47

I have a crush on my college friend and want to take her out to cinemas or other places. When I ask her out, she always asks me if her female friend could go along with her. I know it's not a date just hang out together. But, I really only want the two of us.

How do I politely tell her about it?

Clarifications:

  • We are in our mid 20's. We've been friends for more than 4 years; we just hang out and chit chat.
  • I need to get along with her friend, as we go to the same college.
  • I don't really know how normal this behavior is. Some girls probably play it safe, just like some of the nice answers here.
  • I'm not refusing her when she brings her friend. We still go out. But you know, sometimes I just want to be together with her when we go out - just the two of us
  • 3
    How long has she been doing this for? – Azor Ahai May 3 '18 at 16:05
151

How do I politely tell her I only want to hang out with her?

I'm pretty sure you have missed some important information from her, here. It's untold, but shown.

Having a friend of hers coming with you sends a rather clear message: "I'm not against hanging out with you, but at this time, I'm not sure, so I'll play it safe."

Why safe? Because she won't be alone with you! Step in her shoes for a couple of minutes... "Am I sure that this guy will behave? What do I do if all this turns weird? What about asking my friend, later, what they think of him?" And so on... She's setting boundaries.

She's telling you that she's not against doing things with you, but not ready to do things only with you. Some can be done now, in a certain way (hers), some need to wait until she feels ready.

Ask her on a date (because that's what you expect)? Pretty sure she'll find a way to say "no".

At the moment, her friend is her barrier: it inhibits any unexpected/unwanted movement from you. She'll feel more confident with her around, and can't get rid of her right now. It gives her a way out. How would you feel if it were you facing this?

That's why I would not ask her on a date right now. I'd show first that I'm trustworthy. And, second, that I'm a good person, respecting her choices. Be yourself, be nice: she's testing your abilities, it's a kind of "probationary period" :)

  • 12
    Not necessarily about being "safe"; she could just be avoiding a date-like situation simply because, doh, she doesn't want to date OP. You're abusing the worth "trustworthy" here. What it really means is "trusted never to make advances that she will never accept". Not "trustworthy" as in "honest decent person who keeps promises, returns loaned items and maintains secrets". To ask a woman out isn't to be "untrustworthy". I say just ask, and if it's no, then move on. Unless you can live with the "never accept" part; then just string yourself along. – Kaz May 4 '18 at 13:45
  • @ Kaz : you're right, but this point has already been covered by @Flater 's answer for instance. I can't "borrow" this from them :) – OldPadawan May 4 '18 at 13:48
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    Hello OldPadawan! The question is asking 'How to tell her this', and your answer seems to be suggesting 'don't', based on the perception that this girl's behavior seems to suggest she either doesn't feel safe being alone with Vahn (yet) or isn't interested. But do you have anything (experience or sources) to back this up? Vahn has since clarified that they're from Malaysia, is your answer culturally relevant? – Tinkeringbell May 4 '18 at 13:52
  • Vahn hasn't yet clarified how often this has happened, but I get the impression from the question that this has already happened more than once. Where exactly do you draw the line between 'she's playing safe' and 'she's not interested' as a reason for bringing the friend? If you're going to make a frame-challenge advocating a 'don't ask' approach, could you add some evidence as to why asking/telling might be bad? If Vahn does ask (you state this in at least one paragraph), how should they ask? – Tinkeringbell May 4 '18 at 13:54
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    @Tinkeringbell -> how often this has happened -> "when I ask her out, she always asks me..." (means 'multiple times' to me, at least more than twice). We don't know what this lady has in her mind, neither OP, so it's quite difficult to draw the line between "not yet (because of... what?)" and "maybe (but not alone for the moment)". So either Flater's answer nails it, mine nails it, or both, partly or completely. But I challenge OP because a clear "NO" from her never occured, but can still happen! While in the dark, walk slowly and look for a light. That's exactly what I told OP ;) – OldPadawan May 4 '18 at 14:10
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Adding this answer for the minor gap in the other answer: what if she isn't actively inviting her friend to avoid uncertainties?

It's not beyond the realm of possibilities that she's simply inviting a friend because she wants to invite a friend to hang out; without having an ulterior motive.

However, there is an issue with your expectations.

I know it's not a date just hang out together.

Which is exactly why you shouldn't be opposed to others being present.

But, I really only want the two of us.

Then you should ask her on a date. It's as simple as that.


As it stands, you're asking us how to go on a date with a girl without having to ask her on a date or signal to her that you want to have a date with her.

