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Among the misconceptions perpetrated about men and what they think, the biggest is this: “If he really liked me he would come over and talk to me.” No, he wouldn’t. I have coached over ten thousand guys, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that when it comes to striking up a conversation, whether a guy likes you is absolutely irrelevant.
He could be standing right next to you, thinking you’re a goddess and the girl of his dreams, and he might not do a thing about it. In fact, the more attracted to you a guy is, the less likely he is to approach you. Why? Because it’s easier for him to talk to a woman he doesn’t like.
Talking to the girl who makes him melt inside is hard as hell. Those who subscribe to the hard-to-get school of courtship contend that a woman should always wait for a guy to approach her, because then, and only then, can she tell whether a guy is actually into her or not.
I’m here to break the news: there isn’t an ounce of truth in this. Blame TV, blame the movies, but there’s an enormous fallacy that men approach women on a regular basis. It is a mistaken belief that men are the ones who initiate contact, that a girl simply has to show up, and the guys who are drawn to her will behave like bees around a flower.
If your experience bears this out—that men don’t approach you regularly—you’re probably convinced that this means you’re not attractive to men. The reality is that most men are not used to approaching women they’re drawn to. Whether he’s a Calvin Klein underwear model or the most average-looking guy on the street, most men do not approach women on a regular basis.
I know dozens of guys who are good-looking and charming, smart and accomplished, or warm and funny, who never approach women when they go out. That is, of course, unless they are plied with alcohol or the woman in question is their best friend’s friend. This is not to say that no men ever approach women. But most of those who do tend to approach a lot of women. Hitting on women is their go-to social move.
I don’t have a national polling organization on my payroll, but I’d wager that these outgoing, hey-babe-buy-you-a-drink? guys make up 1 percent of the population. Chances are, if a guy sidles up to you at a party and is laying it on heavy, he is a guy you may want to avoid. While this is happening, all around you are a bunch of worthy, intriguing guys who are not in the habit of speaking to women they don’t know.
Even if these guys somehow believe it’s their social, chivalric duty to do the approaching, they’re just not very good at it. Unless they get some help or buy a book like this one, they’re even less accomplished at it than you are. The scene is familiar. It’s your friend’s birthday party. Or maybe she’s not really a friend, she’s just sort of someone you know.
You’re surprised she invited you, but a few of your friends convinced you to go. Now you’re at the party, the friends who dragged you here have wandered off, and you’re clutching a drink. You spot a cute guy at the other side of the room.
You think he’s looking over at you. Wouldn’t it be really great if he came over for a chat? He looks over. He just smiled. You notice that he looks even cuter when he smiles. You smile back. Why doesn’t he just come over?
It’s okay, you think. Someone will probably introduce you both later. He probably knows one of your friends. Or maybe the host will introduce you. You carry on with your night, catching up with the few people you know in the room. He smiles again. Then he takes his drink and starts to move off. He gives you a lingering look before joining a group of his friends.
Maybe you feel a familiar sense of frustration. Why didn’t he come over and say hello? What Freaks Guys Out About Approaching a Woman Try putting yourself in the shoes of a guy for a second. Suppose he spots you from the other side of the room, and he’s decided he likes what he sees.
He now has a decision to make: Should he walk across the room and strike up a conversation with you or not? And if not, why not? What’s he got to worry about? He’s worried about looking bad in front of his friends Looking like an idiot in front of his friends means far more to a guy than a girl can ever imagine.
What if he strolls over to you and you shoot him down, or give him the blank look of death? What if he thinks your boyfriend is about to return from the bar with a handsome martini? He’ll be left to do one thing: walk s-l-o-w-l-y back to his friends, who will rib him and laugh at him, thereby lowering his self-esteem and guaranteeing that he never initiates another conversation with a female for as long as he lives.
These fears are so primal and embedded in the male psyche that even if you give him signals to approach you, he may still misread them. To fail with the opposite sex is a huge blow to the male ego, bigger than any woman can ever imagine. This fear of humiliation is what fuels the male impulse to fabricate fantasy hookups, and why guys who never get laid still brag to their friends that they do. It’s why younger men have bragging competitions about the women they have slept with, or the hot model who gave them her phone number, or the number of dates they’ve been on in the last week.
It’s the desire for sexual validation that explains male posturing, posing, and the kind of one-upmanship that dominates so much masculine behavior. Ever notice how male bonding tends to be centered around putting each other down and making each other look stupid?
