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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67 Replies to “What Do Men REALLY Think About Women Making The First Move?”

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

    1. 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.

  • 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?


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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??

  • Hello everyone!
    This is great to hear from others point of view about women approaching the men. I prefer to start conversation. I came a long way to building my confidence on approaching others(social). Plus, I know my limits within the approaching. I’ll admit, I did the waiting on guy to approach me, but didn’t care for it. Am I wrong for that? By the way, great advices,Stephan

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