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Should I ask a woman out whom I find attractive but don’t know?

What is your general advice on asking people out on dates based on physical attraction and some brief observation although you may not know their beliefs?


What is your advice on asking a woman out for coffee who you find attractive but don’t know?

I was recently at the hospital visiting a family member when a young nurse came in the room whom I found attractive. She seemed pleasant, and I was considering inviting her for coffee, but I didn’t know anything about her (including whether or not she was a believer) and so I didn’t ask her out.

I didn’t have time to chat with her because I didn’t want to interrupt her work, but I was able to observe her and her conduct for about five minutes while she attended to my family member and asked some questions from other family members in the group.

So what is your general advice on asking people out on dates based on physical attraction and some brief observation although you may not know their beliefs? Would you recommend finding out such information before an invitation to a coffee “date” or allowing that discovery to be part of coffee “date”?


I don’t know whether to be impressed with your courage or concerned about your mega self-confidence, but your willingness to initiate says something. Passivity is clearly not a problem for you.

I can’t tell you how girls respond to those kinds of introductions. Every girl is different, and it probably would depend on a number of variables. I’m sure our female readers could tell stories of being approached by total strangers, and I would imagine that there is a scale of “OK” to “Totally Creepy” in their response to such encounters. (Sounds like an excellent blog topic.)

More to your question, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as an effective way to find a mate, generally speaking there is nothing immoral nor unbiblical about initiating a conversation based on physical attraction. Of course, Hollywood would make us think this sort of thing happens all the time, and the end result is always positive. In reality such beginnings amounting to anything are rare indeed.

I’d say if you have the boldness to ask a girl for coffee after observing her for five minutes, and she actually agrees (which would floor me, but that probably tells you more about my “asking out” experiences than anything else), you have nothing to lose but 30 minutes of time and the cost of two cups of coffee.

Now, if this happens to you on a regular basis (i.e., you’re seeing pretty girls that you want to ask out on the spot), then that is a problem. This girl (to you anyway) would be nothing more than the most recent pretty face you want to get in front of, and lust is probably playing a part at some level. But if what you experienced was uncharacteristic for you, then I’m a little less concerned.

Please, dear readers, forgive the crass capitalist analogy I am about to make here between a marriage strategy and a retirement strategy. But if I were to compare this approach to finding a mate to a financial investment strategy, this would be the high-risk stock that you would invest little if any of your hard-earned money into. And if you did, it better be money you can live without, because odds are you will lose.

Your much better investment — again, sorry for the analogy — is in the returns that have proved themselves over the years. These investments are the foundation of your financial portfolio. From a mate-finding standpoint, those investments would be putting yourself in places around marriage-minded singles with shared values.

Asking a girl for coffee after five minutes of observation in a secular setting, and primarily because she is pretty, is akin to buying a lottery ticket as a retirement strategy. Don’t put much effort there, and brace yourself for no payoff. That’s not to say God can’t or doesn’t work that way — He can and does, sometimes out of necessity — but it’s a rare occasion.

Your time and effort (in pursuing a mate) are much better spent with people and in places or networks where many of the core “filters” have already been applied. By that I mean there is a higher likelihood of connecting with someone who already shares many of your core beliefs.

Those obvious places are at church, in small groups, in campus ministries (if you’re in school), outreach or anywhere else where God is pursued. For instance, take the same experience you had, but change the location to a medical missions outreach, and you immediately know more about this nurse merely because of the setting.

So sure, take some risk once in a while (I’m talking about relationships; that is not an endorsement of the lottery!) as long as you have most of your time and effort invested in those practices and places that have proved themselves over the long haul. We’ve taken up copious Internet acreage writing about them on Boundless. I hope you’ll use them to strengthen your portfolio.



Copyright 2010 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

John Thomas

John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.


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