Chasing Vs. Pursuing

I recently have received a couple of notes from readers asking for more on the difference between pursuing and chasing.  In other words, we are taught, especially in Christian circles, that we should pursue a woman we are interested in.  But as I have stated here many times, we should never chase a woman that we are interested in because it pretty much ensures failure.

But in our culture and language this can be a really fine line.  Let’s face it, from a purely linguistic standpoint they are very similar and we should probably find other words.  But when I think of these two words in the context of trying to find a spouse, I think they are worlds a part.

So what is the difference?  How do we pursue and not chase?  What does it look like?

Let me take a stab at it.

Let’s sort of start with some basic characteristics of each because most of this has to do with keeping our mindset right.

Chasing has the feel of desperation.  Dogs chase cars.  How does that turn out?  It’s hasty.  It’s a feeling of trying to attain the woman.  It’s needing the woman to like us, respond to us or give us acceptance, approval, or validation.  Getting the woman is the goal.  Rejection means the end of the world because our worth gets wrapped up in it.

Pursuit doesn’t feel desperate.  I pursue a degree.  There is a methodicalness to it.  While consistent, it isn’t hurried.  The feeling is getting to know the woman.  You’re not even sure where it will go but you are willing to find out.  It’s wanting to be with the woman but not needing to be.  It comes from a place of already being acceptable, and validated.  I like her, but I don’t in any way need her to like me.

Chasing means being nice.  All.the.time.  It means trying to earn the woman by doing things that try to win her affections. It can come from being afraid of rejection or failing. It means being afraid to make her mad.  Chasing means trying to be who we think she wants us be and focusing on what we think she wants us to do for her.

Pursuing means being kind.  It means coming from a place of strength and honor.  It means working on being attractive, not seeking her approval.  It means that rejection won’t really matter that much.  It means being able to stand up to her. It means being the type of man that she wants to be with, not that does everything she wants.

Chasing conveys I can’t live without you, while pursuit conveys that while you could, you don’t want to.  Chasing says, “I sure hope you could like me”.  Pursuit says simply, “I’m interested in you.”  Chasing means trying to convince her to be with you.  Pursuit means trying to get to know her and then inviting her to be with you.  Chasing means following her around and doing everything she wants.  Pursuit means going somewhere and inviting her to come with you.

Now all of this sounds great.  But what does it look like practically?

First of all, we need to get in our heads that our culture and most often even the church has taught us wrong.  The movies all seem to show guys who do these huge romantic gestures to women who then fall for them.  Or they show guys who rescue the girl and then she falls for them.  But what gets left out here is that the guy in the movie is already attractive to the woman.  In fact usually at first they don’t get along so to speak. Most often there is tension.  When they finally get together it’s usually painted as the guy finally comes around.  But really the woman was always attracted.

In evangelical culture we are taught to be nice.  We should tame our desire for sex, man up and be nice.  If we are Godly enough then that will be attractive.  Two problems here. First the definition of a Godly man is off (more later) and second, being a Godly man doesn’t necessarily make us attractive.  Being confident it Christ is helpful, but just being a good Christian is not necessarily that helpful.  (It is helpful in a relationship, but not so much in getting into one).

So here are a few practical examples of what this might look like.

Pursuit means asking a woman about her favorite book.  Chasing means going out the next day and buying the book.  Pursuit is a well timed gift without any strings attached. Chasing is buying a gift to get her to like you or to win her (or to placate her anger). Chasing is calling her because you’re afraid of what will happen if you don’t.  Pursuit means calling her just because you want to talk to her.  Chasing means rearranging your whole life around her.  Pursuit means carving out space in your plans to include her.

Chasing comes from a need to be loved   Pursuit comes from not needing her love but offering yours and she can take it or leave it.

11 thoughts on “Chasing Vs. Pursuing

    • That would depend. How much do I consider her worth? If she is but a number, I save my investment for a weightier goal; then again, there are those worthy of a Troy to burn!

  1. Will disagree here Justin. A woman likes you or not. No matter how much you pursue her. If she isn’t into you. She isn’t into you. As much as women claim to like or want this……I really have never seen it happen. In my secular walk / world (which was most of my life) being confident and funny were the only tools a guy has to get a date / sex or girlfriend if they are not blessed with a circus-freak show of good looks.

    If your confidence comes from work, a solid hobby, or a more solitary hobby….you’re screwed in the secular world dating wise. if you can’t make a woman laugh……….done. YOU will be a life-long single.

    Christian-protestant-culture from my observation really isn’t much better here. If woman likes you, she will let the guy in question KNOW this by her language, her talk, her flirting. I’ve seen plenty of women THROW themselves at a guy she barely knew to be noticed. If a guy likes a girl……and wants to pursue her……..he had better be really funny, have the looks, the job or the credentials…otherwise your “pursuing” her will be called “creepy” or she will let the guy know QUICKLY that she isn’t interested with a mild veiled threat that she will let the authorities in the church that you won’t leave her alone.

    A woman likes you or she doesn’t. There is no “building” attraction. There is no “cocky-funny” negs, or backhanded compliments that will work (more David DeAngelo there) unless she likes you to begin with.

    It gets harder as you get older, it looks (and is) foolish for a man in his forties trying to pursue a woman. You have to be Christ-like and mannered in our faith and at the same time expecting the worldly / secular norms of dating that openly encouraged and allowed.

    I am not saying that “because I am a Christian; Christian women must go on a date with me”

    What I am saying is that in the end…….as a man… are born with it or not…….and when a man hits his forties and has been batting 600 since he was a college student?????

    Time to walk with your head-up to the dugout, admit it was a long nine innings and hit the showers.

    Not picking a fight with you…but disagreeing 😉

    • I think we disagree a little less than you think. 🙂 A little less.

      When I say pursue I’d say it means there is already attraction. Otherwise it is automatically chasing. That may be oversimplifying it. I don’t pursue to get attraction.

      Where I think this difference came in for me was after the initial attraction. In other words I could get the first date, but then I’d go try hard and be in trouble. So she liked me enough to go out with me, but then I’d chase instead of just get to know her. So I’m saying don’t chase when they don’t like you, and also and maybe more importantly, don’t chase when they might actually like you.

      Obviously that is my experience. I’d screw it up after the initial connection. Get in a hurry etc. Honestly I feel like we need another word than pursue.

      Always appreciate your thoughts

    • Yep, you said it right there. Either she likes you or she doesn’t. There has to be a basic starting point to work with. If you’re out in public and aren’t getting any signals that you should approach her then don’t bother. And as you said, either you have it or you don’t. If you’re consistently striking out all your life with women then it just isn’t your forte, in other words “Never try to be a heavyweight boxing champion when you’re a man with no arms” These so-called dating gurus give flawed advice about pursuing women when there were never any signs that the guy should pursue them to begin with.

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