Making the first move can be incredibly intimidating—especially for women. Women are too often socialized to wait around for men to come to them and be the forward one, but not only is that incredibly heteronormative, it also can make for a pretty boring love life. In 2018, women should totally feel empowered to be honest and straightforward when they’re interested in somebody—whether it’s on a dating app, in a bar, or anywhere else. The truth is, making the first move is a bit like pulling off a Band-Aid—it can feel painful and awkward and weird the first time, but then it’s over. And the next time, it will be easier—and the time after that, it gets even easier.
And everybody has their own method for making the first move. Some women are bold, some are nervous, some are downright messy. Brides spoke to real women about how they actually work up the nerve to make the first move and there's a lot you can learn from them. It turns out, alcohol (in moderation) and dating apps can make a huge difference. Here's what they had to say.
Dating Apps Are Great Training Wheels
“Dating apps have literally changed my life when it comes to making the first move. I could never do it in real life, but suggesting a drink over a dating app if we’ve been talking for a bit feels 100 percent normal And if they ditch the conversation, I never have to meet them or run into them."
— Rose, 30
“I only use Bumble, so I’m really used to starting the conversation now.”
— Suz, 31
A lot of people found that dating apps were a great leveler when it came to making the first move. There’s Bumble, where women have to message first, but even on other apps there seems to be a leveling effect. If you're nervous about asking someone out or just starting a conversation, a dating app or site is a great way to try it, relatively risk-free. If they don’t respond or the conversation fizzles, you still have the whole Internet to explore.
Blame It on the Alcohol
"That’s a tough call—I don’t really know how I’ve made the first move. Get really drunk? Hope for the best? I know that I’ve done it, but guess that whenever I’ve been brave enough, I’ve just made lots of eye contact and initiated a bit of touching or the leg or shoulder. It sounds kind of lame, but it feels much scarier at the time!”
— Helen, 33
“Get drunk and then when you’re waiting for the bus say, ‘Are we going to kiss or what?’ It works pretty much every time, except for when it doesn’t.
— Izzy, 33
Alcohol comes up again and again when it comes to making the first move—which is fine, as long as you’re drinking responsibility. If one or two drinks helps you relax and let Dutch courage take hold, then you may find that you’re more likely to message that person or go up to them in a bar—or even take the date to the next level. Just everything in moderation, OK?
Just Go for It
“I don’t ever make the first move but one of my friends has two business cards. One is business and one is personal, like just her email and phone number for picking people up. Apparently guys like it because women so rarely make the first move.”
— Maria, 31
“I’m not great at making the first move, I can do everything up to that actual moment. So I can get a little touchy, be really flirty, but when I have made the first move, it’s been kind of a mess—like I’ve launched myself at their face. But so far, it seems to work!”
— Zoe, 31
“My gay friend from work met her wife in a bar. She was straight at the time and this girl came up to her, and said, 'I'm great with first-timers.' Then just walked off. She was like 'Whoa, what just happened there!?' Turns out this girl had literally said it to every girl there! What a great way to play the odds game of repressed gays and curious bis.”
— Lauren 32
Some women have no problem making the first move and, as I was surprised to learn, some of them even have actual business cards to make it happen. Once you get used to it, it doesn’t have to be so scary.
Making the first move can seem totally intimidating if you haven’t done it before—and if you’ve done it and it’s gone badly. But there’s no point in sitting around and waiting for life to happen to you. Try making the first move and if it doesn't go well, there’s always somebody else out there. Once you get used to it, you’ll find it’s an empowering, exciting way to take control of your own love life. If it works for these women, there's no reason it can't work for you.