Friday, April 28, 2006

Continuing the Conversation

I recently was congratulated for taking up a dare to read a book. (It doesn't take much daring to get me to read a book. Besides, I was already planning to read it. Candice just thinks I'm doing it b/c of her dare. Love ya, sistah in Christ!)

Mike, another reader of Candice's blog, commented on the book; and I just had to respond. After one comment, I couldn't stop (er, I didn't wanna, that is); but my second one got rather long...so I decided to move it here. Here ya go!


I'm so glad that guys want to hear that we gals do want to get married and have children...even to hear that we want those things far more than we want to climb the career ladder! We gals oft have been taught that expressing our strong desires to get married and bear offspring will frighten away potential suitors. Do you think we should all start wearing tags? Maybe instead of "Diva" emblazoned on the female tooshie, we should start wearing "Wife in Training" on cute baseball caps or something... ;o) (Speaking of "tagging" people—I think engaged men should have to wear some kind of symbol indicating they are off the market!)

Hmm... When a guy suggests, "So...uh....wanna hang out sometime?" and leaves the invitation open-ended, I get frustrated. Hang out? To do what? When? As what—just friends, or would it be a date? Why not just ask me on a date: "Hey, I really like you. I would love the privilege of spending time with you. I had in mind some putt-putt on Saturday night. May I take you out?" Might startle me at first, but I'd be pretty impressed with a guy with that much chutzpah (esp. in these days and times). Plus, it's asking for a specific time to do a specific activity with a specific person AND I know that he likes me as a person and as a woman. This whole "Hey, maybe we could meet for coffee sometime and continue these laughs we've had" thing... I say, "Yeah, that sounds good." And then....nothing. Hello! McFly!

(1) Daytime activity suggests friendship; nighttime suggests dating.
(2) "Wanna ____ sometime?" is merely asking if I want to do something with you sometime. OK, yeah, maybe. I don't know. It's like a half-hearted attempt to ask, "Do you like me?" Well, I might, but I might not know you well enough to judge how much I like you, if I like you at all.
(3) The "I really like you, and I'd like the privilege of spending time with you" comment combined with something like "It would be fun to do _____ with you" communicates the guy's focus on the gal, on who she is, and on the fact that he appreciates the person she is as he's gotten to know her so far. Of course, if he creeps her out anyway, it probably doesn't matter what is the content or tone of his conversation with her. But we can't control what others think of us: we are only responsible for what we think, say, and do. So...really, it shows a lot of confidence on the guy's part to "put himself out there" and risk being rejected. (And next time a guy does the risky thing and actually asks me out, instead of giving some half-hearted plea to like him or validate him or fill up his social calendar, I will praise him for doing the difficult thing...whether or not I accept his invitation.)

As far as a "conversation with/an open-ended invitation from/outright date invitation from a guy who's interested in the gal but she's not that interested in him" situation goes... We women don't like hurting people's feelings, and we'll twist ourselves into pretzels trying to avoid that sort of confrontation. For example, if I am not all that interested in a guy and he keeps directing advances at me (scooting closer on the pew every time we're near each other; following me around; etc.), I get rather skittish. How do I continue to be genuinely friendly to this brother without leading him on? If he does ask me out on a date, do I really want to go? Do I want to get to know him better, or is he someone I would prefer seeing and talking with only at church? I'm sure men go through similar quandaries—some women y'all would LOVE to get to know better; others, meh... you can take 'em or leave 'em; and still others, make you want to run and hide. Some guys have responded well to the attention I've given them when trying to show my interest and openness to being asked out; other guys flee as if I'm asking them to go to Nineveh, and they'd rather camp out in the belly of the fish. You just never know...

It's all a risk. So is job interviewing... So is driving a car or flying in a plane... So is eating a hamburger... Life is one big ball o' risks. And maybe we should all be encouraging one another more, when we do take intelligent risks (I don't mean foolhardy stuff like skydiving w/out a parachute and helmet)...praise one another for not allowing overanalysis to become paralysis, not allowing ourselves to become so encrusted with scars from past hurts that we cannot be alive to life anymore, or not avoiding all situations that might bring embarrassment (hello, wedding receptions—bouquet/garter tossing!). Maybe we all would risk rejection more if we knew that not only our loving Father supports us but also our dear friends do too. Maybe we should also be paying attention more to seeing if folks around us are missing that support system in their lives...and consider joining up to be on the "cheerleading squad" that encourages them. (And I'd recommend guys cheerin' on the guys and girls cheerin' on the girls.)

