I Keep Scaring Guys Away. What Am I Doing Wrong?

I Keep Scaring Guys Away. What Am I Doing Wrong?
Evan,

I’ve tried going after guys I’m attracted to even if I don’t really know them. For instance, there was this guy in the gym. I guess I creeped him out. I don’t know why… maybe he found me unattractive… who knows? But I kept trying to talk to him and he would run away because we were on the running track. He was kind of a jerk and then I caught him near the barbells where the men work out and I said “Hey,” he seemed like he was nice because he smiled at me, took off his headphones and said “What’s up?” I asked him why he was running away from me. He didn’t give me a direct answer but he said “I can talk to you 20 minutes from now” with a smile and he said he was going to work out… Well, he ended up ditching me. He had me wait an entire hour and then he quickly walked past me without looking back at me.

Now I’m wondering… what did I do wrong? Was there something different I could have done when approaching him? Is he just a jerk (probably)? Next time I see him, should I talk to him again?

Also, I want to talk to this guy at my Church but I’ve had so many rejections that I’m wondering if I should even talk to this guy or if I will scare him away too. I’m not really confident that he will like me.
–Ashley

Ashley,

Stop being a guy.

Since third grade, boys are taught that if they like a girl, they have to ask her out.

Before you get defensive – or before any women get on my case for invoking more gender stereotypes, let’s establish that stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

Since third grade, boys are taught that if they like a girl, they have to ask her out. Or pull her hair. Or something like that.

It never ceases to be nerve wracking, but that, in fact, is the way a vast majority of the dating world works.

Man sees attractive woman, gets the nerve to talk to her, they have a nice conversation, he asks for her number, calls her, plans the date, picks her up, pays, drives her home, kisses her goodnight, and calls the next day to see if they can do it all over again.

I don’t see much room for disagreement with this one.

That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for women to approach men, ask out men, offer sex to men, or propose to men; it’s just that it seems that most men and women are comfortable with these gender roles. And when they’re undermined, many people get a little ruffled.

Don’t women get upset when men don’t call after a date?
Don’t women get upset when men don’t pay?
Don’t women get upset when men don’t make plans?
Don’t women get upset when men don’t make the first move?

If so, you’re buying into these same stereotypes of what we expect from men.

As for what men expect from women?

We just want you to say yes.

Say yes to talking to us at the gym.
Say yes to agreeing to drinks on Friday.
Say yes when I insist on paying.
Say yes when I try to kiss you.
Say yes when I follow up for a second date.

This is the core message of my book, Why He Disappeared. It’s not that you’re “wrong” to approach men the way you have, Ashley. It’s that it hasn’t been proven to be particularly effective.

So why keep doing something that isn’t working for you?

Men do what we want – most of the time. There’s always going to be some guy who’s too shy to say hi or ask for your number, but most women don’t want a man with that little confidence anyway.

Your job is simply to put yourself in the position to be approached.

Cross the room near him. Plant yourself within eyeshot of him. Turn. Smile. Make eye contact. Look away. Flip your hair. You’re essentially giving him every opening to approach YOU. If he does, then YOU’RE in control. If he doesn’t, he’s not interested.

Simple.

And if you really, really want to keep on approaching guys, click here, and scroll down to read Samantha Scholfield’s Screw Cupid which teaches women how to approach hot guys. For the more laid back system, which involves getting men to come to you, I’ve heard that Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts is a good read.

9
4

Join 7 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (137 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 31
    Saint Stephen

    Karl, the point i was trying to make is that Ashley should put herself in a position to be approached as opposed to playing the aggressive initiator role for a second time with the church guy. One more disinterested guy will shatter her self confidence. And why keep assuming that the church guy wont find her attractive? If he finds her attractive he’ll certainly think is thrilling for her to create a conducive environment to be asked out.
     
    Furthermore, in my analogy about match.com. I presumed a scenario were you had slim chances of approaching this woman in real life… probably because you both go to work. 
    In many churches, choir members don’t interact much with floor members. They mostly interact amongst themselves.

  2. 32
    Emma

    I empathize with Ashley because I’ve approached men and I’ve failed, or it’s led to an fwb situation. One man who I was interested in said I set the tone for the fwb. I’m not sure the energy I was giving off, maybe a hint of desperation with a dash of aggressiveness. Whatever it was, I didn’t get great results and refuse to approach again…

    But then you see Kim from the Housewives of Atl, I know, and how she approached her husband today. There first meeting was caught on camera, and she approached him, gave him compliments, and left. He came to her later that night to get her number. So maybe it’s the confidence you exude when you approach a man, which Kim had, and I lacked at the time. 

  3. 33
    Katherine Wakefield

    If a man is interested in you, you will know! Be subtle, just eye contact with a smile.  Nothing more. If he likes you, he will respond, guaranteed.  

  4. 34
    Karl R

    Stephen said: (#32)
    “the point i was trying to make is that Ashley should put herself in a position to be approached as opposed to playing the aggressive initiator role”

    Here’s my point: Ashley’s behavior came across to me, and at least four other people (see #3, 10, 15, 23), as being creepy or stalker-like. Your suggestion came across to me, and at least one other person (see #10), as being creepy or stalker-like.

