Should I Ask Out The Man I Just Started Dating?

Should I Ask Out The Man I Just Started Dating?


First off, thanks for all the info online and for “Why He Disappeared”. Every time I start to obsess or get emotional now, I take a deep breath and go reread your book.

Last weekend I went on second dates with two men that I’d met online. On one of the dates we had lunch. He asked. The other date, I broke the mirroring rule. When I purchased tickets to the symphony a month ago I figured I would just end up dragging my son along with me. Instead I invited one of the guys a couple of days after our first date. We went, and we had a good time.

Now I’ve just gotten GREAT free tickets to a local concert that I know both men would enjoy. These are VIP box seats with preferred parking etc., and the concert is Saturday! I haven’t heard from either man since the weekend and, while I’m not bothered by this, I don’t want to go to this concert alone (alas, not something I can drag my son to this time).

How do I let the man be the aggressor and how do I mirror while dating when I’m the one with the tickets all the time?

– Meredith

To everyone who hasn’t yet read “Why He Disappeared”:

If he calls, call him back. If he texts, text him back. If he says he wants to get together with you, say you want to get together with him.

a) You should.

b) It introduces a not-so-revolutionary concept that I call “mirroring”. Essentially, when you’re starting to date a new guy, the best thing you can do, to see if he’s genuinely interested in you, is to simply react to what he does. If he calls, call him back. If he texts, text him back. If he says he wants to get together with you, say you want to get together with him. And so on.

The reason that mirroring is so effective is because it honors the way that most men choose to pursue women. We are — in general – much more comfortable with us winning you over than we are with you chasing us down, asking us out, making the first move, and getting down on your knee to propose to us.

This doesn’t mean being arbitrarily difficult or challenging. You should always be warm, receptive and available. You should just follow his lead, that’s all.

Because when you don’t follow his lead — when you start initiating contact and asking him out for dates — you never actually find out how he feels about you.

If you’re doing the initiating and chasing, he may just be enjoying your company temporarily.

Which brings us back to you, Meredith.

You can call up one of these guys and offer him free concert tickets, but is he going out with you because he likes you? Or is he going out with you because he likes music? Or because he’s bored and had nothing better to do that night, so why not take in a free show and maybe make out with you afterwards?

You don’t really know, do you? And you can’t know unless you sit back and let him choose you. If you’re doing the initiating and chasing, he may just be enjoying your company temporarily. But if you do nothing, the only way you’ll hear from him is if he’s genuinely excited and motivated to pursue you.

Finally, the key phrase in what you wrote is this: “I haven’t heard from either man since the weekend”.

And there you have it.

That tells me everything I need to know about how much these men like you.

I don’t know exactly when you wrote this letter to me — was it one day after your latest date with both of them? Three days? One week? All I know is that if it was much more than one day of silence after your date, he’s probably ambivalent about you. Which means that you could ask him out and he may say yes, but it won’t mean much of anything until you let him ask YOU out instead.

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  1. 21
    lux aeterna

    I was just about to message a man tonight when I decided to swing by this blog again. Thanks, that stopped my message! Maybe one of the men will call and ask   Meredith out on Saturday, and she can then mention, by the way, I have some tickets…

    Years ago, I had just been dumped right before going to see the Welsh National Opera that I had bought the tickets for. Furious and date-less I decided to bring a male friend instead. However, the three guys I asked were all busy that night, but not for the whole night. So… guy number one came with me for the first act, guy number two for the second act, and guy number three got off the train just in time to rush inside and catch the third act. The couple sitting next to me gave me some confused looks. And this was all before mobile phones – we were good at logistics back then!

    1. 21.1

      Perfectly managed! 😀

  2. 22
    Mr. R

    This advice does have the ring of the book “He’s Just Not That Into You”, as a side note.
    Because really – he’s just not that into you if he’s not calling you. Evan takes it a step further with the mirroring (which works, by the way).

  3. 23

    I have to say that while I don’t agree with 100 percent mirroring or letting the guy do ALL the work, I still don’t tend to make moves until we’ve been out at least five times, and even then only 20ish percent of the time. It’s totally fine to call a guy once in awhile, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a man who was put off by that.  Also, I do invite men to things all the time, but only if I’m not truly interested in them for a relationship and/or see them as more of a friend.

