If there’s one thing most single women have in common, it’s waiting. We wait guys to approach us. We wait for guys to text us. We wait for guys to ask us out. Even in the seemingly less complicated world of online dating, we’re still waiting for guys to "wink" at us, message us, and basically, initiate any sort of human contact. It’s exhausting!
What would happen if we decided to stop waiting around and started making the first move? Would it change anything? Well, according to the experts, it could actually change the entire dating game as we know it.
"OkCupid released some user research back in 2016 in which they found that women were 2.5x more likely to receive a reply than men when sending a first message," speaker and online dating consultant, Steve Dean, told me in an interview. Dean, along with several other dating pros I talked to, believe that the secret to a happy dating life is to stop waiting around for the man to take initiative. In fact, here are 10 reasons why you should ask him out first.
Men like assertive women
If you think a guy will be turned off by you making the first move, think again. "Guys often tell me they love it when women take initiative in dating and relationships," said Lori Salkin, SawYouatSinai.com Senior Matchmaker and Dating Coach. She explains that while girls are wired to be reserved by nature, many guys love it when we change things up and pursue them.
"Everyone likes to be pursued, even guys," Licensed professional counselor, Michael Hilgers, M.MFT, told me. "From a guy’s perspective, it can get exhausting always being expected to make the first move — for all the same reasons you ladies have. It’s so much easier for everyone to just be clear about interest — or even disinterest."
You’ll learn how to be more authentic
It’s not always easy to put yourself out there. But the more you do it, the more it will start to feel like you’re being true to yourself. "Making the first move is a great way to practice authenticity with others," Hilgers said. "Most people crave authentic interactions and typically respond in kind."
Hilgers also explains that with asking someone out and feeling vulnerable (because you are) usually comes the underlying self-confidence that you will be okay whatever what the response.
You’ll learn rejection
We know. Rejection sucks. The good news is that you can learn how to conquer it, which can make dating, not to mention other things like job hunting and making new friends, a whole lot easier.
Julienne Derichs, LCPC, a Chicago-based couples counselor with over twenty years of experience, told me that the best way to make rejection easier is by basically getting rejected more often. "Asking someone out is risky. They can say no, but that’s okay," Derichs said. "Learning how to handle ’no’ without being crushed is a very important life skill." And you know what they say: practice makes perfect.
You’ll get out of your own head
We’ve all gotten stuck playing the "what if" game in our own minds. What if he has a girlfriend? What if he isn’t attracted to me? What if he laughs at me? The questions could go on forever. "Waiting creates a lot of empty space that tends to get filled up with thoughts and fears that are rarely grounded in reality," Hilgers explained. "Being a passive recipient in life may feel safe but it is rarely satisfying. Most passive people I know sit around beating themselves up."
Whether you get a yes or a no, Hilgers says, once you make the first move, you at least have actual data with which to proceed.
He might be shy
It’s not always obvious, but according to dating coach Rami Nuseir, who runs Gutsy Geek, men are just as afraid of rejection as women. "He might be terrified of coming over and saying hello, because he’s worried that other people might ridicule him, or worse, he might fail to impress and you’d reject him," Nuseir explains. "If the man you want is an introvert, he will never in a million years come over and introduce himself."
Spira adds, "Give the guy a hand if you’d like to go out on a date with him. He will be flattered."
He might not know you’re into him
No matter how good of a flirt you think you are, some guys just aren’t skilled at picking up those subtle, nonverbal hints. "Men are often clueless at reading the signs that a woman is interested," Nuseir noted. "For instance, if you see an attractive man at the bar, and you want him to come and talk to you, you might be subtle and flick your hair, or point your legs in his direction. He will never notice that." By approaching a man, Nuseir explains, you’re taking charge and ensuring that you’re directly in the headlights of the one you want.
You’ll beat out the competition
No one ever got ahead by sitting on the sidelines. With so much distraction out there in the dating world, being direct can often work in your favor, especially when it comes to catching the attention of someone you’re interested in. "Think about this," Nuseir tells us. "A man sees a blonde and a brunette at the bar. The brunette comes over to him and asks him out on a date. Even though he might prefer blondes, he will go with the path of least resistance, which means he’ll probably say yes to the brunette and go on a date with her."
You’ll feel empowered
"When you ask him out first, this is a sign of courage on your part," said Dr. Gary Brown, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles who has been coaching singles on dating for over 25 years.
Acting courageously boosts your self-confidence big-time, and that alone will get you noticed. "Asking a guy out is completely sexy," said Spira. "If you feel sexy about yourself, that will be noticed by the guy you’ve got a crush on."
It will put you in control of your dating life
While it’s impossible to control the outcome of anything in life, being more proactive, especially when it comes to dating, definitely has its benefits.
"With the millions of people on dating sites and mobile apps, finding someone to date is like finding a needle in a digital haystack," Spira said. "To not get lost in the shuffle, a woman needs to take control of her love life and approach a man first. If he’s been writing emails or asking women out and hasn’t gotten a response, asking him out will boost his ego and and he might feel like he won the love lottery."
You’ll help change dating stigmas
Anything boys can do … well, you know how the saying goes. With today’s women shattering stereotypes in every category, from athletics to careers, why not add dating to the list?
"Generally, I would say women need to move from a passive participation in dating to a more active participation," Mark E. Sharp, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and author of the book, Not Lonely at the Top: A Relationship Guide for the Courageous, Successful Single Who Hasn’t Found the Love They Want, told me. "Being willing to ask a guy out is a simple step in that direction."
Dr. Sharp also said that we’re in need of a new model of dating to reflect today’s society, where people are making conscious decisions about what they want in life and who they want to create a relationship with. "I often say that it is not important whether someone else likes you until you have determined whether you like them," Dr. Sharp said. "If you know you like someone, or find them interesting and want to find out more, take the responsibility of making it happen by initiating the date."