It can be very intimidating to make the first move, whether on a dating website or in person. We fear being judged. Many years ago, there was a book called The Rules which stated women should never talk to men first. And though that book was released for a heterosexual audience, I think a lot of queer people have internalized that message as well. Femme lesbians may feel they shouldn’t have to make the first move when a butch is around. Or a more feminine gay guy might think that his more masculine crush should make the first move.
Regardless of who you are, it is a bad idea to stand on ceremony when it comes to making the first move. If someone likes you, he will not be creeped out if you approach him first. Just the contrary: he will (or at least should) be flattered. Of course, your approach matters a lot. There are certainly ways to ick someone out with a weird approach at a bar or on a dating site.
Here are some ideas of what to do and what not to do when making the first move:
Don’t be stalkery.
When you like someone, you may be tempted to follow him around the bar or send a hundred emails. Don’t do that. It will make you look very strange. One nicely-written email or sweet hello at a bar is all it should take to get someone’s attention. If he’s not interested after that, then it wasn’t meant to be.
Try to relax.
Making the first move is enough to send anyone’s nerves reeling. Take a few deep breaths before approaching your crush, or before sending out an email. If you appear too nervous, it may lower your chances of attracting that person.
Don’t be too overly familiar.
Being flirtatious is one thing, but invading someone’s personal space or giving out intimate details of your life is another. Avoid touching someone’s hair or clothing when approaching them. You may think you are just being harmlessly friendly, but you may risk upsetting him. Also, and this especially applies in any place liquor is being served, do not reveal too much personal info about yourself.
You don’t want to give a stranger your address or where you work, even if she or he seems lovely. And you also don’t want to tell him you used to be an alcoholic, or you have mental health issues, or anything of that sort when you first meet him. Save that for the second date at least.
Don’t assume someone doesn’t like you or is out of your league.
Just because someone didn’t approach you first, doesn’t mean they don’t like you. He or she could just be shy or busy. Also, don’t assume someone else is too pretty or too successful for you to date. First of all: you are probably selling yourself short. And secondly, people are attracted to all sorts. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of people with partners who weren’t as attractive or successful as them. People fall in love with each other not always based on their job or how they look but how much fun they have together.