Should I Ask Out The Man I Just Started Dating?

Should I Ask Out The Man I Just Started Dating?
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Evan,

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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Comments:

  1. 41
    Jessica

    I bought Why He Disappeared and it was exactly what I needed! I took some time off from dating and after meeting a few frogs I’ve now been in a relationship for 2 months. I did it the Evan way of mirroring…

    For women like me successful, driven, go-getters we’re here because our neediness or insecurity scared men away and mirroring ensures that you aren’t being needy. You’re giving them a chance to think about you. And if you don’t make the first text or suggest the date then you feel more secure because you know he chose to contact you. He thought you’d enjoy going here or here.

    It’s not a game and it’s not rules. It just helps you to balance things. I was always appreciative, bright, fun, happy, and enjoyed myself and let him know that. Just like Evan says in the book. You’re not being aloof you just aren’t chasing someone.

    As our relationship progressed our dates became more plans of things that we’d suggest in conversation. But I will say I still get a tingle when he says things like “I really want to take you here” Or “I can’t wait to cook you this the next time you’re over”  

    As for the OP….I seriously think she needs to do what I did after I became single again get a big circle of friends and don’t be afraid to do things alone. I invited coworkers, friends of friends I’d only met once, and I did lots of things.   If your life is busy you’ll have less time to fixate on a guy that isn’t making you a priority and you’ll have so much more fun.  

  2. 42
    Jenna

    I agree with Nathan here. 100 percent tit for tat mirroring is absurd. If you remember reading the game where Neil Strauss falls for Lisa, it mentions her making several moves, in fact, and calling him. She also pulled back as well. It’s better to allow yourself room after the first couple dates to make occasional moves instead of beating yourself into a frenzy trying to follow rules. I have plenty of guy feigns who say they don’t mind doing most of the work but don’t want ALL the work either. If you’re a confident , attractive woman with lots of options and other dates and call the guy up spontaneously to suggest something fun, the right guy thinks its cool. Just don’t overdo it and wait till you’ve gone out a reasonable number of times to gauge what feels appropriate.  

  3. 43
    Teddie

    All of my more successful relationships, including my 12 year marriage,  were initiated by me. I was the one who asked out all three of my teenage sweethearts (long before I’d heard we girls weren’t supposed to do that!).  Later I worked in a public library in my 20’s and watched attractive men come and go through those doors. None of them, NOT ONE, asked me out, even though they saw me there smiling and being friendly  every time they came in. I finally said “Enough!” and asked one of them out, and he became my husband. He later told me that he would never have asked me because he was afraid I’d have said no. I was also the one who approached the man I’m madly in love with now (for almost two years) and last night I asked him about this. He said he would never have asked me because he was in a low-paying job at the time and didn’t feel “worthy,” and was “taking a break from the dating scene.”  Oh, what I would have missed if I simply sat by the phone waiting for it to ring! Who knows why men don’t  always make the first move, but I see no harm as a woman in asking him out if he’s not stepping up.  What’s the worst that could happen? He says no? He says yes but the relationship doesn’t go anywhere? That happens even when the man does ask first! None of my relationships ever left me wondering what their interest level was (their actions made it clear), and  I never felt bad about myself for having  started those wonderful, loving relationships. This doesn’t make any sense to me at all! Three of my closest friends (who are single and have no luck with men)  have, over time,  asked me what my “secret to success” is, and I’ve told them to stop waiting for their lives to happen TO them! Be proactive and make things happen FOR you, and if that means asking a guy out then do it! Of course their response is always, “Oh, no, I could never do that! Women shouldn’t do that!” Huh?!?

