Relax! If there's one single thing you can do to make it easier to ask people for their numbers, make it this! Though it's always difficult (some might say almost impossible) to force yourself to relax once you're already in a stressful situation, approaching social encounters where you think you'll probably ask for someone's number with a calm, relaxed attitude makes it much easier to pop the difficult question (and makes you look supremely confident to boot). Though everyone relaxes differently, you may want to try experimenting with some of the following relaxation methods:
Making yourself laugh
Thinking of the people around you as laughable (e.g., that they're in their underwear, etc.)
Make your move before you psyche yourself out. Often, working up the courage to talk to people you're attracted to in the first place is way harder than actually asking for their numbers. To have the best chance of getting a number, you have to be willing to immediately take the plunge and talk to people you find attractive without giving yourself a chance to over-analyze the situation and find a reason not to. Don't give yourself any opportunities to chicken out! It's much, much harder to get numbers if you don't ever approach and talk to people you find attractive.
If you're having a hard time finding the nerve to approach an attractive person, force yourself to act. Try giving yourself a hard time limit (10 seconds, for instance, if you're feeling bold) for waiting and worrying before you walk over and talk to someone and stick to this time limit! If you're with friends, have them agree to “push” you into social interactions instead of giving you opportunities to wiggle out of them.
Use strong body language. If you look confident, most people will think you are confident — they have no way to know that you're sweating bullets on the inside unless you tell them! Take advantage of this and use proud, confident body language to give your flirting game an immediate boost. The best part of doing this is that it's part of a self-reinforcing cycle: when people react favorably to your confident behavior, you'll feel more confident, making it easier to sincerely act confident. Regardless of your sex or appearance, here are just a few universal tips for making yourself look as confident as possible:
Don't be afraid to take up space. Hold your head high and stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back and puff your chest out. Take a wide, relaxed stance when you sit.
Use strong, relaxed movements. Walk with long, slow strides. Use large, smooth, easy gestures.
Show your attention. Position yourself to face people when you're talking to them. Use eye contact, but don't stare.
Don't close yourself off to others. Don't cross your arms or legs when you sit down. Don't play with your phone when you're bored. These behaviors telegraph to others that you're not interested in interacting.
If you’re not confident, find an excuse to talk. Let's be realistic — not everyone is going to be immediately comfortable approaching strangers to talk to them and ask for their number. If you fall into this category, it's OK to contrive a reason to talk to someone to get the conversation flowing. So-called “conversation-starters” are some of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to flirting and making connections with other people, but they're surprisingly effective. Don't worry — if you eventually get around to asking for this person's number, you don't have to worry about being phony! Below are just a few conversation starters to get the ball rolling:
Ask for advice: “Hey, I like Dostoevsky and I noticed you reading Notes From Underground — would you recommend it?”
Compliment or comment on a shared interest: “Nice Creed shirt! Did you see them when they were in town back in 2001?”
Enlist their help: “Wow! Can you show me how to dance like that?”
The old standby: “Do you have a light?” (Only works for smokers).
Open casually. No one likes being put on the spot, so when you're going for a phone number, keep things low-pressure. Resist the urge to open with a cheesy pickup line or come-on. Though there's something to be said for the confidence required for making your intentions known immediately, this sort of approach can sometimes make you seem predatory or insincere. For most people, a better idea is to stay casual. If you need to, use a basic conversation starter to open your conversation, then simply relax and continue as feels natural, making amicable small talk until things heat up!
One of the benefits of taking a casual approach is that it allows you to avoid the embarrassment of outright rejection. If you're having a casual conversation with someone and you sense things becoming awkward, you can always end the conversation by claiming that you have something else you need to do. On the other hand, if you open your conversation with an obvious come-on, if things turn awkward, ending the conversation prematurely will be a little more embarrassing because it will be obvious that you've failed at what you set out to do.
Make a connection. If you're aiming to get someone's phone number, once you start a conversation with this person, look for an opportunity to set yourself apart from the other people this person may talk to after you by making a personal connection. You can do this by finding something that you both enjoy, having a friendly, spirited debate about something you don't both enjoy, or even just telling each other about your lives. When you make a connection with someone, it should be immediately obvious — the conversation should “spark” and become more lively, heated, and intimate.
For instance, let's say you're at a party where you don't know many people and you've worked up the courage to start talking to an attractive stranger by commenting on the band on their T-shirt. If it turns out that you've both seen this act live, take this opportunity to share your experiences in the mosh pit. With luck, your shared experiences should help you create a personal connection that will it much easier (and more appropriate) to ask for someone's number.
Make this person laugh. One of the surest ways to make a lasting positive impression on someone is simply to be funny. Everyone loves to laugh! Humor feels good, so people are much more likely to give you their number and to want to spend time with you down the road if they think that you have a good sense of humor. In addition, it's worth mentioning that some scientific research has shown that humor and playfulness is one of the very most attractive traits a person can have in social interactions with others.
While you'll definitely want to show off your good sense of humor if you have it, beware self-deprecating humor. Don’t make people laugh ‘’at you’’ — while a little self-deprecation can be great fun once you've gotten to know someone, making fun of yourself when you're first meeting them can make you look nervous and unsure of yourself, rather than relaxed and confident.
