Flirting with a German is probably more straightforward than you might think — so straightforward that it might not even register as flirting for you. Don’t worry, we have cheesy German pick-up lines for you to memorize if that’s what you came here for. But truthfully, this sort of peacocking and showmanship isn’t exactly the German way. If you’re going to be corny, a somewhat dry, ironic pick-up line will probably win you more points.
Spiegel Online once wrote that “the word ‘flirt’ has two meanings: one for Germans and one for the rest of the world.” Depending on the cultural environment you’re used to, you might not even register at first that a German is interested in you. In fact, the most direct overture they may make at you at first blush is staring at you from across the room and then looking away. Don’t look right now. I said don’t look right now!
If you want to know how to charm a German, it helps to understand various cultural norms first, but sometimes you also just need a quick reference guide for simple phrases like “Are you single?” and “Do you come here often?” This article has you covered on both fronts.
The Ins And Outs Of Asking Someone Out In German
Hopefully you’re already prepared for a lot of intense eye contact. According to at least one Babbel insider living in Berlin, Germans have a tendency to stare, and it doesn’t always necessarily imply that they’re attracted to you. Don’t be discouraged, however, if the object of your affection looks at you, then quickly looks away without a smile or a wink. It’s very possible that they actually like you.
Obviously, the first thing you’ll need to do is walk up and introduce yourself. In case you need a refresher, here’s a quick lesson on how to say hello.
Next, you might want to lead with a simple compliment of some kind if that’s your style, but keep in mind that subtlety will probably get you further than laying it on too thick. Your German beau might not really know how to react to an aggressive come-on. They might even laugh at you! Still, don’t take that to mean that they don’t appreciate the flattery. Once you start to get to know each other a little more, complimenting their personality, intelligence or sense of humor will be even more appreciated.
If you must, here are a couple phrases that might come in handy:
- Ich mag dich. — I like you.
- Du hast schöne Augen. — You have beautiful eyes.
- Ich liebe dein Lächeln, es ist so charmant. — I love your smile, it’s so charming.
- Du tanzt gut! — You dance well!
- Du siehst gut aus! — You look fantastic!
- Du bist schön. — You are beautiful.
- Ich finde dich sehr attraktiv. — I find you very attractive.
Honestly, you could probably get away with skipping the compliment and simply starting a casual chat. When in doubt, engage someone in a simple (but stimulating) conversation. This is a much better strategy than walking up to someone and asking if you can buy them a drink as an entry point into a conversation. Connecting with your love interest’s intellectual side will probably have a greater impact than trying to be slick or overly handsy right off the bat. Honestly, avoid the small talk and just ask them about their interests, opinions, what they’re working on currently, or their aspirations. In fact, you might have to get comfortable in this “just talking” phase. It might last for a couple dates.
Though it’s perfectly normal to proceed like this with a new love interest — and perhaps in a way that might leave you, a cultural outsider, guessing when it comes to whether they’re even into you that way or not — maybe you’d like to ask, at some point, whether the person you’re talking to is even available.
Bist du Single? — Are you single?
Hast du eine (feste)* Freundin? — Do you have a girlfriend?
Hast du einen (festen)* Freund? — Do you have a boyfriend?
*Most people leave out feste/festen because it’s usually implied you’re asking about a romantic partner and not any friend, but if you want to make sure the other person knows exactly what you mean, use the full phrase.
Assuming the conversation is going well and you feel ready to take the next step, here are a few ways to invite someone out on a date in German. If you’re in Berlin especially, keep in mind that dating is a very relaxed affair and a typical outing might involve drinking outside at a park, or inside at a dive bar. If you want to suggest something a little more special, it’s certainly not expected, but you can invite someone out to a gallery or museum.
- Hast du morgen Zeit? — Are you free tomorrow?
- Sollen wir ausgehen? — Shall we go out?
- Was möchtest du trinken? Ich lade dich ein. — What would you like to drink? I’ll pay.
- Wollen wir etwas trinken gehen? — How about going for a drink?
- Hast du am Freitag Zeit? Ich möchte euch zum Essen einladen. — Do you have time on Friday? I would like to invite you to dinner.
- Hast du Lust, mit mir auf eine Party zu gehen? — Would you like to go to a party with me?
- Ich habe zwei Konzertkarten gewonnen. Möchtest du mit mir hingehen? — I won two tickets to a concert. Do you want to go with me?
A couple notes about date etiquette: Germans tend to prefer punctuality, so make a point to be on time! Also, it’s very common to “go Dutch” (or getrennt, aka “separate”) and split the bill, regardless of who asked who out.
Cheesy German Pick-Up Lines That Just Might Work (Or Not)
Be forewarned: using a cheesy German pick-up line (known as ein Anmachspruch) might actually hurt your chances more than it helps. Germans are generally fans of originality. Perhaps if you’re funny and smooth enough with the delivery, your special friend will find your silliness charming.
- Glaubst du an Liebe auf den ersten Blick oder muss ich nochmal vorbeigehen? — Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk past again?
- Ich habe meine Telefonnummer verloren. Kannst du mir deine leihen? — I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?
- Hat es wehgetan, als du vom Himmel gefallen bist? — Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?
- Als Gott dich schuf, wollte er sicher angeben. — When God made you, he surely wanted to show off.
- Kannst du mich mal in die Arme nehmen? — Can you take me in your arms?
- Na, du auch hier? — Hey, you’re here too? (like the English “You come here often?”)
- Und sonst so? — And, what else?
- Kennen wir uns nicht irgendwoher? — Don’t we know each other?