Relationships

Have You Ever Made the First Move?

Have You Ever Made the First Move?

Have you ever made the first move? Today, our dating series continues with an essay by Diana Woodward. Last year, the college sophomore asked someone out for the first time, and here’s what she realized…


It was a hot day in August, and my friends were trying to drag me to a rooftop party down the street. As I lay on my dorm room floor with four fans pointed toward my body, I thought, A party is the last place I want to be. Not only was it keep-your-arms-plastered-to-your-sides-so-no-one-sees-your-pit-stains hot, but I had also just broken up with my boyfriend of nearly four years. ‘Sweaty and Heartbroken’ was the heading of my last month of summer.

After much persuasion, I decided to go for 20 minutes. Fine, I thought. One beer. When we arrived, I surveyed the scene: Just what I had imagined — blaring electro-pop music, plastic cups filled with lukewarm beer, swarms of people dancing off-beat. Oof. But I made myself walk to the bar and grab a drink. As I leaned against the railing, catching up with friends I hadn’t seen all summer, I began to relax. Hey, I thought, giving myself a mental high-five. I can do this.

And then a good friend approached, whispering in my ear “There’s someone I want you to meet.”

Dylan was tall and lanky with ruffled brown hair. We quickly passed through small talk and talked about our favorite writers, playing soccer on his family’s farm, and the best Van Morrison songs. Before I knew it, the party was ending and it was time to go. I said goodbye and turned to head downstairs, when suddenly — and uncharacteristically — I wheeled back around and said, “Hey! What’s your number?”

Putting myself on the line (for the first time) paid off — Dylan and I have been together for almost a year now. I feel really good about it. “I was intent on getting your number before I left the party,” he told me recently. “I was nervous. But then YOU asked me! I remember feeling a huge wave of relief.”

To me, it’s surprising how pervasive old-school dating rules are in 2017. In almost all areas of my life, from school to work to friendships, I feel assertive and confident, but I still wonder if making the first move as a woman will come off as overbearing. I decided to ask my female friends in college what they thought about making the first move.

Interestingly, all my friends feel comfortable asking someone out online (especially on Bumble, the dating app where only women can initiate conversations). But when it came to in-person interactions, these women can be split into three separate camps — the go-getters who always make the first move, those somewhere in the middle, and those who prefer to let the proposals come to them. Here’s what they said…

For Chloe, 20, taking the lead is second nature: “I’ve made the first move more times than I can count. It’s even gotten to the point where I’m kind of turned off if someone comes after me. Making the first move is thrilling and empowering — I feel like I’m taking charge of my body and my sex life.”

Allie, 19, is more risk-averse but hopes to become more confident: “There are so many movie tropes about women waiting for men to initiate — the woman sitting by the phone, or walking around school hoping to be asked to the dance, etc. We are always waiting! But we could be acting!”

Putting yourself out there isn’t always easy, of course. Frances, 20, told me, “I frequently make the first move, but I often feel as if I have to make it into a joke. If a woman asks someone out, she’s taking more of a risk than a man. A man hopelessly in love is adorable; a woman in his place is desperate.”

My female friends who date women say the approach can be completely different. “Girls — whether straight or gay — are often bubbly and kind of flirtatious with one another, even when they’re just friends,” explains Chloe, who identifies as bisexual. “So, when I make a move on a girl, I have to be more explicit. I have to tell her she’s pretty or stroke her hair, whereas with a guy I can just laugh at his jokes.”

At the end of the day, though, Katherine, 20, sums it all up pretty perfectly — “No matter what, if two people are interested in each other, it doesn’t matter too much who makes the first move. One of them will because they really want to!”

Have you made the first move before? All the time? Sometimes? Never? Does the question itself feel antiquated? (Remember this?) I’d love to hear…

P.S. Joanna’s sister’s awesome dating tip, and would you date older?

  1. Apparently I inadvertently made a ‘first move’ on my husband. I first met him a bar with a bunch of friends and I was telling about some band I was going to see later in the week. “They’re so good, you should go see this show!” I enthused. Then I saw him at the band’s show. “Oh wow, it’s so funny running into you again,” I said. Then he responded, “You TOLD me I should come here. Remember?”

  2. Lynea Wilson says...

    Three weeks after meeting him, in a toga on the fourth of July, I looked up through wine-heavy eyelids and said “I’m going to marry the hell out of you.” Three years later I did!

  3. Kirsten says...

    I asked my now husband out for coffee. We had both been attending a spin class for months and running into each other if/when we both went. We would chat for a few minutes and make small talk but it never went anywhere. We were both divorced and he didn’t know if I was single since I never gave any personal details during our chats. I’m beyond grateful that I had the courage to ask. 9 years later – It is still my best decision ever.

  4. Emma says...

    My boyfriend made the first move when we hooked up the first time (by leaning in and saying “I’m gonna do something weird” then kissing me), but six months later when we went on our first official date I asked him out! The other day I found the note on my phone where I wrote out the text and edited it over and over to get it just right. It was kind of cute and embarrassing. We’ve been dating almost two years now!

  5. Hayley says...

    I was all hopped up on bravado after reading this post and was ready to ask my work crush out at work drinks tonight… then I overheard him talking to a colleague about how he has a date with a girl he met at a party few weeks ago. Back to the drawing board I guess.

    • jlhbhat says...

      Shoot! But here’s an idea. On Monday, let him know you had been planning to ask him out, but overheard him saying he had that date, and so didn’t. You can let him know that if that date was a match, then mazel tov. But that if it wasn’t, that you’d like to take him out next. : )

  6. Tracy says...

    As my “How did you meet your husband?” story goes, we spent about 10 minutes chatting after randomly meeting at a bonfire, after which he shook my hand and told me it was nice to meet me. I then said, “So are you single? Do you want my number?” and he quickly spouted, “Yes, you’re very attractive!” We still laugh every time we tell the story.

  7. Chelsea says...

    After taking a two year vow of celibacy, I decided to go out with every guy who had asked me out during those two years. It wasn’t until I took matters into my own hands and asked out the guy I WANTED to go out with when I got what I needed. Love. I’m so glad I asked to get that glass of wine and I’m so glad you said yes. I still can’t wait to hear what you’re going to say next.

    • Nina Nattiv says...

      Oh my goodness, that was so cute I’m crying a little.

  8. Katie says...

    All these women quoted are so young! I wonder if older women continue to make the first move in their dating life, and how that works out for them.

    I waited so long for a boy to ask me out, so my first kiss wasn’t til 20. Lately I am all about making the first move. If I want it, I go for it! That doesn’t necessarily mean it works out long term, though. I think often it just makes it easy for a guy to get a date, when otherwise he might not be willing to put in the effort. I’ve been told I’m very straightforward, but that eliminates the guessing and waiting! If I want a kiss, I’ll ask for one!

  9. I asked to grab coffee with my now fiance! There’s nothing wrong with making the first move at all. I’m SO glad I made that decision!

  10. Maren says...

    “You’re cute, I’m gonna kiss you” is how I made the first move, standing on the patio at a bar after a few too many drinks. It paid off though – 6 years later he asked me to marry him!

  11. Kate says...

    I made the first move on my now husband, 10 years ago this summer. We had gone out, on our first date, and it was just perfect in every way. I kept waiting for him to kiss me, as the night was winding down. Waiting and waiting. I could tell he was waiting for the *perfect* moment before doing it. I am way too impatient for that and so finally went for it. (And it was amazing). He teases me about it a bit but the truth is if I’d known I great it is to kiss him I would have done the same thing hours earlier! Also that night showed so much about both of us, lessons that still hold true now about our personalities (for better or worse, he overthinks and takes forever and I just go for it).

  12. Sasha says...

    I asked my-now husband out 10 years ago when we were both in grad school! I had a crush on him for months, thought he liked me as well, and was getting very very impatient for him to make a move. I asked him to dinner and a movie. We went on what I thought was a great date, but then he did not kiss me at the end of the night, and there was no follow-up anything later. Seeing him around a few days later, and feeling heartbroken, I straight out asked him why nothing ever came of our date. He confessed that he thought I was seeing another person (whom I was sometimes hooking up with). I corrected him on his assumptions, and we started dating. This was my big lesson in (a) just asking people out if you’re interested in them, (b) how your friends-with-benefits and other casual relationships may affect how you’re perceived by potential love interests.

    Also, this is very interesting. http://nypost.com/2017/07/26/i-left-new-york-city-so-i-could-feel-hotter/

  13. Allie says...

    As someone who traditionally makes the first move, I find myself at a cross roads now (and appropriately so)!

