What Do Men REALLY Think About Women Making The First Move?

This is article #19 to be published on the Get The Guy blog from Stephen Hussey. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

This week’s article calls out your excuses. It’s a fun (yet powerful) piece from which you’ll actually enjoy having your excuses picked apart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


(Photo: Mik Salac)

Enter Stephen

For the past three years I’ve been studying a lot of academic philosophy.

One great thing serious training in philosophy gives you is an eye for a bad argument when you come across one.

Here is one my favourite examples of a VERY BAD argument:

Premise 1: Every man feels it is his job to approach a woman for whom he feels attraction.

Premise 2: The idea that ‘men ought to approach women’ is a strong idea held by most of mainstream society.

Conclusion: Men do not like the idea of women approaching them, and CANNOT be attracted to women who take the initiative to approach.

Can you see why this is such bad logic?

The conclusion does not follow at all from either Premise 1 or Premise 2, yet these are two of the most common reasons that make women averse to the idea of ever starting a conversation with a man.

It’s the argument that never seems to go away, despite it being so logically flawed.

It seems that no matter how far gender parity has progressed, many of us still believe that there is some sacred, inalienable truth that a man’s job is to approach, and a woman’s job is to passively await her turn to be chosen, and cannot take initiative in getting a guy’s attention.

Now I want to finally expose this idea for the empty, limited, old-fashioned, stifling, ridiculous argument it really is.

Four Stupid Reasons Women Are Told They Can’t Approach Guys

How many times have you heard dating advice tell you: “It’s his job to pursue you. A woman must never make the first move”.

Notice how in this quote the second sentence doesn’t follow from the first. Even the first part was right, that it is a guy’s job to pursue a woman, would it follow from this that a woman can never make the initial approach? No! Because just starting a conversation does not automatically make you the pursuer.

Starting the conversation is a tiny, tiny part of an interaction, and is generally the most meaningless part. It’s the opener. Put it this way: do you remember the first words you spoke to your best friends when you met them? Did that first sentence define your entire future relationship dynamic? No? Of course it didn’t. Because the first lines are only the initial 1% of the interaction. And it’s the same when you speak to guys. It’s the 99% after that first line that really determines whether or not a guy is attracted to you.

But this all still might be unconvincing.

You might agree that the first line of conversation doesn’t really matter, but still think it’s a guys job to come up to you and spout that first line, however inept and bad a job he does of it.

In my experience, most women either feel either (a) it is just not their job to approach a man, or (b) they would potentially approach a man, but worry that it will kill their desirability, because it seems desperate and needy.

Let’s briefly survey (and destroy) these and some of the other arguments that arise when people explain why women can’t approach men:

1. Argument From Tradition:

Men have always approached women. That’s the way it always was. Go back to any time in history, from the Middle Ages to the 1950’s, and you see the same ideal: The man’s job is to approach and pursue a woman, and hope she chooses him.

Why is this a bad argument?

Tradition alone can’t justify anything. Go back to the Middle Ages and you’ll also see rampant sexism and women who had no political or economic power, yet the fact that these are ‘traditional beliefs’ can’t convince us that these were good things.

Moreover, if you know your Victorian history (and this is something we mention in the Get The Guy book), you’ll also be aware that it’s a myth that women never used to make the first move. In the Victorian-era women would be known drop their handkerchief in the street in order to get a male suitor to pick it up and bring it to her, thus starting a conversation. So women have been making the first move for a lot longer than people believe, even if they used to have to make that move in more subtle ways (in the book Matt talks about some of the ways women can make the move before they even start a conversation).

2. Argument From ‘Naturalness’:

Men are hunters and need to feel masculine. Approaching a woman makes a man feel masculine.

Why is this a bad argument?

Approaching does not make a man feel masculine. Being desirable to a woman makes a man feel masculine. Even if being able to approach a woman did boost a guys masculinity, there are a dozen other ways a man can be made to feel masculine, so it’s pretty much irrelevant who approaches.

When people make the Argument from Naturalness they tend to mean something like: Men like to pursue and earn a woman’s attention.

But in truth, a guy doesn’t mind if he gets the initial attention from the woman. As long as he feels like he pursued and earnt her attraction. See, it’s true on some level that men like to feel like they have done something to impress you, but there’s no reason this has to be on the initial approach.

So even if men do need to ‘hunt’ in the way this argument says, this doesn’t mean they need to do it by starting the conversation. Even if you give a guy a flash of initial attention, you can now make it his job to try and keep your attention. This is what really makes him desire you and feel like you’re a prize.

Most guys, no matter how good-looking, live under constant pressure and fear of approaching women. When they have a woman relieve that tension by speaking to them, it’s refreshing. It feels good and boosts his confidence. He becomes more alive and talkative and will suddenly snap into action and start wanting to keep her around.

Bottom Line: Guys can actually feel like more of a man if you approach. As long as you show that he still has to impress you.

3. Argument From Weirdness:

It just feels weird to approach a man, it feels unusual and un-lady like to go and try to pick a guy up.

Why is this a bad argument?

I’m not recommending you go around like a predator trying to ‘pick a guy up’ (unless you have no problem with that, in which case, go nuts).

Perhaps it’s the use of the word ‘approach’ that makes this seem like a bigger deal than it is. Really, by ‘approaching’, we just mean starting a conversation. It’s easy, fun, and something you can do anytime, anywhere.