    I do think women would miss out on a lot of opportunities in life by 100 percent mirroring – I take it more as the overall effort/enthusiasm you show for a man rather than literally keeping score of every initiation of contact – but it depends on the stage of life you’re in and what you’re looking for. I’ve certainly made good friends out of dating, but I can understand those who are at a stage where they are much more singularly focused on marriage may not want to bother with that. The key for me has been to regularly go on dates with people from real life as well as online, not sleep with anyone until there’s a relationship, and just generally be more social and invite people to more things in my non-dating life. If someone doesn’t respond or call, I have plenty of other dates lined up and other social activities and it doesn’t hugely matter. If this woman can’t think of other fun friends to invite, maybe she should start there.

  4. 24

    I was in this exact same situation two years ago. I had great tickets to
    a baseball game and had recently been out with two guys, both of whom I asked to the game. Guy #1, seemed really into me (and also really into himself) and we had been out on three dates. So, I thought, what the hell, I’ll just ask him to go to the game. He declined my invitation and I didn’t really hear from him much after that.

    I asked Guy #2 and he accepted my invitation. It was our second date, We had amazing seats to the game and had a blast together. EWe dated through the summer, but ultimately our romantic relationship ended. However, we are now friends and occassionally go to a show or go skiing together….

    I agree with Evan to a point, but there is no point in overthinking how to use concert tickets. I read “He’s Just Not that Into You” and also Read Evan’s Ebook and Blog. In the end, I decided that if a guy needs me to play games, then he’s probably not the guy for me. I have been dating the same guy for almost a year and didn’t have to follow a set of rules to atttract his attention.

    I say ask the guys to the concert and have fun with it.  

  5. 25

    If she’s not that concerned about whether or not a relationship will develop with one of these guys–and she might not be–then she should feel free to invite one to the concert. She might invite the one she’s less interested in. But I totally agree with some of the other comments; why does she not have a girlfriend to ask? Do your own thang, sugar, and don’t worry about the boys. They’ll show up if they’re interested, and if they’re not, they won’t. In the meantime, you could be saving your energy and looking forward to a fun show with a fun friend.

  6. 26

    Great answer, wholeheartedly agree, and so many people will argue with this, it’s silly.   #8, Tom10, right on!   Had a very protracted on line conversation on a forum where a young man and women were arguing against the advice of two more mature, seasoned women were giving another woman–our advice:   DON’T initiate contact after meeting a man for the first time–how hard is that?   You’ll never know how interested he is.   Needless to say, she disregarded the good advice, and contacted him.   He was ambivalent, then texted for a booty call later that week…sigghhhh….

    A female ‘go getter’ is working out of her masculine energy, nothing wrong with that in work situations, furthering a career or getting a project or errands done.   Masculine energy doesn’t excite a man.   Being receptive and leaning back is not negative or weak, it’s being in our feminine energy, recognizing we are the ‘prize’.   It’s coming from a place of power since men can’t fully be in female energy, it’s a mystery to them.   Once a woman can really get this change in attitude, she will master dating and men.

  7. 27

    @Toni #24: “In the end, I decided that if a guy needs me to play games, then he’s probably not the guy for me.”
    I agree about not “playing games”. However I do not see mirroring in the early stage of dating as playing games. Refraining one’s enthusiasm is no more game playing than – for example – refraining one’s tendency to blurt things out without thinking. Self-control is truly necessary in the building and nurturing of a healthy relationship. Why not starting early?
    Now, I think that mirroring only makes sense in the very early stage of dating, and it needs to be accompanied of very clear demontrations of appreciation for his efforts and some form of reciprocation by contributing to part of the expenses for example. If I were a man, I would also need confirmation of her interest and   would not enjoy taking a woman out several times while still wondering if she is truly interested or just using me to alleviate her boredom. Therefore, as a woman, after a few dates (number depending on how things started and developed), I think it’s time to start proposing dates as well, and then maybe at a pace of 1 out of 3?
    That’s what I did with my boyfriend, without knowing it was called “mirroring” : ). At that time I had not discovered Evan’s amazing blog… Anyway, I let my man make plans for the few first dates, and each time expressed my interest, appreciation, and excitement. At the third date, which was still his plan, I chose the restaurant for lunch and picked up the check. That was a nice transition towards participating more, and later on, maybe for date #8 or so I suggested my own idea. I would have prefered starting initiating earlier but he always made plans before I could even have time to do so! Therefore initiating might happen earlier or later depending on individual circumstances, but I would never have asked him for a date before date #5. On the other hand, I offered to contribute financially as soon as date #1 (which was refused until date #3 : ).
    As I was involving myself progressively more into the dating process, I asked him whether he appreciated it or would prefer to keep 100% of the lead. He explained that he really liked taking care of our first few dates, but loved it when I started asking him out later on.

