How to approach a woman in Second Life

Being alone does not equal being lonely

I do a lot of my writing and reading while alone in Second Life. One of the things I enjoy is the feeling of being on a beach or another quiet place while doing it. I just love tapping away on my keyboard, while hearing the sounds of the surf mixing with the calls of the birds.

This serene moment can be very easily interrupted  – with all the subtlety of a scratched vinyl record – by being IMed without warning.

If it’s from a friend, or someone I know, I’m typically delighted. If I don’t know the sender however, I might be less welcoming.

The unsolicited IMs I receive typically come from males. Often, he will be out of my field of vision (or not anywhere near me, for that matter). Frequently, the message will be phrased as a compliment about my appearance – and very often limited to certain body parts. This happens to me pretty much every time I visit a public beach or dance venue in Second Life, or even when I’m stood somewhere at Basilique.

As a result of unwanted interruptions, like Ella writes in her post on this topic in The SL Naturist, I’ve also reduced my visits to public (and specifically nude) beaches – preferring to sit alone on my private beach instead – where at least I can stay somewhat invisible, through parcel privacy settings.

Note: First, from here on in, the “you” and “your” applies only if you are someone who uses these less than ideal approaches. If you don’t, don’t take it personally. Second, this is only opinion, not evidence-based suggestions – although what a great survey that’d be, eh?

There are three problems with your approach: First, your choice to use IM and not local chat. Second, your choice to do so while remaining out of my field of vision. Third, the obnoxiously and hopeless unoriginal content of your message that amounts to nothing but a waste of time for all concerned. In most cases, this applies regardless of place – be it a beach, a bar, a dance club, a town square, or anywhere else I go in Second Life.

Coffee Girl

Use local chat

Let’s talk about the difference between IM and local chat for a moment. For me, my IM is a private message space. I don’t IM anyone unless I have something personal, or important, to say or ask them. While I don’t terribly mind an IM from someone who I don’t yet know, I find it intrusive, when I realise (in very little time I should add) the real intent behind your private message, which might sound a bit like this:

You: “Hey, u want 2 go somewhere private 4 some dancing or fun?”

Me: “Wow, sure! Thanks for IMing me out of the blue with an invite for what sounds like an amazing time when I was so bored here doing absolutely nothing!”

Seriously, has an exchange like the one I suggest above ever happened unless it was in jest?

One of the problems with IM (and the internet in general for that matter) is that it gives you a false sense of personal license to say things you’re unlikely to say to someone face to face. At least in local, there is a degree of public accountability that might help your brain govern the reigns controlling your horny typing fingers. This is certainly not foolproof, but perhaps that one-second pause as you consider the public effects of your utterance in local chat, might just do the trick.

Granted, an IM is sometimes the only way one can cut through the clutter of local to get someone’s attention. If you’re going to use IM for your approach, then it had better be

  • Literate, meaning free of spelling mistakes and grammar crimes – e.g. U is not an appropriate substitute for the pronoun “you”. Similarly, 2 and 4 is not a good stand in for the prepositions “to” and “for”. Not everyone cares about this, but people will rarely discount you for using good spelling and grammar, so why not play the percentages here?
  • Original, meaning something considerably deeper than “hi” followed by minutes of deafening silence.
  • Sensical. Please don’t assume that someone sitting alone is lonely or depressed. Please also don’t assume that they’d rather be with someone, or dancing, or somewhere other than where they’ve chosen to be.
  • Non-sexual. Just because it’s Second Life doesn’t mean that everyone is ready and willing to become intimate at your immediate suggestion. Life is not like a pornographic movie, and neither is Second Life.

Still, even the most literate, original, sensical and non-sexual IM might still be intrusive.

Because an IM alerts me with a sound designed to get my attention, your unsolicited IM is like you walking up behind me, and poking my shoulder to get it. If you do that, your message had better matter.

When you do it from the other side of the sim, it’s like you’re hiding in the bushes, only poking your head up to throw a small pebble at the back of my head in the hopes I’ll respond.

There are solutions to this problem; none of them ideal. I could, for instance, mute my sound. Part of the point of being in Second Life while doing something else, however, is enjoying the sounds I hear. I could switch on DND, but then I might miss important IMs from my friends. I might switch on DND except for IMs from friends, but then I might miss an important IM from someone related to business issues about my region, or my other projects inworld. I might filter my IMs for blocked keyword phrases. That sounds fine on paper, but I have a feeling it’d be a pretty long and loathsome project typing every offensive keyword phrase that you may use in a lecherous pick up line.

