Asking out guys is hard

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I have a tendency to get ahead of myself. Sometimes, this is incredibly beneficial — I’m prepared for anything.

But when it comes to dating, usually this just gets me into hot water and cold showers.

Until recently, I rarely asked guys out. I don’t know why “the guy should always make the first move” had been drilled into my head along with “cross your ankles when sitting” and “don’t be be caught vacuuming without your pearls on,” but it has affected the way I’ve handled relationships since I hit puberty and started having all these “feelings” and “urges.”

Logically speaking, waiting for an invitation is an incredibly ineffective play — why wouldn’t you want someone to know when that first spark of interest ignites?

But the actual act of saying “Hey, you’re pretty cool, want to grab a coffee?” was never my go-to plan of attack. For pity’s sake, the object of my affections might actually know I thought of him as attractive. Gasp. Oh the horror.

Nope, I’d dance around the poor guy, trying to drop hints, overanalyzing every single move. I’d invest so much energy into creating a relationship without actually revealing my hand that if I ever worked up the courage to actually say, “I think you’re pretty swell,” the results would be far worse than if I had just been honest in the beginning.

At that point, I’d have invested so many feelings, so much time, so much energy into making this happen, that getting a “No thanks” was devastating.

Basically, I’d built up a relationship where there was none. I did say I tend to get ahead of myself, didn’t I?

I’d like to think I’m wiser now — that just cutting through the crap and asking the guy out has changed me for the better. But this new-found wisdom doesn’t help with the absolute terror that comes with the relatively small act of vulnerability asking a person out entails.

But really, what’s so scary? Upon meeting someone new, and there is a connection, why is it so much more awful to just rip the proverbial band aid off?

At first, when I jumped into this brave new world of “just ask him out already,” I thought it was the fear of rejection. But, to paraphrase a friend, a rejection isn’t a reflection on me. It just means an interest wasn’t mutual. That’s not really that painful.

It took some trial and error, and a few really awful first dates, but I think I have it figured out. It’s not the rejection that’s scary. It’s the time. See, as I already pointed out, I was putting so much effort into men who probably had no idea I wanted to be anything more than pals that a rejection came with the weight of all the effort I’d already made.

When asking someone out as soon as feelings are acknowledged, if rejection occurs, then it’s much easier to move on with life. It’s an issue of emotional baggage. Carrying a duffle bag is so much easier than a luggage set, after all.

And, maybe it’s just the adrenaline junkie in me, but making the first move has become a bit like a rollercoaster — scarier than the scariest thing ever done by a human the first time, an absolute endorphin rush every time after.

I’m not running around, asking guys out willy-nilly, but I am much more cavalier about just going for it. I could wax poetic about the feminist implications this has in my life, but really that’s not why I made the change.

I made the change because I want control over my life. Even though I have no control over the response to “let’s go on a date,” I do have control over how much of myself I invest in this other person.

Frankly, I’d like to know where we both stand before committing anything more than just conversation.

After all, it’s what I’d want from someone who’s interested in me.

Kjerstine Trooien is a staff writer of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].