How many times have you met or even just passed by an attractive stranger who you have really wanted to ask out, but have been unsure of how to approach them? Many of us fear that we will be embarrassed or feel rejected if the person turns us down. However, if you cultivate a little bit of self-confidence, you may find that it’s not as difficult as you think to ask someone out. And even though you may be turned down, remember that you definitely lose 100% of the chances you don’t take.
Part One of Three:
Approaching a StrangerEdit
1Smile. Smiling at a person shows that you are friendly, non-threatening, and interested in them. If the person smiles back at you, it is a good indication that they are thinking positively of you.
- Notice the difference between a “real” and a “fake” smile by noticing if the skin at the outer corners of their eyes creases when they smile. These creases indicate that the person is genuinely happy. If you do not see these creases, they may just be smiling to be polite. Their smile may also lack eye creases if they have suffered nerve damage or have had Botox treatments.
2Use a three-part approach to opening a conversation. Start by making an observation about something you both have in common or something you are both seeing or experiencing at that moment. Then reveal something about yourself related to that, and follow up immediately with a question about them. 
- If you are at a music concert, you could make an observation about the band, like, “The guitarist played a great solo during that last song. This is my first time seeing this band. Have you seen them perform before?”
- You could make a comment about the weather by saying, “The weather this afternoon is perfect. I’ve been waiting for it to warm up enough to go kayaking down the river. Have you ever kayaked the river?”
- If the person you’re trying to talk to is wearing an interesting accessory or piece of clothing, you could begin with an observation about it, such as, “That’s a very interesting necklace you have on. It reminds me of a hand-carved figurine I saw at a market in Marrakesh. Did you make it yourself?”
3Avoid clichéd pickup lines. Pickup lines may be funny to joke about with friends, but using them in earnest while trying to ask out a stranger can make you seem like you’re not smart or charming enough to think up something original on your own. Additionally, many pickup lines are insulting and belittling, and could make the person you approach feel objectified or just turn them off of you completely.
4Introduce yourself. Once you’ve begun a conversation and you’ve determined that this is a person you’d like to spend more time with, take a moment to introduce yourself and ask them to introduce themselves in return.
- You might say, “My name is Casey, by the way. What’s yours?”
5Offer your hand for a handshake as you introduce yourself. This is a great time to initiate physical contact. If the person’s body language is showing you that they are interested in and attracted to you, you may want to hold their hand longer than a typical handshake. Consider placing your other hand on top of theirs, so you are holding their hand in both of yours. Another very flirtatious option is to bring their hand to your lips and kiss it just above or below the knuckles.
- If the person is reluctant to give you their name or pulls their hand away quickly after a handshake, then the person may not be attracted to you and is just talking to you to be polite.
6Determine whether or not the person is available and open to dating. Asking if the person is in a relationship will signal that you are romantically interested in them. If the person is already in a committed relationship, they will probably not be interested in going on a date with you. If they are not in a relationship but not interested in you, asking them about a significant other gives them the opportunity to say they are not interested in dating at this time.
- You can ask directly if they have a significant other by saying, “So do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “Are you seeing anyone right now?”
- You may also ask in a more passive way by saying, “Where is your boyfriend tonight?” or “That’s a nice watch. Did your girlfriend buy it for you?”
7Ask if they have any plans for that weekend. This approach paves the way for you to ask them on a date. For example, if they are planning to go to a concert with friends on Friday night, you can ask them to go out with you on Saturday.
- You may use this approach instead of asking about a significant other directly. Asking them what they're doing over the weekend gives them the opportunity to mention a significant other if they have one by saying, “My girlfriend and I are going bowling on Saturday.”
Part Two of Three:
Asking Someone on a DateEdit
1Ask the person on a date. Tell the person why you find them attractive and that you would like to get to know them better. Ask if they would be interested in spending more time with you on a date.
- For example, you could say, “I’m really enjoying this conversation with you. You know so much about kayaking, and you are very beautiful, too. I would love to see you again and get to know you better. Would you like to go out on a date with me?”
2Be specific with an idea for a date, if possible.  If you can’t think of a date idea on the spot, tell them that you will call them to set up the specifics for your date. If you’ve gotten to know the person through conversation, you might have an idea already of what would make a good date.
- For example, if you think they’ll like a particular band that is playing on Friday night, ask if they’d like to go to the concert with you by saying, “Have you seen the Essentials play yet? They’re doing a show Friday night at Joy Theater. Would you like to go with me?”
3Exchange contact information. If the person agrees to go out on a date with you, make sure you get their contact information. Ask for their phone number so you can contact them. Be direct by simply asking, “Can I get your phone number?”
- If you sense that they would prefer to be in control on contacting you, offer to give them your number by saying, “Here’s my phone number. Call me this week so we can set something up for the weekend.”