If this idea feels insane to you, just start as small as possible. Make more eye contact (an incredibly effective tool not enough women make advantage of), or just say “how’s your night going?”, or just talk to the guy next to you and ask him something about the place you’re in (party, bar, park, museum). If a guy is eating lunch ask him what’s good on the menu – speak to waiters, coffee shop owners, people at work, security guards. These things seem tiny and silly, but this is what women who meet lots of guys are able to do effortlessly every single day. This isn’t one big action, it’s lots of tiny interactions. The best strategy to get comfortable with this is to go for quantity over quality every time and ‘warm-up’ your social muscles.

This means (a) talk to LOTS of people. Become an unbelievably sociable and open person no matter where you are, and (b) Don’t try to be too clever/witty/charming – just focus on having lots of conversations.

It gets less weird. Promise.

4. Argument From ‘What Most Women Do’:

This argument says ‘most girls don’t approach men, so I’m not going to either’.

Why is this a bad argument?

The love lives and opportunities and ‘most women’ are confined to either meeting some guy in their office or hoping someone in their social circle introduces them to a friend, or perennially waiting for a charmingly awkward rom-com meet-cute (probably involving someone falling off a bicycle). This is an embarrassingly limited pool from which to choose.

A good general rule in life is to avoid modelling the ordinary. We need to be the exception to the rule if we want exceptional things to happen.

Unfortunately, some women will always have an anecdote about a friend who got approached by a guy on her first day of college, married that guy, and lived happily ever after. But this is only one anecdote. It’s one person getting lucky. And that’s fine. Any of us can get lucky. But isn’t it better to have a strategy you know will work?

I feel I can never write enough about the importance of meeting people and starting conversations. Because everyone under-appreciates how much it can change their entire world.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s keep it as small as possible.

What if you spoke to three new people this week?

I propose that we all set ourselves this challenge and post some of our stories below. Good, Bad, or Weird, tell me what happened when you took things into your hands and made a move.

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66 Responses to What Do Men REALLY Think About Women Making The First Move?

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  1. Jean says:

    I need some advice on this! I am realllllllly attracted to a coworker of mine. And I thought he was attracted to me as well. So, I wrote “if you want to fuck….” then, put my number down on a peice of paper and gave it to him. Which is pretty forward! But, hey! I didn’t want to ask him on a date…when all I’m interested in is sex. I caught him staring later in the day and smiling. He didn’t come up to me, nor I him. It’s been 2 days and he still hasn’t called…..was it too much? And how do I save face if he doesn’t call at all??

  2. Lisa says:

    My comment has nothing to do with getting a guy … the funny thing is, that was my goal, but something entirely different happened.

    I purchased Matthews how to get the guy program a few days ago, and decided to go out, on my own, to a local wine bar and try one of the lines he recommended that I found to be extremely provocative. Shortly after arriving at the location, two women in their mid-twenties with sleeves of tattoos and brightly colored hair – one magenta, the other blue, entered the bar and took seats a few stools away from me. My immediate thought was they couldn’t be any more different from me (Me being a 53 year old woman with no tattoos or even an interesting haircut) and that I had zero in common with them. The whole energy in the bar changed as they chatted up the bartender who they obviously knew, and eventually drew every person that worked there to them. I stepped outside my comfort zone, and engaged them in conversation … we ended up having a delightful dialogue that lasted almost an hour, during that time I shared a picture of a guy I was chatting with on a dating website. One of the girls, as it turns out, was a hairdresser in the area … she was so enamored with our conversation and with my story, that she offered me a free blow out for my first date with this guy!

    Although I did not see or meet anyone that I could use the line that I’d gleaned from Matthew’s program, it was a grwat time and unexpected surprise to meet someone who had the desire to help a complete stranger get a guy … not to mention that I may develop a great friendship from this chance meeting – all due to me stepping outside my comfort zone, and doing something otherwise would never have done.

    Thank you Matthew!

  3. me says:

    It’s difficult for me NOT to pursue a guy I like. I’m too aggressive and I definitely am the opposite of most women. I approached all my exes first. I can’t think of a time when I liked someone and didn’t approach them. I hate wondering “what if”, so I don’t let that moment go. It’s weird to me that women don’t approach men. I just could never be that girl, it’s weird and unnatural for me not to approach a guy I like.

  4. Amy says:

    I tried this recently!
    I’ve been noticing a guy at work and he’s aware of me too. Nothing more than a couple of glances over though.
    I took the chance and went upto him and said.. ‘I’ve been meaning to say hello to you for ages now’
    He introduced himself and held out his hand, which I shook and introduced myself too.
    I then wished him a good day and said I look forward to seeing him around (I was in a rush to be elsewhere!)
    I don’t even know where I got the confidence from!

  5. John says:

    I’m a guy, and I used to think I’d like it if women approached me. Until it started happening all the time. I don’t like it at all, because it makes me feel like I’m responsible for hurting her feelings. So please don’t approach me. Even wearing headphones and sunglasses doesn’t help. When I’m out running errands I just want to be left alone.

  6. Chrissieb says:

    I did it! I struck up a conversation with a cutie I’ve noticed on the bus to work each morning. It has been months of him looking at me and me looking at him, and a smile here and there, but zero conversation. When we would wait for the light to change, he would be off like a racehorse across the street while I would linger back and hope he would start a little chatter.

    This morning he caught me totally by surprise by sitting next to me on the bus. Still, no attempt at chatting. When we got off the bus, I turned to him and said “I know I’m late for work when I see you on the bus”. He thought it was funny and we shared a laugh. In the span of 10 minutes he told me where he works, give me his hand and told me his name, asked where I worked, if I always take this particular bus and what his work hours are.

