A guy can be successful, nice, even funny, and still manage to strike out with girls all the time. It's frustrating and demoralizing when you don't know what you're doing wrong. The rejection is so discouraging that some guys just stop asking girls out. Many figure they'll have to wait for a girl to initiate interest in them. Others opt to make friends with women at first and hope they'll find the spark and the courage later. This, however, can be a recipe for disaster.
Experts agree: A guy needs to take initiative. Even in this modern, enlightened society, which tells empowered women that they can turn the tables and ask men out, a guy shouldn't wait for this to happen.
We've surveyed the advice of several dating experts about how a guy can improve his chances and get over the paralyzing fear of rejection. The key is to change your approach and your attitude. If your batting average for asking girls out is very low, you can likely improve your technique. And if you don't even have enough at-bats to constitute an average, well, it's time to try. And it'll be easier to muster the courage with the expert advice we've gathered.
Changing your technique doesn't necessarily mean changing who you are. Shy guys don't have to transform into slick, deceptive womanizers in order to land dates. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to find a girl who likes you for who you are. But that will mean learning how to impress her by showing the best side of yourself.
You can also improve your odds by recognizing and focusing on the girls who would be open to you. It's a subtle but effective game of reading signals and body language.
We'll explain these and other tips later in the article. First, however, let's explore the importance of thinking outside the box and non-traditional methods of asking girls out.
Creative Ways to Ask a Girl Out
In the movie "Hitch," the date doctor played by Will Smith sends a messenger with two packages to a woman's office. The first package includes a walkie-talkie that he playfully talks to her through. He enigmatically asks to meet her early Sunday morning at the marina, and then the messenger presents the second package containing a wet suit in her size. When she arrives Sunday morning, he takes her Jet Skiing.
If you're the skeptical type, you may think it unrealistic that such a Hollywood-manufactured tactic would sweep a girl off her feet rather than simply annoy her. What if she hates Jet Skis? Though such unorthodox methods can be risky, it can pay off to get creative and stand out from the rest of the guys -- especially for women who are accustomed to a lot of attention.
To get creative, try to think of ways to pleasantly surprise her. It could be something as simple as leaving chocolates with a flirtatious note for her. Or it could be as convoluted as making a scavenger hunt game with clues and prizes. While you may not have the money to hire a plane to write a message for her in the sky or a mariachi band to play outside her window, the point is that you think outside the box.
One way to brainstorm is to think about things you know she likes -- and ideally things you have in common. Is she a sucker for country music? Get two tickets to a concert and send one to her, offering to pick her up. Is she an intellectual and lover of Shakespeare? Write a note in iambic pentameter asking to take her to a performance.
If the girl is at all open to you, she might be flattered with a creative and personalized surprise. It tells her that you pay attention and care about her interests.
However, be forewarned that you should read her personality beforehand to see if she's the kind of girl who would be impressed by such creativity. Take note that expert Patti Novak leans on the side of caution and says guys should generally shy away from creativity when first asking a girl out.
But if you've tried other methods and think this will be the only thing to get through to her, it might be worth a try. What have you got to lose?
How to Ask Out a Girl You Just Met
Being smitten with a girl at first sight can deprive you of your common sense. You're probably going to be so nervous or excited that you can't rely on your own judgment to tell if the girl is open to you. So, it'll help to keep in mind some general points on body language.
Experts emphasize the importance of eye contact. One method is to casually make eye contact with a girl across the room. If you catch her eye, offer a warm smile and hold for a second. If she looks back again within a minute (with a smile, preferably), she's likely interested, or at least open to you [source: Lowndes]. Try initiating a conversation.
Expert Patti Novak says to keep this conversation light and causal -- avoid intense subjects, like politics or religion. If you listen attentively, take heed of her interests, and use that to think of a good first-date idea. If she loves art, for instance, ask to take her to the latest exhibit at the museum.
Pick-up artist Neil Strauss also says to keep it casual. He's so adamant about it, in fact, that he doesn't think a guy needs to ask a girl out on a date at all -- at least in the traditional sense. It's too uncomfortable to sit across from a stranger for two hours over dinner as you evaluate each other, he maintains.