    I’ve been going to an acupuncturist on and off for the better part of a year, and quickly our exchanges moved from comfortably formal to appropriately casual, to conversational and then to downright fun! I LOATHE needles, and yet somehow after the first session we dove right into the deep end, talking about politics, religion (or lack thereof), and remarkably he keeps up with my dry sense of humor that many men find above their pay grade (yes, a man has put it in those very words before. Didn’t last beyond that night). Initially I didn’t even notice the dude beyond the needles he was jabbing me with because, in my mind, doctors and personal service providers are off limits and thus a non-starter given the power dynamics at play. Never have I ever wavered on that point. However, about 3 months ago after a couple month hiatus, I came back and was hit with a wave of undeniable chemistry, which persists to this day. As in: can’t stop / won’t stop thinking about this person, what to do, how to do it, etc., to the point where I’ve even tested out a couple new acupuncturists to transition out of his practice.

    I’m nearly 30 and he’s a couple years older (and single), but for someone who has historically never had a problem making the first move, I have no idea what to do here because it seems so far out of left field. I’m old enough to know why/how doctor/patient relationships are problematic, but I’ve also dated enough casually AND been in a couple really special long-term relationships to know that this kind of chemistry doesn’t light up often at all.

    I know what I want to do, but gearing up to do it gives me the middle school feels I haven’t felt in nearly 2 decades. Help a lady out! xx

    • freya says...

      get a new doctor and go for it!

    • Luna GC says...

      Listen to Freya.

      Best wishes :)

    • Jess says...

      Yesss Freya’s right – get it, girl!

    • Anni says...

      I would love to know what happened here…if you want to share!

  14. Claire says...

    My Mom had a lot of rules about dating and one of them was always ‘never call the boy first’. Who knows why. I had a crush on this guy when we were 17 and I called him to confirm he was going to a party I was going to (just left a message – it was the time of answering machines and pagers!). Anyway, he didn’t show up to the party and I remember thinking “damn, Mom’s right about this. I shouldn’t have called him.” it wasn’t monumental, but I remember it shifted the way I interacted with guys for awhile.

    Anyway, we ended up staying in touch (despite the no show at the party) and started dating when we graduated college. I told him I loved him first (my friends were horrifed!) and now we’re going on 8 years of marriage with 3 kids so… I guess it’s what feels right. I don’t regret a second of it. It took the man 6 years to ask me on a date! Who knows how long things would have taken if I had left it up to him!

  15. I made the first move on a guy at a party, when we were up on the roof with a mutual friend, who then conveniently disappeared. My line? “Well, I guess we should make out now.” We’ll be celebrating our third wedding anniversary this fall. :-)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that’s awesome, lindsay.

  16. Megan says...

    I asked my husband out and took him out for a drink in his own city, Berlin, where I was just visiting for the summer. Now we are married with a toddler and twins on the way! Best ever. :)

  17. E says...

    Recently decided to make an official first move and told the guy that I liked that I liked him. We met studying abroad this spring and quickly became close and ended up traveling a lot together, including a secret hiking trip for a week (secret so none of our friends found out and tried to join us). We facetimed our parents together on this trip and everyone, even our professors, made assumptions that we were dating. When I said goodbye to one of our friends, he hugged me and said “invite me to the wedding.”

    Earlier this month he drove 8 hours to see me, brought me gifts, asked to meet my parents, and when I finally told him I’m into him, he said “you live 2 states away, come on”

    so theres that.

  18. Lisa says...

    I used to make the first move, but after a few rough years that have left me with pretty low self-esteem, I wouldn’t do it again. I have even refrained from any kind of dating just because I can’t stand another rejection at the moment. I hope I will be bold enough one day!

  19. Kimberly C says...

    14 months ago I took the biggest leap of faith of my life and told the guy I had liked for months that I had feelings for him. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done! But he was gracious and thankfully he liked me too. A lot actually. We are getting married in three and a half weeks! He said he would have eventually worked up the courage to tell me but I’m glad that I got the ball rolling and that our life together will be officially beginning in a just a few weeks!

  20. Caro says...

    I had a crush on a guy that my friends present to me. One night I was out with those friends and the guy for bowling (exciting I know!). Rignt after, the guy, who was the only one with a car at this time, bring us home. My friends were the first to go so it was only me and my crush. I didn’t think and I said “I don’t want to go home”. He smiled and I didn’t go home that nignt. We are now in our third years of couple life :)

  21. Lisa B says...

    I’m married (made the first move with my husband 25 years ago) and wondering why the need to be “either/or” about making the first move. Surely it is dependent on one’s mood and the vibe of other person whether one makes a move or waits to be pursued???

  22. Cora says...

    I made the first move with my husband. We knew each other in college and I had a huge unrequited crush on him. Years later I got reacquainted with a mutual friend of ours so I asked for his email address and sent him an email. (Yes, this was the early 2000s.) We exchanged email for a few months until I was in his area to visit family. I called and left him a message to see if he wanted to get together. He called back, we went out, talked for hours, and as they say-the rest is history. 11 years and 2 kids later I’m glad I took the chance.

  23. Lynzee says...

    I just made the first move, last week, on a guy I’ve liked for 4 years. He turned me down. I was shattered. Just reaffirms the lesson that “If he likes you, he WILL make a move.”

    Back to the safety net of letting guys make the first move for a while.

    • Patsy says...

      You’re really brave. And, at least now you know for sure. Also, see the many commenters that say they were rejected at first, but went on to romantic success anyway.

    • Sarah says...

      I agree with Patsy! You were brave! And when the sting wears off, you should feel proud! And as someone who has in the past also spent years holding an unrequited torch for someone, perhaps now you have set yourself free to open your heart to someone more appreciative (and therefore worthy!) of your affection!

  24. Ellen W. says...

    My last semester of college I was nursing a (seriously) broken heart and I realized that I was about to be “out in the world” without ever having asked anyone out before. I resolved to do it before graduating and about a week later a mutual friend introduced me to this tall, handsome, goofy guy. I basically had that moment from Wayne’s World where I turned to the camera and said “you will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine!” After a couple of weeks and some flirty e-mails and conversations here and there we were at a party and at the end of the night I asked if he and I could, uh, “hang out.” The way he immediate replied of “yes!” still makes me smile- and so does he. We’ve been together for twelve years, married for five, and I never got/had to ask out anyone else again. Which is sort of unfortunate because it turns out, ladies! it’s easier and more fun than we ever thought!

  25. Franzi says...

    After three years of waiting, I took a heart. I picked a box of ice cream and went to a good friends home I had a crush on. I said something like: “Let’s make your evening a bit sweeter…” He thanked me, took the ice cream and closed the door.
    Hm?!

  26. Karen says...

    I never asked anyone out, but my now-husband is nine years younger than me and very sweet and reserved. I decided I didn’t want to be a lady-in-waiting, like so many others I know who wait patiently until their boyfriends do or don’t propose. On a romantic trip we took together six months after we met, I proposed, and after he got over his shock, he accepted! We just celebrated six happy years together. I think the key is not only knowing whether you are the “type” to propose to a man (I wasn’t!), but who the partner is. Mine is a shy Scandinavian; in his very egalitarian culture, men and women might live together for decades, even have children together, without ever marrying. I knew that it might just never occur to him to propose, even if he did feel about me as I felt about him. So I just clenched my teeth, kept the butterflies in my stomach in check, and asked. Without a doubt, the best decision I ever made. The worst that could happen is that he’d have said no, and then at least I’d know where I stood!.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how wonderful, karen! i really love your story. how did you propose? were you at dinner? xoxo

    • Karen says...

      When I consulted with my best friend beforehand, she suggested I ask him at dinner at a nice restaurant, but it felt a little too conventional for the unconventional thing I was about to do. I decided to wait until we took a day trip to see some sites (we were in Iceland), and proposed against the dramatic backdrop of an ice-encrusted waterfall! I was so, so nervous the moment before, when I realized he might well say no. Some risks are worth taking!

  27. Yep! My husband and I were set up my mutual friends, but he thought I was so way out of his league that we almost stalled in the friend zone. I took matters into my own hands after watching “Stranger than Fiction” on his futon and kissed him.

  28. Alyssa says...

    I went to an all-girls high school, so I got pretty used to making the first move to ensure I had a prom date!
    The trend somewhat continued in college, for coffee dates and asking for numbers, etc, but it sort of felt like an even playing field since the boys were doing the asking as well. It never ceases to surprise me just how flattered men are to be asked out by women. And, it sets the tone for how the relationship will go. I have opinions, dude! You’re gonna hear them!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “I have opinions, dude! You’re gonna hear them!” = yes! :)

  29. Alexa says...

    The very first time I met my now-husband of almost 8 years, I just had a feeling about him. We had a great conversation at a very crowded, very loud bar. After we parted ways, I texted his best friend: “You should have (Husband) call me.” He did. We’ve been together 11 years. I sure am glad I sent that text.

