General Question

nebule's avatar

For Brits: Does anyone ask people out on dates anymore (when sober!)

Asked by nebule (16439points) August 16th, 2009

Generally the only place I meet people is online and fleetingly in my local Supermarket… that said, I do see potential suitors in parks and walking down the street etc.

I have recently been contemplating asking a couple of people out on dates..but when the opportunity presents itself I just simply cannot do it. I just end up thinking.. No-one asks people out on dates unless you’re in a bar and several beverages down the hatch… Certainly no-one has ever asked me out on date anywhere other than a bar (and even then I can only think of one occasion on which that happened!)

I watch American programmes like Sex in the City, House M.D. ... which I know is not a true represetnation of life but… Americans seem to do it much more than we do.. it just not the done thing in Britain?

Or is my perception totally wrong?

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47 Answers

sandystrachan's avatar

Dates are very American , i never went on dates . We just went out :)

jeanmay's avatar

I went on several dates when I was at Uni. I love the idea of actually going out somewhere with someone, rather than stumbling upon each other in some drunken haze, as we Brits seem to so often do. It’s about taking the time to get to know each other and really show a genuine interest in each other. And of course, back then it was great to get taken out for a meal as I was always too broke to eat in restaurants myself! He he!

I would say, be creative and don’t limit yourself. Think of all the possibilities for a great date; lunch, dinner, coffee, brunch, museums, ruins, long walks, local events (farmer’s market, craft fair, live music, jumble sales) and shopping. The list is endless.

If dating isn’t the done thing, it should be!

Jack79's avatar

1. TV does not in fact represent real life. Most Americans do not act like the girls in Sex and the City.

2. That guy at Tesco was me, remember? And you owe me a date before you go out with anyone else :P
(ok seriously, that guy probably knew you from somewhere, maybe he’s a neighbour or a friend’s friend)

3. I don’t think our society is really there yet: the point where a woman will ask a man out. That said, I’d be flattered if a woman just came up to me and asked me to go out. I’d probably say “yes” even if I didn’t particularly fancy her (assuming I was single at the time).

4. The real problem I think lies elsewhere, and is of a social nature:

First of all, women (especially in Britain) have spent the last 25-odd years castrating men. Now you’re wondering why nobody has the balls to ask you out? Well, tough luck, ask your mum and aunt why they slapped (or at least turned down) anyone who ever did, or all those feminists complaining that “paying for a girl’s drink is sexist”. Or that talking to a woman equals sexual harrassment.

On the other hand, people (and particularly women) are scared of each other. There is a lot more mistrust (not necessarily justified) and a lot of alienation, meaning that even meeting friends is a lot harder nowadays. Forget about dating for a second: how many female friends have you made out in the street? I remember a time when I’d just land in a new city and start mingling, and before long I’d have a group of friends (including a special someone to love). Now I live in a place where everybody knows me and they still won’t come and say hello, except after a concert to get an autograph. And even then they’re terrified.

I blame society.

jeanmay's avatar

@Jack79 I think society is fine. I find people are always willing to talk to you if you’re willing to talk to them.

nebule's avatar

let’s not get carried away blaming the feminists. Feminism wasn’t about that anyway…See Germaine Greer: The Whole Woman

No movement can be blamed for the way people act on an individual basis. One of the very reasons for this question is because I am going to ask someone out on a date at some point in the near future..regardless of how accepted it is or is not… We can’t blame our inadequacies on people who were only fighting for some form of acknowledgement in the first place…The equality search has been morphed into a monster by men in reaction to the innate power of women.

