He Says/She Says: How to Ask Somebody on a Date (and How to Respond)

Ok — so now you know how to get your flirt on (if you don’t know what we’re talking about, go back to review). Now it’s time to turn our attention toward what could quite possibly be one of the most nerve-wracking, heart-pumping, palm-sweating moments of single life:

Getting the date.

Whether you’re the one asking or the one responding, “the ask” can be a gut-wrenching way to spend ten seconds of your life. It is a magical moment often filled with equal parts wonder, surprise and…did I mention sweat?

In any event, making — and responding to — “the ask” is perhaps one of the most important relational moments you’ll have in your life, so it’s worth putting a little thought into it ahead of time!

Before we launch into the practicals, gents in particular should check out this phenomenal video from the folks over at the Art of Manliness. It’s a must-watch for any guy who wants to make the ask like a man.

It’s also worth noting that, while we poked fun at Tinder in our last post, we the authors do not have any strong aversion to online dating as such. There are good and bad ways to do it. We think Tinder is a bad way, but there are some decent online dating sites out there. So if that’s your thing, more power to you. In this post, though, we’ll be addressing the real-life, in-person, in-your-face face-to-face ask.

Now, without further ado…

How should a man ask a woman out?

He says…

Be respectful. No texts. No Tweets. No Facebook messages. You might feel less nervous asking from behind a screen, but trust me, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if you do. Women have a sixth sense for cowardice. Ask in person, or at the very least ask over the phone.

Asking in person honors her, and it gives her a chance to see how courageous you are. Plus, gals dig it when they can tell you’re a little bit nervous; they find it endearing (or something).

When you make your move, choose your words wisely. Let’s be real, gents: “Hey girl” only works if you’re Ryan Gosling. (And if you’re reading this blog post, there’s about a 0.0000002 percent chance you’re Ryan Gosling.)

Nope. This will not work for you.

You don’t have to use an extravagant vocabulary to be respectful. “Would you like to have dinner with me?” will do just fine.

Be direct. Don’t end up in the embarrassing situation where one party thinks it’s a date and the other thinks it’s just two friends “hanging out” (read: never use this phrase when making the ask). Again: ladies love it when you’re bold and courageous.

Be specific. When you ask, come prepared with a plan. When do you want to get together? What will you do? You don’t have to have every detail figured out, but give her something concrete to say yes to.

Pro Tip: Do some recon. Interested in a girl you recently met, but not sure if she’s available? Some reconnaissance may be in order before you make the ask. Try asking one of her lady friends if she’s free to date. If she’s taken, no harm done. If not, bombs away!

How should she respond?

She says…

Ask for clarification if necessary. Ah, ambiguity. My personal favorite. Sometimes guys say something like, “You wanna hang out…sometime?” You have the full right to ask, “Is this a date?” to get some clarity. The man should be clear about his intentions.

In general, the woman should say yes. (For the BUT, see below.) Relax — it’s just a date. It’s just getting to know him. You don’t have to have anything figured out in order to go.

If you’re turning him down, be clear and gracious. Thank him and say that you’re honored he asked you, but that you’re not interested.

If you’re saying yes, express some excitement and interest. But don’t freak out. Definitely don’t freak out. Be cool. BE. COOL.

When should a woman say no to a date?

He says…

A gal should say yes to a first date as long as it’s out of a genuine desire to get to know the guy.

If she’s saying yes purely A) out of pity, B) out of guilt, or C) because “she is supposed to,” then honestly, I’d rather for her to say no.

Ladies, if there’s any chance he may win you over, then give him a chance. But remember: In addition to spending time and money on you, he’s also getting his hopes up. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re not interested in the poor fellow, save his heart the trouble and respectfully decline.

She says…

While a woman should generally say yes to give the guy a chance, there are some caveats. Obviously we are not talking about saying yes to creepy stalker guys. If one of them asks you out, RUN. RUN FAR AWAY.

  • If your gut response to seeing him in that way is “NO WAY,” then say no. (If you’re not immediately attracted to a guy, just know this: Attraction can grow. So give that a chance. But if you think to yourself, That could never happen, just say no.)
  • If you already know going into it that you’re only gonna go on one date and one date only, that’s not helping anybody.
  • If you feel neutral about him or you’re not sure, say yes. Give yourself the chance to get to know him before you decide whether you’re interested or not.

So there you have it: our (fallible) guide to the longest ten seconds of your life.

Next week, we’ll talk about the first date.

Have fun!

Check out the rest of our dating series!

  1. He Says/She Says: Your Utility Belt for Surviving the “Dating Apocalypse”
  2. He Says/She Says: The Unspeakable “F Word” of Dating
  3. He Says/She Says: How to Ask Somebody on a Date (and How to Respond)
  4. He Says/She Says: How to Have a First Date that Rocks (and Isn’t Awkward)
  5. He Says/She Says: So You’ve Been on a Couple Dates…Now What?
  6. He Says/She Says: The Virtuous Relationship
  7. He Says/She Says: How to Break Up (and Keep Some Semblance of Dignity)
Therese Bussen and Daniel Paris
Therese Bussen and Daniel Paris
Therese lives in glorious Denver, Colorado and grew up in the high desert area of Southern California (and knows what the Israelites felt like waiting in the desert to get to the Promised Land). She graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Art. When she's not hanging out with friends, Therese enjoys reading, writing, painting, drawing, designing (basically any kind of art), and dancing awkwardly on purpose. She also loves surprising people with her love of shotgun shooting and cigars. Also, a glass of wine is her favorite thing. Daniel is a ninth-year missionary with FOCUS, having served two years on campuses on the east coast and seven years in the national Formation department. Daniel and his wife Allison have been incredibly blessed and are thrilled to be newly married and on mission together.

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