Friendships between men are still often built on fighting for status. What’s more, a man fights hardest for social status among his own peers. The men whose opinions he cares the most about are not all the strangers in the bar, but his friends. It’s within his own group he has to fight for dominance, which is why any public humiliation, particularly humiliation from women, is so painful.
He’s terrified of what you and your friends are going to say The risk of rejection by you, and the ridicule he imagines he’ll then suffer at the hands of your friends, is excruciating—so much so that he would rather hang back and at least cling to the belief that he could approach you, if he so desired, than risk the prospect of rejection.
If you see him talking to other women, chances are it’s because he feels he has absolutely nothing to lose. When it comes to your average man, it’s precisely the woman who drives him crazy who seems the most terrifying to him. He feels unworthy of her. He feels that she has her pick of any guy in the place.
Also, his status as a man is on the line, so if he approaches her and gets shot down, he’s going to feel that sting of rejection that we all instinctively try to avoid. In this way, men and women aren’t that different. You probably feel just as nervous around a guy you think is hot as a guy does around a woman to whom he’s attracted.
Think how much easier it is to flirt and act sexy with a guy you’re not interested in: it’s the same for us. Why is this? Icould ask you to approach a stranger and ask him for the time, and you wouldn’t feel nervous. You might feel a little awkward at first, but you wouldn’t feel any actual pressure.
Even if I asked you to approach the most attractive person in the room to ask where the restroom was located, it might not be that intimidating. What’s the crucial distinction between approaching someone for directions and approaching a potential love interest for conversation? It’s all in your intent. Our intentions are responsible for making us nervous. When we approach someone to ask for the time, we have no ulterior motive.
We are seeking information, plain and simple. It’s straightforward. It’s not about who we ask, not about any person in particular. But the instant you think, “I’m approaching him because I would like to get his phone number, which I hope will lead to a date,” you seize up, because there’s always the possibility he’ll reject you. It’s your intent that creates pressure on a simple social interaction.
Your intent fuels feelings of nervousness and anxiety. Because your intent exposes your most vulnerable hopes and desires—he’s hot! I want him to like-maybe-love me!—you fall into the mindset that you’ll either be Accepted or Rejected. The stakes are suddenly high. This is now serious business. You worry (even obsess) about the way he is going to react to you. Why?
Because now you’re desperate for his approval. It’s not unlike the nervousness we experience in a job interview. When we’re sitting around with our friends it’s easy to talk about our qualities and what makes us an ideal candidate, but when we’re sitting across from the person who has it in their power to hire us, we’re ill at ease, because we’re attached to the outcome.
The very moment you’re invested in a guy’s approval is the same moment all of those traits that make you a vibrant, spontaneous, intriguing, sexually attractive woman mysteriously vanish. The Conundrum I’m sure you’re ahead of me here. If guys won’t make the first move, and if you, as a high-value woman, aren’t about to chase after them, how does anyone ever meet anyone?
Furthermore, men like to feel as if they’ve done something special to earn your attraction; the more you seem to be “chasing” a guy, the less interested he is. No matter how far we’ve come socially, a stubborn prevailing idea persists of how boy meets girl: that it is the man’s role to be the pursuer and the women’s job to either accept or reject him.
My friend Jenny was completely fed up. We were meeting in a coffee shop, but she was in no mood for small talk. “All the guys who approach me are just complete idiots who Ihave no interest in. All the guys Iapproach won’t give me the time of day.
There’s just no one out there—it’s hopeless.” “So, what now?” Iasked. “Do you think there are any men in the world who would live up to your standards?” “There must be. Ijust don’t know how to meet them.” Jenny was stuck. She had specific ideas about how meeting a guy should be: “I don’t want to look desperate. It’s the guy’s job to do the work. I’m not going to go around like some predatory woman trying to track down men. It’s not feminine.”
Jenny’s concerns are legitimate. No woman wants to look desperate or feel as if she’s doing all the work. No woman wants to feel as if she had to track down Prince Charming like a lioness hunting her prey. We’re still living in an era when dating advice generally holds that it’s a woman’s obligation to be chased, that her role in the courtship process is to wait for a man to approach, since anything else will only make her appear desperate and needy. Let’s dispense with this false wisdom right now.
We’ve already talked about the pitfalls of waiting. Now it’s time to talk about the creating part, and how you can do this without compromising your sense of being of high value.
~ Matthew Hussey
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