If men have stopped asking women out on the premise that they might get slapped it only goes to show how weak the supposed stronger sex are.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@lynneblundell in your little picture you look very attractive so probably all the blokes you meet assume you are either already taken on completely out of their league.

nebule's avatar

and P.S @Jack79 I hope you’re not expecting me to wait for you on the off chance that you might go on a date with me one day??? :-p xx

@Lightlyseared get out you! making me blush! That’s very sweet but how can we ever know the truth? only by action perhaps…. I must do it!!!

whatthefluther's avatar

Fascinating discussion. I had no idea that dating was not the normal course for Brits. It is the accepted way in America with women asking men becoming more and more common. I’m curious how a friendly American might fare in England (curiosity only…I am recently and quite happily married). Sorry about butting in, but you know how we Americans can be at times, especially when excluded!

nebule's avatar

oh…the question is open to Americans of course..sorry I ,meant to add that at the end… will do now! sorry sweets x

nebule's avatar

oh…I can’t… bugger! well…

AMERICAN VIEWS (and any other nationalities…for that matter) ALL WELCOME!!!


whatthefluther's avatar

It’s hard to imagine how one would get to know someone they might be interested in without dating. Bars (pubs) and clubs typically lead to one night stands only. Are social parties common in England? Do single men and women go out in groups to the theatre or amusement parks or the like?Being turned down can hurt but it’s worth the risk when the outcome can be a meaningful relationship with someone you find attractive and interesting.

Grisaille's avatar

Apparently our courting rituals are much different. Here I was thinking you dudes were just like us.

Then again, I live in NYC. Kinda the crossroads for all things kinky. Rules don’t really apply when “asking someone out”.

whatthefluther's avatar

@Grisaille….No need to whisper….we’ve been invited. And remember, L.A. can be rather loose as well (as you discovered first hand). See ya….Gary aka wtf

marinelife's avatar

Since you have now opened it up to Americans, I will say that it is not that common here from someone to ask someone one encounters of the street for a date.

In Britain, are there clubs or groups for people with common interests? Here there are several types:

Singles groups, in which single folks of certain age ranges get together to do a variety of fun things.

Special interest groups like hiking clubs, book discussion groups, birders, etc.

Getting to know people that way, and then starting to date is more common. I have a friend who met her husband (both in their 50s) at a photography club.

I also saw what I thought was interesting dating advice (never got to try it) that said don’t go to clubs with your interests, go to clubs and events mostly attended by men, such as car shows or boat shows, etc.

jeanmay's avatar

@whatthefluther We have all kinds of social parties and gatherings in England. Plus running water, electricity – all that.

@Marina If you go to clubs that men are interested in, might you run the risk of meeting blokes you have nothing in common with?

whatthefluther's avatar

@jennifermay….Well perhaps if you weren’t so preoccupied with utilities, you could use those occasions to meet someone of interest and get to know them.

jeanmay's avatar

@whatthefluther I am happily married :)

Grisaille's avatar

@whatthefluther Oh, I can speak freely. Cool.

And yes, L.A. is is the same, too. Well, I wouldn’t call them loose.

Comfortable is a more fitting term. Nice town, I’m thinking of heading back over there.

nebule's avatar

well I think I’m just going to ask…the next time I feel the urge… I can always run away in embarrassment can’t I..if I get turned down I mean…! I mean how bad can it be! :-/

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar


you’re a pretty girl, bat the eyes, and flash the pearly whites ;).

RareDenver's avatar

I asked my wife out on a date, see here but I did first meet her in a pub. From my experience and that of my social circle, yes people still go on dates here in the UK. You could always ask your friends if they know any eligible singles that they could maybe set you up with.

nikipedia's avatar

I have been asked out both on the street (NYC subway) and in the grocery store. Both times I had a boyfriend and had to decline.

Every single one of the “successful” (depending on how you use the word) relationships I’ve had have been with guys I’ve met through friends. Only one of them ever ended up asking me on proper dates after meeting for the first time.

Jeruba's avatar

Marina is right. Dating often starts very casually and out of a common interest. Say you do volunteer work a couple of hours a week and someone you see there all the time looks interesting. So one Saturday when you’ve put in your time you just say as you’re leaving, “Would you like to get a cup of coffee?” That’s an invitation to spend a little time together getting acquainted, informally, in a public place, without any (much) social pressure.

