Originally Posted by nllswing
Whatever your approach is, just make sure not to scare them. I'd avoid any "label" words, such as "poly."
I agree. Like any word, "poly" may come with misconceptions and meanings that are not necessarily the same for them as for you. And much like the word "gay" or "lesbian", people are often scared of the label despite living the life. This often changes with time, but a less confining word (e.g "open relationship") may be better for the initial approach.
I would discuss monogamy instead of "poly", to see if they subscribe to myths like "If you truly love someone you only have eyes for them", and feel your way from there. Maybe they sense monogamy isn't right for them, but were never exposed to the idea of poly, so throwing the word "polyamory" in the discussion (without mentioning you are), and leaving the rest to their googling skills might go a long way. These are two great videos/ researchers who can help ignite such a discussion:
Helen Fisher: http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fishe...ove_cheat.html
One more thing- some words of caution. It sounds a little like you are expecting an "either or" kind of answer. There are many possibilities in between. They could be totally poly, experienced and wishing for a quad. They could also be totally mono and are just easy going on flirtations. One of them could be pushing for poly while the other is hesitant. They could be at the exact same stage you are in in your "poly development", or they could be in a much more early or late stage in their process. Just remember all the options and prepare for everything, and don't get carried away in wishful thinking.
Part of why I'm saying this is that me and wife recently got into a bad situation after she started flirting with another married lesbian, and I supported the development. We we're both wishfully-thinking the other couple was also open/poly. By the time we figured out they aren't, a relationship had already developed and my wife found herself having an affair with a cheater. Which was not the type of "open relationship" I/we hoped for.
So be very careful, and clear between yourselves about acceptable boundaries, what to do if you are openly asked what your status is, what's acceptable if only one of the other couple approaches you and so on. And take it slow, the transition from words to actions is very hard, even when you totally believe in the poly ideal.