This can be a very awkward stage. If you are attracted to someone, and think you would like to go out with them, how do you know whether they are attracted to you? Can you cope with the rejection if you ask them out and they say no? Will it spoil your friendship? Will they laugh at you behind your back?
The key thing is to be sensitive to the feelings of the other person involved, whether you are asking someone out or being asked out.
If you want to ask someone out:
- Think carefully about whether you want to go out at all – don’t start something if you are not prepared to make a commitment to it.
- Spend some time looking at how that person behaves with other people; do they seem kind and reliable? Can you genuinely imagine being able to be close to them for long periods of time?
- If so, look for real signs that they might like you too. Do they like hanging round you? Do you regularly catch them looking in your direction? Have your friends or their friends said anything?
- Think about how you might feel if they tell you they don’t want to go out with you, and have a plan (see below).
- Think about something that you both might enjoy – a new film, going to a party, a particular event near you. Find a time when nobody else is near, if you can, and ask them clearly but politely whether they would like to go with you.
If they say no:
- Accept it. Don’t push it, don’t ask them why, don’t make them feel guilty or embarrassed. If you feel like crying, try to go somewhere else first. You can’t force attraction (and there may be other reasons why they don’t want to go out with you).
- If they do give a reason, listen. But don’t try to persuade them that they’re wrong. They might be trying to let you down lightly. Respect their decision.
- Try not to feel like a failure or a reject. You may have misread the signs, you may have wanted to believe something was true when it was not, but you won’t be the first person to do this and you won’t be the last.
- Talk to your family or friends you can trust, throw yourself into the other parts of your life, and in time you will be ready to try again.
- Don’t immediately look for someone else to ask out. Going out is not the only thing that matters. Make the most of everything else in your life.
If someone asks you out:
- Say yes if you want to go out with them and want to have a relationship. Have a happy relationship!
- Don’t say yes because you feel you should or because you’re worrying about hurting their feelings.
- If you don’t want to go out with them, say no. Be polite but don’t think you have to justify your decision with a long explanation.
- If they keep asking for a reason, just say “I’m sorry, I just don’t want to”, and move away somewhere else quickly.
- Respect their feelings. It takes courage to ask someone out. They may have been thinking about it for months, trying to pluck up courage, and have really hoped that something special would happen. This does not mean you should go out with them out of pity, but do not:
- say something mean
- laugh at them
- tell everyone you know what happened – in person or online.
- If possible, try to give each other some space afterwards.
If you do go out with someone, you might be interested in our pages on: