When the time came for my little brother to go off to college, he was nervous about all the normal things a young person comes to terms with as they go forth on their own: doing his own laundry and the existential perils of embarking on adulthood, but mostly talking to girls. Before he began his coming of age journey, he took me aside for some sisterly counseling on the matter, desperate for a little direction. He had first consulted the internet, but something about the advice he found there seemed off. That’s because nearly all the online how-to’s on asking out girls are written by “pick up artists”men who perform annoying microaggressions like negging and yelling at women who don’t want to sleep with them in an effort to win their attention. Their guides contain such gag-worthy advice as explaining everything to a woman to convince her of their superiority, and persisting with requests for dates after receiving a no. So that explains every interaction I’ve ever had in a bar, I guess.

As totally disgusting as their tips are, I understand a PUA’s tactics truly come from a place of fear. Regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, it’s always scary to put yourself out there, start a conversation, and invite someone to potentially reject you. But hiding behind a wall of pick-up lines and insults isn’t ever going to win someone’s affection, and will likely just end up earning you a gross reputation (and possibly some malware from those shady Pick Up Artist websites).

I was able to assure my brother that someone rejecting his romantic invitations didn’t mean he was any less cool or worthy of love, and told him how girls really wanted to be talked to (spoiler alert: like regular goddamn people). But, I knew then my work was not done. Hundreds of thousands of misinformed singles are still asking girls to take their headphones off and chat when they clearly aren’t interested, cornering them at parties, and accusing them of friend-zoning even though that’s not a thing. So, I’m here to set the record straight. Here are my top tips for how to ask a girl out: what works and what you should literally never do again, because it’s 2017, and on behalf of women everywhere, I can say that we’re tired of dealing with it.

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