    I do wonder, though,  if it makes a difference whether the men involved are  Alphas or Betas. I consider myself a Beta but  have  been pursued by  Alphas now and then and have never liked the constant ego-stroking that was required of me, nor the  sitting on the sidelines while they pumped their careers (and their secretaries, waitresses,  neighbours, etc.). While their interest in me was initially flattering, they proved to be a lot of work. And most of them disappeared after the conquest of winning me was over anyway. Give me a sweet, humble, shy, devoted Beta ANY day, even if it means I’m the one who  has to get the ball rolling. The Betas I have been with ADORED me (and I them),  and we were true partners.

    Maybe the mirroring thing does work MOST of the time for MOST people, but there are some out there who have found other things that work  better for them. Just my two cents.  

  4. 44
    Goldie

    I’m conflicted here. The main purpose of this blog, as Evan has stated many times, is to give us women a man’s perspective on things. Nathan is a man and he says he doesn’t like having to initiate all of the time. How is that not a man’s perspective on things? To me, it says that some men do not like having to initiate; if the man you’re seeing appears to be one of these men, then you’ll have to adjust, take turns planning activities, etc.  
      
    With a stranger that I just met online a week or two ago (i.e. 1-3 dates) I would probably err on the side of caution. If he suddenly stops calling or scheduling dates, I’m not going to assume that he’s shy and needs me to take initiative. I will assume that he is no longer interested, because 99% of the time, that is the case. We’ve all been hurt before, why take a risk of very probably walking into that situation again? Sorry, shy guys. As a workaround, maybe a shy guy can tell the woman about his preferences. This way she’ll know that, when he disappears from contact, he’s not busy seeing someone else — he just wants to take turns.
      

  5. 45
    Goldie

    Teddie #44, pursuing a guy worked for me, too, if by “worked” one means marrying the guy, having kids together, staying married for 18 years, together for 22. However, the man I’m talking about is my ex-husband. We started arguing pretty much right after we moved in together. We had a few good years, but all around it was a pretty rocky marriage. I only stop short of saying we should have never married each other because I do not in any way regret having my children. But generally speaking, yeah, I pursued the wrong guy, married him, and we both paid for it. That has definitely soured me on the whole pursuit thing.
      
    Apologize for the double post.

  6. 46
    Clare

    I do agree with the concept that the guy should be the one to ask out first, to phone, make the effort, choose and pay for the first date, if not the first few dates, because, as Evan says, guys are generally comfortable with this protocol.

    As far as initiating contact and making plans with someone you already have some connection/relationship with however, I don’t think it is black and white.   I don’t think you should do anything that is inauthentic to you because it will feel uncomfortable and will come across that way.   If leaning back and letting him do the initiating feels right to you, you should do that.   If you  are curious to know if/when he will contact you and want that excitement, then wait for him to do so.

       If you just have to hear his voice, pick up the phone.   Or if you are dying to ask him to the concert, then ask him.    I think as long as it’s a win-win situation in the end, there’s no harm.

    However, if you find yourself always making more effort for someone who’s not giving back, and you are starting to feel resentful, or neglected  or unappreciated, then I think it might be time to  pull back that effort or let that  guy go for your own sake.

  7. 47
    nathan

    Kathleen 41 – you want the kind of man you want. That’s what you’ve figured out, and for a highly masculine man, mirroring is a great strategy. However, a lot of men aren’t “alpha” – we’re more mixed. What’s interesting to me is that I’ve met plenty of women, and have also talked with women in my family who really felt they wanted the guy running the relationship. They met partners, even husbands who fit this role perfectly. And it worked well during courtship, and even early on in the marriage in a few cases. However, what I’ve heard again and again from women – especially those over 40 – is that they grew tired of having to follow, be a cheerleader and ego stroker. It wasn’t about using a concept like mirroring strategically, it was this belief that the man should lead most or all of the time. It’s appeal greatly faded. I don’t think Evan is advocating that women place themselves behind men in a relationship, but some of the comments from women on this site and others suggest that they take advice like Evan’s too literally, and way too rigidly.
      
