“It doesn’t hurt to try”

by Dating Goddess on March 15, 2011

You’ve heard this bromide from people who want to encourage others to be more bold, or to justify their own failed behavior.

So does it hold true in dating?

Yes, it doesn’t hurt to try…

…to ask someone out for coffee who you’ve admired from afar, or even just met.

…to contact someone online who seems interesting.

…to show your interest in someone by asking about their life.

However, it does hurt to try…

…to kiss someone on the first date who hasn’t given you very clear signals they are interested, and/or who you haven’t asked if you could. You could ruin any chance of a second date as you could be seen as overly aggressive and inappropriate.

…to get too physical too soon — a hand on a thigh or too touchy. You could be perceived as disrespectful and crossing the other’s boundaries.

…to continue to pursue someone after they’ve said they aren’t interested. You’ll seem like you’re ignoring their wishes and even stalking.

So while some trying something bold can be positive, other times it can be harmful. When you hear yourself think, “It doesn’t hurt to try,” think through the options to see if it actually might hurt to try. If someone could respond negatively, seek alternatives.
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Want to understand more issues to consider on a first date? Get your copy of First-Rate First Dates: Increase the Chance of a Second Date.

 

 

 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Wayne Nelson March 16, 2011 at 1:21 am

I’d like the “…to contact someone online who seems interesting.” bit removed from it doesn’t hurt to try list.

Remember you contacted 100 men in your immediate area and they all basically ignored you?

Surely that hurt a little?

So for the first few times it doesn’t hurt to try but if you continue to fail then it starts to hurt (or if you are anything like me you start to wonder if there is something REALLY wrong with you!)

Mark Ohio March 16, 2011 at 3:23 am

Perfect!

Mark March 16, 2011 at 9:39 am

“…to kiss someone on the first date who hasn’t given you very clear signals they are interested, and/or who you haven’t asked if you could. You could ruin any chance of a second date as you could be seen as overly aggressive and inappropriate.”

This is a tricky one. I’ve heard some women take it negatively if the man doesn’t kiss them goodnight at the end of a first date. There is no right answer here. The man has to be good at reading body language, etc.

I did see a play with a woman once, a first meeting after doing the email thing. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I walked her to her car but she shot her hand out like a cobra striking and shook my hand before I could do anything. Well, I didn’t have to think about it after that! (And needless to say, she wasn’t interested in anything beyond that first meeting.)

Lisa March 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I agree Mark. It is almost impossible sometimes to know when you first meet someone what they might be thinking. I am one who does not necessarily feel comfortable hugging/kissing someone I do not know at all. I have been on coffee dates where I have offered a hand shake only. It doesn’t mean I was not interested in more eventually, but as you well know, internet coffee dates and I do not have a happy history! Maybe this woman was interested but was just nervous and/or reserved with physical expression?

I think I maybe appear too aloof physically even though I feel I am an engaging person to talk to. It is such a puzzle. Sometimes I wish men would be more forward with me! My problem is meeting up with men who seem to have no sex drive!!

Dating Goddess March 17, 2011 at 11:20 am

Hi Wayne:

Good memory!

Nah, it didn’t really hurt that so few responded. I’ve had enough “success” (defined as people contacting me and finding me attractive) that I felt it was more about them than me.

And the option is to not contact anyone which makes you feel helpless. So some activity, I believe, is better than no activity.

Dating Goddess March 17, 2011 at 11:21 am

Lisa:

We ought to swap lists as most of the men I have gone out with have a rabid sex drive!

Dating Goddess March 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

Mark:

In my post “http://www.datinggoddess.com/permission-based-dating-over-40/” I share that I believe in permission-based dating, although some of my readers thought it took the thrill out of that first kiss. Having had way too many men go in for a smooch when I didn’t want them to, I’d vote for respectful permission any time.

Richard March 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

“I’ve heard some women take it negatively if the man doesn’t kiss them goodnight at the end of a first date.” – A first date is messed up enough (both persons acting, rather than being themselves) to try and figure this out. Better to be too polite on the first date than too aggressive (unless the two of you have become touchy during the date). If she doesn’t want to see you again because of it, it is probably an excuse, rather than a reason. If she wanted the kiss, then missing it builds anticipation ;-) Maybe encourages her to give stronger signals on the 2nd date.

“to continue to pursue someone after they’ve said they aren’t interested. ” – To me, “doesn’t hurt to try” means otherwise missing/blowing an opportunity. If she has said “no”, what does it hurt to try to find a way to get her to say “yes”? It may annoy her, but it doesn’t “hurt” you.

Lisa March 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm

DG: OK! You can send me your list!! Seriously, it makes me wonder what kinds of men are too forward too soon or more open with being sexual pretty quickly. I am not saying I want that on a first date, but I have also become so weary of the opposite.

Zella March 20, 2011 at 8:01 am

I’m from Scandinavia but lived in the U.S. for some time too, and I think these issues may depend on the person’s cultural background too, as much as their personality. For example here in Finland it is still quite unusual to greet your friends with a kiss on the cheek, let alone strangers…. When I was dating in the U.S. I probably offered my hand, not my cheek, after a first date…sometimes even after the second date — and this had nothing to do with my interest level towards my date. Even if I was instantly attracted to a man on our first date, it would feel absurd to me to take it on physical level such as touching his leg or hand (unless I was looking for one night of sex only). However, there’s body language and if you’re good at it, you can certainly let your date know via subtle flirting that you are indeed interested in him :)

When it comes to saying “no thank you, I’m afraid I am not interested in seeing you again” — it would be disturbing to me if a man wouldn’t take no for an answer but instead would keep trying to persuade me for more dates. I met this guy last year who kept emailing and texting me for three months after our one and only date, all this after I had very politely told him I didn’t wish to meet him again. It was not cute, it was scary. Actually, I haven’t dated since and probably won’t in a while :)

Just my two cents…we’re all different.

Lisa July 30, 2011 at 7:41 am

I think being asked for a kiss is kind of sweet. If they didn’t think they’d get one they wouldn’t have asked… because no man would put himself in such a vulnerable position!
Even in a relationship that progressed much further, I found bringing up the subject, maybe just briefly, about getting more physical in the not too distant future to be a big turn on!

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