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. 61

    I can see Barry’s point that it isn’t always easy to tell whether a woman is really interested or just being polite. At social functions, if I am approached by a man I am interested in, I am probably not going elsewhere for conversation (or not for long). If I am approached by a man that I am not interested in I will be polite but will try to get away at the earliest opportunity if I think he is interested so perhaps that helps. If a woman is talking to only you for a long time (other than about something heated and controversial) and smiling and being friendly when she has other options then she is probably interested. If she moves away quickly, looks disinterested or starts looking around the room, she probably isn’t. It may surprise men to learn that women don’t like having to reject men any more than men like being rejected so most us are going to try pretty hard to avoid giving out interested or ambiguous signals to men that we are not interested in.  

  2. 62

    @Sabrina #32 – I could not have put that better myself! Men definitely need the chase because if they think that they can get a wonderful woman without doing anything, they then start to believe that if they put in some effort, they certainly could get an even better woman! Even if this may not be true.

  3. 63

    “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?”

    Your experience is so different to mine; I actually think ‘this game’ is so much fun. What works for me is to be happy, smiley, flirty, positive and approachable to every woman. So what if she’s not interested / gay / got a boyfriend etc. She will generally make her situation clear to you quite quickly at which point you either walk away or ask her out. Why bother thinking too much about nuance, signals etc? If she’s not interested it’s no problem, just move on. The vast majority of women will reply in a friendly and courteous manner even if they’re not interested. With this approach you can’t lose.

    “I have been rejected by women just for being friendly.”
    I think the key for men is to get used to rejection at an early age and realize that most women won’t want you, so it’s just a matter of finding the ones that do. I stopped caring about rejection about 8 years ago.

    Regarding Nathan and Evan et al. I don’t think your positions are that far apart. We all agree that men should generally make the effort at the start to indicate his interest (so that you know he’s not just taking “what you have to offer because it’s convenient and will do for now” as marymary said), so the point of discussion is really at what point should the woman step up and be more proactive.

  4. 64

    Julia 59   I agree with you that if a guy pulls back after 3 dates he’s not interested

    Frimmel 51  

    ” 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.”   

    Well after I was “won”by my ex husband I was happily married for a couple of decades … I don’t understand your trophy analogy What point are you trying to make?
    For women its about about determining who has genuine interest . There are plenty of guys out there who just want to get laid by anyone and could care less about me as an individual   I need to see who they are. I have 6 guys in the dating pipeline right now. A guy who I met 2 weeks ago who I had big chemistry with, who I met out. has maintained email contact and hasn’t asked me out! Another guy who I had less chemistry arranged a great dinner and has followed up closely with me . That would be less clear if I was pursuing the chemistry guy.

    Again , if a guy has more female energy and prefers to be pursued by a masculine energy woman , thats probably the right match and will probably work out fine since you are well matched      

  5. 65

    @Barry #58: I think there are A LOT of men here in the States in your shoes! I can’t tell you how many of my male friends have said the same thing to me; that they’re clueless when it comes to women and have no idea when it’s “safe” to pursue. This is EXACTLY why I have no problem asking a man out. Sure, I flirt a little to see if I catch him looking at me as the night goes on. If I do, I’ll go right on up and ask him. There have just been too many missed opportunities when a man and I were flirting, he was CLEARLY interested, but he never asked. Knowing from personal experience that when I HAVE asked it’s been quite successful, why wouldn’t I do it again? Maybe Aphas have this innate sense of what to say/do to get a woman to go out with them but I also think this makes them cocky and egotistical, and I can’t for the life of me understand why women are so attracted to such high-maintenance men like this but I see it everywhere!
    Yes, the purpose of this blog is to get a man’s honest perspective. ONE man’s honest perspective. Nathan is also a man and he has a different perspective from Evan. So does Barry. Ask a hundred men and you will get a hundred different perspectives (although there will no doubt be some recurring themes). I don’t think it’s fair for people to post “This worked for me, so therefore it’s the only correct way to go” statements. I have personally used some of what I’ve read on this blog in my life. Some of it worked well for me, and some of it hasn’t. Mirroring works for some (it looks like the majority), but it’s not for everyone. I really do think it works extremely well for Alpha males, but if you’re looking for more of a Beta, then maybe not so much. I’m not an extroverted Alpha, but I am definitely no withering wallflower and what I found to be my experience with Alphas was that when I acted against my nature and let them take the lead in the beginning, then when we started getting into the flow of the relationship and my true personality came out (the one can make decisions for herself, like what car to buy or where I want to eat lunch), they would say I’d changed and was no longer what they were looking for. I want a man who is attracted to me as a strong, confident woman, not a man who wants me to hide in his shadow, so I will continue to do what works for me. So should all of you!

