If a woman expresses strong feelings for a man she is not dating she is likely to make him feel less, not more, for her.

Define-the-relationship conversations often make a person look needy and makes the other person feel a tremendous amount of pressure. Additionally, analyzing one’s feelings when under pressure is rarely effective. The person needs time to think about their emotions rather than respond in the moment or they might say things they don’t mean or simply run away. If they have time to think it over and then respond they’re decisions will often be more lasting.

Thus, instead of encouraging define-the-relationships conversations (i.e., “How do you feel about me?” “Where do you see this going?” “Do you see a future for us?”), I encourage singles to use declaring statements, in which they declare their feelings with confidence and then leave the person to have to take action if they’re interested. For example, if a woman wanted to to make sure that her male friend knew that she was open to being more than friends she could say:

“I just want you to know that I love spending time with you. Of all my male friends you are the one I would want to date. However, I believe that you see me as just a friend and I’m okay with that too. If I’m wrong and you are interested let me know. Otherwise, I will continue to assume that we’re just friends.”

She should then change the subject, act happy, playful, and confident, and say good night with confidence so that he doesn’t feel pressured to say something just to make her feel okay.

If he too wants to be more than friends this conversation makes it clear that she is open to it and that she needs him to respond or she will assume that they are just friends. And if he is not interested it gives him a comfortable way out of the conversation because she stated that she accepts and understands that they are just friends.

I prefer to have singles spell out what they think and how they approach the dating process. Doing so shows confidence and decreases the confusion and doubt that so many singles feel. It also prevents wasting time with needless wondering, worrying, and mind reading. Declaring statements are a great way to do this. This same technique can be used in a variety of situations including getting someone you’re dating to become exclusive (this is covered in detail in Chapter 7 of the Dating System).

4 ways to learn more

  • Schedule a free 30-minute consultation

    Alisa Goodwin Snell is a dating and relationship coach who spent 17 years as a marriage and family therapist. She’s written 7 books for singles, created numerous audios, videos, and articles, is a popular public speaker, and has been on over 100 TV and radio programs nationwide. Learn more.

  • Get Stage 0, which will lay a foundation for you to move forward

  • Get the Relationship Package (if you are already in a relationship) so you can lay a more solid foundation while also learning how to enhance your current relationship
  • Get Everything, because you are not currently in a relationship and need to learn how to lay a solid foundation and navigate all 5 stages of the dating process.
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