    If someone shows a tendency to engage in dating behavior that others find creepy, I would not give them recommendations that others could find creepy.

    Stephen asked: (#32)
    “And why keep assuming that the church guy wont find her attractive?”
    Ashley said:
    “Also, I want to talk to this guy at my Church” […] “I’m not really confident that he will like me.”

    Stephen,
    Whether the man finds her attractive is less relevant than whether he is interested in dating her.

    When I was dating, I almost always knew a woman liked me (and was almost positive she found me attractive) before I asked her out. My success rate at getting a first date was around 50%.

    If I was less certain about the liked/attracted part, my success rate was substantially lower (less than 20%).

    Ashley didn’t state that the man has shown any indication that he finds her attractive (so it’s probably uncertain). She’s not confident that he will like her (so it’s also uncertain).

    It sounds like a long-shot to me. When I was in that situation, I would go talk to the woman in order to guage whether she found me attractive or likeable. In less than 5% of the cases was there ever enough interest to make it worth pursuing further.

    Is it worth trying? Why not. Should Ashley let herself get invested in the outcome? Definitely not.

    Stephen asked: (#32)
    “One more disinterested guy will shatter her self confidence.”

    What makes you say that? I saw nothing in Ashley’s letter which indicates a fragile self-esteem.

    She’s had a lot of rejections. So have I (and so have most other men). Why do you believe that Ashley is less resilient than most men?

    Emma said: (#33)
    “I empathize with Ashley because I’ve approached men and I’ve failed,”

    Failing is the norm. You only have to succeed once.

    Emma said: (#33)
    “So maybe it’s the confidence you exude when you approach a man,”

    Confidence improves your chances of success. It also allows you to feel better when you don’t succeed. So either way, confidence is important.

  5. 35
    Laura S.

    Here’s what works for me.   I am always smiling, I say, “Hi, how are you today?” I stop and wait for an answer.  Yes, I do this with total strangers.  If he wants to move on, let him go.   Keep the conversation brief, 3-5 minutes.   After that, I’ll smile and say, “Hi.”  

    Here’s the trick to turn the chase around.    I will keep positioning myself in his line of vision with my back to him and ignore him.

    The guy in church?   After the initial brief chat, sit in front of him and IGNORE him.    He will be interested in you.

    Men hate to be ignored.

    Since this is something we can do this with multiple men at the same time, there is no failure, shattered confidences, or perceptions of over-agressive creepiness.  I get a kick out of how some of the men figure out where I’ll be next and happen to just “be there” for a quiet conversation.

  6. 36
    Saint Stephen

    Karl R asked (#35)
    What makes you say that? I saw nothing in Ashley’s letter which indicates a fragile self-esteem.
    She’s had a lot of rejections. So have I (and so have most other men). Why do you believe that Ashley is less resilient than most men?
    Karl R Said (#35)
    Confidence improves your chances of success. It also allows you to feel better when you don’t succeed. So either way, confidence is important.
    By making this comment u’ve inadvertently answered your question. Is obvious that Ashley isn’t feeling better about her consecutive lack of success. Secondly, her chances of success – by doing it your way – aren’t improving. Given the attributes you ascribed to confidence – Why do you think Ashley is optimally confident?
    Karl R
    I’ll propose that one’s success rate with members of the opposite gender enhances self-confidence, not the other way round. No matter how confident a man is if he’s success rate with women is 0%. Proportionally, he’s confidence level will plummet to a non-existence state.  Confidence improving success rate = correlation. But success rate boosting self-confidence = direct causation.    

     

  7. 37
    Karl R

    Stephen said: (#37)
    “I’ll propose that one’s success rate with members of the opposite gender enhances self-confidence, not the other way round.”
    Winston Churchill said:
    “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

    Stephen,
    Based on comments you’ve made on this blog, I’ve gotten the distinct impression that I’ve been far more successful in relationships than you have.

    Does succes breed confidence? Sure. But confidence also breeds success. (More specifically, the ability to project a confident demeanor.) If you have neither success nor confidence, you can either wait helplessly, hoping for a success, or you can fake self-confidence until you make your own success.

    Confidence can be convincingly faked. I’ve done it. Do you know of a way to convincingly fake success?

    Stephen said: (#37)
    “No matter how confident a man is if he’s success rate with women is 0%. Proportionally, he’s confidence level will plummet to a non-existence state.”

    As Winston Churchill eloquently stated, the successful people shrug off failures without losing confidence. This is particularly important in dating (or similar endeavors) where failures are common (even for confident people) and confidence creates success.

    Would you rather be right, or would you rather succeed? Because if you believe that confidence is dependent upon success, that will remain true for you. Or you can decide that you might be mistaken, and try a strategy that will be more successful.

  8. 38
    Heather

    @ Saint Stephen,

    I think you have a really good point about a guy’s failures with women, taking his self-confidence down.  I once dated a guy who was constantly complaining, while we were dating, about all the girls who had rejected him.  Which explained his increasingly unacceptable behaviors after being rejected.  Heck, he saw one girl who nicely told him “thanks but no thanks” out with another guy, he approached the girl and guy, and dropped the c-word on her!!!  What????

