Asking a friend to hang out is never easy, and the truth is that it will never be as easy as others may say, even if you already know the person pretty well, let aside a person you barely know.
People around you only let you know the situations when they successfully invited someone to hang out with them, and even in that situation, they don’t let you know what they thought before asking someone to hang out with them. They make it look so easy when in reality is not.
Especially if you seek advice online, there will always be some expert in making new friends, dating, or things like this that has a paid course for you.
Let me tell you that even for the people that seem to do this so naturally and without fear, it is not the way it looks.
It is never easy to ask someone to hang out, even if, for some people, it looks so.
I made a big group of friends after college for hanging out, and I successfully connected and gathered most of the people I knew from different places, jobs, college, and hobbies to hang out. So I was the single mutual friend of the group, and we had times when we were 20 people at a bar or other activities. We even had a Facebook group for hangouts. So for everybody, it looked like I had no problem talking with a new friend and inviting him to activities we had together.
I’m not telling you this to brag but rather to make you understand that that was not as it looks, I had tons of doubts and insecurities every time I talked to a new person or a group member about hanging out, and several times it was actually awkward.
One thing that made all that possible was the fact that I knew how starved most people are when it comes to a quality social life.
So, if I cached your attention, and you understand that it is quite normal to have doubts and anxiety when you ask someone to hang out, let’s go to the main point of this article.
How to ask a friend to hang out?
There are a few things you have to know and do before asking a friend to hang out with you.
I will list here 8 of them, which I consider the most important here, but there might be more depending on your situation.
1. Do you really want it? And how much?
This may sound silly because while you are here to know how to ask a friend to hang out, it’s obvious that you want to invite them. The thing is that how much you want it will impact how you invite them. There are many situations when people ask you to hang out with them only because you are the only one available and they are bored, not because they would really like to spend time with you and can’t wait for you to meet up.
You can say that even in this situation, they want you to hang out with them, but the next question is, how much?
Generally, we feel someone’s enthusiasm when they invite us and how much they really want it, so you can’t easily trick that. It might work if it’s an online invitation by text, but the person you invite will feel how much you want to meet them when you are together, so that will probably be the last time or at least affect your friendship.
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2. Listen to them first
Now that you really want to meet them, you should pay attention to them to notice if they seem interested in hanging out with you.
It is important to notice what type of person they are, some people are very polite and overly enthusiastic about anything, but that doesn’t mean they would like to hang out with you necessarily, sometimes it’s hard to know what those types of people really like because it seems that they are impressed by everything.
After you notice what type of person they are, pay attention to what they like, what their hobbies are and how busy they are so you can find something that is relevant for you and fit for them as well when you invite them.
The biggest trap here is to pretend that you are interested in their hobbies when you are not, people can respect the fact that you don’t understand what they do, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be curious.
Try to talk with them about their hobbies but don’t invite them to something you would not like, only because they like it.
3. Have a plan and a specific activity you would like to do
It is much easier to invite a friend to a specific activity than to invite them to lose time together. So having a plan on what you want to do will help a lot. It is important to know that they will like it, for example, if you plan to invite them for a movie or a board game, you should know first if they like those activities. I know people who sleep at movies, no matter what movie. So you should not assume they will enjoy the activity you are going for because it’s pretty popular and most people are doing it.
One tip that seems to work is to add, “and we can also sit and chat” for example, I invited some friends to my house to play a board game, and I asked them if they wanted to come to play that specific board game and have a chat. The thing is that I found out that they don’t really like board games, more like they don’t have the patience for them, but we ended up talking for a few hours with the board game unopened on the table.
So while it’s easier to invite a friend for a specific activity, that doesn’t mean that it will not end up only with a chat and a glass of something or a cup of tea or coffee, but it’s easier to refuse an invitation to just chat and have a coffee than something specific like a movie, a board game or a meal.
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4. Start with the invite, not with “how are you doing” online and live
We all know those people that start with “how are you doing”, then they ask you two or three more questions before getting to what they want, and you feel like someone is hunting you. I usually prefer to start with actually what I want, like,” Hi, I am meeting with a couple of friends to have a drink this evening and would like it if you could join us if you are not too busy,” and then ask them about their life. If they say yes, everything is good, if they say no, at least the refusal was not the last thing in that conversation, and we can continue with”No problem, maybe the next time. How are you doing lately?”
