When You Should (And Shouldn’t) Make The First Move

Regardless of who decides to make the first move in a relationship, it’s always a good idea to feel out the situation well so you reduce your chances of being rejected because no one wants that. Here’s the lowdown on when you should step up and express your interest and when you should pump the breaks.

  1. You shouldn’t if you’re not sure about their feelings. Are you 100% certain your crush feels the same way about you? Do you feel that if you don’t make the move, they will eventually? If you’re not sure about how to answer these questions, then stop right now!
  2. You shouldn’t if you’re not the type. For some women, making the first move isn’t that stressful. They also forget about it if things don’t work out and they face rejection. For other women, they can’t deal with the stress of putting themselves out there or they just don’t like the idea of making the first move. The bottom line is that putting yourself out there might not be right for who you are, and if it’s not then it’s not. No biggie. It’s better to be true to yourself than do something because you think you should.
  3. You shouldn’t if you’re acting out of fear. Are you making the first move because you want to share what’s in your heart or take a shot at something amazing? Or, are you doing it because you’re so panicked and anxious that if you don’t snap the person up they’ll get with someone else? If it’s the latter, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and it could end up backfiring.
  4. You shouldn’t if you have friends in common. If you’re not totally sure (or at least 95% sure) that the person likes you back and you have tons of mutual friends, it’s probably not a good idea to make your move. You don’t want to create awkwardness in your social circle by having to avoid the person if they reject you and go AWOL like a jerk.
  5. You shouldn’t if you’re not sure of your feelings. This one should go without saying, but you’ll be surprised by how many people aren’t even really into their crush when they make a first move. The result? They end up muttering their way through asking the person out and making the person feel like they’re not even that interested. Don’t do it just for the sake of it!
  6. You should if you’re doing it for yourself. Obviously you want to be with the person, but you shouldn’t make it all about them. Heck, go make the first move if you feel you need to do it so that you can get closure and move on instead of wasting any more time on this person. In this way, making the first move can be super empowering because it’s about you.
  7. You should if you’re cool and casual. If you know how to express yourself without getting stressed out or making things feel super-uncomfortable, then what are you waiting for? Sometimes we treat making the first move too seriously for our own good. You’re just asking the person for their number or out on a date, not to marry you!
  8. You should if you trust your instincts. Maybe you’ve never thought of making the first move before but you’re feeling a strong urge to do it now. If you listen to your gut and it’s telling you to own your destiny and ask that person out, then you owe it to yourself to follow that impulse.
  9. You should if you dare to learn from it. No matter what happens, whether the person accepts your offer or rejects you, making the first move can be a powerful way to put yourself out there, take charge of your life, and express yourself. If you see it in that way, then more power to you and go do it! Whatever happens, you’re going to come out feeling way more confident.
  10. You should if you know you’ll regret not doing it. Sometimes you get that “What if?” feeling, like, “What if I don’t take this opportunity and later regret it?” and it comes on super-strong. Maybe you might feel it when you realize the guy you’re crushing on isn’t going to be in your class anymore or you find yourself chatting to a woman at a party and you know that you might not get time with her again. If you know in your heart of hearts that you’ll kick yourself later for not saying something, then own the moment and make your move.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.