    Funny part is, once we were together awhile and he seemed to have his confidence back, he became a judgmental, self-righteous jerk and ended our relationship.  But, from what I have heard, he is still single and complains about how he can’t find anybody.

    Me, I have a really nice guy in my life, and am totally happy now, and he is a totally secure man.

  9. 39
    nathan

    I have to laugh at suggestions that something as subtle as a smile and a bit of eye contact are enough. After numerous experiences in my 20s where those simple actions turned out to be only friendly gestures coming from the women in question, I realized that it’s better to never assume anything. Sometimes, I’ll still strike up a conversation and ask for a phone number, but I do so from a place of not knowing The problem for Ashley is that she’s ignoring all the cues, and pushing forward with men who aren’t interested.
     
    Furthermore, I would change Evan’s statement about gender roles to say “most men over 40 are comfortable with those gender roles.” With the under 40 crowd, it’s much more of a mixed bag. In my opinion, women should feel empowered to approach men if they want to. Especially if what they have been doing isn’t working. Does approaching men entail some risk? Sure. Are some men going to feel “ruffled” and upset? Sure. But it doesn’t make sense to me to limit yourself only to what’s expected from you – as a man or woman. In the modern dating world, people need to get more creative, even if it results in some flops.
     
    Furthermore, the comments about stereotypes are almost exactly the same song and dance some white people do when invoking every racist stereotype under the sun. I reject that as a basis for saying women shouldn’t approach, just as I would reject similar comments that men shouldn’t cry because they are men. It’s more the case that women aren’t successful with approaching and being the pursuer for a variety of reasons. They collectively have much less practice. They give up too easily, failing to remember as Karl said that rejection is the norm. They are choosing men who are not approachable, or who do believe in a more rigid understanding of gender roles. Or they’re missing the cues, like Ashley clearly is. 
     
    In the end, I think women should feel like all options are on the table. That they can decide based upon their current situation what’s best. Instead of saying women should play the role of the pursuer, I think it’s a hell of a lot more interesting to hear from women who have both been successful and unsuccessful in pursuing. I just think it’s telling that most of the women commenting here aren’t nodding in full agreement with Evan’s assessment.

    1. 39.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Nathan – I’m quite used to women disagreeing with me in the comments section. And I don’t have a real horse in the race. My job is to report how things are – not how you want them to be.

      You can come up with a dozen rationalizations for why women aren’t successful with approaching – and all are somewhat valid. The big one you’re missing? Men really do prefer to approach attractive women and win them over. They don’t respond to the perceived desperation, neediness or aggression of an approaching woman. We can spin this in a thousand ways and that’s still the biggest reason that women approaching men doesn’t work. Most men don’t like it. What men DO like is to have an EASIER path to approaching. Which is why subtle cues like positioning, eye contact, body language and smiling are all but inviting even the most timid men to come over and say hi.

      Think about any desirable woman. Does she have to approach a guy with some line to get noticed? Nope. She just has to show up, smile, and appear open to being approached. All this talk about the under 40s being different is missing a much greater point – most men AND most women are sick of feminine men who are waiting for HER to “man up”. They WANT guys to take action.

      And any commenter who disagrees based on personal feelings (like Nathan) or some anecdote of a woman who approached her husband is clearly not paying attention. Men approach women at parties, bars, the workplace, and online. Men are used to it. Women are used to it. It’s worked well for years. So while I’m not morally against empowered women going up to a guy and saying, “I’m Ashley, can I buy you a drink?” I do think that most guys would be turned off/weirded out by it – which renders it ineffective as a plan of action, even if it’s well-intentioned.

      Take control of your love life by making yourself more approachable, not by doing the approaching. It’s not only simpler, it’s much more effective as well.

  10. 40
    Helen

    Evan, you wrote: “Men really do prefer to approach attractive women and win them over.” (emphasis mine) 
     
    There, you see, is the whole point.  The majority of women are NOT attractive, unless you consider any woman above a 5 attractive (I think most men would not be that liberal). It’s simple math. Yes, a woman may have an attractive personality – but no guy will ever know that, if he doesn’t approach her because he doesn’t find her looks sufficiently compelling.
     
    So what nathan suggests makes perfect sense. He pointed out that women should try something different “if what they have been doing isn’t working.” Thus, if the majority of women aren’t being approached by men, it makes perfect sense for these women to approach.  Then, at least, they establish contact with men who may find their personalities lovable, if not their immediate looks.
     
    Besides, women like to approach too. It’s not as though only men like approaching (and therefore they should be the only ones to do it), and only women like standing back receptively. I love approaching people and situations and experiences, have learned to thicken my skin, and am happier for being proactive rather than sitting and waiting for life to happen to me. I know my own example is merely an anecdote, nothing of statistical significance. But it’s worthwhile to point out that HUMANS are by nature active beings: not just one gender.

    1. 40.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Helen,

      Think about this logically. A man doesn’t find a woman sufficiently attractive to approach her…and yet he’s going to be receptive when that unattractive woman approaches him?

