Remember those early teen years when “dating” consisted of meeting your crush at the mall or hanging out at someone’s house, watching TV? Rather than getting to know each other or building a relationship, you spent most of your energy trying to figure out if he really liked you, and the time you spent together never amounted to anything more than friendship.
Thank goodness those days are over. Or at least they should be!
Now that you’re an adult, the best way to build a romantic relationship is to spend quality, one-on-one time with a man in the form of proper dates (dinner and conversation, activities like hiking or going to the beach, movie nights, etc). If the guy in your life is not making an effort to make specific plans with you, this is a red flag that he is either not interested in you or is too lazy or preoccupied to make you a priority.
It seems that Chrissa S from our Facebook Community may be in this type of situation. She asks: Does there come a point when “hanging out” with a guy is too casual for an age group? I feel like it was okay at 21 but at 31 I do expect to be taken out on dates. I guess if we just hang out then I only see you as a friend. Am I being too formal and traditional? Or is the guy just trying to get a read on things? I’m so confused.
As a grown woman, you are absolutely right to expect to be taken out on dates, and if a man is interested in you romantically, he should want to make that happen. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule, so if the guy you’re “hanging out” with is really shy, he may be trying to avoid rejection by assessing your behavior in a low-pressure situation. If that’s the case, a little flirting and encouragement on your part should do the trick to help him overcome his fear and ask you out on a proper date. If not, it may mean that you’re stuck in that unfortunate Friend Zone.
We tend to spend a lot of time analyzing men’s behavior, trying to decode what they think and what they feel. The truth is, most men are pretty simple to read. Here are some clues to help you.
If a man is interested in a relationship with you, he will:
• call you without being asked, prompted or nagged
• flirt with you
• enthusiastically plan and take you out on dates
• try to kiss you
• spend time with you on weekends
• want to sleep with you (but respect your boundaries when you want to wait)
• involve you in his life (tell you about his job, friends, family, etc)
• be interested in – and ask you questions about – your life
• introduce you to his friends and family
• give you his undivided attention when you’re together
• reference you when he speaks about the future (e.g. “You’ve never been to Italy? We should plan a trip for the spring.”)
If he’s NOT really into you (i.e. sees you as just a friend or a hook-up) he may:
• say he’ll call but never follow through
• hang out with you casually but not make an effort to take you out on a proper date
• sleep with you but not treat you like a girlfriend
• only call or text you late at night to “hang out” (read: hook up)
• keep you separate from the rest of his life, never talking about his job, friends or family
• show no interest in your life, keeping conversations superficial without asking you questions about yourself
• make sure his friends, co-workers and family never know about you
• get easily distracted when you’re together, even checking out – or flirting with – other women in front of you
• evade any questions about the future (e.g. YOU: “What are you up to next weekend? Wanna get together?” HIM: “Uh, hmm… I’ve got a lot going on. I’ll get back to you.” [Then he never gets back to you.])
Not every man you’re attracted to is deserving of your time, attention and energy. You especially should not give your heart to someone who has not proven that he’s interested in a meaningful relationship with you. Try to look honestly and objectively at his actions and if he’s not pursuing you the way you deserve, move on so another (more worthy) man can.