  30. Sooooooo…..In a completely out of character move, I decided to pinch the butt of my crush, in a crowded bar……while he was on a DATE with another lady. Needless to say I was MORTIFIED, but somehow he was flattered, and now we’ve been married for four years. I guess there’s a first (and last!) time for everything.

    Sidebar: I Really wish I could add emojis to this submission.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i love that, mary!

    • Nina Nattiv says...

      I did that once about 20 years ago. Most embarrassing moment of my life. He just stared at me in shock and I turned around, walked out the door, and into a cab. We still know each other, we’re both married with kids, I still want to die of shame every time I see him.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, nina! i’m laughing and cringing so much right now over your comment. so so funny.

  31. I feel like I only make the first move when I have an 80% feeling he won’t turn me down. I’ve done it where I have literally just approach a guy and say what’s up, or ask them to dance. Usually half the time their into it, but I think of it as “well guys do this all the time, how hard could it be”? It’s actually pretty hard but the more I do it, the more I’m comfortable with myself.

    I think it’s weird for my generation to even do anything face to face nowadays. I’ve asked a few guy friends and the idea of them approaching a woman at a bar and asking for their number is crazy to them. *sighs*

    I’m meant to be in the generation before mine.

  32. I’ve never been scared to make the first move, but I do feel like there’s a weird dynamic to the relationship when the woman makes the first move. Like, I never felt like I had the upper hand after that, you know? Could also be that I was like 16 and dating a guy in high school though, haha!

    My husband made all the first moves in our relationship, which worked fine for me!

  33. I never understood why guys I considered “just friends” ended up falling for me while I fretted over “unattainable” crushes that never knew my existence. It took YEARS to realize that it’s because guys fell in the bold, confident, authentic person I usually am. Not the awkward, nervous, self-doubting girl I became around crushes. I decided to try it out and approached my big crush as confidently as I would a friend. I asked him to hang out, and we’re still hanging out – 6 years and 2 babies later.

    • Heather says...

      This is fascinating and so self-aware.

  34. Oja says...

    I’m generally a shy person and allowed others to make the first move, but in my mid thirties I realized that I needed to start asking out men I was interested in if I wanted a relationship. I had 2 great boyfriends that I made the first move on. Then I made the first move on the man who is now my dreamboat husband and papa to our two children. He is the kindest man I’ve ever known. And on a more superficial note, he is a beautiful 6’3″ triathlete and surgeon. ;)

    • E says...

      This gives me hope that I can still date and meet someone at 32. : /

  35. Corinne says...

    I never made the first move until my fiancé. Good thing, since we had worked in the same office for five years. He thought I was cute but I didn’t remember meeting him. I had met about 100 people that day! I asked him to go out for lunch after we chatted at a happy hour and our work holiday party. He was confused as to whether it was supposed to be professional or personal but thankfully he asked me out on our first official date afterwards! We are getting married in three and a half weeks!

  36. Stephanie says...

    I have always been a relentless flirt when I like someone, male or female. ‘The helpless girl biding her time, hoping her crush would reciprocate’ was a boring trope I ignored. Case in point:
    The origin story for my marriage has become the stuff of legend and I honestly love it. My senior year of college, at my birthday party, after a number of drinks, I decide to inform my crush that I am (to quote Ron Burgundy) “kind of a big deal”. I repeat this line multiple times throughout the night, along with the edict that “a lot of people are into me”. I was all the ingredients of Drunk Asshole at the Party, except that she had been pining after me as well. We’ve been together a decade and married four years next month. She admits that we probably would have spent a lot longer as just friends if I hadn’t made that move, sloppy as it was.

  37. Laura says...

    This reminds me of a recent post by Man Repeller about playing hard to get, but I think it applies to making the first move as well:

    “I don’t believe in mind games… But I do advocate developing a confident and detached style of dating… Detachment is the most important (and difficult) skill to master in dating. You move from a mindset of ‘Pick me!’ to ‘Are you good enough for me?,’ and you move from being chosen (passive) to being the chooser (active).”

    • Kate says...

      Yes, I like this!

  38. Jami says...

    I made the first move on my husband and we’re both pretty dang happy with the result. I think it is important to recognize the double standard for initiation and just do what feels right!

  39. I have never asked someone out and let me tell you it has led to some mighty sloowwww starts to relationships! It just isn’t in my nature to be so forward as to initiate the “firsts”. The most I ever did was suggest a casual hangout, like “let’s meet up before/after work” or “let’s go to lunch” etc. and then basically left it up to the guy to take it from there. Sometimes they need a nudge :)

  40. Renee Estrada says...

    This post is sooo relatable. I was in a relationship for 5 years, up until last year. After the breakup I’d go out with friends, see some cute guys, but be a slightly disappointed that I didn’t talk to them. After chatting with a friend, she was like “you have nothing to lose, they do. If they don’t wanna hang out, their loss.” So then I decided, fuck it, men are cowards, so if I want to get anywhere I’ll do it myself. Now, I make the first move all the time. I will say that the first time I approached this guy solo (not through text, app, or with ‘wing women’) was so cringe-worthy. I saw this super cute guy across this crowded and loud dive bar, and just decided I’m gonna go ask for his number. So I walk up to him, say something like “how’s your night going,” then running out of things to say, I asked “so you live around here?” which is pretty creepy in retrospect, but striking up random conversation is hard! As we finally get talking, a coworker of mine comes up, and is like “heyyyyyyy girrrrrrl!” interrupting the conversation and effectively killing whatever flow we had going. Still determined, after my coworker left, I asked for his number, and I remember being completely shocked when he gave it to me. We only went out a few times, but I’ll never forget how proud of myself I was when I got his number. I was literally beaming.

  41. Rachel says...

    Yes, I have! And so far, it seems like it was a good idea.
    Saw this guy almost every day for weeks on the way to work, we walked in opposite directions and crossed paths and chatted for maybe 15 seconds each morning. I eventually asked him to a party I was throwing. Then, after he said he’d love to come, we introduced ourselves.
    After the party he disappeared for a while and I thought, well, we’re neighbors and will most likely cross paths again, so let’s give this one more shot. I sent him a quick note through the mail (I was 98% sure I knew which building was his) and a week later, I got a letter back.
    We’ve been spending some time together on and off for the past few months, and I have to say, I’m glad I went for it. Whatever happens.

  42. Chris says...

    After much prodding from my friends, I asked a guy that I had been crushing on for years on a group sort-of date/hangout. At one point during the night, as he and I were eating and talking, I SPIT on his face. In my memory, the events play in slow motion. A ball of white spit cannon-balling out of my lips, landing on his cheek, him blinking as it makes contact, him being very polite and not mentioning it or wiping his cheek. The memory still makes me cringe years later. Anyways, it was obvious the crush was one-sided and nothing ever happened. I don’t think we ever really talked after that night.

  43. Patsy says...

    This is so timely for me! I just asked out a guy for the first time by stalking him online and finding his work email (which I know borders on inappropriate). I had met him a week ago in my friend’s backyard and had an amazing conversation, the kind that I hadn’t had in 10 years. When he walked me out to my car, he asked me what I was doing later that night and I, like the nerd I am, answered that I was making jam. After knocking my head on my steering wheel a few times, I asked my friend for his number. She refused, saying it was inappropriate, but reluctantly said she’d pass on my number (and claiming that was going “out on a limb”) . With the encouragement from other friends I found his (publicly available) email and emailed him last night. He responded this morning with his phone number and an invitation to trivia. Wherever this ends up, this is a win for me and my assertiveness, though I am disappointed in the friend.

    • KB says...

      uh, your friend is super lame.

    • Laura says...

      Lol @ making jam… not that there is anything wrong with that.

    • Patsy says...

      Thanks for your support, ladies. This friend is a practicing Buddhist and meditation teacher, but I think she may have a blindspot when men come into the picture. And, yeah! Jam! He actually asked me a couple of follow-up questions about jam, so he must like me a little bit ;-)

    • E says...

      Ditch the friend. Keep the dude.

    • Sarah says...

      Hmm, is it possible your friend is interested in this man also and didn’t want to say? Or otherwise feels an ownership of him? I could see not handing out someone’s number I suppose but reluctance to passing your info to him seems very odd!

  44. I’d say that the happiest I’ve ever been in a relationship was when I made the first move! Because there was never any question or wishy-washiness that THAT person was who I wanted to be with. When other people ask me out, I normally feel super hesitant and it takes a while for me to come around to the idea of seriously dating them.

