A couple of years ago, I wrote an article on male perception of girls who wear purity rings in hope that my female readers might gain some additional insight when making the choice to wear one. In a similar manner to the purity rings, I’d like to write an article on a topic that numerous women have questions about – girls pursuing guys. In our current culture, women find themselves with fewer options for decent men, and when they finally find one of those men, he often fails to pursue. Women are then faced with the decision of whether or not to initiate the pursuit, but actively taking the lead in a relationship is something many women refuse to do for various reasons. I have studied and thought a great deal on this topic, and while I make no efforts to tell women what they should or should not do, I can provide them some information from a male perspective that I hope will be useful in their own choices and relationship development.
So what is pursuit? It seems like a simple enough question, but men and women usually have very different views on what ‘pursuit’ really means. I recently conducted a study of various actions that women do that they themselves consider to be actions of pursuit. I was amazed at the things I found. Things like smiling at a guy, holding eye contact, ‘liking’ his statuses or photos, and initiating conversations or messages, things that, to a guy, are nothing more than friendly gestures. I would never consider a simple smile or a conversation from a girl to be anything remotely associated with her pursuing me, yet I found that numerous women held precisely that notion. It seems to me that many women are under the assumption that any active contact they make with a guy is a form of pursuit or ‘leading him on,’ and many women become overly self-conscious about any actions that can have that implication. As such, they can unintentionally become cold and unwelcoming to potential male suitors.
Perhaps it’s because we guys are the ones who are expected to make contact, plan the date, drive the car, open doors and other such chivalry, but we tend to view pursuit as something much more than a smile or a flirt. It’s a quest – something that takes a lot of intentional planning and investment. It can be a lot of those little things over time, but the overall picture is the same. It’s a big deal to us. It isn’t just a matter of getting someone to notice us. It’s a matter of gaining a girl’s trust, wooing her, and building a relationship with her. That takes a lot of effort and presents us with a lot of risk of both rejection and failure. Sometimes it’s worth it. Other times, it’s not.
So if he won’t pursue me, does that mean I’m not worth it? Not at all. A girl can be the catch of a lifetime, but if a guy has no hope of having her, the effort and risk of pursuing her are not worth it. Did you hear what I said, ladies? Hope. A man must have hope that you are attainable if he is to pursue you. Otherwise, as much as he may think of you, perhaps even love you, he simply will view you as unattainable and either move on or hide his feelings and never make a move. If you want a man to pursue you, make sure that you don’t destroy his hope.
Now that we understand how important it is for a guy to have hope with a girl, let’s look back at some of those things that girls view as actions of pursuit. To a guy, a smile doesn’t mean that she’s taking the lead in pursuing him. It means that she’s open to him, perhaps even open to his pursuit of her. Holding eye contact with him doesn’t mean that she’s giving him the ‘come-on.’ It means that she’s open to more intimacy with him, perhaps even an intimate relationship. She isn’t pursuing him. She’s communicating to him that she’s OK with him pursuing her, and that’s the hope he needs. The overly self-conscious women who refuse to ‘pursue’ by not communicating these things are simply slamming the door in his face. So if your guy isn’t making a move, have you communicated to him that you’re OK with it if he does?
Well, I still refuse to actively pursue him. If he really cares about me, he’ll take the lead. Yes, I’ve heard this more times than I care to remember. I’ve heard it so often that I’ve given it a catchy name – the ‘not-no.’ It’s when a girl gives a guy absolutely no signs of welcome or interest, sometimes even verbally telling him ‘no,’ yet she secretly wants him to pursue her as a test of his interest and devotion, expecting him to know what she wants without communicating with him. It’s sort of an adult version of playing ‘hard-to-get.’ Essentially, she’s setting up a social boundary that she wants him to break. Will guys break this boundary? Some will, but it won’t be because they have some deep, spiritual connection with her. It’ll be because they’re dominating, manipulative, and don’t really care about her boundaries whether she secretly wants them to cross or not. Ladies, the man who truly loves you, respects you, and cares what you think will take ‘no’ for an answer, whether it is verbal or nonverbal. Please consider carefully before you use a ‘not-no’ on a guy you would like to pursue you.
So if he won’t pursue me, should I pursue him? Sometimes, even when a woman communicates her welcome to a man’s pursuit, he still doesn’t respond to her. An obvious answer is that he simply may not be interested in her. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll assume that she has indications that he is. There are some men who are just weak natured or who suffer from anxiety. For example, I knew a guy in my church’s college group who had dated a girl for years and was preparing to propose to her. He caught me between classes the day before his planned proposal because he needed support. He told me that he knew with every ounce of his being that she was going to say ‘yes,’ but he still was struggling terribly to find the strength to ask her. I talked to him for a while, and the next day, he found the strength and asked her. It took him a while to learn to lead the relationship, but they’ve been married since shortly thereafter. How did he know beyond doubt that she would marry him? Because she had communicated with him well enough and long enough that he could forget about the uncertainty and concentrate on the anxiety. I have little doubt that if she hadn’t played such a large part in the relationship, they would not be married.
Due to my nature, I find the situation this young man faced to be rather absurd. I’m usually too bold with girls. But there certainly are men out there who truly need help from their ladies. And there certainly are guys in this day and age who are willing to let the woman take the lead simply out of laziness. In this respect, I can only offer this advice:
If you decide to pursue a man who hasn’t pursued you, consider carefully whether he is truly in need or if he’s just being lazy. And if he is truly in need of help, do only enough to give him the confidence he needs to take over. A woman asking a man for their first kiss may seem forward, but if he truly likes her, she’ll not need to ask for the second.
I hope that my lady readers will find this article useful. I myself am in a constant state of learning, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. But I try to pass on what I have learned and experienced in hope that it may help someone else. Feel free to leave comments or questions, and as always, thanks for reading!