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Asking a girl out as a friend.

billwillbillwill Registered User regular
edited August 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey there, this is pretty simple and probably ridiculously easy for you to answer.

It's just that, my whole life, I've mainly hung out with other guys. I've never had many female friends until recently. One in particular (let's call her Sandy) is pretty awesome and I enjoy spending time with her. I would like to spend more time with her outside of college; just hanging out, hiking, normal activities. My question is, how would I go about asking her to these things while simultaneously eliminating any possibility of it being a date? She's a great girl, very pretty and smart, and we're both single, but I just don't feel ready for a relationship right now (maybe further down the line, who knows). It seems like just saying it's not a date right away would be a little rude and also close the door on potential dates down the line when I am ready to take that step. Is there some way to phrase it or something that is universally accepted as just friends?

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  • Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    usually "just as friends" is pretty clear.

  • JAEFJAEF Unstoppably Bald Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Limp moose wrote:
    usually "just as friends" is pretty clear.
    That's pretty much it. You can also substitute "platonic" but that's far more awkward to work into conversation.

    Hell if the activity is something neutral like hiking I don't think you'd even have to specify unless she seems really into you. Flirting or contact (something like brushing/holding onto your arm, etc.) from her should let you know to clear the air ahead of time so she doesn't get the wrong idea. If you're wandering towards 'standard' dating activities "Hey did you want to go [grab dinner/see a movie/do activity] tomorrow? Just as friends" works fine.

    JAEF on
  • DangerousDangerous Registered User regular
    Just do the same as you would when asking any of your guy friends to do something. Don't treat her any differently. If she starts being flirty or getting the wrong idea, then I would clarify it. Otherwise just have fun and don't think about it.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    Yes, ask her the same way you would any one. If she get's all "umm... look..." then you can drop the "hey, only as friends" bit.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Yeah, just ask and if she gets nervous clarify that you aren't looking for anything more meaningful here than seeing a film.

    If things get more meaningful, or if she declines because it would be weird, that's a good indicator she thinks of you as more than friends and/or doesn't want to risk it.

  • RadicalTurnipRadicalTurnip Registered User regular
    You can also ask her to go out with you and a few other friends, thus eliminating the date-ey atmosphere. If she's hanging out with you and XYZ sometimes, and then you and YZ, or sometimes you and X, then eventually it'll be comfortable and obviously a non-date setting if she hangs out with just you.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    billwill wrote:
    It seems like just saying it's not a date right away would be a little rude and also close the door on potential dates down the line when I am ready to take that step. Is there some way to phrase it or something that is universally accepted as just friends?

    Why can't you just say what you mean?
    "We're too awesome to not be friends outside of school. I'm going hiking with duder and whatsherface, you want to go?"

    ArbitraryDescriptor on
  • Descendant XDescendant X Outpost 31Registered User regular
    Dangerous wrote:
    Just do the same as you would when asking any of your guy friends to do something. Don't treat her any differently. If she starts being flirty or getting the wrong idea, then I would clarify it. Otherwise just have fun and don't think about it.

    Dangerous has the right idea here. Just ask if she wants to hang out, or whatever you have planned, in the same tone that you would ask a guy friend. Only clarify the situation if you need to, because saying "but only as friends" seems to me to have implications that aren't necessary to make.

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    billwill wrote:
    It seems like just saying it's not a date right away would be a little rude and also close the door on potential dates down the line when I am ready to take that step. Is there some way to phrase it or something that is universally accepted as just friends?

    Why can't you just say what you mean?
    "We're too awesome to not be friends outside of school. I'm going hiking with duder and whatsherface, you want to go?"

    This ought definitely to work for group settings. With regards to one-on-one platonic hangings-out, only because so many other assholes have ruined this for us by asking out women with whom they were on ostensibly platonic terms under the pretenses of friendship only to ambush them with romantic or sexual interests somewhere between the dinner and dessert courses, you may want to be prepared to be a little more explicit about why you want to hang out.

    And by "explicit," I here mean "straightforward and honest." Don't hold back part of what you're thinking and feeling right now just in case you might change your mind about dating at some point down the line. For one thing, withholding part of the truth from a friend is, generally speaking, not a very friendly thing to do. Moreover, if you do find yourself developing a romantic interest in her in the future, you can revisit the subject, again in a straightforward and honest fashion, and not come across like one of those aforementioned assholes who develop friendships with women only to ambush them romantically later.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Don't act all weird. You don't have to say "Hey we are only friends! Want to hang out?" That's weird. Just say hey you want to do X, whenever. Or invite her out with other friends.

    edit: people don't automatically assume date, unless it is a datey activity like the movies or the carnival. Even going to eat isn't really a datey activity these days.

