6 Rules for the Winning Wingman
The concept of a wingman (or wingwoman) has been a hot topic of discussion in recent years among singles who like to mingle. It has taken on a variety of meanings -- some sweet, some less so -- but the bottom line is always this: A wingman's sole responsibility is to help a single friend meet a suitable match. Most often, a wingman goes out with single friends, searching for potential targets and helping facilitate introductions. But a metaphorical wingman can also be of service by lending a sympathetic ear and giving advice.
Kayli Stollak, 24, pens the blog Granny Is My Wingman, which features snappy commentary and audio clips of conversations between her and her wingman/grandmother, Gail, who is 76. Kayli Stollak does a lot of online dating, to amusing results, and Gail, who also dates, dispenses common-sense advice like, "You're young; just have a good time." Because of the unusual pairing -- and the charming repartee between the two -- the blog has gained national attention and stimulated much chatter about the wingman scheme in general.
As a longtime single woman myself, I can say there are a lot of good reasons for having someone in your corner. When you're with a friend -- especially someone of the opposite sex -- it seems to disarm your target. It's also a weird truism of single life that if you see someone accompanied by a buddy, they seem "safer" and easier to approach. And if your guy- or gal-friend is too nervous to self-introduce, it can be fun to have someone else do the honors: "Hi, my friend is too shy to tell you he thinks you're beautiful, so I'd like to make the introduction."
Here are my six rules for being a winning wingman.
1. Make a game plan.
Ask your friend what kind of person he or she wants to meet, if you don't know already. Research good places to go where this type of person might be found. Bars are most often used, but don't forget about places like sporting events and arts productions. Think ahead about what you're going to say to someone whose attention you want. Make small talk before making an introduction to your friend by saying things like "What's the best cocktail here?" or "Do you think the Giants will make the playoffs again this year?"
[Related: Is Major League Baseball the Next Cupid?]
2. Put yourself where the action is.
Don't expect to meet someone sitting at the corner table. Stand up and walk around. If you're in a place where you can be jostled, it can lead to easy conversation.
3. Ready, set, chat.
Once you and your friend agree on someone he or she would like to meet, put yourself in proximity, along with your friend, and strike up a conversation. The nice thing about being a wingman is there's less pressure to make the approach because it's not your own ego you're risking.
4. Once they're chatting, scram.
After making the initial introduction, and perhaps dropping a couple teasers about your friend that beg for follow-up questions, find a reason to vanish so they can get to know one another.
5. Find an excuse to interrupt.
After several minutes, return to the scene to remind your friend of that "thing" you have to go to so they can exit the conversation -- hopefully on a high note. Of course, if he or she replies by saying something like "I don't care about going; I've just met my future spouse," you can gracefully duck out again.
6. Don't forget business cards.
In this day and age, it's much easier to exchange numbers in a nonthreatening way by slipping someone a professional card. Or, if your friend is too shy to hand them out, you can do it for him as if you were his manager. After all, you're the wingman, and that's the next best thing.