      You don’t actually think that’s true, do you?

      If a woman is attractive to a man (and if you look around the shopping malls of America, there’s a lid for every pot), and she seems receptive, he’ll approach her. Men have been doing it since the beginning of time. The real reason that women don’t meet more men is because they’re not online, they’re not out and about, and they’re not aware enough how to encourage men to approach when they do see men. I’ve already recommended Samantha Scholfield’s “Screw Cupid” to women who want to approach. I just think it’s a lot more work and a lot less effective than being approachable.

      So instead of arguing with me about how YOU like to approach, why don’t you tell me how an unattractive woman is going to win over a man who doesn’t find her attractive?

  11. 41
    Helen

    Evan, you wrote: “Think about this logically. A man doesn’t find a woman sufficiently attractive to approach her…and yet he’s going to be receptive when that unattractive woman approaches him?”
     
    That would be the story of me approaching my husband. I’m not a beauty queen. But I approached him, over time he fell in love with my personality and intelligence… and we’ve been married 13+ years now.
     
    You said you didn’t want anecdotes. But you asked. I have enough faith in men to believe that even if they don’t find a women’s looks sufficiently attractive to approach her in the beginning, they can fall in love with these same women for other reasons. I’d be curious to hear about others’ experiences.

    1. 41.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      And there you have it, Helen. It happened to you, so therefore it should happen to other people, too. You’re forgetting that I prescribe advice for the masses. Are there exceptions to every rule? Absolutely. Perfectly legitimate, valid ones. But you can’t contradict my advice to the masses with this one story – or even many other stories of Sadie Hawkins women. No more than we can conclude that dropping out of college is a great plan for success just because Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg did it. I’m not denying your reality, Helen. I’m happy for you. I just don’t think it’s a great blueprint for women. My job is to give the blueprint.

  12. 42
    nathan

    Evan, you reject nearly every last disagreement with the same kind of approach. You tell us we aren’t being rational. Or are focused on anecdotes. Or that you know what’s happening in reality, and we are just dreaming about what we want. Frankly, I just think you’d rather argue and believe you’re right than consider that other points of view might be valid.
     
    I still say that things are changing amongst younger folks. From what I’m witnessing and experiencing, dating and relationships are changing. Online dating, feminism, shifting job markets, more women attending college than men, more men being the primary caregiver for children – all of these and more are changing how we interact with each other, and how we view our relationships. Which doesn’t mean most women are suddenly wanting to be with that “weak, feminine” guy cliche you tossed out in response to my points. But it does mean that a lot more women are looking to share the power and decision-making in a relationship, some right from the beginning.
     
    The basic difference between you and I is that you believe you know how most people operate, whereas I think people are more mysterious and complex. It’s not really relevant who is “right” here. There is validity in readers seeing the whole conversation amongst everyone here, and deciding what’s useful for them.
     

    1. 42.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Nathan

      Every opinion is valid to the person with the opinion. The problem is when people mistake their outside-the-mainstream views for mainstream. It doesn’t mean that any of these people are “wrong” or bad or are doomed to a life of solitude. It means that they’re mistaking their idiosyncrasy for something that is not necessarily as effective with the majority of people out there.

      We can go down a list if you like:

      Women who sleep with men on date 1. CAN you get married to the guy you sleep with on Date 1? Sure. Happens all the time. Is this a good plan? Not in my book.
      Couples who get engaged after 6 months. Are there SOME couples who got married on sight and stayed married for 40 years? Absolutely. Is this a good plan? Not in my book.
      Alpha females who want to date alpha males. Is it possible that two people who work 60 hours a week, and are brilliant, stubborn, difficult and selfish can coexist as a couple? Yep. Is this a good plan? Not in my book.
      Men who give flowers before the first date. Is there some woman who will be charmed by this? Absolutely. Do more women get creeped out, making this a bad plan? You betcha.

      So when you or Helen pose the idea that women should start asking out men – and have personal anecdotal evidence to back yourselves up – you have every right to your opinion and life experience.

      I also have the right to tell the majority of our readers who are dealing with mainstream men that this is unlikely to be an effective plan…your inspirational stories notwithstanding.

      Do we understand each other a little bit better, Nathan? You’re a nice guy and I’m not denying YOUR reality, but I will weigh in pretty heavily that I don’t think that it’s effective dating advice. And since this is my site, I think it’s really important that I help readers distinguish good advice from advice that appeals to a much smaller segment of the population.

      That’s the only reason I come here to “argue”. Your advice may be right for you and Helen. I believe mine is right for more people.

  13. 43
    nathan

    Actually, if you want to talk about the masses, Evan, the reality is that the majority of us don’t stand out. We’re fairly average looking in the conventional sense. It’s only the outliers on either end that really stand out. I can scan any room full of people, and I might find a few women who are really physically attractive – who stand out in that way, and get my attention. But that doesn’t mean they are potential good matches. Just because of some initial attraction based solely on appearance. No, it’s much more likely that a good match will be a woman who is more in the middle when it comes to looks. Which means she’s going to have to do more to stand out and get noticed. 
     
