Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dating Passivity

As Evelyn tells me, I must balance my more serious blogs with those on a lighter topic, namely dating.  One might think in my 4+ years blogging I may have run out of insightful things to say about dating, but I seem to be constantly provided with new material.

In many discussions I've had lately, both male and female friends have complained about the passivity with which potential partners seem to approach dating. As a female, it's literally refreshing to encounter someone who blatantly expresses interest, who courts actively and pursues obviously (yes, I said court, if we're going to live in a society where gender dictates dating rules, the male at least tries to impress the female with an interesting date, initiating phone calls, etc).   While some do give this breath of fresh air (and are actually more likely to achieve a first or 2nd date, mind you), the majority seem to take the passive approach: flirting but never crossing the line, interested when the girl initiates but not initiating himself, etc. 

According to male friends, the female equivalent passive behavior is a lack of explicitly showing interest, general flirtatious behavior not solely directed at the guy in question, accepting of but requiring the guy's initiative on everything, etc. Sorry I can't elaborate more here, but maybe some of my readers can.

It seems to me that there are 2 likely causes: 1) the person lacks the self confidence to fully put him/herself out there, and 2) as the movie says, (s)he's just not that into you ( or maybe even (s)he could be, but could also be into others if the opportunity presented itself, and would like to leave those doors open).  Yet regardless of rationale, the passive approach doesn't work.  As one friend famously said, we Americans need to stop buying so many cereal boxes.  If we're constantly rotating between types, we never fully evaluate any one box before it goes stale. 

And since humans are not cereal boxes, the other person is unlikely to stay interested if they're not sure you are.  As another friend put it, "I don't need you to know you want to marry or even enter a long term relationship with me from the first date.  But I do need you to be all in for seeing where it leads.  Half-assing it just doesn't cut it."

Perhaps if we worry less about rejection, show our intentions clearly, and focus more at a single option at a time, we might just find what we're looking for a little sooner.  And maybe one of these days I'll start remembering that myself ;)


Bela Naomi said...

I agree with Evelyn. Your posts are always very serious :-)

I also agree that in general, men seem to be passive. They do this whole "get to know you" stunt for months by going on group outings, coming up with silly reasons to get together. It would be much easier, and save everyone's time if they just asked a girl out on a date. it's not that difficult, guys!

Rachel said...

I agree with Bella. if your not interested then speak up, if you are interested then speak up! I really feel its a matter of maturity, being a real man, as opposed to a whimpy boy. The average person probably doesn't like the feeling of rejection or rejecting someone else, but sometimes we just have to DEAL with these things, kinda like how I'm trying to study neuro right now, and want to barf all over it. Besides the "no balls" issue, if he is giving you these weird signals, it could also be that he's in some distorted relationship with someone else, and wants you on the back burner.

On a side note, if your the girl going to a million group outing with a boy whose to feeble to make a move, then I say its her issue. Limbo is a serious waste of time. She needs to speak up or ditch the dude.

Back to Neuro...

Evan said...

So many gender roles here ... either party can take initiative, some girls like guys who do, and some girls like guys who don't. I think its very regressive to assign gender roles. Its sometimes a clash of personality - and that is maybe symptomatic of whether there is any purpose in moving forward. I am willing (and I do) to take initiative but a girl needs to respond in some way to that initiative. Without any response to initiative I find her boring and uninterested!

Alexis said...

I'm with Evan on this one. Gender roles are difficult though. For me, I absolutely believe that either party can (and should) be assertive when they're interested and honest when they're not. However, where it gets tricky for me is that I still enjoy a bit of chivalry--not necessarily paying for things, but opening doors and the like are nice. So yea, I guess that's hypocritical. Oh well...