A few years ago I was sitting at a party with some friends when I ran into an attractive woman I knew who goes to our church. Kind of in jest I asked her if she felt like church was a meat market. In other words were guys always asking her out. She looked at me incredulously and said, “No because it’s not like any guy is actually going to do anything about it.”
I wrote about this a while ago, but this deal of guys not actually approaching women is a very real issue in our “Christian” culture. There’s a plethora of reasons for this. But some of it is that we are just not trained as men on what is a good way to approach women. The older you get the more important this becomes.
I’ve talked some about approaching women online. I want to offer some thoughts about doing it in person. Now most of this I learned by doing it wrong – a lot. So don’t think I’m some sort of guru. Also, keep in mind that I’m not trying to give you a formula. I actually think you coming up with one at first could be good. But the problem is if you give a man a hammer, everything becomes a nail – and that will backfire.
First and foremost is having our identity in Christ. Go back and read last week’s post. This is essential. If you aren’t working on this, nothing I say here will work. You’ll just be faking it. Now that doesn’t mean you have to get it perfectly before you can do this, I don’t mean that at all. But you need to be working on your insecurities and fears in light of your relationship with Jesus. If you’re not then this isn’t going to end well – even if you fake your way into marriage.
That said, here are some keys (remember all we are talking about here is the initial approach).
- When you see someone you want to approach – act quickly. Don’t be in a hurry but don’t over think it. Don’t let it build up. When you make eye contact and she smiles – you have maybe 15 seconds max to act. Otherwise you send one of three messages – that you aren’t interested, interesting, or you are afraid of her. All bad.
- Body language is everything. Women naturally pick up on this stuff. Learn to control yours. If you are slumped over or in a submissive posture or jittery – that sends the message you are afraid (which you might be but that isn’t the point). Don’t be rigid – but don’t be cowering.
- Along with that, make eye contact and keep it. Smile. Again not in a forced way but smiling means warmth, and comfort.
- Talk to her like you’ve always known her. Really almost like she was your sister. At ease. And talk slow. When we get nervous we speed up. Dead give away. Be thoughtful and intentional. Think taking a walk instead of going on a run. Seriously.
- Ask questions. It can be good to have a couple of questions ready. These should not be deep questions. They should also not be critical questions. In other words, what did you think of the sermon followed by a critique of it = bad. Think fun questions. Which brings us to:
- Fun is good – always. That doesn’t mean “ha ha” fun necessarily. But girls are attracted to fun. They are stressed out enough emotionally already – they don’t want that from a guy – they want the guy to be the escape – where they can relax. Fun is your friend.
- Don’t apologize for talking to her. Don’t say things like, “I’m just kidding”. Don’t act like she holds any power over you.
Keep the following thoughts in mind.
- It’s no big deal. Keep remembering that
- There is always someone else.
- You have no idea who she is or what she’s about. You want to find out – that is why you are approaching her. You’re investigating, not asking her to marry you. You are a high quality person – is she?
- Attraction (sexual tension & fun) + comfort (safety) = date*. Think about it.
- In the beginning less is more. Don’t ask her out the first time you talk to her. If you can, you want to be the one to end the conversation. Maybe something like this, “I’m glad I met you (or you met me – if you can pull that off). I’d like to talk more. Do you have email (a card, phone number) etc.?” This whole thing might take three minutes.
If you are not good at this at all, here is what I’d suggest. I’d practice. I know that sounds funny but really. It’s like golf. You have to go to the driving range before the course. Don’t ask for everyone’s number. Just meet them. Catch how that feels and how you react. See what works for you. Build sort of a formula for you. Once you do that, assuming you are working on the identity piece, you won’t need a formula long. Have fun.
* Formula adapted from Mystery’s Attraction + Comfort = Seduction
Reblogged this on DIGITAL FAITH and commented:
Awesome article for guys like me who are shy and dont quite know how to approach girls
this is 1 of the first blogs I’ve come across that is more or less Christian but still focus is on “the game.” What it really takes to attract. It sounds like you have done your research. Outside of the Christian marriage books that are so cliche and honestly more harm than help many times.
Thanks for the encouragement. I actually think there are quite a few good books on marriage itself. There just isn’t much about how the heck to get to the marriage in the first place. At least not that is not cliche and religious. And you’re right, that can often hurt more than help.