  45. Tara says...

    I made the move on the person who ended up being my husband! We met our freshman year of college as part of a group of friends. I never really thought of him in a romantic way…he was cute and nice, but he was my friend. Our senior year, one of my friends suggested we’d make a cute couple, and after I thought about it, I started to actually have a crush on him. Nothing ever happened during college, but we kept in touch on AIM (you know, AOL instant messenger…HA). And the February following graduation, us and our group of friends met up at a bar. After taking back a few drinks (purposely…I knew I was going to make a move that night), I walked up to him while he was at the bar, and told him I wanted to kiss him. And he was like – sure, ok…HAHA. This makes me laugh typing it out. And this sloppy make-out session happened in front of our friends, and apparently, some of his family was there too. Eek! But it was the best decision I ever made. We’ve been married six years now, and have two beautiful sons. :)

  46. Hailey Junod says...

    I was never very forward and ALWAYS waited for men to ask me out.
    That is, until I met Daniel. The night we met, our mutual friends were playing pool at a local brewery and we completely abandoned them to talk to one another. I asked him if he had plans the next day and when he said no, I actually grabbed his phone and put my number in it.
    The next day when our date was about to end, I asked him if he was going to take me home. When he mistook that for me asking him if he was going to drop me off soon, I grabbed his arm and looked him directly in the eyes and said
    “No, I meant will YOU be taking me home.”
    I had never been bold like that before. I had also never felt anything like the pull towards him in my entire life.
    Over three years later and learning how shy he can be, I am beyond glad I did it.

  47. Kelly says...

    I’ve almost always made the first move. I’m pretty impatient, so sitting around waiting to be asked out seemed like a ridiculous game that I had no interest in playing. I was introduced to my husband by a mutual friend. I thought he was cute and immediately expressed interest to our friend and asked him to arrange another outing. I don’t think my friend realized that I meant like, right now, not three weeks from now. Annoyed, I took matters into my own hands and looked my crush up on MySpace (super cool, i know) and sent him a message asking him out. That was eleven years ago, and he still talks about how he thought that was very bold and confident and a little intimidating, apparently qualities he liked.

    • Claudia says...

      Oh Kelly I’m with you on being impatient about sitting around and waiting. My therapist says I like to seduce and charm the other one, but I need to allow the other person to do that too, so I may have to learn how to wait a little bit… allowing the other to take matters in his own hands. And it’s so haaaaarrdddd!

  48. Margaret says...

    I was raised by very traditional, Southern parents who drilled into their daughters that young ladies were meant to be more passive while allowing the young men to be initiators. Being naturally more reserved around strangers anyway, I didn’t date at all until my junior year of college… after studying abroad in Europe, I lost a lot of my inhibitions surrounding casual dating and had a pretty wild and flirty senior year, although I still wasn’t one to make the first move. Luckily for me, I typically didn’t have to do so (many college guys are brazen, particularly when intoxicated), but I’ve regretted holding back my feelings for close male friends since it seemed like a lot more stood on the line at the time.

    I’ve just moved to Sweden for graduate school and the vibe here is so, so different – most men are raised to allow women to take the lead in dating and flirting, lest the guys’ behavior come across as unwelcome harassment. This makes so much sense to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and get on my inner sex goddess, but MAN is it tough to overcome the old habits drilled into me growing up! 90% of the time, however, being bolder has paid off – and once you’ve been shut down a few times, the occasional “no” gets so much easier. :)

    • Heather says...

      Good for you, Margaret!! I was raised in the South, too, and I know exactly what you’re talking about. :-) Sadie Hawkins dance, anyone?

    • Stacey says...

      Oh my gah, Sadie Hawkins! I hated that dance every year. It never got easier. One year I even went with a girl friend to sidestep the awkwardness.

  49. Lauren E. says...

    I had a huge crush on this guy at work and was so sure he’d been checking me out, too. Empowered by many gin and tonics at the office Christmas party I told him I’d always had a crush on him, and he admitted he walked by my office multiple times a day, even if it was out of his way. Then we made out. It didn’t work out, but it still makes for my best meet-cute-story!

  50. J. says...

    I’m pretty firmly in the “waiting for the guy to ask” camp. I have friends who insist that asking a guy out is empowering — but I often see them pursuing guys and getting little out of it, and ending up feeling like they are chasing someone around who’s not interested. While dating, I got to a point in my mid-20s where I felt like “if I have to ask, the answer’s no, or at least not an enthusiastic-enough yes.” I found it much more fulfilling to live my life, develop strong friendships and do things I enjoyed, and respond to whoever approached me in whatever way I felt like responding. To me having to ask a guy out is just another thing I have to take care of, as tho women don’t already handle enough! (For example – if a man wants a biological child, some woman somewhere has to gestate the baby and birth the baby and that’s not changing anytime soon, no matter how much equality we achieve.)

    • Sarah says...

      You know, I love the idea of taking initiative, and I think there is nothing wrong with a woman making the move. However, I found that I spent years being interested in men who gave me a little attention, but never were truly interested in me (meanwhile I inadvertently ignored a few nice shy men who were trying to show me their interest and I was too dense to notice.) I decided to change my approach and started only considering men who showed a clear interest in me. With online dating in the PNW, I decided that I’d only go out with men who at least had the initiative to ask me to meet up! I wanted to be the one choosing, not the one always hoping. (FWIW, this seemed to weed out the passive “Portland” guys). I think for me to change my luck I needed to change my approach. It worked for me—I’m now living with a sweet, lovely man who never never makes me wonder how he feels about me. I love reading all these stories about asking the man out though—I think sometimes we need different tactics to attract the right one!

  51. I’m in my late 30s and in college, I asked a guy out— albeit via email. It was nerve-wracking, and I selfishly kinda wish he had asked me. That said, that same guy is my husband of 16 years now and I’m very glad I asked :)

  52. I not only asked my guy out when we first met, I was also the one to propose! We’ve been together 15 years now. I think it boils down to: I’m impatient, and he’s extremely patient.

  53. Abby says...

    Adorable story!

    I’m your typical shy and introverted Midwesterner but I did make the first move once! At work, I had just given my resignation notice and was feeling particularly empowered. As I was leaving the cafeteria that afternoon, I struck up a quick conversation with a cute red-headed boy…giving him a hard time for buying a sugar-laden coffee drink (I’m a dietitian ;). When I left work that day, still feeling pretty giddy, I left my business card on his car…without a second thought. I scratched “I owe you a drink for giving you a hard time about your coffee” on the back with my cell number. I didn’t even know his name, let alone if he was married, dating, or single. Much to my surprise, he called me the next day! We’ve now been together over 3 years (much of which was long-distance) and are getting married this November. I guess it paid off to be feeling “ballsy” that day!

  54. June says...

    I made the first move with my now husband! After meeting him I had the strongest feeling that I HAD to talk to him again, so I just asked. I distinctly remember thinking if I keep doing the same thing (waiting for them to ask me out) I’ll keep getting the same thing (disappointing dates) plus that whole “do one thing that scares you everyday” thing.

    Hands down, asking him out was the best thing I ever did, he’s my best friend and we’re expecting our first baby this fall!

  55. Courtney Hayes says...

    This is interesting! I am curious why the women mentioned in the post are all around the age of 20. I’d be interested to hear from a wider age audience about this topic.

    • patricia blaettler says...

      I’m 60. I bought my husband a beer when I was 32. We’ve been married 28 years and have 3 kids.
      I was sitting at a bar with my sister and I said “I need to find a husband”. She pointed at him and said “He’s pretty cute”. The rest is history.

    • Heather says...

      Patricia!! I love this story!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes, we can definitely do more posts on this topic and other dating topics! Since all my friends and I are in our thirties, and I generally have written most of the dating posts until this point, we’ve had lots of reader requests for posts by twentysomethings and college students. So we were happy to hear from Diana and her college friends. But we’d love to do more with other ages! Thanks so much xoxo

  56. Tricia says...

    I made the first move yesterday for the first time… at the swings at the playground, asking a nanny if she’s available for evening babysitting! We had a lovely chat and things seemed to be heading that way… so I went for it and asked for her number. We both laughed afterward about how finding friends and babysitters at the playground feels a bit like dating. It had that same nervous feeling!

    • s says...

      hahahahahahaha – this is the best. been there and it totally feels like dating!

  57. I made the first move on my boyfriend of 3+ years – at the time he worked as a bartender, and I ended up giving him my number on a napkin! It wasn’t completely random – we had mutual friends and had met once or twice before and I was definitely into him, but one of my friends mistakenly told me he had a girlfriend. When I found out months later that she was wrong (idiot), I gave him my number the next time I was at the bar where he worked. At the time it felt like such a scary and embarrassing thing to do, but who knows when, if ever, we would have gotten together if I hadn’t taken the risk.

