Updated 04 June 2010

How to make that first call

You got her number last week at a friend's party and you've been agonising for days about when to phone her, what to say and how to say it.


You got her number last week at a friend's party and you've been agonising for days about when to phone her, what to say and how to say it.

Point is, you know she's single and she would not have given you her number if she wasn't at least a little bit interested. You're halfway there, so it's important not to fluff things up at this point.

Here are some pointers.

Choose your time. You don't want to catch her while she's still sleeping, or in the shower, so early mornings are out. Late afternoon after work is good, or you can even try over lunchtime. Best is probably in the evenings between 8 and 9pm – if someone has not gone out, they've already been to gym and had supper before this time. You want her calm and together, not flustered and run-off-her-feet.

Ask if it's convenient. This is an important one. If she sounds off, it might be that she's in a meeting or you've caught her at an awkward moment. Give her the opportunity to ask you to call again later. If there's no answer, don't leave a message. You don't want to look like a pest, and you don't want to sit around for days waiting for that return phone call. If she responds to the missed call on the phone, fine.

Does she know who's talking? Make sure she knows who is talking. Identify yourself clearly by saying something like, "Hi, it's Mark. I met you Saturday night at Dave and Megan's party." Chances are if she gave you her number, she's going to know exactly who is talking, but play safe anyway. There's nothing worse than being met with vague indifference and politeness, because she doesn't really know who's speaking.

Don't phone at work. Work is another world. People are often in the middle of meetings, or have to meet tight deadlines, or work in open offices where people can hear every word they say. It's best to get her when she's not preoccupied with other things, and is free to talk.

Identify yourself by number. Most cellphones have incoming number identification. Let her see who's calling. If you choose not to, it could look like you're hiding something, like a wife, or another girlfriend perhaps? If she doesn't answer your calls, it may be because she doesn't want to, or it was inconvenient at the time. But if she's got your number, she can phone back.

Get to the point. Tell her you enjoyed meeting her and want to see her. Don't ramble on and on about the weather, your new cat, your mother's visit, or whatever. Incessant talking is going to make you sound anxious and desperate. Say what you have to say, such as, "I enjoyed talking to you last week and was wondering whether you were free to go out for a cup of coffee sometime this weekend?"

Give her a way out. Ask her if it is convenient. She could say that she is going away for the weekend, moving house, getting visitors. Don't make a scene about it. If she really does want to see you, she'll say so, even if this weekend isn't going to work. Don't make the first date sound like too much of a social commitment. Dinner and the movies may be too much, too soon. So would going with you to your cousin's wedding. But anyone can survive a coffee date for 45 minutes.

Don't sound anxious. Wait until you feel calm and together before making that call. You don't want to sound like a poodle cornered by an Alsation. Breathe deeply, and get your voice as far away from high-pitched as you can. Remember you are taking a chance and it may work out or it may not. That's the dating game for you.

Keep it light and humorous. Don't lay on the heavies. Never complain about anything that's happened in your life. People have enough problems of their own and they seldom feel like taking on someone else's. Make a light comment or two (no telling of long complicated jokes) and say nothing you wouldn't say in front of your mother. You don't want to scare off this girl. Make her laugh, and the battle is half won. Try and say at least one thing that is memorable.

Make a date. Don't let the conversation end without at least having made a time that you will speak to each other again. Tell her you'll phone her early next week. First prize is getting a date, even if it is for something like a walk in the park or on the beach, or a cup of coffee.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)

(Picture: Teen talking on phone from Shutterstock)

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