Woman wants to initiate date

Dear Alice,

What is the best way for a woman to ask a man out on a date for the first time?

— Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

Regardless of gender, asking someone out can be intimidating. On top of that, many cultures may expect that for heterosexuals, the male will communicate interest first or initiate the relationship. But no matter who you're interested in dating, there are lots of options for asking someone out on a first date!

How about just starting out with saying what you would like? You could share some information, including what you'd like to do and when you'd like to do it. You might consider saying:

  • "I want to see this movie. Would you like to go with me this weekend?"
  • "Some of us were going to this event. Would you like to join us?"
  • "There’s this cafe downtown that has really great food. Would you like to go there with me sometime?"
  • "Would you have any time for coffee this week?"

It may be all in how you frame it: see it as an invitation, say it casually, and be prepared for either "yes" or "no." If your invitation is rejected, then it's good to remember that it's your idea that’s rejected, not you. Looking at it a different way, if someone does reject your invitation, they are, in fact, allowing you to move forward. This saves precious time without having to think about asking that person to go out with you again. You can move on to try again with someone else.

You might also try just being direct: "Hi. I think you're cute. Would you be interested in going out sometime?" These are just some of the ways you can potentially woo a date. For additional ideas on conversation starters, you might want to take a look at other Q&As in the Finding a Partner category from the Go Ask Alice! Relationships archives.

Have fun asking!

Last updated Apr 30, 2021
Originally published Feb 13, 1997

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