How can I get over the fear of asking a girl out?
December 10, 2017 10:59 PM   Subscribe

There's a girl I like, everything points to her being interested in me. The last message she sent basically said that we should see each other again. I've known her for a while now, and she always seemed to want to talk. Here's the thing though, I'm worrying a lot about what she will say when I ask her out. My fear is trying to make me look for reasons to not ask her out, I won't allow that but I want my fear gone, I don't want to feel like this, I hate it. Literally everyone who knows me is pushing me to ask her out.

This is a big step for me, a few days ago I threw my first party, I spent all week anxious about it. I did it in the end and I made sure that nothing I did would ever stop it. The party was not so great, but it was never about that. It was about me taking more steps to leave my comfort zone.

Now there is this girl, I don't know what she will say. I'm betting that she will say yes but it's not about that either it is about ending this fear of mine once and for all. It is a huge step for me.

However I don't understand why it's so complicated, I've done scarier things. I swam to an island once in open seas with no life jackets and no boats nearby. I could have died and I still did it but not even that made me as anxious as this. I need to do this and, I didn't know where else to turn to, to ask for help.
posted by Braxis to Human Relations (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
“You’re totally allowed to ask me out if you’d like to.”
posted by taff at 11:11 PM on December 10, 2017

It's a huge step for you, so break it down into smaller ones. Ask her out for coffee (or tea). Not such a big deal, is it? That's a thing you can probably manage. You've done scarier things.

The fear will subside if you ignore it and do the thing anyway. So don't focus on the fear. Focus on coffee (or tea). Nothing bad is going to happen and in fact, she will probably say yes.

Ending fear once and for all is not really a thing. Fear is a normal part of life. You can't make yourself someone who is never scared. But you can over time turn into someone who gets scared, does the thing anyway, and then has no reason to be scared of the thing anymore.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:14 PM on December 10, 2017 [7 favorites]

Adding to that: it's so complicated because you're overthinking it and giving yourself too much time to focus on how complicated it is.
It's not actually complicated. Scary, yes; complicated, no. You say 'Hey, would you like to go and have coffee with me some time?' And when she says yes, you name a place and a time. Not complicated.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:16 PM on December 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Honestly I find this question so endearing. Good for you for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone! And also, as Too-Ticky said, you are WAY overthinking this, but don't beat yourself up about that.

My advice is try to find a specific event that both of you are interested in and invite her to that. You've been talking for a while - good, that means you know her! What's she into? Norwegian death metal? 19th century lithography? Reality TV? Chris Hemsworth? Now think of an event that you could invite her to related to that interest. This gives you (a) a bit more of a script when you ask her out, and (b) something to do when you do eventually hang out, (c) a demonstration that you know her, you've been listening and paying attention, and (d) a specific time and place.

So now your question is less 'will you go out with me,' it's more 'hey, $GirlILike, there's this awesome Norwegian death metal showcase happening next Saturday that I was thinking of checking out. I'd love it if you came with me!'
posted by nerdfish at 11:30 PM on December 10, 2017 [14 favorites]

You don't. You ask her before you get rid of the fear.

Whether she says yes or no, you asked! You did the thing. Maybe it's less scary next time, maybe it's not.

If words/mantras tend to help you, you recite the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.

Have a fun date!
posted by inexorably_forward at 11:34 PM on December 10, 2017 [14 favorites]

I honestly think YOU are the best expert on how to vanquish your fear. You did it before, with the party. And with the island.
Are you, like me, a person who needs to just stop thinking and take the plunge? Or do you need to take incremental steps and ease yourself into the water?

There is no way to stop being afraid before you ask her out. You stop being afraid BY asking her out. Or by taking the first steps to do so.
The first rejections are the hardest. After that, they stop being so agonizing. So if she does say no, count it as a victory against fear. You‘re one big step closer to not being scared anymore!

You‘ve got this, I promise. Do what you did when you were scared of having that party. It‘s the same fear.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:54 AM on December 11, 2017 [7 favorites]

Put yourself in her shoes. Even if it turns out she doesn’t want to go out with you, you’ll be doing her a great kindness by asking, because everyone likes to feel wanted. You’ll make her day. To reduce anxiety, think of what you’ll say if she says yes or she says no.
posted by lakeroon at 4:51 AM on December 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

You don't have to ask her out if you don't want to. i didn't see a lot in your question about liking her or the qualities she has that makes you want to be around her, of course that could be because you felt it was understood. So consider if you really do like her and want to get to know her better.

