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Background

One similar question is How to clearly communicate that you're asking someone on a date?, but here my situation is noticeably different.

I am from India and many girls don't even know that there is a word called "date". Date is very unpopular in Indian culture.

Question

I have a female friend that I've known for 2 years. We mostly communicate through WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. We know the western culture a bit more than other Indians do (we both study in local universities that have some western background, but nothing more than that).

I want to invite her to watch a movie or to go on a one-day trip.

This is a very uncommon invitation since in our culture two friends (girl and boy) never go watching a film together unless they are boyfriend and girlfriend.

I can directly ask it because we are very close. But if she really doesn't like it, our friendship will be damaged.

I don't want to make her uncomfortable and I don't want to damage our friendship.

So how could I ask her for a date without damaging our friendship and without making her uncomfortable?

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    You mentioned that you are both more familiar with western culture. Is it fair to assume that like you, she is also aware of what a date is? – Jesse Apr 3 '18 at 7:23
  • Also, could you explain what a "long trip" is? I imagine its just a type of date that will last longer than a short coffee. Either way, I think a question about inviting someone on a date, and asking for sex are very clearly different. It might be best to focus on one. – Jesse Apr 3 '18 at 7:29
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    maybe the following is a studid question, but I don't understand: how do you move from the friends status to the bf/gf status if you don't go out on a date? you just say "from today we are bf/gf"? – Val Apr 3 '18 at 7:49
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    To watch a movie together it's not necessary to know what the word "date" means. I wonder if boyfriend and girlfriend don't do activities until they are a couple so how do they become a couple? – puck Apr 4 '18 at 6:12
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    "Date", "Dating" is not common word in India, really??? – Rohit5k2 Apr 4 '18 at 10:47
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You may be worrying excessively because you are scared of the possible consequences. Of course, if this is important to you then you are right to take care! But you are telling us that you already believe dating is acceptable, and that you and your friend are already "very close" and both aware of Western culture. You have good reason to believe she could already think the same way as you do on this.

You also said in comments that you have romantic intentions for the "date", but seem to feel that this would not make you boyfriend and girlfriend. I don't know enough about Indian culture but I'm guessing that to be "boyfriend and girlfriend" is more serious than in Western culture - perhaps more like being engaged? Western culture isn't all it is cracked up to be, and real life isn't like the movies. But there is something to be said for getting to know a person well before becoming romantically involved. It sounds like you already know this person fairly well.

Considering all points above, I would say your goal is to determine how she feels about the Western concept of dating, rather than specifically ask her how she feels about a date with you.

As aspects of Western culture are present in your universities, perhaps you could wait for the subject to present itself (or maneuver conversation to some aspect of Westernisation) and ask:

How do you feel about Westernisation / Western culture changing our own culture?

Discuss for as long as you wish, and then ask specifically:

What are your opinions on dating? Do you think it is a good thing?

... and see what she thinks.

If she is positive about it then go straight in and ask her:

How would you feel about a date with me?

One thing you may need to consider are how your families and friends may view this. If this is not the norm in your culture then you may face a situation where she is open to the idea but still may not want to go through with it because of what others may think. You should be understanding if this is the case. If a relationship is what you both really want then it may take time for both of you to work out how you can achieve it given your surroundings.

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    Really good answer... What are your opinions on dating? Do you think it is a good thing? is the question I think we need to discuss. After that I can decide should I asked How would you feel about a date with me? according her reply – I am the Most Stupid Person Apr 3 '18 at 9:38
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I am an Indian, and having gone on dates, I would say don't call it a date. Just ask if she would like to go on a "insert activity here" with you. The risk associated with this kind of question is always there, whether you call it a date or not. But not calling it a date gives you and her the flexibility to go on a date without calling it a date- and is less risky. It gives the girl also the flexibility to test your relationship before declaring it to be something. I don't know how old you are or your circumstances, but in India, boy and girl do go on movies by themselves not declaring to be bf/gf. I have gone for movies/concerts with friends who were girls. This happened while we were working together. Some of them are still my friends, one turned to be my wife.

