This is the 3a post in an ongoing series on Relationships. Part 3 was on The Opposite of Settling is Unsettling. How the word settling has an inherently defeated connotation and that many times, the best people are right in front of you. My hope is that this series supports and intentionalizes more quality, Godly relationships; and stops some of the childish bickering that happens through an insightful and funny series.
Should women take initiative? I recently got asked this question by a friend of mine. My comment turned into a post.
Some thoughts that come to mind:
You don't want a guy that won't go after you. That won't chase you. Percentage wise on how far women should go in initiating, I don't know. I just know you don't want to go 100%.
But it is true that guys are way out numbered by girls, like 2-1 or 3-1 so when you do find someone you REALLY like, I am going to guess that some other girls like that guy too. So you 'have to get yours'. The field is against you. One of the characteristics I said in Proverbs 31 was being diplomatic: Diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way. I love this quote. Just make him think that he was choosing you As in, he may not even really notice you. It is not one side selecting and the other side just obliging, it is both sides mutually agreeing. I don't think women should take the initiative, but they can spark interest in a variety of ways.
So you definitely don't want to go 100%, unless you want a guy with no backbone. No balls. So then the question becomes, what percentage is right? There is not a right answer. Some girls are happily content going 99% of the way, meaning the guy just shows up. Actually, for 1% he just sits there. So is it 87%, 67%, 53% 43%, 25%, 0%?
50/50: the line of demarcation. When you go past 50/50 you are playing offensive. Vulnerable to get hurt. Below the 50/50 line, you are playing defensive. It is your home base. You are safe. You won't get hurt because you're not allowing yourself to get hurt. 50/50 means you are there half way and you expect the other partner to come at least half way, which is noble. Now I say 'at least' because women are confusing. Women love to play tricks, whether for good, bad or unknowing intentions.
Example: Women piques guys interest by going 74% of the way her way. Guy thinks 'wow this girl really likes me. I'm interested and I will go on the offensive next time we meet!' Next time they meet, girl is at 0%, guy is at 74% his side and thinks 'what the heck did I do wrong?' Does my cologne stink? Do I have bad breath?' It's the chase. Women love to do it. It's a misnomer to think that some women just play defensive their whole life, because guys just keep coming. That they don't have to do anything. Sure guys flock to specific women but their secret is that they play offense. There is always a problem. The problem for those girls is finding, filtering, and getting the junk guys out of the way. For others, it will mean playing more offense. Positives and negatives to both sides.
Now if you went offensive for a bit then went back to the 50/50 line, not willing yourself to get hurt, he may find you there. It is those who go back and forth, back and forth, that confuse the male species. It's not bad, it's just a work out.
Ultimately, the question is, what kind of guy do you want? A guy that will just play defense? A guy that never goes past 50/50? Or a guy that just takes 3 steps past the line of demarcation? Personally, if I had a daughter, I would want her to get a guy who was offensive, not defensive. There's an old sports cliche 'defense wins you championships'. Meaning, know yourself. Know what you want. Recheck that list. Do what you are good at and what characteristics you want in a potential spouse. However, it is very, very rare to win with just defense. Defense can help your offense. There is no way you will win if you are at 0%. However some people may need to be there for a season of their lives. Maybe you are at 25%. Do you need to be at 40%? 1% point makes a big difference. Just don't stand there at 79%, you'll look a little desperate.
There is an underlying question to: should women take initiative? Why should you have to take initiative? Because you are worried? Because of the outnumbering of girls to guys? Those are bad reasons. Those are worldly reasons.
Does he not notice you because there are tons of other women grabbing at his attention? Then you may have to go on some offense for a bit. Not always. Just to pique his attention. The chase, right? Some great guys are just blinded, consumed with all the 79ers who entice like no other. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. So you've got to get their attention, the old offense to defense switcharoo, and get those guys 'working out' again.Share on Facebook
Recently, I came across (via the simple dollar) a brilliant commencement speech given at Princeton by Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon. The main focus of Bezos’ speech was the difference between gifts and choices. Here’s an excerpt & comments by Trent:
What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.
He goes on, near the end, to illustrate the idea a bit more directly:
How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?
When I was in college, I took a course on the theory of programming languages – fairly arcane computer science stuff. For some reason, I just got the material. It just really, really clicked in my mind.
At the end of the semester on the day of the final, there were two people (myself and one other student) in the class who had cinched an A regardless of our performance on the final, which was obviously a relief. I vaguely knew the other student, so after the final was over, I caught up with him just to somewhat debrief on the class with someone else who really got it.
What I came to find out is that the other student with an A had put an absurd amount of work into the class. He had studied and studied. He had stayed up late working on every project. He told me, quite sincerely, that he had invested more time in that class alone than he had in all of his other classes combined that semester.
My ability to get an A in that class was a gift. His ability to get an A in that class was a choice.
