Can a guy approach a girl when another guy is trying to talk to her?

Wait your turn. Or at least politely wait for a pause.

Story goes like this.

Natalie was sitting at the bar getting our drinks, after she passes us all our drinks, she was about to come over, but started talking to this guy, Ben. Ben seemed like a great guy, nice and clean cut. As Natalie and Ben were in the middle of conversation, not pauses, or awkward silences, but happily engaged in conversation, a group of 3 guys moved right next to her and started talking loudly talking to her.

This guy, Andrew, and his two buddies were trying to talk to Natalie. Obviously, Andrew was interested in Natalie, but saw Ben talking to her, so instead of waiting, or at least getting up the guts to do approach her himself, he uses the group tactic, winning by number. Natalie actually turned around to the group and asked them to wait, since she was in the middle of a conversation with Ben. But they ignored her, and continued to talk loudly to her. Ben looked increasingly uncomfortable, Natalie knew that these guys were getting to him. She quickly apologized for this awkward situation and asked to trade numbers.

As soon as Ben left, Andrew laughed, and said, “That guy wasn’t getting anywhere.” Natalie forces a smile, and spots us standing a bit away. She politely responds to their conversation, and tries to make her way over to us.
(By the way, this all happened within a few minutes, we all didn’t really know what to do. We didn’t abandon her. We were standing behind Ben, a bit farther back.)

Andrew continues to try to talk to her, she’s completely turned off.

If you’re a girl, you may understand. If you’re a guy, you may or may not understand. Let me explain.

Andrew just embarrassed Ben there. And that could be a macho, fluffing of the tail feathers gestures going on, but from a woman’s perspective (at least a self-respectful one), she’s not looking for the guy that crushes all other guys. Natalie knew that Andrew was giving Ben a hard time, and really only dared act that way because he had a posse, while Ben had none. There is no joy in watching someone genuinely embarrass and maliciously try to give another person a hard time. It makes your sympathize for one and hate the other.

As a guy, you might think, “I don’t want the pity.” But you also don’t want to be perceived as the bully either. Girls may like bad boys, but that is more on the line of risk taking, adventure seeking, and not “people bullying.”

So what should you do if you see a girl you want to approach but someone’s talking to her?

Make eye contact. Let her know that you’ve already noticed her. But that you’re respectful of her space and her conversations. Wait until she stops talking, or her drink is empty, or she excuses herself to go somewhere. Don’t butt into a conversation midway through, and expect to be applauded. What if:

1. She noticed you, too. And is trying to politely end the current conversation to come talk to you (or make herself available for you). But then you butt in, make her feel uncomfortable, embarrass her in front of her friend or whoever.

2. She didn’t notice you at all. And by you butting in, it just makes a horrible first impression.

Obviously, you can argue that some girls love being fought over. But no one likes to be caught in an awkward situation that leaves everyone feeling crappy and uncomfortable.

So wait your turn, or pull on some smoother moves. Inviting yourself into another conversation may scream “Insensitive and disrespectful” as well as “arrogant and immature.” Approaching a woman to talk to her is an art. Don’t be hasty and sloppy.

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