You only have to be brave for long enough to ask her out, which will only take a few seconds. Once you've done it, you've done it. So maybe stop thinking about it and do it?

This might be useful. However he takes 100 days - there's also a more direct approach.

Do you generally struggle with anxiety around social situations? It might be something you want to discuss with a therapist.
posted by bunderful at 5:42 AM on December 11, 2017

Yes, definitely go and do it before it builds up any more in your mind. She is just a person. A person, it sounds like, who would be interested in going on a date with you. Go make it so! It doesn't need to be any more complicated than preparing a place and a what-to-say if she's not into it.

You(1): Hey, want to go grab some coffee?

Her(1): Awesome. We should totally grab coffee.

You(1): Excellent. How about the Daily Perk at 3 tomorrow?

Her(1): Yes, looking forward to it.


You(2): Hey, want to grab some coffee?

Her(2): Uh, maybe not. No, thanks.

You(2): Ah, okay. Let me know if you change your mind. See you around.


And you go about your life. It will never feel comfortable like no big deal until you do it a million times, so don't wait for that comfortable feeling. Good luck!
posted by *s at 6:52 AM on December 11, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm betting that she will say yes but it's not about that either it is about ending this fear of mine once and for all. It is a huge step for me.

This is neither necessary nor necessarily realistic. There's nothing wrong with fear and no reason to expect it to end. I mean, if you got thrown off a boat and had to swim to another island, you would still understand you could die and you'd be afraid. But you'd still swim.

"Face your fear and do it anyway."
posted by DarlingBri at 7:28 AM on December 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

There is a pair of questions that have helped me immensely in life:

What is the BEST POSSIBLE outcome?
What is the WORST POSSIBLE outcome?

If you formulate an answer to both, you'll probably see that the potential upside far outweighs the worst possible outcome. At worst, she is rude to you in response and you are embarassed - that will pass in days. At best, you end up happy for months (or years).

If this was a stock, it would be a strong buy - don't let this opportunity pass.
posted by _DB_ at 7:33 AM on December 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

What _DB_ said. Take a moment and visualize a few different outcomes.

Imagine asking her out and she says yes, and then you're having coffee together and it's AMAZING. You're so glad you asked!

Imagine asking her out and she says yes, and then you're hanging out and she's rude to the server and you're not having fun, and also she smells bad. Oh well.

Imagine asking her out and she says no, she's actually seeing someone else, and you feel bummed out for a little bit but that's okay.

Imagine asking her out and she says no, throws her drink in your face, and screams that you are terrible and stinky, OMG how could you have the nerve to ask her such a thing?! This is hyperbolically bad and unlikely to happen, but go ahead and imagine it (or whatever you would consider to be the very worst outcome).

The TL;DR is that you trust yourself to handle the outcome, whatever it is. You've survived difficult things and unpleasant emotions before. If this proves difficult and unpleasant, you can live with it. Either way, you will be stronger and more resilient for the next one.
posted by witchen at 8:23 AM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

...but I want my fear gone, I don't want to feel like this, I hate it.

Dude -- you know there's only one way to get rid of the fear, and that's by facing it. You've done it for a bunch of other things. You can do this.

As soon as you ask: *poof*! The fear is gone. I promise you.

The fear is a sign you care, which is good. Whatever her answer is (and it's looking to be a Good Answer), you will at least know, and the fear will be gone.

You've got this. Go do it.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:02 AM on December 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

One thing to prepare for: when you ask her out, she may ask if it is a date or just as friends. The first time I asked a girl out she said that, and it totally threw me! So consider what you will say. For the record I eventually pulled my brain together and said "a date", and she said "cool".

Some people like to differentiate between romantic outings and platonic outings, some people prefer a continuous approach.

You can do this!
posted by BeeDo at 9:12 AM on December 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

She told you that you guys should see each other again? Heck she just asked you out!
posted by Justin Case at 1:35 PM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

A lot of things are less scary if you do them in smaller steps, eg learning to swim in the a kids pool, then the adults pool, then in a river, then in the ocean, before, you know, swimming to an island in the open ocean. You "could" do the open ocean thing before you even learned to swim in the kids pool but that would have a high chance of not going well, maybe could work as a demonstration of "conquering" your fear, but there's really no need for that!