  8. 28

    Goldie #16 “Another side to this, you don’t want to set a pattern of being the one to always initiate everything.” This is exactly why I resist this sense that men should lead all, or most of the time. Because it can easily slip into that being the pattern – and/or the expectation. I do believe that amongst younger folks, there’s less of this rigidness around gender roles, and how attraction is expressed. But since Evan always comes in with comments about being practical right now, I’ll move on to my own experience.
    Enthusiastic response is great in the beginning, and mirroring as such is fine in my view. However, in my book, it’s value drops greatly over time, if that’s all or mostly what a woman is offering. If I am doing all or most of the initiating past date three, I begin to seriously question her level of interest. Such situations have never worked out for me in the past. And everyone I have dated for significant periods of time has moved fairly quickly (within a handful of dates) into sharing the role of initiating – making phone calls, coming up with date plans, paying for part or all of dates, etc.
    If you all wish to dismiss what I have to say as “an exception,” that’s fine. But I don’t think – in the case of Meredith – a single invite to a concert is a make or break deal. If it’s the pattern, then I’d agree the guys in question are probably not into her.
    Here’s one more point to consider. Being ambivalent can mean many things early on. Because YOU DON’T KNOW EACH OTHER. I have felt sexually attracted to women I wasn’t sure about dating in the long run. That instant chemistry thing that often flames out after a few months. Been through that plenty of times. And I’ve also felt unsure about the sexual attraction with women who I otherwise really liked. There was some attraction, but in the case of one women I ended up dating for three and half years, the attraction took time to build up.
    Point being, you can weed out a certain percentage of people as “not interested” early on, but with the rest, whatever is there often won’t be clear for months. Until you actually know each other better.

  9. 29

    My understanding is that you mirror until a guy expresses his interest in being your boyfriend in an exclusive relationship if thats what you want. I don’t consider showing a guy that you are open warm appreciative and receptive but don’t pursue men to be “playing games”.  

    If you are a female with lots of masculine energy and you are pursing a guy with more female energy then I think its OK to initiate things but that is a less common situation and you can expect to play the male role in that relationship.

    I have noticed an interesting result of this though   Ive met a few men out and about. They keep contacting me every few days, I just mirror and yet they haven’t asked me out yet over the last few weeks. Obviously they have something else going on and since they haven’t initiated meeting  then it probably time for me to disappear

  10. 30

    I am pretty good at not asking them out anywhere, and letting them plan and pursue me. It even feels better when this is done. However, the random cute texts I have to stop. I have deleted a few numbers so I am not tempted between waiting for them to call. 🙂  

  11. 31

    Yeah, Evan is right as always. Men who   are really interested in you will pursue you, sometimes even if he does not get a positive or enthusiastic response from you. If men are interested, they will want to win you over. Meaning, they will and want to learn how to please you, how to make you laugh, tick, say yes, etc. They want to win you over! some even want a challenge. If they see that you value yourself more than him, they cant bear it. They want to please you, the want to make you happy. When they hear yes, they know they have won.

    However, some guys feel easily rejected. So they do that enthusiasm or that positive feedback. That said, do not ask men out, especially in the early stages. The first 3 months should be him pursuing you—-always. Then you can start initiating or mirroring plans after that.

    I did the mistake of asking a guy out on a second date. He kept pursuing me afterwards, but our feelings towards each other shift a lot. I can sense his ambivalence about me, and he can sense my ambivalence towards him. Sometimes were loving, sometimes were not. But what I realize was, I ruined the relationship by asking him out on that second date. I should have walked away, had self-control, and went on with my life. Because I did ask him out, I suffered through that short, unsatisfied relationship with him in which I never knew if he wanted me or not.  

    Be the lady and do nothing. Just watch what he does and mirror. Or walk away.  

  12. 32

    Any man who’s ever told me that it’s “sexy” when a woman asks him out because it shows confidence, he’s kidding himself – most men seem to enjoy the  novelty  for a minute and then remember that they like the chase, and they don’t respect women who make it too easy.     

  13. 33

    Lilly 31 “I ruined the relationship by asking him out on that second date.” No, it didn’t work out. Most situations don’t. Frankly, if a single action like asking a guy out once after the initial meeting is the nail on a relationship’s coffin, I’d really question if such a relationship ever had a chance over the long term.
    “The first 3 months should be him pursuing you–-always.”Sounds like you made this rule up to prevent yourself from having to take any risks. Especially since you added “Be the lady and do nothing.” Sorry, but no man of any worth is going to be attracted to a woman who only mirrors all the time for months on end.

