'Tell the man you love him. Shoot your shot', they say, but why are women afraid to do it?

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Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • Women should be comfortable with making the first move when interested in someone.
  • Society still believes that the "hunter" is the man and the "hunted" should wait around until it happens.
  • If you are disappointed that your feelings are not reciprocated, don't personalise the experience. Move on.

The days of women being afraid to make the first move are gone, or so we thought.

Unfortunately, the premise that a woman should wait for a man to shoot his shot still exists.

But is this necessary? Why must you wait, and suffer in silence about how you feel?

So what happens if the person you are waiting for doesn't say anything? 

A part of me wants to believe that I can make the first move, but then there is the social construct that is ingrained in me and keeps reminding me of the so-called "rules of engagement".

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Relationship expert Shelley Lewin says she hopes women are moving away from the idea that it is taboo to make the first move.

"It could be seen as more traditional - rather than taboo - for a man to pursue a woman. 

"The role of masculine energy is to be the hunter rather than the hunted, which translates to a man making the first move in relationships. As we evolve into more balanced beings with equal parts masculine and feminine energy, regardless of gender, it will become more common and acceptable for a woman to show and express her interest and desire in a man," she says. 

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Personally, "what if he says he is not interested" rings in my head - the thought of being rejected puts on the brakes all the time.

Shelley says rejection, for some people, is often the self-assessment that you are not good enough or they are not worthy in some way.

"There is no such thing as 'rejection' if you come to understand and accept that some people align easily and others don't. More or less, we are aligned with some people more than we are with others. It tends to be a problem only when we want to align with someone, and they do not align with us. We take that personally and call the emotion of disappointment rejection," she says. 

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We all know that life doesn't always give us what we think we deserve, so it is a disappointment that is all part of life. 

"Disappointment results from our expectations being misaligned to reality. If your expectation and hope were to align with someone specific, but you didn't, it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you," Shelley adds.

When you have no expectations, you can easily shoot your shot. Now, where do you start?

Shelly advises that there is absolutely no reason any person should not move toward the people they feel aligned to and would like to know better.

"The easiest piece of advice is to choose to be either interesting or interested. If you are going to be interesting, open up a dialogue with some information that you think that person would find relevant or useful based on the context you find yourself. e.g. in a gym, you see a man strength training, so you might share a fact or detail about something you learnt about weight training and ask for his opinion," she explains.

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But remember that in authentic dialogue and conversation, there is no right or wrong thing to say. Don't try to be interesting if you have nothing interesting to say. In that case - go for being interested. 

"If you are going to be interested, initiate a conversation by asking a question and being curious (based on the context you find yourself). e.g. in a supermarket, you see a man buying fruit, you might enquire about whether he knows how to tell if the watermelon is ripe," Shelley adds.

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The purpose of this is to engage and see if there is any spark or connection.

Feelings may subside, especially when you start chatting to someone, getting to know them a bit. So, you might want to tread carefully and not be fully in, to ensure that you like the person.

Shelley says, "If there is flow, it feels good, and you would like to continue the conversation, express that authentically, e.g. 'I enjoyed this brief interaction. Would you be keen to continue a different conversation with me at a different time? And if yes, can we swap numbers?' Engage a few times to discern your interest levels before you request to meet in person again."

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If you reach out and are approachable and open to engaging, yet the person of interest has not picked up the "vibes", you choose either being candid or cold. 

"Candid would require some courage to say something like, 'I'm going outside my comfort zone to flirt with you because I like you'. Ask the person to be honest and 'let me know if I'm wasting my time here'. And then the cold approach would be to surrender to the reality that this person is not aligned with you and to move on with your day and life without him," Shelley adds.

Have you ever shot your shot? What was the result? Tell us about it here.

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