    I’m not used to doing that, especially since I know I’m a little bit older than him. I don’t want to come off as some cliché cougar story. I was modest and friendly and I think it’s a step in the right direction. I’m hoping I’m not misreading him, but I think he is interested and maybe this will encourage him to chat me up again and maybe ask me out for a date. Thanks Matthew! xo
    Chrissie

  7. Maz says:

    Desperate to break the pattern of random crushes and after reading above decided to make a start on this. This week went to a long standing male friend’s birthday in a pub. Expecting it to be just him and me, saw a large group of people & initially just didn’t feel like speaking to anyone. Remembering the challenge, mentioned it to some people in the group & this lady immediately introduced herself and her 2 male friends. Turned out to be a good icebreaker, as she also said liked setting challenges for herself as well.

    My long standing male friend also gave me a friendly hug (which was initiated by me) & said I was rather cuddly. This was a revelation to me as I thought I wasn’t. There’s nothing in it as he tends to hug people a lot anyway.

    Doing these small things made me realize this was more satisfying than just dreaming about about pointless out of reach crushes. I’ve never liked initiating conversations or showing/receiving affection to someone who wasn’t a boyfriend (for fear of being rejected, etc).Don’t expect it will be easy each time but the rewards are more tangible. I just have to keep practising. I wouldn’t have done this had I not read the above. Was just the kick start I needed. So a big thank you for this article.

  8. Carmen-Lee says:

    Ive meet someone in person back in January and it was electric first meet to holding hands and wanting to kiss his lips ans he said what do we do about this feeling?? I took his ph and typed my no and name in his ph.
    Its almost (will b 3mths) since we saw one another when he comes to visit me again. Is this along time to wait. ? Hes the only thing on my mind forst thing in the morning and when I go to sleep.
    My.issue is I’m impatient when he doesn’t comtact me. Amd yet I. Want to hear from him straight back not days at a time. I dont want to keep him away. What do I do. Do I wait for him to contact me.

  9. Janet says:

    Hello Hussey Brothers,

    What are the chances of this scenario happening. Let’s say there is a woman “A” who starts a conversation with a guy using your suggestions resulting in the guy thinking “this chick must like me”. This gives the guy an ego boost giving him the confidence to ask some other woman out who wasn’t “bold” in making the first move. Therefore, he rejects woman “A” because he thinks she is too needy/pushy even though her starting the conversation gave him a boost of confidence. Am I overthinking this?

    Thanks,
    Janet

  10. Paula says:

    Hello again
    Posted and read this last year. I recently shared this with a facebook group for women following the rules and they all think this is wrong. What do you think of this? Some even say men will like you more because you ignore them. Thats what they are attracted to. And if a woman does approach them they won’t value her the same way if he pursued her

    • Pixie says:

      If a woman was telling me men don’t like somenthing and a man was saying men do like it I’d go with the man. Being a man he would usually have a better grasp on what he likes. Just like a woman is the best person to talk to on what she like. We can all see action and the outcome, but we don’t always see the emotion behind them and just becauae it is effwctive doesn’t mean it is liked.Many people have been manipulated into doing rhings. while they didn’t mind the task they didn’t like the way they came about doing the task, but you would know it it from the results.

  11. Maria says:

    Awesome information Stephen, thank you so much. I’m a newbie follower, just started in June 2014 and so sorry I missed Matthew on tour. Hopefully another tour is in the works. I’m reading the book 59 seconds (Matthew had mentioned this book in one of his videos). I’m really enjoying the book.

    I find it very easy to talk to people; some respond, and if some don’t I just move on.

    I have some stories of how I started conversations with strangers. It’s easier for me to talk to strangers at events like concerts or hockey games because right off you have a common interest.

    One time I was going to this hockey player fan autograph signing and, I swear this is the truth, just as I was about to get in line, a bird dropping fell inches from me so I asked the guy behind me if I had poo on my back and we started talking (btw we were in line for 3 hours). I got to know him and he was not single but we had good conversation. But you know, he said to me “you seem really cool”. It wasn’t creepy, no intention, it was like “it was nice talking to you” compliment.

    Ok, this may seem weird but going to a movie alone can also help strike conversations; matinees are better for solo movie going..LOL. When I went to see a matinee of Inception, after the movie I was so confused. There was this guy a few rows down alone too and I just said excuse me, that ending, I didn’t get it and we proceeded to have this conversation about it – just two people trying to decipher if it was a dream or real and talking about time travel. (BTW I’m still not sure about the ending.)

    Traveling solo is a great way to meet people and practice conversation skills. And for women out there who are scared, I was at first too, but it literally is a crash course in practicing conversation skills with hotel staff, shuttle drivers, other vacationers etc. Funny enough, some men I meet they think I’m crazy traveling alone and the women I meet think I’m brave. Maybe men see a vulnerability or safety issue with it for women. Stephen do men think it’s weird when a woman is traveling alone?

    And my last story, I was in Starbucks a couple of days ago and this girl was mopping up the floor and cleaning and restocking. She was doing such a good job and I went to her and said ~ it’s really nice and clean in here, you are a hard worker, you are doing a great job. She said it’s hard sometimes because we are so busy all the time. We smiled at each other and she said thank you so much.

    So there you go guys, some of my experiences. You know, I always keep in mind there’s a difference for me between being alone and lonely and in order to just keep growing, I like what Matthew said, keep having moments. Right now, for me, I have to get over this mentality I have: “why would he be interested in me”, not tall enough, not pretty enough etc. Matthew has talked about this. I’m working on it. Looking back I think I’ve had interest from guys but my poor mentality has blocked my evolution.

    Looking forward to more videos and blogs Team Hussey.

