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cheerleadersYou all remember the cheer, right? And the choreographed knee-slap accompaniment? Those were the days when the only area of our lives where we had to worry about being aggressive was on the basketball court. And too much aggression never hurt anyone there, did it? (Except for that one time I got overly excited and shot at the wrong basket, but that’s neither here nor there.)

(Don’t worry. As usual, I missed.)

In adult life, aggression isn’t nearly as cute as that teenage cheer. Too much aggression can lead to bad things. On one extreme of the spectrum, it leads to abuse and violence. But way before that it can lead to harsh words, unkind tones, and inappropriate behavior. Still, it’s confusing, because to “get ahead” in today’s world, we have to be somewhat aggressive, right? We have to have some level of drive, some amount of good ol’ hutzpah.

I’ve had several female friends tell me recently about the men they’re interested in. In usual Ruth fashion, I’m all ears, and genuinely so. I want to hear all about the new crushes, the fresh attractions, the unexpected butterflies. I currently don’t have anyone I’m pining over so I’ll happily live vicariously through my friends for now. Inevitably, each of these conversations ends with me asking the same question: “So now what?”

You’ve met a great guy. You’ve spent some time together, in a group setting or otherwise. You feel a real connection. He makes you laugh… or think… or feel pretty. So now what?

To be honest, my friends’ responses left me longing for something more.

“Why hasn’t he ‘friended’ me yet on Facebook?”

“If he asks me out, I’d say yes.”

“I hope he calls!”

Because, supposedly, Christian girls aren’t supposed to make the first move. Christian girls aren’t supposed to pursue a man. A polite, pure Christian lady should wait for her knight in shining armor to show up on a noble white horse, rose in hand, ready to beckon her to accompany him for a five-course dinner and a private viewing of The Bible on the History Channel.

In theory, this is romantic. Unfortunately, in 2013 that’s the only place this story will reside – in theory. It’s not realistic anymore. And, truthfully, the few women I know who’ve actually experienced pursuit of that fervor are usually completely weirded out by it. It’s simply not how we’re wired these days.

I’m not suggesting a cop-out for today’s men. But I’m also not suggesting a cop-out for today’s women. My friends’ words echo a level of complacency, perhaps entitlement – even though I’m positive that’s not their intent. My question to them is: Why not nudge the process along just a bit?

Fact: Men, though manly and strong and fearless, can be real chickens sometimes. Trust me, I’ve got brothers. I know. If you like a guy, why not give him a little attention? Why not “friend” him on Facebook? Why not invite him to a group hangout? Why not casually run into him at church?

Are these things too aggressive? Do they make you out to be too forceful, too forward?

I don’t think they do. But please don’t let this harmless advice slide you a little too far across the aggression spectrum. I’m not telling you to stalk the guy. Please stop flipping through every one of his Facebook photo albums dating back to before he had facial hair. Please stop Googling every company he’s ever worked for as listed in his LinkedIn profile. Please stop kissing up to his really annoying sister just because you’re trying to make a good impression. (Take it from me. This doesn’t work.)

But a little nudge never hurt anybody, did it?

Sometimes men just need to know you’re interested back. Sometimes these men that we’re hoping will pursue us and ask us out just need to feel a little mutual attraction, a little spark. Sometimes these male friends need the slightest of pushes to fall outside of the buddy zone and into a relationship.

And with today’s gobs of communication-cop-outs like texting and social media and email, it should be a cinch to reach out to him!

So here’s your permission to be aggressive, ladies, be-e aggressive. In a good, healthy (and legal) way, of course. Who knows? You might just spur a great thing along that might never have happened otherwise.

~Ruth