     

  14. 44
    Helen

    Evan, I respect your viewpoints, so think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. It isn’t on just my story alone that I believe that nathan is right in this case: that many different methods may work today, now that gender roles are becoming less sharply defined in every aspect of society.
     
    Did I ever say my experience could be generalized to others? No; I specifically stated it was an anecdote and therefore not statistically significant. I have never been swayed by use of anecdotes to “prove” a point.
     
    I also think it comes back to what amy said all the way back in 23. Partly, the way we act around men (whether assertive or receptive) depends on what type of man we want. If we want one who is more traditional, then it would do well to follow your advice and be more coy and receptive. If we want one who is less traditional, then we modify our behavior accordingly. But in the end, we have to come back to the way we really, truly are. And some of us women are not coy by nature. I’m not naive that a certain amount of game-playing enters into courtship – but it is troubling to think of women behaving in ways that are unlike themselves to attract a man who then may have a completely wrong picture of who they really are.

  15. 45
    Karl R

    nathan said: (#40)
    “I have to laugh at suggestions that something as subtle as a smile and a bit of eye contact are enough. After numerous experiences in my 20s where those simple actions turned out to be only friendly gestures coming from the women in question,”

    A friendly gesture is enough to allow me to walk over, introduce myself, and strike up a conversation. After talking to the woman, I can get a better idea whether the smile was only a friendly gesture, or whether her interest goes a bit further.

    If a woman won’t make eye contact or doesn’t smile, then I’ll assume she is disinterested. Even if I am interested, I won’t go over and talk to her. She’s given me her answer already.

    Evan said: (#41)
    “So while I’m not morally against empowered women going up to a guy and saying, “I’m Ashley, can I buy you a drink?” I do think that most guys would be turned off/weirded out by it – which renders it ineffective as a plan of action, even if it’s well-intentioned.”

    Evan, I think you’re overestimating the number of men who would have a negative reaction to it.

    I’m sure some men would be weirded out by it. I’m sure some men would love it. But I wouldn’t presume to say that most men would be turned off by a woman instigating things.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of five women who asked me out (or suggested that I ask them out) in the last seven years. (There are a few more where I’m less certain who did the asking.) I went on at least one date with each of them. I dated one for 8 1/2 months.

    As far as I can tell, less confident men tend to be more appreciative of being approached. (It relieves them of the anxiety of doing the approaching.) More confident men only appreciate being approached by women they were interested in approaching (and likely were already intending to approach).

    Evan said: (#41)
    “Men really do prefer to approach attractive women and win them over.”
    “What men DO like is to have an EASIER path to approaching.”

    I think you’re splitting hairs here.

    In addition to the five women I mentioned above, there are several others where I can’t remember who made the first move. Even if I was the instigator, then they’d made it crystal clear that I was going to receive a positive response.

    And if the woman had already made it clear that I was getting a “Yes” response, can I honestly claim that I was the instigator?

    Evan said: (#41)
    “Men approach women at parties, bars, the workplace, and online. Men are used to it. Women are used to it. It’s worked well for years.”

    I go out to a bar or a party one to three times per week. On the dance floor, men usually ask women to dance. But women do enough of the asking that everyone is accustomed to it to.

    Some nights I can’t make it to the edge of the dance floor between songs before the next woman asks me to dance.

    I’m in the bible belt. You’re on the west coast. I don’t think gender roles are more strictly enforced in your part of the country.

    Evan said: (#41)
    “They don’t respond to the perceived desperation, neediness or aggression of an approaching woman.”
    “Think about any desirable woman. Does she have to approach a guy with some line to get noticed? Nope.”

    If I am already intending to approach a woman, or ask her to dance, or ask her out, she does not make herself suddenly less desirable by preempting me and doing it first.

    I’ve got a fairly healthy ego. I don’t interpret interest in me as a sign of neediness or deperation. If anything, it’s a sign of good taste in men.

    Of course, if I was already intending to approach/ask, it wasn’t really necessary for her to do it instead. But she’s not hurting her chances by doing so.

    Evan said: (#41)
    “Take control of your love life by making yourself more approachable, not by doing the approaching. It’s not only simpler, it’s much more effective as well.”

    I think women asking men is an effective strategy if (and only if) he’s a less confident man. Instead of waiting around to see if he’s ever going to make a move, she can help him take the first one.

    With a more confident man, asking is either going to be irrelevant or counterproductive. If he’s one of the men who is weirded out, it’s counterproductive. If he’s not weirded out, you haven’t changed his interest level, so it’s irrelevant.

    Most women seem to prefer more confident men. They probably shouldn’t do the pursuing.

    For women who prefer less confident men, it may be worth their while to learn how to do some approaching pursuing. (Your suggestion with Screw Cupid sounds quite sensible.)

    Evan said: (#41)
    “I also have the right to tell the majority of our readers who are dealing with mainstream men that this is unlikely to be an effective plan…”

    Are confident men the “mainstream”? 90% of all people say they’ve been shy at some point in their lives. 50% describe themselves as shy now. 15% seem to be predisposed to shyness from birth. (I couldn’t find statistics breaking this out by sex, though I suspect it’s about evenly split between men and women.)

