Author Topic: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on  (Read 12116 times)

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sweetonsno

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Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« on: April 07, 2012, 12:04:57 AM »
This is a bit of a hypothetical. It's partly etiquette and partly general life skills.

Where do you draw the line between "giving someone a chance" and leading them on?

I don't know if this happens with men, but as a woman, I've occasionally been urged to "give him a chance." This usually happens when someone who I'm not interested in is interested in me. I've had friends and family urge me to try dating him to see if anything develops. I have mixed feelings about this.

My first question: at what point does it stop being "giving someone a chance" (or being openminded, I suppose) and start being leading someone on? Is it wrong to accept a date with someone who you aren't interested in in the first place? Is it wrong to go out with them more than twice if you're not interested? Should you just not go out with them as soon as you're absolutely sure you aren't interested?

My second question: if you are "giving someone a chance," should you tell them that you are? I don't mean directly saying, "I'm not attracted to you but I'm going out with you anyway," but should you let them know that you're unsure about your compatibility?

Deetee

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2012, 12:54:30 AM »
If you are not attracted and you are sure you will never be, then it may fall under "leading them on". But I would personally put the "sure you will never be" really, really really high (closer to active dislike) before I would ever apply that to a first date.

This does NOT mean that you should ever feel like you should go on a date with someone, just because you feel indifferent. I'm only saying it's not cruel to the other person to go on that date. "I don't like his left eyebrow" is a perfectly reasonable reason to not go on a date.

And never tell someone you don't really like them on the first date. That's just cruel.

Allyson

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 01:09:58 AM »
Everyone's different, and I think that applying self-knowledge here can be useful. For me, I take awhile to warm up to people. I've had a few experiences where I haven't been that into someone, then after they moved on, ended up liking them. Silly brain, and very frustrating. So, I'm more likely to accept a date with an 'unsure' (well, when I was single, my boyfriend wouldn't be too happy with me if I did that now...), because for me, unsure can turn into yes. My ex (who I'm still really good friends with) asked me out, and I wasn't too sure how I felt--I knew I liked him as a friend but wasn't sure if the possibility was there for dating. We ended up going out for a year, and while the relationship didn't work out, I am really glad I gave him a chance.

'Leading on' to me implies a deliberate sort of intent. I sometimes hear it used in a sort of unsavory way--women are accused of doing this to men if they are friendly but then don't want to date them. (Then if we're not friendly we're another word entirely, so sometimes, can't win). I don't think there's anything wrong with going out with someone you might not want to see again--that's what first dates are for! Most people aren't madly in love with their date right away.


greencat

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2012, 02:24:00 AM »
I've occasionally been urged to "give him a chance." This usually happens when someone who I'm not interested in is interested in me. I've had friends and family urge me to try dating him to see if anything develops.

Trust yourself.  Someone you aren't interested in isn't someone you should go on a date with.

My first question: at what point does it stop being "giving someone a chance" (or being openminded, I suppose) and start being leading someone on? Is it wrong to accept a date with someone who you aren't interested in in the first place? Is it wrong to go out with them more than twice if you're not interested? Should you just not go out with them as soon as you're absolutely sure you aren't interested?

When you've made up your mind about dating the guy.  See above.  Yes.  Keep any date you've scheduled, but yes, stop dating when you're sure you're not interested.

My second question: if you are "giving someone a chance," should you tell them that you are? I don't mean directly saying, "I'm not attracted to you but I'm going out with you anyway," but should you let them know that you're unsure about your compatibility?

Honestly?  No.  Don't say anything like that.  If they ask you why you're not interested in further dates, it's okay to say "So-and-so thought we'd be great together, but I just don't see it working out/you're not really my type/we don't have the kind of chemistry I'm interested in."

I usually decide after the first date if I want to see a guy again, but apart from the times the crazy came out to play sometime after that first date, there was a guy that was just SO nice and sweet that even though I didn't have any physical chemistry with him, I went out with him five times before I decided things just weren't going to happen with him. 

mechtilde

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 03:32:04 AM »
I once found myself dating someone where there was no chemistry, and realised there never would be. He was a lovely lovely man, and I felt awful, because I knew that finishing things would hurt him.

