Examples Of Various Ways To Invite People To Hang Out

To form a social life an important step is to take the initiative to try to make plans with potential friends, and not to wait around and hope they invite you out first. Some people say they're not exactly sure how to ask someone to hang out. This article will give a bunch of examples of different ways you might ask someone to do something with you.

As always, I'll point to the site's disclaimer on examples. The other thing is that if you find yourself reading the ideas below and thinking, "Oh, I couldn't say that. That wouldn't work. That's too forward/presumptuous/needy, etc." then it might be more of a reflection on your overall discomfort with inviting people out and risking rejection, or your doubts about whether it would work out with a particular person. Other people have successfully invited friends out using all the variations I lay out below. You may want to check out this article: Worries People Often Have About Making Friends And Plans

Methods of inviting people out

You can invite people out face to face, over the phone, by texting, by email/Facebook message, or through a chat window. If you're arranging a larger gathering you can naturally also use a mix of these methods. I'd say one isn't better than the others. Of course, text messages can hit more people at once, and creating a Facebook event thread creates a spot where people can discuss and coordinate the plan. What will really determine whether people accept or not is whether the proposed activity works for them, not if you invite them out in person or through a text message.

The tone of the invitation

However you invite someone out, ask in a tone that suggests, "It'd be great if you came, but if not, no worries." Basically, don't come across as too pressuring. This isn't to say you need to be paranoid about seeming desperate and needy. Inviting people out is just a friendly social thing to do. But still, phrase your invitation in a casual way.

Inviting a single person out to do something one-on-one

Even though it's a really common way for two friends to spend time together, inviting someone to hang out one-on-one for the first time often makes people the most nervous. What if they say no? What if the person agrees to go out, but then things are awkward and you struggle to make conversation with each other? What if you think you'll get along with them, but aren't entirely sure? Should you risk hanging out with them anyway to find out, or just play it safe and not ask in the first place?

If you do go ahead and invite the person out, here are some examples of ways someone might do it. Assuming the other person is inclined to accept your invitation, each way probably works as well as the others. It depends more on the context you've gotten to know them in than anything. If I had to pick one way though, I'd go with the 'Suggesting a Specific Plan' option. That way puts it all on the table right away, and the other person has to accept or bow out.

What you ask them to do will depend on what you sense they'd be interested in doing. Like for one person, in one situation, it may seem totally natural to invite them over to your place to hang out on the first occasion you spend time with them. With someone else you may get the feeling that wouldn't be as appropriate:

Open-ended invitation

Here you're gauging the other person's interest in hanging out. If they say yes, then you can work out the details soon after (one mistake to avoid is getting a yes, and then leaving the other person hanging by not following through).

Open-ended, but a little more specific

Here you're presenting a somewhat more solid plan, but you're still leaving it a bit open about when you'll do it.

If you make a more general offer to hang out, and the other person isn't interested, they may say something like, "Yeah sure, maybe we could do that sometime soon", but then they'll change the subject, and they won't follow up later. They'll be "busy" if you later try to nail them down in the future. The other way they could turn you down would be to say, "Hm, maybe... I don't know. I'm kind of busy these days" when you initially ask.

On the other hand, they may actually be up for hanging out, but you've just caught them in a hectic patch of their lives. You could always try again later. Usually you'll have a clearer answer once you've asked about three times. You can ask a second time fairly soon, then if they still say no, give it some time before trying once or twice more. If they still can't make it either they're politely brushing you off, or they've shown they've got too much going on to have time for new friends anyway.

Specific

This is when your suggestion is pretty solid. The other person has to consider your invitation and let you know their answer fairly soon.

Here the person may turn you down by pointing out some aspect of the proposed plan that doesn't work for them ("Oh, I have to work that night", "I've got plans to see that movie with my boyfriend", "I don't know... I don't have much money to spend on concerts these days.") Of course, this is totally confusing because their excuse may be legitimate. Again, you'll get a better sense of their intentions once you've invited them to hang out a couple of times.

Immediate / spontaneous

This is when you're asking them to do something with you right now, or fairly soon. It can feel a little less nerve racking to invite someone out this way. When you suggest something spontaneously you can't always expect the other person will be available to go, so it doesn't sting as much if they say no. You can also save face because you can play the whole thing off like it was some idea that just popped into your head, rather than that you've been planning for two weeks to ask the person to hang out, and you ever so hope they like you.

Inviting a group of people to hang out

The group of people you're inviting out could all know each other fairly well already, and you're trying to join their clique. Or everyone could be fairly new to each other, and you're doing your part to try to form a new social circle. The actual act of inviting a group out is similar to asking a single person to do something. Some people also find trying to organize a group event less scary, since if it doesn't work out the rejection is more diffuse. It feels like the suggestion itself fizzled, rather than one person specifically declining to spend time with you. Everyone wasn't just turning you down either, they were also saying they didn't want to spend time with each other (you can even phrase invitations as "We're doing X, want to come?"). Alternatively, some people find extending an invitation to a group more stressful, since if their suggestion goes nowhere, they feel like a whole bunch of people is passing judgment on them.

What's different with group invitations is what happens after they start considering the plan. When you invite one person out they either say yes or no. If they say yes then you've only go to work out the specifics of the get together with them. When you invite a group more goes into getting the plan fleshed out. Some people may say yes, some might say no. The plan may go through a few different permutations before everyone agrees on it.

Open-ended

Semi-specific

Specific

Immediate / Spontaneous

Inviting one or more people to do something with your existing friends

If you don't have much of an existing social circle you can't do this. However, if you have this option it's probably the lowest stakes way to extend someone an invitation. You're not asking from any kind of position of neediness. If anything you're the one offering them an opportunity. If they say no, you were still going to hang out with your other friends anyway. If you're not sure if you'll click with them you're also not stuck with them one-on-one if it turns out you really don't have that much chemistry. They may even feel the same way, and know they can chat to your friends if you don't have much to say to each other as you might have thought.

If you go this route, someone may turn you down just because they're not comfortable with the idea of meeting a whole bunch of people they don't know and feeling they have to make a good impression on them.

Inviting an existing friend who you haven't seen in a while to hang out

Once they've hung out with someone a few times, and the new friendship feels more solid, I think most people are okay with making further invitations. One place where they can get nervous is if they haven't talked to someone in a while. Even after as little as a few weeks they may feel weird contacting them again and seeing if they want to do something. They may worry about whether the relationship has changed, or if the pause in contact has had a negative effect. Most of those worries don't amount to much though, and inviting the person to hang out again is pretty straightforward. You can quickly acknowledge you haven't spoken in a bit, then invite them to do something like you normally would.

This article covers a similar topic:

How To Get Back In Touch With An Old Friend Or Acquaintance

Inviting yourself to someone's event

It's mainly in another article that I cover the tricky issue of inviting yourself to things. Basically, you've got to be really careful, but there are times when it can be okay to do it. For example, if you've been getting along with someone in one of your classes, and he mentions often getting together with some friends to play card games every week, and he gives the impression it's an 'everybody is welcome' kind of thing, you could say something like, "So you and your friends play cards every Saturday, right? I'm actually into that too. Would it be okay if I joined you one day?"