  6. 66


    I was doing “mirroring” naturally for decades before reading about it here. Never even knew it was a *concept*.   Believe it’s the best (and easiest) way to gauge the level of a man’s interest early on. That said, you made a number of good points in this thread. You said you were interested in hearing from women here, so I’ll share a story you may relate to.

    A dozen years ago I started seeing a man I met through a mutual friend. He had 2, sometimes 3 jobs, but even so made time for me several days a week, even if it was only for 30 min. – 2 hours between jobs. He called me every day to say “Hi” and ask me how my day was going.   After 2-3 weeks he made the comment on the phone one day, “You never call me.”   I always answered the phone when he called, but it never occured to me to call him first. (I don’t call people when they are at work unless it’s necessary – don’t want to interupt them, or cause a problem with their employer.) I told him this. He told me I could call him anytime.

    I got the point that it wasn’t about him “doing all the work”, for him, having the woman he was dating call him was a sign she was as interested in him as he was in her.   So some days I tried to call him before he could call me! Give that reasurrance. This might also be looked at as a form of mirroring. 😉

    Had he stopped calling me simply because I never called him…I would assumed he lost interest in me. It would never have occured to me he was put off because we weren’t “taking turns”.   We ended up being partners for several years, and those “check in” calls continued through most of our relationship – regardless of who made them first each day. 🙂

  7. 67

    It’s amazing with all these challenges of the sexes that people get together, date, get married and have families.   Maybe it’s not as difficult as many of these posts indicate?

  8. 68

    Well, the OP hadnt heard from the guy in a week! RED FLAG. I mean, she can mirror his initiation and interest, but clearly there is nothing to mirror here. He has not even texted her or made contact in any form in 7 days. He knows she exist! I think her plan to invite him is a weak attempt to say ‘Hey Im alive! I can prove to you that I am amazing and you will want to see me again.’ Sorry ladies, but do not put yourself in a position to beg a man for attention!   Men do what they want. If he had initiated and shown interest throughout the week, her attempt to initiate plans with him would fly. But the OP has not heard from the guy in a week! I would drop him and move on with my life. “nough said.

  9. 69

    @Michelle68   Maybe it’s not that difficult for some, but for those of us who make the effort to seek out & comment upon a blog about dating advice, it probably is.
    @Lucy50 I think dating in parts of Canada is the same as described above in the UK.   I was shocked when I moved here from the US to discover that men seemed to rarely ask out women.   The pattern I behold again and again is: workplace flirtation; finally a drunken hookup after a work event/ drinks with the work crowd; exclusivity within days; moving in within a few months; marriage followed by either divorce and bitterness or lifelong relief/ gratitude to be out of the mystifying singles pool.    
    I assert that each time women treat a man with anything but kindness & respect (even when rejecting him) and each time men behave callously with a woman, we’re helping to create an ambivalent, timid, confused dating environment.   Shame on all of us!

  10. 70

    @Henriette – That’s really interesting. And I totally agree with what you said. The more people treat each with respect, the better. I try not to lead men on. I will talk to anyone who approaches me because I’m a friendly person. But it’s hard if a guy gets a signal of your interest from that. I hate having to reject men. My best method is unfortunately to scan the room, not to flirt back and just to act awkward. Maybe I should be telling men I’m not interested in that I want to have all their babies, and then I’ll veto myself out rather than having to reject them.

