How to ask someone on a date

Confidence is key.

University of
Michigan School of Natural Resources &

Asking someone on a date is objectively less difficult than
starting a fire from twigs or sending a rocket ship to the

And yet, over the course of human history, we’ve managed to
figure out the latter two pretty well, while the first is still
somewhat of a problem area.

That’s probably because there’s no one, right way to say, “I’m
into you.” But there are ways to avoid making a fool of
yourself when you do it.

According to relationship expert Andrea Syrtash, author
of “It’s
Okay to Sleep With Him on the First Date
,” it’s all about
confidence. We consulted Syrtash on the best way to communicate
your romantic feelings un-sheepishly — whether the object of your
affection is a
stranger on the train
or one of your oldest friends.

Here’s what she told us.

If the person is someone you just met: 

Unless you want to end up in Craigslist’s “Missed
,” don’t let that person you met on the line at
the drugstore or at the bus stop get away.

The first step, Syrtash said, is looking for signs that the
person is unavailable, like a ring. But if you can’t see
anything, don’t ask, “Are you single?” They’ll let you know.

Then say: “I would love to get to know you. Would you be
open to going out for a drink with me?

Make sure to be confident and friendly; keep your body language
open; and maintain eye contact. In this situation, your
delivery is just as important as your language, Syrtash

Remember: Worst-case scenario, they’ll decline, and you’ll
probably never see them again.

If the person is a friend:

This scenario is a bit more high-stakes than asking out a total
stranger, because you don’t want to jeopardize your friendship.
That’s why Syrtash recommends trying to suss out whether your
friend might be interested in you, too.

For example, if they only invite you over to build furniture and
they’re always talking about their crushes, you might want to ask
yourself if it’s really a good idea to ask them out.

Another strategy is to start dropping hints before asking them
out and see how they respond. You might try flirting
or touching them gently, for example by putting your
hand on the small of their back. 

If it seems like they’re responding positively, you can take the
plunge by saying something like: “I need to tell you
something and I feel a bit vulnerable right now. I would love to
take you on a romantic date — not a friend date — and just see
what happens. Would you be up for that?”

Remember, Syrtash said, that it’s okay to be vulnerable. But it’s
still important to maintain confidence — if your feelings aren’t
reciprocated, that doesn’t make you a fool. It just makes you a
human being.

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