When and How to Ask Someone Out

Tamsen Butler
Man asking her out

Asking someone out can be exciting, but it can also be a little nerve-wracking. Preparing beforehand and setting yourself up for success can make the process less stressful.

Sensing Attraction

Asking someone out is easier when you are fairly certain they're attracted to you too. While this doesn't guarantee that they will say yes to you (after all, they may not want to date anyone right now or may have a partner you don't yet know about), it certainly increases the odds.

How Long to Wait

It's not unheard of to know right away that you want to ask someone out, but it's best to at least wait until you've had an actual conversation together. Otherwise, the other person might wonder if the only reason you're asking is physical attraction and may be less inclined to say yes.

Waiting Too Long

Can you wait too long to ask someone out? No - but if you wait year after year but then suddenly ask a friend or acquaintance out it may seem abrupt or out of the blue. This doesn't mean that the other person will automatically decline, but if you've been in each other's lives for some time it's a good idea to ease into it, especially if the other person has only ever regarded you as a friend.

Getting Ready

Before you ask a person out, put some thoughts into how and when you will ask. While you don't have to rehearse beforehand (you don't want to sound scripted!), you should think about how you intend to ask the person out.

How to Ask

You'll want a moment where the two of you are alone and you can hear each other well. You don't have to set up the moment with a melodramatic, "I must speak to you." Instead, just take advantage of an opportunity that arises allowing you to speak with each other.

In Person

Look the other person in the eye and ask for a date in a way that makes your intentions clear; if you're vague, it may turn into a big misunderstanding where you think the other person agreed to go on a date while they thought they agreed to hang out platonically. Here are some examples of good, clear ways to ask someone out:

  • "Would you like to go out on a date with me on Thursday night? I can pick you up at 8:00."
  • "I'd love to meet up with you for dinner next Saturday, just you and me. How would you feel about a dinner date with me?"
  • "Aren't you curious about how a date between us would go? Why don't we go ahead and give a date between us a try?"
  • "I really enjoy spending time with you; would you like to go on a date with me?"
  • "I want to take you on a date. What do you think?"

It helps to confirm plans after the agreement. Try something along the lines of, "I'm so excited for this Saturday! I'll see you at the restaurant for our date."

Asking Remotely

It's not always feasible to ask a person out face-to-face, whether because of physical distance or conflicting schedules. In this instance, as long as texting or messaging is your primary means of communication with the person, it's fine to ask them out using these methods. On the other hand, if you have ample opportunities to speak with the person face-to-face, asking for a first date via text or messenger may seem cowardly.

The Response

As mentioned above, it's important to confirm details if the other person says yes - this ensures you both understand that it's a date and not just a hang-out. It's important to not go overboard and decide that this first date will inevitably lead to a relationship and, of course, a happily ever after. Allow the relationship to evolve naturally and don't put to much pressure on yourself and the other person.

When the Answer Is No

People have the right to decline a date with anyone - friend, acquaintance, or stranger. Accept a no and feel free to say that you're open to a date in the future when the timing is better (or if they change their mind), but don't push it or try to make the person feel guilty or sorry for declining your offer. Do you really want someone to go out with you because you guilted them into it?

A Simple Question

Asking someone out on a date can feel like a big important moment, so many people tend to put far too much stock into the moment and get quite nervous. Try to remain calm to keep you and the other person at ease. Keep it all in perspective; you're simply asking a question.

When and How to Ask Someone Out