Instead, if you want to get to know a girl better, you should invite her to do a task with you that you need to do anyway. Strauss gives the example of shopping for shoes. "That way, the focus," he says, "isn't on you two -- it's on the task." You also could ask the girl to a dinner party or any group event with more than four people. Whatever it is, it should be quick and fun, according to Strauss.
How to Ask Out a Female Friend
She may have started out just like one of the boys. But one day, a switch flipped in you and you realized she'd make a great girlfriend. Maybe you've let it grow without saying anything, and now you've built her up in your mind as the only girl for you. Those who have been through it know that crushing on a friend is emotionally excruciating.
No doubt, being turned down by a friend is more painful than being turned down by a girl you've just met at a bar. To make matters worse, you risk jeopardizing the friendship that might mean a great deal to you. Despite the added pressure, experts say you need to man up and say something.
However, be prepared for disappointment. Strauss says that when you like a female friend, chances are she's not only figured it out, but ruled you out. His advice to maximize your chances is to disappear for awhile and don't contact her often. After some time has passed, come back with a new style and confident attitude. "Look great, feel great," he says. This helps her see you and think about you in a new context.
But, unlike the average pick-up artist, expert David Wygant eschews anything that smells of "technique" and advises taking a simple, honest approach. Call her and ask to have coffee with you. Tell her "we've been friends for a long time now, but I'm interested in you." He says you just need to "be a man" and tell her, and that "other advice is all manipulation."
Although they have different approaches, one thing Strauss and Wygant agree on is the need to do something about the crush. And the sooner, the better, says Wygant: The longer you wait, the more time you're wasting by dwelling on her while being blind to other girls who might be interested in you. Strauss agrees, saying you shouldn't "pretend to have a friendship" when you are interested in something more. "It's not fair to her or yourself," he says.
Tips for Asking a Girl Out
We asked Patti Novak about the most common mistakes guys make when talking to girls. She replied that men "talk about their careers and toys too much." Nowadays, women make their own money, she says, and are turned off when men brag about what they've accomplished and what they have.
And though eye contact can help you, wandering eyes can ruin you. "Be careful where your eyes are," Novak says. The guy should offer undivided attention and "listen to understand and respond accordingly." And certainly don't look around at other girls, says Novak.
Even though some dating books tell you to pay attention to a girl's body language, David Wygant and Neil Strauss say this is mostly hogwash. You can only control your own body language, Wygant says. He advises guys to use strong body language: Look directly in her eyes, square your shoulders, and stay an arm's length away from her. "You're going to be the leader," says Wygant, "and she will mimic your body language."
Just because a girl crosses her arms doesn't mean she's not interested, says Strauss: "Sometimes her arms are just crossed." However, Strauss does suggest what he calls "ping tests" to tell if a girl likes you:
- While you're talking, you playfully knock her on her arm. It's a good sign if she knocks you back, and a bad sign if she stiffens.
- You get a chance to take her hand to lead her across a crowded room. It's a good sign if she squeezes your hand back, and a bad sign if she flattens it.
- You reach a pause in the conversation. It's a good sign if she holds eye contact with you; a bad sign if her eyes wander.
And what about pickup lines? The experts say don't use them. However, Wygant says, if you observe your surroundings and trust your instincts, the "natural openers are there for you." For instance, If you're at a coffee shop and see a girl wince after her first sip, just ask "burned your tongue?" and you've opened a conversation. Wygant says it's as simple as starting saying hello and realizing that "people don't bite."
Rejection is just an "insecure state of mind that you choose to get into," says Wygant. When a girl says no, instead of letting your ego be bruised, congratulate yourself for asking her out.
- Dutter, Barry. "The Shy Guy's Guide to Dating." Macmillan, 1998.
- Lowndes, Leil. "Good-bye to Shy." McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006. (Sept. 22, 2010)http://books.google.com/books?id=ROEvQOKFJpcC
- Novak, Patti. Dating Coach and Matchmaker. Phone Interview. Sept. 21, 2010.
- Strauss, Neill. Pick-up Artist. Phone Interview. Sept. 21, 2010.
- The Times. "Obituary: Albert Ellis." The Times Online. July 27, 2007. (Sept. 22, 2010)http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article2147957.ece
- Tessina, Tina. "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again." John Wiley & Sons, 1999.
- Wygant, David. Dating Coach. Phone Interview. Sept. 21, 2010.