Asking someone who you don’t know out on date can be terrifying. Asking a friend out on a date can be just as nerve wracking – if not more nerve wracking!
Perhaps a romantic spark developed between you and someone you are acquainted with. Maybe you see them occasionally after Sunday Mass, or perhaps you have sporadic interactions with them at work. You may even meet someone through online dating that starts out as just a friendship (it turns out a lot of people find friendship in addition to love with online dating), but eventually leads to something more.
No matter the circumstances, it can feel a little tricky and awkward when you’re trying to decide if you should ask out that friendly acquaintance.
Read more: How to Find Catholic Friends
How to Ask a Friend Out
Questions may fly through your head as you try to decide whether to ask someone out. Are the two of you acquainted enough? Or, do you know each other too well? Are you a good friend? Or are you just an an acquaintance?
Will they think you’re rushing things? What if you’re misreading them, and they want to be your friend (hello friend zone), not your date?
What happens if you get rejected?
Take a deep breath and relax. Asking someone out that you consider to be a friend doesn’t have to result in the end of your friendship. It is possible to ask someone out without making it a big deal or leaving him or her in a place where they no feel awkwardness every time you enter the room.
Here are three considerations to help you feel overcome the pre-ask jitters:
1. Take a look at the cold, hard facts
The idea of asking a friendly acquaintance out might leave you uncertain and nervous. Before asking them on a date, it helps to try and look at the situation objectively.
If there is at least a little bit of chemistry on a friendship level between the two of you, that’s a good start. Ask yourself how long the two of you have been acquainted. Have you only known each other for a few days? In some ways, it might be easier to ask a new friend out on a date rather than asking someone you consider to be your best friend.
When our attraction to someone is strong, we’re eager to jump in and get things started. While this feeling is natural, patience is important. Even if you feel like you’d rather get to know this acquaintance better in a dating setting, it is a good idea to allow time for a few more friendly interactions first. This will help both of you to feel more comfortable in the long run.
If you’ve known each other for a couple weeks (or even months!), you’re probably safe to assume that the timing is right. Your conversations should be beyond the small talk level and more at the “this is really interesting conversation” level.
Don’t wait around forever, though, or they might start to think you’re not interested.
Ultimately, there is no foolproof answer to the question of how long you should know someone before asking them out. Every couple is different. But if you’ve known each other for more than a few days and there’s a chemistry between the two of you, this may be the time to ask them out on a date to continue to get to know them better.
2. Put a game plan in place
While the concept of just winging it or acting in the spur of the moment does work for some people, a lot of us benefit from a little pre-planning. If you’re not one of those who can wing it, chances are that the source of the nervousness or hesitation you’re feeling could be from lack of a solid plan for how you’ll ask them out on date.
First consider the when and where of asking someone out. If you only see this person in one particular setting, your choices on this might be limited. But if you do have some variation in the settings of your interactions with them, try to choose a time when you’re both likely to be relaxed and unencumbered. For instance, the walk to your cars after Mass is a better choice than the few minutes before Mass begins when you happen to see them on the way to your pew.
Next, think about what you’ll say to your friend out on date. If there’s any kind of social activity that you both enjoy that’s coming up, an easy start might be to ask them to accompany you.
Don’t be afraid to call your time together a date. It’s better to be upfront and make sure you get across the fact that you have some romantic interest. No one really wants to be left wondering whether a social outing is an actual date or not.
Just because you are calling your time out together a date doesn’t mean you have to be in a serious romantic relationship. You can still test the waters
As for specific plans of what you’ll do on the date, you probably don’t need to concretely nail down the whole evening’s agenda beforehand. But it can’t hurt to have a few possible ideas in mind.
3. Ask yourself ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’
The answer to this question might scare you. If you’re really starting to think you have a strong interest in this person, the possibility of their saying no can be frightening.
But getting ‘no’ for an answer is actually not the worst that can happen.It’s much worse to never know. If you postpone and put off asking the person out for fear of being rejected, you will never know if the two of you could have had an amazing relationship.
If they say no, it will hurt. It will feel uncomfortable. It might cause the friendship to feel awkward for a while. But if you don’t even ask, or if you wait so long that the person moves on from any romantic interest they had toward you, you might miss out on something amazing.
So surrender your fears to God. Take the plunge. Because you’ll never know if you don’t ask.