Many things about dating have changed in recent decades—even in recent years—but people do still ask each other for their phone numbers.
Which means, even in the age of online dating, there are still a lot of people out there who want to know how to ask a girl for her number.
But, as with any act of expressing an interest or attraction, it can leave a guy feeling vulnerable—and that might mean you want to know how to do it in a way that might increase your chances of getting her number.
How to ask a girl for her number in three steps
As with most things dating-related, asking a girl for her number is pretty simple, but not necessarily easy. However, if you keep your eyes peeled for the right signs and stick to the following guidelines, you’ll hopefully experience less doubt as to whether you’re doing the right thing.
1. Look for indicators of interest
You might have heard that anything is possible if you believe in yourself, but getting someone’s number is most likely if they believe in you. That is to say, are they interested in having a conversation with you? Do they want to know more about you? You’re not going to get a girl’s number if she’s scared of you, bored by you or otherwise experiences negative emotions in your presence.
So the best way to ask a girl for her number is to first suss out whether she’s likely to want to give it to you. And, as it turns out, there are some giveaways as to that kind of thing.
“One indicator that she wants you to ask for her number or ask her out is she’ll ask you if you can recommend any cool bars or venues,” said dating coach Connell Barrett, the author of “Dating Sucks But You Don’t.” “She’s dropping a proverbial handkerchief. It’s not about her wanting to check out a cool spot. She wants you to take her there.”
Another indicator that Barrett sees frequently is if a woman “asks you what you’re doing for the upcoming weekend, and she also says that she’s not doing much.”
“What she’s really saying is, ‘I’m free. Ask me out!’” he explained.
But perhaps no indicator of interest is more salient than physical touch that she initiates.
“If you’re talking to her in-person—say you’re at a party, or at a bar or lounge—and she initiates light physical contact, that’s a big indicator that she’d like you to ask her out,” Barrett said. “Common ways a woman touches you when she’s into you are touches on your arm, shoulder or playful punches when you tease her.”
2. Use the word ‘date’
If you’ve seen or experienced some of the aforementioned indicators, or other similar tells have given you a good impression, it’s time to take a shot. Here, Barrett advocates for leading in to the number ask with a mention of a date.
“It’s very attractive when you give her the gift of clarity,” he said. “That is, let her know it’s a date! The simplest way to do that is using the D-word.”
He suggested saying something like, “Hey, we should go on a date. Up for it?” noting that “saying things like ‘Let’s get together’ or ‘We should hang out’ can leave her wondering if you’re into her romantically or not.”
“Don’t make it a mystery!” Barrett added. “Be clear with your intentions. Clear intentions are attractive to women.”
3. Ask for her number
The most important step is to actually ask for the number. Tacking it onto the date request so that they form one single unit of conversation makes it clear a) why you want her number and b) that you mean business.
“So, say something like, “We should grab a couple margaritas on Wednesday. What’s your number?’” Barrett suggested.
The do’s and don’ts of asking a girl for her number
The above is merely a blueprint. In practice, there are some pitfalls you’ll want to avoid, as well as a few helpful tips that may help make the process more seamless and comfortable for everyone involved.
Do: Pay a pre-ask compliment
Women—particularly the women who inspire relative strangers to ask for their numbers—typically deal with a fair amount of attention, so if you don’t know each other super well yet, it doesn’t hurt to explain why you’re interested.
“A great move to make before asking her out is to tell her a specific reason why you’re interested in her,” Barrett said—before clarifying that you should compliment her on something besides her looks.
“What impresses you about her? Tell her a quality that stands out, as a lead-up to asking her out. This makes her feel special and ‘seen’ by you.”
Whether it’s about her smarts, her sense of humour, her kindness, her ambition, her athleticism—highlight something about her personality that’s caught your eye so she knows you’re not just a shallow pickup artist.
Don’t: Make the number the focus
Though you are asking for her number, that doesn’t mean that should be the whole of the conversation.