If somebody turns you down you can just smile and say, “Okay, maybe another time,” and exit gracefully.

Alcohol-based socializing is fraught with risks of all kinds. I don’t know how it could serve as a foundation for a relationship.

I’d have to disagree with the advice about going to events that mostly attract men. That’s the same advice they always used to give adolescent girls: learn about cars and football so you can talk about what he likes. If you’re just looking for a guy, and you don’t care that all he can talk about is boats, sure, ok. But if you want a relationship, you’re going to need some common interests.

nebule's avatar


Went shopping today and saw a guy that I’ve had my eye on for a while now and decided to bite the bullet and ask him out…

I did.
I said “I just wondered if you fancied going out for a drink sometime?....”
He blushed. He told me he was taken. I said “no worries at all…”
He said “I’m sorry…Gosh…but I am really flattered..”
Which was sweet!

But yay for me! I did it!


Grisaille's avatar


But, now, now. No one likes frown lines. Turn that frown upside-down and go snag yourself a keeper.

I have no idea why I’m talking like I’m from the 1950s.

sandystrachan's avatar

@Grisaille Cause you plan to rewrite Back to the future, could i be Doc? The younger version obviously

nebule's avatar

:-) I’m really quite proud of myself and don’t feel at all bad about being turned down… I think I might do it again…and…

quite soon!

Jack79's avatar

I somehow think I’m supposed to be jealous here but I’m actually happy for you :)

So was it the same guy as last time? The one from Tesco’s?

nebule's avatar

lol! Well, there’s only been three that I’ve been interested in the past 9 months!..the one from last week I have never seen in there before and will probably never see again (he’s the one I think I know from somewhere else)

then there was the grocery manager – who I decided that I didn’t really like anyway..I was just perusing..

then the guy I asked out this week…I’ve seen him a few times..He’s a personal shopper (he shops for people that order their groceries online…) and he’s always really lovely – moving out of the way for you, he’s winked at me a few times… so…yes…him.

I don’t think you’re supposed to be jealous at all… but then I guess you’re happy for me because I was turned down…lol ;-)

You know really you’re the only one for me…;-) hell I can’t even get a you’ve no need to worry – there’s time yet!


whatthefluther's avatar

@lynneblundell….Good show! Good to hear it was a positive experience and that you’ll give it another go sometime (altho if @Jack79 is available to you, he seems quite a gentleman, definitely a nice guy, bright, well-traveled and undoubtedly very talented….wait, hold that thought….hey @Jack79….will you marry me….oops, that’s right, I just married @sccrowell….scratch that….back to you @lynneblundell ). See ya….Gary aka wtf

Jack79's avatar

@whatthefluther LOL
I’m actually quite far, remember that other thread about long-distance relationships? I guess things would be very different if I got that job in London (still no news from those guys, probably all on holidays). But I promise I’ll at least go meet Lynne one of these days, out of curiosity if nothing else.

nebule's avatar

you bloody well better had! after all this titillation!

Jeruba's avatar

Good for you, @lynneblundell! That’s the spirit! My grandfather used to like to say, “Continents are not discovered in the harbor.” You have to go beyond where it’s safe and familiar if you want to find something new.

Grisaille's avatar

oh, jeruba. how you woo me with words

sapphirebeauty7's avatar

First of all “YES” people to go on dates sober. You being asked out or on date at the bar does not say much about that person “NO OFFENSE” he/she may be drunk even if not alot does not mean they really like you or want to really get to know you. It’s more like hey girl what’s up? Lets’ go fuck or something along those lines. When oppertunity presents it’s self try to push yourself to go and talk to that person. You don’t neceserily need to ask him/her on date but just start a conversation. Tell him/her what you like about them or find something to talk about and if he/she likes you trust me there is a big chance of them asking you out on a date or whatever. Try it don’t be to shy other wise you will never go on a date lol. Good luck girl.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Hi…I am in the position of being a British-American. Raised in one culture, living in the other.

