Should Women Ask Men Out on First Dates?

women wearing black suit asking men out on first date

Dear Evan,

What’s the truth? Should women ask men out on first dates? Is it true that a man is “really not that into you” if he’s not asking you out?


Dear Danielle,

You asked me a question, but you really asked me two different questions which have two different answers:

1) Should women ask out men on first dates?

No. No, they should not. Women asking men on first dates can be taken as aggressive, desperate, and masculine. At the very least, it can signify a loss of power. So I wouldn’t recommend that you ever utter the words, “Would you like to go out with me?” to any men.

This doesn’t contradict anything I’ve said before, because God knows, I’m not an advocate of women acting like helpless, shrinking violets. Not at all. But there’s a difference between asking a man out and getting a man to ask you out. I vote strongly for the latter.

There’s a difference between asking a man out and getting a man to ask you out.

So let’s get this straight:

Women asking men out? No.

Women using all their feminine wiles to get men to ask them out? Yes.

So what are these feminine wiles of which I speak? Besides your everyday, run-of-the-mill flirtation, there are TONS of things a woman can do to aid in her own dating process.

Let’s say you’re at a party and you see a cute guy across the room. Your friend tells you to go up and ask him out. But you’ve read this article and you know that he probably won’t respond to such a direct approach. What are you gonna do? How can you take action to make HIM take action?

So, if you see a man   you want to meet, how can you meet him? By putting yourself in the position to meet him. You can cross the room, park yourself seven feet to his diagonal, turn and smile. Now that he’s in your line of sight, he has an opportunity to make eye contact with you. And when men make eye contact with you when you’re smiling, that’s their invitation to come over and introduce themselves.

Result: Woman takes action. Man makes a move. Woman stays in control and keeps her feminine energy.

It’s important to understand this dynamic when we get to Danielle’s next question.

2) Is it true that a man is “really not that into you” if he’s not asking you out?

Yes. Kind of…. See, we men know, and have been conditioned, and may even have the biological imperative, to be the “aggressors”. For better or worse, this is the way society is set up. Men ask out women. We ask them to prom. We ask them to go steady. We ask them if they want to have sex. We ask them if they will marry us. Women are the gatekeepers to what we want. When that energy shifts, it often throws us for a loop.

This is why women shouldn’t push men for sex. Or ask men to commit. Or ask men to marry them. It’s not that they shouldn’t desire these things; it’s that generally, the man asks and the woman says yes/no.

But there are some men who don’t embrace these traditional roles — not because they’re iconoclasts or neo-feminists, but simply because they’re shy or insecure. Unless you give them the key to your heart and half-way unlock the door, they’re never going to get inside. Mostly because they’re afraid of rejection and don’t want to put themselves out there.

If you have the hots for the cute, quiet guy in IT, he may be totally into you, but be too shy to do anything.

So where does this leave a woman with a crush? Depends on the guy. With guys who are alpha male types — confident, secure, good with women — yeah, if he’s not asking you out, he’s just not that into you. Type A men know that they need to ask out women, and are usually adept at doing so. However, if you have the hots for the cute, quiet guy in IT, he may be totally into you, but be too shy to do anything.

That’s when it’s your job to make it easier for him. Not to ask him out, but to make it clear that you’re amenable to being asked out. Being flirtatious, hanging around his desk, joining him for lunch… As long as he knows that his advances will be well-received, he will probably make the advance.

And if he doesn’t?

Just ask him out.

It’s only rejection. Guys deal with it every day.

(And yeah, I’m contradicting myself, but only for shy guys!)

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  1. 1

    You can cross the room, park yourself seven feet to his diagonal, turn and smile

    I know I get completely turned off by women who are not 30 degrees from my line of site LOL :). Sorry Evan I couldn’t resist.

    Good advice. I’ve had some nice encounters with the woman making the first move, but it is extraordinarily easy for women to overdo it and turn a guy off. I much prefer the come hither signals.

  2. 2

    I often have debates with my girlfriends about this, and I couldn’t agree more with Evan!
    Most men understand and accept (with the exception of the shy ones that Evan pointed out) that facing the sting of rejection is a given in the dating game. They hate it, it sucks, but they soldier on and risk it anyway *if they think the woman is worth it*. If the guy sees a woman smiling and flirting and doesn’t ask her out, then he’s either involved or not interested (lots of reasons why that could be). Bottom line, asking the woman out just wasn’t that serious to them because if it was, they would’ve risked rejection and done it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to start an association with a man trying to convince him that I’m worth his time if he doesn’t feel that way already, and that’s what a lot of women risk if they openly and agressively pursue men.

