After being a willing participant in the dating world for some time now (…some amount of time over a year, that’s all I’m going to say), I’ve learned that there is one simple thing that helps cut through some of the “mind games” that most people hate about it: Directness.

I know that this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking statement, but hear me out. It’s very easy to slowly slide into a very indirect frame of mind when it comes to dating. It happens to the best of us.

The hardest part of dating for many people is wondering whether that attractive someone is also into them. Yes, online dating can solve this problem through its matching mechanism. It does have its merits, but what do you do when you meet someone in real life?

Picture this situation: you’ve met a woman you’re attracted to, you’ve already spent a little time together, and you have some way to stay in contact.

I want to take you through some quick reasons why it’s super effective (and not as scary as you think) to directly ask her on a date. You can use this idea to be clear about your intentions in a lot of other parts of dating as well!

An Open Invitation to Flirt

Have you ever had the problem of feeling confused about intentions when you end up making plans to “hang out” or “get drinks” with a woman you’re interested in? That phrasing really leaves things open to interpretation, and honestly it leaves the door halfway shut on you when it comes to flirting.

Flirting is easiest when the woman you want to flirt with is aware that it’s expected. And the best way to communicate your romantic interest is to ask her on a DATE. Use that word specifically, then give the details for your idea of what you want to do (dinner, drinks, checkers game, whatever).

This way, it’s not going to feel like you’re coming out of nowhere when you smile a lot, laugh a little too loudly, or touch her hand out of flirtatiousness. So this is the huge added bonus: if she says yes to the date, you KNOW that she’s into you, too.

Directness is Attractive

It’s sad but true that most women that I talk to about dating (or ask on dates myself) reveal that they haven’t felt properly “courted” in a long, long time.

It’s no one’s fault that methods of dating and communicating have changed with culture and technology. But still, gone are the days of bringing her flowers or picking her up for each date (pick her up?? Who even does that anymore?).

If it doesn’t come from a place of chauvinism, these kinds of old-fashioned gestures can now actually be refreshing for her. The simplest gesture, of course, is directly asking for a date.

Doing so will show her that you know what you want and what your intentions are, rather than just “seeing where things go.” It’s fine if you want to plan a casual meet-up for a drink or coffee at first to get to know each other, but my advice is to bring out the Date card after that, or at MAXIMUM after the second meet-up. Trust me, you shouldn’t need any longer to decide if you want a date 🙂 .

Squash Your Fear of Rejection

 I think the fear of rejection by someone you’ve already gotten in contact with — complete strangers are a slightly different story –- can be helped a lot with a few simple mental shifts.

First: Once you ask someone — even a friend — on a date, things don’t have to be weird afterward. If she says no, or if you go on a couple dates and it doesn’t work out, there’s a pretty good chance you can still relax and be friends. It’s all about your attitude. So don’t resent her for it either way.

Second: If she declines your offer, that’s a lot of time and stress she just saved you. A good relationship requires equal excitement and interest on both sides, so if that isn’t there for her you were going to have a hard time anyway.

Third: Try seeing yourself as just as much a decision-maker as she is in dating. You are also evaluating whether the two of you are a good match and if you want to continue things. I get that the scales are still tipped in the woman’s favor in terms of having options for available partners, but this is important to remember.

Beyond the First Date

Keep in mind that, rather than guessing, you can probably just ask her what you want to know about how things are going.

It’s effective to take this directness mindset through to the other steps in dating someone as well. After the initial date or drinks, a lot of the time there is an opportunity to continue the night. After you’ve run through the planned amount of time (usually 1-2 hours), you can straight-up ask her, “Do you want to spend some more time together?” and then propose something fun you can do next. It could just be moving on to a different bar, or taking advantage of a late-night place to get satisfyingly greasy food. Spontaneity can be your friend here, unless that makes you nervous – then by all means mentally plan a secondary activity in advance.

I know you can do this – and I want to hear about your successes! Let me know about it in a comment or an email (