“It’s not about the number,” Barrett said. “It’s about the date itself. Getting the number should be a no-big-deal part of setting up a date.”
“Make it about the connection you have and the fun first-date thing you’re gonna do, and the phone number is just a logical extension of your first date,” he explained.
This bit is crucial to understand. If simply asking a woman for her number seems daunting, asking her out on an actual date can feel downright scary. However, by couching the easier thing within the harder thing, both are more likely to be successful. A number on its own is of little use if you never bring yourself to use it to ask her out.
Do: Sketch out a potential date plan
One way to show that the number isn’t the focus, Barrett said, is to turn the conversation toward planning the date itself. Jumping in to that clearly communicates your interest in a way that’ll make it easier for her to commit.
“A woman is much more likely to ‘flake’ if you only get her number,” according to him. “But if the date is something you’ve both put on your calendars and are excited about, she’s much more likely to meet up with you.”
Some people, feeling nervous trying to figure out how to ask for a girl’s number, might consider coming up with a kind of script for the interaction. This is an understandable instinct, and it’s not a bad idea to have some idea of how you’re going to ask, but there are few things less attractive than feeling like someone is running through an interaction robotically.
Allowing for a certain spontaneity is crucial, and it also means you won’t be up a creek if she deviates from your planned script.
Do: Be confident
In interactions like this, confidence can go a long way. It can’t replace attractiveness entirely (or clear other suitors out of your path) but it can give someone a positive feeling about you that they might not have gotten if your demeanor was completely different.
So things that’ll boost your own confidence—wearing an outfit you like, putting some thought into your grooming, doing it in a setting where you feel comfortable—can make a big difference.
Don’t: Be pushy
On the other hand, it’s possible to be too confident, and refuse to take no for an answer. As Barrett noted, rejection “will happen sometimes, and it’s OK.”
“Be totally cool with that, because you did your job,” he added. “You took a chance and went for it. That kind of courage is something to celebrate.”
If you’re pushy, you’re more likely to get a fake number or a harsher rejection. And even if she gives you her real number, if you’ve come across as a jerk, she’s never going to agree to a date.
Do: Consider offering your own number
Instead of hassling her for her number, if you get a “no” or even a “maybe” another good move is to offer your own number. That gives her the power of deciding if and when to reach out, while giving you the possibility that she might choose to at some point.
It also shows her that you’re capable of being flexible and respecting her choice, which is the kind of approach that will serve you well in the long run. Making this your primary strategy, however, is ill-advised. There’s a bright line between respecting a woman’s autonomy and appearing too passive to actually ask for what you want.
Don’t: Text her on the spot
Lots of advice for guys on how to ask for a phone number suggests you text her on the spot to verify whether it’s a real number or a fake. This would be great advice if you were trying to detect a scam, but you’re not—you’re trying to establish a bond of trust with someone.
If she senses your distrust, even if she’s given you a real number, that could torpedo your attempts. And if she’s given you a fake number, and you discover it on the spot, that only parachutes you both into an awkward situation.
Text her later, once you’ve parted ways. If it ends up being a fake number, it’s understandable to be disappointed, but at least you saved yourself the awkwardness of finding out in person.
Do: Send her a funny text
When you do text her—ideally within an hour or so of saying goodbye—Barrett suggests going for a fun vibe.
“Make sure your texts are light, warm and playful,” he said. “It’s not about the quantity or timing of your texting. It’s about the quality. Make your texts ‘value-offering’ messages that make her smile, as opposed to needy texts that require her to reply.”
Don’t: Leave right away
If you’re focused on the mission at hand, it’s easy to forget about everything else, but Barrett cautioned that the interaction should probably not end with the number changing hands.
“Do not be a phone number bandit, where you see her digits as a trophy,” he said. “It’s not about the number. It’s about the two of you clicking and going on a date.”
“So, after you get her number, keep talking,” he added—“at least for a little while.” Walking away immediately after asking a girl for her number can come off as rude and kind of objectifying, which is hardly the right note to strike when you want to start texting with someone.