Here’s a question. What is your immediate response to attraction? How do you respond when you are attracted? Do you move with ease? Do you hesitate? Do you let it build up and then blow it up? Are you relaxed or nervous? Why?
What most guys feel is some combination of excitement and fear. What most guys do is nothing. They choke. I know, I’ve choked many, many times.
There is almost nothing that tells us more about ourselves as men than how we react to the threat of rejection. And when we are attracted to someone, that threat is imminent. It tells us the truth about how we feel about ourselves, where we rank ourselves on the totem pole, and how much power we give other people that we think are “above” us on that same pole.
This by the way is why women are attracted to confidence. It’s a natural test and one that we actually need to pass, not just fake our way through. If we fake our way through it with posturing and gamesmanship then either we will come off “try hard” and unattractive, or we will attract her only to get crushed later. That doesn’t mean technique and approach don’t matter, they do and we’ll get to that, but they are hard to pull off if you don’t really own it.
Here’s the questions you need to ask. What is it that I’m afraid of and where does that come from?
Essentially we are afraid of rejection. This leads to two other questions. Why do you think you will be rejected (what are your insecurities) and what do you think rejection will mean (embarrassment and discomfort). We need to face these fears head on.
What is it that makes you insecure? In other words why will she reject you? You know the answer to this by the way so just man up and say it. Maybe it’s that you think you don’t make enough money. Is it that you don’t think you are good looking enough? Is that you aren’t fun or successful enough? Not smart enough? What are you insecure about? Then ask, is it true? Talk about scary stuff!
When you start actually working through it often you find that it isn’t true or that it doesn’t matter. I’ve struggled with almost every one of the above mentioned insecurities. Most of them had WAY more to do with how I viewed me than how women viewed me. For example, I thought of myself as not good looking, but no woman had ever told me that. The thing is, when approaching a woman, how you think of you is infinitely more important than what she thinks of you. If you project high value, chances are she will see that in you.
Again, you can try to pose your way though this. You can try to amp it up and cover it up. But that’s like looking the answers up in the back of the book. It works for the assignment that day, but it doesn’t help much on the exam.
David DeAngelo (“dangerous” secular guy) calls this improving your inner game. But really as a follower of Jesus I should be facing my insecurities. I should be finding out who I really am in Christ, which is usually a lot better than I thought. Jesus was the most confident person ever. We should be on that path. If we aren’t we’ve got way bigger problems than handling attraction to women. It’s just that attraction brings it out. That’s why it’s good. If we engage it, it can force us to deal with the rest of our life.
The second part is the fear of rejection itself. As men we hate to be embarrassed or uncomfortable. But this is where we need to relax. What is the worst possible thing that can happen? If she rejects you, you don’t have a date with her. That’s where you are already. Most women are not mean about this. If anything they are too nice. As long as you aren’t a jerk or a stalker you’re probably good.
Sometimes we need to remember we aren’t in 10th grade anymore. It’s not like you are going to have to sit in class with her all day, while her friends make fun of you. The only way to get into trouble with this is if you chase her after she says no. Don’t ever do that.
The final reason we freeze is that most of us haven’t been taught how to approach a woman. As men we don’t do well when we don’t have the skill to do something. We are afraid of failure when we don’t know how to do it. I’ll toss out some thoughts on that next week.
But for today, let me leave you with what I started with. How do you react when you are attracted? What are you afraid of? What are you doing to change that?
I’m usually relaxed and at ease at first, then I think, “What if he doesn’t like me like that?” But I’ve learned to say what I feel, as we don’t know if we’ll get another day. If you love someone, just say something. I don’t reject anyone, because I’ve been the outcast for so long it’s become normal to me. But I also fear rejection. But when we die, do we want people we love to know we loved them, or do we want them to feel like somethings were left unsaid or open? Don’t leave things unsaid.
fact is, only one guy has really been attracted to me in a way, and that’s a non-christian guy, who loves me for the joy I have in Christ. the rest of the people I talk to are ridiculously hard to read, I can’t tell if they want a relationship or not.. But the guy who is interested, I also love spending time with, I’m just really considering the future with him, and watching how he progresses in faith and in quitting smoking, whether he’ll find a job. etc.
In rejection, I’m afraid of not being loved back I guess.
If I’ve known someone for a few weeks, what’s the proper way to maybe ask them on a regular outing, particularly if they have busy lives and live about 20-30 minutes away? Like I mean, group outing kind of thing. How do you tell if the guy is even interested? Just having trouble articulating it?
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As a guy nearing 40, fear of rejection by the girls is not really the major issue. I have been through that enough times to know I’ll eventually recover if she says, “I just think we should get to know each other at church.” or whatever the particular reason is. What really becomes an issue, particularly in medium to smaller churches that I have always attended as an adult, is that there are almost no girls within 5 years of me (my elders say our church is an anomoly with the high percentage of single guys versus girls) and most of the single girls are eight to ten to fifteen years younger or more than me and most of the other single guys. Layer on the fact that our church is extremely tight-knit and a number of the various girl’s parents, grandparents, cousins, sisters aunts\uncles, and friends go to church there as well. This is a good thing to see where a girl comes from but it is extremely intimidating to know that if I approach that well-dressed cutie that loves kids and is always helping out, the entire the entire extended family will know about it. If you have good relationships that you value with the clan and\or her friends in home groups, ministry activities, etc. it is extremely nerve racking to think you may put those relationships at risk for something that seems a little far-fetched. I have seen, and personally experienced that akwardness of trying to date a younger gal. It wasn’t that I go out looking for a girl over a decade younger but in several instances they had very good character qualities ( I swoon over girls that love kids and like helping those in need) and the fact they were very cute (I am just a guy of course) didn’t hurt either. I am the kind of guy women at church say they’d like to see get married – but I doubt to her daughter of course. After a while you just stop asking.
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