  58. TNelly says...

    A man hopelessly in love is adorable; a woman in his place is desperate. THIS! btw…I have never made the first move,

    • Heather says...

      A man hopelessly in love can also be desperate!!! I had a guy in grad school I dated for about 10 minutes pursue me for the next three years. I told him over and over again that I was not interested. He would wait outside my building to walk me to class, and made dramatic, public displays that made other women swoon (i.e., leaving me flowers at my desk, singing a song for me at karaoke night), but it made me extremely uncomfortable and even angry, as I actually did not want to be in the place of having to turn someone down over and again. Rejection is a painful thing, even for the one doing the rejecting. I can still see his pleading face and it still gives me the creeps and is not adorable AT ALL.

      I think it’s mean and degrading to tell a woman who makes the first move that she looks desperate simply because she makes the first move – as well as disparaging to lesbians everywhere. Women who make the first move can definitely be adorable. My now husband was so shy, and also assumed I was way out of his league. I approached him at parties multiple times, and I could tell he liked me, but he didn’t ask me out. When I finally asked him out, he was surprised and said, “Me?!”

    • Kirsten says...

      This is so overly simplistic and degrading to women. A guy friend warned me about asking my (now) husband out. He said if he really wanted to ask me out, he would have and that men like the chase. I told him “Any man who is put off by me asking him out isn’t a man I want to date”. Turns out my husband was trying to read if I was single and is shy. Hands down the best decision of my life.

    • emmanuella says...

      Oh God. I couldn’t disagree more! Any guy who has been hopelessly in love with me has come across as desperate. I don’t think gender applies here at all.

  59. Emily says...

    16 years ago my friend and I went to a beach north of Boston for a day to relax. I had just been through a tumultuous breakup. We were reading the NYTimes and playing scrabble and swimming in the frigid Atlantic when 50 yards away a group of young men set up for the day. They were surfing and having fun. One of them in particular caught my eye and I could tell I caught his eye, also. All day we traded looks. I could tell he was watching me and he could tell I was watching him. Finally my friend and I packed up to leave and had to pass their blankets on the way to my car. I said hello to all of them, looking directly at him. He did a double take and his friend motioned for him to stand up. I said hello a second time, somewhat sarcastically b/c at this point it was getting ridiculous. Minutes later he appeared at my vehicle while I was packing the trunk and my friend ran to get us waters. I asked him for his number. I called him the next afternoon. We went out two nights later and we have been married for 13 years. He didn’t want to make me uncomfortable by pursuing me at the beach and likely wouldn’t have said hello if I hadn’t. In three weeks, we’ll go on our annual family vacation to the same beach, stand in the spot where we first met, and morbidly embarrass our nine year old by re-enacting the whole scene. Say hello to strangers! You never know what will happen.

  60. Anne says...

    My fiancé chased me for almost a year before I finally agreed to date him, but once we were together, I knew right away that that was it. We’d only been together for maybe 6 weeks before I told him I loved him…to which he responded with panicked eyes and a slow indrawn breath. I was like, “That’s okay! We can put that away for now!” Haha I don’t know where I got the confidence from, but I KNEW he loved me, and I also knew he needed time to be able to say it, so somehow I wasn’t even hurt or embarrassed. Fast-forward half a decade, and we’re getting married in just over a month! So my faith paid off.

  61. lulu says...

    In general, I’ve tended to make the first move. I even proposed to my husband of 7 years (after five weeks of knowing each other…and neither of us really believing in marriage). Part of that is I’m an Aquarius and I dislike games and “the chase”. I tend to be blunt and say I’m interested when I am. However, I’ve allowed people to make the first move, but I find that in 99% of those cases, I’m humoring them and hoping there will be a connection when usually there isn’t. Big However! There is nothing sexier than an individual with an easy confidence (no douchebaggery) making the first move- I just haven’t experienced much of it.

  62. Ceridwen says...

    I made the first meeting on my husband and he turned me down! Man, I was so shattered and got in the taxi so fast. Heartbroken. But he came back to make amends a few days later. He began making the moves and asked me on a proper date. 18 years later, we are still together and in love big time. So it didn’t matter in the end….

  63. Haha in middle school, when we first started having ‘school dances’, I took matters into my own hands and asked a boy from my neighbourhood to the dance, which was unheard of! The other girls gasped because I broke the social code of girls waiting on boys to be asked to the dance, and I did this not once or twice, but countless times! But I still thank myself to this day for not abiding by those rules- it’s made me fearless and I think has improved my ‘real’ dating life. I’ve never felt swayed by what other people think of my choices, and I’ve learned to follow my instinct, rather than feeling restricted by any invisible rules (which just DON’T exist, however hard people try to convince you they do!!).

    This was such a fab article- thank you!!!

  64. Sarah says...

    Fascinating! I live (and grew up) in Germany and I don’t think this would even be an issue worth writing about over here. I’ve never thought about who would make the first move nor that it would be ‘brave/unusual’ for me to take this step. MIght be a cultural thing!

  65. Simone says...

    I made the first move with my boyfriend of 3 years. We had been friends for so long, then about a month after he broke up with his ex he was over at mine before I went overseas for 5 weeks. All day I had this strong voice in my head ‘ I’m going to kiss him tonight’ and I did! Best thing I ever did (and if it turned out to be a mistake at least I wasn’t going to be around for 5 weeks)

  66. Let me preface this by saying I am a bold person in most things, but NEVER in dating. About a year ago I was encourage to try making the first move. A few weeks passed and I met a new guy named Sam at church so I decided to invite him over for lunch. He stayed for 10 HOURS. These saga meals and conversations continued so we decided to take a trip to NYC from Boston.
    After 3 wild NYC days (and a first kiss that I initiated on the boats in central park), I asked, “Should we start dating?” and he said, “Yes.” Fast forward 8 weeks later and he proposed while on a family vacation.

    We are now married and I’ve never been happier. I am so glad I listened to those wise words and invited him to dinner! He was my best investment of 2016 and I feel like the luckiest person everyday. He was definitely worth all the effort and initial agony of asking. Anyways, MAKE THE MOVE! MAKE THE MOVE! MAKE THE MOVE! MAKE THE MOVE! MAKE THE MOVE!

  67. Laura C. says...

    I kissed a guy after having a drink together, we had been sort of flirting for a couple of weeks. We are together since then, 12 years next October.
    Anyway I want to reply every single comment to say how awesome your stories are, ladies!

  68. I have. It didn’t work out, but not because I made the first move (i hope).

  69. I have to say that I do not agree that a man hopelessly in love is adorable. In college, there was a particular guy who seemed to be hopelessly in love with me. He got drunk and told me the type of engagement ring he wanted to buy me (before we’d even been on a date!) and I found it totally pathetic and off-putting. :(

    • Margaret says...

      I have to agree with you here – as someone who’s been on the receiving end of the “hopelessly in love” guys quite a few times, it’s nauseating. But I feel like our culture at large finds it far more acceptable and “cute” for a guy to be behaving in such a way (rom coms are a perfect example of this), whereas the woman who pines for years, waiting by the phone, is portrayed as desperate or foolish. (And God forbid she take matters into her own hands and make the first move!)

  70. Stephanie says...

    I’ve become more comfortable with it, thanks to age, Bumble, and a growing emphasis on female empowerment in American culture. In the end, when I start to get anxious about making the first move, I always wind up asking myself, “who the f*** cares?”

    I want to be the girl brave enough to ask a guy out; I’m the only person stopping myself from being her.

  71. Elizabeth says...

    Have spent the last year and a half working up the courage to tell my best friend that I like him; we’ve danced around it for a while, so something more direct than just asking him out is in order. We have dinner planned for next week, though, so reading through these comments to build up some courage (and, hopefully, good luck!).

    • lauren says...

      good luck! :)

    • best of luck darling!

  72. Liz says...

    I asked my first boyfriend to prom in high school. I’m pretty sure I remember it all coming out as one long word and I turned bright red and sweaty, but that relationship was awesome while it lasted. Unfortunately other times making the first move haven’t gone so well and I’ve grown very shy of rejection, which gets me nowhere.

  73. Rachael says...

    I was watching my ex-boyfriend play at a festival when I noticed the guitar player and thought, my god he is hot! 2 weeks later I saw him at a local bar, bought him a jug of beer and introduced myself. 8 years later we are still together and very happy. And it’s all thanks to my ex!

  74. Kathleen says...

    When I first met my husband, I asked him out. We’ve been married 41 years, have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.