    1. 33.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Nathan – Except for me.

      You seem to think that mirroring is a bad idea because YOU don’t like it. You also seem to think that it’s indicative of a lack of interest on the woman’s part.

      I can assure you that if you call a woman regularly, and every time you reach out to her, she’s excited about seeing you, you laugh and feel connected, and you fool around a bit at the end of the night, you’ll want to see her again. As such, she shouldn’t have to “do” anything to reach out and make plans with you. If you stand on ceremony because “men and women are equal” and “I shouldn’t have to do that. It’s not fair,” you may. However, since many women are attracted to men who see nothing wrong with doing all the calling/planning during the courtship phase, my mirroring advice has proven to be highly effective. My wife never had to call me to remind me that she existed or to reach out to make plans with me. I was incentivized to do so because I liked her and wanted to see her again. For the life of me, I can’t see why I wouldn’t continue to call her after each date to set up another one. I never saw her as playing games. Because she wasn’t. I was motivated to see her, and when a man is motivated to see a woman, nothing is going to stop him.

      And before you make the point about women following such “rules”; these rules are in place to stop women from chasing indifferent men. This is something that happens all the time. If she stops chasing, she can tell if a man’s interested by how often her phone rings.

      So please, Nathan, tell us why exactly would you voluntarily stop calling a woman you really liked after three dates? It sure doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like you’re testing her for her interest instead of assuming that the fact that she eagerly picks up the phone, calls you back, and makes plans with you tells the whole story. Seems to me that you should start to pursue women whose company you enjoy instead of waiting for them to step up and pursue you.

  14. 34
    Katarina Phang

    I’m with Evan.   Most guys are happy when women just respond positively to their advances, suggestions and initiatives.   Many guys would say what Nathan says but when push comes to shove, they’d rather be in charge.   They will say “call me” or “ask me out” or “have a plan” but based on my experience, personally or through coaching   many women, rarely do they respond positively when women are the initiators or planners.   

    Men in general feel more at ease when they are the pursuers and initiators.   Some are tired of rejection, hence they feel/think they will love it so much when the roles are reversed.   Yeah, they do…for about 5 minutes before they’re feeling smothered and starting to pull away from such women.

    Some other guys will persist that women should do whatever they like with men (calling, asking them out, whatever) because it doesn’t make any difference to them (or they in fact like women who are go-getters).   I always question if such men are actually feminine energy guys instead of the 80% of men who are masculine energy.  

    Men know it when a woman is into them so they never question their passivity/ mirroring as a lack of interest.   Women, otoh, will never know a guy’s intention/real feelings if she does most of the work/initiating.   So let him initiate 60% of the time, at the very least.   Ideally it’s 70-80% of the time.   

  15. 35

    Sorry Nathan, but Evan nailed it! Men knows you exist, we ladies dont need to remind them! And this is what Im talking about. Everytime I asked a guy out (only two times), I felt awful cause I felt like I had drawn my name out on a large cardboard and raise it over a crowd of women to get them to notice me and ask me out. But actually I went over and asked them out. Blegh.

    It was so much work. Ugh, tiring I tell ya. And so damn Self-defeating. Our self- esteem hits the ground. Sorry, but I value myself. I want a man who feels motivated to chase me, cause c’mon, we ladies deserve it =). It is not about being a confident enough woman to ask a man out (pssst!). It is about being a woman worthy of being chased. We are the prize. We want to be captured. We want to be desired. That is it.   

    Thanks Evan. Love you.

  16. 36

    I feel the real issue isn’t that you asked him out but that you were both ambivalent about each other.   So I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it.
    For what it’s worth, the most hurtful relationship I had was with someone who pursued me the most.
    I pretty much asked the current beau out for our first date. I was fairly sure he would say yes but I was prepared to  risk  rejection.   I have no doubt  that he cares about me and if we break up I won’t be kicking myself over that first date.  Not when we’ve seen each other dozens of times since. I would say that the initiation of dates is roughly equal but   I did wait for him to say ” I like you”, and  “I love you” first. So I mirrored that. But I’m sure there are many women who’ve said “I love you” first and it  turned out just  fine.
    That said, if asking a man out is going to make you doubt yourself, doubt  him, and take on  the  entire blame for  any failure in  the relationship then  it’s  not for you.  
    Finally, there’s a big difference between giving a man who seems interested but clueless a nudge  and chasing down a man who isn’t bothered/ambivalent but will take what you have to offer because it’s convenient and will do for now.   Learn the difference and it isn’t always as obvious as him pursuing you or not.