  12. Amy says:

    I have been talking to guys more on average since reading your book, Get the Guy. Sometimes I still feel overly awkward, but one success was when a friend and I were walking our dogs one day, we met a guy with his dog and we stopped and talked for a little while. I actually asked for his and gave him my name and my friend’s. I don’t think I would have bothered with an introduction before. Now tonight I just saw him for the third time and it felt like a really nice interaction that went long enough to exchange a couple of vacation stories and ended with “I hope to see you again.” I wonder if I tell him that I’m condo shopping next time if he’ll ask for my number, but I’m also dreaming up ways to say something like, “we should… go for a hike sometime” for example. I also found out he has kids and goes on vacation with his ex which might make things complicated, but the whole thing has renewed my hope and increased my ability to talk to guys in general. Thanks Hussey brothers!

  13. travel_bug says:

    Hey Hussey brothers,
    What do guys think about dating a girl that may be an inch or two taller than them?? I am 5’6, and I feel self conscious about it because I am not sure if he is.

    • Sachie says:

      Hey I don’t think this is a problem, and according to the book “get the guy”, looks are just a small percentage of what makes a guy attracted, there are other things like your personality, your playfulness, confidence and btw you create attraction by the way you move, talk etc.. So keep it up guulr ;)

  14. sara says:

    I started a conversation with a guy i knew a few days a go via text message. he texted back and seemed very interested and then he just stopped texting. should i text/ call him? or just wait and see if he ever calls??

  15. Jacqueline says:

    I meant to write ‘after my marriage ended.’

  16. Jacqueline says:

    Forty years ago before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth or there even was Earth, when I was 17 years old and at my prom, I introduced myself to a handsome man. (Yes, it was rude and impolite since I was with someone else; as was he) That was the beginning of introducing myself to men. I don’t know where it came from, but I’ve never regretted it. I resumed it in my 40’s after my marriage. In my 20’s and early 30’s; I had men swooning over me and I was arrogant and cavalier. My method, I walk up to the man and am DIRECT and to the point. I never feel rejected because I ask them if they are single and available or married. That’s their ‘out’ and I’ll never know so I don’t feel rejected. And relationships developed from my introducing myself. Fast forward to today; and I now want to introduce myself more elegantly like Matthew’s suggestions or casual like Kathryn on May 22nd posted on here. Please know at 57 years of age; it is quite a challenge to find a fit, healthy, vibrant and passionate about life man like myself. And please can I add to that a sprinkle of necessary chemical ‘spark?’ I talk to anyone about anything; not even aware of striking up a conversation. Most of you may be much younger than me. I encourage all of you to smile, give a flirty look, do something!!! Please don’t let opportunity slip by because of your fear. You may never see him again; so per Stephen…MAKE THAT FIRST MOVE. Stephen, I asked Matthew at the seminar how to meet men my age and under the pressure of time; he genuinely and kindly took time and recommended ‘friends of friends, boxing and rock climbing.’ I’m beginning a rock climbing class. With the World Cup coming up, I plan to go to a very classy British bar in Philadelphia. (I’m not a bar person.) I hope to create a HUB of friends there because they may have fathers, Uncles, Cousins or someone else they know. Can you please recommend any other ways to meet men my age? Thank you so kindly!!!

  17. M says:

    “Approaching”/casually chatting to guys has never been my problem – I’m good at making friends with guys. But I’ve never been in a relationship – I haven’t found anyone I like enough (and likes my back) yet.

    It would be nice to be approached though – I have only been ‘approached’ once, and the following events ensued:

    I’m eating dinner alone one day in a dining hall at uni (in the furthest away corner, I might add). A guy walks up and sits opposite me.

    “Hi there.”

    I stare and reply, “Hi?”

    He stares back for a bit before saying, “You eat like my great-aunt.”

    Not quite sure I heard correctly, I reply, “Pardon?”

    He says, after a few seconds, “Don’t worry, it was nice to meet you.”

    And he gets up and walks away.

    END.

    Definitely one of the strangest things that has happened to me at dinner.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      That’s very odd!

      With regard to only being good at making friends, check out our section of the Get the Guy book titled “How to Get out of the Friend Zone” if this is something that happens often. Also Matt has some Youtube videos on that subject.

      Thanks M!

      Stephen

  18. Daria says:

    Every single time I started talking to the guy I liked ended in a complete and utter disaster. They were never really interested in pursuing any kind of a relationship with me, they didn’t even want to get to know me, no matter how many signals they sent in my way. It have never ever worked out with anybody. I never had a boyfriend yet and I’m in early twenties. One guy who was once interested in me, but I wasn’t attracted to him at all, made it very clear that he liked me: he was calling and texting me very often trying to meet with me. And it lasted for quite a long time. I think it’s a waste of time to try to approach men – if they are genuinely interested and ready to start something then they will come to you and talk. I like your articles Stephen, but this one applies to a small percentage of men out there.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hi Daria,

      I have to disagree – I think there are a HUGE number of men who would be receptive to women starting conversations, many more than is generally assumed. The problem is that many women seem to associate starting a conversation with somehow pursuing a guy aggressively, which is a fallacious connection. To me, I have approached women many times and have also had women approach me. I have even had a woman approach and ask me out on a date – whom I ended up being very into and going on several more dates with. That woman I would have never met if she didn’t approach me .

      It honestly makes no difference who approaches if I happen to be attracted to them and find the person engaging and intelligent. It’s not a perfect science and we can’t get it right every time, but the women I know who have very active love lives are also the kind of women who tend to start conversations wherever they go and are highly sociable. If nothing else, I think it’s worth being sociable and starting conversations because it makes life more fun and can lead you to meet incredible people you would have never met otherwise.

      Thanks, and all the best.

