Should I be expecting more from this guy?
March 20, 2008 9:52 AM   Subscribe

How proactive should a girl expect a guy to be about suggesting dates during the early stages of a relationship?

I’ve been seeing this guy for a few weeks now, and things seem to be going pretty well. We’ve been hanging out a lot, and he’ll send me random amusing emails during the day. He’s told me that he really likes me, and sometimes if we’re passing by a particular restaurant, he’ll say, “Oh, we should go there sometime.” But it seems like I’m always the one to actually suggest a time and a place for a date. It may be that I haven’t given him sufficient opportunity to suggest something, since I usually ask him fairly early in the week. He’s almost always amenable when I suggest that we hang out, but I’m just wondering if I should back off and let him take the lead a bit more. I know he's a bit shy, but if he were to take the reins and suggest that we go out more often, it would be a clear signal to me that he's really interested.
posted by zembla3 to Human Relations (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's possible that he may think he's being accommodating and flexible, when you really want him to show some initiative -- or at least make plans earlier in the week.

I'd say you've got two options:

1) Back off and let him suggest the plans for later in the week. This may mean that he only decides on a plan towards the end of the week, because that's how he tends to work. Says more about his style than his feelings towards you.

2) You say, "So when can I see you next? What's your idea?"
posted by canine epigram at 10:05 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


You: "Why don't you suggest the next time/place we hang out?"
posted by LN at 10:05 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Back off a bit. It'll either make him work a bit harder for your attentions or let you know that perhaps he's not as interested as you hope. Win win.
posted by Floydd at 10:06 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know he's a bit shy, but if he were to take the reins and suggest that we go out more often, it would be a clear signal to me that he's really interested.

Really interested in what? He's hanging out with you, he's told you he likes you, he suggests things for you to do together. Sounds like you know he's interested already. Some people just aren't good with the details- the where, the when, etc. If that's something you want in a guy, date someone else. Resist the temptation to make this particular guy jump through hoops. Silence all voices that try to dictate a script for how this is supposed to go. Life without one is more fun. Accept him for who he is and allow him to do the same for you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:07 AM on March 20, 2008 [16 favorites]


I like canine epigram's second suggestion. There are a lot of people who might read the "backing off" in a different way than it was intended. LN's suggestion is good, too. I think we so often get off on the wrong foot because we don't just *say* stuff. Hoop jumping and tests are silly. Good luck!
posted by littlerobothead at 10:13 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some guys are bad about this stuff. You could just ask him out. Basically, what TPS said.
posted by caddis at 10:27 AM on March 20, 2008


Make it a playful thing. So, if you guys hang out a couple times a week, try this:

"Hey, I wanna get to know the kinda things you like. So.. for the next week, do you wanna suggest what we do and where we go?"

Now, if you also care about making him feel comfortable, make sure to be cheerful and encouraging about it. Some people can be completely happy doing what their partner wants to do, but can feel out of their element when put on the spot like that.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 10:28 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


From my experience and my previous relationshipfilter question I asked, I learned that men cannot read minds. It's still something I struggle with from time to time. Just tell him that you would like him to make plans more often because it makes you feel like you are more invested in building a relationship than he is when you make all the effort.

Please just communicate with him. Placing your eggs in the non verbal communication basket with a guy can lead to so much stress and overthinking on your end.
posted by spec80 at 10:32 AM on March 20, 2008 [9 favorites]


Geesh. I'd be happy if I were you. He likes to hang out with YOU; he has shown he doesn't care what you guys are doing. That speaks volumes.
posted by zephyr_words at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2008


He's probably trying really hard not to look too keen. You know, because we're constantly told that keenness = desperation.

Just ask him out and stop second-guessing everything.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:45 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


My second suggestion happens to be my personal preference - if you're setting the pattern by being the planner and doer, you realize he has no idea whatsoever that you actually aren't okay with that?

Just tell him that you would like him to make plans more often because it makes you feel like you are more invested in building a relationship than he is when you make all the effort.

While I agree whole-heartedly with spec80s comments about mindreading, please don't use her blaming language I bolded. Blaming someone for not behaving the way you want them to, when you haven't asked them to, is definitely not a good relationship investment. Right now, the information provided suggests that the OP likes to make plans early in the week, and ends up making most of the plans. This could be due to a whole host of reasons, and I'm betting one big one is that the guy probably doesn't see the need to plan until closer towards the end of the week - but we don't know.

