A few weeks ago I was asked a very simple question, how ‘should’ a man approach a woman. While it seemed quite innocuous, I soon became overwhelmed by the weight and depth of those few words. Overwhelmed because as I tried to craft a simple wish list of what most women would want, I realized how much context plays a role in a first meeting. That context can’t be easily listed in a few steps and tied with a bow. Several factors influence how the first interaction should/could go – location (church, grocery store, or office holiday party?), connections (do they have mutual friends?), personal mood (is she too busy to be bothered?), etc. There isn’t one way for a man to approach a woman because context matters. However, there is one consistent truth regardless of location, attitude, connections, and attire. A man should be prepared. So instead of telling men what to say or do after approaching a woman, here are 5 important questions men should ask and answer for themselves before venturing over for that first hello.
1. Are you truly ready? Too many people enter into new romantic entanglements before they’ve properly disconnected from their last one. Detaching properly means both emotionally and physically as not doing so leads to confusion, complications, and trust issues long before any possibility of happily ever after. If you are ready, you’ve taken time to evaluate past mistakes and learned the meaningful lessons. You don’t have inappropriate interactions with your ex that could complicate the life you’re hoping to build with someone new. If everything is still your ex’s fault, you aren’t aware of at least a few of your shortcomings or you’re still in a “situation” with someone from your past, you aren’t ready. Why bring someone into your life during a time when you aren’t operating at your best? Avoiding a few moments of introspection could damage a lifetime of possibilities.
2. What’s your objective? Because you never know what that first hello will evolve into, be intentional from the start! Do you know exactly what you want? If you’re merely seeking a new laymate, be honest with yourself and do us all a favor and be honest with her. Too many relationship-like activities are occurring without the people involved understanding their ideal outcome. Are you hoping to meet your future wife and mother of your kids? Would you prefer a casual companion for a few dinner and movie dates? Regardless, until you have a CLEAR idea of what you want/need at this point in your life, you’ll have difficulty acquiring it. Objectives not only determine why you date but how you date.
3. What are you offering? After understanding what you aim to get, take time to think about what you’re able and willing to give. Women want time, trust, honesty, passion and everything in between. If she’s financially stable and yearning to get married, maybe you shouldn’t approach her if you’re unemployed and striving to be a playmate. You should enhance her life, not cripple it. As amazing as you might think you are, take time to really consider if the woman you want should want you. Are you able to provide more than promises and excuses because she’s likely been offered plenty of those by men now in her rearview.
4. Is now the right time for her? You may have the best intentions and be in a great emotional space, but she’s simply not interested in being approached at the moment. Maybe she lost a loved one or went through a bad breakup. Maybe she’s focused on final exams or a major project at work. Maybe she’s just frustrated with the dating scene and is comfortable with the invisible “I’m-Not-Interested” stamp on her forehead. Guys, always take a few minutes to read the situation. A woman is less likely to entertain a new suitor if she’s in certain moods/mindsets. Just because the moment is perfect to you, doesn’t mean it’s right for her. Not making a move may be the best move of all.
5. Are you prepared for a No? If you cannot handle her possibly rejecting your advances, rethink the situation. Being equally comfortable accepting a yes or no equates to maturity and confidence. I’ve witnessed guys get defensive, call the woman names or commit some other equally disrespectful act simply because she didn’t want to offer her phone number. Know yourself well enough to know if you can receive whatever she says without making a scene or becoming a nuisance. Note: ‘No’ does not mean try harder. Most times, no really does mean No. Get used to it, be comfortable with it, and don’t take it as a personal insult. Read more here: HOW TO LOSE A GIRL IN 10 WAYS
I’m sure this list isn’t exhaustive and could apply to both genders. What are your thoughts on this list and is there anything you’d add/revise?
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(originally posted August 2014)