      Stephen x

    • Jacqueline says:

      Daria, I was at Whole Foods Supermarket and this gorgeous man in his 30’s was leaning over me to get produce. I turned around to see who was leaning over me and there was he was. 30’s and handsome. I started talking with him. I told him he must have women swarming after him because he’s gorgeous. (This was a few months ago when I was 56 years old.) He looked sad and said he doesn’t. I spoke with him a bit more because I was in disbelief. Here was a gorgeous, pleasant, fit man who eats healthy and completely available to date. It doesn’t get better than that. What a perfect opportunity to ‘make a first move’ and set up a meeting.

  19. Kathryn says:

    What a very strange world we would live in if the guy I recently stood next to in the sandwich bar, having banter about how it’s nicer in the hot weather to go for a salad, a refreshing change, instead of the doughy bread, of which I was laughing at how many salad items and sauce he was adding! We hadn’t even got onto the drinks, possibilities were endless. As we were talking I was thinking what a lovely smile, what a small delicate face like mine he had and what a pleasant manner he had. He seemed happy to be chatting while we were waiting for our food. I did not think for a minute we were flirting, I was not coming onto him, I did not feel low class and I wasn’t imaging our wedding and future life together.
    It is completely possible to be friendly and chatty without looking desperate and needy. I do it all the time and have lots of men I smile and wave to now without any romantic or sleazy connotations. As we all seem to live in the same area, it would be quite easy to convert one of these to something more romantic. Since when has starting a conversation been hitting on someone? I wouldn’t want to bother with a man who was so insecure and unkind about a lady having self- confidence and charisma.
    K X
    Lucky are the ladies that bump into you at the sandwich bar Stephen!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      I’m really happy to read this comment Kathryn. It’s so refreshing to see someone just playing and enjoying conversing, and who wants to just make people’s day brighter by being warm and friendly. I feel like being open and kind is so underrated – when someone actually takes that chance it can completely change our entire day. Hope there are many more people out there like you! ;)

      Also: “It is completely possible to be friendly and chatty without looking desperate and needy.” – I couldn’t agree more!

      Stephen x

  20. Nicky says:

    Hi Stephen, thanks for the advice. I am planning on making a subtle move on my crush soon! These tips will definitely help a lot!

  21. Cassandra says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Thank you for your amazing article! I really appreciate all your sound advice and I’m putting it into practice. Please keep up the good work.

  22. Anais says:

    Hi Stephen, I always enjoy reading your articles. While I completely understand there are more ways to make a man feel masculine, I suppose every man is different when it comes to this, as some men even say they don’t like to be approached by women. I have heard more passive men say they want the woman to make the first move in a direct and non-subtle way. But I think some of these men are confused since when a woman does pursue them, they become less interested.

    Furthermore, with all the couples I know of who end up married (not just in a “boyfriend and girlfriend” relationship that lasts a few months/years), it was the man who approached the woman. As you said, I think it works for a woman make the first move in a subtle manner, e.g. making eye contact and smiling, but having to walk up to the guy and start a conversation doesn’t usually start off a relationship that ends up in marriage, which is what most women want ultimately, not just a guy who lasts a few months.

    So my take on it is it’s fine to walk up and start a conversation with him if you aren’t looking for something long lasting. I just look at men and smile warmly to get them to approach me.

  23. rima says:

    Hi Stephen,
    nothing is true at 100 per cent. there is not one absolute truth about the facts you are giving your argument about. a woman can approach a guy who is like most men, doe not see it as feminine (woman approaching guys), so you could have a rejection, or the guy would want to play with you, because his idea about you is all formed and definite in his mind “you are an easy getting woman”. Or, you could fall on a guy who is excited about the idea, and want to know more about you. and there are many other possibilities. Figuring them out is very frustrating, and discouraging. So, the idea (of approaching a guy) is not really attractable for me. It has too much randomness, like love in general.
    I have tried many times to do so, and at every time, I had a rejection (subtle, but anyway it was always rejection). So you could imagine my opinion about this.

  24. kish says:

    Hi Stephen
    I agree with you that there is nothing wrong in starting conversations by women but this works only generally and not for romantic stuff. It is great when women start conversations because it shows you have social skills and are basically a friendly, interesting person who is open to some social interaction. This is great way to make new FRIENDS…but never ever in my life have I been asked out by a guy approached by me (I might get asked out by another guy who joins our conversation later) but when I make the approach the dynamic totally shifts. If guys are nervous about approaching they seem equally nervous about being approached by a girl so “forward” and still don’t know what to say or just barely manage the conversation.
    Here are some reasons why I do not like to approach guys for romantic reasons:
    1) I typically find these kind of men very passive and not the kind of men I am attracted to.
    2) They think they are hot shit and start acting arrogant and hard to get because the girl approached them.
    3) They think you are “hitting on them” and mistake it for sexual interest. I have asked many of my guy friends what they perceive as a woman hitting on them and they all said “if she starts talks to you”. Yes, just this one little thing can give people the wrong idea. This can get very problematic if a girl is actually trying to find a relationship.
    4) No matter what, it does appear desperate and lowers the value of a woman.
    5) Women have the same fears of rejection and it is actually worse for them because of the social conditioning. What is scary for men is also scary for women.
    6) It doesn’t work unless a girl wants to make “friends”.
    7) examples of relationships where the woman approached are anecdotes just like the ones you mentioned. one such example is when a woman asks for “help” or directions. That seems to work magically because men like being the hero.
    8) this never works online. 100% failure rate.

    The only way a woman can safely initiate a romantic interaction is by smilin g, looking, being friendly generally ( to OTHERs mostly) so she appears approachable, looking her best/attractive, being comfortable and alone, preferably.

    • Anais says:

      Hey Kish,

      I wholeheartedly agree with you on all points, especially 3. Men often assume a woman has some level of romantic interest by simply speaking to him, unless she tells him straight up she just wants to be friends.

