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17 Must-Knows to Ask a Friend Out On a Date Subtly & Not Risk the Friendship

Do you have your eye on someone who just so happens to be a friend right now? It’s tricky territory, but you can learn how to ask a friend out the right way. 

ask a friend out on a date

Are you confused about your feelings toward a friend? Do you think you like a good friend in a more-than-a-friend kind of way? And most importantly, do you want to know how to ask a friend out on a date without losing them, or your friendship with them, forever?

Understanding what to do when your feelings toward a friend are more than platonic can be difficult. To help you out, here’s a complete guide on dealing with the confusing dilemma of crushing on a friend. [Read: Should you date your best friend? 32 pros, cons & signs to make sparks]

Is it a good idea to date a friend?

Before we get into how to ask a friend out on a date, let’s put the most obvious thing out there.

They may not feel the same way. It’s harsh to say, but it’s a risk you need to be aware of. If they don’t, what does that mean for your friendship?

You need to think carefully about whether it’s a good idea to date this friend before you make a move. How important is this friendship to you, and could you handle it if they turned you down? If the friendship is very close to your heart, you might want to wait it out and be more sure about their reaction before taking the plunge.

Of course, that’s the negative side. There is a positive side to consider. [Read: First date with a friend – How to go from friends to something more]

Maybe your friend has feelings for you too, or maybe those feelings could develop over time. The very best relationships started out as friendships, first of all.

So, we can’t tell you for definite whether it’s a good idea to date your friend or not, but we can give you advice on how to approach it and the signs to look for that they feel the same way. [Read: How to be friends with someone you love without losing your mind]

Things to think about before making the first move

This could be the start of something amazing, but it may also be something that makes your friendship a little rocky for a while. To minimize the risks and maximize the opportunity, it’s important to cover all bases before you do anything.

1. Make sure your feelings are real

What do you actually feel? It’s normal to develop a crush sometimes, and if that’s all this is, it might not be something you want to pursue right now.

Take a weekend or a few days and ask yourself if you really like your friend. If you’re still not sure, it’s better you go clubbing and hook up with someone for a fling rather than damage a good friendship. Sometimes, we end up assuming we’ve fallen in love with a friend just because of all the attention we’re getting from the opposite sex.

However, if you’re sure that you’ve developed strong feelings for your friend and you can’t stand not knowing if they feel the same, you know what you need to do. [Read: Falling for a friend – Why it happens & what to do about this attraction]

2. Understand the cold, hard facts

Look, we don’t want to be negative here *although it’s likely that you think we are so far*. But we just don’t want you to end up with a broken friendship because you didn’t take the time to think everything through.

Know that by taking things beyond friendship, or at least asking, you’re opening a gate that you may struggle to close. Can your friendship survive this, or will it be the end?

Also, if the two of you find that you aren’t compatible dating-wise, can you go back to being just friends? [Read: How to learn from the rejections you’ve faced]

3. Put a game plan in place

When it comes to asking a friend out on a date, it’s not the same as asking someone you don’t know. There’s a lot more at stake here. That means you need a plan.

Plan out what you want to say, when you’re going to say it, and how you’re going to say it. Spend some time observing their actions that may suggest they like you too before you do anything to either give you confidence or perhaps to tell you that this isn’t the best idea.

4. Ask yourself ‘what is the worst that could happen?’

Go on, ask yourself. Again, it’s not about being negative, it’s about being prepared. By understanding the worst-case scenario, you can work out how to avoid or minimize it. [Read: When will I find love? 20 secrets that will help you find the one]

What to do when you like a friend

Perhaps you’ve loved this friend since the very first time you set your eyes on them, or perhaps “true love” blossomed out of your long friendship.

Now, do you tell your friend about your crush, or do you just hold it in your gut while another person whisks them away from right under your nose? But even if you have to blurt it out, how are you supposed to know if the feeling will be mutual?

We’ve talked about things you need to think about before you do anything, but how do you handle the situation if you really want to make a move? [Read: Falling in love with your best friend? The right words to help you]

1. Are they single?

If you’re really sure that you’re madly in love with your friend, is your friend single? If your pal is already happy in a good relationship, it’s probably better to just drop the thought than to split up a couple just to satisfy your needs.

And you’ve got to realize that if you’re good enough to break the couple’s love, why isn’t this crush of yours with you already? [Read: How to get a girl with a boyfriend]

2. Start edging out of the ‘friend zone’

Warm your friend up into love the right way, and before you know it, your friend might just fall in love with you!

In almost four cases out of five, when you ask a friend out, it is turned down. It’s not because you’re not attractive or fun to be with. It’s just that there was no reason for your friend to look at you as a potential date.

You need to let your friend know you’ve got more than friendship on your mind. Start introducing some light flirting into your conversations, seek out moments when you can innocently touch them on their arm or their hand, and find ways to steer the topic onto yours and theirs dating lives.

If you make it clear that you are dating material, perhaps, your friend will be able to give you a thought as a potential mate. [Read: How to talk to a guy and make him like you]

3. Don’t just blurt it out when you’re drunk

Never use the stupidest and most common ploy, which is getting psychotically drunk, and either grabbing them and groping everywhere or droning on about how much you love them.

That will most likely make your friend run away. You might call this an act of punch-drunk love, but everyone else calls it evidence for a restraining order!

4. Start by being subtle

If you want to let your friend know what’s on your mind, let them know, but do it in a very subtle manner. To begin with, flirt a bit. See if you get anything reciprocating back toward you.

