How I Stopped Waiting For Guys To Come To Me & Started Going After The Ones I Liked

I used to be one of those girls that never made a move, which I justified by telling myself that I wanted to be wooed. But the truth was: I was terrified of asking guys out, but when I did, it changed the whole game.

  1. I struggled with low self-esteem. I can’t give a good reason for why I felt this way—I was objectively intelligent, successful, and not terrible-looking. But around guys, I still felt like an awkward, gangly, bespectacled middle schooler—any poise or confidence I’d developed in the meantime went out the window. I couldn’t even imagine being asked out, let alone doing the asking.
  2. I subscribed to traditional gender roles. From Disney movies to Jane Austen, I always loved the idea of a tall, handsome stranger waltzing in and sweeping me off my feet. Nobody ever romanticized short, spunky women doing the wooing—and I had a hard time letting go of that fantasy.
  3. Doing nothing meant that nothing happened.  It would’ve been one thing if I was great at flirting, but my preferred method of showing a guy I liked him was by treating him exactly the same way I treated everybody else—or even better, completely ignoring him! The thought of hair-flipping, eyelash-batting, and fake-laughing made me want to vomit, but I also realized that my non-signals meant that no guy ever knew I liked him. Maybe it was time for me to take the wheel.
  4. I started small. Even though part of me wanted to run over and be like, “I LOVE YOU, LET’S GO ON A ROMANTIC PICNIC!”, I reeled myself in. I started by inviting guys to group hangouts with mutual friends, or people I thought they’d get along with. It took off the pressure of it being a “date date” and let me get to know them in a more casual, friendly setting.
  5. I paid attention. My idea of a fun time is staying in bed, binge-watching Netflix and stuffing my face with pizza, but it’s not exactly an appealing date option. To get some ideas, I started listening to things guys mentioned they liked like movies, bands, and food. That way, I could ask them to do things they actually enjoyed, whether it was trying out a niche restaurant or seeing a specific movie screening. Going in with a plan made me a lot more confident and increased the chance that they would say yes.
  6. I assumed the worst. Everyone hates rejection, and I was definitely scared of feeling humiliated. To quell my fears, I’d imagine the worst that could happen. I’d make up these ridiculous scenarios in my head: “Maybe he’ll scream ‘NEVER!’ and throw a plate of pasta in my face!” or “Maybe he’ll be so repulsed that he’ll jump out of a window!” Obviously, none of these things ever happened, but “surviving” the worst possible outcome in my head helped me ask guys out with less fear of rejection.
  7. I kept it casual. Don’t get me wrong—I love big, romantic gestures, but it definitely wasn’t the right move for a girl scared to death of asking guys out. I always kept the dates to an hour, two hours max, and always low-pressure activities: coffee, seeing a show, or grabbing a quick bite. Not only did this make for a more enjoyable time, but it also meant I didn’t have to suffer through a long date if it turned out that we were not very compatible.
  8. I didn’t let myself dwell on rejection. I definitely struck out a few times, and even though they were all super nice about it, it never felt good. My first instinct was to bury myself in my bed and never talk to a guy again, but of course, that would’ve been counterproductive. Instead, I decided I wouldn’t take the no’s personally—it just wasn’t meant to work out.
  9. The yeses did wonders for my confidence. Successfully asking a guy out was a high you wouldn’t believe! I felt powerful, in control, and desirable, even though I had initially thought that doing the “chasing” would mean I was desperate. I ended up getting to know some pretty awesome guys, and even though we didn’t all end up dating, I made some cool new friends and gained confidence—it was a double win!
  10. I realized I had the power to steer my own love life. No more waiting around like a damsel in distress for some guy to come to his senses and ask me out! I had just as much agency to make a move, and it felt great. I’ve continued to ask guys out ever since, and I’ve never looked back.
Devani is a biology student with a deep love and no talent for spoken word poetry. She enjoys singing in the shower, lychee boba, and hopes to one day develop enough coordination to look cool in da club.