The dreaded first move!
As a society we’ve made major progress with gender equality. Women have climbed corporate ladders to new heights and even shattered the proverbial glass ceiling with the first major bid for the U.S. Presidency. However, when it comes to dating there is still a question of equality when making the first move.
Traditional ways of meeting new romantic connections have been replaced by digital meeting grounds. The really cool thing about dating in the digital age is that it’s a virtual even playing field. There aren’t old school social norms or unwritten rules of engagement. With a simple tap of a button, anyone can reach out to anyone equally to express interest.
Despite all this progress there is still doubt as to whom is supposed to break the ice. The question was posed to our New England Facebook Singles Group (link) to gain more insight from real singles actively dating online.
Group member Khary kicked off the thread by asking… “So how many of you ladies reach out to men you’re interested in? For those who don’t why don’t you?”
67% of single women respondents preferred the guy to initiate interest. Even with significant changes to dating environments and social behaviors, women are still reluctant to be first. Why is this?
Chrissy: “I’m painfully shy…”
Shyness was the most common theme. Online dating can be a very overwhelming and awkward experience. It even challenges the most extroverted person to come up with an interesting first message that will capture someone’s attention. Don’t be timid as a simple “hey there…” will be a great first message! Break out of your comfort zone so you don’t miss out on that potential match. Guys will be impressed by your confidence.
April: “I just consider myself to be an old fashioned type and I prefer a man that is willing to initiate contact…”
There is still an element of old school expectations that the guy needs to initiate contact. Call it chivalry… Call it tradition… Call it old fashioned… We’re thinking that all you can probably also call it an unfair expectation. Many guys actually prefer that women be the initiator. In a highly competitive and often cluttered environment it can significantly help distinguish interest faster. Many first messages from serious candidates get lost in the mix of unwanted messages from pervs and mismatches. Think of it as you taking control of your dating destiny. Your online success might be determined by your initiative.
Anad: “Then there is the fear of rejection…”
Rejection sucks! It’s a major blow to our egos. Getting over the fear of rejection is a difficult task that requires stepping out of your comfort zones. Think about it like this; What’s the worst that can happen? Someone is not interested! Get over it and move onto the next candidate. Dating is an odds game. Conquer your fears and increase your chances of finding that perfect match.
Just because men are expected to be the initiator it doesn’t mean they are comfortable with it. Men face the same issues as women in regards to being shy, awkward and fearing rejection. Bottom line is, both men and women have similar challenges with dating. Only difference is that our roles in the process are still influenced by social norms of yesteryear.
Some women respondents were very comfortable with making the first move. In fact they preferred it! This group was significantly more confident in themselves. They had stepped out of their comfort zones and conquered their fears. In doing so their dating lives became much more efficient and enjoyable. It became a more rewarding and empowering experience. It helped them to narrow down the field of candidates to only the ones they had interest in. Saving them time and limiting the pains of weeding through all the mismatches.
***Really cool side note! The entire group was encouraging and supportive to everyone that participated in the thread. Sharing in experiences with your peers provides an opportunity to gain great advice, feedback and personal enrichment. Try joining a group or buddying up with your peers to work through all the nuances of online dating.
The one constant that remains true for both traditional dating of yesteryear and dating in the digital age is that making the first move is probably the single most difficult and feared part of a single life. It may be difficult, but you should really try to be confident, practiced and able to handle rejection. It really is the key.
Ron: “Confidence is sexy and much appreciated. Breaking the ice is the hardest part..”
Work on developing the confidence necessary to successfully navigate through the modern dating scene. Know what you want and go after it!