Ask Annie: Taking Action To Get Some Action

Dear Annie,

How do I ask a guy out? We have class together, but I’ve never really talked to him outside of it. I know I like him, but there’s no real way I can ask him to hang out casually—any approach would seem romantic. Should I ask him on a date? Or is that too much?

-Crushing in Advanced Russian Literature


First things first, there’s no right or wrong way to ask someone out on a date. It’s not like we get a cheat sheet telling us what boxes to check off so we might magically score a date with the cute guy in class. I hear you, though – it’s hard taking that leap and asking someone out. You’re opening yourself up to a lot of heartbreak, or at least a mildly embarrassing social interaction. This is especially true on a college campus, where anything that isn’t ‘casual’ can sometimes be treated like a bizarre social experiment.

My advice on this one would be to keep it simple. Pay attention to how he responds to you in class. Body language, eye contact, and general interest in you can be good indicators that he might be paying attention to you. If you aren’t sure about going full steam ahead and asking him out, get to know him outside of class first. It’s very easy to impose your own romantic ideas onto a crush. Try and establish a connection with the person you’re interested in, no matter how slight. Ask him questions about his interests—try to get to know the person for who he is by asking a few casual questions if you have the chance. A good conversation starter might be sharing some opinions about the class material. Be open and don’t hatch an elaborate scheme or incessantly worry over it. If you like someone and you think you might click, there’s no reason to go the extra level of formulating some plan to get his number or anything like that. Odds are you'll just end up looking foolish. Trust your gut—most people appreciate a straightforward approach.

Be honest. Keep it simple. Let him know that you want to hang out sometime after class. It’s up to you how ‘romantic’ you want that to be. There are plenty of casual ways to ask someone to hang out with you. But if you like him romantically and there’s not a lot at stake, then there’s no harm in making your intentions clear. If anything, you’ll end up really flattering him and making his day. Also, asking someone out means different things to different people. For you, it could mean the traditional dinner and a movie, or just getting a coffee. There’s a variety of activities, just as there’s a variety of ‘romance’. You can make it as romantic as you want. But also, let’s be real: it can be really hard and scary to put yourself out there like that. Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, you’re the only person who knows if you want to handle asking him out.

I’d also like to stress that, no matter what, it isn’t actually all that weird to ask someone out on a date. People do it all the time, and as long as you keep it light, you shouldn’t feel weird about it at all. It isn’t a big deal to ask someone out, and I wouldn’t pin all your hopes and dreams on a yes or no. When it comes to dating, people can often get carried away in their daydreams. When it comes down to it, though, a date is just a date, and it’s an opportunity to get to know someone. Try not to get caught up in worrying whether or not he’s ‘The One’. There’s a great deal of pressure you can put on yourself; be aware of that and try to keep it as light as you can. Dating is supposed to be fun!

If you like this guy, then ask him out. Where’s the harm? Be considerate of his feelings and yours. Recognize that regardless of the answer, it has no actual bearing on your worth as a human being. You don’t know what the outcome is unless you go for it.

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