Anyway the non-awkward way of asking a girl out is to generate group activities then ask her to those in a zero-stakes fashion. For example, say I host a pot luck dinner every Thursday after work among friends and everyone is free to invite someone new if they want, and I ask her to join - it's going to happen with or without her, and she can say yes or no with no pressure either way. It could also be just brunch at a cafe, a movie, a hike or day trip, a trip to the art gallery / science museum.

Ask her enough times to events like those and you'll get an idea of how much she likes hanging out with you, and more importantly it also gives her a better perspective of who you are and whether or not she can trust you in a 1:1 situation. Think about it from the girl's perspective, if she can see how you interact with your friends, that gives her a better gauge as to who you are (eg, wow his buddy / other female friends who have known him for 6 years seem to think he's am alright guy, so he must be alright) as opposed to her trying to analyze, well, not much (well this guy kind of acts aloof in class but then smiled a lot when he talked to me and talks about politics, actually I'm still not really sure what kind of person he is).

So it's not just about making things less scary for you, it's also about making it less scary for her.

Then you'll get to the point where it's "let's hang out again, let's do X, how about we make it just the two of us" and then you can either assume it's a date or make it explicit.
posted by xdvesper at 7:27 PM on December 11, 2017

I get your feelings on this, but can only echo many of the sentiments above: you are dramatically overthinking this, and all you need to do is suggest that you two of you meet up at a time and a place to engage in a neutral activity like drinking tea or coffee, and during that activity, you flag the possibility of Perhaps you'd like to go and do something else, if you don't have to be back? Maybe we could just go for a stroll?

Ask questions and listen to the answers. Congrats, you are on a date!
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:55 PM on December 11, 2017

Doing it over text or email would be less scary than in person, if you think that would work for you. "Hey, I've always wanted to try ____. Want to check it out with me this weekend?"
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:07 PM on December 11, 2017

Pretend Matt Damon is your father.

"...All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage — 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery and I promise you something great will come of it."
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 11:10 PM on December 11, 2017

I have the same problem as you! I’ve gone through the same overthinking mind loop traffic jam over a fella or two. All of my friends say the same thing, “just ask him out! Find common interests! Do something mellow like coffee”. But I couldn’t do it, it’s too scary and not that easy.


I just changed my thinking a bit. Don’t think of it as a date... that word (for me) was freaking me out. Part of my anxiety was, not only the asking part, but then worrying about the date and the pressures of that (what if I’m not as cool and funny as usual because I’m nervous? What if my fly is down and my mascara runs? What if there are too many awkward silences and how will I fill them? What if I don’t know if he wants to kiss me at the end I think he does and then I go for it and then he doesn’t..!. And a million other possible scenarios). I like to think of it as hanging out with a friend and getting to know someone. She said she wants to see you again, but you don’t know what she’s thinking AND she’s probably just as nervous as you. But sounds like she’s dropping the hint that she wants to get to know you better :)

Take it down a notch... take a deep breath or two... remove “date” from the equation... stop asking your friends what you should do (because you know what they’re gonna say)... and get to know this girl! Maybe even invite her to a group thing so there’s less pressure. It’s like you’re building a foundation and from here it will be easier to ask her on a date date if you decide to do that. It’ll also just naturally go one way or the other (in my experience).

PS I agree that texting a hang out is easier. Imagine the thrill and relief you’ll feel after you hit the send button! You can do this!! Good luck :)
posted by platebowl at 10:28 AM on December 12, 2017

Thanks everyone for your words and support, I finally asked her out today, she did not say yes but she did not say no either. She told me she was busy these weeks, I don't know whether this was meant as a no, or if she is genuinely busy. I will ask her out again on January and I will give her time if she says she's busy again then I'll move on.

However, if that were to happen is it fine if I tell her to just come clean to whether she is interested or not. If she says no it's not a big deal, but this is someone I care about and I don't want to lose her friendship just because she was not interested.

Finally, now that I have gone through with this I know I can do it again. It is really a milestone for me, for years this fear has plagued me, I am so very glad to be rid of it. In short thanks for all your comments they helped a great deal.
posted by Braxis at 8:17 PM on December 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

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