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What your English teacher never told you - Chatting people up

Luglio 2015
Vietato arrivare alle vacanze impreparati! Vi piace una persona inglese, volete attaccare discorso e magari invitarla fuori... ecco un’altra di quelle situazioni che di sicuro non s’imparano a scuola. E la gaffe è dietro l’angolo... niente paura, vi dice tutto Rachel Roberts!

di Rachel Roberts

Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts

It’s very easy to say that the best way of learning English, or any other language, is to find yourself a boyfriend or girlfriend from the target culture. In reality, of course, finding a suitable partner can be difficult. Would you know what to say, in order to start a relationship with them?


Of all the fields of interaction in English, this is perhaps the most difficult one to give advice on. English people are not very good at chatting each other up. It’s not that they are bad partners or lovers – far from it – but their innate awkwardness and reserve means that they even find introducing themselves quite challenging.


Flirting, or trying to ask someone out, can be so embarrassing, that they often do it in a very indirect way. Unfortunately, many Brits resort to alcohol to overcome the difficulty, with the result that awkwardness can quickly turn into offensiveness. Unless of course the person they are trying to chat up has also consumed a large quantity of alcohol (as is frequently the case).


Believe it or not, if you come from Italy, France, or America or just about any other nation, where people feel more comfortable about these things, you will almost certainly be much better at communicating your interest in someone than the average British person. The problem is that this will not give you the advantage.


As British people are usually quite awkward about breaking the ice, introducing themselves and asking someone out, they tend to be very suspicious of people who are good at it. The average Italian male, far from seeming like the romantic Casanova of every British girl’s dreams, can come across as too smooth and too full of himself. Females may have fewer problems, as most British males will be only too happy to leave the courting to a self-confident girl. She will, however, find herself with very few British girlfriends, as most women will be jealous of her.


Perhaps the best way is to pretend you don’t know what you’re doing. Remember that smoothness and self-confidence are not very British, and if you appear embarrassed and shy you will put those around you at their ease.
Learn to listen carefully to what the British male or female you are interested in is saying to you. They will find it very hard to tell you directly that they like you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. If you concentrate on what they are saying, you might find they are telling you things between the lines. “I like football, too” could actually mean: “Wow, we share the same interests, perhaps we should get together...” And if anyone tells you they’re shy, this can very often signify: “I’m telling you I’m shy so that you know I can’t possibly say I like you and I’m hoping you’ll make the first move.”


You should learn to be similarly opaque. If you are at a party and want to know whether your target person is single, try saying something like: “Do you know many people here?” If all else fails, you can always try having a drink and testing some of these brilliant chat-up lines, collected from various websites. (We take no responsibility.)

1. “Hi, I’m doing a survey... What’s your name? What’s your phone number? Are you free next Saturday?”
2. “I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?
3. “See my friend over there? He/She wants to know if you think I’m cute.”
4. “My friends over there bet that I wouldn’t be able to start a conversation with the cutest person in the room. Want to buy some drinks with their money?”

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