Attraction (sexual tension & fun) + comfort (safety) = HOT
Interestingly, the first thing I bring up when I introduce myself to someone new, at church, is what did you think of the sermon. LoL… I don’t do this purposefully, but neither do I purposely avoid it.
And honestly, I can’t picl up on body language, but I think some girls could.
Actually notoced someone at bible study last week who seemed interesting and seemed like someone I hope will be someone who will at least ask about a date…
meaning: interested in the guy, but no idea if he’s interested.
Um, mmm. This post has bothered me because, well, woman aren’t puzzle pieces to be figured out. We’re not a game. There are no “rules”. When a woman (read, a person) feels you are casting her in the role of anything other than that she is a person, she will not respond to you. How do you approach another man that you may want to play golf or basketball with? Do you think of clever lines? Do you work on your delivery? I’d bet a tub full of money you don’t. Why do you need to “approach” women? We are your sisters in Christ. Be as real as you would be with anyone else. Really.
Do you wear makeup? If you do, then you are also a part of the “game”.
I get what you are saying. But this isn’t about a game. This is about the fact that guys don’t approach women they are attracted to. It’s not about figuring you out as much as it is figuring ourselves out.
Guys freeze when we don’t know what to do. And regardless of how much we want it to be, it’s not the same as hanging out with a buddy (although you’d be amazed at the amount of guys that don’t really have friends either – and a lot of this would apply). I also don’t typically go up to men I don’t know and say let’s go hang out.
Do you go out with any guy that asks you or do you respond to guys you are attracted to? Do you respond to every email on an online dating site, or the ones that pique your interest? Guys need to learn how to pique that interest. That’s the point. It is about being yourself and comfortable. But we need some help to be comfortable. It’s cool if you disagree. But that is where I’m coming from.
I get what you are saying, Justin, and love that you are tackling these subjects. I guess I’ve always thought that guys do have a hard time approaching women because they have been taught it is a game. So, simply talking to someone becomes a big deal because it is now a game, with high stakes. Who wouldn’t crumple under that pressure? My point is…it’s not a game. If you believe women wear makeup as a way to play the game, that’s a judgement and already you are one step behind in your game. Because then, that is what it is for you.
If men would truly look at women and understand, ‘she is my sister in Christ’, the way he approaches or treats her would look a lot different. What guy would be uncomfortable with his sister?
Thanks again for tackling the tough stuff and for having an open dialogue.
Sorry for the long post in advance, but I had a few things I wanted to address.
You (justinmcampbell) said, “Do you wear makeup? If you do, then you are also a part of the “game”.”
Oh no. Not the same thing. Do you shave in the mornings, take a shower, use deodorant or brush your hair?
When you brush your teeth, that’s probably just a part of your morning routine, not necessarily a strategy to get a date.
It’s the same for women. Wearing make-up for a lot of us ladies is part of a daily routine, and/or we are expected to wear it (especially at places of employment), etc.(*)
I have to agree with Susie. A big problem is a lot of Christian men over- think and over analyze dating / romance, and get caught up in rules and strategies.
Most women – Christian females in particular- have been heavily socialized by churches and secular culture to be sweet, overly compliant little doormats who are never to show anger or speak a cross, harsh word to any one.
One aspect of that is that we have been taught to let a man down easy if he flirts or asks you out on a date and you wouldn’t date him if he were the last man on earth.
Which means men, especially Christian ones, have no reason to be so afraid of approaching a Christian woman for a date.
If most Christian women are not interested in dating you, they will let you down very gently, ie., say “No thank you.” Most of them are not going to slap you or pull your hair out.
You said, “Guys freeze when we don’t know what to do”
There is nothing to do. There is not a check list or a guaranteed set of lines or approaches.
If you see a female you are interested in, you simply ask her out, ie, “Are you free this Saturday, or some other time? I’d like to take you out for a cup of coffee.”
She may say, “No thank you.” That is a possibility. You deal with the let down, accept it, and try again.
Too many Christians over- spiritualize and over- think dating. They will take this to ridiculous lengths, like some may agonize in prayer for days asking God to even so much as give them a sign if the woman they are interested in should be approached.
It’s not rocket science. You see someone you are interested in, ask to spend time with her. A lot of men make this way more complicated than it has to be.
