A couple of days ago, we launched into conversation about the popular question: to tell or not to tell. Do you let the gent know of your affections, or allow him to initiate? Our lady - and male! - readers lost no time in letting us know what they think!
Jo chimed in:
The best thing about when I met my husband was that for both of us it was pretty obvious straight away that we liked each other! But it is hard to find the right balance between giving a guy you like encouragement to go for it and actively pursuing someone who might just not be as interested as you are. All in all, I think it’s about having the confidence in yourself to know that you are worth him asking you out (or whatever equivalent) and giving him a confidence boost so he can take the lead if he really likes you enough. If he’s the right guy, and he does like you back, he’s not going to be annoyed about getting some encouragement!
Sean piped in with a male perspective:
This question hinges on whether or not a woman also wants to mother a boy into manhood. While that job is typically reserved for, well, mothers (and rightfully so, a tough process that can rightfully be called a “saint-maker”), the young women of my generation seem to willingly take on this heavy burden.
The real question is: are you looking for a boy or a man? And no I am not talking about physical appearance, but mental, emotional and spiritual maturity. The term my sister uses for the guy who looks like a man but for all intents and purposes is a boy is “man-boy.” So, if you want a man-boy on your arm and you want to help usher him into manhood then I think its fair to give him the go-ahead toward asking you out. But here’s the thing. We already have this little thing called flirtation that should be the go-ahead (yeah, sure, males deal in the literal, but we enjoy the mystery laden banter that is flirtation, too). It is very unlikely that a male will ask you out if he doesn’t feel any chemistry between the two of you, but if he does and he doesn’t ask you out for fear of being told “no,” well I think you are better off without him.
There have been abuses of flirtation like the use of flirtation to decipher whether or not a girl or guy would go home with you that evening–this is not the type of flirtation I am talking about. I mean to say flirtation that dignifies a woman and gives the man a sense of confidence. Both elements are necessary and are an equation for success. And if you are dealing with a real man that is interested it will be enough to give the proverbial green light.
Its possible you will do a great job striking that harmonious balance and the guy still doesn’t ask you out. Well, he is either a) not interested or b) a man-boy (typically very flirtatious guys that don’t go deeper than this coquettish form of conversation). If you encounter yourself with b) then you should feel it out for a few days maybe even a few social gatherings at which you see him, but if he texts you or calls you and doesn’t attempt to take you out, well this is when you let him know that you are a woman and not a girl–I’ll leave suggestions for how that conversation goes up to Verily.
Alison from Experimental Wifery concurred:
I spent a lot of time on the Art of Manliness forum a few months ago researching “How to Let a Man Know You’re Interested without Giving Him the Wrong Idea.” The men unequivocally (and loudly!) agreed that they need women to express their interest in some way, even if it wasn’t directly. This was my favorite quote: “When there is the social expectation that the guy take all the ‘formal’ first steps, it’s really, really helpful for the guy to be thinking, ‘All right. Yes, it’s scary to put myself out there, but I mean she’s been smiling at me for a month and gave me big hugs the last two weeks at church, and her friend mentioned that she’s single, and she even said last week that she’d like to try that new hiking trail but wasn’t sure who to go with…’”
Jacqueline challenged women to raise their expectations:
Letting a man know that you are interested first is essentially labeling yourself as “low-hanging fruit.” If he were interested enough in you, he would make that known. If he were interested but too cowardly to risk rejection and needs validation to pursue you, he’s probably not type of man you’d want. If he isn’t interested ENOUGH in you to risk rejection, then again, he’s not the type of man you want. And finally, if he pursues you not because he is interested but simply because he knows that you are, again, (say it with me, ladies) this is not the type of man you’d want. I don’t believe in playing games, but making things easy for men by expressing an interest first is essentially saying that you are not worth the minimal cost of him deciding you were worth the risk/effort to pursue. It further devolves male behavior when we can’t expect them to act like men and feel we must take charge. My sister once asked me my opinion of a man she met and added, “He had the guts to come up to me and talk to me first. That’s gotta be worth something, right?” Our expectations are so low that we praise men for anything these days. If we raised our expectations rather than lower ourselves, perhaps men would step up!
But Grace from Camp Patton offered a different perspective:
I THINK my husband would say — heck yes!! Don’t make him play a long game of CLUE before deciding to ask you out or not!
Thanks for all the great feedback, readers! Let's keep this conversation going and continue learning how to thrive in relationships.