A good friend of mine told me straight out to finish it with him before I hurt him even more. She told me that continuing with the relationship would be cruel- and she was absolutely right. I finished it. I felt terrible, and I knew that I had hurt a good, decent and honourable man.

It was the right thing to do. Both he and I are now happily married to other people.

So no- I don't think it is a good idea to date someone if you are not interested in them. There's nothing wrong with getting to know them as a friend, but dating (with all its implications of romantic attachment) is a very bad idea for both parties.
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DuBois

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 07:41:37 AM »


I agree that you don't have to feel into someone to date them, or 'give them a chance'. Personally, I have never dated someone I wasn't into, though-I don't really see the point. This is just my experience talking, I'm not really a 'slow burn' person, either I like someone (romantically) or I don't. That said, I really hate the dymanic which both says 'you have to give a man a chance' and ' you shouldn't lead him on'. It seems to me inherently patriarchal, and just wrong. And you're right, I have never heard of a man saying that to another man. If a friend of mine, of either gender, tried to press me to date someone I didn't like, they wouldn't remain a friend for much longer.

Oh Joy

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 07:47:22 AM »
I'm not exactly answering your questions the way they were written, but here's my perspective:

Create a few opportunities to get to know each other better, but keep it casual/non-romantic and inexpensive/dutch treat.  Don't ask him to commit his funds, prime Saturday nights, or romantic expectations to your time together (that's the etiquette part of the answer).

More 'let's hang out' and take a walk in the park or have ice cream or attend this free daytime lecture at the library then have coffee.  That's certainly OK when you want to find out if there's romantic potential.

Best wishes.

dawbs

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 07:58:30 AM »
HOnestly, I think women worr to much about 'leading on'--at some point, we get to worry about hw we act without over-obsessing and taking responsibility for how someone else reacts.
(whch applies to both leading on and 'giving chances')

HorseFreak

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 09:25:16 AM »
If there are big, obvious reasons I know it won't work with someone I won't "give them a chance." A married friend of mine kept trying to set me up with a friend of her husband's mostly because we were both single (which = desperate), she wanted to double date and he asked about me once or twice. I couldn't stand the guy the second I met him. He's loud, drinks beer like water, an avid hunter, and completely opposite on the religious belief spectrum. I'm pretty quiet, drink minimally, I hardly eat meat (can't stand the smell of hamburgers) and religion is major deal-breaker. My "friend" told me to give him a chance since I won't ever find what I'm looking for where I currently live. However, the selection for women here is a LOT better for him and he will find someone much more compatible than me. All he knows about me is my job and that he finds me physically attractive.

If it's a case of not knowing much about the guy, I'm ATTRACTED to him (very important to me!) and I feel like dating then I'll go for it. It's not like trying sushi once, it's a fellow human being with feelings. I would much rather turn down the date and save some hurt feelings having to reject him later.

Of course this all changes based on how much you want/need a boyfriend/husband. If I was dying for children I might expand my horizons a bit at my age.

Tilt Fairy

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 09:37:40 AM »
Someone once told me "you don't always know when it feels right but you do always know when it feels wrong".

I think if you're not sure how you feel yet and want to discover more about the person and actually enjoy their company without having fallen for them romantically yet then you are in the 'giving them a chance' category. In other words, if you don't know how you feel yet. Boys giving girls and chance and girls giving boys a chance is the experience of dating.

However, as soon as you realise it feels wrong and know that you will definitely not be or are definitely not attracted to this person, then it goes over into 'leading them on' territory. Leading someone on is self-explanatory. Encouraging somebody's feelings when you know for sure that you cannot or don't want to reciprocate them.

miranova

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2012, 09:41:04 AM »
I HATED the "give him a chance" people.  It was always said to me when I mentioned that a guy had some dealbreaker, like he lives too far away, lived with his parents (I was in my 30's so this was not going to work for me), never seemed to have a job for very long, etc. 