Let him know your expectations (in a non-judgy way), back off with trying to plan everything early on in the week, and ask him to make the plans. Keep it light. I'll bet that will tell you what you need to know.
posted by canine epigram at 10:56 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


IMHO, read what spec80 wrote, and then what canine epigram wrote.

Then read them again.

...and then, when you talk, make sure you're being clear. Very clear. Don't rely on implicit assumptions, leaps of logic, or anything where you find yourself thinking "well, he'll know what I mean".
posted by aramaic at 11:04 AM on March 20, 2008


I knew a guy like this. Finally I just asked him "by any chance, are we dating?" Turns out we were, and continued to do so for the next six years. After that was established, he stepped up on the date-making.
posted by astruc at 11:06 AM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


You say, "So when can I see you next? What's your idea?"

No no NO NO NO NO NO. As a guy (albeit one who dates other guys), this sort of thing drives me up the wall. It comes across as clingy and gross, puts him on the spot, and doesn't account for the fact the people don't always know ahead of time what their schedules are like or what sorts of fun-for-you-both events are coming up.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


And not to get all Battle of the Sexes here, but this: "He’s told me that he really likes me [...] but if he were to [XYZ], it would be a clear signal to me that he's really interested" is the crux of the situation. He already told you he's interested. That doesn't require interpretation. If you want to go out at a certain time, ask him. If he wants to ask you out, he'll ask you.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:17 AM on March 20, 2008


It comes across as clingy and gross, puts him on the spot, and doesn't account for the fact the people don't always know ahead of time what their schedules are like or what sorts of fun-for-you-both events are coming up.

How does it come across as clingy? She just wants him to come up with some ideas - nobody said it needs to be RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!

A reply if you're dry for ideas right that instant, "Sure, how about something this weekend? I want to see what's out there, and I'll have a better idea later in the week, and give you a ring/send a text/email you."

Not so hard.
posted by canine epigram at 11:38 AM on March 20, 2008


How does it come across as clingy? She just wants him to come up with some ideas - nobody said it needs to be RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!

Then the question is "Would you like to pick our next outing?", not "When can I see you again?" The former is fine, the latter is a rather naked request for specifics, which in the early stages of dating can be off-putting.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:54 AM on March 20, 2008


It's also distinctly possible that he's trying to be sweet, doing you a favor by letting you pick what to do and where to do it. Or he was in a previous relationship where the girl did the picking. Or he thinks that the date is all about keeping YOU happy and making sure you're suitably entertained. A lot of guys think this way. (and, yeah, it pisses a lot of girls off, heh)

As a guy, I was in a long relationship where the girl would pretty much only do things with me that she would have done by herself anyway -- so I got "trained" that she would pick most of the date events. After that relationship ended, I was in a different relationship where the girl truly did not care what we did... as long as I was there. (Touching, no?) I know, now, that the latter is the better way to be -- be yourself, rather than being who you think the other person wants you to be. But it was a difficult transition for me.

So don't necessarily take his deference as a lack of interest. It might just be his style, or how he's been "trained" by previous relationships, or simply that your mere presence is enough to keep him happy so he truly doesn't care *what* you two do.

Anyhow, here's one idea: "So what do you like to do for fun? [he mentions several things, one of which sounds like fun to you] Can I come?" It's not so much a "date" concept as much as you sharing in something he enjoys -- and learning about him, the real him, in the process. (...which, to me anyhow, is waaaaay more enjoyable than a semi-formalized "date".)
posted by LordSludge at 12:19 PM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm just saying she should be straightforward. So my wording wasn't perfect - the question wasn't simply "when can I see you again?" It's her asking him to go ahead and pick their next activity, or at least suggest some things to do.

If she wants him to take the initiative, she needs to back off on planning everything so early, and then ask him directly to come up with some ideas.
posted by canine epigram at 1:18 PM on March 20, 2008


I think a simple, "When do you think?" is fine if he is suggesting you go somewhere together. As TPS said, he probably isn't a details person and just figures the two of you are going to keep getting together and you can go there next time. I disagree, btw, with what kittyprecious said here:

Then the question is "Would you like to pick our next outing?", not "When can I see you again?" The former is fine, the latter is a rather naked request for specifics, which in the early stages of dating can be off-putting.

I can't imagine having to be so formal with someone I am hanging out with that I have to pick and choose my words like that--sounds like it would take the fun out of it!
posted by misha at 3:02 PM on March 20, 2008


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