How do I ask a guy out?

Anonymous
asks:
There’s a guy that I like and I know he likes me back I’m just not sure how to tell him that I like him. I’ve never been asked or asked someone out before so I’m not even sure what to do. Nothing is ever as simple as TV makes it seem.
Mo Ranyart replies:

I love this question, because it's something I think doesn't get discussed enough, and while I think the answer is fairly simple, that doesn't mean it's easy. I know the thought of asking someone out can be intimidating even to people who've done it before, so when you haven't had any experience with it at all, it can be especially daunting.

My best advice for asking someone out on a date is to keep things as clear and direct as possible. When emotions are running high, it can be easy to get tripped up in your own words, so come up with a plan for what you want to say and stick to it when the time comes.

Some people deal with nervousness around asking someone out by using vague or ambiguous language, and I understand the impulse to do that; if it isn't clear whether you're asking someone to hang out as friends or as a date, then you might be able to backtrack and save face if the other person isn't interested in dating. It might feel safer to ask someone out if you can pretend you meant it as a platonic question all along if they don't want to explore anything romantic with you.

However, an ambiguous question leaves room for ambiguous answers; if the other person says yes, you won't know if they have agreed to an actual date or not! They might even be unsure how to answer the question if they aren't sure exactly what you're asking. Being clear means you're putting yourself out there more than you would be if you kept things vaguer, but it also means you're more likely to receive a clear answer in return.

This may seem obvious, but a key component of asking someone out is being clear about what you're asking. When you think about spending more time with this guy you like, is there something specific you have in mind? Do you want to go with him to a dance? See a movie together? Plan on hanging out together at a party or other group event? Spend time one-on-one when you've only talked in larger groups before? It isn't absolutely necessary to have a specific date or activity in mind yet, but having something to suggest can make asking someone out go a bit easier.

Think about the difference between "Do you want to go out with me?" and "Do you want to be my date to a friend's party this weekend?" One question is so open-ended that the other person might not know exactly what you're asking them, but the other conveys your interest and provides a specific question they can answer.

If possible, have this conversation when you're alone, or at least have some amount of privacy; neither of you will be at your best if you feel like you have a bunch of friends breathing down your necks during this conversation! I am a fan of having this kind of talk in person, but if it's hard to get time alone face to face you could ask over the phone or however you communicate most often.

It sounds like you're pretty sure this guy you're interested in also has feelings for you, so hopefully you'll get a positive response when you ask him out. If so, that's great! I hope you have a wonderful time getting together in whatever way sounds good to you both. If it turns out that he isn't interested, or if he says no for some other reason, do try to remember that while a no in this situation can hurt or be a disappointment, it isn't a reflection of your inherent awesomeness or your worth as a romantic partner. The upside, in either case, is that the more often you make yourself vulnerable by asking someone out, the easier it'll get!

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