    Plus, some men are just too poilte (and others too opportunistic) to turn a woman down, and will ultimately take advantage of a situation where they know a woman wants them, even if they could care less about her. Why would a woman set herself up for this kind of dynamic?

    I think really shy guys are the exception (somewhat), but there are probably fewer men that fit that definition than some women would like to think.

    1. 2.1

      @Jennifer, I agree with you 100%!

    2. 2.2

      I think a woman can ask a man out only if she’s super butch and the guy is practically half a woman. The problem with women asking some guys out is that they make him feel like she’s wearing the pants, and that sometimes, the guy will get a swollen head and think he’s a player.

      But seriously, though, women who ask guys out must be prepared to deal with the sting of rejection. To be honest, sometimes, the most desperate ones are also not the most attractive. The gorgeous ones just have to stare a guy long enough in the eye ans wink at him…

    3. 2.3

      This couldn’t be further from the truth, most men approach women confidently who they don’t care about, for me the more I want someone the more nervous I get and it gets impossible to as one out, needless to say im a 35 yr old virgin ! but please don’t think that because he doesn’t ask you out even with all the signals he doesn’t want you chances are if it was me, id be dying inside but wownt be able to say or do anything as I want her so much that my mind goes blanc I stutter and stammer, so because of this I don’t as women out, because I cant and if us beta men do we do it underconfiudently and you reject us anyway, no matter how muh you like someone ive noticed if you cant ask them out confidently they ALWYAYS say no, no matter how much they gave you signals, so giving someone th signals you wownt reect them istn enough for very shy men   ! its a terrible possiton for a man to be in because he ends up hating himself for not being abe to ask you out, and its one less chance away from dying alone single forever !

  3. 4
    Michael Ejercito

    Of course they should. Men are too lazy to even get off the couch to get a beer from the fridge.

    1. 4.1
      S Benjamin

      I despise telephone-only relationships. If a man does not take proactive measures to suggest a meeting after a week to a week-and-a-half of communicating over the telephone I take the initiative and suggest that we meet (though I don’t .suggest where and how). I wish to know as within a reasonable time whether I am attracted to his presence. Why spend weeks talking over the phone and texting back and forth only to find that you do mesh in-person? Only a player would wish to waste time in that way. For me, a romantic relationship is serious business.

  4. 5

    Jennifer Apr 3rd 2008 at 09:13 am 2
    If the guy sees a woman smiling and flirting and doesn’t ask her out, then he’s either involved or not interested (lots of reasons why that could be).

    Or he is *shy*, or he is dense to social signals. He could be a great guy, but these things *may* be an indicator of other issues that *some* women might find to be a turn off.

    but I don’t want to start an association with a man trying to convince him that I’m worth his time if he doesn’t feel that way already,

    Plus, some men are just too poilte (and others too opportunistic) to turn a woman down, and will ultimately take advantage of a situation where they know a woman wants them, even if they could care less about her. Why would a woman set herself up for this kind of dynamic?

    A lot of men need to hear that. I wish I heard it when I was young and first left home. I was slightly shy with women at the time, I was raised by political idealists and had similar women for friends. I operated on a set of “shoulds” as defined by what some idealists would have liked to be true, but wasn’t so in social reality.

    Eventually I smartened up and learned that people do not do as they say, ESPECIALLY in matters of the heart, dating, sex and romance.

    Having been there let me say, guys, you just got to suck it up. It is scary, it sucks, but if you get rejected the sun will still shine on you the next morning and the risk is well worth it because it will eventually pay off.

  5. 6
    Evan Marc Katz

    Great point, Blue. But no, it’s not a contradiction. Because the mediums are completely different. Online, you don’t know who’s looking at you, what they’re thinking, who they’re seeing, etc. You can’t afford to be passive because of the variety of options presented to men.

    But in real life, if you know this great guy from work? And you have been friends for six months, and he still hasn’t asked you out? He’s probably not gonna ask you out.

    Thank you for calling attention to this subtle nuance. Online, YES, ask him out – as long as you’re being coy and flirtatious, rather than over-complimentary. Make him chase you. Which means that it’s pretty much the same advice as this article. You’re writing to him online, but you’re not asking him out. You’re teasing him so he asks YOU out. Therein lies the difference.

  6. 7

    So Evan, men are just big pathetic babies who are so fragile they have to have their butts kissed all the time??

    1. 7.1

      What an excellent response. I was finding some of the articles on this site interesting but this is just such incredible retro The Rules style BS. If a man is going to freak out because a woman asks him out, he isn’t worth having. Period.