With all due respect, British men are about ten years old when dealing with women. People in America do date. They really, really do. I know women like the women in “Sex in the City”. They do exist. They may date a few people at the same time till someone sort of floats to the top. British men do not ask women out. You are right. They wait for women to make all the moves. And as I grew up in the American South…it’s a bit strange to me.

You are right, no one ask anyone out here. It’s rather like balls rolling in some pinball game. You bump into someone and it’s sort of “Fancy going to my place?” Uh, no, thank you….I don’t know you and I’m not drunk enough for that….and won’t ever be.

British men are basically lazy at love.But they are also frightened. They won’t drive to meet you somewhere and they always expect a woman to be the forward one….so till the system changes, you will have to do the asking.

If it’s true that its the “feminists” that have turned British men off (as someone above wrote) then, you need to spend time being a Southern American. That means, it’s okay to have a guy open your door, it’s okay to have him make the first move, it’s okay to be reticent and to be genteel. Lots of Brits are loud, forward and very aggressive….it’s true….and that is off-putting.

Someone has to change the system here…and it may as well be you….especially if British men feel “castrated” as someone mentioned above. Ask someone out. But do it gently and courteously. It’s okay to do that. Don’t have sex on the first date….value yourself enough to date around (like Americans do) to find the right guy for you…not the first guy that comes onto your radar screen.

It’s all about worth….value yourself…..and go ahead and ask someone…out for a walk, out for a museum opening, out for a movie….out for something….instead of at the end of a bleary-eyed night at the local pub.

You deserve better than Saturday night leftovers at the “Pig and Whistle”....remember that!

And for the British guys…..bring Mr Darcy back, please, please!

Jack79's avatar

Actually most of what you say is true, though having got to know Lynne a little better since that question was posted, I’d have to say the problem lies elsewhere.

nebule's avatar

you do not know me at all Jack…sadly…if you did you would not need to whisper your opinions on an open forum begging to be asked the obvious question so you can expound your disgruntlement.

Jack79's avatar

Welcome back :)
Don’t worry, I will keep my opinion to myself. You may continue to pretend to be whoever you want people to think you are.

memphisblue's avatar

I’m not cure how old this question is, but it is interesting one to me. I’m an American woman living in a huge city in Asia and most of my friends are expats. They come from all over the English-speaking world. I have heard this—that Brits don’t really ‘date’ as such, and I guess that this seems to be true to me. But this begs the question—how do Brits go about forming relationships? I mean, do you just shag and hope for the best?

memphisblue's avatar

I’m not trying to be judgemental, here. I am truly curious.

Good for you for asking a man out—I think it is admirable, but I do think that most men prefer to do the asking, if only out of some primordial thrill-of-the-chase response.

RareDenver's avatar

@memphisblue I mean, do you just shag and hope for the best?

Pretty much

sarahjane90's avatar

I am American living in the UK – and yes, going on dates is very normal both in the UK and the States. I personally haven’t started a relationship without building our relationship through going out whether it is just a movie, activity out, or dinner. I think it is rather presumptious to state that people in the UK don’t ‘go on dates’, if you aren’t maybe you should have your eye on some different men

nebule's avatar

I didn’t say that people in the UK don’t go on dates…I said “Does anyone ask people out on dates anymore” please see details… it’s a very different question.

sarahjane90's avatar

I assumed that in order to go on a date, one would have to be ‘asked’ or do the ‘asking’ first. Therefore I thought my answer would be relevant to your question. I’d also like to add that in all places in the world, I refer to someone describing southern America, where I’m also from, it really relies on the specific man! I’ve encountered rude and agressive men in both the states and the uk. As I said before, being ‘asked’ on dates or going on dates really relies on the man and that man’s character.

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