Although there are no hard-and-fast rules about how long to wait before asking someone on a date, sticking to what is considered the "norm" will make things more comfortable. If you are complete strangers, it's a little more nerve-wracking than if you have mutual friends, but in most cases, you don't need to wait very long.
The common consensus is that a first date should happen about two weeks after meeting, reports the Cosmopolitan article "The New Relationship Timeline." Two weeks gives you enough time to make some small talk, determine if there is mutual attraction and get up the nerve to ask for a date. If you find yourself meeting with someone who you are not likely to see again, though, consider moving up the schedule by saying something like, "I know we just met, but I was wondering if you might like to have dinner sometime?"
If after two weeks you find yourself too nervous to ask someone on a date, consider suggesting that she join you and other couples on a group date. A group setting takes the pressure off the two of you -- you don't have to struggle to make conversation all night. It also gives your friends a chance to meet this new person in your life and give you their opinion when the night is over.
Dating someone whom you recently met is a little different than going out with someone from your circle of friends. When going on a date with someone new, treat it as a chance to become friends and to get to know each other. Try not to get too close, either emotionally or physically, when you first start going out, advises psychologist Kate M. Wachs in the book "Relationships for Dummies." After you've spent some time together, you can move toward becoming closer.
Benefit of the Doubt
Make sure to give a person the benefit of the doubt before deciding that he is not dating material, suggests Wachs. For example, if you were quick to dismiss the quiet guy in your algebra class as someone you would not date, give it a bit more time and thought. Just as you don't want to rush into a first date, you don't want to rush to discount a potential dating partner. Try to give every person a window -- a couple of weeks -- before deciding if you want to ask for a date. You might find a hidden gem that you didn't realize was there.
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