Ask for the number at a conversational “high point”. The best time to ask for someone's number is usually right after you've shared a good laugh, made a notable connection, or otherwise had a good time — in other words, end on a high note! People are generally more willing to agree with you if they like you, so asking for a number right after you've scored major conversational points will boost your chances of getting the number (and make the person you're talking to more likely to let you down gently if they don't want to give you their number).
Let's continue with the example situation described above. If you've had a pleasant conversation talking about your mutual love of the band on your conversation partner's T shirt, you might want to end the conversation with a funny story about something that happened to you at a different band's show. Once you get a big laugh, say that you've got to run, but that you should exchange numbers so you can talk more later. With any luck, your great timing will increase your chances for success.
Leave this person wanting more. Asking for someone's number is something that's generally done at the end of a conversation — not in the middle. Once you've gotten someone's number, don't let the conversation stagnate or become awkward. Instead, quickly wrap the conversation up and leave to do something else. This will give the impression that you've got a busy, active life (which usually comes across as attractive) and hopefully leave the person you've been talking to with lingering unanswered questions that will require another conversation to answer.
In our example, as noted above, we should end the conversation by asking for the number of the person we're talking to, instead of asking for the number and then continuing with the conversation as normal. It's obvious why this sort of behavior should be avoided if we imagine what it might sound like: “Thanks for your number! So, did you see any interesting movies lately?” Returning to friendly small talk after escalating things into borderline-romantic territory can lead to awkwardness (even when handled well) and can give serious mixed signals.
Test the number after you get it. It can be quite embarrassing to outright refuse to give someone a phone number after you're asked for it. One of the ways people get around this potential awkwardness is by giving a fake number. If you've just gotten someone's number, taking a quick moment to verify it by calling or sending a text can save you from disappointment in a few days’ time if it turns out to be a fake. Try texting “This is (your name)” or calling a minute or two after you end the conversation. If you get a response, you'll know the number is the real deal. On the other hand, if you can't get through, you reach someone who's clearly not the person you were just talking to, or you receive an error message, you'll know you have a fake.
Don't get upset or raise a scene if it turns out that you've been given a fake number. Have a quick laugh over the fact that you've been duped and immediately forget about it. No one is obliged to give you their phone number, so you shouldn't feel like you've been betrayed if they don't give you it!
Wait a few days to call. This is an old dating rule, but it's still good advice today. When you get someone's phone number, don't call this person back the next morning or even the next evening — instead, wait at least a few days before you make contact. While calling immediately may be what you want to do when you're feeling overjoyed at getting an attractive new friend's number, calling too early can give the impression that you're taking the potential of your relationship more seriously than is warranted, which can be a turn-off (especially for people who aren't looking for a big commitment). Note that some relationship experts recommend waiting as long as a week before calling, while others opt for a less conservative minimum waiting period, like three days.
You’re trying to keep things casual at this point. Calling immediately after you get a number can make it seem like you’re taking the connection you made with this person much more seriously than is warranted. Ironically, this can hurt your potential for serious dating in the long run.
Don’t open by asking for a number out of nowhere. Thought it's a good idea to approach conversations with people you're attracted to without hesitation, there is such a thing as being too forward. When you want someone's number, don't let the very first words out of your mouth be, “Can I have your number?” To some (misguided) people, being this up-front is a way to demonstrate extreme confidence. However, to most, this simply appears bizarre. Unless you're an expert player or you're trying to experiment or challenge yourself, you'll probably have better luck with a more conventional approach.
Don’t get too invested in the outcome of your conversation. No matter how smooth and confident you are, rejection is always a possibility — even if absolutely everyone you talk to finds you irresistible, some will still be “taken!” Because you won't get the number you're looking for all (or even most) of the time, it's best to keep your expectations in check. Try not to worry about whether you'll get a number when you start talking to someone you're attracted to. Instead, focus on enjoying yourself, listening to your conversation partner, and making a connection with a new person. This way, if you do choose to ask for a number at the end of your conversation, you won't have any reason to be disappointed even if you get rejected — you still accomplished most of what you set out to do!
Don’t end an awkward conversation by asking for a number. Asking for a number is something you should do at the end of conversations that go well — not ones that don't go so well. If your conversation turns awkward for some reason (like, for instance, if you accidentally offend the person you're talking to) don't try to salvage it by asking for a number. Instead, either gracefully excuse yourself and end the conversation, or, if you really want the number, keep talking and try to repair the damage you've done before you ask. There's nothing worse than asking someone who's clearly uncomfortable for their number, so try to spare yourself (and your conversation partner) from this unfortunate outcome.
Don’t insist if you don’t get a number. As noted above, there are a variety of reasons (good and bad) why someone might decline to give you their number. If you feel the sting of rejection, don't take things out on the person who's rejected you. This person was never under any obligation to share their number, so no matter how lively your conversation was, it's not “wrong” of them to withhold their number when you ask for it if they want to. Reacting with anger or acting mopey after someone has refused to give you their number is always a bad idea — it can make you look petty, vain, and entitled under the best of circumstances, so just don't do it. Below are just a few perfectly legitimate reasons why someone may not want to share their number (there are obviously many more):
Being in a serious relationship
Having just gotten out of a serious relationship
Not being comfortable giving their phone number to strangers
Not looking for romantic opportunities
Not being as attracted to you as you are to them