      • kish says:

        Yes, I know! Sometimes I find it hard to make platonic male friends because they assume I am interested in them romantically and it makes it awkward.

    • April says:

      I met a guy who is super shy didn’t approach me so I had to take the first step and it never ended in a relationship. Sadly, a few months later I saw him at a party and when a very attractive woman walked in, you could see it in his face… He went and talked to her, despite of his shyness he did it… He never approached me that way, again, it was me who made the first move, so I immediately understood that if a guy is not interested he won’t approach you; but if he is, it doesn’t matter how shy and quiet he is, he will make the first move. I’m not saying that happens 100% of the cases but it’s what I’ve experienced.

      • kish says:

        I agree 100% with you April! Approaching guys only works for a very small percentage of men and the dynamics of that kind of relationship is very different (the woman might be the more dominant one) and if that is not what one wants, then it is better to be approached.

        And yes, no matter how shy, awkward, unsure a guy is, he WILL ask you out–shyly awkwardly nervously but he sure will. Of course some men don’t and settle for easier targets but they will pine for the one they couldn’t have. But rarely do they value and cherish women who approach them.

        Another thing I have experienced is when guys hint at me asking them out or tell their friends to get me to ask them out. I cannot tell you how off putting this is. Not only are they not willing to take a risk for me but have the audacity to make me take all the risk and assume that I would actually be interested in them. I cannot stand this kind of passive behavior which is so cowardly.

        What I find really attractive in a man is taking risks, taking the initiative and pursuing–even in the simplest things such as approaching.

      • Anais says:

        Hey April,

        You’re right. From what I’ve experienced, even shy and awkward guys will muster up the courage to go after a woman he really wants. A few years ago I had a situation where a friend insisted a guy she knew liked me. She claimed he was someone who was too shy to pursue so I should be the initiator. I had my doubts but listened to her.

        He just wanted a casual friends with benefits thing with me, said he couldn’t be in a relationship, and ended up getting into a relationship with another girl. It taught me a lot of thing including I’ll never listen to someone else about my love life, always use my judgment/intuition and of course to let a man approach me.

      • Stephen Hussey says:

        Hi April,

        I can tell you it DEFINITELY doesn’t happen in every case. I’ve been a man for a long time, and believe me, when I used to be a shy teenager I WISHED I had the confidence to go and approach the girls I really wanted to and never did. Often these were the most difficult ones to start a conversation with because I tried too hard and built it up in my head, instead of relaxing and having fun. So I can honestly say it’s a myth that even shy guys suddenly manage to summon up confidence when they see an attractive woman. But agreed, that doesn’t have to go for every case.

        Thanks!

        Stephen x

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hi Kish,

      These are really interesting and important thoughts you bring up, so thank you for sharing them.

      I must say though I think some of your points are highly misguided, and in one of them (point 7) you contradict your entire argument, since you give a perfect example of how a woman could approach a man and still make him attracted to her.

      Let me go through a couple of the things you say:

      For example, you say about approaching: “No matter what, it does appear desperate and lowers the value of a woman.”

      It really really doesn’t. What appears desperate is actually being desperate. Starting a conversation with a guy doesn’t in itself say anything about how desperate you are. I think this premise that a woman initiating any kind of interaction is desperate is ludicrous and damaging to women. What if you are in an art gallery and ask a guy a question about a painting? Can he never be attracted to you now? What if you ask a personal trainer at the gym for help using one of the machines? What if you say “how are you?” to a guy in the elevator? All you are doing here is giving HIM an excuse to speak to you. That’s all. The idea that no guy could be attracted to a woman who starts a conversation is frankly absurd. It isn’t true for me or any other guy I know.

      You also say that men “think they are hot shit and start acting arrogant and hard to get because the girl approached them”.

      Only if the man *is* arrogant and already thinks he’s hot shit. That can happen. That can also happen to guys who approach women as well. We can’t decide our entire lives based on a few arrogant idiots.

      On the issue of: “What is scary for men is also scary for women” – This is why I propose both men and women make it less scary by making the interactions frequent and small. Just integrate it into your everyday life and you’ll find it doesn’t feel like any pressure because they are literally endless people to speak to.

      Finally, you say some things that are contradictory.

      For example, in point 6 you say about approaching: “It doesn’t work unless a girl wants to make “friends”.

      Yet in the very next point (no. 7 in your list) you say: “examples of relationships where the woman approached are anecdotes just like the ones you mentioned. one such example is when a woman asks for “help” or directions. That seems to work magically because men like being the hero.”

      But this now contradicts your whole argument that men aren’t attracted to women who approach them, because you have just given a scenario in which a woman can approach a man and make him feel attracted to her.

      What you touch on here is actually a really good point about making a guy feel masculine (or as you put it, like a hero), and it’s why in Matt’s book he talks about how asking a guy for help (even about something silly) is an excellent way to approach, because it makes him feel attracted while letting you make the first move. It’s not the only way to start a conversation with a guy by an means, but it’s one that can work really well.

      I appreciate all of your comments and hope you found this response helpful to some of your points. Thanks again!

      Stephen x

  25. RAQUEL MARTINEZ says:

    i really love this article! its a real boost to making everyday an opportunity. I approach people everyday at work (customer service/sales) and theres no problem except with the good looking guys (i kind of freeze and don’t approach) in the fear of being rejected especially in front of my coworkers! but i just have the hardest time thinking of what to say?!

  26. Katie says:

    Also, I have a question: How do you know when to keep connecting to a guy and putting yourself out there vs. hanging back and waiting for him to step up? Maybe there is no hard and fast rule, but I always struggle with this.