Every single person out there has gifts. Some of us are very gifted with the ability to make friends easily. Other people have an innate understanding of a particular topic. My mother and my grandmother and my uncle all share a gift for sketching, a gift I simply do not have. They could (and still can, in my mother’s case) sit down with a pencil and a sheet of paper and make an amazing sketch of almost anything you can name. My mother virtually never does this, but on the few times I’ve seen her do it, I’ve been blown away at the quality of what she can produce.
Every single person out there has a life full of choices. You’re choosing what to do with every moment of your life, whether it’s work or practicing the piano or watching The Real Housewives of Duluth, MN.
Quite often, a series of choices can make up for the lack of a gift possessed by another. The story above about the student in my computer science class is a perfect example of this. I find it’s true in my own life, too.
I have always had a very difficult time being social with people I don’t know very well. It is only through a conscious choice to continually work on my social skills that I have been able to engage successfully with groups of new people and build quite a few great positive relationships in my community. By no means am I a social master, but for a very introverted guy like myself, the ability to walk into a community event, greet and be greeted by several people, and usually have one long conversation or two before I ever reach my seat is a sign that a series of conscious choices can make up for a missing gift.
However, the real home runs occur when a person knows their gifts and makes choices to accentuate that gift.
All you have to do is look at the truth of how the top people in any field have reached that point. Yes, they’re resting on some natural gifts, but those gifts are virtually always cultivated by countless hours of practice and other hard choices. Kobe Bryant didn’t wake up one morning being the best basketball player in the world. He has natural gifts, no doubt, but he constantly makes very difficult choices in terms of his practice regimen, his diet, and other areas of his life. The result? Five rings, a pile of awards, a ticket to the Hall of Fame, and more money than he can count.
In other words, people pay money to see the results of gifts matched with choices. The real message here is that gifts are certainly a help, but it is choices that really take you places.
That’s why I’m a firm believer that people should follow their passions. A passion means that you’ll constantly be making those hard choices that build something exceptional. Like that student in my class who stayed up all night working on theory of programming language projects, the results of chasing a passion are usually very strong.
Combine them with a few gifts and you have something amazing. Something people will pay money for.
It’s Tuesday afternoon. What choices will you make today to build that amazing future? Will you choose to spend less money? Will you choose to stay up all night getting that project you’re working on just perfect? Will you go home tonight, pull that canvas out of the closet, and put some paint on it?
The choice is yours.Share on Facebook
I ended the last post with the statement: A generation that loves choice and hates choosing.
I fall victim to this mentality over and over again. I WANT CHOICE! From restaurants to choose from to when I am in those restaurants, I want choice and options. I don't care that I chose an Indian restaurant, I want to see fries on the menu!..... I mean that is what I am thinking.... I live and grew up in a generation, a time period where choice is king. I have the power to choose. Thus, I am king... right?
If we have all this choice, why is it so HARD to choose? Again, I find myself second guessing every purchase, transaction, or in other words every CHOICE I make. Life should not be so difficult. That is until the choice was a good one. Then my human inclination toward habit kicks in. O that felt good, lets do that again! Then your choices become stagnant and you become really really picky..... no?
Back to yesterday's post, it was in the context of relationships. We live in a generation that LOVES choice. Yet when it comes time to pick, we find ourselves debating the nuances of this and that, the particulars of microscopic details that really don't have root.
Yet this internal debate makes us more particular, more individualized, less decisive. So we wait and wait, never taking action. Is this why we don't marry? We wait for this IDEAL woman that we hope will come along, while the choice is right in front of you?
I shouldn't be one to talk as I am still single...
Interestingly, I stumbled upon Tim Ferriss' Blog and the first post is about the Choice Effect: Why are you single? The post is written by Claire Williams who write The Choice Effect: Love and Commitment in an Age of Too Many Options in the book she digs into the question of being single for women. She gives 5 tips to 'taming the Choice Effect':
- Common Sense
- Choose Already
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If you went into an ice-cream store and saw a child ordering an ice cream cone with 7 different scoops, you’d tell him he was idiot (or not, because that is mean and he is small). Don’t be that kid. You don’t get to have everything. And, to be fair, you don’t want to. College buffet lines were fun at the beginning, but a plate full of pasta-pizza-ranch-dressing-Fruit Loops loses its appeal after a while. So choose.
What stops so many of us from making a commitment is our fear that once we make a choice we have to close the door on all the other options. If we marry Andy, we will never date Charles. True. If we become an architect, we will never be a ferret trainer. Also true. However, if we do sack up and choose to become an architect, then we have a whole host of new and shiny choices to think about! Should we make a doghouse or a people house? Should the house be blue or red? Should the building be small, medium, or big?
Choosing doesn’t limit choices—it just changes them. So feel free to pick that city, that career, that partner, knowing that even commitment brings a whole new set of options – children/pets/red and blue houses – to be excited (and angsty) about.