I had dealbreakers for a reason.  No one "owes" anyone "a chance".  If you know you aren't interested for whatever reason, then you should never feel pressured to give someone a chance.  To me, that just feeds into the notion that women always have to "be nice", and giving someone a chance even if you don't like them, is what a nice girl would do.  I disagree, and I actually think it is more kind to not go out with someone that you know you don't like.

buvezdevin

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2012, 10:08:22 AM »
I think the answers are situational, but some rules of thumb:

A.  For first, or early dates, where typically both parties are getting to know each other and see if mutual interest develops, I tried to avoid any big expense date activities.  Meaning, if the prospective date suggested a expensive dinner, or event with pricey tickets, I suggested more casual dining or an alternate activity, and would acknowledge I was open to time together to get to know each other.  I agree it is considerate to avoid, as possible, someone making an unreciprocated emotional investment, and think it extends to financial investments, too.

B.  I often accepted a date as offered, and acknowledged it as an opportunity to get to know each other better.  I generally intended that as recognizing we did not know enough yet to ascertain our respective level of interest, but in hindsight, years removed from dating, I am just now seeing that it could be taken by some to mean "I cannot wait to know you more intimately.". So, if I were to be in a dating situation again, I would be more careful in how, or if, I expressed that thought.

As for the whole "give them a chance thing.". Ugh.  That might be a reasonable reply to someone who has stated uncertainty of their own interest in another, or maybe if someone is bemoaning a lack of dating prospects while also stating they have declined recent invitations, but beyond that, i think it best to recognize other's ability to reach a decision as to how and who they choose to date, and I would not generally question it.

I remember getting that comment after describing to a friend a date I did not care to see further and thinking "I did give him a chance, and dating isn't a contest, so once I have a firm opinion this will not lead to romance, it isn't open for others votes."
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whiterose

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2012, 11:12:07 AM »
To me, "giving a chance" would be when you are not feeling a NO, but you are not actively having feelings for a person and feeling a YES. Someone you may not have a crush on, but if he/she asked you out, you would say yes.

"Leading someone on" is when you know for sure you will never have romantic feelings for the person- whether it is due to the person having a dealbreaker or some other reason.

They do not have to pertain only to first dates. However, I have been told that to keep going beyond 3 dates with someone that you do not feel something romantic for (even though you are not feeling a clear NO either) would be leading the person on.
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sweetonsno

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2012, 03:32:39 PM »
Thank you everyone for your answers! It's great to see everyone else's perspective. I try to put myself in the other person's shoes, but it's hard because everyone is different. On the one hand, I wouldn't want someone to just say "no" right off the bat (unless, of course, they knew for a fact they weren't interested because of a deal breaker or something). On the other hand, I have had people go out a few times, be responsive, attentive, and seem very dialed-in but then tell me that they weren't interested. That was really unpleasant. I don't know if I would like to hear, "I'm not sure whether or not I'm actually interested or not, so let's give it a try." However, I'd much rather not have the first indication that a guy isn't actually into me be him telling me that he isn't after a few dates.

shhh its me

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Re: Giving them a chance vs. leading them on
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2012, 04:12:12 PM »
  I think it depends a great deal on your personal definitions of things.   I would not give someone a chance I did NOT like my personal definition of " do not like "  means I really do not like you there is a reason (it might not be a good one but there absolute is a reason); I like everyone or at the very worse feel neutral.   I would never give a person with a known deal breaker a chance.  IF I am actually  physically repulsed by someone I won't give them a chance(I might be friends with them but I know I will never want a romantic relationship)

Now if by give a chance you mean date once or twice a person who you feel neutral about , there are no deal breakers and your not eww at that thought of an intmate relationship, that I get.  People behave different on dates then at work or with their friends  spending a few hours with a person to get to known their " dating personality" I think is reasonable.  I think it also applies  when someone is working with a false/flawed conclusions  and conjecture about others or themselves. 

I don't think one or even a few dates is leading someone on , I think dating several times a week for even a month might be, KWIM?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 04:14:01 PM by Merry Mrs Martin »