inept male relating to female
August 25, 2007 9:27 PM   Subscribe

How do I ask out a girl I go to school with?

Well, I'm 26, taking courses at a specialized accelerated courses school, and I'm thinking of asking a girl out. Problem is, I know nothing about her, and the obvious first step of maneuvering things around so I get to get to know her is a problem for me. IE, I have no idea how to do so. It dosen't particularly help that I tend to be A) fairly quiet/introverted/shy on my own, and B) rather intimidated by pretty girls. So how do I go from strangers to friends with possibility of more? I do have a school-provided email list. Other than that (which seems sort of a dorky option) I really have no idea. Help?
posted by Jacen to Human Relations (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
these guys would say GFTOW. you might be able to pick up some other valid techniques and tips. confidence is key, fake it til you make it, etc.
posted by knowles at 9:33 PM on August 25, 2007

So you want to be friends first? Chat her up about the course materials. If you have any issues grasping things, ask for help. If you're a natural at it, comment on the things you're learning - "this is interesting stuff, what do you think of this...". This would obviously be easier if you sit anywhere near her, but if you don't, there's always the option to wander around the class a bit during breaktime and suchwhat. The fact that you're actually taking a class together is a great advantage to you - you already have something in common.

Don't do the emailing thing until you've talked to her a few times, so she knows at least who you are. And yes, it would be dorky to email her with no preset relationship, as opposed to something like "Hey, by the way, when we were talking today you mentioned [this] which made me think of [similar topic and slash or opinion], what do you think?"
posted by Phire at 9:35 PM on August 25, 2007

find a way to start small, like getting a cup of coffee. if that works out, then perhaps a whole meal, etc. it's all about having contact with someone. doing a project together, editing a paper, etc. are all other ways in which you put yourself in contact with this person.
posted by caddis at 9:37 PM on August 25, 2007

Phire is right on. I'd like to add that ppl are generally flattered when asked out.
posted by k8t at 9:40 PM on August 25, 2007

Oh, and as a bonus, no human female can resist talking about herself ever. Say hi to her a few times here and there. Then, ask her how her day was when you're feeling up to it. Keep asking her questions about herself, have a 5-10 minute conversation, say you'd like to continue but you have [airtight excuse] so you have to go. Don't ask her for her phone number, tell her to give you her phone number. Call her in a day or two, ask if she wants to get coffee or something (not a date). Hang out with her at the predetermined time and play it by ear.
posted by knowles at 9:42 PM on August 25, 2007

If you have a mutual friend who can fix up a dinner, coffee, movie or whatever, and can make sure that both of you are invited, then that's an easy option. The smaller group offers a more intimate environment for non-threatening conversation. That's how I met my wife 42 years ago. The rest is up to you, mutual interests, pheromones, chemistry, respect, sex appeal. Go for it.
posted by jerry H. at 10:02 PM on August 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Try and figure out a way to cross paths outside of the class (maybe right before it, or after or see her at lunch in the student lunch area). Then be yourself and talk about the class and see what she's like and if she's someone you'd want to know better. Talking about the class you share or the subject is a nice lightweight way to do small talk.

Oh, and as a bonus, no human female can resist talking about herself ever.

knowles, this bad advice and the link to the site featuring dudes proud of their hunting conquests is not the way to go with this one.
posted by mathowie at 10:50 PM on August 25, 2007

I have no tips other than to say go for it. The first step if taking a chance.

(by encouraging you I'm psyching myself to talk to this first year girl I saw tonight. Good luck!)
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:07 PM on August 25, 2007

don't go for a quick seduction. what she looks like means nothing to who she really is.

I say you should go for a slow seduction, take your time and meddle with the woman, because you want to know enough to connect with her on a psychological level.

Bring condoms.
posted by parmanparman at 11:19 PM on August 25, 2007

Oh, and as a bonus, no human female can resist talking about herself ever.

This is flat-out untrue. At the worst--if she's a very private person who doesn't like talking about herself--you could come off as a bit creepy for wanting to know all about her (although at best, she'll be one of those people who likes talking about themselves, and she might think you're a good listener and like you). Also, certain pleasantries ("How was your day?/How's your day been?") are really more things you say to people you already know.