That is essentially manipulation and subterfuge, neither of which are an appropriate interpersonal skill here.

This behavior can also effectively hurt your chances. Instead of being open about your intentions, you subtly try to manipulate the situation. If she spots this, she won't respond positively to this. Your secretive behavior suggest the possibility of you having a hidden agenda.

If you're genuinely interested in this girl, then genuinely ask her out on a date. There's no point in trying to have a potential relationship start with a lie.

  • 8
    Is it not possible for someone to want 1 on 1 time with a friend who they have no intention of dating? – TheLoneMilkMan May 2 '18 at 22:12
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    @TheLoneMilkMan Perhaps it's possible in general, but OP uses specifically word "crush". That kinda implies that OP is interested in dating. – Frax May 2 '18 at 23:44
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    @Frax - Oh my bad I must have missed that. Just that the title suggests otherwise. – TheLoneMilkMan May 3 '18 at 0:15
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    @wildcard - even if he doesn't need to apply label's or should be considered a liar, his best bet is to be open and honest. Not only because that's the easiest way, but also the one with best potential for success. "hey do you want to get coffee later, just me and you?" is clear, confident, non aggressive, and spares both people the embarrassment of misleading each other. And it also helps manage expectations. – Anthony May 4 '18 at 1:05
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    @Anthony, now that is a constructive suggestion. And it doesn't include the word "date" and whatever emotional baggage may be associated. I would love to see that in an answer; you've perfectly exemplified the idea I was driving at. – Wildcard May 4 '18 at 1:11
11

Go to a movie with her and welcome her friend. Enjoy yourself - you are in her company after all. Your goal is for the three of you to be relaxed and comfortable in each others company.

Kick all thoughts of girlfriend/lover/wife/love-for-the-ages out of your mind.

Assuming the three of you had a good time say, at the end, that you had a great time.

Don't think of holding her hand or a kiss or intimacy of any kind (unless she grabbed you by the arm and is holding you close and her friend has left to do ... whatever...) That is the best of all scenarios. At that point she has decided that you are a potential partner. I would recommend playing it straight. Tell her you like her and want to see her again. Now, it's her turn to respond.

Most probably the night won't end up as the ideal scenario mentioned above but if she is smiling and says that she had a great time then say you would like to go out again (include her friend in the invite - and mean it). Now the ball is in her court. If she goes out with you again but this time it's the two of you. Well now it's a date isn't it. You have a chance of her getting to like you, to think that you're someone she wants to be with.

If after a month and several dates she's never alone with you. Sorry. She didn't choose you. It sucks. But there it is.

  • 4
    This does not answer OP's question "How to politely tell her that I only want her to hang out?". If you want to reframe the question because you think OP should not tell her that, then you need to explain why this is not a good idea, and why your solution is better. – Kaspar Scherrer May 2 '18 at 15:20
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    @Cashbee - it may not answer the question directly but +1 anyway. TimDev please edit your answer to account for Cashbee's point. – Mayo May 2 '18 at 17:52
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    @Flater "he wants to go out with her alone" - exactly. but this answer does not provide a solution to that. It challenges the actual question without directly saying so or explaining why. – Kaspar Scherrer May 3 '18 at 7:23
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    @Cashbee: There are plenty of questions on IPS where the answer is "You can't" or "You shouldn't". As an extreme example: "How do I politely convince a woman to have sex with me if she doesn't want to?". OP's question is of course not as extreme; but he's effectively still trying to manipulate a situation to go on a date with someone who he clearly hasn't asked to go on a date with (or she has already refused a date but agreed to hang out). IPS answers still have an ethical obligation. (but I can agree that some more explicit elaboration in this answer would be a nice-to-have). – Flater May 3 '18 at 7:30
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    @Flater Yes you absolutely can do that, I never said this answer was not acceptable. I only wish the answerer would explain why he challenges the frame of OP's question. If this is added, I think the answer is good. Here is a good meta post about exactly that. – Kaspar Scherrer May 3 '18 at 7:36
10

There are a number of things she could be intending by inviting a friend:

  1. She took your offer to "hang out" at face value and does not think you're hoping to date her. She's invited her friend because she thinks it would be even more fun with you and the friend.

  2. She understands you want to date her. She does not want to date you, but does want to stay friends or just keep good relations at school. She's inviting her friend to demonstrate that its not a date. There's a small possibility that she's trying to set you up with her friend instead.

