The pursuit of young love.
First, think about what you want to say, and practice it. This may sound a little silly, but it will help you to feel more comfortable and sound more relaxed when you call. Try to have a reason for the call (for example, you could ask a question about a class you have in common). If it's just to talk, have something to talk about so there aren't long and awkward pauses.
Be sure to call at a reasonable hour, and of course this goes for everyone no matter their age. Try not call during dinner and not after 9:00pm, unless you know it's OK to call that late.
If her parents answer the phone, speak clearly and politely. You might say something like, “Hello, Mrs. Capulet, this is Romeo Montague, a classmate of Juliet's. May I speak with Juliet please?”
Now let's say you've gotten past security and are able to speak with her. Remember that listening in a conversation is just as important as speaking. Be sure to ask questions about the other person and don't just talk about yourself, and ask questions that give you the chance to get to know one another.
Ending the Conversation
Don't be too concerned about having a long conversation the first time you call, and know that the fact that you made the effort to connect will help show your interest. Close the call with a polite goodbye and if the conversation went well, ask if you two could speak again. Sadly, it is necessary to be prepared in the case that the request is denied. If that happens, it is absolutely crucial that you be polite and not call her again unless the young lady initiates the conversation. It's difficult to think that there might be someone else out there who is as interesting as this young lady, but her request must be honored.
Asking for a Date
So if you've made it through a few phone conversations and everything has gone well, you may be at the point of asking the young lady on a date, but you should check with your parents if this is OK. Perhaps it would be best to spend time in a mixed group setting. Doing things together in a group has its advantages, the biggest being that the pressure is off and you have friends around to help you feel more comfortable. Go bowling, see a movie, catch a football game, or go out for pizza or burgers. In general, the trick here is to invite the person in whom you're interested. This gesture will not go unnoticed by him or her. Become good friends, and by the time you're ready for dating, you'll already have your awkwardly-sized teenage foot in the door.
Remember that in every part of this process it is important to be polite and respectful to your own parents, to the recipient of your affections, and to her or his parents--even in rejection. It will also set the stage for building a great relationship with your future date.
So here's hoping that you're always lucky in romance, and thank you for listening to Modern Manners Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Polite Life.
Transcripts of this show can be found online at manners.quickanddirtytips.com.
Send your question and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Modern Manners Guy is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips Network, which has released its first book--Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Order it now anywhere books are sold.
Finally, thanks to Trent Armstrong from another great show, The Manners Cast, available at mannerscast.com.
Young Couple Holding Hands image courtesy of Shutterstock