The dating game can be a minefield of embarrassment, awkward moments and infinite cringing.
We often worry about what will happen when we let our guard down and put ourselves out there, exposing our vulnerability to the people whose opinions we care about most.
What if your crush doesn’t like you ‘in that way’? But then again, what if they do…
We asked psychologist and relationships coach Sam Owen to give us some tips on how best to take the plunge and let someone know that you want to date.
Here are her top tips for taking things to the next level.
How to tell someone you’re romantically interested in them
“There are plenty of you who are nervous about how to approach the whole dating thing.
“So whilst millions are desperate to find someone to spend their life with, allow me to help you avert drama as you search for that special someone.
“The next time you want to tell someone you’re romantically interested in them, use these tips to help:
1. Wouldn’t say that to their face? Don’t say it online
As a good rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it in person under the same circumstances – the setting (professional, social, religious, etc), period of acquaintance, strength of relationship and method of introduction – then don’t say it online.
2. Reserve tongue-in-cheek for face-to-face
If you are going to use a tongue-in-cheek approach, it’s better to do it in person so that the other person gets the non-verbal cues, too – and doesn’t misconstrue your humour.
3. Be respectful
If you’re not sure how they are going to take your advances, start the sentence in a way that lets them know you are treating them with respect, that you only have good intentions and that they reserve the right to say, “Thank you but no thank you.”
What not to do:
Something like, “I just want to let you know that I like you and would love to take you out on a date if you would ever welcome the opportunity.
“If not, I totally respect your choice but if you do, it would be nice to get to know each other a little more.”
4. Nurture a friendship first
If you’ve only ever interacted with them on social media, nurture a sincere friendship first and once there’s some familiarity, use the previous tip to help you ask them out.
5. Met them on a night out? Use body language
If you meet someone on a night out, first use your body language to convey you’re interested, e.g. prolonged or repeat eye contact, grooming yourself, licking your lips, and have your pelvis/body facing them.
When you’ve got similar cues back from them, approaching them will feel like the logical next step, feel much easier and will more likely result in success.
6. Get the relationship ‘offline’ as soon as possible
If you meet online on a dating website then be respectful but you needn’t feel uneasy.
Everyone on there is looking to date so just get the relationship offline as soon as possible to know for sure if there is anything between you worth pursuing.
7. And if you’re crushing over a colleague…
Lastly, when it’s a colleague you’re likely to keep bumping into in a professional setting, it can be a gamble if only one of you has romantic feelings for the other.
For this reason, you’ll probably want to nurture the friendship and feel confident the feelings are mutual before you ask them, “Want to grab a coffee sometime?”
Sam Owen is a relationships coach and psychologist who helps coaching clients globally. Get more free tips on Twitter, on her website and her YouTube channel.