Imagine you’re at the counter. She has long hair, tan skin, and the oh-so-perfect curvy shape. Even she s turning her back to you, it’s not difficult to imagine how beautiful she’ll look like when she turns back. And most importantly, she is sitting there… all alone!
You’ve decided that no matter what you must get her number tonight. So you smooth your shirt with your hands, arrange your hair, stand up and walk towards her…
“Excuse me, I looked at you for a while. Can I buy you a drink?”
The woman turns her face to you slowly, reluctantly smiled, and blurted out a reply with a very thick Thai accent “A-a-a… I can not speak English!”
… And you can not speak Thai, so your castle in the air sadly crumbles.
Good news is I’m here to help you to get over this embarrassing situation. Getting to know a Thai woman is like getting to know women in other culture and countries. You need to be a gentleman and good conversation partner. The second might sound impossible to you right now but with some knowledge about local language, social skills and a bit of confidence, I’m sure you’ll be able to initiate a small talk with women of any races.
Talking about knowledge of local language, let’s start by reviewing the relevant lessons you’ve learned so far…
In Chapter 2, Greeting & Introducing Yourself, you’ve learned about common greeting words and phrases — “Sawasdee”, “Sabai dee mai”, “Pen ngai bang”, “Pai nai ma”, etc. Although these greetings are normally used in everyday life, they’re not proper in this situation. Sometimes, the person you’re approaching is not someone you’ve already known or your circle of acquaintance, so asking “Pai nai ma” or where have you been is definitely indecorous and probably make you look like a weirdo in the eyes of your fascinating target. When it comes to approaching a girl, you should try something else.
In the same chapter, you’ve also learned about the Thai verb to be “Pen”, “Yu” and “Kue” and how to use them to string sentences in different patterns — the affirmative, the negative and the interrogative. These little big three words together with a range of Thai vocabulary should enable you to create thousands of Thai sentences while the question words “Krai, “A-rai”, “Muea-rai”, “Tee-nai”, “Tam-mai” and “Yang-rai”, which are equivalent to who, what, when, where, why and how in Chapter 3 Asking & Answering Questions, will enable you to pose questions and answer each kind of question properly and confidently. Put it simply, you have everything you need to start a sensible conversation. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead… approach the girl!
Besides the very most basic greetings you’ve learned in Chapter 2, there are other ways to generate a casual conversation with others (including girls) — we may call them conversation starter. In the English language, the conversation starter is normally in interrogative form but in Thai, it could simply be affirmative sentences. Check out the followings for the starters the Thais frequently use:
Wan-nee rod tid jang: Talking about Bangkok, there’s nothing more famous than its traffic and “Rod tid” is what we use to call the traffic jam. “Jang” is a particle used to emphasize the word before it. So, “Wan-nee rod tid jang” is “Such a heavy traffic today”. Our obsession about daily traffic is similar to the English’s obsession about the weather. If you live in Bangkok, you’ ll hear this sentence coming up more than once a day. It is an excuse for failures of showing up on time as much as an everyday conversation topic. So, if you don’ t know how to kick off a conversation, “Wan-nee rod-tid jang” might be a good idea.
Wan-nee ron jang: While the English speakers greet each other by saying “What a nice day today!”, the Thais usually complain about high temperature saying “Wan-nee ron jang” which means “Such a hot day today!”. And as you may already know, the weather in Thailand is hot all year round. So, this sentence can be used for almost all occasions.
Phon ja tok mai: On the other hand, if it is the rainy season or cloudy day, you might say “ Phon ja tok mai” which means “Will it rain?” or “Is it going to rain?”. When asking this kind of question, most of the time the enquirer doesn’t really want to know the answer but say it just to break the ice or kick off a conversation.
These conversation starters are appropriate for everyone and can be used for general p urpose. When you say it, don’t forget to add some particles such as “Jang”, “Na”, “Krub/Ka” at the end of the sentence to make it sounds more polite and softer. For example, “Wan-nee ron jang” could be “Wan-nee ron jang na” or “Wan-nee ron jang na krub/ka”. Remember that the more particles you use, the cuter you will be.