  75. ALI says...

    I always turn to another female friend for their intuitive thoughts so I would definitely prefer to ask out how I feel would be a good fit than rely on a guy working out if I am a good fit for him! ;)

    My intuition was much better than my husband’s – I literally knew I was in love with my husband the minute I met him – true love at first sight. We worked together and when I asked later if he felt love at first sight too and told me he didn’t even remember meeting me because ‘all the graduates look the same’ – I was one of only 2 female graduates!

    After finally making a move on him (while very, very intoxicated) we have now been married 4 years and my husband thanks me OFTEN for having the guts (and foresight) to know we would be good together :)

    • Sarah says...

      Oh this is so funny and interesting! I think I give very good intuitive advice to my friends but I think I’ve been rather rubbish at knowing who was a good fit for me in love! Luckily I think I figured it out but my guy knew before I did ;)

  76. Alex says...

    I made the first move with my first boyfriend in highschool. My husband picked me up at a bar. Everything inbewteen is a blur.

  77. Margaret says...

    This is so timely, as I’m recently out of a long term relationship that started in college and now faced with dating for the first time ever, really. Just the other day I texted a friend to say I had met a cute guy and she asked if I had gotten his number…I didn’t even consider asking him! I’m nervous about seeming too forward and VERY nervous about feeling rejected. It really is silly to think like this, but that’s my reality!

  78. Naila Hanak says...

    Every boyfriend I’ve had I made the first move. My last semester of undergrad there was a guy who was smart and confident in my modern satire class. After looking him up on Facebook, I made sure to happen to bump into him at the campus coffee shop before class, wearing a concert tee from a band I knew we both would wear. I started the conversation “Hey aren’t you in my class? And I think I’ve seen you at (insert college bar name here)”. He played it cool, but we both made an effort to meet at that bar the next weekend. 7 years later we got married (this past June!). I always joke that if I hadn’t made the first move we never would have spoken, and I’m so glad we did! I hope that more and more women feel empowered to get out of their comfort zone and start a conversation with someone they’re interested in!

  79. Michelle says...

    Almost 30 years ago, I asked a guy out. The first & only time. We’ve been together ever since.

    It was a pretty nerve wracking thing for me to do and I still hear from friends who are afraid to “make the first move”.

  80. Anna says...

    When I was 22 I realised I was in love with one of my male friends and made the decision to tell him. So I did. It felt like such a scary huge risk at the time because I had no idea how he felt and I didn’t want to lose our friendship. As it turned out he DID feel the same way but had been too scared to make the first move. We’re still together fifteen years on, married, with a wonderful 10 year old!

  81. Ingrid Morimoto says...

    I was in LA with my boss/friend for a conference. We took a Lyft out to one of the touristy spots and started conversing with the driver. He and my boss and another collegue were deep into a discussion on education, travel and living a purposeful life (Lyft drivers really are the best! ). I was sitting in the front not really chiming in but just sitting back and enjoying the conversation. Once we arrived to our destination, my boss explained that what she really had been trying to do the whole time was play matchmaker with the driver and I! Once she explained, I figured she was right, this really was a cute and insightful person that I should have talked to. Wanting to connect but not knowing how, I started to look for the best way to do this ( we hadn’t exchange contact info). And then it hit me, the app that I had just used must have his contact info! I actually used the (Lost something) option Lyft has and sent him my number! I figured, why not? When he then returned my text, I told him that I was going to be in LA for a few more days and if he was interested in visiting a National Park with me. When he said yes, I was beyond ecstatic! I’m a hopless romantic and a real storyteller (so I think it came from wanting to tell a great story, lol). We actually ended up going to a National Park that was beautiful but where we were both dehydrated and tired AF by the end of it all. It didn’t end in a happily ever after, but I’m glad that I took that chance(even if it seems outrageous on the verge of creepy to some!) :p

  82. I definitely have made a lot of first moves (including my now-husband – thank goodness for that!) – but one thing that still bothers me thinking back is this attitude I got from some of the guys post-first move or being the first to open up about how I was feeling…the sense that since I did so, that I cared more and if it didn’t work out (which many of them didn’t) that I must be super devastated. I think why it still bothers me is the messed up assumptions and sexism that often come with flipping gender norms.

    • Margaret says...

      THIS. 1,000 times yes – part of the reason why I’ve been so reluctant to say “I love you” first, or at least be open and honest with how I’m feeling. Have been burned many a time immediately afterwards, when said guy panics and assumes I have more to lose.

    • emmanuella says...

      Yup. Guys have totally assumed I must’ve been devastated. Joke’s on them though. I can move on faster than a jet on a runway.

  83. Kim says...

    I used to be shy, but over time I became very open with what I wanted. When I met my husband, it was immediate attraction. I was incredibly persistent. I had to convince him our age gap was not a problem. We’re married, with two kids and we couldn’t be happier. I’m ever so happy I didn’t let him go.

  84. Anna says...

    Love the site, but feel a little conflicted seeing this as a topic… To me it feels vaguely unfeminist in 2017 to frame this as an ‘unusual/ out there/ blog worthy’ event. Waiting for a guy to choose a woman arcs back (in my mind at least) to when women were selected by males (father, to-be spouse) based on protecting property and family names, and women were to sit quietly and be grateful for their fate. Acknowledging making the first move today as something other than totally normal feels like it fuels this leftover sentiment. Am I being overly sensitive? Cultural difference maybe? I’m not from the US and would love to hear your thoughts!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, we were talking lately in the office about how it’s SO surprising that in 2017, people still feel bound by old-school dating norms. in every other aspect of life, we’ve come so far. diana acknowledges this in her piece. definitely agree with you that it’s troublesome that this is still an issue — but i think it definitely is!

    • Kristin says...

      Completely agree, Anna.

    • Heather says...

      I was actually just talking to a friend yesterday about how the cultural norm of the man being the pursuer, of it being romantic for a guy to be persistent even after having been turned down, all contributes to – at best – resistance to a culture of consent – and at worst contributes to rape culture. I am sensitive to how extreme of a leap it is to go from “the guy is the natural pursuer” to “rape culture,” but I do believe it’s foundational. My friend and I were having this conversation because we both have little kids and want to find kid-friendly movies that portray healthy romance – romance that doesn’t involve a guy gradually wearing down a girl’s refusals or coyness, and doesn’t make a girl think for a second that she should ever, ever say no when she means yes in order to be appealing to a guy. If any one has any movie suggestions please share!! As for this post itself, maybe a different title? Instead of “would you ever…” as if it’s some big deal perhaps, “never be afraid to make the first move!” Or something else more affirming, less incredulous or doubtful.

  85. Leigh says...

    You’re not alone! Making a move NEVER worked for me either. I did it a lot. And it more often than not worked – with a couple long (1 -3 year) relationships. But in the end with all of those guys I felt like I was always having to work to keep the attention, to keep the interest going. If he wasn’t interested enough to ask me out, I realized, it wasn’t likely that he was going to be interested enough to put in the effort required for the long haul. Which is another way to say, “they weren’t that into me.” My now husband definitely made the first move and it was a breath of fresh air.

    • J. says...

      Completely agree!

    • Stacey says...

      Yes to Leigh! I was super into a guy for a couple of years, waiting on him to do something … anything! Meanwhile, I’m manipulating “run-ins” to catch his attention or give him opportunity to act. It was exhausting. I met my now husband a few years later and he was very direct and straightforward about his intentions and feelings for me and I often describe meeting him as a “breath of fresh air.” I much prefer being pursued.

    • Kate says...

      This has been my experience, too. To all the commenters who have said they made the first move, bravo, I applaud your bravery, life is too short not to say what you want. But after a number of years with a man who did not know what he wanted, who could have made a lot more effort, who was afraid to be alone more than he really wanted me, I was really not up for that again. Eventually I met my fiance, who knows himself, knew he was looking for a partner, and is a great communicator. I’m sure there are lots of great men out there who are shy about making the first move, but that is not who I needed.

    • Sarah says...

      Yep, me too. reading through these comments, it sounds like there is no surefire approach. I love all of these stories where she made the first move and now they are happily ever after, but I agree it seems like SO MANY men are now SO unsure of what they want, don’t want to commit, want to keep their options open, whatever it is. For me, finding a man who did know what he wants and was interested enough to make the first move was a game changer.

  86. brianna says...

    Yes. I never would have been on a date if I hadn’t made the first move (twice).

  87. At a New Years eve party in 2007, I saw a cute boy that I didn’t really talk to all night, until at 11:59 I walked over and gave him a new years kiss. TOTALLY out of character. We’ve been together for almost 10 and married for 3 years now.

    • Jen says...

