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There is this girl that I really like. Recently we have been hanging out together with some of my friends. She said she liked it and wanted to come the next time too. She also wants to come to other events that I am going to. The last month we have also been chatting a lot so I think she likes me, but I don't know for sure because she has been talking a lot about her last relationship.

Her last relationship was her first relationship, and the other person brutally broke her heart by cheating before the first month of their relationship was over. She says she is so happy it's over but talks about it a lot. More then you would expect from someone who had their heart broken.

I don't want to ask her directly because we have a few classes together, and we have to travel together. If I ask her and she says no, I think the next times we spend time together would be very awkward and clumsy to talk to each other, and that she doesn't want to hang out anymore or do things together.

So how can I tactfully ask this girl if she is ready for a new relationship without messing up the connection we have.

Because I really want to ask her out but I don't know if she is ready for it. If possible I also would like some tips to check if I am only her talking buddy and nothing more, or someone to just hang out with.

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    May i ask for age? – MansNotHot Oct 12 '18 at 14:05
  • @MansNotHot my age is 19 and hers is 18 – user4stack Oct 12 '18 at 14:07
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    Looks good now, only the last paragraph should probably go. There it is the exact same problem as with your main question before the edit - you need to ask her. You could maybe ask another question for that if that doesn't exist yet. – Kaspar Scherrer Oct 12 '18 at 15:23
  • Could you perhaps clarify what you'd consider 'tactfully'? Should answers 'just' suggest an approach that will hopefully result in not making things awkward if she says no, or is there more to it, as you also state that you don't want to ask her directly? – Tinkeringbell Oct 12 '18 at 18:21
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Tactfully sure, risk free no.

A little disclaimer: Huge amounts of literature are written about this subject (not to mention the romcoms) so I doubt you will get a definitive answer to this question here. I hope I can help a little though.

When you express romantic interest someone, your relationship with that person is going to change at least a little for the foreseeable future. This can be a very positive thing if it works out, but when it doesn't it might be a little awkward, that's how it tends to go. That doesn't in any way mean you can't have a normal friendship with this person afterwards though, lots of people have friendships that used to be "something more" for at least one of them, myself included. But when you express interest, you risk getting turned down and feeling bad about that. Interpersonal.se is not going to be able to help you with that I'm afraid.

So how can I tactfully ask this girl if she is ready for a new relationship without messing up the connection we have.

From what I gather from your question you might want to hold off on this for a little while. Presumably, you want this new relationship to be with you, not just in general so I'm going out on a limb here and assume the priority is to try to make that happen, and not to get the answer to your question as soon as possible. From what you write it appears to me that you get along fine (have some "chemistry" if you like) but have not yet developed a deep friendship, and she is still in the process of breaking up, at least mentally, with her former boyfriend. In my experience, this is not the time to ask the "big" questions yet. By asking her if she is ready for a new relationship you are forcing an answer to that question, and if she says "yes" she will be taking on a lot of commitment all at once. This might be a little overwhelming and if that makes her say no, then that is the answer.

I think a more indirect approach would benefit you more, and would display more of the tactfulness you asked for. Why not, in stead of asking her if she's ready for a new relationship, ask her if she would like to go have coffee with you somewhere later? (The "later" part is important because it implies you show interest as opposed to a matter of practicality when you travel) In my experience, this will most likely be interpreted by her as a subtle probe. She now has the option to go along, to politely refuse, or to take some time by telling you she'd like to, but not right now. In any way, this will be a lot less loaded than asking about a relationship directly and therefore a lot less awkward which ever way it goes.

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why not pose your question as a hypothetical the next time she brings up her past relationship?

her: something something past relationship
you: right, that is too bad. Do you think if the right person came around you'd be ready to try again with a new relationship?

This way you are showing compassion as her friend and making sure she is alright and still getting the answer you are looking for for yourself.

I think there a lot of other questions around the topic trying to figure out how much another person likes you or how they may view you that you may find helpful for your question about asking if you're her talking buddy or something more, either way I think this is a separate issue from asking if she is ready for a new relationship.

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Do you like Justin Timberlake? In his song, Nothin' Else, he sings,

I've been asking everybody what they think

But I don't know why because they don't know you

I'm even asking other guys what would they say

But I don't know why cause they don't do what I do

My advice? You know her better than anyone who's going to answer you here does (probably). Don't go on asking about "how can I tactfully ask", because what one of us might respond with might not vibe well with how she reacts--that's something you should know better than any of us.


As for whether or not she's ready (for a romantic relationship), giving you another quote, from the Stoic philosopher Epictetus:

We should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

The idea is that she has her own burdens and responsibilities, as do you. Other than providing compassion and sympathy (as others have suggested), there is nothing else within your power that you can do to change her "readiness". In my honest opinion, it's not something you should worry about either, because ideally, if she does like you, then her "readiness" would be second to her attraction to you.


As for tips to check who you are to her? This probably isn't a complete list, but here are a couple of things to watch for:

  1. Body language: does she "accidentally" bump into you? Does she engage touch/pokes first? Does she look "open" to you, or are her arms crossed when you're with each other? Does she face you with an "open" look when you both talk?

  2. Awkwardness: how does she deal with awkward silences with you? Is the silence deadening, or is it something that makes the both of you giggle and/or enjoy?

  3. Conversation topics: if she talks only about herself, she's a friend. But if she also asks about you, then she's interested in you, and this is something you can weigh and leverage.

In my opinion, if she talks to you about past relationships, it's never a good sign. Change the topic, or make it lighthearted and fun. As Corey Wayne suggests, wooing a woman is about making her have a good and enjoyable time. If she sulks about past relationships while going out with you, then being with you will be associated with all the bad feelings of her prior relationships. Remember that although you cannot control how things will be, you do have influence over the direction of the relationship between you and someone else. Good luck.

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How can I tactfully ask this girl if she is ready for a new relationship?

You can't. That's a highly private question, you can't just ask her.

Besides, I imagine this isn't really what you want to know anyway. You want to know if she wants a romantic relationship with you.

You can ask her if she wants to go on a date with you on a chosen day, and see how she responds. That question you have a right to get answered. (Though if she says no, you don't have a right to ask why, just accept what she says)

If she says no, then yes, it will be awkward. Sorry, there is no way around that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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