How To Be A Killer Wing Woman

(previously published in summer 2015)

In NYC, the shift into summer is often marked by more people running along the Hudson River… and more people packing into biergartens. Another dead give away? The summer influx of fresh meat – I’m talking summer interns and new college graduates. You can tell because they’re still wearing Croakies and Nantucket red shorts. (Sorry boys, it’s true.)

Now that our happy hours have been replenished with new faces, it’s time to start brushing up on our flirting tactics. Inevitably, we’ll find ourselves playing wing woman for our girls, so I asked my friend Hannah Orenstein for some tips.

Hannah with the lovely Eloise.


Find Hannah on Twitter @hannahorens

Why’d I think of Hannah? She worked for the dating service Tawkify in 2014 to matchmake New Yorkers, and now she’s a freelance writer (and NYU grad!) who’s work you can find on,, Refinery29, xoJane, etc. If I was hitting the town looking for a match, I’d definitely bring Hannah – plus, girl has mastered the art of red lipstick.

You might (read: definitely) want to share her advice on being a killer wing woman to all your girlfriends.

A good wing woman has mastered the introductions — i.e. you take the plunge and approach a group of guys at a bar and then bring your girls along. What are your best tactics for making that first introduction?

No one wants to make the first move, but guys are typically expected to. If you can turn the tables and approach them, that takes a huge weight off their shoulders — I doubt they would turn you down. When you introduce yourself, you can start off with an opening question (“Your drink looks so good. What is it?”), then introduce yourself and your friends. If you’re approaching a pair or a group of guys, chat up the one your friend isn’t interested in and let the two of them hit it off.

It’s a lot easier to approach guys when you’re acting as a wing woman (or a matchmaker!) than it is to approach guys for yourself. If your goal is to make your friends happy, chances are you’ll find the confidence to go out on a limb for them. It’s not as nervewracking as approaching guys for yourself, I promise!

Sometimes people are uncomfortable when it’s so obvious they are being “set up” — what’s a not obvious way to play up how awesome your friend is?

When you explain what makes your friend a catch, the attention is on you, not her. You’re the one with the floor. After introductions are made and the ice is broken, let her shine. For example, my best friend has a knack for telling killer dramatic stories, so when we go out together, I’ll often drop a reference to one into the conversation to pique the guy’s interest. From there, all eyes are on her while she entertains them.

Great wing women know their friends’ strengths and play to them. If your friend is an amazing dancer, try starting a conversation near the dance floor. If your friend has a great sarcastic sense of humor, set her up to tell a joke. Then stay quiet (or talk to the guys she’s not into) and let her be the center of attention.

Where are some of the best places to meet new people?

You might think that bars are a common place to meet people, but I actually think that online dating has killed your chances of meeting people at bars! Now that we can meet dozens of people just by swiping through Tinder, we’re not as primed to start IRL conversations with people at bars. Your chances are better in casual group hangouts, parties, and group activities (think kickball league, standup classes, cooking classes). Now that the weather is warmer, you might also meet people in public parks. If you’re hanging out outside and stick to the more populated parts of the park, someone might come over and say hello.

Using your social network to meet new people through mutual friends is one of the best ways to find potential matches. How can you make that happen?

Mutual friends are an excellent way to meet new people. But most friends don’t go around thinking, “Hmm, Lauren would really hit it off with Jake. Why don’t I set them up?” (OK, not unless you’re a matchmaker. Then it’s constantly on your mind.) Rather than asking all your friends to connect you with their single friends, start from a strategic point. Consider which of your friends are most likely to know single people that you’d be interested in. If you tend to go for really career-oriented guys, your friend who’s working odd jobs to fuel her road trip across the country probably isn’t the best person to ask.

The next time you throw a party, make it clear on the invitation that the party is open to friends. I entertain pretty frequently and always encourage my guests to bring friends. I’ve met total strangers at my own parties that I’ve gone on to date, and a few of my friends have done the same!

If your goal is to meet someone at a party, say hello to everyone, go easy on the drinks (one or two for liquid courage, but not so many that you start getting sloppy), and enlist a friend if you’re feeling shy.

So gather your girls, create a group message (mine is titled: *dancing girls* emoji), and get ready to play matchmaker. There’s nothing to loose, and God forbid in your efforts to set up a friend, you find someone interesting yourself – cheers!

Shannon Zhu

Contributor, New York University Major: Art History Her heart belongs to: skincare products, desserts (cupcakes not welcome), big dogs and small kitties Take her away to: anywhere except camping... unless it's in a warm cabin with lots of wine and cozy blankets

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