Dating Rules: Are You Needy (Bad) or Just Wanty (Good)?

Mary Wilkinson is a freelance copywriter in Toronto. Her words have helped sell everything from chocolate bars to integrated accounting solutions to vibrators. You can hit her up on LinkedIn.

As a woman, I can admit it’s not really fair what we ask of men.

On the one hand, we want a confident man who knows what he wants and goes after it. Timidity be damned!

But on the other hand, if we smell even in a hint of ‘desperation’, we’ll throw you away like a parking ticket (points if you get that movie reference).

So how is a man (or woman, for that matter) to navigate through these murky waters of ego and win that special someone’s heart? How do you show someone you’re super into them without seeming like your psychotically into them? Here are some points that may help enlighten the distinction: 

NEEDY: Don’t be coy if you’re smitten.
A lot of people love to play aloof when they first meet someone. Short text responses, excessively long delays in reply, NO replies, etc. It’s true that men AND women naturally love a chase, but we can also read when someone likes us. So if I can tell that you’re into me, but then you give me this weird ‘yeah, whatever, I guess’ vibe over text, you actually look lamer than someone overtly pumped to lock down a date. If you’re pumped, just be pumped. Don’t hide. Because I can seeeee yoooooou.

WANTY: Make them make a plan.
I have to be careful with this one. As a woman, the last thing I want to do is tread on the ‘no means no’ territory WHATSOEVER. But when it comes to making plans over text, you may find the other person is a little wishy-washy. So many times I’ve been unsure about making a date with a dude, and half of those times have been because I’m like, stoned. Or just nervous. If the person you’re into is like, “umm, I don’t know, I might have to work, maybe later in the week?” It’s okay to get insistent. Not in some creepy, forceful, do-what-I-tell-you way. More like, how you would approach one of your best friends who’s just being annoying when you want to go get a beer. Be natural with them. Accept that they’re a bit nervous, but just push a little harder. Remember, you’re awesome. They just don’t know it yet.

NEEDY: Don’t reveal your scars on the first date.
First dates can be great. They can be full of booze and music and deep conversation. You might find yourself divulging all kinds of personal details on a first date. And that’s awesome. But try to avoid the “I’m scared of getting hurt” vibe right out of the gate. If you do feel that way – that’s OKAY, and you should bring it up sooner than later. But first dates aren’t the place for it. Telling someone you’re scared of getting hurt tells them that you’re already thinking WAY down the road about them. And while they may like you, and there could be a future here, they may not be projecting quite as far as you just yet, and it could translate as some thick, creamy lame-sauce.

WANTY: Tell them they’re hot.
Now, you may not want to do this in your first text exchange. But on date #2 or #3, you should take a deep breath and give them some realness about your attraction to them. The few times I’ve been FLOORED by a guy’s confidence have been when he looks me square in the eye and tells me I’m hot. If you’re desperate and terrified, you wouldn’t dare pull a move like this. You’ll just listen politely, speak cordially, and wait sheepishly for your chance to get a kiss in. But if you’re confident and you think they’re fine – just say it. The one caveat though is to DO THIS ONCE. Do it once and do it strong and then leave it alone. If you get repetitive with it they will BOLT. Trust.

NEEDY: Don’t ask about exes.
If you’re confident about yourself, and you like someone, you probably don’t want the scoop on their exes. It’s actually kind of gross to even think about. But if you’ve got mad self-esteem issues and you’re already terrified of how you’re measuring up, then you’re probably FASCINATED by the people they’ve dated before you. Stop worrying about you vs their ex, and spend more time thinking about you + them.

WANTY: Don’t necessarily gun for the kiss.
It seems like the obvious holy grail of a first or second date. Get that kiss, right? Not necessarily. It’s super nerve-wracking for both parties to know that the end of the night is going to be punctuated by this ‘will we or won’t we’ vibe. My advice is to forgo the kiss objective, and just focus on a super polite touch objective. When they say something that makes you laugh, lightly grab their arm. Or if you’re sitting in front of them with your hand draped over the bar, just dangle the tips of your fingers on their knee. Or place your hand lightly on their back when you’re ushering them through the door. Just MAKE CONTACT. This will either unconsciously get them in the mood to touch you with their face (yes!) or it will satiate your desire to make contact at the end of the night, and alleviate the pressure of the kiss dilemma. And while of course you want to kiss them, avoiding the situation altogether will make you seem the opposite of needy (which is so damned hot).


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