How often have you met a guy who seems worth getting to know better — a neighbor, a classmate, a friend of a friend, whatever — and been disappointed because he didn’t take the next step? You thought you sensed chemistry. The two of you had some great conversations, he remembers little things you mentioned to him, he’s even thrown a mild compliment or two your way, and yet…nothing.

Why the heck doesn’t this guy make a move, already?

I have no idea. But if you’re so interested in this guy, why don’t you make a move?

Sure, taking the initiative can be risky business, but to me, it’s generally better to crash and burn than to wonder what would have happened if I’d taken a chance. And win or lose, it beats wasting countless hours on the phone with your friends dissecting every shred of conversation with the guy to try to figure out why he hasn’t contacted you. Resolution always trumps limbo.
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If you’re ready to give it a try, remember these tips:

Be confident, charming and calm. Or at least pretend to be. This may be your first time asking a guy out, but he doesn’t have to know that.

Grab a natural segue. Look for some opening in your conversations that can allow the invitation to be made as naturally as possible. It can be as simple as finding yourselves talking about a new movie you’re both looking forward to seeing — all you have to do is suggest that you make plans to see it together.

Be direct and specific. Let’s have none of that wishy-washy “Would you like to go out some time?” business. Have a date and activity in mind and issue a full invitation. In the case of that movie, for example, you could suggest catching it together.

Keep it simple. For a first date, something casual and relaxed is a better bet than something overtly romantic or intimate. Dinner at your place, for example, should wait until something more substantial develops. Suggest seeing a Sunday matinee of that movie rather than a Saturday evening showing; Saturday night dates are packed with portent, and you both may be more comfortable easing into this.

Don’t overwhelm him. Many men are perfectly cool with — even attracted to — the idea of a woman who will make the first move. Not all are, though; there are still guys out there who are locked into tradition or who have definite ideas about being “the hunter.” (And even the most progressive-minded guy is still enticed by the thrill of the chase.) If he’s not receptive to your invitation and doesn’t suggest an alternative, back away gracefully. If he does accept, the ball’s in his court to ask you out for your second date. Remember, this isn’t about a complete and permanent role reversal. It’s about finding your romantic partner in crime.

Randy B. Hecht is a freelance writer based in New York. She has contributed to The Out Traveler, Philadelphia City Paper and Art & Antiques, among other publications.