  11. 71

    i agree that mirroring is the way to go BUT i also think think that you”know”, you really do, if the guy is keen enough to want another date, regardless of who does the asking.
    my young man (said slightly but not entirely tongue in cheek) and I definitely ”took turns” at the asking in the beginning but right from the get go I never ever felt that I was doing any chasing. It was just easy and I felt safe.   In fact I used a line I read on another dating site…or was it here? (which I’ve used in the past and works well) : ”I reckon if you asked me out I’d probably say yes”.   It made him laugh – and he did, and I did. And that was coming on for 5 months ago.

  12. 72

    Question for you – I agree with EMK “but” what do you do when for example you have just started seeing someone (witin the first few dates) – you are not yet an “item” and it’s your birtday coming up and what you want to do is throw a big all out party inviting all your friends etc – to invite new man or not?

    To invite would be what I would be inclined to do – but this goes against EMK’s mirroring (and it doesn’t help the burgeoning dynamic, I know).
    To not invite seems mean – not the sort of vibes  I would want to be giving out either.


  13. 73

    Kathleen in 65
    The trophy analogy is that they get put on a shelf and dusted occasionally. So to go all sports metaphor for all teams a trophy is a big deal. But some teams treasure them more because they don’t win them often. For others, who are always at the top, it quickly becomes about the next chase and the next challenge and a new prize to be won. So as Nathan is pointed out a willingness to chase the prize isn’t necessarily an indication of a good fit.
    Barry in 58
    Totally been there and agree. Particularly with the validation thing. That is a really ego deflating one. You’re not undesirable or unqualified or instantly rejectable or else there wouldn’t be any validation. You’re doing something right. However, you’re not quite good enough and you’re enough not good enough that she doesn’t mind that she burns the bridge. I usually just hope there weren’t any witnesses. Often that sort of woman comes back for more validation because she’s confused your, in pick-up parlance, not an alpha with being a beta-orbiter. It is fun to withhold that validation.
    Re: coping with rejection
    It is why men seem to have a bit of emotional armor or seem to be out of touch with their feelings or not very sensitive. You’d darn well better get a thick skin and an ability to compartmentalize or you’ll spend all your time feeling sorry for yourself. You’re going to fail at all sorts of things as a man and you have to deal with it and the way to deal with it is to shut yourself off from your feelings. More succinctly, “Man, up.” This is explained by Warren Farrell in “Why Men are the Way they Are.”

  14. 74
    Great Girl

    @Frimmel 74: I guess you’ve hit the nail on the head on one fundamental difference in how men and women deal with rejection.   You stated that men ‘deal with it is to shut yourself off from your feelings’.   How sad for couples when men or women use this strategies WITHIN relationships as well.   These ‘men’ who have ‘manned up’  end up shutting out their partners as well.   Of course, they may not realize this as they are only protecting themselves from feelings that they don’t want to feel and or deal with.   What the woman experiences is that the man has shut down and won’t communicate anymore and she ends up feeling unloved, therefore rejected and the vicious circle continues.

    Knowing this doesn’t make any difference at all.    Courage, not knowledge is needed.

    When we are able to  be vulnerable in a relationship,  when we allow our partners  to see our weaknesses and know us in the fullest sense (not just the BEST parts of ourselves); if we take a leap of faith that our partner will embrace and accept ALL of us, then we will find true love.    

    If either  person is  afraid to be this  vulnerable,  then we  have people pretending and being inauthentic.   How can anything deep come out of pretense?        

    I guess the question  is about whether each of us is brave enough to be this vulnerable?    

  15. 75

    Ah the the wisdom of pick up artists. Well I will not disagree with the points raised.

    However, its not what drives men in the real world. Men may develop thick skins, or they may just commit suicide.
    This hot off the press:
      Mail online “lonely Britain”

    The number of single men living alone between the ages of 45 and 64 has nearly doubled since 1995.

