Ladies I get it. You don’t want to lead guys on. That’s good. I understand what you are really trying to get away from is those guys who just don’t seem to “get it” and won’t go away or leave you alone. I also understand you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. That’s good too. However, I’d like to argue that these things aren’t under your control in many cases. In other words, it’s not you. Have you ever tried everything you can think of to let a guy know you’re not interested but he still won’t leave you alone? It’s not you, it’s him. He likes you because of who he perceives you to be, not just because he is interpreting your friendliness as attraction. So even if you do communicate your not attracted to him, that doesn’t necessarily change the way he feels. Add to this the stories of people who ended up falling for someone they weren’t attracted to and the voices which say that guys need to pursue the woman they’re interested in and it can be quite confusing for a guy to know what to do.
For whatever reason, women often take more responsibility for things than what actually belongs to them. This may come from a noble place of wanting to examine yourself before blaming everything on others. But it’s quite unhealthy to take responsibility for something that’s not under our control. And other people’s actions are not under our control. Let me say it again: we are not responsible for another person’s actions. Their actions are their responsibility, period. Now this is certainly no excuse to mistreat, tempt, or tease others. But I believe you probably do these things less often than you may think.
I began this post with the intent of sharing my own story. While there is certain some significant difference, I definitely have a fear of leading women on too. You see, at the beginning, I’m usually not sure how much I’m interested in a woman romantically if at all. I mean there are plenty of ladies I know I’m not attracted to, but the reverse is generally less clear. There may be someone I am curious about and would like to get to know more because I might be interested. I recognize that as the guy, I’m expected to initiate more. So I try. But I fear that this communicates more interest than I actually possess (especially true in the unnatural, bizarre arena known as online dating). I don’t want to hurt a woman’s feelings either—yeah, I’m probably more sensitive than the stereotypical guy. But I believe I may have unintentionally hurt the last girl I officially dated more than anyone, and regret that because she was a good friend.
When I recognize a fear like this I attempt to not let it prevent me from doing what I think is best. For me this means taking a risk and walking into the unknown through initiating a relationship with a woman. I realize that most women recognize this and will at least attempt to not assume more interest than is actually communicated.
Ladies, you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself and express yourself due to fear of how men might respond. (I recognize this is a very real fear with potentially very serious, even violent consequences. So be smart while understanding that you aren’t responsible for their actions.) If you are worried about how some guy perceives you, be direct. It’s your responsibility to be clear if you feel there may be confusion. Your communication may or may not change his behavior, but again, that’s not your responsibility. I know you might like to be able to control it. I wish there was some way of guaranteeing that you won’t get harassed. Unfortunately there isn’t, as you may have learned already.
So I don’t believe we are actually leading people on as much as we worry we are. I would say that we’re only leading someone on if we are intentionally being deceptive, communicating that we are more interested than we are, or not clarifying our lack of interest when we know someone believes otherwise.