Accept that there is no sure sign to know that your friend is becoming infatuated with you unless they grab you near the corner and start making out you. But you could at least let them know that they are looking at a new side of you, something they will hopefully like. [Read: Subtle body language moves to appear more confident]

5. Show your fun side

Don’t ever behave like a doormat when this friend is around, and don’t throw yourself at their feet. Have fun when the both of you are together, and make sure you give your crush a lot of space.

Let your friend miss you once in a while, and let them know that being with you is fun and something that they enjoy. This is probably the best way to get your crush to like you. [Read: How to be funny – 28 must-know tips to make everyone love your humor]

6. Pay them plenty of attention

One of the first steps in knowing how to date a friend is to let your friend know that you favor them and pay more attention to them than you do to anyone else.

It shows that you’re interested in knowing them better, and at the same time, it also brings both of you closer.

But always remember this – giving them your attention doesn’t necessarily mean you have to accept anything this friend says. Have your own views, but let your friend know that you take theirs seriously enough to give them your undivided attention.

This is the first step in creating a closer bond between both of you. [Read: How to get a girl’s attention and impress her before saying a word]

7. Make eye contact

When it comes to knowing how to date a friend, it’s all about building the momentum up slowly. You need to make your friend wonder if there’s something going on, and yet, you should never ever make it obvious.

Look deep into your friend’s eyes when you have a conversation with them, almost like you’re mesmerized by your friend. You don’t need to make it obvious by staring hard. Instead, just smile, open your eyes and let it sparkle!

It sends the right message across without really using any words. [Read: Prolonged eye contact when flirting – What it means and how to do it]

8. Slowly turn up the flirting

One of the best ways to start flirting with a friend is to smile and blush a lot. This will come naturally when you like someone, but smiling and blushing automatically create a perfect atmosphere for flirty conversations.

Don’t go all out with the flirting and make it glaringly obvious, but instead, use subtle flirtatious remarks, such as little compliments about their appearance, with the aforementioned eye contact. They’ll start wondering whether they’re understanding you properly or not.

Then, the next time you see them, turn up the flirting a tiny amount more. Keep doing this until it’s quite clear that you like them. [Read: How to text flirt with a friend]

9. Get touchy-feely

You’ve warmed your friend up, and you’ve started flirting, so now it’s time to start getting touchy-feely.

Don’t ever paw your friend or cling to their arm. Be graceful in your touches, and do it only at the appropriate moment. Never linger your touch longer than required, and always do it purposefully and delicately. [Read: How to flirt by touching]

10. Never let things get awkward

You’ve been sending out the signals constantly, but there may be times when your friend is still not ready to reciprocate your feelings. Or, they may not feel the chemistry to play along with your flirty moves.

If your friend even mentions in passing that you’ve been behaving weirdly or have been treating them differently, back away for a few days.

Your friend may like your new behavior or even dislike it, but no matter what, you still haven’t warmed your friend up yet, so don’t accept that things have changed or that you’re falling for your friend. It’s always better to play it safe than to nip a budding romance.

You may be rushing it and jumping to the next step before they’re ready. [Read: Love your best friend? Why it’s best to back away right now]

11. Spend some time alone

If you ever find your friend alone, or if you can find a way to get some alone time, make sure you use it. Now that you’ve been flirting and getting touchy-feely, your friend will obviously sense something in the air.

Your next move is to let your friend know that you’re great company and dating potential too. By spending alone time with your friend and flirting with them, you’re making it very clear that you have more than just friendship on your mind. [Read: Are you more than friends?]

But don’t ever directly ask your friend to spend time with you or go out to a café. Always look for opportunities, but never make it overtly obvious that you’re up to something or are trying to fix a date. Spending some alone time in the hallway, in the office or in the college cafeteria is perfect for starters.

It’s casual and yet, very effective. [Read: Smart and devious ways to see your friend naked]

12. Let your friend know they’re desirable

Letting your friend know they’re desirable is one of the best ways to send the right signals out without really asking them out. Don’t talk about emotions here. Instead, talk about their physical aspects – emotional compliments can always be misunderstood as friendly compliments.

“You know, you’re so cute when you do that…” or “you look so hot today” are safe examples of letting a friend know you find them attractive without really getting over the top.

Always keep it physical so that your friend understands that you do think of them more than just platonically. [Read: 25 friends with benefits rules if you want to sleep with a friend]

13. Know that you’re going to have to be brave

Once you think the time is right and you feel that your friend has got enough of a hint to wonder if there’s something more than just friendship brewing between the both of you, get your moves right. Be brave, find the perfect time, and pick a quiet moment. Ask them if they want to go out with you sometime.

Yes, as more than just friends.

Let your friend know that there’s no pressure, and if they don’t want to, it’s alright, and you’d be happy to remain good friends. Be prepared for a knockback, and hope for the best. [Read: How to be fearless – 18 ways to set aside fear and live like a champion]

If it doesn’t work out…

You’ve tried your best, you’ve got your message across, and there’s nothing more you can do. But be nice, however disappointed you may feel. You may have built things up in your head, but it’s nobody’s fault that your friend didn’t see things the way you wanted them to see them.

Make it a point to keep in touch, but don’t trail along like you’ve got no one else or nothing better to do. And stop whining about the great love that never was.

Mark it down as an experience. Make sure your life doesn’t revolve around this friend, however hard it might seem. This will only make things harder for you as well as for your friend.

Have fun with other people and try finding someone who fancies you just as much as you fancy them. [Read: How to handle rejection without making a fool of yourself]

If your friend accepts…

Lucky you! We told you it would work! Good for you!

[Read: How to deal with rejection from friends and pick yourself back up]

So now that you know how to ask a friend out on a date, keep these pointers in mind and always remember to play it cautiously. Send out a few interested signals and try to find out what your friend thinks before you pop the question.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...