How do I turn a random encounter into a possible romantic relationship?
March 27, 2007 6:37 AM   Subscribe

I've lost the ability to have anything more than a five minute chat with people of the opposite sex.

I have lost the confidence and or ability to ask women out and I want it back. I can make casual friends easily. I am a talkative person and I can even engage in a conversation with almost anybody as well as make them laugh. On more than several occasions, I find myself randomly striking a dialog with a girl whom I find attractive and eventually I would find many things in common with them. This however always ends with me finishing our chat, see them off the bus, leave the cafe, walk them to where they are going etc., and me never seeing them again.

I don't have the nerve to ask a girl for their number. And I think I am letting a lot of great chances to have a meaningful relationship slip by. Please help me think of the ways I can turn a random encounter into a possible date.

I am in my early 20's and I just moved out to Vancouver to start a professional degree program that consumes almost all of my life. I have friends from this program, but, being new to the city, I have no friends outside of it. Seeing the people I have classes with everyday makes any possible romantic relationship with them too suffocating, and they are all older than me.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Do you think your confidence is suffering because you're not comfortable in your new surroundings yet?

The key to asking random women if they'd be interested in seeing you again is knowing that the world won't end if they say no. Like you said, you never see them again, so why not take a shot in the dark?
posted by ZackTM at 6:54 AM on March 27, 2007

Echoing above, the "hard part" you already have down. You just need to get your contact info to the girl before you part ways, and tell her you enjoyed your brief time together, and you'd enjoy getting a coffee or something sometime.

Quick, easy, painless. No scenes, no drama. They will either keep or discard your contact info, and that is that.

As is often said around here, life favors the bold. Go for it.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:06 AM on March 27, 2007

Especially because, as you note, you'll never see them again whether you don't ask or they say no. So ask. And if they say yes, you win. If they say no, it's the same for you as if you hadn't asked at all.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 7:16 AM on March 27, 2007

I have lost the confidence and or ability to ask women out and I want it back.

When do you love this ability? WHY did you lose it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 AM on March 27, 2007

I don't have the nerve to ask a girl for their number

Chances are, she'll tell you she has a boyfriend, or turn you down for some other reason. You'll still feel really good about yourself for having the balls to ask, especially if you think she might be out of your league.
posted by teleskiving at 7:39 AM on March 27, 2007

The best request I've ever received from someone in your shoes was a somewhat blurted:

"So, I'm new around here. Would you wanna hang out?"

For all those conversations you've already walked away from, there's always craigslist missed connections to try.

Also, it seems like asking for an email address is sometimes easier than a phone number because these days, most people feel more comfortable giving that out. Of course, this still requires you to have to ask for it. Consider it something you need to practice and practice makes perfect.
posted by grateram at 7:59 AM on March 27, 2007

@Ynoxas - I have some friends who won't call a guy -- they figure if the guy really likes them, he would have asked for their number. Me, I'm not that way -- I don't call guys back because I get too busy with other things and forget until too much time has gone by to call. A guy is much better off getting my number and calling me if he wants to see me again, and I think that's true for most women.

Anonymous, if the girl is letting you walk her to where she is going, she will think you don't like her if you don't ask for the number! Trust me, she wants you to ask, she's waiting for you to ask. Just picture her being happy you asked, and giving you the number. If she says she has a boyfriend, she probably still found you attractive and fun to chat with, which reflects well on you.
posted by yohko at 8:13 AM on March 27, 2007

yeah, being new in town is totally a great way/excuse to meet hot chicks/dudes....most people LOVE showing someone around town and to neat places in the area, and that can also be a really fun and interesting way to develop a romance, or even just a good friendship...

when it comes to asking for a number, just say, hey, i'm thinking about checking out (insert bar, art gallery, outdoor market, club, park, whatever), can i give you a call, maybe we can check it out some time....or something like that

just blurt that shit out, i usually whip out the cell at that point, click "add new contact" and hand it on over

bam, you're set

you should feel lucky, being new in town is so exciting if you play it right!
posted by Salvatorparadise at 8:22 AM on March 27, 2007

I agree with yohko. Say, "I really enjoyed talking to you and I'd like to continue this conversation later. Do you mind if I call you sometime?" Don't ask for a date right away. I'd reflexively turn down any guy I met on a bus for a date - too much pressure for me, too much risk that he's a closet weirdo. But a phone call or email, yeah, I'll take that chance.