    As I have said repeatedly, though, I’m not sitting around waiting for women to ask me out. I’m not shy, nor am I’m someone who expects to be catered to all the time. I advocate for more equal relationships, and yet recognize that you have to be flexible to get there. Although my voice may sound like a minority one, I don’t think I’m that alone out there amongst other men.

  8. 48
    Nadia

    Though I rang in on the side of Evan pretty clearly, it’s for the sake of simplicity of navigating the majority. But I totally agree with Nathan #48. I’ve dated that guy for a while and it was exhausting and left me emotionally deprived.

    Hey, Nathan…you single?

    😉  

  9. 49
    Lucy

    I do prefer if a guy asks me out but it doesn’t really happen here in the UK unless you’re talking about alpha males. It could be my age bracket (early twenties) or that I’m not that attractive. I have read in newspapers that American men are more forward about it and ask women out all the time. Actually I’m not sure if by “asking out”, you mean asking to be exclusive, or simply asking on a date. I have never met a man here who goes on dates. In fact, I have never been on a date in my life except after starting a relationship with someone. Maybe I need to meet more quality men? But a lot of men where I live complain about having to ask women on dates and will insist that woman should ask them on a date. And that’s why myself and most women I know (including the really hot ones) seldom get asked out. I’m not entitled though. I do not think anyone owes me anything. I’m only pointing out the status quo.

    As for courting, I don’t think it should be the case that the man arranges everything unless he’s insistent. I’d honestly feel like I had no personality if I went along with everything a guy did without giving my input.  

  10. 50
    Frimmel

    Nathan in #48 : “As I have said repeatedly, though, I’m not sitting around waiting for women to ask me out. I’m not shy, nor am I’m someone who expects to be catered to all the time. I advocate for more equal relationships, and yet recognize that you have to be flexible to get there. Although my voice may sound like a minority one, I don’t think I’m that alone out there amongst other men.”
      
    I’m one of those other men. I don’t expect to be catered to. I also don’t expect to always do the catering. Are you a strong, smart, successful woman or a vapid, vain, spoiled princess? I’d ask the women who expect to be won to consider what happens to a trophy after it is taken home.  

  11. 51
    Soul

    I am with Nathan on this one, because his answer was not black or white, it was nuanced. To give tribute to Evan, I do think that the mirroring technique is perfect at the beginning, when you are evaluating the guy and his level of interest.   

    Once you have a fair idea of his level of interest and integrity, you can do whatever you want, provided it does not come from a needy place. It all depends on your expectations. Asking him out will not make him like you if he does not. And even if he accepts to come, it does not mean he likes you. It means nothing. (in the same vein, a man will accept to have sex with you even if he does not like you. Gladly so).  The mirroring technique if for you to DISCOVER his level of interest.

    So just be honest with yourself and evaluate your own expectations. If your move is a manipulative strategy to make him like you, do not invite him.

      If you feel like inviting him somewhere fun, you can do it, provided you do not read anything in his positive response. That’s it.

    The most attractive feature in women is confidence.   This is the 21st century.  

  12. 52
    RW

    @Nathan

    I remember a piece of advice from a male friend when I asked him for his opinion a few years ago.   I had been on a date with a man I met on eHarmony and it went fairly well, I thought.   I sent him a note saying I enjoyed the night and I didn’t hear back from him after that.   I was agonizing over whether or not to contact him one last time before giving the whole thing up as a bad job when my friend said to me – “If a man is interested in you, he will get in touch.”   The advice is so basic and obvious, it almost sounds trite.   I’ve found though that it’s some of the hardest advice to act on and to really take to heart.   I’m all for equality in relationships but social constructs are what they are.   There is nothing at all that prevents a man from continuing to ask a woman for dates.   If he is interested, he will ask.   There is no social taboo (correct or incorrect) that prevents him from doing so.   If a woman doesn’t call, it is reasonable to suspect that it might be because society expects her to wait.   If a man doesn’t call it is generally because he isn’t interested.