    Like, showing enough interest in the beginning to let him know you are interested, but not too much so he’s like, ‘Girl, I don’t like you’ and you are not getting the hint.

    Are there signs he’s interested & wants you to keep up the banter? Would he just sort of shut it down if he wasn’t interested? I will get some great rapport with a guy and think it’s going well and then it turns out he was just being kind and was never really interested. I felt dumb after the fact so now I tend to bail too soon.

    How do you know it’s the real deal to keep up with flirting without looking like a weirdo…ideas?

    • RAQUEL MARTINEZ says:

      this is a good one Matt actually has some great older videos on flirting.

      • Katie says:

        I know…I’ve watched them all. None of them tell you how to know when to keep flirting to show interest and when to hang back though. That is more my question.

        People say, ‘You gotta let him know you are interested!’ but how much is too much?

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hi Katie,

      Here is one of Matt’s videos that has over 2 million views, titled “How To Tell if a Guy Likes You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNxRzsMBZKs

      Most of the time you can tell based on whether a guy invests in the conversation. i.e. does he ask personal questions or try to engage with you and keep you there longer, or does he just let things fizzle out? Some guys will enjoy the conversation even if they aren’t attracted to you, and in this case the only way to tell is if he actually asks about seeing you again (definite sign he likes you), or if he touches you and makes lots of eye contact (both very good signs as well). If you get the vibe he isn’t into it, stay classy and eject yourself from the conversation, and see if he re-initiates later. But in the meantime, talk to other guys! Don’t sit on your hands waiting to see if he’ll come back or not.

      Also, check out some of Matt’s videos on flirting for more about specific techniques for building attraction.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Stephen x

  27. Katie says:

    After my GTG seminar, I tried using the ‘look’ at a coffee shop. When I looked back a second time, I gave a quick smile. The guy sort of glance over a few times, then circled back near my seat as I was talking to my friend. As he got closer, I looked up from my friend and said, “hey”. It just popped out like I knew him.

    He smiled and sat near us, striking up a conversation. I was super awkward at this point because I didn’t really know what to say but at least I got the initial approach down! haha

    I have yet to do this again because I’m afraid of the actual conversation and possible need to flirt. I gotta take that pressure off of myself (but I know it’s there.) I hate silence and I’m terrified of rambling to fill the void. But I guess that’s a whole other issue.

    So yes! The look, smile and confident ‘hey’ worked for me. I’m a little bit bolder with my ‘approach’ while writing someone a message. It’s the in-person stuff that’s harder to do. And I’ve come a loooong way to even get that ‘hey’ out of my mouth! Baby steps, right?! :)

    • RAQUEL MARTINEZ says:

      is this the same katie lol well like in stephens article you made the initial approach and now he has to earn and keep your attention, and just feed off the conversation.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      That’s amazing Katie. Just keep at it. Set tiny goals like saying a little bit extra each time. For me, I aim to just say a bit more to the person who serves me food, or strike up a one-minute conversation with people who work in my building. Soon enough, you become the most sociable person all your friends know, despite only doing a tiny bit extra.

      Keep going! Sounds like you’re doing great.

      Stephen x

  28. Noémie says:

    It’s only been a week but I must admit,I missed you Stephen!
    How are U? This is real,Im in Dublin now.Arrived last Friday.
    Crazy!!!! In the last 5 days,I’ve met and talked to more people than in the last 5 months in Paris.
    1) It’s my first time here,so I am like a tourist.
    2) I want to integrate quickly in the firm,so I dare to speak to co-workers.
    3) I press the “reset button” every 1st of the month and set 3 objectives. Being a social animal and create more interactions comes back every month.

    I meet amazing people here!!!
    Let me explain:
    Yesterday I was a bit lost,someone in a car stopped next to me: it was the owner of the 1st house I visited here on Saturday. She drove me to the tramway stop.
    Then, I was lost again,had a viewing house planned and asked my way to a taxi driver,he drove me there for free.
    Today I had a €50 bank note and my credit card to pay my €2.60 tramway ticket. The machine couldn’t take any of them. A lady helped me and gave me €3.
    What blessings! I am so grateful!!! U have no idea.
    Hope it will last long! Lol
    Still looking for an appartment.There’s one I fell in love with yesterday, flamates seem nice, terrific house, great location and good price but still tryin’ to figure out how I could convince the landlord. Any ideas?
    After putting all my energy in finding an amazing job and a great place to live,I could finally focus on getting the guy! Been single for 2 years now, something must be done and quickly!!!
    Take care!
    Noemie

    btw: great article like always! U don’t let us down!

    • Kathryn says:

      I’m so glad you are meeting nice people in Dublin. What a lovely place to be, such a beautiful city with a great warm vibe. Stephen you would definitely like it there. They are having a writers festival on at the moment and the place is steeped in literary history. It’s like when you go to Rome and the history is literally all around you. Where else can you go on a literary pub crawl?
      Good luck to you, I hope you find a nice place to live Noemie. X Kathryn

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hey Noémie,

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying Dublin! And btw you hit on something really important, which is the tourist mindset. When you act like a tourist conversations are the easiest thing in the world. Keep it up! Really happy to hear you are taking chances and living to the full out there. Sounds like your ‘social animal’ goal is working like a charm ;)

      Thanks so much for your kind words, and keep me posted on how you’re doing.

      Stephen x

  29. Sarah says:

    I think it’s rather weird if I’m sitting and eating lunch and a random stranger walks up to me and asks what’s good on the menu and I’m very open in general to random conversations with strangers… especially if I’m with a friend/s eating out which is usually the case so I wouldn’t do that to someone else. Other than that, good arguments.