4Call the person within a day or two of getting their number. Calling them promptly shows that you are interested in them and that you take them seriously.
- If you haven’t already set a specific time and place for your date, have a specific idea in mind to invite them to when you call. Being indecisive can be a turn-off for some people and if you call without a specific idea in mind, it may seem like you don’t respect them enough to plan ahead.
5Accept rejection kindly. Even if all their body language indicates they are attracted to you, there is still a possibility the person could turn you down for a date. Tell them that you really enjoyed talking to them and that you wish them the best before parting ways with them.
- There are many different reasons that a person might turn you down for a date. They may be attracted to you, but have something going on in their life that makes it difficult for them to date, such as if they have a demanding job or have to travel a lot. They may also have just gotten out of a serious relationship and may not be ready to date again. Or maybe they just don’t find you as attractive as you thought they did. Rejection does not mean that you did anything wrong; it’s just not the right fit with this person at this moment in time.
- Appreciate that it can be difficult to be honest with someone when they are asking you out on a date. If this person tells you upfront that they do not want to date you, they are being more courageous than giving you their phone number and then never answering your calls.
Part Three of Three:
Reading Body LanguageEdit
1Make eye contact. Sustained eye contact for 2-3 seconds is a sign that a person is attracted to you. A person who is being shy or flirtatious may look at your, look away and then look back several times. On the other hand, if the person looks away and does not look back or turns their head or body away from you, this is a sign they are not interested in you.
2Look for availability in their body language. Signs of availability include smiling, uncrossed arms and legs, and looking up or straight ahead. Unavailable or defensive postures include folding their arms across their chests, crossing their legs tightly, and looking down at their feet or even a cell phone.
- How a woman holds her purse is a great indication of availability. If she is holding her purse in front of her body or clutching it tightly against her side, she may subconsciously be trying to “hide” from you or place an obstacle between you and her. Holding her purse at her side or pushed towards her back are good signs that she’s open to you. If you are in a busy, crowded area, she may just be clutching her purse because she is afraid of getting it stolen or being pickpocketed, so pay attention to other signs of attraction as well.
- A woman who is wearing a skirt may keep her legs crossed out of propriety while she is sitting and still be open to you. Turning her torso towards you is a good indication that she is open to being approached. She may also change her position from crossing her legs at the knees to crossing them at the ankles, which is another indication she may be attracted to you.
- A man may stand with his hands on his hips or, if sitting, spread his legs further apart to widen his stance. Both of these gestures are indications he is attracted to you.
3Notice if they are playing with their hair. A person who is attracted to you may start running their fingers through their hair. A woman with longer hair may flip her hair off her shoulder to expose her neck.  A man may either smooth out or mess up his hair to make his hairstyle more flattering and attractive.
4Pay attention to their feet. People instinctually point their feet towards someone they are attracted to. If the person has turned their feet to point at you, it’s a good indication that they are attracted to you, or at least very interested in you.
5Notice if they are wearing a wedding band. It is possible that a married person may be attracted to you and show signs of being interested in meeting you. However, if they are legally attached to someone else, they may not be interested in dating you or may be looking for someone to cheat on their spouse with. Only proceed in asking this person out if you are comfortable with this potential complication or are prepared for being turned down.Advertisement
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- Be confident. Many people find confidence attractive, because it shows that you are secure in your own identity.
- Smile when approaching and talking to anyone you’re attracted to.
- Don’t ignore someone’s phone calls. If you change your mind about wanting to date this person, answer the phone and tell them that you are no longer interested.
- Don’t ask someone on a date if it is obvious they are with a significant other. Asking someone out in front of that person’s boyfriend or girlfriend is aggressive and threatening, and it may lead to a physical fight.
- No one is obligated to go out on a date with you, even if you were being nice and even if you bought the person a drink or some food. Feeling that someone must say yes just because you did everything “right” means that you feel entitled and maybe see that rejection of a date as a rejection of your own self-worth. Remember, that person’s turning you down may have nothing to do with you and everything to do with other things going on in that person’s life.
- If the person you are attracted to is having an intense conversation with a friend or if they are with their parents or other family members, you may consider that this might not be the best time to ask them out on a date.
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Reader Success Stories
LG"This helped me to take a chance and ask out my crush, be myself, have confidence, have fun, and accept rejection or accept a planned date with my crush. I have nothing to lose but an awesome potential boyfriend if I don't step out and put myself out there."..." more
WM"A lot of the tips given here are things that I was familiar with. However, seeing them listed with a few good examples has helped me to gather a better understanding of them. There are also a few things I didn't know, which I am glad to have learned."..." more
ZR"Thanks a lot for the page. I have a somewhat low self-esteem, and this has helped me quite a bit."