      I love this so much

  88. Allie says...

    I asked out my now finance for our first date. After an initial happenstance meeting followed by quasi-stalking him / making a point to attend a few mutual friends events, I asked him out. Via Facebook. And he said yes. Bold ladies for the win!

    • Katherine says...

      My now finance (I know you mean fiance- congrats!) made me lol! Darn autocorrect :D

  89. Ling Ling says...

    Yes! I asked my husband to our grad school Christmas party. First guy I ever asked out and dated. Knew he was the one. It’s funny because he was too nervous to ask me out and we liked each other for months, each telling ourselves that we were aiming too high. We will be married five years this September. :)

  90. shannon says...

    I gave my now-husband my business card (I was working as a receptionist when we met) and asked him to email me…but then it was up to him to do the emailing. It was a nice halfway point where we both had to make a move :)

  91. Ramona says...

    We met in high school. He was working in the bookstore. We chatted a few times and then I asked him if he wanted my phone number. Before he could say yes or no, I handed it to him! (I like to say I chased him ’til he caught me!) p.s. We’ve been married 37 years…

  92. I was a bit of a late bloomer (didn’t have a real “boyfriend” until I was 21) and I did have to make the first move(s). We had classes together so we spent a lot of time together (and a lot of time flirting), and I kept dropping hints about my upcoming sorority formal yet he never asked me out. Eventually, I asked him to be my date (and didn’t specify if it was as a friend or more than a friend), and he told me he’d been waiting for me to ask him! It still took a little push of me having to invite him over to watch a movie – a DVD we rented from the dorm front desk – this is pre-Netflix-and-chill, mind you, but the end game hasn’t changed much over the years! ;) He stayed over, and then we dated for 3.5 years.

    Current relationship, we met on a dating app, and I actually sent him a “super like” because he was so dang cute – plus, we were from the same hometown and we had two mutual friends, so I just had to know more! It took him nearly 2 weeks to finally reply (I’d almost forgotten by then), but we started chatting and he did ask me on a date, and it’s been almost a year now. :D

  93. Margaret says...

    I am all about making the first move. Sometimes it works out, like with my (current) boyfriend of 5 years. But the first time I asked a guy out (8th grade!) I got point blank rejected! No regrets– he and I are still really close friends, and I sort of think it made us closer, since it was a ballsy move and he respected that.

  94. Caitlin says...

    I waited a long time for my husband to ask me out, and did everything I could to communicate my interest… So long that we got in trouble for flirting at work because everyone assumed we were sleeping together. So I finally just said, “Hey, why aren’t we spending time together away from work yet? I like you, and I want to.” Still took him a couple weeks to make it happen, but our first anniversary is in September. :)

  95. Jennifer says...

    When I was single my closest friend (also single) and I had a dating mantra that we would repeat to each other when we felt scared about talking to guys we fancied: “If you don’t say hello to someone, you’ll never get to kiss them.” Somehow the hello was always the hardest part. I never had a problem asking someone out if things were feeling flirtatious after we’d been chatting for a while. I’m married now and I met my husband online. I honestly can’t remember who messaged who first, but I’d be willing to bet it was my doing. We’ve been together for a decade and have two kids.

  96. E Gray says...

    My husband and I were coworkers and housemates and I kissed him on New Years Eve. That was 14 years ago. We are about to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.

  97. Jo says...

    Yep! I asked my husband out on his last day on the job after we had worked together for about 8 months. We’ve been married 3 years this August :)

  98. On my first date with my husband, I was surprised not to get a kiss goodnight (even though I didn’t usually get them with first online dates—I just thought we had potential enough that it merited one!) So I leaned over and pecked him on the cheek before getting out of the car. And then, later that night, I emailed (as we were prone to doing, since we’d started corresponding a week before based on my dating ad) and told him he had to be “in charge of kissing” for the next date, which worked out well.

  99. I asked my husband out first, and this year we’ve been together for 13 years (married for 10). His friends (now our friends) told me after that he would have been too shy to make a move. I shutter to think what would have happened if I hadn’t said something, it was only the 2nd time in my life I had done so but I thank my lucky stars that I did!

  100. Jill C. says...

    I asked my now boyfriend for the first kiss….a first for me to make the first move but it worked!

  101. Paige says...

    In 2009, I asked my husband to a Regina Spector concert at the Greek Theater in LA. I liked him, I had tickets, so I just asked! He said yes, and we’ve been together ever since.

  102. Agnes says...

    Looks like I’m alone here, but asking guys out has NEVER worked for me. Of course I tried, listening again and again to this type of advice, but it never felt right and the guys never responded how I wanted them to. Maybe I’m old fashioned?! Or don’t like the more passive guys? The 4 (good) relationships I’ve had in my life (with a great guy now, 7 months and counting), they have pursued me. I have to say, with my more shy personality and being more fearful of rejection, it’s a relief to just sit back and be chased. I can be a go-getter in my work life ;) but if it works for you younger girls, go for it!!

    • G says...

      Maybe it is just luck? For me, I made the first move twice; one turned out very badly (similar to characters Elizabeth Roth shared about) & one turned out well. And them making the first move also yielded different results.

      But I totally get that sentiment you feel about feeling very ‘go-getter’ as a career person but not so much in other ways! I feel the same way & was just thinking the other day if this was normal, or should one exhibit the same qualities throughout? Or if I am framing the issue wrongly?

    • Agnes says...

      I don’t think you’re framing it wrong at all, G! Work and personal lives are different- what works in work for me wouldn’t work with my man. I think I’m old fashioned though and also grew up with ‘don’t chase men’ drilled into me. Maybe I just want to know I’m wanted and never have doubt in my head (‘is he just taking the easy option and will I have to do everything forever?’) not very feminist but works for me lol. I think it’s ok NOT to be a go-getter too. Who says we have to conquer all arenas of everything?! :) I’m in a profession I love and still like being pursued, it’s all good :)

  103. Yes! It was very unlike me (that seems to be the theme here), but I made the first move on my now-husband and went in for a kiss! We started dating that very day and one year ago were married. When you know what you want, who has time to wait around? ?

  104. Mindi says...

    Way to go, Diana! I spent four years of undergrad being too worried of rejection to ask some really great people out. I took comfort in telling myself that I was “too busy to date anyone, anyway” (this is actually pretty accurate, BUT STILL).

    Fast forward a couple years out of school, I met someone through a mutual friend, invited him to DJ my birthday party, and we’ve been together going on 14 years. My husband told everyone at our wedding that he was surprised at how “aggressive” I was…frankly, I was too. ;)

  105. Hannah says...

    I had to make the first three (!) moves with a guy, once. First, after hanging out platonically for hours & hours one night, I tried to sneakily play footsie to no response, although somehow I knew we both felt something. Then, I felt super silly, but I sat on his lap, hating myself the whole time. Still no good or bad response from him – I guess I knew he was kind of shy, so finally, I went in for the kiss! I think I was just like, well, I’ve already embarrassed myself, might as well give up any other sense of shame, ha! We’ve now been together for almost two years, and he actually was the first to officially DTR/ask me out and also the first to say I love you :)

    Just wanted to share because some of my friends are still hesitant to make the first move, but I’d always advocate for it!! It’s really empowering, esp. as someone who is on the shyer side of flirtatious, and who has had to push beyond my comfort zone!

  106. Never, ever in life have I done that. When I was in college I read “He’s Just Not That Into You” and it was drilled into my head that any guy who’s interested will always make the first move and so I never did!

    I haven’t been single in 7 years but I would like to think if I was again (not that I WANT to be again, I love my partner) that I’d be more progressive this time around.

  107. Ae says...

    I asked my fiancé out (via a friend because I didn’t exactly know him but thought he was super cute). This has been the pattern in our relationship- I move more boldly even when he’s more sure of something. He knew he loved me first but tricked me into saying it first. He did- completely by surprise and boldly!- propose. So that was nice.

  108. Yma says...

    I had met my now husband at a party and then ran into him at a bar, I was out for my birthday. I asked him for a birthday kiss…been together now for 8 years.

  109. Erin says...

    I’m such a huge proponent of making the first move if the conditions feel right. I jumped back into the dating pool in my 30’s after a seven year relationship, and I found that a lot of guys seemed interested (they weren’t running away from me!) but were reticent in making the first move. If I liked someone and found myself “waiting” to be kissed, I’d grab them and do it first. I liked having the agency to advance the relationship, and I found in the guys that were best suited for me, they didn’t mind it either ;)

  110. Cazmina says...

    I still remember my first adult experience of asking a guy out. I was 20 and single after being in a relationship since high school. I went to a club with some friends and thought the bartender was really hot. He served me a few times, and I was feeling the vibe (or was it all the shots of sambuca?) and confidently said “I’ll have a vodka & soda and your number, thanks.” He smiled and gave me his number, and I walked back over to my friends and high-fived them all – so smooth, hahaha! Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Cup of Jo!
    Many years later, I have asked out plenty of guys – not always with the answer I was hoping for. As they say, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” and “the worst that can happen is they say no.”

