There’s a guy I like, but I’m not sure if he’s interested. I want to find out, but I don’t want to scare him off. Should I tell him or play hard to get?

Possibly neither. First of all, playing games is never a good idea. A girl who is real is much more attractive than a girl who wants to play mind games. After all, if you play games to make guys like you, then when do you stop playing? If you play hard to get to win a guy, then you may feel the need to maintain that teasing behavior to keep him interested. A mature relationship needs to develop without having to rely on games.

If you need to pretend to be someone you are not in order to win another’s heart, then what will happen in the long run? The entire relationship will be built on deception. This is the opposite of love, which “rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6, NAB). Love is patient, and it trusts that God knows what he is about. There is no need to take the situation into your own hands so that you can make things happen at your own pace. God’s pace is much better.

But calling him up and telling him openly how you feel may not be a good idea either. To begin with, there should be a season of friendship before any romantic relationship. Failing to cultivate this could be harmful in the long run, since these things need time to build. Imagine a girl building a dollhouse. She is in such a rush to play with the finished product that she glues the house together in thirty minutes and moves all the furniture in. She ignores the directions to wait a day for the glue to dry before even touching the house. Naturally it collapses. Similarly, you must establish a foundation and give the friendship time to develop.

If a relationship grows out of this, you will again be called to be patient. A lot of people become “more than friends” without spending much time being friends—which often ends up meaning they are really less than friends.

Without this foundation of friendship, revealing your feelings for him too soon could hinder mutual feelings from developing in his heart. If those feelings do take root in him, they will show in due time. But don’t take the advice of the teen girl magazines that urge you to initiate things and make up for his supposed shyness.

Resist the temptation to take matters into your own hands or to make excuses for why he hasn’t asked you out yet. There are two reasons for this. First, do you really want to date a guy who is scared to pursue you? Second, I can speak for all men when I say that we are drawn to women who have a sense of mystery about them. We need to wonder what you’re thinking. We need to feel that asking you out is a risk. When you pour out all your feelings, it may temporarily flatter a guy, but he’ll feel as if he’s missing out on the thrill of winning you. Teen girl magazines may think that such advice is sexist, but the fact remains that men love the thrill of the chase, and women are worth the pursuit.

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