Guys, if you are reading this and you have recently stuck your neck out there to show attention to a woman or, heck, to ask her out, bravo! Whether you were shot down by her rejection or triumphantly feted by her acceptance... you have done the difficult thing—to lend your strength (ie. who you are) to a situation in which your success was not guaranteed. That is one example of true courage.

Press on, my brothers in Christ! Press on, my sisters in Christ! The enemy wants us to stop courting/dating and getting married and raising Christ-following children—to stop multiplying and filling the earth. The enemy wishes to keep us from experiencing the delight of understanding more fully the love the Father has for His children, through marriage and raising children. But we do not have to cede to the enemy—he is defeated! Let us live knowing that Christ has the victory already! Press on! Press on!

4 comments:

Res Ipsa said...

Guys use option 2 for a couple of reasons:
One is to deflect rejection. We really like you but we’re not sure if its mutual.
The second is we just like you as a friend, and we’re treating you like we would a another guy.
Another is we want to see if your going to take the initiative and we’re leaving it up to you.
Of course it could be a polite brush off.

Here’s a way to handle it. Smile, and say “I would too, call me when you have something specific in mind”. Then walk away. If you’re wanting the guy to chase you, like he should, then you have to be a moving target. If the guy has given you some clues that he’s interested in romance, then put a little flirt into your exit. Maybe touch his face tenderly as you’re chiding him to ask you out. Dare him to ask for a real date in a way that both challenges his manliness and hints that you might say yes.

Elena said...

Res,

I like the moving target analogy. :o) And the phrasing of the response is good too. I'll keep that one in my arsenal...and at the ready!

derek_from_ottawa said...

I'd just like to say that if I was skydiving without a parachute, not having a helmet would be the least of my problems.

=)

BTW, as a guy, I think challenging him back as res_ipsa said is smart.
Don't accept until he behaves like a man. Let him be the man he should be. ("call me when you have something specific") is a great way to make him step up but not cut him down. If a gal I was into did that to me, I'd be left with my mouth hanging open, I'd whisper "wow", then I'd want to meet the challenge. If the guy doesn't meet it, then perhaps he wasn't that into you or he wasn't strong enough for you in the end anyway.

Encouragement from a woman in that way is great, even though a woman may not think of it as encouragement, a guy's mind thinks, "she thinks I might not have what it takes, so I'm gonna show her I do."

Being direct but tactful is good.
=)

Anonymous said...

I'm a Christian man who has approached quite a few women over the years.

You’re right that specifics in order to actually end up at the same place at the same time. But I think the length of your article is a symptom of the the real "moving target" here. You go from "I want a man who will take initiative" to "I want a man who will READ MY MIND and take initiative in EXACTLY THE WAY I WANT AND EXPECT or he's toast!”

Yeah, men need to initiate, but WOMEN NEED TO RESPOND, even if the initiative lacks divine perfection. So yes, if you need more specifics, then ask for them: it’s OK since he took the risk and asked you. If you have an issue with the specifics, then be an ADULT and say "I have a wedding that day, but I’m free next weekend," or "As a vegetarian, Slab-O-Beef Steakhouse doesn't work, but Taj Mahal has a good selection of meat as well as vegetarian entrees," or "I'm allergic to horses but I like lots of other outdoor things like hiking or ….”

FYI, a guy approaching you may have a very legitimate desire to not “corner” you into something you don’t want to do. So he might say “do you wanna hang out sometime” and then call you to arrange the details (when you’re more free to reject him discretely), rather than to hit you with his full plans in a group setting.

But the main thing is that you have to accept some imperfection in men, and you have to COMMUNICATE (“we don’t communicate!”) what he’s doing wrong rather than just rejecting him and/or disappearing because he didn’t correctly read your mind.