By Dan Teano and Amanda Gabriel
Elm Staff Writers
This week Dan and Amanda are discussing whether one should be more upfront or more passive when it comes to asking someone out or. Should you ask “Can I get yo’ number?” or to “Netflix and chill,” or should you outright ask “Would you want to go on a date with me?” Which approach do you prefer?
Dan says… “Can I get yo’ number?” First heard in a viral Youtube video, this comically straightforward question has set a paradigm in western culture, especially in the little pond of Chestertown where pickup lines can be heard everywhere. Whether at the bar, in class, or in a movie theater staring at the back of someone’s head, an opportunity for conversation can arise. But is the assertive and insistent persona the best approach to talk to a stranger?
“Can I Get Yo’ Number” has been a source of laughter and motivation for many. While the video features a rather uncharacteristically bold attempt, it does teach one certain lessons that should not go overlooked. For one, it highlights the importance of taking the initiative. For most of us, the issue isn’t sorting out the right from the wrong words to say. It’s actually saying it. We dismiss conversation too often because we are afraid of being upfront. As we become shy due to the fear of being perceived as creepy, the door of opportunity closes. Ironically, someone will never be judged or labeled with any title if he or she actually hasn’t said anything. Don’t scare yourself out of your chances, hitting things off with someone can begin with a very simple, “Hey, what’s your name?”
Since talking is a necessary step in any friendship, we should be selective of our words. Our words should convey respect. Some people can get away with a quick text, “Netflix and chill,” it is more persuasive to show interest through etiquette, manners, and respectful conversation. Even if a certain individual piques your interest, they should never be seen merely as an object of your desire. They are a person and deserve your respect.
That being said, a respectful conversation can also be lighthearted, humorous, and amusing. After a day well spent running back and forth between classes and the library, an easy-going, entertaining exchange is all that anyone wants. To do this effectively, one has to be an attentive listener. The jokes you crack should be based off of what you’re hearing, not whichever Popsicle one-liner first comes to mind. It is also important that you pay attention to subtle hints in the person’s words or body language. If the person is laughing and reciprocating your humor, all lights are green and you may proceed to ask the person for their number. If the amusement is not mutual, you should wait until it is obvious that the person has a shared interest in you. If you insist and demand for the person’s time, you will come off as desperate.
Once you’ve established rapport, then the only matter left to resolve is asking him or her for their number or on a date. When asking someone on a date, there’s no correct 100 percent guaranteed method, but there are definitively wrong approaches. Just remember to be respectful and not overbearing. If you ever need a point of reference, watch the “Can I Get Yo’ Number” MTV skit on Youtube, he’ll show you what not to do.
Amanda says… When it comes to relating to other people there are two ways in which we can choose to interact—actively or passively. Active involvement refers to participating in engaging encounters with others, whereas passive involvement is characterized as being unassertive and indecisive. Personally, I am the type of person who falls under the active category. I take pride in expressing exactly how I feel and stating specific details of a Friday night date. If someone were to come up to me and ask “So, uh, Netflix and chill later?” I would question exactly what they meant. I believe that declaring your true intentions upfront is beneficial to relationships because it does not leave any room for misinterpretations or confusion. Next time this happens, just ask the other person what you mean. Follow up the question with further details such as, “Why don’t you come to my place and we can watch an episode of “Criminal Minds” together?” This encounter is much less ambiguous than the first. On the other hand, if you are the person being passively asked to hang out, follow up their question with either a suggestion of what you would like to do later or simply ask them what they are proposing.
Despite the fact that I consider myself an active person and believe that people should become more active, I can see the benefits of being passive. A vague question is less personal than an elaborate one. If the person rejects your vague offer, no harm is done. It may sting a little to have your campus crush refuse a hang out, but it’s not that big of a deal since you did not invest much time or effort into posing a question. If you are the type of person who glides through life with only passive relationships, you may find it difficult to truly connect with someone else. Only when you open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable to other people’s responses can you grow closer to them.
For this reason, I would advise practicing more active encounters. Whether you have been in a relationship with your high school sweetheart for three years or are still trying to build up the courage to ask your lab partner out on a date, being active is the most effective route. When you engage with others, you genuinely desire to get to know them better and can connect with them on another level. This connection allows you to enjoy and understand each other in new ways, and it fulfills our natural need for companionship. It generally makes you seem like a better person when you communicate intelligently as opposed to using phrases that are currently popular in videos on the internet.
Nowadays, too many people fear being the one having to ask the other person out. Whether you are a man or woman, venture out of your comfort zone into the world of active involvement and try to break away from passive habits. Yes, you may have some heartbreak along the way, but do not let small defeats keep you from trying again because you will eventually find that someone with whom you can invest in and grow. After all, is that not what is important in life?