Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

friendship Americans

Do you ever struggle to figure out when is the best time in English to ask for more time together?

It can be hard to know what steps to take when you are interacting with American people because of cultural differences.

Have you ever heard the phrase “put the ball in their court” in this situation?

Today we’ll show you a low-risk way to take a friendly interaction to a friendship in English.


How Do You Know When To Move Forward?

You may have a good connection going, and you enjoy this person’s company.

How do you go from quick conversation to going out to dinner?

If you know that you wouldn’t necessarily run into this person by chance, then you probably need to make the effort.

Knowing when and how to turn an acquaintance into a friend can be a bit tricky.

You don’t want to come across as weird, and you certainly don’t want to force anything.

This is exactly when you want to put the ball in their court!


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Give Them An Opportunity

So what does it mean to put the ball in their court?

You are giving them the opportunity to respond or to take action.

You may ask for plans or to exchange phone numbers--and then you see how they respond to that.

You may make the first big step, but then it’s up to them to see what they do with them.

You give them the opportunity to become closer friends with you or to possibly meet up again.


It Takes Two To Connect

When you put the ball in their court, you present the idea or opportunity and they have to take the action.

They may love the idea and take you up on the offer. They may be very interested in meeting up with you or staying friends.

If they are interested, then they will take the action.

If they are not interested, then the opportunity just gets passed over. Nothing lost and at least you tried.

You will never know unless you put the ball in their court. It may feel risky, but it’s a great way to make possible connections.


The Way You Present Future Plans Is Everything

There is one little word that can help you to be a bit cautious as you ask for plans.

Adding in the word “sometime” makes your suggestion casual and yet approachable.

You might say something like “Hey, we should go grab lunch sometime.”

Sometime may mean no, but not in this situation.

Using sometime in your sentence asking for friends means that you are being careful.

It means that you respect that you may not be that close yet, but you want to put the offer out there.


Pay Attention To How They Respond

You put it out there by saying something like “We should get a drink sometime.”

You have put the ball in their court–now it’s up to them in where this goes.

You want to pay special attention to the way in which they respond to see where this friendship may go.

  • If they seem unsure or say “maybe” then that likely means no
  • If they don’t seem interested or they hesitate, then that’s likely a no
  • If they ask for your contact information, then they are likely interested in seeing you again
  • If they try to set a date with you right there, then they definitely want to be friends

What they do until that next meeting is entirely up to them. The ball is in their court.



Yes it can be scary to make friends as an adult in a new language and a new culture but you need to take a small risk.

You never know until you try and that may mean taking on a low risk.

Ask them for plans sometime and see how they respond. 

This is putting the ball in their court, but it starts by you taking a risk and asking for plans or another meeting.

This is advice that will help you in an American culture

This is how you make connections and how acquaintances turn into friends!



Please leave any questions that you have in the comments section below.

We will get back to you soon.

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