I am guessing one of the reasons you do approach by IM is because you can thereby avoid the perceived humiliation of being ignored; or worse, risk my flat-out public rejection of your approach.

Using local chat, especially when others might near, shows confidence. A part of me sometimes thinks that you’d be embarrassed by your lack of smoothness if anyone else heard your approach in local chat; so, lucky me, you’ve chosen instead to privately whisper your proposal in my ear.

Perhaps another reason for IMing instead of using local chat is because I am seated outside of your local chat range, which brings me to the next issue.

Coffee Girl 2

Use your legs

After all my time as a resident, I still fail to understand the resistance to walking in Second Life. It’s not like it even burns calories. Instead of walking over, it is much more common for people to try their luck from over hundreds of metres away.

First off, It strikes me as lazy. It makes me think you are simply running a numbers game, IMing every vaguely feminine-sounding name on your Nearby list, in the hope that your textual sex missile hits a receptive bullseye.

Second, it’s creepy. It’s like getting a call on my mobile from an unknown number and hearing the person on the other end talk to me as if they see me. Imagine this happening in real-life:

“Hey” said the disembodied voice on the mobile, “you are so sexy.”

Just pondering it makes my skin crawl.

Far better, regardless of your intent, would have been to take the effort to walk nearby, then stop while standing at a reasonably safe distance and saying a simple “Hello” in local chat. Getting your IM from a distant and unseen location feels a bit like you’re observing me through the virtual equivalent of power-zoom binoculars. And no, I don’t like that.

Beyond the creepiness factor, when you zoom in on me from a far distance, you have a distinct advantage over me by seeing me without me seeing you. It may sound superficial, but I tend to like to see who is approaching me, just like I’d assume you like to see whom you approach. It’s only fair, right? And, if you’re hiding somewhere unseen because you assume your appearance might put me off, then perhaps it’s time to stop band-aiding the problem and upgrade your avatar’s appearance.

Lastly, walking over makes you stand out. Most people don’t seem to bother, so you’re already likely to get noticed which will make your approach all that much more intriguing.

Silky's Café

Use your brain

Finally, let’s talk about your approach.

Don’t use a cheesy pick up line you found somewhere on the internet or in some book. The chances of me not being to detect it within a heartbeat of its utterance is next to nil. Even if I don’t immediately recognise it, if it sounds canned, it probably is.

Do not, under any circumstances in the known universe, use any of these:

The worst pick up lines ever

If you’re going to start your approach with a simple “Hello”, then at least have the foresight to have your next line ready. Here’s one suggestion that is unlikely to fail:

“I’d like to chat, if you’d care to join me.”

Simple. Direct. Honest. You get the picture. Ask permission to chat, without sounding needy. Which means, of course, the onus is on you to accept my response for what it is and not get all snotty if it’s not what you want to hear. If I do want to chat, what else might you say? Here are some suggestions:

  • The research approach: “I’m curious about what women like to do on dates in Second Life, can you help me out?”
  • The ‘I need help’ approach: “I’m wondering, do you know what’s fun to do on this sim?”
  • The opinion opener: “I’d like to ask your opinion on something, what do you think of this hairstyle on me?”

Now you’re asking for my help. Why is this useful? First, people – in general – like it when you ask them what they think, as opposed to hearing all about what you think. Most people don’t really care about what you think until they feel they can trust your opinion anyway, which might develop over the course of a conversation. Second, asking someone’s opinion about something makes them think you are interested in what they have to say, and trust them to give you good advice. Third, you might actually learn something.

From here, I’m afraid it’s up to you. I’d bet the farm, however, that you find first approaches more challenging than the conversations that might follow. Most people ease into things quite naturally, allowing the conversation to flow where it will organically lead.

One last thing, don’t IM me a generic pick up line that you have also sent my friend sitting next to me. Believe it or not, we compare notes.

29 thoughts on “How to approach a woman in Second Life

  1. I think I have to start working at more frequented places, because I miss all this being at my platform 🙂

    In my case, IM would be more effective. If I’m in SL, unless it’s an scheduled activity (like your Wednesday chat sessions), I wouldn’t notice local chat even if it bit my ankle. In fact, I may TP to a place and just stand up at that same moment, being AFK for the next fifteen minutes. When I’m back and I see that someone greeted in local chat, I feel the rudest person in the world. (Okay, not the rudest, but rude enough.)

    Pickup lines often tickle my funny bone. I’m not going to take them seriously, and I try by all means to avoid giving any sign that shows that behind the screen, the physical person is smirking, when not laughing, at those lines.