    JebusUD on
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  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    Dangerous wrote:
    Just do the same as you would when asking any of your guy friends to do something. Don't treat her any differently. If she starts being flirty or getting the wrong idea, then I would clarify it. Otherwise just have fun and don't think about it.

    Dangerous has the right idea here. Just ask if she wants to hang out, or whatever you have planned, in the same tone that you would ask a guy friend. Only clarify the situation if you need to, because saying "but only as friends" seems to me to have implications that aren't necessary to make.

    Exactly. And you even said she was super coo but you just aren't in a relationship position, or whatever. Maybe you change your mind later, now you have screwed yourself over.

    Also, remember that life doesn't always wait for the right moment for you. Don't go getting all goo goo over this girl and then lament the fact that she has some other boyfriend later because you waited.

    I don't have courage but I have something else.
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Step 1: Ask her if she wants to go rock climbing or see a film or whatever

    Step 2: Don't hit on her.

    Success!

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    JebusUD wrote:
    Don't act all weird. You don't have to say "Hey we are only friends! Want to hang out?" That's weird. Just say hey you want to do X, whenever. Or invite her out with other friends.

    edit: people don't automatically assume date, unless it is a datey activity like the movies or the carnival. Even going to eat isn't really a datey activity these days.

    This.

    I will say the phrase "hang out" is a great one that pretty much says the whole "just friends" thing without being explicit and awkward. If the topic of dating comes up just be honest.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    I strongly agree with the folks saying you shouldn't even mention the "just friends" thing, because it implies "I thought about relationship things and decided that I don't like you in that way." What you really want to say is "I haven't considered it and I don't really care, I just think we'd be good friends."

    So you float the idea of an activity and then see how it goes. "Hey I was thinking of going hiking on saturday, but it's pretty boring to go alone. At least, I think so. You want to go with me?"

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  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Nappuccino wrote:
    I will say the phrase "hang out" is a great one that pretty much says the whole "just friends" thing

    I have to disagree on this point, though not the general thrust of your advice. "Hang out", as a phrase, can be pretty ambiguous. Perhaps not among those you interface with, but it comes down to your local vernacular as to whether it means explicitly "so we can be friends" and not "so I can hit on you better"


    @billwill, I'm curious. Are you concerned she will reject you if she thinks it's a date, or are you afraid she'll want it to be?

    ArbitraryDescriptor on
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    billwill wrote:
    It seems like just saying it's not a date right away would be a little rude and also close the door on potential dates down the line when I am ready to take that step. Is there some way to phrase it or something that is universally accepted as just friends?

    Why can't you just say what you mean?
    "We're too awesome to not be friends outside of school. I'm going hiking with duder and whatsherface, you want to go?"

    Because it's rude.

    "Hey, let's do X...but just as friends" is equally conceited and rude/insulting. It implies that you (a) thought that she might want to date you so you want to nip that in the bud (conceited) and (b) that you have considered the person you are speaking to as a sexual/romantic partner and have already decided against it for whatever reason (insulting).

    Even if that's not a thought process you consciously or even subconsciously went through, I think that's how a lot of people would take it, so I think it's better to err on the side of not doing adding the "just as friends" disclaimer. It's not really a good way to start off a friendship.

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  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    I'm seeing a distinction between "We're friends, lets do something besides study or whatever we do on campus" and "Let's do something, but just as friends" ?

    Granted, me not grasping some nuanced trifle of human socialization is hardly a newsworthy, but I don't see how the former is impolite. The latter seems as potentially rude and presumptuous as you say, but they don't feel the same.

    One is a declaration of friendship, and a proposition to do things. The other is a proposition to do things, and a stipulation that you don't want them touching you.

  • billwillbillwill Registered User regular
    Drez hit why I don't want to clarify it as "just friends" right on the head. Any way I play it out in my head, it seems really rude and condescending.

    I'm not worried about being rejected, ArbitraryDescriptor (also that's lame that the new forum cut off the last part of your name!). I've been rejected a few times and it's just something you accept and move on. It's just that I'm terrible at reading signs. I don't have a clue if she likes me or not, and I really don't want to hurt her feelings if she does.

    I'm thinking maybe just asking her to hang out in a spontaneous way would eliminate the possibility of it being a date? Like, "Hey, you get off at 3:15, right? Want to grab some food after class today?" And once I've done that a few times, the friend relationship will have been established.