Striking up a conversation about the class you're both in is safer. If it's a specialized accelerated courses school, she's probably also there because she's interested in the subject (or, if it's a gen-ed type class, just because she's extra-smart). That's more common ground than being in the same Freshman Composition class with someone; hopefully you're less likely to get an "Oh, I hate this class, I'm just taking it because I have to and it's so boring" response.

find a way to start small, like getting a cup of coffee.

Ditto. Coffee < lunch dinner. (the time it would take and the money involved are okay measures of how big you can consider something.) something small is easier to accept (less pressure, doesn't make it seem like you're trying to start off the relationship at the boyfriend/girlfriend level), i>and easier to reject without making it embarassing.
posted by Many bubbles at 11:25 PM on August 25, 2007

And there was supposed to be another < between lunch and dinner. It was there on preview, I'm sure....
posted by Many bubbles at 11:26 PM on August 25, 2007

I stick by my advice. Maybe he can learn something from my link. Right now he's on track to wind up getting nowhere at all with her and get stuck on the friend ladder. I'm not saying he needs to go hunt for conquests (though that might help him get his confidence up), but if he can pick up one tip on how to talk to women that's better than where he's at now.

On preview: women do, in fact, love to talk about themselves. What he needs to do is make himself one of the people who she wants to talk to about herself, but not in the "buddy" way, in the "relationship candidate" way.
posted by knowles at 11:31 PM on August 25, 2007

On preview: women do, in fact, love to talk about themselves.

No, in fact, that is a gross overgeneralization. He knows nothing about this person, so it would be stupid to just assume.
posted by Many bubbles at 12:00 AM on August 26, 2007

Jacen, I'm a woman, and I assure you: despite what knowles claims, not all women are chatterboxes who like to talk about themselves (some women are introverted and shy, just like you, and even those of us further along on the extroverted side like talking about things besides ourselves -- politics, art, computers, sports, music, etc.). Morever, most of us, chatterboxes or not, won't give you their phone number because you demand it (as knowles advised in lieu of merely asking for it). The "ladder theory" is nothing but snake oil and petty macho game-playing, and plenty of men with plenty of relationship experience will concur. I urge you to avoid it, and instead strive to relate to women as fellow human beings rather than slightly stupid, two-dimensional aliens with breasts.

I agree with the advice that it's most natural to strike up a conversation about the course -- the assigned reading, or a comment she made in class, etc. From there, a casual cup of coffee. That's how plenty of the dates I had in college/grad school started out.
posted by scody at 1:11 AM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

OK, before this descends further into a bickerfest since we're actually here to help someone instead of argue amongst ourselves about gender characteristics how about we all agree to disagree?

However, this type of question really begs for a followup, so Jacen, plz tell us what you did and how it went.

And I'll offer this last bit of hackneyed advice before I get more people angry with me:

Feel the fear and do it anyway.
posted by knowles at 1:30 AM on August 26, 2007

no, don't email. that will seem very creepy.

i think you should start even smaller than coffee. establish a rapport. chat her up a bit. do it sometime when you would naturally cross her path--even the shyest girl will know when she's being pursued, and you don't want her to think that right off the bat. some women become guarded when they perceive that they are the object of someone's affection--women can be very insecure about romantic attention, and sometimes they become just plain weird. so don't go there yet. just talk to her.

if you see her at other times during the day, on your way to other classes, smile and say "hi" as you pass, or if you're both walking in the same direction, walk and talk, ending the conversation when one of you reaches your destination. don't mention going out, or your plans for marriage, or anything. just talk about stuff--school, books you read, a tv show you like, a band you just discovered. talk about her major, ask her what she wants to do with the degree. instant conversation starter.

once you've done this a few times, you'll become a part of her social landscape. now, pay attention. if she seeks you out to chat, or if she's shy, if she brightens up when you approach her, you know she'll be receptive. she'll be asking you questions and follow-up questions. she'll stop in front of her next class's door to keep talking. if she's not interested, she'll be dismissive, answer generically, and not ask you about yourself.

if she seems into you, and if you find you still like her after getting to know her better, ask her out.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:49 AM on August 26, 2007

oh, and i'll tell you why starting small is the best way: all you know about her is that she is pretty. she knows that's all you know about her. if you ask her out based on this information alone, she will know you are asking her out purely because you like the way she looks--in other words, for the sake of ultimately fulfilling your fantasy of having sex with her.