Now, let’s get back to our simulation in the beginning, what would you say if you happen to meet that girl in a pub or at a party? Clearly, the context is very much different…
At a Pub
Well, to buy her some drinks might be a good idea but to tell a woman how beautiful she is at the first meeting might be a bit too much and if not with appropriate advance, chances are that you will scare her away. To approach a girl in a pub, here are something you can try:
Khor-thod krub/ka: If the person you’re approaching is totally a stranger, you should begin your sentence with this word. “Khor-thod” is used to show politeness when you interrupt someone. Its meaning is “I’m sorry” or “excuse me” depending on the context. For example, if you ask people to move out of your way, this word is “excuse me” b ut if you step on someone’s foot on the BTS, this word means “I’ m sorry”.
Duem a-rai dee krub: This question means “What would you like to drink?” which is a good approach because by offering her a drink, you don’t have to say something cheesy like you’re so beautiful. If you offer a woman a drink, she’ll definitely know that she’s beautiful. And if she says “ Khob-khun ka” (thank you), it means that she gives you a green light and you should continue the conversation but if she says “ Mai ka. Khob-khun” (no, thank you), you’d better leave.
Khun suay mak: Yes, it might sound cliche to tell a woman that “You’re so beautiful” but who don’t like being flattered that way especially women. The trick is you have to say it at the right time. Walking to the girl you’ve never met and say it bluntly into her face would be artless and likely to be misunderstood. But saying it after she allows you to buy her a drink will help you to score some points.
However, the new learner must be careful when pronouncing the word “Suay” (beautiful) because the slightly different tones can result in totally different meanings. When spoken with the lower tone, Suay” means bad luck.
Phom yark ru-jak khun: Sometimes, speaking your heart out is the simplest and easiest way to get to know a girl. This sentence can simply be translated to “I want to know you” which is another way to say “I think you’re pretty cool.” And who doesn’t like that?
Khor ber-tro noi dai mai krub: Partially question, partially request, this can come after the above sentence meaning “Can I have your telephone/mobile number?” Normally, people don’t want to be too open to the stranger but giving him/her a second chance is another thing. And who knows? you might be that lucky!
Khun ma tee-nee boi mai krub: This sentence means “How often do you come here?”. It is a good starter because it will lead you to other topics relevant to that place such as food, music, service, ambiance, etc. Maybe you two have something in common.
However, when you meet your dream girl in such a place, you have to keep in mind that you might be meeting with the professional (you know what I mean, right?). Or if your sexual orientation is straight, you have to check out carefully if the girl you’re talking to is a “she” because Thai ladyboys look very much like girls and sometimes even more pretty!
At a Party
A party is a good opportunity to socialize, expand your connection as well as spot your potential dating partner. Among those beautiful people coming for celebration, there might be someone that catches your eyes. And if you find that one, you gotta grab the chance!
Sawasdee krub/ka: In this circumstance, it’s normal just to approach the girl and say hi. Although you don’t know each other yet , you might be in the same circle of friends. Let’s say you’re not totally a stranger. But don’t just say hi, after the greeting, advance further by introducing yourself.
Phom/Chan chue… : This sentence means “My name is …”. When combined with the greeting above, your first sentence might be something like this: “Sawasdee krub. Phom chue Paul” or “Sawasdee ka. Chan chue Anna”. After introducing yourself, you may go further by asking “LaeoKhun la chue a-rai” which means “And what’s your name?”.
Khun pen phuean khong… rue: This question means “Are you a friend of… ?” (fill in any names you like). It’s normal to ask people at the party if they happen to be a friend of someone you might’ve already known. For example, if you’re at a birthday party, you may ask the person of your interest if he or she is a friend of the birthday boy/girl or if you’re at a wedding reception, you can ask if he or she is brother or sister of the wedding couple. In the second case, don’t forget to change the word “Phuean” (friend) to “Phee-sao” (older sister)/ “Nong-sao” (younger sister) or “Phee-chai” (older brother) / “Nong-chai” (younger brother).
