Asking a Potential Date for a Number

Perhaps some friends introduced you. Maybe you ran into one another on the street or at a party. Whatever the circumstances, you've met someone and you want to get a number: a phone number, a street address, an e-mail address, a business card, or something. You'll need that information if you want to get in touch if plans should change. (Yes, there's always the mutual friend route, but you're not in seventh grade any more — or are you? Plus, if you contact the other person directly, you get a lot more — and more reliable — information.) There are only a limited number of reasons why you might ask a person for a phone number:

  • You want to call the person.
  • You're not sure if you want to call the person but want the number just in case.
  • You know you don't want to call, but you don't want to appear rude.

The following sections give you tips for handling each of these scenarios.

You want to get in touch with the person

When you know you want to call, it's a great idea to ask for the phone number. One of the best ways to approach getting someone else's number is to demonstrate your good faith and to show that you're not Jack or Jacqueline the Ripper:

  • Smile, talk softly, and make eye contact.
  • Ask for the number in a friendly, non-threatening way. For example, instead of saying, "So, can I have your number?" try something like, "I'd really like to stay in touch. Is there a number where I can reach you?"

Giving out your phone number if you want to is certainly okay, but doing so puts you in the position of waiting for his call. (All this works in reverse for men, too, if it's the woman who asks for the number.) The best way to offset this position of passivity is to ask for his number as well. On the other hand, you can take his and not give yours. Of course, if you have no intention of calling him, don't ask for the number. It's just as nasty for you to ask for his number and not call as it is for him to ask for your number and then not call you.

  • Offer your own number. Offering your number is a great way to deflect suspicion by putting the proverbial ball in the other person's court. Offering rather than asking also allows you to be vulnerable first. You can win sensitivity points by saying, "Look, I know these days, a gorgeous woman like you has to be careful, so if you would prefer, I can give you a way to get in touch with me. I'd love to court you the old-fashioned way and call you, but I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable by asking you to give me your number if you're not ready."

Asking a Potential Date for a Number (<i>cont'd</i>)

You're not sure if you want to get in touch, but you want to keep your options open

Hmm. There's no spark, but you don't want to limit your dating options. In a perfect world, you could actually say, "I'm not sure I want to call you, but, what the heck, give me your number just in case." Of course, a line like that isn't exactly flattering. You're probably better served by expressing an interest but giving yourself an out by saying something like this:

"Look, I'd really love to call you, but I'm ... (pick one)

  • really busy at work
  • traveling a lot
  • getting out of a relationship
  • covered with herpes
  • feeling poorly (not poor, which means you're in the midst of pecuniary strangulation)
  • scheduled for surgery
  • about to be drafted

... so if it's okay, I'd like to take your number and call you in a month or so." (Of course, if you use the herpes line, don't expect them to be too enthusiastic.)

When you do this, you're not misleading anyone or setting them up to hang by the phone waiting for you to call. You're simply keeping your options open without doing so at someone else's expense.

If you're feeling really ambivalent about asking for a phone number, you can always offer yours, saying, "Why not take my number?" Then if the other person calls, you can go out on his or her nickel and enthusiasm. After all, all of us like to be courted.

You have no interest in the other person, but you feel it's expected of you to ask for a number

Thinking of asking for contact info just to be polite? Don't do it. If you're not interested, don't ask for the number. If you ask for a number, the assumption is that you intend to use it. Don't spread misery like peanut butter. If you have no intention of calling, just don't ask.

Men especially feel that not asking for a phone number is really rude, but not calling is even worse. If you can just confine yourself to "See you around" or "Nice seeing you again," you'll spare yourself and the other person some wear and tear.

Excerpted from Dating For Dummies™, published by Wiley Publishing Inc.

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