How to ask someone out respectfully

By Selena Torrado, Former National Youth Advisory Board Member

There are few things as ordinary yet anxiety inducing as asking someone out on a date. A strange thing about us humans is that all of us crave intimacy, yet few of us find that desire easy to admit. Even after you’ve rehearsed how you’re going to phrase your request in front of the mirror, over the phone to your best friend and on the couch to your dog, there is STILL the possibility of rejection, which for some is downright terrifying.

But even that is no reason to avoid the whole ordeal all together. You can ease the awkwardness for both of you by making sure that you are being respectful of the person you are asking out.

Here are some tips for when you want to respectfully ask someone out:

Learn to separate fantasy from reality, and accept it.

It’s easy to get really, really, carried away by even the most fleeting of crushes, like the time you went to that basement show and planned the matching tattoos you would get while on tour with the drummer (by “you” I obviously mean “me” and yes, I am totally ok with letting the world wide web inside my embarrassing fantasy love life).

ANYWAY, it is super important to recognize these daydreams as just that — desires and fantasies not grounded in reality. Because they exist outside the realm of logic, reason or circumstance, they are dangerous things to become attached to. They are also dangerous things to project onto another person. Remember that this person you desire is their own autonomous human being with hopes and dreams of their own, NOT an extension of your fantasies. Keeping this in mind will help you accept the outcome of putting yourself out on the line for them, whatever it may be.

Have an activity that you're asking them out to.

Such as ice skating, a concert or swimming in your pond. This serves a few purposes: one, it allows you to get to know each other in a fun, neutral environment without romantic pressure. It also demonstrates that your intention is to get to know them as a person and not a sexual conquest. Of course, the desire to be sexual with someone is completely normal, and depending on your unique relationship, may be something that you two need to talk and openly communicate about. Typically, the time for this is not when asking someone out on a date for the first time.

Be sure not to hound the person afterward for a definitive answer.

It is not uncommon for someone to be embarrassed by the request and to give an ambiguous answer in order to avoid the awkwardness of rejection. Give this person space and allow your relationship, in whatever form it may take, to progress naturally.