Khun chop party wan-nee mai: This question means “Do you like the party today?”. If the party is good, she will say something like “Chob ka. Party wan-nee sa-nook mak loey” which means “Yes, I like it. The party today is fun” or she will compliment about the host, the food, the music, the decoration, etc. If she doesn’t like it, she might say something like “Mai chob loey. Siang phleng dang nhuak-hu mak” which means “No, I don’t like it at all. The music is very loud and annoying”. But no matter what her comment is, you have to keep in mind that you cannot interrupt. To keep the conversation going, you will have to go with the flow.
Even you already know the girl and the girl already knows you, it is not less difficult. Why? Because if you make a mistake, both of you will feel awkward when seeing each other at the office the next time. However, if you re not too hasty, your approach shouldn’t harm your relationship. So it’s worth a try. To let her know that she is special to you, you may try the followings:
Pai gin khao gan mai: This question means “Shall we have something to eat?”. It doesn’t matter what you eat is pasta or noodle. When it comes to eating, the Thais will say “Gin khao” which can be literally translated to let’s eat rice. Most of the time, it is not clear if the speaker talks about lunch or dinner but you will always know. If it’s spoken around noon, it means lunch. If it’s spoken after that, it means dinner.
Pai song mai krub: Showing generosity without showing off is a good qualification for being a good boyfriend and will definitely impress your dream girl. After the hard working day, try offering her a ride by saying “ Pai song mai krub” which means “Would you like a ride?”. Not only it will score your some points, you will also have a chance to get closer to the girl. Perfecto!
Glub ban dauy gan mai: If you don’t have a car of your own, you can try asking her to go home together saying “Glub ban dauy gan mai” which means “Shall we go home?” or “Let’s go home together”. However, if you use this way to approach the girl, you have to study the route carefully. Otherwise, you will end up arriving home wearily in the late at night owing to the bad traffic.
Hai chuay mai: Being collogues or working in the same office might be difficult at some point but also has the benefit its own — that is, you have more chance to get closer to her. And no excuses is better than work. Plus, who will not appreciate getting help when they need a hand. This sentence means “Can I help you?” or “Do you need a hand?”.
Wan-yud tam a-rai: Meaning “What is your plan for holiday?”, this open-ended question allows the answerer to talk about their plan or something they’re fascinated with. This is a good conversation starter because you can find out about her interests and favorite activities. You can also ask “Wan-yud pai nai?” or “Where will you go on holiday?”, it is supposed to give the same results.
These are examples of conversation starter you can use for different contexts and situations. Now, let’s get back to the pub scene in the beginning of the chapter. What the conversation would be only if you can speak Thai.
You: “Khor-thod krub. I looked at you for a while. Can I buy you a drink?”
The girl: “Yin dee ka. Khob-khun na ka.” This means you’re welcome. Thank you.
Now you know that you just got a green light. You might ask further what kind of drink she would like to have.
You: “Duem a-rai dee krub?”
The girl: “Khor mai-thai gaeo nueng ka.”
If you remember, we just learned about making a request in the previous chapter. Now she is ordering her drink using the word “ Khor” which means may I have something or can I have something. In this case, something is “Mai-Thai”.
You: “That’s a good choice. Khun ma tee-nee boi mai krub?”
“Boi mai” is used for asking about frequency. This sentence mean how often do you come here.
The girl: “Phoeng ma khrang raek ka. Khun la ka?”
She said that this is her first time and would like to know about you. “Khun la ka?” can be simply translated to “And you?” or “How about you?” If she says something like this, you’ d better keep the conversation going on and on and on…
Congratulations! If you can persuade her to talk to you more than 10 minutes. Chances are that you will get her number tonight. However, in real life you may come across your dream girl in other places which is not a pub but a theatre, a park, a school, a sports club, etc. And w hen the time comes, you may need more than language knowledge to win her heart. If you ask me, nothing is better than some wit, creativity, and confidence.
Besides all those, there’s another thing you can do. We girls are strategic planners. If we like someone, we will do research. We will collect every information about him – his birthday, his favorite food, his favorite bands, his favorite TV shows, his favorite football team, his GPAs at the elementary school, high school, university and so on With this, we can design the right strategy to approach a guy. I recommend you to do the same.
Now good luck. Keep practicing, keep cool and go get the girl!