One last thing: be upfrontwith your intent and interest. Make it clear to the lady you are romantically interested.
A lot of passive, shy men are codependent. These are the guys who do not get girlfriends who then join forums to complain that they are “nice guys” but mean women won’t cut them slack, all women are shallow money grubbers, etc, but these women date “bad boys.”
These types of men do nice gestures for a woman they are romantically interested in, thinking this will win her over, or surely she will magically fall in love with the guy, or understand his motives. Big mistake.
Women are not mind-readers. If you do nice stuff for a woman, she’s going to assume you have no ulterior romantic motives- you’re just being a good pal.
The reason “bad boys” tend to get more dates? Because they actually walk up to a woman and ask, “Are you free this Saturday, or some other time? I’d like to take you out for a cup of coffee.”
If that lady says “No” the guy doesn’t go curl in the fetal position over it, but tries again with another lady.
* Also… women kind of have to wear makeup. In a sense, we don’t have a choice in the matter.
Christian culture sends conflicting messages to women about our looks. We are told in a lot of dating advice sites and books by Christians that we should remember our value is in God only so do not fixate on our appearance…
Then that same author will basically turn around and then tell us that Christian men will not want to date an ugly, fat cow, so we better starve ourselves pronto and lose 30 pounds (even though we’re already thin), wear make up, and grow our hair out (supposedly, you will die alone if your hair is short or medium length – marriage only happens for women with long hair, we are made to presume).
The thing is this isn’t really about make up. The point is that make up is worn to make you appear more attractive. We can argue over whether that is right or wrong. I think it’s reality.
What you ladies are essentially saying, it seems to me, is that it is ok for women to create attraction but not for guys. It’s ok to wear make up, dress nice, but not for a guy to have some questions in his back pocket in case he gets nervous.
We should treat you like sisters or like a golfing buddy but we should be the one to get off our butt and initiate, risk rejection and ask you out.
It’s not the same as a sister or brother (even though you are a sister in Christ). And in truth there are rules even with golfing buddies – the difference is we (for the most part) know what they are. Also again, I don’t go up to a random guy and say, let’s play golf.
I completely agree that many WAY over think and for sure over spiritualize it. WAY! But that is part of what I’m saying here. Just go do it.
Also, I want to say again – as I did in the post – that the core has to be working on ourselves as men and gaining confidence in Christ. This is all secondary – by a long shot. If you are confident, you will be attractive and it won’t matter much what your “approach” is.
You said, “The point is that make up is worn to make you appear more attractive. We can argue over whether that is right or wrong. I think it’s reality.”
I was not arguing if it is right or wrong for females to wear make up. I was going off your riff about their -motives- are for doing so.
You were implying that woman wear make up to entice men or fool them or it’s a part of a scheme to get a man, and it’s not, or not always.
Some women might wear a bit more mascara before they go clubbing to look nice for potential dates, but what of it? It’s not part of some elaborate, deceptive game they’re playing, or from a rule book on how to get a man.
Usually women wear make up for themselves (I wear a bit of eyeliner when I’m home alone to look nice for me), or they feel it’s more professional at a work place to wear makeup. Makeup and high heels are not always about catching a man.
You said, “What you ladies are essentially saying, it seems to me, is that it is ok for women to create attraction but not for guys.”
What? I don’t quite follow you there.
When I wear make up, I am not necessarily or always doing so to “create attraction” to get a man.
Younger women are conditioned to wear make- up for that reason, so some of them might be doing it for that purpose, but females (even younger ones) have other reasons for make- up usage.
I’m actually a bit of the opposite. If society and Christian dating manuals and dating advice columns are going to instruct women that to get a man that their looks matter, so they ought to stay thin and wear make up (and they do in fact this often), then men need to be taught to keep up with their physical appearance too. But the men are seldom taught this, even in Christian circles.
Most women, and this is true for Christian ones as well, are usually not attracted to obese, very hairy, toothless, or balding men. There is a huge myth in Christian (and even Non Christian) culture that only men are “visually wired” and care about looks, and that is hogwash.
You should see the hundreds of shirtless photos of movie actor Ryan Gosling females have been pinning to Pinterest with comments under them such as “Sign, he is so dreamy and sexy”.
Woman obviously care to a degree about a man’s physical appearance, but are generally not as inflexible or strict about looks as most males tend to be. But they do care.
