Yes, you Can Ask Him Out

You didn’t have to be the smartest girl in the class to catch onto the rules of playing with boys. It was simple: proper girls don’t kiss on the playground. Classy girls never reveal their crushes in public. And good girls never ask boys out.

Illustration and feature illustration by Emily Rice

Illustration and feature illustration by Emily Rice

Middle school conventions grew into high school norms, and somewhere along the line we became imprisoned by gender standards. Girls have been told to wait on the sidelines until their Prince Charming finally gets up from the couch and apathetically slays our dragon right in time to begin climbing the treacherous tower of courtship.

It sounds exciting for them, but for us? It’s tiresome. Nerve wracking. Boring. How long are we supposed to wait for our ‘true love’ to come find us? And what if we spotted one we liked during the waiting game? Are we just supposed to sit on our hands with our mouths glued shut because declaring our feelings is “desperate?”

Well, that just sounds stupid.

It’s tough to live in the female world where self-control and patience are so obviously favored over confidence and action. But luckily, one size does not fit all. Not anymore.

For me, something shifted around the time I turned 24. I was done waiting. Being a “good girl” hadn’t really paid off anyway – I had been dumped, cheated on, and taken advantage of during my years as a rule follower, and I was simply fed up. So I decided to put myself out there, just to see what happened.

I must admit, I had done this once before when I was 15 and it actually worked out pretty well. I told a nice boy I wanted to go to Homecoming with him. So we did. It was nice. Easy. Uncomplicated. And man, did I ever want that again.

So after moving cities, I took a chance and cold-Facebook messaged (cringe) a guy I figured could be a friend. (Or more — who knows?) He responded favorably, and I asked for his number. Seriously. And then I began texting him. Gasp. I asked him what he was doing that night (he had a date with someone else), what he was doing the next night (he was going out) and if we could see each other in the near future (sure, why not?).

A few times I thought about dialing it back – wasn’t he supposed to pursue me? Meh, I thought. If he can’t keep up, or worse, thinks I’m annoying, then he can stop responding.

He didn’t.

During these early interactions, I realized that there is power in taking control, and I’ve tried to implement that brave attitude into other areas of my life. So I’m here to let you know what I learned, and why you should ask him out. 

1. Your Confidence Sets the Tone

When you boldly abandon all gender expectations and ask a guy out, it sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. This does not mean you will be in charge of every date or meet up from then on out – but it does mean that playing games just went out the window.

You’ve already established that you like him, and by accepting he’s established that he likes you back. That’s it. No more nail biting, phone checking, or Facebook stalking, and you haven’t even gone out yet. It’s beautiful.

Once you guys get into a fun little rhythm, you won’t even pay attention to who’s initiating; but it might be nice to court him for once instead of being courted. And odds are you’ll feel empowered and in control of your role in the relationship.

2. Personality and Circumstance Matter

If you are a super extroverted girl, or someone who doesn’t like to procrastinate, then chances are you are going to be better at making the first move. This doesn’t mean your guy isn’t into you, or that you two are a bad match because he didn’t rip the band-aid off first – instead, it means you two probably complement each other really well.

My awkward Facebook message didn’t land in his inbox because he saw me across the room and passed. It was because I was feeling really impulsive at the moment; plus, I needed friends yesterday. I didn’t have time to wait and see who wanted to play in the sandbox with me. So I got on it.

But even if your beau spots you and still tenses up out of fear, shy guys deserve love too. And let’s face it; asking girls out is probably their worst nightmare. So if it isn’t yours, why won’t you just help the guy out and get things moving along? Take advantage of your personality traits or the circumstances that led you do this moment – and stop doubting it.

If you’re on the shy side, making the first move could seem super intimidating. But before you let yourself miss out on people you want to connect with, try to muster up the confidence to get outside your comfort zone. And use your resources; social media and texting might be easier platforms for you to show your personality if talking to a new guy in person freaks you out. Regardless of your shyness, there are a ton of subtler, less-scary ways to show someone what you’re about.

3. It’s a Good Litmus Test for a First Date

If a guy is down with you asking him out, then most likely he’s going to be pretty down with the rest of your progressive nature as well. Any guy who thinks, “hmm, it is NOT attractive when a woman tells me a) she likes me and b) would like to see me” is NOT the guy for you. This probably means that he won’t be supportive of your blossoming career, your thirst for self-development, and your feminist ideals, Yeesh. Not much left, is there? I guess the weather was good this weekend, give that a shot when you’re desperate for dinner conversation.

If you taking charge turned him off, then you should be thankful he said no in the first place. That just saved you one awkward evening.

4. It’s a Great Way to Ensure Similar Values

If you plan on running a Fortune 500 Company, going back to school, working as a nurse in a large hospital, or becoming the best stay-at-home mom that ever was, you are going to need an incredible confidante. One that listens to your needs, understands your expectations, and always challenges you to try even harder. You need a partner. And a partner accepts you when you assert yourself and ask for what you want. In fact, they cherish it.

And partner isn’t limited to monogamous boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Whatever you seek in terms of intimacy and sexuality is your right as a woman; no one knows what and who you need to be your best besides you. So this article isn’t only about snagging a significant other or soul mate—it’s about feeling comfortable going for what you want, no matter what that is.

Channeling as much of your strong-willed, against-the-grain, independent, girl-boss attitude will inevitably snag you a guy that can actually keep up with your vision of success and happiness, whatever that may be.

Don’t let antiquated norms stop you from chasing what will make you happiest and most complete. Because the best way to ensure your happiness is to create it for yourself—and that often includes finding somebody to share your happiness with.

5. The Tables Naturally Turn

Instead of fixating on, “I wonder if he likes me? I wonder if he will ask me out? I wonder if he will text?” you get to ask yourself, “I wonder if I like him? I wonder if I will ask him out? I wonder if I will text?”

What a game changer.

You stop worrying about fitting yourself into the mold of the “good girl” you think he is pining for, and instead you simply get to be yourself – who might just be the girl he actually falls for. Instead of insecurity, doubt, or anxiety running wild in your mind during those early stages of dating, you get to reflect, ask questions, and explore the possibility of a real attraction.

Asking him out reminds you that you can hold the cards. You can decide if things will work out. You can keep the momentum moving forward. And that’s empowering.