Re: Advising Your Bro To “Just Go Up And Talk To Her”

Picture this: two dudes are at a bar, two dudes that are both relatively cool dudes, two agreeable dudes, two dudes that aren’t douchey and don’t use Axe Body Spray and are sufficiently self-aware and concerned with their own and others’ well-being and etc. One of these dudes notices two females at a table nearby and comments that he’s attracted to one of them, and (in jest) that, perhaps, if the conditions were right, he would consider having sex with her. Said dude is single and generally lonely, and his bro feels that this situation calls for some bro-therly advice. “Bro,” he says, laying a heavy hand on his dude’s shoulder and looking him squarely in the eyes. “Grow some balls man. Just go up and talk to her.” The single dude smiles, looks down, considers this for a moment, takes a sip of his beer, and feels alone in the world. “Nah, man… I can’t do it…”


I submit that advising your bro to “just go up and talk to her” a) is a conversation-stopper, b) is alienating, and so c) is basically worthless. Don’t get me wrong — it’s clear that the conscious intent of “just go over there and talk to her” is in no way malicious and definitely represents a sort of stoic attitude that I’m sure has worked well for many individuals in certain aspects of their lives. Basically an iteration of Nike’s “Just Do It” — the concept of not letting your fear dictate your behavior — “just go over there and talk to her” indicates a brave approach to life and a willingness to seek large payoffs by taking large risks. I think, for specific areas of one’s life, this is a great strategy.

But in the case of the scenario written above, I think that advising someone to “just do it” is not valuable, i.e. will probably just make the person who’s been told to “man up” feel even more at odds with the world than he already does and so less inclined to have the “balls” to get up and talk to the pretty girl in the corner. Because maybe it’s not rejection that’s frightening the dude in said scenario. Maybe he’s scared because he doesn’t know what to do when he actually approaches. Maybe this is exacerbated by the fact that he’d feel like a total creep for doing so. This is the era of self-awareness and crippling insecurity; let’s not mistake it for the time before Facebook friend request soft sells and online dating profile pre-introduction.

In other words, maybe our dude a) doesn’t know what to talk to her about, and b) is convinced that this type of behavior is inappropriate. These are not unreasonable thoughts, in this day and age.

Maybe he’s nervous that he’s going to say hi and it’ll go swimmingly for about 15 seconds before it just completely crashes and there’s suddenly nothing for him to say and nothing for her to say. Maybe he’s worried that after the crash he’ll says something really, really stupid like “So, uh, well it seems like we have nothing to talk about” or “Wow this silence is awkward!” to which she’ll respond by rolling her eyes and glancing at her friend knowingly and turning the “shaming” vibes on full blast. And so maybe it’s not as easy as “just going up there and talking to her”; maybe some different advice would be helpful.


Let’s rethink the scenario at the beginning of this piece: Two cool dudes are at a bar. Both are bros; not ‘bro’ bros but like, earnest friends who really like hanging out with each other. One comments on the attractiveness of a nearby female. Bro mentions to dude that dude is single and hey, what do people go to bars for anyways? “I mean, why not just stay at home if you aren’t secretly hoping that you might meet someone tonight?” bro rhetorically asks dude. Dude nods and sees his point. Fifteen minutes of banter and ‘pumping up’ ensue. “Maybe I’ll talk to her,” dude finally says. “After all — you’re right, what are we all doing here, anyways? This is a legitimate move. I’m going to freaking do this.”

Some suggestions: stop telling your bro to “just go over there and talk to her.” Instead, help your bro out with logical information that compels him to take advantage of the situation at hand. Explain that approaching someone he finds attractive at a place where people gather to socialize is completely legitimate behavior. Make him realize that if he really wants to talk to her, has the opportunity to, but never does, odds are he’ll feel worse about himself and his situation than if he had made an attempt to talk to her. In other words, talking to her will result in a) rejection, b) nothing, or c) something, while not talking to her will result in a) nothing and b) regret. Recall that if he acts awkward, it will be awkward. If he acts like this situation is specifically not awkward, it will most likely not be awkward. Impress upon your bro that coming up with conversational topics beforehand is kind of ridiculous; if everyone’s comfortable and receptive and has sufficient social awareness, the conversation will work itself out, so if he finds himself more or less grilling her, it might be time to leave. Finally, ask him how he’s going to get good at this type of thing if he never tries. It’s basically in his best interests. TC mark

image – Phil Whitehouse


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  • kaylee

    i really like the line “Bro mentions to dude that dude is single and hey” for some reason and keep reading it over and over

  • Michael Koh

    If you perceive the situation as being awkward, it surely will be. True that BSG

    • Kyle Angeletti

      Highlight of the article. 

