1. Get her number. This might seem like the hardest step, but it’s necessary! If she gives you her number, you can safely assume that she’s open to talking. Here are a few different tips on how to do it:

Don’t get her number in a creepy way. You don’t want to come off as a stalker, so try to avoid covert methods of getting her number. This includes getting it from her friends, finding it online, or any other sneaky means. Her phone number is private information, and she should have the right to give it to people she wants having it.

Find an excuse. Don’t worry, she’ll probably know it’s a thin cover for getting her number, but she might be willing to give it to you anyway! If you’re out with a group, ask for her number so everyone can coordinate plans. If you’re in the same class, ask if you two can exchange numbers to keep up on homework assignments.

“Swap” numbers. Give her your number, and then say “And what’s yours?” or “Sorry, I didn’t get your number yet?”

Ask outright. If you don’t have an excuse, don’t sweat it — you can just ask. Stay casual, and start off with something like, “Hey, could I call you sometime?” or the basic “Can I have your number?” This should work well if you’re wrapping up a fun date or some interaction that went well.

2. Time it right. Timing can make all the difference between a good call and a bad call. Picking the right time can make you seem confident but interested, and up your odds of catching her at a convenient moment.

Wait a day or two. It’s a fine line — if you call her too quickly, you’ll seem desperate; if you call too late, you’ll seem disinterested. Give her a day or two to wonder if you’ll call her and build up interest.

Call in the evening. If you ring her up in the middle of the workday or when she might be at school, awkwardness will ensue — she’ll be in a hurry to get off the phone, and it’ll be hard for you to tell if she’s interested or not. Instead, try calling her in the mid-evening, around 7 or 8 o’clock. She might be done with dinner and/or homework, and ready to chat for a bit.

3. Relax. Before you pick up the phone, take a few deep breaths and try to calm down. Don’t risk mumbling and stumbling over your words because you’re nervous. Practice speaking at a reasonable pace and keeping your tone bright and clear.

Find some privacy. If you’re really nervous, try to make the call from a secluded space. You’ll be less worried about people overhearing what you say or ruining your concentration.

4. Make casual small talk. How her day went, homework, work, friends and her interests are perfect, easy topics to focus on. Don’t worry too much about discussing deep, complex topics at first — what you really want to show her right now is that you’re interested in what she thinks and getting to know her better.

Keep the conversation focused on her. Most people are comfortable talking about themselves because it’s a topic they know well, so ask about her interests, what she thinks about something that happened recently, how her day went, and so on. Make it easy by asking about something you already know she likes, such as “So I know you’re into watercolors, which I would love to know more about.”

Ask about her day. She might need a willing ear to talk about something that happened.

Bring up something you talked about last time you saw her. It could be an inside joke, a common interest, or simply picking up where a prior conversation left off.

5. Know when to end the call. It’s much better for the call to be too short than too long – you don’t want to bore her! Stopping the conversation while it’s still lively and interesting can help you steer clear of awkward silences, and get her looking forward to next time. If at any time you hear 3 full seconds of clear silence, it’s time to stop.

End with a compliment. Saying something like “This was awesome! We should talk again sometime” lets her know that you’re not hanging up because of something she said wrong.

6. Give it a few days before you call again. As much as you might want to talk to her again as soon as possible, wait a bit. Expecting her to talk to you every single day implies a lot of pressure, since that level of closeness is usually reserved for people in serious relationships. But you can call her once or twice a week and see if she starts reciprocating by calling you!