  111. My husband and I met in chemistry class in high school. We’d been eyeballing each other for awhile, but I eventually made the first move to initiate conversation and get the ball rolling. Even now, I joke with him that if I hadn’t, who knows if he ever would’ve asked! ;)

  112. Kate says...

    Thank you so much for including the perspective of a woman asking another woman out! This is why I constantly come back to read your blog – it feels inclusive and like there is something for everyone. Thank you, Joanna! xx

  113. Grace says...

    Yep! I asked my husband out on our first date. We’ve been married for five years this July.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i asked alex out, too! best decision i ever made :)

  114. Katie says...

    I asked my husband out! We worked together and hung out with a big group all of the time. We always wound up talking alone together and I thought I was sure he was going to ask me out because it really seemed like we had chemistry. However, I have no patience and couldn’t really take it anymore so one day I asked him if he wanted to get dinner– just the two of us. Apparently he was going to ask me out that same day but felt so relieved that I took the plunge instead. Our relationship has always sort of been this way, we partners and he respects my decision and that I can be a bit head-strong at times. If I feel strongly about something, he lets me make the call. I often forget that I was the one who made the first move; it’s always felt like a mutual decision between the two of us.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is awesome, katie!

    • emmanuella says...

      I never realized that I have almost the same narrative. And yes, like you, I often take the lead in scenarios that I care about. I joke with my boyfriend sometimes that I wish he was an alpha male. He lovingly teases back that I’d probably fight for dominance with an alpha. He’s totally right.

  115. Kate says...

    Yup! The moment I saw my husband walk into the bar that I was in with my sister I leaned over to her and said “dibs on the tall one”. The rest is history!

    I think the key to meeting good men is kind of like picking your seat on a Southwest Airlines flight. I always prefer to be in group B, the second group of boarders, so I can pick out the best person to sit by as opposed to getting on first and having a big, stinky man plop down right beside you. It’s better to choose your seat/man then have the seat/man choose you! So ladies, sit back, be patient and pick out a good one!

  116. Steph says...

    I was a sophomore in high school when I started liking a guy in my math class. At that point I had zero experience with boys outside of one sided massive crushes in which the object of my affection BARELY knew I existed (12-15 are hard years). This boy was different though and I liked his smile. After a few weeks of us talking a few times in math class (but never outside math class because WHY WOULD WE BE THAT CRAZY TO TALK TO EACH OTHER IN PUBLIC?!?!?!) I decided to give him my phone number. I remember writing it down on a piece of paper, holding it in my hand for what seemed like hours before slipping it to him in the hallway outside of 4th period. I think I mumble, “Call me sometime” before dashing away.

    He called me that afternoon (after I waited a whole hour by the home phone willing it to ring). We started talking most afternoons after school, and eventually starting dating. We dated for about a year, which in high school time is FOREVER. I am now 30 and I cannot believe I was ever that bold and fearless. I want to give my sixteen year old self a huge hug and say “you go girl”. :)

  117. Molly says...

    I had asked my partner if he wanted to grab a drink, but we had been friends for a bit, and I kept the phrasing casual enough that neither of us actually knew it was a date! I ended up realizing it was a date after he changed the plans to dinner (and he ordered a bottle of wine). He didn’t realize it was a real date until we were heading to a bar after dinner, where we couldn’t stop staring at each other. He definitely picked up on the right time to kiss me though (I would have been terrified to make that move)!

  118. One of my own favorite qualities about myself is that I am unafraid to ask a guy out. I actually kinda like the thrill of it. I’ve had equally yeses and nos and, even with nos, I walk away with my head held high. There is something so empowering about deciding who I am interested in dating and going after that person. It feels so decisive!

  119. I like to see it as a litmus test- if he is not ok with being asked out, I probably wouldn’t want to be with him anyways, or at least it would be difficult to be together. That helps me be brave :)

  120. Caroline says...

    Against my typical nature, I asked my husband out on our first date, initiated our first kiss, and said “I love you” first! Thankfully, he was totally on-board with all of these moves :) When it came to the proposal, he was thrilled to take the lead!

  121. Getting dating advice from 20 year olds makes me feel old… (course I also just broke up with my partner of 13 years, so I may be a touch sensitive at the moment).

    • Cazmina says...

      Your comment made me laugh, Alex! Same here (the feeling old bit).
      That sucks about your break-up, I hope you’re doing ok.

    • Mindi says...

      Alex, me too. Twenty seems so close…yet I’m almost double this age! Hang in there.

    • Aleka says...

      This made me laugh out loud! I hear you. I’m like in my 40s and still struggle with this dating stuff. Yikes.

    • Aleka says...

      Btw, not laughing about your breakup. Sorry to hear :( Sending you good thoughts.

    • G says...

      Hugs

    • Laura says...

      I had a similar reaction. I saw their ages and though, pft, what do they know? They’re just beginners! But I guess it’s good to keep up with kids these days ;)

    • Laura says...

      and i mean that in an affectionate/jokey older sister way. i just reread what i said and worried it came off mean-spirited. i only mean i wouldn’t have given great advice when i was that age – in fact i wish i could give my younger self some of the dating lessons i know now!

    • Kelly says...

      Yeah, totally agree!

    • Lara says...

      I agree… something on my mind recently is how it has gotten a bit harder for me to put myself out there, dating-wise, as I get older and have been through more breakups, let downs, etc. I was never very forward, but I’m finding myself holding back more after 10+ years of dating and being in and out of relationships. My ego is a bit sore. So that’s where I’m coming from in wanting little more mature of a perspective on this topic. But, hey, maybe the lesson is to revisit my spunky college self. :)

  122. Amy says...

    My husband was interested in me for a few months; at first I suspected, then I was fairly certain. But I still didn’t think I was interested, and eventually he started to move on when he was finally convinced that I wasn’t. At that point I suddenly realized I actually was interested, so one night after hanging out with friends in his dorm room, I stuck around and we ended up restarting the movie we’d all watched in French, and then even in Spanish! (He speaks some French; neither of us speak Spanish haha) When I finally went to leave, I went up on tiptoes to kiss him (he must’ve leaned in because he’s a fair bit taller – I’m just realizing now how hilariously awkward that would’ve been if he hadn’t leaned in too!) He was so surprised and I loved it – I’d never been the pursuer before.

  123. The first time I tried to kiss my husband, he rejected me. He allegedly didn’t want to kiss a co-worker. My brother soothed my bruised ego by immediately declaring him gay. Obviously, I eventually won him over but I still wonder…who turns down a smooch?!

    • Catalina says...

      Hahaha, I love your brother!

  124. Whitney says...

    I was raised to date a lot of people (and not setiously until about college) so you can figure out what you want in a person you want to marry and what you need to work on, as well, for your future spouse. Having that mentality, I never too dating too serious or was too scared and even though I had guys come after me I felt comfortable going after them too. I didn’t see why I should not. I kissed my husband first, we said I love you at the same time, I told him i knew I was going to marry him (all while having a panic attack about it because it was really soon) and he said the same. Dating was crazy and a lot of fun, but me being willing to make moves is what really made things happen for my husband and I. There were no games, just honesty, and a lot of love. Being confident is different from being pushy and my husband and I were married 4 months and 4 days from the day we met (crazy!). Best decision we ever made.

    • Sarah says...

      I love this. My parents were married really young and maybe that’s why I feel like we kids all ended up taking dating so seriously! I think I’d want to pass more of your mentality on to any future kids I have. It just sounds more fun!

  125. I was an extremely shy kid but when I was in ninth grade I called up the boy I liked, told him I liked him and that I was sure he liked me and asked him out. I think I went so far as to tell him that we were “meant to be” at the grand old age of 14. He said yes, we’ve been married for two years, have the most amazing 15 month old son and are celebrating 12 years together this fall. My mom likes to say that I saved up all my boldness for 14 years before making the most important decision of my life.

    • Amy says...

      That’s amazing! And I love your mom’s thought on it :D

    • Jen says...

      Love this story!

  126. Celeste says...

    What a cute story!

    I actually asked my husband out on our first date, though I didn’t position it as a date. I was clearly interested and he was as well, and after a few weeks of casually hanging out, I asked him if he wanted to go to an event with me. After that, he made other first moves, like kissing me, and eventually, proposing. But I like to remind him that I made the first official move!