(This is an article for heteros. But it probably applies to you, regardless of your sexual orientation/gender preference, if you are always in the “friend zone.”)
“I’ve never been rejected.”
Her voice travelled through the party, and people turned to see who was speaking: a young woman smiling confidently, tossing her hair over her shoulder at the same time.
Her friend said in reply: “You’ve never asked anyone out.”
Nearby, two guys made eye contact. One of them shrugged and rolled his eyes. I got his frustration.
We know the gender roles around heterosexual dating: Men do the asking. Women get to say “yes” or “no.”
Guess what? Not only do men dislike this gender role, but women do, too. How many women out there have complained about the “guy who doesn’t get the message that she likes him”?
Let’s toss the gender roles! If you are a girl looking for encouragement around asking out a guy, here are 3 reasons that you should ask him out first, instead of waiting around for him.
(Note: Some close-minded guys follow gender roles like they are the gospel. Avoid asking out those guys. They suck. Ask out the open-minded ones who will be thrilled to feel pursued, at long last.)
1. Asking someone out on a date will help you build social skills.
Is it better to first learn to face rejection after we bomb the crucial job interview? Or when we are asking out a random dude that we may never see again? I say the latter.
Dating scenarios are low-risk ways to practice overcoming an ego blow. Dating scenarios are also low-risk ways to learn to act with confidence (see earlier point: you may never see them again).
It’s not the most sparkly selling point, but it’s a real one that acknowledges that we don’t always get what we want. And, somewhere along the way, we gotta deal with that.
2. You learn to ask for what you want when you ask him out.
We women face two opposing situations: 1. We are told to be “nurturers,” to place others’ needs above our own. 2. In U.S. society, we don’t get what we want unless we are assertive.
As a result, the Nurturers are lost when it comes to asking for what we need, and thus do not get it.
Asking someone out on a date is asking for what we want; it is expressing our desire.
It might be a superficial and fleeting desire, but like #1 above, it’s good Life Practice.
A parallel example: Last month, my friend called her ex just to say, “It was disrespectful of you to cheat on me.” She knew her ex wouldn’t listen, but it didn’t matter. She needed to hear herself say it.
Similarly, it doesn’t matter so much what the answer is to our question, “Do you want to go out sometime?” Sometimes, we just need to hear ourselves ask for what we want.
3. You might win the dating lottery.
Ladies, I know this to be true. I know this for sure.
Some men hold an authentic respect for women that translates into, “I want to respect her boundaries.” This respect is real, but needs tons of finesse to be useful.
Without the finesse……”I want to respect her boundaries” sometimes turns into, “I should wait to ask her out, because I want her to feel comfortable.”
“I should wait to ask her out” easily turns into becoming the slow guy.
You know the slow guy. He’s the one who sticks around, listens to you, calls you up, helps you move, and gives you dating advice. You are confused about the slow guy, because you thought you were just friends, but once he carried you home when you were tired after a night of dancing, and now you’re confused.
I think straight men passive-aggressively call this “getting stuck in the friend zone.”
Straight girls, if you restrict yourself to passively waiting for a date, you could be missing out on the amazing guy who just moved a little too slowly.
I know this to be true. Just know that I do.
Gender roles are hard to break!
But won’t it be so much more freeing when you give yourself permission to break them?
PS: Picture credit from Sparklife, which has a cute article on concrete steps you can take to ask someone out.
- 7 things to know about loving your ex
- The 5 Worst ways to ask someone out
- 10 ways to say "no" to hanging out