    I’m reserved, introvert, as many others. This means that simply “hi” isn’t going to make me talk. If you’re the one opening the IM, I assume you have interest in talking – Then suggest something, don’t leave that work on me, because you’ve interrupted me: I’m not the one that has to tell you how to go on with the conversation, you were the one wanting to talk.

    Maybe those people should learn a bit about your posts: Talk about something that interests you… and the rest will follow your lead, sharing their thoughts about the matter. IM me, tell me what you find interesting of SL, or what you’d like to explore… and then I can follow, and talk about.

    (It should be a valid tag.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When I end saying:

      (It should be a valid tag.)

      it refers to my having written </rambling> , right above it, which was ignored by the browser.

      (Sorry about that.)


    2. I’m sure local chat awareness differs across people, and it likely depends on how one uses SL. I will spend passive time inworld, like I described in the first paragraph of the post, so if I don’t see local, I don’t worry about it to much. When I’m on though, like when I’m running events, or when feel responsible for greeting visitors to my sim – I am deliberately paying attention. I suppose I figure that if I’m afk and by myself somewhere, then it’s quite ok to be away – I’m busy, chat can wait. I hope too that after a while, sensible people realise that if one’s message isn’t answered in either local or IM in a timely fashion, then it’s likely not personal, with no rudeness intended.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True. That reminded me of when I was teaching. My solution was detaching the local chat window from the conversations window. Then I minimized the conversations window, having my full attention at the local chat window. Unless I could spare thirty seconds while teaching, IMs were unattended until I was done with class. The IM sound was there, but during class time, I learned to filter it as something you don’t hear. But IMs in that case didn’t come from people hiding at the opposite corner of the sim.

        I really have to go out more.


  2. Great post and I think many female avatars will recognise all this. Well I do. Over the years I have learned to either shrug it off and ignore, or when I feel like it – hold up some sort of brief polite conversantion and then end it.

    Also, men:
    When you do this: ‘One last thing, don’t IM me a generic pick up line that you have also sent my friend sitting next to me. Believe it or not, we compare notes.’ …
    Either IM one lady or all of them when they are in a group.
    I am still miffed over that night we were with three girls and I was the only one NOT getting the cheesy pick-up line from the same dude – who was out of our view. It’s rude!


    Liked by 4 people

  3. Brilliant! I’m going going to bookmark this post so I can have it at the ready to pass along to anyone who might try these approaches. Will be interesting to see who takes the not-so-subtle reprimand in stride and actually reads/learns from their mistakes. 🙂

    Deoridhe at the Prim Dolls blog has a fabulously funny series of “How NOT To …” posts that document these uniquely SL phenomena perfectly. I just came across her blog last week, really fun read!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! I read them all and laughed out loud at a few because some sound so familiar. Sometimes, there’s a language gap, I get that and make allowances accordingly. That said, you DO fear for people if this is the extent of their social skills replicating themselves from RL into SL. Would they try this sort of approach in a bar? Well, actually…I think some of them might…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The best way to approach a woman in any life is from behind just outside their peripheral vision and wear shoes that don’t squeak. Then …………………..

    Sorry, that’s not what this is about is it.

    Seriously, put some thought into the approach IM. A good first comment can bring more discussion. Above all treat the woman as a person, not an object.


    Oh, a penis is not considered an ice breaker.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. ‘put some thought into the approach IM’

      Indeed. ‘Whatcha doing’?’ is maybe one of the worst. I’m sat at a keyboard, in front of a screen, playing an online game. Same as you. What did you imagine I was doing right now? Using my famed multi-tasking special girl powers to go rollerskating in the fast lane of a motorway with a laptop in hand while waiting for the lag to settle?

      ‘a penis is not considered an ice breaker.’

      ‘Do you have photos of yourself? I have photos of myself. I’ll send you one…..’

      Nooooooo!!!!!!! Mute! Mute! Mute! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL….

        I really don’t think some people think. I have met some great males in SL and am pleased to call them friends, the banter and innuendo tossed back and forth can be hilarious, I am not alone at enjoying this. But they first had to become friends, right.

        Not sure if you have heard this but it is a saying that was told to me……..If you would say it to your grandmother then it is okay to say it to me……… (one assumes you like your grandmother)

        If not Mute! Mute! Mute! lol 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m jealous you get people reading your profile; so far I’ve only had one person say he did, and only when pressed! Granted, my profile is a little strange, but still…

    I think everyone in SL has at leas a few conversations like these.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Honestly I feel like the “never IM me hi” thing is a little cynical. IM’s are genuinely the easiest way to talk to someone first of all. Especially is that person is not talking in pub chat or you want to get their specific attention and not everyone else. Also hi is a easy starter to give you time to think of something else. How often IRL do you honestly say something other then Hi to someone the first second you speak to them. Probably not often. As long as your following response to my hello back to you is actual conversation I see no issue with this. Some people are shy and need that buffer to prepare themselves and that’s okay.

