Want To Ask Her Out? Follow These 12 Golden Rules
Asking a woman out can be a vexing and uncomfortable experiences for lots of guys, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing. You’re exposing yourself to rejection, revealing the limits of your conversational abilities and attempting to forge some sort of meaningful connection with a complete stranger in a short space of time. No wonder most of us would rather tuck up with Netflix for the night.
The truth is, though, that everybody finds dating a little bit difficult, even the most dazzlingly articulate and genetically blessed among us; but most of us want to be in some kind of close, romantic relationship eventually, and the only way to get there is through the awkward dating stage. The key to making the whole process as smooth as possible is to know what you’re doing, and this usually involves tweaking a few key variables that are within your control, and adjusting your attitude towards the stuff that you can’t change. If you feel like you need a little help in the dating department, these 12 golden rules for asking women out will have you confidently approaching women in no time:
1. Be Well Groomed
It always helps to start with the basics, and making sure that you look your best and smell great will give you a strong foundation of confidence for approaching women. Whether you’re a walking Ken doll or more humbly endowed in the looks department, you can always make the best of what you’ve got with a carefully chosen outfit, fresh haircut and well-groomed facial hair, if you have any.
What you wear when you approach women will depend somewhat on the setting you’re in and who you are as a person. If you’re not a three-piece suit type, don’t go to the nearest bar dressed like the Wolf of Wall Street in the hopes of picking up, because it will come across as forced and desperate. Instead, wear the nicest version of an outfit you could be seen in on a regular day, which may mean a shirt your female friends always compliment, designer jacket you splurged on years ago, or a crisp pair of sneakers. Take care of your hair so that it’s always looking presentable, and to top it all off, make sure that you smell good! This is an element of grooming that’s often forgotten about, but it’s one that can make all the difference, so go ahead and select a cologne that works for you.
2. Choose Your Setting Carefully
We’ve covered this before, but you shouldn’t be accosting women in any old place just to hit on them. Women are unlikely to want to be approached at the gym, on the subway, or while they’re on the job, for example: these are places where women go to get on with their ordinary lives, and being asked out in these environments can be perceived as annoying, awkward and potentially even threatening.
Instead, restrict your approaches to situations where women can reasonably expect some flirting and romantic contact. Bars are generally considered fair play in this regard, house parties are also fine, and obviously more explicitly dating-focused events like speed dating and singles night at clubs are A-okay. If you’re not sure about any particular environment, err on the side of caution, and if you absolutely must approach a woman in an unconventional setting like the grocery store, be exceptionally polite and relaxed in your approach — and think hard about what “must” means here; is her comfort really worth less than your desire to approach her?
3. Abide By Good Digital Etiquette
Up until this point we’ve assumed your approach will be in-person, but these days, fewer and fewer of us are meeting dates in bars or at house parties. Instead, we’re downloading Tinder and Bumble onto our phones and crafting profiles on OkCupid and Zoosk in the hopes of meeting the partner of our dreams, and so a slightly different set of rules will apply to online interactions.
Online dating is not an entirely different universe to IRL, and many of the same rules of in-person communication will still apply: being polite and up-front still goes a long way, for example, as does being a generous and interesting conversationalist. But online dating is different in that the social distance that occurs when you are mediated by a screen sometimes facilitates an easier crossing of boundaries. Men who are timid in person may send brash or lewd opening messages, say, or may even be tempted to send an unsolicited dick pic online but would never flash a woman in person. Dating apps like Tinder can sometimes be the wild west, and you need to make sure you’re landing dates rather than ending up on women’s block lists.
A fairly good rule of thumb, then, is to consider your proposed digital approach in an in-person context: would you ever approach a woman this way in a bar or club? If not, think twice about doing it online. Is it okay to ask a woman out by text? Again, think about the context: is this a woman you know from work who has given you her phone number to communicate about a project? Steer clear, because that’s unlikely to be appropriate. Is it a friend of a friend you met once at a party and got on well with? There’s no reason a friendly, well-crafted approach by text couldn’t work. In short, don’t say or do anything online that you couldn’t in good conscience do in real life.
4. Craft A Strong Opening Line
Whether you’re asking a woman out physically or through a screen, you’re going to need to consider the words that you’ll use when you first approach her. In person, it’s better to err on the side of a simple greeting rather than an elaborate pick-up line, and you won’t usually need to conjure up anything more complex than a simple “hi!” or respectful compliment. Online openers, however, require slightly more thought: on Tinder, for example, an unadorned “hi!” will annoy your recipient and blend into the 45 other near-identical messages in her inbox, so try working in a question about her bio or complimenting one of her featured photos instead.
Both on- and offline, there’s a sweet spot between an opening that is too blunt and thoughtless, and one that’s overwrought, corny or excessively long. Keep things punchy, friendly and polite and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
5. Cultivate A Healthy Approach To Rejection
Approaching women can be difficult because you’re opening yourself up to rejection, a painful feeling most of us try to avoid at all costs. But, while none of us are ever going to love the feeling of hearing “no thanks” or “sorry, I’m not interested”, having the ability to take rejection on the chin is a crucial attribute for anyone looking to date proactively and successfully.
Being cool about rejection not only makes a tense situation easier on everyone, it will also benefit you by improving your odds of successfully landing dates. How so? Well, the more graciously you’re able to handle rejection, the less of a personal toll it will take on you: you’ll be spending less time having a tantrum and licking your wounds after hearing a “no” and more time realizing that there are plenty of fish in the sea, not all of them are going to want to date you, and that says nothing about your overall desirability as a person. This realization will give you more confidence to approach a greater number of women, thereby increasing your odds of eventually hearing a “yes”.
