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In which we discuss strategies and best practices for asking someone out. "How to Adult" is a new "life skills" edutainment channel executive produced by Hank Green and John Green. Subscribe for new videos every week!

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How to Adult is Hosted and Co-written by:
Emma Mills

Directed, Edited, and Co-written by:
T. Michael (Mike) Martin
(Mike's book is available at all online booksellers, including Amazon:

Executive Produced by:
Hank and John Green
Emma: So Valentine's Day is a thing that happened. Maybe it went great for you, or maybe romance was not in the air. If the latter, and you're looking to get a little love in your life, let's chat about how to ask someone out. I think its important to remember that even though asking someone out can feel like a high pressure situation it really isn't. You wanna know some high pressure situations?

Diffusing a bomb. Trying to steal the Declaration of Independence. Being an FBI agent and having to switch faces with a known terrorist. Okay, so all of the high pressure situations I can think of for some reason involve Nicholas Cage. But that aside, asking someone out should not be that big of a deal. So let's talk about some tips for minimizing some of the pressure.

Number one thing to keep in mind is an oldie but a goodie: Everyone gets rejected. And it's not because you're not the bomb diggity because you are, you are the bomb diggity. It's just because you don't match up with the mental image this person has of the cuddle buddy or partner or whatever it is they happen to be looking for at that moment. And that's just fine. Nothing will explode if you get turned down. So armed with the knowledge that your human worth is not actually hanging in the balance, there are a few different ways to ask someone out.

There is, of course, the old fashioned way: face to face. One way to get over the terror of this method is to employ the indirect method. Dr. Jeremy Nicholson of Psychology Today suggests a scenario like the following, and yes; we consulted the literature.

This is you: Whaddaya got got going on this weekend?
This is them: I got this family thing on Friday.
You: Oh you know what? I was going to go see Frozen on Saturday. Maybe you'd like to come along?

If they say no you can shrug it off, if they say yes, you've got a date. But what if they don't know it's a date? My advice here is to just go with it, if it looks like a date and acts like a date, it's probably a date. However, if you get to the movie theater and you find that they've invited their six friends from psychology class along, so that you can all dissect the romantic and familial relationships in Frozen together, then it's probably not a date. 

You can do two things, either a) You can be a little more direct next time ("I'd love to take you out for dinner sometime on a date") or b) You can do like Elsa, and let it go. Now these scenarios kind of hinge upon you maybe sort of knowing the person that you're interested in. How do you ask out a stranger?

Obviously, something about this person has caught your eye, so strike up a conversation with them, and if at the end of the conversation you'd like to ask them out, you can do it as previously mentioned. Just make sure you keep it friendly, open, comfortable, and especially in these situations, don't be disappointed if they say no. Just say something like "hey, it was great talking to you", and roll on through.

So what if you get the date? According to Dr. Art Markman of The Art of Thinking (annotation: correction- Dr. Markman's book is called Smart Thinking. Sorry, doc!) a first date needs two things- some energy and a chance for some conversation. So minimize first date anxiety by doing a fun activity together, maybe some bowling, maybe you hit up the zoo. 

The idea is not to put too much pressure on the conversation, but to make sure that you can actually have a conversation, which is why despite Mike Martin's suggestion of paintball on a first date, maybe not paintball on a first date.

Mike (off-screen): Dang it!

Emma: (laughing) I didn't know you were gonna-

So that's all we've got for you today, we'd love to hear any questions as well as any advice you yourself may have on the subject of asking someone out. What's worked for you in the past, what hasn't? Let us know below. In the meantime, I don't really have a great catchphrase to round these things off, but if I did, this is when I would say it. 

Mike: What was your worst being asked out or asking out experience?
Emma: It was in High School, it was a vacation situation, so I saw a handsome young man, um, and asked him out and he gave me a fake phone number.
Mike: Oh my God!
Emma: He gave me his friend's phone number, so I called it and his friend was like, "He's not interested, but I am."
Mike: It starts off like a really good pop song from like the 70's
Emma: Yeah! I was so like "I got it! I did it!"

Mike: My worst was when I was in High School, I was about to ask out this girl to prom, and I mentioned to my mum "Hey, I'm gonna ask this girl out." My grandma happened to see this girl before I did, she went up to this girl and said, "Hey, I hear you're going to prom with my grandson".

Emma: Did you en- did you end up asking her out?
Mike: In person, yes.
Emma: Did she say yes?
Mike: She did!
Emma: Okay yay!