Dear Janice, An old fraternity brother called to tell me that his younger sister was moving to my city. He asked that I show her around and introduce her to good people and families. When we met and hung out together, we had a lot of fun and discovered that we shared similar interests and “philosophies” about life. I’m interested in seriously dating her. When I spoke with my friend/her brother about it, he said he didn’t mind, but that it was really up to his sister, but she told him that she’s only interested in me as a friend. I’m hoping that by continuing to do things together that she’ll come to like me as more than a friend. After all, it’s a big city and she could use someone to help her find her way through it. I think that could get her to like me in a romantic way. Do you think my plan can work? Ira
Ira -- This is not the first time I’ve heard about a man hoping to get to a woman’s heart by befriending her first. On paper, the plan actually makes sense since women are more inclined to be attracted to a man by way of his inner, emotional qualities. However, I am not a big fan of any behavior that is duplicitous, or manipulative, and that’s exactly how this strategy appears to me. If a man is honestly interested in dating a woman, then he should make his intentions known by asking her out on a real date. If he wants to spend meaningful time together, then just hanging out or doing something “as friends” ends up looking like “stealth dating.”
Why do I call it “stealth-dating?” That’s because men (and women too, yet usually under other circumstances) will keep their feelings “under the radar” so as to avoid the possibility of rejection by being open and honest. They don’t believe that they’ll be taken seriously if they express their interests directly. So they instead plot ways to spend time together under the guise of friendship, hoping that by stealth dating in this way that the love interest will eventually and inevitably earn his trust and ultimately, her romantic attention.
I suggest that you not succumb to stealth dating. You should take the risk and tell your fraternity brother’s sister how much you enjoy being with her and that you’d like to spend even more time together. Let her know that you see her as more than just your friend’s li’l sis.
One good way is to give her a compliment about something definitively feminine that you’ve noticed about her. Then ask her if she shares your interest. If she doesn’t, then I suggest that you don’t continue to offer to “help her out,” etc., as "friends." You can move on knowing that you did what your fraternity brother asked of you, and for that you will get lots of points. With him.
Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and personal coach living in New York City with her husband and three children. Known as "DoctorLoveCoach," Janice helps singles navigate the journey toward attaining gratifying and committed relationships. She has been quoted in Cosmopolitan Magazine, featured in the New York Jewish Week, has a free bi-weekly e-newsletter, and gives teleclasses, lectures and workshops. For more information you may visit her website at www.DoctorLoveCoach.com.
© Copyright 2005 Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D
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