    See this article for more information.

    In my opinion, if a woman learns how to do the approaching, as well as knowing how to be approached, then she is increasing her options. It’s certainly simpler to always wait to be approached. But I can’t see how it’s less effective to have different options for different circumstances and people.

    1. 45.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Well said, Karl.

      As a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, I’ve learned that a vast majority of them are looking for confident men. As such, I advise them that confident men will approach them, call them and commit to them if they really want to. And if they don’t want to, they won’t.

      This is the peril of giving advice – there will always be people to whom it doesn’t apply – but I’m confident that for my target audience, being receptive is more effective than being proactive.

  16. 46
    Christie Hartman

    “Men really do prefer to approach attractive women and win them over. They don’t respond to the perceived desperation, neediness or aggression of an approaching woman.”
     
    Evan, men do like winning women over, but they don’t always like the approach because it’s fraught with the potential for rejection and a resulting blow to one’s confidence. Most men like when a woman initiates conversation – it takes some of the pressure off of him. This isn’t my opinion – this is based on reports from countless men who’ve said this to me and on blogs like this one.
     
    As far as “desperation, neediness, or aggression go,” you’re right, men don’t respond to that. But since when is striking up a conversation an act of desperation?  In many cases, it’s an act of self-confidence and sociability.
     
    “Think about any desirable woman. Does she have to approach a guy with some line to get noticed? Nope. She just has to show up, smile, and appear open to being approached.”


    If only it were that easy.


    There’s a big difference between chasing/pursuing a man, and simply initiating conversation with one. The OP chased her guy (quite literally). She also made him uncomfortable. The approach is an art form. It’s really about social skills – learning to read people and knowing how to make them feel comfortable in your presence. Male or female, we’re all human and starting conversation with a stranger is no easy task. Why not share the burden? Then, if things go well, a man can begin his pursuit.

  17. 47
    Helen

    Karl R wrote: “I don’t interpret interest in me as a sign of neediness or deperation. If anything, it’s a sign of good taste in men.”

    Love it. ;) 

  18. 48
    MilkyMae

    I don’t think men care much about how things happen or how a relationship unfolds.  They want to get from point a to point b.  If getting asked out gets them to where they want to go, I don’t think they care how anything feels.  Men may not like overbearing women who ambush them but I don’t think men even remember who approached or who asked who if they are attracted to a woman.    

  19. 49
    Ruby

    The problem isn’t that Ashley initiated conversation with a man, it’s that she didn’t know when to stop, long after after the signs were clear that the man wasn’t interested. She didn’t know how to read the multiple, obvious signals and continued to pursue. Not only did she keep “trying to talk to him” after he ran away from her and acted like “kind of a jerk”, she actually confronted him about his disinterest in her, and then she waited for him for another 40 minutes after he said he’d meet up with her. Nobody, male or female, wants to be stalked like that.

  20. 50
    Still-Looking

    Great discussion.  I think Christie@51 hits the nail on the head with the distinction between initiating a conversation (showing interest) and actively pursuing.  

    Nothing ventured – nothing gained! 

  21. 51
    Sacha

    Evan #52 “….but I’m confident that for my target audience, being receptive is more effective than being proactive”
     
    Please define what you mean by “more effective”. “More effective” in what? Getting a date? Or finding a suitable match for a successful long-term relationship? What is the point in getting a date with someone who is known – right from the start – to be unlikely to be a good long-term match??
     
    I find your advice self-contradictory.
     
    You suggest alpha females and alpha males are not a good match. You suggest alpha women are better matched with beta men. So far – agreed! Beta men are any variation and combination of sensitive, quiet, agreeable, introspective, imaginative, creative etc, while at the same time not very competitive, not very assertive and not very willing to initiate and take risks. Best match for a passive non-assertive person is….an assertive person who does not mind taking risks and being the initiator. Regardless male or female. Think ‘negotiator’ and ‘director’ types as per Helen Fisher’s research.

    Here is the contradiction in your advice.

    You say you give advice to “smart, strong, successful women”, i.e. alpha women. These women are assertive, active and like taking the initiative. Why are you advising your active assertive alpha-female readers to go against type and be passive and wait to be approached?? This seems wrong on so many levels, being “effective” in getting a date notwithstanding! Firstly, the women would not be themselves because they would be suppressing a major part of their personality. That can’t be good for them. Secondly, since that is not a sustainable state, they will eventually revert to their dominant assertive type and then the men would feel duped. Cue disappearing man. Thirdly, the men who are much more likely to approach them would be the alpha types, who we agree are not a good match to alpha women in the first place. That is likely to backfire sooner or later.

    What’s the point of an assertive dominant woman pretending to be passive and receptive in order to get a date with an assertive initiating man who is going to clash with her personality-wise down the line??

    It seems that the most effective – and more importantly, useful – advice you can give to your “target audience” of “smart, strong, successful women” would be the opposite of what you advise, i.e. to approach every guy they are attracted to. This would be a good initial test of compatibility. If the guy is put off and runs, it means there is no personality match and that is best discovered early on. Move on to the next one until you find a man who is not put off by an initiating assertive woman.
     

