How Do I Ask Someone on a Date?

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Asking someone for a date is much like making any assertive request. It involves taking the initiative to let someone know what you are thinking and feeling, asking for what will make you happy, and at the same time considering the feelings of the other person.

This article discusses why asking someone on a date is often so intimidating. It also covers why it can be more difficult if you have social anxiety and tips for how to ask someone on a date, whether in person or online.

Why You Are Afraid to Ask Someone on a Date

Even if you are generally not an anxious person, it may be hard to imagine how to ask someone on a date. You might wonder how the encounter might play out or worry about how they will respond.

You might worry about the same things that you expect to happen in other social situations, such as not being interesting enough or the other person noticing your nervousness. On top of that, you're probably worried that you will be rejected.

This type of social interaction can be particularly anxiety-provoking because it involves making yourself vulnerable and risking rejection. If you have social anxiety disorder or a fear of vulnerability, asking someone out can be particularly daunting. 

When people are anxious, their first response is often to avoid the situations that contribute to these unpleasant feelings. Unfortunately, avoiding anxiety-provoking situations tends to worsen anxiety over time. 

Dating is the ultimate form of putting yourself out there and risking receiving a "no" in return. Fortunately, there are ways to make the process easier on yourself and the other person so that it doesn't have to feel so stressful or pressured.

The key is to be casual in how you ask for the date, to make it easy for the other person to follow through or not, depending on their interest level.

Dating and Social Anxiety

Dating can be particularly challenging for people who have social anxiety, especially when asking someone out. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by a fear of social situations, especially those that may lead to embarrassment, scrutiny, or rejection.

Even though people with the condition may recognize that their fears are out of proportion to the threat, they still often experience severe physical anxiety symptoms in response to social situations.

To avoid experiencing these physical and emotional symptoms, people with SAD often avoid the social situations that trigger their fear. Unfortunately, these can lead to social isolation and loneliness.

People who have the condition may have few friends and no romantic relationships. While this avoidance coping provides temporary relief, it increases feelings of anxiety, making future social situations even more difficult.

People with social anxiety may rely too heavily on online relationships, so its important to strike a balance between your online presence and asking people on dates in person.

Asking Someone on a Date

Thinking about how you will ask can help alleviate some of your stress. If you feel prepared and know what to say, you're more likely to feel confident as you approach the other person.

Below is a sample script for asking someone on a date. It can be helpful to read through an example of how this type of conversation might play out and then consider how you might apply this example in your own life.

James is interested in a cute girl named Sarah, whom he works with but has never developed the courage to ask her out. He's waited, hoping that maybe she will initiate a conversation, but he also thinks she might be too shy to make the first move.

The best approach for James is to frame the request casually as part of a conversation. He will feel less anxious that way (there is less risk of "outright" rejection), and the other person can say no without feeling bad.

Sample Script

Note: Instead of directly asking Sarah on a date, James gives her the opportunity to encourage more conversation if she is interested.

James: "I've been really wanting to see the new (insert name of popular actor) movie. Have you seen it yet?"

Sarah: "No, I haven't seen it yet, but I'd like to go. My friends are always so busy that it is hard to get together and make plans. Were you thinking of seeing it?"

James: "Yeah, I thought it looked pretty cool. If you're not busy, maybe we could go together?"

Sarah: "Sure, that would be fun."

Sarah: "Okay. I'll give you my phone number and then you can text or call to let me know when might work for you."

When speaking with the other person, smile, make eye contact, and keep your body language friendly and open. If the other person is not receptive to your conversation or does not accept your invitation, do not take it personally. There is nothing to be gained by dwelling on rejection. Instead, congratulate yourself for asking.

Online Dating

The increasing popularity of online dating may be helpful for those with dating or social anxiety, as it allows the opportunity to meet people in a less demanding social environment. Online dating can have a number of benefits.

One study found that couples that meet through online dating sites often have stronger long-term intentions than couples who meet offline.

However, online dating can also involve many of the same pitfalls as in-person dating. Some evidence also suggests that online dating can worsen pre-existing mood disorders and may contribute to feelings of psychological distress, particularly among people who are sensitive to rejection.

This also gives you more practice in real-life social settings. One way to accomplish this is to get to know people online first before asking them to go on a date in a real-world setting. This can be particularly helpful if you are anxious about asking since you can get to know them better before requesting a date.

You might suggest meeting up in a public place for coffee or lunch, or maybe going see a movie together. While you may have already established a connection online, limiting your first offline interaction to an hour or two can help take some of the pressure off and give you a chance to get to know each other better in person.

A Word From Verywell

If you are still struggling to ask other people out on dates, it could be that you are living with severe social anxiety. If you've not already reached out for help, contact your doctor and make an appointment for a referral to a mental health professional. There are effective treatments such as medication and therapy that could make a difference in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I ask somebody out over text?

    Start by building a connection by having a conversation. Then, casually suggest getting together to do something like going out to dinner or seeing a movie. Leave it up to the other person to decide if that's something they would be interested in, and don't try to pressure them into saying yes. You might simply ask, "Would you be interested in going out with me?"

  • What is a cute way to ask someone out?

    First, make sure that the other person is receptive to this approach. This means that you should have already established a connection and feel pretty sure that they would like this approach to being asked out.

    Some cute ways to ask someone out via text might include:

    • "Would you like to try this new restaurant with me?"
    • "I've missed seeing you! Do you want to get together for dinner?"
    • "I've enjoyed talking to you online, and I'd really like to take you out. What time might work for you?"
  • What should I talk about on the first date?

    Start by asking questions about the other person and building on what you already know. You might ask them about their work, their hobbies, or their family. Since you are interested in dating this person, you might also talk about some of the things that you both consider 'dealbreakers' in a relationship. Ask them about their goals and plans for the future.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shapiro J. Walking a mile in their patients' shoes: Empathy and othering in medical students' educationPhilos Ethics Humanit Med. 2008;3:10. doi:10.1186/1747-5341-3-10

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Social anxiety disorder: more than just shyness.

  3. Potarca G. The demography of swiping right. An overview of couples who met through dating apps in SwitzerlandPLOS ONE. 2020;15(12):e0243733. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0243733

  4. Holtzhausen N, Fitzgerald K, Thakur I, Ashley J, Rolfe M, Pit SW. Swipe-based dating applications use and its association with mental health outcomes: a cross-sectional studyBMC Psychol. 2020;8(1):22. doi:10.1186/s40359-020-0373-1

Additional Reading

By Arlin Cuncic, MA
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.