He Said/She Said: Should a Girl Ask a Guy Out?

He Said/She Said: Should a Girl Ask a Guy Out?

Dear Aaron and Rachel,

I’m 36 years old and divorced. Thankfully, we were only married a few years and didn’t have any children. But I’ve been single for 4 years now and after my divorce I decided that I will only date guys who I can see myself getting serious with. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice and make a major decision based on lust and butterflies.

Should a Girl Ask a Guy Out?

Anyway, since I won’t date someone seriously I usually just hang out with my girlfriends or go out on the town with a group. But lately there’s been a guy in our group who I’m beginning to really like. He’s single and I feel a real attraction to him. He’s very stable, has a good job, is responsible towards his children (he’s divorced, too) and he likes most of the same things I do. We’ve flirted back and forth for a few weeks but he won’t ask me out! My friends tell me he wants to ask me out but he just hasn’t yet. I’m thinking about asking him out myself.

I know it’s the 21st century and all but, still, I don’t know any girls who ask guys out. I’ve heard things like “It just chases them away” or “you’ll give him the impression that you’re easy”. I’ve also heard that “guys don’t like girls who ask them out because they feel intimidated” and “it starts the relationship off on the wrong foot”. I’d love to get a girl AND a guys’ opinion about if it’s okay for a girl to ask a guy out.

Single in the 21st Century

She Said 


Kudos to you for taking your past relationship and learning from it. It is only natural that you’d be more cautious the second time around. It sounds like there may be some potential compatibility with this guy in your group, but there is one not-so-slight problem: He doesn’t realize it enough man to man up and do something about it!

You should be very cautious about getting involved with a man who isn’t sure if he sees romantic potential in you. Yes, yes, it is 2015, and no one has to stick to strict gender roles that stifle them. You can ask him out if you want to, but I do not advise it. Call me “old school” or “rulesy,” but I have never asked a man out or advised my female clients or friends to do so.(And it has worked out pretty well for us all!)

The truth is: If a guy is really into you, he will ask you out. He will get over shyness. He will get past the fear of rejection. He won’t worry about risking the friendship. He will put on his big boy panties and just do it!  He just didn’t get around to it? PUH-LEASE. I didn’t get around to my taxes either. But if I was a guy who understood that men are still expected to pursue the women that they are interested in, I would surely take a moment to ask a woman out!

Men know this. If he’s not asking you out, there is a reason. Maybe he’s not over his divorce. Maybe he doesn’t want to make it awkward for your group. Maybe he’s, (sigh), “just not that into you”. If you want a man who will pursue you, do not ask him out. If you are willing to take the risk of developing real feelings for a man who may have not asked you out in the first place, you can do it. You will teach him how to treat you. While you can’t change him or really control the outcome of the dynamic, you can try to set things up in a way that will get you what you want. The real question is: What kind of relationship do you want?

He Said

Hmm, your question is one that I honestly struggle with. I personally believe that there are many normal behaviors in dating that set couples up for failure in marriage. And the one you’re talking about where guys are expected to ask the girl out is one of them. Here’s why:

When couples date, it’s mostly the guys’ responsibility to not only ask the girl out, but they’re also supposed to anticipate what the girl wants to do, plan the date, and followup with a phone call to go out again. If she likes what he plans then she goes out with him again. But if not, she stops returning his texts. The girl, then, just goes along for the ride to see how good he is at reading her mind to find out if they’re “compatible”.This puts a lot of responsibility on the guy and the girl has very little responsibility.

In marriage, however, couples should behave much differently. Instead of the guy doing all the work, both partners should be trying to show each other affection. And instead of expecting guys to be good mindreaders, women (and men) should openly communicate about what they want, how they feel, etc.  So as you’re pondering Rachel’s question of what kind of relationship you want, keep in mind this gender norm and if it’s really how you want your relationship.

Having said that, I don’t see why you shouldn’t just go ahead and ask him out. There are ways to do it that don’t sound like a date (e.g. “hey, there are a bunch of us getting together, why don’t you come with me?”) that makes it sound more natural but lets him know your interested in him. If he says no because he’s intimidated by your forwardness and emotional security, then you’ve just dodged a bullet and you can move on. If he says yes, then you’re a match made for each other (and you have a really good story for your grandkids)!

About Rachel:  Rachel Russo is a Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach who works with marriage-minded singles and couples in NYC and throughout the US. Checkout her website at RachelRusso.com

About Aaron: Aaron Anderson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He also writes for various magazines and websites all on the topic of marriage and relationships.

6 Responses to He Said/She Said: Should a Girl Ask a Guy Out?

  1. I have to say I agree with going the traditional route. Men should ask women out. That being said, there's nothing wrong with women suggesting a hangout or making her intentions known. Great post and great points on both sides, but I have to say I'm with Rachel! Sorry Aaron!

  2. Don't do it. In my experience, there is always a reason why he hasn't moved on this. You are not only showing him what your ability to handle this aspect of his personality is like, you're also setting the standard for how things may or may not go in the relationship (whether you end up just being friends or not). Just my two cents, but there is always a reason, and it's that Oscar winning performance that can say with a shocked, but pleasantly surprised face (and be believable) "Who me? You'd like to take me out? Oh my gosh! Sure!" Rather than you doing it and him now knowing that you will pick up the reigns because you just can't wait.

  3. The buildup to and act of asking a woman out on a date, or more, is an accomplishment for most men. The process creates an internal energy and passion that usually demands follow through with a worthwhile courting effort. The risk-reward benefit is enormously skewed in favor of making a move. Unless there is an overriding reason for the women to ask a man out, it's probably best for both parties to let the man meet the challenge. Of course, if a woman wants sexual relations and sex, all she really has to do is ask most any man.

  4. Yikes! This is a tough one. I don't do it. I still believe in the traditional route as well. It is nice to be asked on a date by a man. Let him be a man! In the past, I have been told that I can be a little bit emasculating. ME? NO! LOL

  5. Sorry Aaron, but I have to say that I agree with Rachel on this one. I have asked guys out before, and by me leading the way and taking control from the get go (by asking them out) it sets the path for all future dates and encounters. I think this is one instance where a woman can absolutely let her feelings and attraction be known by flirting and what not, but more traditional roles should be taken when it comes to dating and who should ask whom out. Just my .02

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