answer is simple: “If your friend seems like she’s had enough, if it’s getting too late, if the place is closing, etc.,” it’s probably time to call it a night (or day). “Anything in excess is not good,” Greene says. “If it becomes work, it’s too much. There’s always next time.”
You should also leave if the person your friend is talking to doesn’t look trustworthy or your friend seems bored. Go up to them and make up an excuse for you and your friend to leave. You could make it about yourself, saying you don’t feel well and need her help, or make it about her roommate/mom/dog—anything works as long as it gets her away from a dud.
Not convinced that being or having a wingwoman is the way to go? Here’s what Baxter has to say: “This is just another way to meet people. Now there are so many great ways to do so: online dating, apps like Tinder, through friends, speed dating, etc., and the more you expand your horizons and try different things, the more likely you are to meet someone!”
We don’t know about you, but we’re sold on the whole wingwoman concept. And with a little help from Her Campus, you have all the tools you need to make it work. So what are you waiting for, collegiettes? Pair up already!