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Based on the answer you gave me in the comments, now it's more clear to me.

Since you said that the first official date is something like a "test" for your relationship, why not telling her that you would like to do this test? You go out for a movie and then you will see if going on with this or just remain friends.

You said you are very close, and I assume that she understands the meaning of a date too, so it shouldn't be a problem to ask her this..

what if we go out for a movie / a one-day trip? I really like your company and I would like to make a step forward in our relationship.

There is always a risk in this kind of requests, as in all boy - girl friendship which ends in such a request: if she says no, the friendship could not be same again.

So my answer to your question is: if you want to be sure that your friendship will not be damaged, don't ask her, because you will never be sure that her answer will be yes. But I think that if you really like her it worths a try.

Good luck!

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    Upvoting because this knowledge is important to the Western native's experience and understanding of the phenomenon of "dating". Asking someone out is taking a chance - especially if it's a person with whom you already have a friendship. You're risking more than just a "No thanks" rejection, and there's no interpersonal trick or skill to make that risk go away. – Beanluc Apr 3 '18 at 20:47
  • Do you have any personal experiences or references that can be used to back up this answer? – Jesse Apr 6 '18 at 7:07
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Warning: I know nothing about Indian culture, so maybe this doesn't work at all in your case.


What I would do in such situation is to try to understand what she expects from a relationship, what she thinks about dates, and so on. You seem to be close friends, so maybe it's the kind of conversation you could have together, like:

I like the idea of dates. I think they're a great way to get to know the person you like. I would like to go on dates with the person I like before becoming his/her boyfriend, because I truly think it can help reinforcing bonds. What do you think about it?

By doing this you do not tell her that you have feelings for her, and you ask her "Hey, how should a relationship begin according to you? What would you like to do with your SO before getting together?". This could be the kind of conversation friends could have, like if they were asking for advice or something. This would help you having an idea on whether she likes dates and could go on one with you. The problem of my answer however, is that after that, if you ask her on a date afterwards she'll be certain that you like her and want to have a relationship with her. I say this because in my country flirting is not straightforward at all and people can be close for months and go on dates together before one admits he/she likes the other. But if going on a date means trying to begin a relationship for both of you and that she accepts, well there's no problem then!

HTH!

  • Even if you don't know about Indian culture, giving a relevant personal experience as context can help ground your answer and explain why it may be useful – Jesse Apr 6 '18 at 7:09
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I would not invite someone over to watch a movie or to go on a one-day trip as a first approach.

Invite first someone you are interested for short one-to-one meetings in a coffee shop or somewhere in the city just to have a short talk, in that way it will be a less stressful environment, and provides an easy way out if one of the parties is not romantically interested. Those first meetings should not last much more than 1-2h.

If after a couple of those meetings both of you still keep on interest on getting on together, go then for the option of doing several one day outings.

I would leave the option of the two of you seeing a movie together, for when you are more romantically involved unless you are seeing the movie with a group of friends of both sexs.

I have used this approach in the past successfully, including with my current wife which comes from a rather conservative background. It also worked with two former girlfriends from my culture, however the feedback I had from them is that they thought I was going too slow. I do however as an adult guy, also prefer the approach I am describing.

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Indian woman here. An acquaintance and I decided to have coffee one day. After reaching the venue, he says, 'Thank you for coming to the date.' Yuck. I told him it is not a date and left the place. When asking out, tell the other person clearly if you want a casual outing with them or a date. Things would be very clear.

Do not overthink and do not complicate it. If you do not want to spoil the relationship, be clear in your thoughts.

You could always say, 'There is a nice XYZ place that sells delicious ABC food. I am going there this evening. Want to join me?'. Keep the tone casual. Don't sound desperate.

Or say, 'This movie is very interesting. I love so and so person's role a lot. Want to watch it?'

If it is a one day trip that you want, then you need to start with short one or two hour meet ups.

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