    In any case, I think mirroring is only advocated as a way of gauging a man’s interest.   To give context to my post, I’m only talking about the first 5 – 10 dates or however long it takes the couple to establish mutual interest and/or a relationship.     I can see how this would get annoying very quickly after the first little while (“first little while” being subjective for each couple).   During that time, if a woman is 100% that he’s interested, she should call him by all means.   The thing is, she won’t have to.   He’ll call her before she calls him.   On the other hand if she’s uncertain, calling him is the worst thing she can do, IMHO anyway.   There’s always the argument that if he’s ambivalent, she might make her case by pursuing him.   But do you really want to have to convince your man to date you?
      

  13. 53
    brown_eyes

    Lucy, to attract more guys and get them to ask you out, you need to do you part: make sure you are wearing makeup, high heels, sexy clothes, hair done, nails painted, the works! If you do this everytime with a big smile on your face I can promise you they will be asking you out like crazy! (:

  14. 54
    Fiona

    Lucy, I am also in the UK and I am 15 years older than you. In that time I have learned that most men won’t ask most women out but those that really like a woman usually will unless they are seriously lacking in confidence. It isn’t like the US where people are asking people out on formal dates all the time (except online) but if a man likes you in a social setting he will want to talk to you and given sufficient encouragement he will then either ask you to do something or ask for your number so that he can. The word ‘date’ may not be mentioned but he may ask if you’d like to go for dinner (or more likely in our heave drinking culture, drinks). In my experience dinner is a far better option. Plenty of men here will complain to me that women don’t ask them out and I just remind them that is their job. Most of them do seem to know that but are just scared of rejection. Often I find that it is a way to sound me out to see if I might be interested as it is usually coupled with effusive compliments. However, if they don’t have the courage to actually ask, it is usually because  I haven’t been putting out signals to show that I am interested or they are too timid for me.

  15. 55
    henriette

    Oh, how I wish I’d taken this advise to heart a few decades ago!   My mother tried to warn me but, since the counsel came from a parent, I of course rolled my eyes and told her that she was “out of touch” with men of our generation.   Well, here’s Evan — an educated guy of our generation — and now (better late than never?!) I am finally a believer.  
    But, a question.   Let’s say that our OP, Meredith, had already asked one of these dudes to the concert before Evan had a chance to respond.   They attended, had a nice time, and he called her afterwards to ask her out again.   Has she blown for good it by having asked him out, once, or is there room for her to re-establish the desired equilibrium by returning to mirroring?    
    I’m friends with two married guys in their 40s whose now-wives asked them out, first.   They say that they’d firmly believed that women of this caliber (hot, fun, successful) would never go for them (bright, slightly-geeky, normal guys) so the initial invitations acted as sort of green lights in their brains… Ah, we’ve been given permission to start pursuing these babes!   Incidentally, once the initial invitations were extended by their now-wives, the guys went into full chase mode and the women sat back, were wooed and mirrored.
    @Frimmel51.   Yeah, most women reading this are strong and bright and confident but we come here because that hasn’t served us well in the dating realm.   We’ve remained single making interesting conversations and cracking hilarious jokes while again and again and again the vapid princesses toss their hair, simper and marry.       Evan’s not trying to turn us into entitled Fembots but rather teach us the only thing that the princesses do right: let the guys act and feel like men.     I never wanted/ expected to be won but the alternative hasn’t worked.