But men are seldom, or never, given lectures or advice that to get a date, they need to lose weight and get a toupee, and this is particularly common among Christians.
You said, “It’s okay to wear make up, dress nice, but not for a guy to have some questions in his back pocket in case he gets nervous.’
It’s over- thinking the situation is all I said.
If you feel secure with back up questions, go for it, but it’s this very mentality that’s hampering dating success.
You said, “We should treat you like sisters or like a golfing buddy but we should be the one to get off our butt and initiate, risk rejection and ask you out.”
If you want a date, yes, you have to actually approach a woman and ask her. She cannot read your mind.
A girlfriend is not going to magically drop into your lap just from sheer hope alone.
I’ve approached men and asked them on dates, but guess what? The majority of Christian culture (and even Non Christian culture) discourages this. Ladies are told “men like to initiate and pursue, and only harlots ask a man out.”
Nobody likes being rejected, but it’s part of the game, and not just at romance. You get up and brush yourself off and try again.
You said, “It’s not the same as a sister or brother (even though you are a sister in Christ). And in truth there are rules even with golfing buddies – the difference is we (for the most part) know what they are. Also again, I don’t go up to a random guy and say, let’s play golf.”
There really are no “rules,” game plan, or strategies for getting a GF or getting a date. I also feel this is an incorrect way to look at it from the female perspective, too. There are female authors who write insipid “Rules On How To Get A Husband!” type books.
This seems to be more of a phenomenon among males. They even have “pick up artist” shows and blogs, and the concept that if you just do X, Y, and Z and follow the dating guru’s advice, you can get any woman, is sort of an insult to females.
Each women is unique, but these ‘Pick Up’ games sort of treat us as though we are interchangeable cogs.
And why would you not approach a woman you’ve never seen before and ask her out? If you see a lady you are interested in, you ask her if she would like to go to a movie with you some time or out to a movie.
In most cases, the lady will probably already know you, since you have seen her before at your job, your church, or whatever context.
Barring God’s divine intervention on your behalf, you’re never, ever going to get a date or GF, unless you at least try, which means risking rejection.
It’s actually harder, or even harder, on ladies in these situations, because when a guy approaches us and asks us out, and we are not interested in dating him, we get minor panic attacks over how to let him down (without hurting his feelings or making him angry).
Women have been heavily socialized and pressured by culture and church to let men down super gentle easy, to never express anger or displeasure.
Your likelihood of a woman screaming vulgarities at you or slapping you if she doesn’t want to date you is around zero. So there really shouldn’t be all this anxiety about the possibility of being rejected when asking for a date.
I think I just need to write more about this.
Guys obviously are having a hard time approaching women – other wise it would happen more. So to say, it’s easy, just man up doesn’t seem to really be a good enough answer.
Also, let me be clear – I’m not talking about being deceptive or playing games. I literally say in this post – don’t over think it – just do it. It isn’t about game – it’s about attraction. And women (just like men) respond to people they are attracted to. I wish that I didn’t have to tell men to notice body language, keep eye contact, talk at a normal pace and ask questions in a fun way. But I fail to see how telling them that is bad.
“or out to a movie.”
I mean “or out for a cup of coffee.” Or ask her what she would like to do, if she’d rather do something else besides a movie/ coffee/ concert.
I think the reason “pick-up advice” is offensive to so many women is that it tends to imbue us with an “other-ness” that is not conducive to a deep, romantic, primary relationship. It seems to foster conquest and the consumer-dating mentality.
Many guys need the advice/encouragement if they’re going to initiate (tabling whether or not they need to initiate for the moment); but in the act of getting or receiving that advice, a certain reality is formed apart from the woman herself. Suddenly, it’s all about the identity as a seeker-guy, and that identity can be just as hard to shake as the single self, the not-having-sex self, etc. Also, the potential relationship loses that all-important organic beginning. (I know I know, the whole point of the advice is to not think too much about it…)
Those are good points. If it’s about the pick up then yes it leads to consumer dating. However if it’s about the getting in the door to begin with, I think that is different. There’s a line there. What is the goal and motivation. The motivation and the identity piece are huge. That’s why they should come first.
The one thing I might question is the need for an organic beginning. If the point is marriage, does it matter how it begins?
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