this might be fine with her, but, because she is well-educated and presumably bright and intelligent, she may also find it insulting that someone is not choosing her on the merits she finds important (i.e. her education, which she is clearly investing in).

so, know your audience. at a bar, looks might be enough. at school, the brains angle will be more effective. and that means getting to know her better first.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:56 AM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

How do you know you want to date someone if you don't know her at all? *shakes head*

Anyway, speaking as a female, if it were me, there are two ways to get my attention:

1) The direct route: ask me for specific help with the coursework. "Hey, I'm really having trouble with question 14 - did you understand what the professor meant when he said XYZ?" If she gives you an abrupt answer, don't take it personally. My default response to men is "no thanks" until I get to know them. How did I get to know guys at school? Mostly through other people, not through the direct approach.

2) The indirect route: Pique her interest through your interaction with others. Ask interesting questions in the class. Chat about some outside interest with a male buddy before/after class (where "outside interest" isn't something that only guys like). Do you have a dog/cat? Pass around pictures. Better yet, pass pictures of a baby niece/nephew, making sure you SAY LOUDLY that this is your niece/nephew.

3) The end run: Create a study group for the class, and invite her AND HER FEMALE FRIEND to it (i.e., don't make her the only female there).

Re: faking it til you make it - practice this with other people first, like the male buddy above. Let her see you as confident and secure with other people, and you'll be less likely to become a shrinking violet around her.
posted by desjardins at 7:07 AM on August 26, 2007

there are two ways to get my attention

um, THREE ways...

this is probably why I'm not in your accelerated class.
posted by desjardins at 7:08 AM on August 26, 2007

Ironically I've found many women are willing hear *you* talk about yourself forever. I mean I'm not saying you want to make this chick your best friend slash confidante slash pseudo-therapist, just saying that even if you're going to take the 'sweep in with my talons and hook her' mentality you'll get more points for being warm and sharing stuff reciprocally than by scrambling to think of more questions to ask about *her* life.

Smile a lot and don't be afraid to come off as overreaching.

My first reaction on seeing this question actually was—please don't lynch me for this guys—she's probably going to end up 'practice' more than the one you go from "the person who I have no idea how to ask out" to "the person I'm banging" with. And that's fine.

In other words, talk to more girls from this class, even if you're not interested in them in *that* way, and in other classes. Don't stay stuck in a zone where making this "how do I become friendlier with her" move is exceptional.

So: ignore the bickering about mentalities and approaches; it boils down to "talk to her and don't expect too much".

I know you're looking for more mechanistic advice along the lines of how exactly and what to talk about, there've been good ideas in the thread so far.

Go talk to her :)
posted by Firas at 9:13 AM on August 26, 2007

If you can strike up a conversation or two and make sure she knows your name (I also reccomend the "talking about class" route), try and friend her on facebook and write something on her wall and/or poke her. I've found PMing on FB to fail miserably, so I would avoid that. FB seems to be a fairly harmless way to get to know people which can segway into hanging out in real life.
posted by jmd82 at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2007

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Now that is some rock solid advice. You have to associate it with another experience in your life that has similar fear / payoff. Mine is any of your basic adrenaline experiences - the time I sky-dived, bridges I've jumped off of, cliffs I've dropped on skis, or that time I slapped the sleeping elephant seal on the ass and ran. Roller coasters don't do it for me anymore. Point is, you have to think of something that REALLY scares you but is REALLY awesome once you commit.

A few nights ago I was out with a friend at a jazz place and this girl comes up to the bar next to me and orders a drink. I made a little small talk about the price of the drink, etc., but that was easy - you can small talk anyone. Asking her out was a proposition not yet in my mind. She got her drink and moved back into the crowd, and I turned to my pal and said "She...smelled...awesome." He suggested I tell her the same thing, which I balked at.

When she was back at the bar a little later, I knew I only had to do just what I did on the plane, bridge, mountain, or beach. You just take a deep breath, and think to yourself "1....2....3."

And then you go.

It was worth it. It rarely isn't.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:38 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

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