  16. 56
    marymary

    henriette
    To answer your question:
    I didn’t ask the beau out lightly. I discussed my dilemma with two married female friends, both been married for over twenty years. It was their idea. One of them put it this bluntly “men are dumb. you have to tell them what to do.” her husband is the treasurer of a major uk entity so she wasn’t talking about his intelligence or ability, just that he was clueless about certain things. Aren’t we all? He’s  smart,  authoritative, takes on leadership roles at work and in the charity sector, and earns vastly more than she does;   she is nurturing, kind and compassionate. it’s not about her wearing the trousers. They’re a partnership.
    another friend of mine who has been with her man for over ten years also gave me the green light. She described her partner, an energy consultant with a good income who travels internationally on business as “useless” when it comes to arranging their social life.
    Now, I’m not saying that men are dumb and useless, but a signficant proportion may not be acting on what’s expected of them.  They may be only 20% (to pluck a figure out of thin air) of men , but if you know a few hundred people,  you    know sixty men like that.
    I’ve had feedback from friends, male and female, that I can be intimidating.   I don’t see it myself but  I did take it on board.   He can be uncertain about asking  me out without being a wuss.
    The safest option IS to mirror 100%, but some of us have been around the block enough times to nuance that.
    and I must reiterate I’m in no way recommending pursuing  men who are not interested or, worse (much worse), ambivalent. Once we got over that first date hurdle (we’d been moving in the same circles for months), I’ve had no reason to doubt him.

  17. 57
    Barry

    Well I am also in the Uk.
    So let me show how it looks from the male point of view.

    Men learn very early on that asking women they find attractive out on a date leads to a shed load of rejection.
    Women, brainwashed into not settling for second best, end up rejecting everybody.

    Men then either give up completely, or revert to plan B.
    Plan B involves flirting, in the hope that the woman shows some sort of interest. If the women give ambiguous signals, that is as far as it goes, unless he is really keen.

    This makes the social interaction far more nuanced. Unfortunately men don’t do nuanced. Men are clueless when it comes to knowing what women are thinking.
    Women who do not give very strong buying signals may well lose out.

    Also, I have been rejected by women just for being friendly. So even women cannot tell whether a man is flirting or not and now assume any vocal communication is a pick up attempt and a valid enough reason to tell a guy to **** off.

    And then we have the women who flirt outrageously just to get validation.
    Sending out buying signals when their purse is empty. Men stagger away from the inevitable rejection clueless as to how they misread the situation.

    Is it any wonder that men start to think that this is a game they can’t win?

  18. 58
    Julia

    @Nathan if a man asks me out 2-3 time then pulls back like you say you do, I assume he’s lost interest in me. The problem with pulling back and testing is that it upsets and established order that you’ve created by initiating with a woman. Why would a woman with any dignity respond to a man who pulls back by pursuing him. She might get to sleep with him a few times without dinner if she does but she’s not getting a relationship like that. I think that if you want to see if a woman is interested in you, you need to be the one to suggest she call you.

    BTW I am 31, I date the same generation of men that you describe and they are pretty much the same as an generation of men, EXCEPT they have access to easier sex. Dating is in fact trickier for people our age but because men don’t have to pursue with cheap sex.

  19. 59
    Ellen

    Mating in the UK sounds really depressing to me from the female vantage point. Glad I live here.

    PS I always attract a certain amount of  attention wherever I go being a long-haired redhead and nice figure, etc., but come to think of it I got like no real attention in the UK the last two times I was there. Irish men are MUCH flirttier. lol    

        

  20. 60
    Lucy

    @brown_eyes – I’m usually too laid back to be glamorous but I will try that. I am presentable but I often leave the house without make-up because I’m very comfortable with myself. People have told me I don’t need it. Thanks 🙂

    @Fiona  – Yeah I think you’re both right. If I don’t show enough interest then the guy doesn’t get enough of a signal to do anything. But I have realised that recently and noticed the difference. I’ve never had anyone ask me out to dinner for an initial date and definitely would not expect it.

    And Barry, I have never told a guy to get lost because he was being friendly. I am a good person and I like talking to new people. I go on dates with anyone I find attractive and who doesn’t show that they’re an immediate no go. I mean, I can’t really be sure about someone unless I know them better. I wouldn’t want someone to reject me without much thought so should be the same vice versa. I do flirt a lot though. That might be my undoing sometimes.

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