In reading a few things on The Internets recently, it has occurred to me that many 20- and 30-somethings just actually don’t have the skills to ask out or be asked out. I, in my 12 years as an unmarried adult, have been on the receiving end of seriously great and seriously awful efforts in the dating arena, and have responded both well and poorly to those efforts, so I want to just throw my experience and advice out there. Hope it’s helpful.
Part one is for ladies.
Gals, it’s a risk for a guy to ask you out. Recognize that. Men are screwups and klutzes just like we are, and we need to give them a break. So, with that in mind:
1. Encourage your guy friends. Be nice to them. Ask them questions about themselves and their lives. Be an interested, interesting conversationalist.
2. If you like a guy, be extra encouraging to him. Smile a lot. Laugh at his jokes. Don’t suppress your natural feminine responsiveness. Dare I say it? Flirt. Not in a shameless or provocative way, but in a responsive, open, charming way.
3. If a guy asks you on a date, say yes, unless there is a glaring (and I mean glaring) red flag. I’ve turned down guys I had absolutely zero attraction for, both personally and physically, or whose request for a date sounded more like a marriage proposal because that level of intensity is not something I want to encourage. Overall, I’ve probably said no to three or four guys in my life, counting junior high and high school. If he’s a nice guy, a Christian, and you think he’s interesting, say yes. On a really practical level, say something like, “Sure, sounds great. What did you have in mind?”
4. If you have to say no, keep it simple. Don’t patronize him with a line about how great it is that he was brave enough to speak up (done that). Don’t make up some nonsense about how you’re “not really into a relationship right now” (done that too). And for the love of everything good and holy, don’t feed him that awful nonsense about how you just don’t think it’s God’s will. God is not your scapegoat, girl. Be kind but not long-winded. Cook up a brief response, practice it in the mirror, and stick with it. He’s a grownup. Treat him like one. My canned response is, “Thanks so much for asking, but no thank you. I appreciate the thought!”