      1. 7.1.1

        In Evan’s defense , who said anything about a man freaking out?

        no, the purpose of not asking a guy out is so you can tell who is the seriously interested, commitment – oriented guy with potential, versus some guy who will lazily accept your invitation and treat it as a request to hang out ( meaning, he will likely want to go Dutch on the bill and not really treat you as though you’re on an official date).   I’m glad Evan did make the exception for the shy guys, though.   In my years of dating,   how a guy treats me on those first few dates in usually a strong indicator of potential for a relationship.




      2. 7.1.2

        you think nervousness makes a man not worth going out with ? then there is no point in a shy person ever asking anyone out because they will be nervous

        1. Winsome Maple

          I like shy men. They are usually thinkers and listen well. They are sensitive also. These are all pluses.

  7. 8

    Well, how does this advice fall into the “Who pays for dates?” deal? It used to be common manners that whomever does the asking should be prepared to do the paying. Some men get irked because the burden of doing the asking falls to them, and thereby the expense. And some women claim they are fine with paying their own way AND their dates, and don’t have a problem asking men out either.

    So now Evan, you are telling us the same thing our mother’s and grandmother’s did, “Don’t ask a man out because you will come across as too aggressive or desperate.” Okay, we buy that as a general rule. But does this mean we should offer to pay if we are asked out, or not? And if we don’t (because Hey! He did the asking) then are we not being fair to the poor guys who think we are only out for a free meal/entertainment? Most of us aren’t by the way, but nothing we say convinces the men who have this mentality.

  8. 10

    BooBear Apr 3rd 2008 at 10:46 am 7
    So Evan, men are just big pathetic babies who are so fragile they have to have their butts kissed all the time??

    BooBear thank you for posting the above quote.

    I have found that intelligent, educated and intellectually honest women can often be blind to double standards they hold in regards to women and men. Your quote is a great example to use to illustrate this. I mean this with no sarcasm. Like I said, even cool women do this.

    Lets say a woman is in a situation which threatens her sense of femininity in an objectively trivial way, but one that would give most women mildly unpleasant feelings.

    A woman joins a previously all male institution and is ordered to have her head shaved just like all of the other men and women.

    She will be injured in no way and will be every bit of a woman after the haircut. Other women would not dare to mock her feelings of nervousness at having her hair completely removed and if a man made a comment like “buck up bage, it is not big deal” he would be seen as crass.

    However, consideration for a man’s sense of masculinity is not also similarly respected.

    Whether you want to say it comes from nature, nurture, or both for most men their psychology is set up to be the initiator in social and sexual situations. Some men are threatened by the reverse while for other men it just feels odd to the point that they would rather deal with another woman.

    Bottom line, it feels odd to their sense of masculinity. Instead of respecting ( not necessarily agreeing ) of that, good people like you will feel no problem about mocking or trivializing men’s feelings in this regard.

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

  9. 11

    Should Women Ask Men Out on First Dates?
    Gotta say yes, they should.

    Women decide within the first few minutes if they will have sex with you and under what terms……lover (right away) or provider (meal ticket).

    And when it comes time to get her number – let her do the work. Always hint that you are interested. Never confirm it. Let HER wonder. Build up the attraction enigma in her. Keep on doing this until she gives in. THEN, you’re in business. She’ll be the one supplicating for your attention. She won’t be in control. She’ll dig
    you even more. Now, MAYBE, you can give in some sort of compromise. But only do it when you are sure that she’s bothered enough by you to actually truly want to see you.

    You earn a spot on her B-List the minute you ask her digits. Some kind of he digs me signal that goes on in the female brain the minute you ask for her number.

    She then starts taking B-List-Joe for granted and we all know the rest of the story

    Just remember that men get no status from rejecting women, but women do get status from rejecting men. Sometimes they reject men for sport, to impress their girlfriends, or to satisfy their ego and sense of superiority.

    I think there are probably a few women who miss the old days when men weren’t afraid to approach them and be friendly to them, but hey, after a while men learn that it just isn’t worthwhile to be nice to someone who will most likely just be negative to you.


  10. 12

    Getting attention is the feminine equivalent of “scoring.”

    For your average man, getting inside a woman’s pants is what affirms for him that he’s attractive and desirable. A man who manages to get a woman to get naked with him feels good, because he feels validated.

    For women, all it takes is knowing that you want her. That’s it. Once you look at her (or strive not to look at her) in that way that says, “Wow,” she knows that she could have you if she wanted you. It reaffirms for her that her sex is worth something. It reaffirms that when it comes time for her to make her life choice she can demand a high price because she has what men want.

