Social cues can be tough to read without the vagaries of a dating site. Newcomers to Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and many other online dating platforms often find themselves entrenched in decidedly sticky, awkward situations. Fortunately, all of this can be avoided – so long as you know how to behave, of course.
However, learning the local customs and etiquette of sites like Tinder can still be challenging, so you will need to proceed cautiously. In this guide, you will learn how to spend time with someone without it seeming like a date. With this knowledge, you can curb the initial awkwardness of meeting someone new and fraternize, instead, with candor and confidence.
Asking someone out platonically may seem counterintuitive if your intention is to date them. However, there are a few good reasons why taking the time to get to know someone first as a friend can actually improve your chances of success further down the line.
Although sites like Tinder tend to favor a rapid-fire approach, once you exchange numbers with someone and get to know them a little better, things can slow down drastically. At this point, you may realize that the person you have been chatting with may not be the one for you.
Still, it never hurts to gain new friends. To this end, you will need to know how to ask them out platonically. You should ask them out in a casual environment and have an activity in mind before popping the question. For example, you could say:
“I’m keen on doing something this weekend. Want to join me?”
Afterward, if the waters seem to get a little muddier, it does not hurt to be upfront about your intentions.
The first step is simple in theory but tricky in practice. In order to ask someone out platonically, your approach needs to be casual – or rather, friendly.
Of course, the definition of casual is different for everyone, and as such, there is no one to go about it, no singular series of words that will always have the desired effect. However, you can improve your chances by asking them out in a semi-crowded environment.
Being around people in a casual setting tends to dispel all notions of romance, so there is no use in waiting for everyone to leave before you pop the question.
Of course, this does not apply to online settings. For example, if you are asking someone out over Tinder or WhatsApp, your best bet is to simply ask whenever the conversation allows for it. Keep your message short and simple. Leave out the heart emojis – do not give them any reason to suspect that your intentions are anything but platonic in nature.
I would love to get to know you better. Do you have time this Thursday or Friday evening for a coffee? I know this great place downtown.
It does not do to ask someone out without some idea of where the two of you might hang out or what you might be doing there. Simply asking someone to hang out is not enough – often, this only leads to more awkwardness, not to mention the fact that these sorts of plans tend to fall through.
Having an activity and a venue in mind can prevent that. Be sure to include this in your initial message or as early into the conversation as possible if you are doing it in person. Possible activities include going to a concert, going on a hike, or visiting a jazz bar or art gallery.
Although it may initially seem abrupt and presumptive, being clear about your intentions can alleviate the tension of that initial encounter and set both parties at ease. Of course, you should still remember to be polite and frienly wdhen you do this.
If declaring your intentions seems a bit too brazen for you, you could instead offer for them to bring some friends along. This should lay any doubts about the nature of your relationship to rest, at least for the time being.
Of course, if you met on a dating site, your intentions should no doubt already be as clear as day. If you are interested in them romantically, you do not need to let them know directly – telling them that you think they are cute and want to get to know them better should be enough.
Now that you know how to ask someone out, you may be parched for ideas as to what to do and where to go. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun activities for the two of you to enjoy as friends, such as going hiking or rock climbing, going to a concert, or even watching a movie together (provided it is the right movie, of course).
There is nothing like the smell of damp sweat to dispel any notions of romance.
Hiking and rock climbing are both fun activities to enjoy with a friend. Not only are they a good source of exercise, but they also do not have any opportunities for tension (romantic or not) to build. As soon as you can feel the awkwardness come surging in, all you need to do is mantle the next rock or climb the next hill.
Additionally, both hiking and rock climbing typically do not cost much, if anything. Most hiking and rock climbing also offer group discounts, which is a good excuse to invite some extra people along (thus preventing any awkwardness) and save some money.
Concert venues are loud and packed full of people – and they are the perfect place to bring a friend.
Granted, going to a concert may be expensive depending on where you live, but if you happen to come into possession of a couple of tickets, they make great fun. Additionally, due to how loud the venues are, there is not much room for talking, meaning you will not need to worry about having to suffer through any awkward conversations.
Afterward, if you would like to get to know your friend a little more, you can visit the food stalls or an ice cream shop, but be careful about steering the conversation into murky territory.
Contrary to what every romantic comedy ever would have you believe, going to see a movie with someone is actually quite restrictive in terms of romance – which is perfect for a platonic date.
The movie you see should be something you are both interested in: comedies and action films are both safe bets, but you may want to avoid watching any romantic dramas. Still, going to watch a movie together is a better idea if you have already gotten to know each other better, even if the relationship is platonic in nature.
Of course, there are plenty of other places to take your friend, but venues with lots of people tend to work best in avoiding any awkwardness.
Knowing how to act in a non-romantic setting can be tough if either of you has already given off the impression of wanting something more than friendship. Fortunately, with the right attitude and demeanor, you should be able to avoid any unnecessary tension.
The keyword, again, is casual. Just because the person you are spending time with happens to be the same gender you find yourself sexually attracted to, it does not mean that you need to act any different than you would with any of your other friends.
In general, you should avoid asking too many generic questions. Focus instead on getting to know them better on a deeper level. Ask for their opinions on things or find out about their favorite movies, foods, books, places, you name it. Additionally, do not sit too close to them or touch them unnecessarily. This may seem simple, but you would be surprised by how many people find themselves unconsciously touching their friends.
Hanging out with someone alone does not necessarily imply that the two of you share a romantic connection. However, if you have asked her out on a dating app and she has agreed to meet you in person, this is a good sign she wants to get to know you better.
Again, the best way to approach this is to act as if you are among friends – do not try to alter your behavior to seem more appealing, as so many people often do. Instead, give the person you are hanging out with a clear picture of who you are and what you want without filtering anything out.
In spite of everything we have covered, it may be that you still have your doubts about asking someone out platonically – and those doubts may not be unfounded either.
There are a few reasons as to why you may want to avoid asking someone out, even as a friend. The first is simple: if they are in a relationship, the chances are that most of their spare time is likely being taken up by their significant other. Additionally, it is best to avoid potentially awkward relationships such as these.
Another reason to avoid asking someone out would be not knowing them well enough. You may be casual acquaintances, but until you have a solid grasp of their personality, you should not ask to hang out with them.
As you can see, asking someone out as a friend is not as daunting as it may initially seem. While there is still plenty of room for error, so long as you keep things as casual as possible, you should be able to avoid any awkwardness or tension.
If you are interested in more dating advice, be sure to check out our Online Dating Success Guide, which is packed full of tips and tricks to help you get ahead. Additionally, if you would like to spruce up your online dating credentials, take a look at our online dating profile writing services. We also offer text message feedback to ensure that your conversational skills are always at their sharpest.