This applies even more by text or by phone; for me, it is more annoying to start with “how are you doing” or other follow-up questions before getting to the point. Since you started the chat or made the phone call on purpose, it’s pretty obvious that you want something, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
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5 Make it easy to decline – you are not a salesman
Maybe you noticed that I’ve added to the question above, “if you are not too busy”.
It might not sound like a successful invitation because you give them the chance to say no, but we are not selling products here, you just want to hang out and have a good time. Making it easy for them to refuse will get pressure on them. The fact that you have to refuse someone is always awkward and, at the same time, is one of our fears when we invite people to hang out, we don’t want them to feel forced to say yes.
So make the invitation casual, not by a script, and give them the chance to say no right away without the need to come up with an excuse. Otherwise, they might say yes at the moment and “something very bad” will intervene in their life and they will have to change their mind about your invitation.
That said, you don’t have to put that much emphasis on giving them a way out to not make it sound like you invite them, but you hope that they will decline.
6. If you include them in your plans, it’s easier
If you have a plan with a few other friends, it’s way easier to invite one more friend to join you. In this case, you are not so nervous about their answer since you already have a plan and a few people to hang out with.
So if you are nervous about asking someone to hang out with you, waiting until you already have a plan and inviting them to join you might help.
7. Keep it simple, don’t make it pretentious
Due to social media and the fact that most people only show the amazing and interesting parts of their life, we have the tendency to believe that a simple invitation for a cup of coffee or lunch will not do it for most of our friends. When in reality, life is more boring than social media makes us believe, and most people don’t have that active, busy lifestyle that they post online. I’m not saying that real life is boring for most of them, but for all the people I met that are showing a perfect life online, I realized that their daily life is actually a pretty everyday life after talking with them a bit more.
Once I told a friend that I post nice seafood online and fancy food, but if I have fancy food on my plate and I smell a crispy chicken with french fries, I would instantly give them a check, but I wouldn’t post crispy chicken with fries like I post a nice seafood platter.
All of this helped me, and I hope it will help you understand that anybody will like a simple, casual invitation to hang out for regular day-by-day activity. You don’t have to use big words and come up with a high-end activity just to make sure they will not refuse, you might be surprised that most people will refuse a costly and fancy invitation(even if they have the money) easier than an invitation to a cup of coffee.
For my wife and me, eating at high-end restaurants is one of the main things we spend money on, even on vacations. Of course, from time to time, we will post online what we had if we really liked the platting and the food.
However, I refuse most of the invitations to nice restaurants because most of the time, I have and want simply homemade food or takeaway.
I know people around me might think that I would refuse them if they invited me to a pizza or something casual like this, judging by my shares online, but in reality, I will accept more often than an invitation to a high-end restaurant.
8. Set an hour and date, and a time you come back to check if everything is alright
Prepare a plan if they say yes to your invitation. You should already have a date and hour in mind.
If you don’t set a date and an hour when you will hang out, it will always feel awkward when you have to come back for a confirmation, it will feel like you have to invite them again. Also, it will feel like there is never a good moment to check back to see if they are still open to hanging out with you.
So make sure after the invitation you set the date and hour when you will meet with them, and also it would be great if you could set a specific time to check if the plan remains as you talked.
For example, if it’s Wednesday and you set a time for Saturday at 7 pm, you can say something like, I will call you Saturday morning to see if everything is alright. This way, you will not wait until 7 pm only to find out that they forgot about it, and it happens to all of us and is not that they don’t care, but sometimes life gets busier and distracts you.
Asking a friend to hang out with you might seem a very easy and straightforward thing to do, and it’s easy to make you feel bad if you are nervous and you can’t do it. Because it seems that most people don’t have a problem with this, while in reality, everybody has more or less anxiety when inviting someone to hang out with them.
Even if you know them very well, sometimes the situation is different, you never invited them to that activity or that place, and you are a bit nervous.
Check the eight things from above to see which one will help you, but the most important thing is to be honest, and straightforward with them.