6. Think About Body Language
This one’s a tip for the flesh-realm: Bear in mind how important your body language is when you’re approaching a woman in person. Nervously shuffling your feet or fidgeting with your hands may not be a deal breaker, but it’s certainly not going to endear you to the woman you’re approaching or make the interaction feel smooth and natural. It can help to be aware of the nervous tics you tend to display and the situations that bring them out so that you can consciously correct them in real time. As much as possible, you want to appear confident, so if need be, take a “fake it ‘til you make it” approach.
Consider the body language of the woman you’ve approached, too. If she’s being encouraging enough verbally but leaning away from you or crossing her arms defensively, it’s possible that she’s merely being polite, in which case you may want to cut your losses. Remember that our bodies tell stories about us, too, so consider what yours is saying about you and the messages you may be receiving from hers.
7. Keep The Conversation Balanced
You’re looking and smelling good, you’re in an appropriate setting, and you’ve approached a woman confidently with a simple and effective opening line. Good job so far! You’re aiming to turn the interaction into a date, though, so there’s still some work to be done yet, and at this point pretty much the deciding factor that will determine whether you’re landing a date or not is your conversation skills.
Because approaching a woman can sometimes feel like a sales pitch — you’re trying to convince her you’re worth seeing again, after all — some men veer on the side of dominating the conversation and making it too much about themselves. Obviously this isn’t a particularly attractive approach, so make sure that you are keeping the conversation multi-directional by inviting the woman you’ve approached to talk about herself, too. Ask questions about why she’s at the event where you’ve both found yourselves or the interests she’s outlined in her bio; provide space for her to lead the conversation for a while; and be conscious of keeping the speaking time balanced between you.
8. Be Clear About What You’re Looking For
By this point in the conversation you may be almost ready to put the idea of a date on the table. However, it’s important that you’re clear, in your own mind at least, about what you’re looking to get out it. Are you hoping for a casual hookup, and do you have no intentions of getting further involved beyond that point? Are you trying to meet the love of your life and settle down as soon as possible? People have a wide range of dating goals, some of which are incompatible: if you don’t believe in sex before marriage and she’s hoping to add yet another notch to her bedpost, or vice versa, you’re going to want to bring that reality to the surface as soon as possible.
Of course, at this stage you probably don’t know each other very well at all, and it’s far too early to put all your hopes and expectations for a relationship on the table — you haven’t even been on one date yet, after all! However, what you can do is pick up signals that the two of you are broadly on the same page, or red flags that indicate that you’re miles off, so bear this in mind when you’re having that initial conversation.
9. Make Sure You’re Actually Interested
Just as it’s ultimately important to make sure that the woman you’ve approached is looking for the same kind of relationship as you (casual, committed, monogamous, etc), it’s also important to confirm that you’re a good fit for each other more generally. Even if you’re both looking for the same type of relationship, you may not necessarily have compatible communication styles and personalities or the requisite chemistry to make the relationship operate as intended, so this is another thing you’re going to need to start gathering information about as early as possible.
Again, you’ve got a limited window of time and minimal information available to you at this stage, so you’ll necessarily be making a snap judgement. You can, however, start picking up clues, signals and red flags, bearing in mind that you’re not looking for 100% certainty that this woman shares your entire worldview (how boring), but instead filtering out anyone with whom you have a glaring incompatibility. Long story short, you have to actually like each other, so confirm as much as possible that she’s someone you want to spend more time with before you ask her out.
10. Know When To Back Out
Let’s say things aren’t going as well as you expected. Maybe she’s left a sour taste in your mouth by saying something casually bigoted or small-minded, or you’re getting the strong impression that she’s not really interested in you, or you’ve realized that you have wildly divergent relationship expectations. It might sound obvious, but the best course of action here is to abort the mission, rather than to press on and ask her out anyway.
It’s eminently possible to back out of asking a woman out tactfully and in a way that causes minimal embarrassment on both sides. Stick to a simple script like, “Hey, it’s been great talking to you. I hope you enjoy the rest of your [night/week/Tinder experience]” and make a cool and collected exit. Simple as that, no harm done.
11. Have A Date Idea In Mind
If you’ve cleared every hurdle so far and still think the object of your affection is someone you want to go on a date with, it’s time to do the actual asking out part, which means that you’ll need to have put some thought into what you’d like to do together. Are you imagining a coffee date or dinner? Movie or mini-golf? You don’t need to have planned out the whole outing or be on the bleeding edge of super original date ideas, but you should have some answer to the inevitable, “Sure! What shall we do?” question, assuming you do get a positive response.
Coming up with date ideas can be a headache, but there’s no need to stress about it too much: we’ve got you covered with these 10 great first date ideas.
12. Pick A Moment (And Be Smooth)
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for: you’re chatting amiably and you seem to be attracted to each other, so it’s time to finally propose a date. How and when you put the date idea on the table matters, so be mindful of your timing here. If you ask a woman out within the first 30 seconds of chatting or after only a few messages back and forth, it’s likely to come across as over-eager. On the flip side, though, if you drag the conversation out too long you may overcook it. It can be a tricky balance, but as long as you’ve been chatting long enough to establish some rapport, go with your gut feeling and strike when the moment feels right.
It’s over to you how you word the invitation, but try to bring up the idea of a date somewhat organically. Some variation of, “Hey it’s been really great chatting to you. Would you interested in doing it again over dinner?” should be all you need. And that’s really all there is to it! It may sound convoluted laid out in such detail, but asking a woman out is not actually the frightening or complicated task many men think it is. At the end of the day, you’re two human beings who want this social interaction to go as well as possible. Even if the exchange results in a declined date, there’s no reason it can’t still be cordial and affirming. Think of “no”s as practice and don’t let them beat down your confidence: If you keep these 12 golden rules in mind, your “yes” will be just around the corner.