I am not particularly good at picking up on social cues, and, regardless, a question of what cues might indicate the answer to my question would be more opinion-based.

For context, I am an 18-year-old male college student in the United States. She is also 18.

We met a little less than half a year ago during orientation. We talked some, but I was not interested in her at the time. When school started about a month later, I noticed that I was running into her rather frequently, and we got to know each other a bit.

I finally decided to ask her out roughly three months ago. She said that her family would be in town, and, thus, she could not go. Suffice it to say that this was true. Now, what I had been planning for us to attend was a monthly event, and some schedule changes of mine made it far less viable for me to attend in the future. Still unfamiliar with the local area, I could not think of much in the way of a substitute.

I had the same question then as I do now: I was not sure if she would have liked to go in the first place. I did not want to risk being bothersome to her, so I took a cautious approach and did not reschedule. Take this as a sub-question: in such a situation, would it be best to try to reschedule the date?

As the semester intensified, my schedule became more erratic, and I saw her far less often. About a month or so ago, though, she sent me a text out of the blue, and I started running into her a bit more frequently. After some time, I decided to try to ask her out again. Having learned from the first attempt, I first checked with her that her schedule was open. While she initially could not think of any conflicts, she later said that she would be busy with a group project. Again, this was true.

While it would be nice to know for this situation in specific, I ask in general: what strategies could I use to determine whether one would like to go on a date when an attempt at asking the person out has failed due to a schedule conflict? Should I attempt to reschedule? Should I simply ask? Is there some kind of wording that I could weave into the original attempt that would make an ambiguous situation such as this less likely to result?

  • In some cases it is hard to know for certain. Some people like playing hard to get. Easiest is to put the responsibility at the other part. "Allright, seems like you are really busy, good for you. Let me know if you want a rain check on that date some time." - or something similar - and then just put it out of your mind. Dec 28 '17 at 9:37
  • Just ask, do u want to go out with me? If she say's yes, let her set the date and you pick the local, if she says that she needs to check for open dates first, do what @StianYttervik told, put the responsibility at her and let her go after you a little bit. If she text you is also a sign that she wants to hang out Dec 28 '17 at 10:28
  • You asked her out once, and she legit had family in town. Ask her out for a cup of coffee or dinner again. If you get the polite "no" a couple more times I would just assume she isn't interested and move on.
    – user1856
    Dec 28 '17 at 13:01

You're asking for a strategy when the problem is actually that she might be the one using a strategy to avoid the date.

The only way to know for sure if she is just avoiding it is to be completely honest and transparent so as to break down any potential wall she is putting up, otherwise you're both just using strategies, and this isn't a game of chess. I would open up and just ask her:

You know, the reason I asked you out on those two occasions is because I would really like to go on a date with you, but I don't want to bug you by continuing to ask. Honestly, what do you think about the idea of us going on a date?

Be prepared for her to say that she just wants to be friends, and accept that if she does. But if she responds positively, ask her to suggest the date and then both put it in your schedules.

Irregardless of how things work out with this girl, don't change the way you ask someone out on a first date in future. If you start employing 'strategies' I guarantee you won't get any dates at all. But on this occasion she has turned you down twice with similar excuses, and you want to know for definite if she is even interested in a date.

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