While we’re on the topic of assumptions, I want to address the common sentiment I hear about men leading women on but doing so in a “nice guy” manner.
This circumstance usually occurs with guy and girl friends, and a guy is really nice and caring and thoughtful (this can also happen the other way around, but I’ve generally experienced it more with “nice” guys and their girl friends).
Usually, the reason this situation can cause some despair and cloudiness is because one of the parties has started to develop romantic feelings.
Most of the time, friendships between males and females can be characterized by nice, caring, and thoughtful behavior where both parties have platonic feelings.
However, when one person begins to get attracted romantically, then perceptions toward nice, caring, and thoughtful behavior becomes interpreted as “leading on”.
Granted, there are certainly instances when people are intentionally leading on, but I’d argue there are just as many instances where men and women are just nice people who have no idea how their friendliness needs boundaries.
In this case, it is up to the person who is starting to feel “led on” to ask, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been really thoughtful in these different instances (cite instances). I’m curious, was there any romantic intent behind that?”
If the person says, “no, there was no intent behind it,” then it’s fair to respond by saying, “Okay thanks, I’d prefer if you did [so and so] behavior instead because it can be hard for me to read when you do [so and so].”
Too many times people render themselves powerless by not asking for clarification. And when this happens, one can easily be led down a road of assumptions, bitterness, and judgmental thoughts.
Meanwhile, the person who has no sense of his/her lack of boundaries does not grow in his/her awareness of how his/her behavior can lead to misconceptions.
In many respects, this clarifying act is an equalizing of power and taking responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings, and assumptions.
Yes, you guessed right, I’m also suggesting that women can/should ask men out if they feel powerless in the relationship and they are starting to get antsy or frustrated about it.
If women do not want to ask clarifying questions or ask a man out, then she has virtually given away her “power” over her own dating life, which is traditionally how it’s been.
There’s nothing wrong about the traditional paradigm of men asking women out, but a woman must understand that she chooses her own powerlessness by remaining in this system.
Phew. That was a mouthful. Part 3 will go deeper into this topic of clarifying assumptions. Stay tuned…