  • Michael Lynch

    Good advice.

  • Michael Lynch

    Good advice.

  • Alex Thayer

    bsg dropping bombs

  • Aja

    This is good advice.  I hope more people ask more people out after reading it.  

  • NoSexCity

    The Bromance flows a-plenty with this one.

    Dig it.

  • Diana

    oh bros

  • Jordan


    i really enjoyed reading this

  • Steve-O

    Hell yeah dude! This rocks!

  • Travis Baugh

    “bro-therly advice”

  • Holly

    Don’t overthink things, bro.

  • you go bro


  • anna

    This is such a sad reality.  How is a girl ever going to meet a decent guy, if its only the douchebag, AXE-wearing creeps who are the ones who approach us? 

  • anna

    This is such a sad reality.  How is a girl ever going to meet a decent guy, if its only the douchebag, AXE-wearing creeps who are the ones who approach us? 

    • courtney lim

      go up to them yourself.

      • Aimee Vondrak

        Because men have all the control in these courtings. THAT’S why. I have this conversation, like, on a daily basis with my friends.

      • Dan P


  • Scott Muska

    Love this.

  • Broah Cicero

    Broah Cicero 30 minutes ago

    I think I’ve finally been turned off of all things thoughtcatalog, moomoo, towelin-ish. Thank you, Brandon, for saving me from wasting my lief on reading anymore of these sites. I feel enlightened. I feel awakened. This is what self awareness ‘truly’ feels like maybe.  Hope this is ‘working out’ for you and that you ‘pull through’ or something. I’m gonna start using capital letters. I’m gonna be able to make semi-confident comments without staring at my feet. My verbal communication will no longer be synonymous with my gmail chat rhetoric. 

    ‘like’     ‘reply’

    Brodown Cicero 15 minutes ago

    looking good, bb. living it up. want you to feel special and writerly. wanna see live streaming vids of you doing something you wouldn’t do otherwise outside of internet peer pressure. wanna see you getting that achievable 50k contract. it’s there for us. i wanna retweet you in irl. luv u. <3

    'like'     'reply'

  • David Moreno

    Bro. I’m  gonna do it. Now, what should I say? :(

  • Carlos Ortiz

    wish I had a bro like you.

  • puzzlingcreativity

    All the single bros! (to the left…to the left…)

    • Autumn

      mixed beyonce metaphors ftw

  • Dooug

    For those of us who are shy and act like bro two, it really is about practice.  and the shaming by girls is true.
    Can we all talk about however when you progress to dating and you get marked as a “nice guy”?  such a burn, i mean come on girls, why shy away from us nice guys.

    • Autumn

      because, in my experience, sometimes self-declared “nice guys” are actually not nice at all. just because your nice to someone doesn’t mean they should fall in love with you. unlike a normal person, who would let it go when someone’s not interested, “nice guys” get all wounded, like “Why wouldn’t this girl like me?? I was so NICE t0 her!” it’s pathetic and unattractive.

      • Autumn


        why do i feel like a typo of that nature totally invalidates my entire argument

      • Mung Beans


        And if someone actually tells you it’s because you’re ‘too nice,’ that means you’re needy/clingy/a pushover and you’re acting gross.  

  • Frida

    love this. 
    you always hit the nail on the head.
    just like in “do not let me alienate you because i am small and afraid” that i just showed my friend to show her how i feel, since i can’t express it.

  • amsantos

    I love you for this.

  • Sara

    I feel like a girl getting rejected is so much more humiliating than a guy getting rejected.

    unless the dude was a total dickhead or fugly for real (yes i jude based on appearance in da club/bar), i wouldn’t knock him back.

    • Sara


  • aaron nicholas

    super relatable

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