    • RAQUEL MARTINEZ says:

      while waiting in line to order at a restaurant is one way…. i mean i totally agree what if you have a mouth full of food embarrassing.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Thanks Sarah. I only used that example to illustrate that you can do it anywhere – most of the time people are genuinely thrilled that someone thought to speak to them and say something nice that they aren’t used to hearing.

      Stephen x

  30. Ariana says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I’ve started conversations on airplanes, at the bar, waiting in line, joining a volley ball game at the beach, with the cute guy behind the cash register, & even talking about silly things like the incredible weather we’re finally having. I think a good approach is to not over think it or you end up convincing yourself to never start a conversation and the moment passes you by. The hardest part is overcoming the “hi” obstacle, & it becomes less difficult the more you try. What’s helped me is being observant or giving a sincere compliment, which honestly just comes across as you being friendly… for example on a flight, I noticed the hot guy one seat away from me playing with a sound mixing program on his laptop so when his ear buds were off I kinda leaned over & asked if he was a DJ. This started up a conversation about music, he was a musician. Before getting off the flight he asked for my number… We’re not dating, it doesn’t always work out, but those interactions boost your confidence, remind you to not be afraid to start conversations with strangers, and make life a bit more interesting. I am all for giving your awesome advice a shot, it definitely works & can be lots of fun :)

    P.S. And yes I haven’t always gotten enthusiastic responses, but guys get turned down waaay more times than we do & keep trying. My technique is to never ever take it personally some people are just rude by nature or maybe are just having a bad day, or are shy. And not everyone is supposed to like us, it would make those incredible connections less spectacular.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      “What’s helped me is being observant or giving a sincere compliment” – Those are two of the easiest ways to start conversations, so I can tell you clearly are well-seasoned at this Ariana. Thanks for sharing your incredible advice. I hope people read this comment, because it’s proof of how much fun it can be when you open up and start having interactions everywhere you go.

      “And not everyone is supposed to like us, it would make those incredible connections less spectacular.” – Absolutely! Also you’re right, guys get turned down MUCH more lol.

      All the best,

      Stephen x

  31. Paula says:

    I have approached men online a few times and just get ignored. I don’t think this works in the online approach and I think I use a good technique of getting it short, light and open ended

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      The approach is only about giving the initial 2% of attention to start things off. In the online world it can be different because it’s so difficult to convey much personality in a single message, so perhaps consider trying it more in social interactions more generally. All this is about is being a conversation starter and creating your own opportunities.

      Thanks Paula,

      Stephen x

  32. zahra says:

    Hi stephen thank you for the great information that you provide us with. But what if a woman approached a guy and he was not intersted in her? wouldn’t she feel hurt and in a wrong position? I mean in order for a woman to protect herself, it’s better that she allows the man to approach her right? Maby it depends on the traditions and culture of the society, but in general a man should approach a woman and if he is scared or not confident then it’s his problem. And how can we put a strategy to pursue a guy ? what if we failed? we can’t be sure of it. Thank youu Stephen <3

    • Claudia says:

      I think #3 covers parts of your question: meet/talk to lots of people, not just to one (after contemplating whether or not to talk to him all night). That’s awkward and scary. If somebody doesn’t seem to be interested, simply move on. There are plenty of other options. Easier said than done, but there is no use of overthinking one person’s rejection. And rather approach with something casual like asking about a drink/food/another bar etc. to recommend. (trying to put some of Matthew’s and Stephen’s ideas in here, hope I got them all right)

    • Kleigh says:

      I’m not sure it’s fair to worry about protecting yourself and of failure when approaching a guy, and then at the same time say that if a guy is scared or not confident then it is his problem. I’m pretty sure the majority of guys worry about failure as well. (unless I misunderstood your comment?)

      I think that fear of failure is a limiting idea, not only in our romantic world but also with family, friends, work, sports, etc. In many ways, failure is inevitable, but what we get from it is experience and knowledge, and that’s very valuable. It’s a toss up between fear of failing and regretting. Doing things you may be scared of builds confidence, even if you fail because at least you do not also regret that you tried. With approaching guys, honestly the first few times you might stutter or spill something, but soon the nerves fade, and you go back to your charming self. It also helps to not over analyze before “hellos” are exchanged – that helps take down the fear level as well :)

      It sounds counter intuitive, but getting used to ‘failing’ and letting is slide off your shoulders will takes you miles in all aspects of your life. Failure is all around us, and isn’t necessarily a bad thing – mainly forces us to be more problem solving than perfectionist. Because, when it comes down to it, maybe the worry isn’t about actually approaching a guy. Maybe it’s because of all the pressure we put ourselves under that makes the risk of failure so much more top of mind, and make us even more prone to over analyzing and anxiety over a simple ‘hello’.

      • Stephen Hussey says:

        EXACTLY Kleigh – This is such a great comment. You hit the nail on the head when you talk about reducing the pressure by just making it about saying “hello”. The whole point is to make it as low-risk as possible – so much so that there really is no risk at all.

        Thanks so much for your contribution.

        Steve

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hi Zahra,

      I think it shouldn’t feel like failure at all, since you’re only aim in starting a conversation is to have fun and enjoy a nice interaction with somebody. If the guy happens to be cold, it’s totally his problem. People place way too much emphasis on starting conversations because of ‘rejection’, but in reality, it’s not like you’re going up to the guy and asking him for a date. We always have to *choose* how much power we are going to allow someone to make us feel bad. If I approach a woman, I do it with the intent that I am looking to meet someone great or just because I feel relaxed and want to talk. If I go in with that mentality the result doesn’t matter. I can just move on to someone else within ten seconds.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Steve x

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