I love making the first move in dating.
I love putting myself out there, expressing interest, flirting, asking guys out. I wasn’t always like this, though. And I understand it’s hard.
I recently wrote an article called What Dating a Woman Made Me Think About Gender Roles in Relationships where I talk a little about how everyone can be more forward in dating—no matter who we’re dating.
And now, I’m going to take it one step further.
Growing up, we were taught that women were an object to be claimed. We were shown Disney movies where a princess was literally sleeping through her life until a prince came to wake her up.
We’ve been given the message over and over that “if they want to, they will.” So, when they don’t, we believe it’s got something to do with us.
But this dialogue is changing. We’re breaking free from these constructs and learning to embody authenticity over performance. I believe that the way we approach dating is one of those ways.
Here are 7 Ways Women Can Make the First Move (and how to have fun with it):
1. Plant a seed.
Asking someone out doesn’t always have to be bold and big. It can be subtle and built up over a few weeks or months. This works best if you’re friends or just in the “talking stage.” What I mean by planting a seed is offering up hints and clues that you’re not seeing anyone, that this person has qualities you’d look for in a romantic partner, or drop comments about how you find them attractive.
We want to let them know that we wouldn’t say no if they asked us out, or that we might want to ask them out. This way, when/if we do, it’s not totally out of nowhere.
All the flirting! Touch, compliments, a glance over at them when everyone else is busy talking. There are so many ways we can flirt to give them a hint that we’re interested.
Physical touch is a huge indicator that someone is interested in us. It can be as subtle as touching a knee under the table, or—and I love when people do this—a hand on the small of our back. We could touch an arm or a leg; I’ve also been told that tucking hair behind our ear, or anything playful with our hair, can give the signal that we’re interested.
3. Book an event or show and invite them.
It’s so much easier to ask someone out when we have something to invite them to. I asked out a previous partner by inviting him to a concert I had an “extra” ticket for. He responded by saying he’d love to join me, but he wanted to take me out to dinner first. Later, he told me he was so happy I asked him out because he had been wanting to himself but was afraid of ruining our friendship.
And the good thing about this is that it should be something you want to do regardless, so if they do say no, you can still go on your own or bring a friend.
4. Buy them a drink.
Again, the movies have corrupted me. I always dreamed of sitting at the bar (cocktail dress, Monroe-style, smoky room, because, you know…) and have the waiter deliver me a drink and say, “It’s from the fella over there.” He’d nod, raise his glass, and we’d both cheers, and the rest would be history.
This has never happened to me in real life, so why not make this reality happen for someone else? If you see someone you find attractive — maybe you eyed them while going to the bathroom — send them over a drink or a shot and make sure the bartender tells them who it’s from. You’re showing interest, and it’s an automatic ice breaker if they do come over.
5. Go the indirect route.
This one can feel a little…high school. But sometimes, we need a good wing-person to help us make the first move. I’ve gotten girlfriends to go up to a table of guys and tell them I thought one of them was attractive. It’s so much easier to be forward on behalf of someone else, and often, the person will find this quite endearing.
6. Be consistent.
A great way to meet someone or make clear you’re interested is by just being around. This is similar to “plant a seed,” but the difference is with your actions.
For example, I used to go to the same coffee shop every other day at the same time because I thought the barista was really cute. After a while, we started chatting about our days, and then, after months of this back-and-forth, I asked him out. The consistency showed him that I wasn’t just there for the coffee, and it helped us build up a relationship outside of customer/server.
7. Tell them!
There’s no better way to ask someone out than to just do it. Going back to my point in #3, people often don’t go for it because they are afraid of rejection. Or of ruining something that already exists between you. But, like they say, you miss all the shots you don’t take (I believe this was from Gretzky about hockey).
There’s something exhilarating about putting yourself out there, which I know is a statement not a lot of people will resonate with. What I have found has helped me with this is understanding that rejection is a blessing. Why would we want to waste our precious time on someone who is not interested in us? Yes, it will understandably sting, but at least we know, and we can then go out there and find someone who is ecstatic about us.
Dating can and should be fun. The more we practice being forward and putting ourselves out there, the easier it gets. It’s not to say that it’s not hard. Sometimes, I really thought there was a connection, I misunderstood, and it has sucked when they turned me down.
But when I think about it from the other end (when a guy has asked me out, and I rejected him), I would never want him to internalize that. It’s rarely because he’s “not good enough”; it’s usually something inexplicable, mainly, I just didn’t feel it.
And I know that I don’t want to be sleepwalking through this life. Life is too short to not ask out the cute barista.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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