    That’s why women lead men on and then give them the cold shoulder. Once you give her that look, you gave her what she was after.

    She doesn’t need anything else from you, so she sees no need to continue treating you nicely.

    Some women will smile at you across the room, lick their lips, do everything but rip their clothes off, but when you cross the dance floor and say, “Hi! Want to dance?” they say, “With you? Yeah, right.” Why? Simple: the minute you walked across the floor to ask her she had what she wanted. The rest, for her, is academic. She knows that if she’s horny she can have you, but she doesn’t want you.

    She just wanted to know that you wanted her, and she’s all done.

    Let me make things clear: if women asked men out 50% of the time (which they claim they do but obviously don’t) and tried to interest men (again this absolutely never happens, even if they do strike up a conversation first; they always expect the man to jump through hoops so that MAYBE they will be swayed by his silly antics) – then you would have a basis for complaining that men usually screw women over.

    But in reality, men ALWAYS have to pique women’s interest, it is NEVER the other way around.

    AS SUCH women 100% forfeit any right to complain.

    Here we come up against the inevitable conflict between the male and female social roles and circumstances. Because men are the “designated initiators”, they are the ones who have to take an active role in “finding” that “one”, while women get to sit in their towers and pass judgment and indulge their penchants for cruelty.

    The net effect for women has been two-fold. As long as they continue to rely entirely and exclusively on the passive strategy of attraction and abuse the sexual power they have, they are automatically sorting out all but the most aggressive males. Thus their attitudes become self-fulfilling prophesies as they make themselves so obnoxious that any man who is capable of sensitivity and warmth cannot stand to be around them.


    1. 12.1

      I halfway agree.

    2. 12.2

      I am sorry for this world view Death slayer.   You must have been badly hurt of have been the victim of unkind women.

      I am *not* like the women you speak about here. I get no pleasure in rejecting men. I get no pleasure in getting them to like me and then giving them the brush off. I don’t seek ego strokes.

      What I seek, and what most women seek, is someone we feel good around, someone we are attracted to and who is attracted to us, someone we have fun with.

      I love having a good time with a man. I love flirting with him, being sexy with him, loving and giving.   I do NOT relish rejecting any man ever.   Never.  

      1. 12.2.1

        Unfortunately there are a lot of nasty   , cold hearted    women that love nothing more than brutally rejecting guys for ” fun ” , these same types also get free drinks from men all night , then tell the guys   to F*** Off !! afterwards. Saw this a lot when working as door staff quite a while back…it also made me wonder if women were actually intrinsically hostile to guys , needless to say I did not see women in a positive light back then as this was a regular occurance.

  11. 13


    Re: Post #10 That was a very good way of explaining it. Very thoughtful.

  12. 14
    Michael Ejercito


    So how do you manipulate women into wanting to have sex with you?

  13. 15

    I agree with Evan on point #1 – men should ask women out on a first date. It’s emasculating for a man if the woman is the aggressor. Once your dating, it doesn’t matter who suggests an activity. But first date, the man must ask.

    In point #2, I didn’t like how you said that alpha males are “good with women.” This is NOT necessarily the case. And in fact, it is often NOT the case and can be a huge problem in a relationship.

    Alpha males are good at approaching women, and when you’re in a bar, it’s the type-A’s who typically get the phone number or date, simply because they were more confident in that particular environment.

    But in terms of how they treat woman, a lot of alpha males just don’t get it. They often treat women like dirt. (I’m NOT talking about all alpha males, just a lot of them.) These are the men who feed off their own ego power trips, suffer from narcissism, and demand that the woman look up to them like a hero. Those relationships can be very disfunctional.

    In the longterm, type-B guys often treat women FAR better than type-A’s. In this respect, it’s the type-B guys who are “good with women.”

    1. 15.1

      Right dadshouse on point but the type b guys are too afraid to approach or ask out attractive women.   So attractive women like me only get approached and hit on and asked out by alpha males who treat us like crap cause they are mostly narcissists and players.   We try to get in the sight line of the type b guys but they are afraid or just don’t get it so without directly approaching them and asking them out which by the way as a very alpha female with a high power job great salary and degree I am happy to do I am stuck dating jerks.    I suppress the underlying innate urge to go speak to these men or to ask men out that I interact with and may be interested in and up my flirting and express my femininity but short of hitting the dude over the head or having my friend pass them a note high school style they have no clue I’m into them.   Why because they don’t think a girl that looked like me every would be.   How do I know well sometimes I’ve just ignored Evan and asked.   I digress if I don’t ask out type b males I would be relegated to dating type   a guys who treat me horrible and use me for sex and end up angry and bitter which is why you see a lot of attractive single women.

