Break the Ice, Don’t Shatter the Ice

So, you’ve me the guy/girl, you get the guy/girl’s number, it all finally worked for you.  You weren’t an idiot, you  might have been nervous, but you were always yourself.  Now, how do you make the first contact after that initial sweaty-palmed masquerade that is meeting new people?  Well, this is pretty simple, but can still be really weird.  It doesn’t matter the medium, thebest thing to start with is, “Hey, it was great meeting you yesterday” (if you just met, obviously) or “Hey, it was great seeing you again/running into you yesterday” (if it’s a person you’ve already met).  It’s nice, straight-forward, and non-committal.  It doesn’t say “All I want to do is talk about me” (a big no-no) and it doesn’t say “Ithinkaboutyouallthetimeandsometimesfollowyouhome.Pleaseloveme!” (again, uh uh).  Now, this approach works only if you are just meeting someone for the first time or you run into someone and tell them you’ll look them up on Twitter or Facebook.

Another way to approach someone you’ve known for a while but want to know in a different kind of way is just a simple, “Hey, how are you?”  This is super simple, and generally leads to a Here’s-what’s-new-with-me-What’s-new-with-you conversation.

The main goal of the first contact after you meet someone is to find time to spend together face-to-face, and getting to that is much trickier.  It’s hard to not sound like a creepy stalker, so a little tiny bit of creepy stalker is okay.  Generally, I would say you need to say something short and sweet but make sure the person knows you’re asking them out.  In the same way that people on the receiving end need to not be an idiot, so too do people doing the asking.  Saying “we should hang out sometime” is an idiot move, and it’s vague and annoying as hell.  “We should hang out sometime” is too friendly and can be really confusing.  Now, if you were to say, “You know, I’d like to spend time with you, we should hang out sometime,” that sounds much more like a date because you are being specific. You are saying you want to get to know the other person better and it’s much more obviously about the other person and a one-on-one situation.

Personally, I’m a fan of being straightforward.  Saying, “Listen, would you want to go out with me sometime” or “Do you want to go on a date with me” would work wonders on a girl like me and a lot of other women.  It’s very direct and it takes a lot of courage to come out and say it. For someone to put themselves out there like is very brave.  Also, if you’re nervous and it shows, it can be very endearing to the person you are asking out.   Most of all, you want to break the ice but not shatter the ice. Say “Hi, how are you, nice to meet you” keep it simple, make small(ish) talk (meaning get to know the person but no big hot-button topics), and ask the person out.  Don’t get too creepy or too needy, that would shatter the glass, make you look ridiculous and weird.  Just try to be natural, be yourself–because that’s the important part.  If you aren’t yourself, you’re selling yourself short and the person you’re interested in short.

Keep it flirty, too.  Make sure you’re slipping a little bit of flirting into the conversation, subtle compliments, things like that.  Remember not to go creepy stalker, and all, “You’re so pretty…hehe” because, well, that’s just weird.  It’s fun to find ways to flirt and update at the same time, flirt and meet someone new at the same time.  And you’re palms should sweat and you probably should stumble a bit over your words.  That’s endearing, and keeps it interesting. This stage is a balancing act, and if you balance right between feeling like an idiot (not ACTING like an idiot) and being direct in your approach, you will breeze passed the first contact and into your first date.

Act Like an Idiot, but Don’t Be an Idiot

Alright, Nerdlets, here is the most important thing to remember when you are dating someone or in a relationship with someone.  Don’t. Be. An. Idiot.  Now you can act like an idiot all you want, hell, it’s inevitable and might be endearing, but don’t actually become an idiot.  For example, while on a date with someone, you can stumble over words or do the awkward do-I-hug-her-or-kiss-her-goodnight dance, but don’t spend all night on your phone or talk about yourself all night.  Those actions MAKE you an idiot and not worth your date’s time.  The easiest way to not be an idiot is to pay attention.   In all relationships, either casual dating or not, people want to feel like what they have to say and what they do is important, and you prove that to your date by paying attention and ACTIVELY wanting to know more. It’s give and take, you give a little and then you get a little. You’ll know that you’re just in it for the possibility of going home with your date for meaningless but hopefully enjoyable sex if you don’t care even a little bit about what they are saying.  And if that is happening on a first date, don’t expect the relationship to go anywhere.  I hate it when I feel like I’m doing all the giving and getting nothing in return. I mean really, really hate it!  Now, if you and your date are just starting to text or chat on a social medium, then it’s not as big of a deal, but don’t leave a person hanging.  Not only does it make the person doing all of the giving or initiating the conversation think he/she is going crazy and making a bigger deal of a potential date than it should be, but it isn’t exactly conducive to future bliss.

Now here is a fairly common scenario: I recently asked a gentleman out via Facebook (a medium I approve of because it’s not the medium that counts as much as the message).  I’m almost positive I was clear about my intentions, and he did say yes to going out and getting coffee, but I’ve not exactly heard from this person in a few days.  This is the way it should go.  One person initiates the conversation, presumably to ask the person out to some kind of social situation so they can get to know each other better.  After the initial contact and agreement to go out, it’s the other person’s turn to start a conversation so that it doesn’t feel completely one-sided.  Yes, this sounds very much like a bunch of elementary schoolers playing kickball on the pavement, but, honestly, people need to realize when it is their turn to initiate conversation. This is the give-and-take part to the beginning of a new dating relationship.  A lot of people don’t understand this, that despite the fact that people get busy or have a ton of things to do, it takes about 10 seconds, give or take, to answer a text or message of some kind, and not only does it relieve some of the anxiety in your date (especially if they asked you out on a date), but it shows her/him that you are interested in what they have to say. It shows you’re paying attention and taking a few seconds out of your day to think about her/him. That’s what really matters.

And realize when you are being asked out on a date!  Don’t be an idiot!  If you meet someone once, they friend you on Facebook, and then ask you out for lunch or coffee or a movie festival or something, you are being asked out.  If you get someone’s number in a bar and they text you the next day, they most likely want to get to know you better and either expect you to ask them out or will eventually ask you out.  It’s harder to know if you are being asked out if you have known the person for a while, but if you have any questions about whether you are being asked out, ask! I’m a big believer in being honest and upfront.  If you are unsure if you are being asked out, a simple “like a date?” or “is this a date?” can easily be answered, and if you are asking someone out saying something like, “You know I’m asking you out on a date, right?” or “So it’s a date!” works really well.  If you slip the word “date” into the conversation, like a “coffee date” or a “lunch date,” then you are being really clear if the other person is not being an idiot.

Remember, it’s really hard to ask someone out. It’s scary because you are putting yourself out there in a pretty vulnerable way, and, yes, you might feel or think you’re an idiot.  That’s very normal, but if you never put yourself out there, you’ll live your life watching old reruns of Boy Meets World and writing blogs about dating rather than actually dating. Take a chance, realize when you are being asked out, and act accordingly.  Don’t be an idiot.