    Also, I know that maybe someone will ask her out between now and the time that I'm "ready." If that happens, it happens. Sure, if I develop feelings for her I might kick myself, but I'm not going to try and transition into a relationship now because if she did accept it wouldn't be fair to her. I just have too much on my plate at this point in my life to even consider a girlfriend. And if she still is single down the line and I realize I do like her, I'll tell her how I feel then.

    I hate you and you hate me.
  • intelnaviintelnavi Registered User regular
    Once in the friend zone, good luck leaving it.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    intelnavi wrote:
    Once in the friend zone, good luck leaving it.

    Hush, you.
    billwill wrote:
    It's just that I'm terrible at reading signs. I don't have a clue if she likes me or not, and I really don't want to hurt her feelings if she does.

    I'm thinking maybe just asking her to hang out in a spontaneous way would eliminate the possibility of it being a date? Like, "Hey, you get off at 3:15, right? Want to grab some food after class today?" And once I've done that a few times, the friend relationship will have been established.
    This seems like a plan then. You can't control whether she already likes you or not, and how you ask her to hang out isn't going to change it. Your level of interest should become apparent to her before she escalates any potential feelings for you to the point that your disinterest will hurt her more then than it would now.

    But, again, I am a clumsy oaf with the emotions of others, and I assume that what wouldn't hurt me wouldn't hurt them.

  • TheLizbotTheLizbot Registered User regular
    \
    intelnavi wrote:
    Once in the friend zone, good luck leaving it.

    I sort of think the "friend zone" thing is a myth. I was friends with my husband for four years before we realized we'd each been pining secretly for one another since day one. Good luck with your lady friend, billwill, and good luck if she ever becomes a ladyfriend.

  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    You're overthinking it. Ask her like you'd ask any of your guy friends. No disclaimers, don't worry about how she might receive it until it happens.

  • billwillbillwill Registered User regular
    To be honest, I've never really believed in the friend zone (though it's not like I'm qualified to comment on it because of experience). If someone is used to seeing you as a friend, fine, it may make them think a bit to see you in a different light once you've revealed your feelings. But it's not like some permanent thing that you can't ever leave. I've witnessed guys and girls move from friendship to relationship plenty of times (and sometimes they've even known each other for years).

    I hate you and you hate me.
  • Descendant XDescendant X Outpost 31Registered User regular
    I really liked it when we had a rule in H/A about mentioning the Friend Zone.

    I'm married to a woman who started out as a friend. The friend zone doesn't exist, it's a construct created by social retards who don't know how to behave around and treat women.

    Garry: I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time I'd rather not spend the rest of the winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!
  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    billwill wrote:
    To be honest, I've never really believed in the friend zone (though it's not like I'm qualified to comment on it because of experience). If someone is used to seeing you as a friend, fine, it may make them think a bit to see you in a different light once you've revealed your feelings. But it's not like some permanent thing that you can't ever leave. I've witnessed guys and girls move from friendship to relationship plenty of times (and sometimes they've even known each other for years).

    The "friend-zone" only exists in so much as you put yourself there. And by that I mean allow yourself to get in league with a person that likes to have a lot of dating options and will string people along to get benefits, and then be impotent enough to willingly subject yourself to such treatment. That said going from a platonic friendship can certainly have pitfalls to navigate, as intimacy and sex can up the ante past people's comfort zones very quickly.

    Anyway, as to your situation, I think you should be very honest with yourself right now whether you are attracted to this girl. It might sound easy today when you're both single, but if you have feelings for her, it will be hard when she starts dating someone else. Otherwise, like others have said, just don't make a big deal out of it, casually invite her along to things you are going to be doing and let it naturally go from there.

    Dark_Side on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I may have missed something obvious here but when has, "Hi (x) I'm going to go see movie (y) (or going to venue Y), would you like to come with?"

    Seriously, you don't have to put the movies on a friend just because she's a girl. There is nothing relationship about this whole thing I guess. You don't need to say "as just friends." or anything deeper. You just have to phrase it as "I'm going regardless, would you like to come with?"

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Hint. Boys and girls can be just friends. It happens all the time.

    Just ask her to do something like you would a male friend. Easy.

    Also, there is no such thing as the "friend zone". Anyone who uses that term is a Goose Goose goosety goosety goose who has no goosety idea how real relationships work.

    Esh on
  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I would use careful language. "Hang out" is good, and I would avoid obvious dating scenarios like seeing a movie. At least initially.