  3. She understands you want to date her, and she's open to it. She's inviting her friend because that feels safer or she wants her feedback. This has been explored in another answer.

So, what are your options?

If you're only interested in her romantically, and would not want to be friends otherwise, I'd just ask her on a date, using the word "date". Something like a "lunch date" might have the best chance of success, because it's low risk for her. Then you'll quickly get an answer as to whether she's open to dating you.

If you genuinely want to hang out with her, dating optional, just accept that she wants her friend to come along. If it's not fun you don't have to repeat it.

5

TLDR; she wants things to be explicit. It could be that she had ambiguous relationship with a murky ending. Could be something else altogether. I won't try to guesstimate the reason.

You have two choice.

  1. Come out in the open and explain that it's a date.
  2. If you are not sure and need time, let her friends tag along. Whatever you want to do can be done in the company of her friends; and often enough, presence of an audience makes things more interesting, not less.
3

I'm way past dating and any of that, but at the time if a girl invited her friends along to anything, it also meant you accept her AND her friends. Even if things were to get serious, if her friends didn't like you / get on with you, and her friends are important to her (which they appear to be) then it likely wouldn't go anywhere.

Now, if you've been hanging around like this for awhile (I'd say 3-6 months but it varies) and she's still inviting her friends along, then she's simply not interested in time with just you and you can't change that fact.

1

I feel I'm arriving after the battle here, but I'd still want to bring my two cents on this topic, considering I had a friend on a very similar situation. Each time he suggested they'd hang out together, the girl would bring a friend of hers to the meeting, who'd prevent the both of them to get close to each other. It turns out the two girls were interested with each other so after a month they ended up together……

Of course I'm not saying this is what's in play here, however we are missing a part of the equation. Although I agree her bringing a friend is a signal, there are several interpretations to what's behind the curtains. She may be inviting her to feel safe, sure, but there may be other reasons. Maybe she just wants to have more fun by hanging out with another friend. Maybe she's trying to set you up with that other girl. Or an entirely different reason.

Which leads me to agree with @Flater that you should ask her on a date, in case your intentions weren't completely clear at this point. If she turns you down, you need to decide whether still seeing her regularly as a friend is alright with you. Not to give you false hopes, but a "no" today doesn't have to be a "no" tomorrow, so this is something you may need to address by having a talk with her.

  • 2
    This is good practical advice but doesn't tell OP how to engage the course of action that they've decided upon. – baldPrussian May 4 '18 at 11:53
0

Ah, this used to happen to me so many times. Let me put it clear to you mate: you are in the friend zone. You may be able to get out of it, but the best solution to a friend zone is always not to get into it in the first place. Know what you want.

You're better off doing what the others recommend here. But if you've had enough - this has been going on for a while, be confident and after inviting her, when she asks to bring her friend, any version of this line can help:

It's cool, but I'd rather we go alone this time, what do you think?

I like to say this to show her that I have nothing against her friend, that I know what I want - confidence - and that I want her opinion. She'll either give you a direct answer or ask you why. When/if she asks why, just say:

I just wanna spend more time with you. Alone.

Yeah, go for what you want. Now, remember, talk in a casual way, relax, girls love it. ;)

Bonus tip: Since it's only one female friend, you can invite her at the right moment. Make sure you know when her friend will be too busy to join. Don't stalk on her friend please, just get to know her too - like the other answers recommend.

I believe that confidence and good timing - patience - is key. ;)

  • Can you explain why being friends with someone that you like is something to be avoided? – sphennings May 4 '18 at 3:29
  • @sphennings There's a difference between staying out of the friend zone and avoiding being friends. I'm not here to teach you this. – Nick Rameau May 4 '18 at 4:19
  • Can you explain why the friend zone is a bad thing? – sphennings May 4 '18 at 4:23
-2

Seriously, who needs dates. You are doing the right thing. If she is interested then things will progress. Her friend will not turn up and she will still go out with you. If things are going on well on a given night, then her friend might go home early.

However if you want to make things progress, have something to do after the initial date like head to see a local band, or hang out at an all night cafe. You can suggest it to her while her friend is not around. "After this movie, why don't just you and me go see this band I know is playing down the street".

It might take a few times, but unfortunately sometimes things don't progress. If is does not, give up. The worst thing is to one day find out that instead of the girlfriend, she is bringing along the new boyfriend that struck her by lighting.

protected by Tinkeringbell May 4 '18 at 8:07

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