She knows you're nervous. If she's not interested in pursuing things further, she'll make something up to let you down easy. This is your cue to stop pursuing.

Don't worry about rejection. If she thought you were unattractive or freaky, she wouldn't have had the nice conversation in the first place. She may not be interested in a date, but this is no reflection on your attractiveness.
posted by desjardins at 8:23 AM on March 27, 2007

If you don't want to ask for a date specifically, just tell her that you usually hang out at ____ bar or ____ cafe if she ever wants to chat again... and do that. Become a regular there. Someone who found you intriguing would come by within two weeks to accidently run into you.
posted by xo at 8:39 AM on March 27, 2007

What I usually do is give the girl my number (or my email address). If she's interested, she'll usually reciprocate without being asked. If not, I get a polite smile, and the slip of paper I just gave her ends up in her purse or pocket, on the way to the trash later. Fine. Low-pressure, low-confrontation, everybody saves face.
posted by bingo at 9:07 AM on March 27, 2007

What do you have to lose? The worst she can say is no, and then, off you go. I know it's hard...rejection sucks. But it's not like she's turning you down when you're asking her to marry're just asking for her number (or giving you hers.)

I'm reading a great book right now to help me with worries, and one thing it tells me to do is do things that makes me mildly uncomfortable every day. (Don't eat that, take the escalator, talk to someone, stand up for myself-in your case, ask a girl for her email.) The more you do it, the easier it will become. Just try it.
posted by aacheson at 9:43 AM on March 27, 2007

yokho and bingo have good answers imo. Giving the number is fine, but if you don't get one in return, you probably will not be hearing from her.

Do you have business cards? They are a great way to exchange info because it kind of disguises it as a business pleasantry. Bonus points if it has your cell number on it!
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:44 AM on March 27, 2007

If asking for a number makes you nervous, perhaps you just need to try asking a different sort of question that doesn't seem so forward, but will enable you to maintain contact and maybe see her again.

You mention chatting with people at cafes, but ending up just leaving. Would something like "Do you come here often? Care to pick up this converstation some time?" Be different enough for you?

You also mention usually being able to find common ground with people you chat with. When you finish the conversation, instead of just asking for their number, maybe try something like, "You really seem to know a lot about X. I'd love to hear more. Can we meet some time again?/Can I get your number (you've lead up to it by this point though)/Can I get your email address?/Can I give you my email address?" The up side to this is that simply asking for someone's number in our culture is an almost universal sign for "I dig you", and there's a chance they might find you interesting, but aren't sure if they dig you yet, and so you force the decision early in some cases. The down side to this is that asking for someone's number is an almost universal sign for "I dig you", so if they dig you too, if you don't ask for their number, they may get the impression that you really do just want to be friends. Of course in the case of those that don't quite dig you yet, that's exactly what you want them to think, so that you can buy more time to get them to like you.

So I guess the other factor that comes into play is being able to tell how much they like you. Pay attention to any signs they might be throwing out. That way you'll minimize how often you get rejected, and maximize how often you are successful. Getting women to laugh (a real laugh, not a forced one) is usually a great sign. Also, all the classic open v closed body language. Leaning towards you vs. away from you. Arms crossed versus open. Crossing legs away from you or towards you. Eye contact. And if she actually intentionally physically touches you, ask for her number already!
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:33 PM on March 27, 2007

Intimate Connections.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:56 PM on March 28, 2007

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