    1. 51.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Sacha,

      You make an excellent point. Here’s how I reconcile it:

      a) This isn’t as binary as everyone (myself included) is making it out to be. Believe me, I believe in strong, proactive women. Which is why I’m an advocate of not just online dating, but women initiating contact with men online. How do I square that with what I said previously? Because my email technique, found in my Finding the One Online audio series, has NOTHING to do with hitting on him, asking him out, finding commonality, or setting a date. My technique is the verbal equivalent of smiling at a guy at a bar.

      b) Next, people aren’t as binary as we’re making them out to be. It’s not just alpha vs. beta for both men and women. There’s a lot of grey in between. Despite that, my intimation is that even insecure guys are quite familiar with what women want from men – and, as such, most men have gotten their dates from initiating contact. It’s not just for the top 10% of guys; I’m guessing it’s closer to 90% of men know that they have to take action instead of sitting back, waiting to get asked out.

      c) Finally, I may just be splitting hairs, but I believe there is a substantive difference between approaching a man and putting yourself in the position to be approached. Being approached gives a woman more power, because she’s not putting herself out there: he is. Approaching means that you’re losing your feminine energy and putting him up on a pedestal.

      And despite the idea that alpha/alpha pairings aren’t a great idea, I firmly believe that most of my alpha women aren’t looking for a man who is too timid to approach. They’re really looking for a cute, smart, successful, confident guy who is sensitive enough to be a great partner. He’s emotionally available. He gets home from work at a reasonable hour. He’s faithful. He wants to spend lots of time together. He has good values. So I encourage women to step away from the Tiger Woods/Bill Clinton/George Clooneys and find guys who are less alpha, but still confident. That’s who their best fits are…not shy, awkward and timid.

      I know I’m making it binary again, but it’s an interesting subject with not a clear-cut answer.

      I hear everyone who disagrees with me and I honor your opinions. I still maintain that for my clients, who are looking for men they respect – men who can ask a woman out, make reservations and make the first move on the date – the best way to land them is to be available, open and flirtatious…not to go right up to him and start gabbing.

      The right guy will make the move.

      And, if the results of my coaching are any indication, there’s something to what I’m saying.

      Best to all of you…and to all, a good night.

  22. 52
    Helen

    Bingo, Sacha. That was the point I was trying to make in 49, and you stated it much more thoroughly. We women should be *ourselves*, not just to make our own lives easier, but also to be honest to the men we meet. That is how we attract those who would actually like us for who we are. As Evan said himself, there is a lid for every pot. Not every man likes a coy violet. Many like brightly colored dahlias.

  23. 53
    nathan

    Sacha – I love it! Also, I want to pick up on Karl’s comments about confidence. Because while he ended up seeming to agree with Evan, he actually provided a more complex picture.

    When I read Karl’s comments about his experiences dancing, not only did they demonstrate roles shifting around, but they also brought something else to mind. Namely, that confidence is often situational. If you stick the majority of people in situations that are unfamiliar or uncomfortable to them, their demonstrated confidence usually goes down. The shy person struggles mightily. The person with average confidence appears shaken and acts uneven. And those with above average confidence shift down towards average – for a time. Now, eventually most of us gain some level of mastery or comfort and our general level of confidence returns to normal. (Although sometimes a new skill, activity or situation can increase one’s overall confidence, but that’s not my main point here.)

    I bring all of that up because if a woman only sees a man in a certain context, where he’s learning something or is simply out of “his element,” then she might be waiting an awful long time for an approach. And meanwhile, he’s already met someone in a context where he’s got some mastery and feels much more confident in.

    Beyond this though, people simply respond differently in different contexts. Guys working out at a gym are usually focused on doing just that. The same goes for most women. So, actually, I think it probably requires a more assertive approach from whomever as opposed to other situations. Still, Ashley went too far, and didn’t read the signs the guy was giving.

    Finally, there’s this line from Karl “In my opinion, if a woman learns how to do the approaching, as well as knowing how to be approached, then she is increasing her options. ” That’s been my main point in debating this all along. I think it’s bad advice to tell women to only use one method. There’s going to be disagreements about level of effectiveness of different methods, but I still say learn how to be more flexible because people who tend to have much longer, happier relationships.

  24. 54
    henriette

    Evan, I agree with you whole-heartedly. As a woman who was approached constantly when she lived in The Big Smoke and now, in a smaller city, NEVER… it’s just hard to follow your advice, even though I know it’s sound.

    I realize that men aren’t your target audience. But once, I’d love to read a post summarizing what your advice would be to The Single Good Guys out there… you know: the cute, responsible with money, faithful, emotionally healthy, kind men. You’ve been clear and consistent in your advice to me, the single woman. I’d just like to better understand the other side of that equation.