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  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote:
    billwill wrote:
    It seems like just saying it's not a date right away would be a little rude and also close the door on potential dates down the line when I am ready to take that step. Is there some way to phrase it or something that is universally accepted as just friends?

    Why can't you just say what you mean?
    "We're too awesome to not be friends outside of school. I'm going hiking with duder and whatsherface, you want to go?"

    This ought definitely to work for group settings. With regards to one-on-one platonic hangings-out, only because so many other assholes have ruined this for us by asking out women with whom they were on ostensibly platonic terms under the pretenses of friendship only to ambush them with romantic or sexual interests somewhere between the dinner and dessert courses, you may want to be prepared to be a little more explicit about why you want to hang out.

    And by "explicit," I here mean "straightforward and honest." Don't hold back part of what you're thinking and feeling right now just in case you might change your mind about dating at some point down the line. For one thing, withholding part of the truth from a friend is, generally speaking, not a very friendly thing to do. Moreover, if you do find yourself developing a romantic interest in her in the future, you can revisit the subject, again in a straightforward and honest fashion, and not come across like one of those aforementioned assholes who develop friendships with women only to ambush them romantically later.

    Pretty much completely agree with this, particularly the bold part. I think starting out as a group is a great way to go, because it's pretty clear that you're asking to hang out with her as a friend. You can also suggest she bring some of her friends, if she'd like. Even if your friends flake out and it just ends up being the two of you going on the hike, the original intention was clear and it doesn't come off as date-y.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Hint. Boys and girls can be just friends. It happens all the time.

    Just ask her to do something like you would a male friend. Easy.

    Also, there is no such thing as the "friend zone". Anyone who uses that term is a Goose Goose goosety goosety goose who has no goosety idea how real relationships work.

    Exactly. I'd use the same lines I'd use for my guy friends on a girl. "I'm going to XYZ, would you like to come with?"

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Its tricky. I mean, if you ask a girl to go do X just the two of you, what defines the date? What defines hitting on them? Ive gone out to dinner with girls I had just started getting to know and didnt hit on them, but id very much consider those first dates or even second/third. I was getting to know them to decide if I had interest. Some led to something sexy down the road, some led to friendship, some led to nothing.

    So how would you go about making it clear that a) its not a date, or b) it is a date? Im pretty sure almost everyone I know in real life would consider two single folks of the opposite sex going out to an activity together just the two of them as a date unless it is specifically mentioned that it isnt one, for whatever reasons.

    EDIT: I guess, IMO it IS a date, but something being a date isnt a big deal. You don't go on a date with a girl to decide right then and there you want to marry them or even get in a serious relationship with them. You go on a date to get to know them. There is a difference between going on a date with someone and dating someone.

    Disrupter on
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    What's a date? Something that is mutually agreed upon to be a date. "Would you like to go out on a date?" is generally a good question to gauge that. Phrasing your question in a form of, again, "I am going to XYZ, would you like to go too?" pretty much excludes dating as an option, as you're going there with or without them. Be mindful of this, if it appears one of you thinks its a date, remind yourself/them.

    If they say, "Sorry I don't really like you that way." feel free to add in that it wasn't mean to be a personal date type situation and apologize. If they just say no, leave it at that.

    You guys are looking far to deep into this. Girls like to do things with friends just as much as guys. Having a penis or vagina doesn't change any of this and really doesn't change anything. You just have to be mindful of what you say and how you say it if you're trying to avoid them thinking it's a date. If she assumes my statement earlier is a date like setting, she's naive or is interested in dating. In which case feel free to explore that route. Outright saying, "Would you like to go to XYZ with me, you know, just as friends" makes you seem like an asshole, honest, but an asshole.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • rockmonkeyrockmonkey Registered User regular
    Just ask her to go do X with you. She shouldn't assume a date, and if she wonders (for good or bad) in her head whether it's supposed to be a date she will have figured it out based on what happens throughout the activity itself. Guys do this too sometimes, but by the context clues and the way you act during the activity she should be clear that it's NOT a date by the end. Then if you hang out a few times and you still act just like a friend and don't attempt any date like things (repeated physical touching, paying for her, heavy flirting, etc) then it'll be even MORE obvious that you didn't intend them to be dates.

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  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    It's not tricky. I don't have any problem asking a woman who's a friend to go do something, whether it's see a movie or get together for dinner or go on a hike. No one "ruined" this for guys in general. If women keep thinking you're asking them on a date then it's something about how you're acting that's creeping them out. This is really simple unless you lack the social awareness to speak to women as normal human beings.

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