  17. 37

    Evan, you and I disagree on this. Men are not a monolith, and frankly you might be surprised at what you see if you spent some significant time with guy in their late teens through early 30s these days. Women are not a monolith either. Even amongst your commenters here, women who tend to be over 30 and fairly successful, there are some women who question mirroring to some extent, even if they agree with it as a useful practice.
    You did to me exactly what you hate your readers doing: you turned my comment into black and white, as if I’m a game player who sits around waiting for women to purse and tests those who don’t. I never said I’m sitting and waiting. In fact, I never even said that I don’t initiate in the beginning because I usually do. What I’m saying is that in my experience, when I am the one doing all the pursuing, reaching out, and work of setting up dates for an extended period of time, it’s never worked out. The women in those cases tended to like my company well enough, but really weren’t interested in any kind of long term relationship with me. Or in a few cases, we were riding a short term chemistry fix that, once it burned out, revealed how poor a match we were.
    People meet and relationships develop in all sorts of ways. The intensity of liking someone or being attracted to someone early on may or may not be indicative of long term success as a couple. A single action in either direction is rarely the “thing” that makes or breaks a relationship. It’s almost always about a cumulative of actions, gestures, etc.  
    How many women write in here, or recount here, about men who were hot to trot about them for several weeks, or even months, and then suddenly disappear? Or how many talk about the guy who seemed to do “all the right things,” but then chose someone else? Things can follow what seems to be the “right path” for weeks or months on end, only to go no where. Which doesn’t mean I’m advocating that women don’t mirror. What I am advocating is that people be more flexible than what Lilly’s arguing, for example. And frankly, the idea that a woman who is experiencing a lot of interest in a guy should never act upon the impulse to call him or invite him to a concert early on is absurd to me. I’m guessing many of the female readers here have had long term relationships where, even if they used mirroring as a general principle, still acted against it occasionally in reality.
    It would be interesting to hear from some of the women on this. You and I can bash heads, but in the end, this is a forum for women. And I’m offering a somewhat different take. That’s all.

  18. 38

    Well, Nathan, for what it’s worth, I agree with you. It is only fair. It is the mark of a relationship between equals. But it seems even accomplished, intelligent women want placed on pedestals.
    I don’t have much sympathy for Lilly at 36. I faced more rejections finding a date for homecoming in high school. Being rejected doesn’t hurt any less just because you have no choice but to move on to the next who you might not be sure if she’s interested in you or a free concert.

  19. 39

    Nathan, it might be that you are the kind of guy not to be put off by a woman doing some of the pursuing but I think that men like you are in the minority. it may also be that some of the women you have dated in the past have done some of the pursuing because a lot of successful women (and i include myself in that category before I knew better) will do just that until they learn that it isn’t generally an effective strategy. In the past, when I have done a lot of the initiation early on, I have just watched men turn from keen to not keen very quickly so I think that Evan’s advice on mirroring is sound. I think that a lot of men panic if women start pursuing them because a lot of them aren’t really sure if they want a relationship at the outset and being the initiator in the early makes them feel that they are choosing a relationship rather than being hunted down and pressured into one.

    1. 39.1

      Well-said, Fiona. Because I was insecure and had abandonment issues, I couldn’t wait for the man to pursue me. Even though there was interest, I felt that I had to advance the relationship quickly, which backfired every time. They ran for the hills. I was rejected time and time again until I took myself out of the dating pool altogether. I’m an independent go-getter (typical of Evan’s demographic), so coupled with fear of abandonment, I was far too intense and expected too much too soon. No one can handle that. I became depressed and felt that love wasn’t for me.

      It took me many years and with Evan’s philosophy to understand that people, especially men, need time to figure out what they really feel about a woman. People need space. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

      When a man pursues a woman, he is also investing effort in her. He will value her more if he invests in her. If she shows she can live without him but still welcome his advances when he appears, he knows she is really the strong, positive, and independent woman he wants as the mother of his children.

  20. 40


    I am a woman of 54 I was married for 20 years and dating for the last 4 so I have have acquired some wisdom. It sounds to me like you still don’t get it.

    Although Ive have needed lots of masculine energy to survive and also do well in business I am essentially female. I want a masculine man in my love life. Looking back on the last few years whenever Ive initiated things with a guy I have always lost. Ive found mirroring gives me the most clarity and has been very effective for me. Ive been surprised how empowered this makes me feel
      Of course a woman starts initiating things but thats after she feels safe and secure with a guy who wants just HER.     

    I only wish Id known this concept when I was 20 or younger!  

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