  14. 16

    okay, so if you give the signals, he comes over and talks to you for an hour and then doesn’t ask for your number, is it okay to give him your number?

  15. 17
    Michael Ejercito

    I have no problem with average-looking women; I have been interested in average-looking women before.

    A woman’s behavior has a lot to do with how attractive she is.

  16. 18
    Michael Ejercito


    Of course you should give him your number if you feel comfortable around him.

  17. 19

    What about the average looking woman? The one who is neither a size 2 nor a size 16, not as pretty as Charlize Theron in real-life nor as unattractive as Charlize in Monster? Real-life Charlize undoubtedly can stand at a 30 degree angle 7′ from a man and have him running over in a heartbeat. But for those of us who are not drop-dead stunning, we attract men with other qualities. Our intelligence, caring/nurturing nature, adventuresome spirit, or whatever else we bring to the table. But a man can’t tell anything about these internal features by just looking. So, back to my original question; how does the average woman get men to pick her up?

    1. 19.1

      With your feminine spirit.   Actually it’s an energy that can be felt.   It’s a open, loving, friendly, kind, compassionate energy.   You can look up more attributes of the feminine women.   This can be sensed in a woman partly by how she dresses (and it helps a lot to give off signals you are fem in hair and clothes) but also how you interact, what you say.   

      1. 19.1.1

        You are spot on here , too many women are masculine & also lack the compassion you speak of here. We need a lot women like you as you ” get it “.   It’s polarity at work ( which Evan has covered ) feminine energy attracts masculinity & vice versa , neuter attracts nothing , as there is no polarity. Please spread the word to your fellow females !!!

    2. 19.2

      I’m surprised that would be a problem for you or the women you describe if you show those qualities to the men in question.

      But if it is, they are either not interested in those things (their loss) or not aware you are interested. Some, including me, are not blind to unspoken signals, but certainly not very sensitive. So I will be direct with women and yes, many don’t like that, but that is who I am and I prefer that in return, so it is not as bad as it seems.

      If somebody not knowing you are interested or asking them subtly if they want to go out with you is a turnoff for you, then you have your answer.

      If not, you will find out whether he is interested.

  18. 20

    I firmly believe that in this era of equality, courage to ask for a 1st date (or any date thereafter) shouldn’t have a lick to do with gender. The other year I used to see a gal who was enough into me to ask ME for a date, though she let me decide the venue (& yes, we did split the cost). She’s out of my life now (for unrelated reasons) but I do admire the proactiveness of women like her. It also makes my day to hear/read once in a blue moon of a woman proposing marriage to a man. It gives me faith that in terms of equality, the social front will slowly but surely catch up to the career front.

    1. 20.1

      Thanks for your response. It’s good to know there are some men secure enough in their   masculinity that a woman expressing interest in him directly doesn’t scare him. It’s not “nature” that makes men feel that way, in spite of all the evolutionary psychology types pushing that BS – it’s culture. And articles like this only enforce such backwards views.

      1. 20.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        This isn’t “Rules” game playing. Nor does this have anything to do with being secure in one’s masculinity. It’s that masculine guys all got the memo when we were kids: if you like a girl, you approach her and ask her out. If you don’t approach her and ask her out, you probably aren’t interested. The men who didn’t get this memo tend to be the shiest, most insecure, and least masculine men. So you can ask away, Nancy: just don’t expect much from the process.

        1. Lisa

          Evan Nancy and Yogagurl I think it depends on the type of guy and the attractiveness level of the girl.   For example an alpha male who tends to be self confident or cocky will usually pick up on subtle flirting and ask you out if he’s interested no matter what your level of attractiveness and if you ask him out that may turn him off.   But a beta male or one with less self confidence particularly if faced with a very attractive female will usually not pick up on subtle hints or any hints.    Maybe if he perceives the female to be in his league he will but if not no way you will need to ask him out and this will be effective and Yogagurl it has worked for me.   I could walk in their sight line wink smile giggle flirt till the cows come home and they have no clue because they never think a girl that looked like me would be interested and I know because they tell me.   Meanwhile if I even so much as glance at an alpha they pounce so it’s all relative.

      2. 20.1.2

        Nancy has your being the initiator ever brought positive results? Why not just flirt subtley to let him know of your interest?

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