I laughed into my phone as I realized the sticky situation.

“It really can’t not sound like you’re asking her out on a date, huh?”

Let’s say you’re a woman, out at a social event. As people are wont to do at social events, you wind up chatting with various folks. Over the course of the evening, you engage in conversation with a fellow female. She’s funny, candid, engaging. You find yourself opening up a bit, charmed by her.

You know that there’s the distinct possibility that a beautiful friendship could spring from this encounter. You just have to bridge that gap, between one-time social interaction and meeting up for coffee or catching a movie.

How do you do so? How does a woman ask another woman out on a Friend Date? A Girl Date? What’s the term?

I was asked about my take on it. My bumbling attempt at a response left me cackling.

OK, so she doesn’t use MySpace. Do you know someone who knows her? You could ask for her email address or pass yours along. You could hope to bump into her somewhere else, ideally soon, so you have a chance of being remembered. You tell Mutual Friend that you thought she was really cool and you’d like to hang out sometime. Uh, yeah, basically you do everything you would hope to do to catch up with the cute guy with whom you missed the chance to exchange numbers. How does this not sound like you’re courting her?

That’s the fun of it, though. You are courting her — you’re simply courting a friendship. And with that comes all of the awkwardness of a could-be lover. You don’t know if she thought you were as cool as you thought she was. Did she have fun? Did she think you were weird? If Mutual Friend passes along your contact info, will she call?

A few weeks ago, a group of friends met up for dinner before taking in a concert. One friend brought another, one I hadn’t met before, and she just clicked with the rest of us. Hilarious, witty, a total extrovert, she had the rest of us laughing and chatting like long-lost friends. At show’s end, we all exchanged boisterous hugs and promised to hang out sometime soon.

But then I didn’t know when or if I’d wind up seeing her again. Fortunately, I did — a chance encounter about a week ago. And as we caught up about the weeks that had passed, it was said. We’ll have to do something fun soon.

Huzzah! Possible friendship!

But what happens when you don’t have that luck? I’m intrigued. What’s your take? Dish with me, folks…