    My only issue is when you message me and just make moaning noises at me, send me dick pics (Thanks I can send that to the next guy who sends me one.), ask me sexual things, or discuss my ass/boobs (Unless you are an expert on the topic of mesh boobs and butts and want to discuss the finer points of that.) Basically don’t sexually harass me online thanks.


    1. Where did I write “never IM me hi”?

      What I actually wrote is: “Granted, an IM is sometimes the only way one can cut through the clutter of local to get someone’s attention. If you’re going to use IM for your approach, then it had better be…”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A lot depends on how you use SL, where you are and what each other’s expectations are. I regularly break several of those guidelines. But the big thing is, I do so in the right context..

    If I log in to a place Beast Forest, my first action is to read every profile on sim. If I like someone’s profile enough; to see that they’re a literate roleplayer and we have similar kinks I’ll cam them. If they don’t appear busy and their avatar looks ok I’ll IM them. And I make it clear from the start what I’m after, so yes, the opening is an IM, with sexual content, without using my legs.

    I just don’t get the idea of trying to hook up with random strangers who are shopping or hanging at some kind of random event though. You don’t do that IRL either, do you? At least I don’t. Maybe it’s because I’m not vanilla, but I never look for RL partners outside of specific fetish events/locations in either life.


    1. What I mean with the last sentence is RL partners in RL, or SL partners in SL… Not looking for an RL partner in SL.


    2. Sure, I’d agree with that context matters. These suggestions mainly apply to the context in which they were given – approaching a woman in a place where, as you say, is not a place where sex is likely to be obvious on the menu.


    3. Odd the name EXPERIMENTAL was chosen? But to be honest you seem to have covered almost all the points that were found unacceptable and made them your modus operandi, I find the fit too tight.

      To each his own in SL and while I know this approach would not wash with 100% of my females friend list (can’t speak for the males), I don’t doubt it has worked for you you at least twice, but I don’t know you so I can only assume. This method of yours has worked enough for you to feel it’s the right approach, again that can be 2 or 4000 times.

      Where one is when applying your method is pretty much the only known part of the equation. One can’t know the others expectations without first talking.So you Don’t use your legs, you don’t use open chat and you ….well we can leave the brain part alone. You would have scored 0 with the ladies posting comments here. Maybe that was your plan?

      Your SL- your score



      1. Dee, I don’t count scores. There’s no use to that, because I roleplay almost daily and have been doing so for years. What I can tell is that my rejection rate is close to non-existant. Almost every person I contact I end up actually roleplaying with.

        Yes, I know it wouldn’t work on most of the people -here-. And I don’t f-ing care, because someone like you doesn’t hold my interest anyway. Unless I run into you in Beast Forest and your profile lists in big letters how you want to be raped by orcs/minotaurs/insert other fantasy creatures of choice here, there’s a 99% chance I will not ever IM you. -It’s that simple-.

        Again, for the record, I do agree with the author regarding proper behaviour in public. I absolutely cannot stand those who cannot understand intent and context (like you obviously can’t). That was my only point; that CONTEXT MATTERS.

        Regarding the personal attacks on my name, EXPERIMENTAL SCIENTIST has been my SL name for the past 6+ years after I retired my first blogger avatar. I don’t see a Dee Darwin though, but maybe you’re using display names or whatever, not my problem anyway.


        1. Seem a tad touchy but it’s not necessary.

          Well not scoring but knowing your success rate is a little off balance. If you don’t care what’s the point?

          You would be surprised at what I can understand, but more than context matters. Things always work in harmony never singular.

          I still find it an odd name and that’s my choice, if you like that or not is not an issue for me.

          You enjoy your Beast Forest and I’ll do fine in my SL. Take a deep breath and relax. I commented on your post not your family tree…..



    4. The rules of etiquette at a fetish party are not identical with those of simply making conversation with random people you might happen to meet, so your point isn’t really… a point?

      I mean, even within those bounds quite a lot still applies, but I suspect this guide was not written with those who essentially use SL as F-list+ and nothing more in mind. (Allow me to add this is not a value judgement, because I do plenty of this sort of thing in SL as well as my more ‘serious’ building/social fun; I am many, I contain multitudes, and all that. At most I simply find the context of your comment somewhat puzzling.)

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s