So you’ve gotten to know them, you dig their vibe, and you’re looking to take this friendship to the next level. But how? Well, in the words of everyone’s favorite mid-aughts rapper, (a little somethin’) like this:
1. Locking It Down
Far and away the most difficult part of the process. It’s like asking out a girl, only the interaction isn’t predicated on them responding all dreamy eyed, thus erasing all doubt you had regarding you two going splitsies on some wonton tacos.
Successfully asking another adult human out on a man or woman date is best executed when accidental–i.e., under the guise of a sports game, a common hobby, or even under the pretense of networking. Having that ace in the hole is crucial; otherwise, what makes you worth more than an evening in sweatpants?
2. Dress Code
Always opt for the “straight from work” meetup. This ensures that nobody has to see the disturbing aesthetic you consider a style.
If you work in some sort of “cool” job where you’re paid to reflect the socio-cultural zeitgeist, this shouldn’t be a problem. If it is, it’s been a good run.
Upwardly mobile bar, prided on an aesthetic that makes it seem like you’re on the right track. Not too expensive, but enough to imply that this friendship is (at least initially) worth more than the usual $3 PBR.
If you’re going for the one-two punch of dinner and drinks, best go for something with entrees in the $10-15 range–slightly pretentious burgers, chicken sandwiches with peppers and aioli, or a salad with 3 trendy things in it to justify the $13 price tag. Always avoid spaghetti.
4. Conversational Fodder
People say social media is one big fallacy, given that you’re only really projecting what you want people to see. Which all in all, is a pretty solid strategy to execute in real life as well–particularly when faced with those who don’t totally know you.
Therefore, it’s certainly in your best interest to steer the conversation towards things that you want that person to associate you with. Are you both meeting out of your collective love of independent film? Best dig deep into that Netflix indie archive–just talking about Tiny Furniture probably won’t cut it.
5. Work/Life Balance
People always say that the thing about “being in your 20s,” in addition to clicking on lists then x-ing out of them 3 seconds later, is that it’s “important” to uphold some sort of work/life balance. I don’t totally agree with this, as work/life balance is a quality that’s championed in some circles, but looked down upon in others.
It’s therefore best to figure out where your peer stands on the issue, and then adjust accordingly. If it seems fashionable to talk about how you don’t even have time to cook anymore, you best metaphorically dump all that kale out of your fridge. This be Chipotle’s dojo now.
Again, your life is only as good as the lie you make it.
6. Powering Through The Pauses
Depending on how the conversation flows, there will inevitably be pauses. AKA, 5-7 seconds periods of time where existential despair no longer becomes a joking matter.
The best way to combat these brutal landmines is to prolong your sip of beer, or take three extra seconds to swallow the food. Putting the ball in his court, in addition to being an incredibly cowardly move, ensures that this dread isn’t just one-sided. Now, you’re both in this together.
If that approach fails, it’s best to execute a callback of information you already know about them. IOW, just figure out a different way to approach the same conversational pieces. For example, “I totally wouldn’t’ve lasted growing up in New Jersey. I’m way too soft, and they’d probably make fun of my music taste.”
Always split. Offering to pay insinuates that you’re a “bigger person” than the other. Letting the other person pay means that you’re the bitter, but painfully realistic sitcom character.
8. Quirk Reveal
Should you reveal the fact that you have a habit of making terrible, oftentimes outdated pop-culture references every four minutes (chicka chicka four minutes)? Probably not. It’s a bad move.
Just like the 3 dates for sex rule, strictly abide by the three dates for quirk nowitzki’s rule.
I wrote out the list items before I wrote this article, and now I have no idea what I meant by intangibles. Now, I’m trying to get out of saying anything of merit by changing course. How am I doing?
10. Future Plans
Ensure that you’ll set something up soon, but don’t actually set something up. Simply nod assuredly. If you set up this past encounter, it’s now their move. Wait for their email. When the subject line connotes some reference to something brought up in your last encounter, it’s real.
Congratulations, you’re officially a socially competent human.