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How Do You Ask a New Friend Out?

A few days ago, I was in a supermarket shopping when I saw a young lady walk in. I liked her immediately.

There was something about the way she carried herself that was at once elegant and girl-next-door, and when she looked my way I saw the spark of intelligence in her eyes.

I wanted to be friends. Not just for those reasons but for the inexplicable reason that people just speak to something inside us. I used to wonder how, as toddlers in kindergarten and children in primary school, we gravitated towards some kids and not others. We couldn’t explain it then, and we can’t even now. We just like certain people.

I walked up to this lady and said hello. She resembled an old schoolmate of mine, and I told her so. I gave my name, and she responded with hers (let’s call her K).

Then, you wouldn’t believe it, I left without another word. I wanted to ask for her number so I could keep in touch, but it felt weird and so I rolled my trolley away and continued shopping.

I regretted going there without my handbag; it would have been super easy to just give her my card. She would have given me hers in return and even if she didn’t have her card with her, she would have had mine.

As it was, she had no way to keep in touch even if she wanted to. I hung around for a while trying to make myself go back and ask for her number, but it didn’t work. After a while, I had to leave as I had ‎a busy day ahead of me.

I spent the rest of the day wondering how guys do this. How do they ask girls out? ‎More importantly, how do you as a woman ask another woman out and build a friendship? I did some research and asked questions of other women, and I learned a few things:

I could have asked for a social media handle. Less personal than a phone number, it would certainly have been a breeze for me. Unfortunately, it just didn’t occur to me.

Common ground always helps. For instance, starting a conversation about any subject related to the circumstances of your meeting is a winner. At the salon? Topics related to hair care and styling are great. At the bookshop? Bringing up favorite authors and books always works magic. Even if you’re in a supermarket like I was, questions like, “I live around here, do you?” or “Do you come here often?” are helpful.

So you’ve finally gotten contact details, and you’d like to see her again? Ask if she’d like to meet up “sometime”. This way, you can measure her interest level. Don’t get into specifics such as date and time, until you’re sure she actually wants to be your friend.‎ You don’t want to force your friendship on anyone.

If she’s open to meeting up, suggest somewhere convenient for her. Sometimes, distance can be very discouraging especially if you live in one of the bigger cities. Picking a location close to where she works, lives or worships, can turn what would have been a no into a yes.

When you do get round to hanging out, be generous and pay. I did this once with a lovely lady I befriended, and she offered to pay next time. She even told me where we would be going. New friend made, second date in the bag!

Think a group date with others would work? Suggest it. You could go to the cinema, or even see a movie at your home and discuss it afterwards.

Even if an actual friendship never develops and your new “friend” turns out ‎to be just a nice acquaintance, don’t take it personally. Just like dating, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

I may never run into K again, but if I do, best believe I’ll be ready.

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Joy Ehonwa

Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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