Hi Neely,

I’m getting all sorts of advice about who should approach who, when it comes to meeting someone or saying hello to someone who you are attracted to. Some of my friends say it should always be the man but others say that’s so old-fashioned — if a woman finds a guy attractive she should go up to him and introduce herself. What do you think? I should note that I’m a 27-year-old woman.

Confusion over the approach, Boston,

Submit your dating/relationship questions to [email protected]. Visit Neely’s Web site: neelysteinberg.com.


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  • 36 seconds: Increasingly, women don’t want to be passive bystanders in the dating process.
  • 57 seconds: I happen to be partial to a more traditional approach – letting the guy pursue a bit, especially at the beginning of the dating process. BUT, that doesn’t mean this is the “right” way for everyone.
  • 1:38: Dr. Pat Allen is a pioneer in the field of relationships. What does she write about it her book “Getting to I Do” regarding masculine/feminine energies and the act of approaching. Tune in to find out.
  • 2:15 – Do I agree or disagree with Dr. Pat Allen’s approach? Tune in.
  • 2:29: So…should you go up to a man who you find attractive and introduce yourself? Tune in to hear what I have to say.
  • 2:40: What do guys think about a woman coming up to them?
  • 3:00: What if a guy doesn’t like a woman to approach him first. Listen to what I have to say.

About The Author

Neely Steinberg is a Blast correspondent. Follow her on Twitter @NeelySteinberg She answers your dating/relationship questions in her Blast video advice column MP4 Love.

10 Responses

  1. Lisa Jey Davis

    I think it is a fine line and balance for women. Not that they should be passive, but I do believe they must realize that for men, the pursuit is a HUGE part of the appeal. I agree with the author on “approach” — and really I tend to believe that it’s a delicate tap dance… while you don’t want men to question your interest, you also want to make them work for it – and they actually LOVE it. I have to say if I’d approached my guy first, I don’t believe we would have gotten beyond that dynamic… That isn’t to say that women shouldn’t do the approach or make contact first… just realize you are defining roles from the very beginning. Like it or not. Unless you want to have to suggest everything or lead in almost every other regard, you’ll have to switch gears pretty damn fast to communicate that you WANT someone who will also work for it… Just my two cents.

    • Brad

      Do women really think that pursuit is a huge part of the appeal? It sure isn’t for me. I prefer a girl who wants an equal, not a suitor. Men are human beings, not colorful birds flapping their wings in some strange little dance to attract mates. If a girl tries to make me work for her interest, it indicates that she’s more interested in games than me. At that point I politely bid her goodbye. I can respect a differing opinion, but after multiple long-term relationships, including 8yrs. married, I know most personality traits and dynamics it’s better to avoid.

      Long story short, if a man is worth it, don’t MAKE him work for it. You should work for it, and so should he. You work for each other, and more importantly, toward each other. When you’re making him work FOR it, he’s working toward you, but you’re not working toward him. Having to work in your fledgling relationship is a dynamic that will come to pass on its own; manufacturing a schoolkid game is exactly the kind of poison pill that far too many people inject into their relationships.

      Really, I’m not trying to attack you with this question, but I want to know: what gives you the impression that men love to work for it, and what makes you think we wouldn’t like it even more if the girl worked for it for a change?

      • Neely Steinberg

        Hi Brad,

        Great feedback – thank you. I think you make some good points. In a society in which men and women are equals, why should the onus be on the man to pursue and chase? Maybe men are starting to tire of being the ones to put all the effort in at the beginning.

        I do think, though, that to some extent, even in 2012, traditional gender roles in dating still apply. Maybe in 100 years, the culture will have changed, and with it dating mores will have changed too. But from what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen over the last decade or so, most men don’t appreciate a woman chasing them – it’s suffocating and overhwhelming. The same could be said for a man pursuing a woman too much – (i.e. being overly aggressive at first).

        A balance probably needs to be struck as far as the dating dance, but I would advise a woman at the beginning to let the man set the pace. That doesn’t mean waiting for him to call twice before calling him back or never sending a friendly text to say hello, but it does mean sitting back and letting the guy take the reins a bit at first (asking you out, initiating calls to plan a date, etc.). Once a couple has been dating a bit, hell yeah, the woman should suggest plans, intitiate phone calls, etc. It can be a very delicate dance.

        I think the phrase “working for it” makes it sound too laborious for men and couched in those terms I could see how it would be off-putting. But I do think men like to be the ones setting the pace and not having the woman call him all the time at first and set up dinner dates and bring him flowers (or the preferred male equivalent). Many men have an easier time showing their emotions through doing; a woman who sits back a little in the beginning and allows a man to do that and to recognize his feelings will have better results in the dating world. If he’s chased too much, he may not be able to sort through those feelings on his own terms.

        But yes, I agree, ultimately, with your point that both man and woman need to do their fair share to make a relationship work. It’s an equal partnership.

  2. Ms. Cheevious

    If a woman wants to do the chase, she should be true to herself – DO IT. Just be ready for what you may get. Introduce yourself to a guy. If he doesn’t show equal interest and energy toward getting to know you – MOVE ON. PERIOD.

  3. jade

    i cant see the harm in approaching a man. Just dont do it when he with 10 of his drinking buddies.

  4. Single Dating Diva

    I totally agree … you should do what makes you comfortable. I’m a traditionalist – I want a man who approaches me and takes the leading role. But, I agree with you it’s OK to say hi to guy who you’re interested in, but he should make the “date” move. Great post!

    • dave

      Why does HE have to make the move? Are YOU afraid of rejection?
      Or you just like having the advantage. How does that later play into the relationship? He takes the leading role and you follow? I doubt it.

  5. Marrie

    I love how you addressed this question! I initially thought to myself when I read the title, “Why the hell not?” but you brought up wonderful points regarding gender dynamics and comfort level! Truth is that in today’s dating world women have the flexibility to approach a man directly, lure with their feminine ways or leave it all up to him.

  6. Call me maybe?

    Neely broke this question into two parts. This week is part 1: Should you approach?

    Yes, if that’s your best chance and timing. No, if you are “cocky”, loud, or drunk. Think before you leap, and ask what do you want, come tomorrow? If you hook up, then that’s probably the beginning and end all-in-one.

    Call me maybe? Don’t drag it out… Show some charm, and then stage your exit. Leave some mystery and questions on the table to give they guy a chance to follow up. If he does, swell, otherwise walk on.

    Part two: Should you pursue? No, it takes two to tango. If it’s all based on your initiative, that is too one way. Visualize that tango. Make him follow up or else you’ll be doing the heavy lifting in the relationship. Limit the online chat too – a relationship is face-to-face.

    The bad news: (just saying) guys are turned off by women who are smarter….


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