  25. 55
    Sherel

    I think you have to be strategic and depending on your confidence level and target, adjust as needed. I am a smiler by nature, so a lot of guys approach me thinking that I am interested when I am not. For many men that I am interested in, if they have been checking me out they may be a bit unsure. Some I can draw to me with additional eye contact. Others that are less confident, I may make a comment or ask a question as I walk by. I am very confident and I have dated really confident guys and not so confident guys. Some of the not so confident guys became more confident as the relationship progressed and I am a smart, strong, and successful woman.

  26. 56
    Androgynous

    Yes, I am familiar with all the talk about letting men do the approaching yada yada. However, I do advocate women approaching men for one reason and one reason only – to put themselves out their misery wondering and wondering “does he, does he not, does he…..”.

    I reckon that women should just relax and not fixate on wondering if particular men like them. If it happens, it happen. If it doesn’t, no big deal. However, for many women, this is simply not possible, particularly when a particular guy they fancy seems to be giving them all these positive “signals” they are interested, but falls short of actually asking them out. These women cannot move on. They cannot get on with their lives. They get trapped in this mental and emotional torture morning, noon and night.

    The best way to deal with this is to get a mutual third party to find out what this guy’s intentions are all about. However, failing this, the woman should just bite the bullet and ask the guy out. She probably won’t be successful for all the reasons EMK has already mentioned. But at least she will know he is not interested in pursuing a relationship with her, even though he seems to like her – he may not be available for a variety of reasons which he is not obliged to give her. She can now close that chapter and MOVE ON !!! Find someone else to be interested in and vice versa. Not get hung up on this guy whose mouth seems to be writing checks his body can’t cash.
    And guys, please ! If you don’t want to pursue things with a woman, don’t give her all these signals they might just want to. And the same applies to women.

  27. 57
    Banana

    As an early 20s woman I find that some men im around do not yet have the confidence to completely approach and follow through to relationship without reassurance from women. Even the shy men, however, want to take the prize of asking women out. Maybe Nathan and others are saying that women can initiate contact with men. This to me is different from being the one to approach the other party in a dating sense. I often have initiated friendships with men I later dated because then they feel comfortable enough to ask me out. This does not at all seem to me like “approaching” them in the sense Evan is talking about, though it did let me control/ influence my dating life while letting men still be “in charge”.

  28. 58
    Murgull

    Like Evan acknowledges in #59 the advice he gives in the original post is a bit binary.

    Personally I think that there is nothing wrong with a woman to approach a man, even one she doesn’t know. However you should only go so far, in this case the man has clearly (or subtlety clearly) expressed his wishes not to take the “relationship” further. His position should be respected…

    In any case as some of the earlier poster stated you have made your interest clear, if he happens to change his mind next time he sees you and asks for a date that is fine.

    If not find yourself simply move to the next target.

  29. 59
    Joe

    @ Helen #42:

    Haven’t the data from OLD sites basically proven that men find a greater percentage of women attractive than women find men attractive? Or at least, that men are more willing to initiate contact with average-looking women than women are willing to contact average-looking men?

  30. 60
    amy

    Evan, I had a big long post about why you’re just plain wrong about this. But this says it better:
     
    http://textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com/post/20651224954/original-image-by-diana-walker-for-time
     
    i’ve been noticing this increasingly over the last several years: you get a newscast that’s women talking to women about women, and it’s not cooking or cosmetics, it’s policy, law, business, finance, government. And you know we’re getting somewhere, because not all the women feel compelled to doll up for the camera anymore.
     
    Really, there’s no reason for us to put up with the kind of ego nonsense you describe from men anymore, and increasingly we just don’t. That story in the NYer about all these people living alone? This is why. It’s not worth it for women anymore to put up with all this insane ego baloney from men, so we don’t. What’s the stat, in 40% of dual-income households, the women outearn the men? It’s just silly for us to pretend to be dating prey at this point. If the men don’t like it, that’s their problem.
     
    I think the men who’ll be truly successful at this procreation game are going to be the ones who are comfortable sharing, doing their share of what used to be called work, cooperating, and taking a back seat sometimes — and are also grownups, able to take care of themselves and other people. In other words, men who behave more like women. The girls put up with so much less now. The attitudes on my daughter and her friends…they have no patience for boys’ bad behavior, inability to communicate, cooperate, work collaboratively, get along. Or for their disrespect. Their attitude’s that if a man doesn’t treat a woman well — by their lights, not the man’s lights — she should dump him posthaste, married or not, and that being with friends is preferable. None of them plan dreamy weddings; they just don’t find it interesting, I guess. I never thought about that before, but it’s true…they don’t dream of Their Big Day. I’m the one who assumes my daughter will get married. I’ll say, “When you get married,” and she says, “If I get married.”
     

    1. 60.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Amy,

      If you’ve ever read a word I’ve written, I explicitly tell women not to put up with men’s bad behavior. In fact, it’s pretty much my whole business model. If he doesn’t call you, see you, commit to you, dump him. I’ve written extensively that the happiest marriages are when men pick up on women’s emotional cues and share in the housework/childrearing.

      So please spare me the diatribe. Being feminine still appeals to men, whether you like it or not.

      My clients have their dreams fulfilled by learning to understand men. If you’re living your dream right now, God bless you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>