    ”  men who have not committed to long-term relationships or whose marriages have been ended by divorce are finding it harder to win partners once they reach middle age.
    One reason could be that middle-aged women with good qualifications and jobs have little interest in forming relationships with lower-earning men.”

    Well you only have to read the posts of Fiona et al, above to get a flavour of this. The evidence is that men do not develop thick skin – the evidence is that men give up trying.

    Recently a girlfriend pointed out a single male acquaintance. ” I think he must be gay – he doesn’t flirt with women”   Having been in conversation with him, I knew the real reason: “Who would want me ?” he had exclaimed. A totally crushed ego. Too many rejections.

    A Sandy sized storm has hit relationships, and we are only now finding the full extent of the damage.

    It is easy to blame men for not “manning up”, but the truth is that there has been a social revolution and women’s increased demands and expectations can no longer be met.

    This is a problem created by women, and I guess they are the only ones that can change this  


  16. 76

    Great Girl in 75
    That is one of the reason’s I like some early reciprocation. If I’m the only one who is ever ‘the man’ in the relationship, then down the road the likelihood I’ll get to expose any sort of weakness (i.e. my feelings or fears) diminishes if it ever exists in the first place. And to a degree society needs that inauthentic, don’t have feelings in men. Poets don’t rush into burning buildings. Isn’t there an article here about men not going both ways with regards to sharing their feelings?
    This website exists largely in my thinking to a very old idea in men’s rights, “Feminism freed women from their gender role. It did not free men.” Look at this thread and how often “you have to let the men be men” and how often “I want men to chase me” has come up. So you get a bit of a chicken and an egg thing don’t you? Which came first, the desire to be ‘men’ in males or the expectation from women that males would be ‘men.’
    What’s the advice centered around here? Telling women who’ve very much stepped out of the ‘traditional’ female role being told how to step back into it.

  17. 77

    Barry in 76
    “It is easy to blame men for not “manning up”, but the truth is that there has been a social revolution and women’s increased demands and expectations can no longer be met.”
    Women can’t find men with jobs as good as theirs because they’ve beat that guy out for the job and he had to take a ‘lesser’ job. One summer we had an intern in my engineering department. Good looking kid, maybe a bit skinny but no reason he shouldn’t be unappealing to girls. He told me about how he’d be at parties or a bar at school (very large state university) and he’d be chatting up some ladies and they’d ask him what he was studying and how his answer of engineering always managed to be a buzzkill.

  18. 78

    Aaargh, — “no reason he should be unappealing”

  19. 79

    Dating is such an amazingly grey area. I feel like the mirroring is more to protect us, as women, from our inherent ability to follow our hearts and fall head- over –heels for someone that is not open to loving us back, or simply doesn’t want to. To guard against the whole look for sex, and if love happens, great dynamic.  

    It is nearly impossible to do tit for every tat, once in awhile you will tell someone how you feel or say ” it would be great to go here with someone,” or “I would love to go here instead for dinner” which can be viewed as foreshadowing and planning, but that is life. Do what works for you in protecting your heart and your feelings, and makes you feel good, and the byproduct will be that you are welcoming, appreciative and fun to be around. I do believe when men are around a women that is like that, that they want, there is no stopping them from seeing her and wanting to be with her. They will take the lead in planning dates, calling, planning ahead. But there is no way to manipulate the person to be in that spot, only ways to allow the process to go more smoother by staying somewhat aloof for self preservation.

  20. 80

    @Susan #72

    I think you made a great point there. Sometimes people really hit it off and the “taking turns” thing just comes naturally – no angst about it.   In such a case the two people are probably in frequent contact with each other. The sticking point for me in Meredith’s letter is that she hadn’t heard from either guy for an unspecified length of time. They may not have lost interest, but they weren’t interested enough apparently  to make sure she knew they were interested. KWIM? A guy who’s really interested keeps the momentum going because he doesn’t want the woman he’s hot for to lose interest in him.

    Maybe there are men out there who play hard-to-get, but I suspect they are relatively few lol.

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