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Why Do Men Lead Women On?

30 April 2009 18 Comments

Today’s answer will be directed for the females since it’s a question by a female, but that doesn’t mean that men can’t learn a thing or two either by discovering a few things women wonder about men.

I enjoy coming to your site. I especially enjoy reading your posts regarding relationships. A future post suggestion I have is something along the lines of “men leading women on..” I am curious as to see your take on the situation.


A man could be leading a woman on either intentionally or unintentionally.

Intentional or Unintentional?

Now I first wanted to talk about guys that lead women on intentionally by flirting, giving hints like they want to take things to the next level, and try hard to show they are interested in the woman, but the only problem they have is to move in for the kill because of their fear of rejection. Some guys are great companions for women, they can be their best friend and they sometimes become just that, but usually that’s not what they intend to be with the woman. It’s not their fault that they lead the woman on, because in fact they want to do just that, it is just they are uncertain of themselves that if they attempt to go in for the kiss that the woman will react the way he imagines.

Then there are the men that unintentionally lead women on. These guys are just extremely friendly with everyone and their friendliness may sometimes be read incorrectly. It really depends on the man’s mood most of the time, and if he’s being friendly, he may be misunderstood to be acting flirtatious and may look like he’s leading the woman on when in reality he’s just happy about something completely unrelated to the women he leads on.

Decoding the Lead

I’ve developed three ways that women could solve their frustrations of having men lead women on.

1. If you’ve just noticed that the man has began to lead you on, it may be smart of you to flirt back and in fact show your interest by flipping the onus. Now this should only be done if you’re in fact interested in the man who is leading you on. Now that you know he’s leading you on, the ball is in your court, so go ahead and have some fun with it. Smile, flirt, joke around, make him feel important and make him feel comfortable enough to make the move. If he’s the shy type and you can tell this by the way he acts around you, you may even want to be the first to move in and give him a sensuous kiss on the cheek or the lips and make him know that you’re attracted to him and there’s nothing for him to be worried about.

2. If the guy is trying to lead you on and you really don’t feel comfortable with it maybe either because he’s doing it in a completely creepy way or you just don’t want to ruin your current relationship, you may want to give him the idea that you’re not interested… but in a nice way. And the best way to give a man the idea that you’re not interested is of course by telling him so. Just make sure to do it diplomatically, and by that I of course mean, professionally and unproblematically. When you notice that he’s leading you on, in a nice and jokingly way just say something like: “I love you and all, but just as friends.” Smile and make sure to read his reaction. If his smile fades and he tries to blow the conversation off, he was into you. But if he’s genuinely surprised and his smile grows then he never actually thought about you as more than friends. And if he does act surprised, you can always laugh it off by making your comment seem sarcastic and you won’t feel embarrassed that you truly believed that he was leading you on intentionally when he was doing it unintentionally.

3. Confronting him about it could work too, but that’s only if he looks like he can handle it. If he’s not really the manly type then he might get scared off. Be weary though, if you think the guy is man enough to take the confrontation then he’s probably man enough to not just lead you on but act on his feelings as well. So make sure you figure out if the man was either leading you on intentionally or unintentionally before you go ahead and confront him on it. There are always the type of guys that are just waiting for a girl to tell him directly what she wants from him without having to go through the whole process of the game.

I hope that answered Rachelle’s question, and if you have any dating question you’d like to ask me, feel free to contact me.

I’d love to hear your comments on this topic. Thanks everyone.


  • Rachelle said:

    Thanks for answering the question!!

    Before I get attacked, this question works both ways. Women also lead men on. It’s just that I’m a woman and I’m looking at this from my perspective and experiences with men.

    How come men act like they like you (talking on the phone for hours, making plans to hang out etc…) then all of a sudden they go cold on you? I just think that if you’re not interested in a person…just say so! Don’t string them along. And if you are not sure if you actually want to have a relationship with a person, don’t act like you do. There are ways of “testing the water” without leading someone on.

    To add to your reasons Robby, I also think it’s an “ego boost” for guys when they know a girl is interested in them.

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  • Robby G (author) said:

    @Rachelle: I agree with you completely that there are ways men (as well as women for that part) can “test the waters” without leading people on, and I encourage that, but more than anything I think it’s just the idea that you “can” and “able” to do it rather than you “need” to do it that plays its role here.

    As for men who do it for the “ege boost”, this is only done by unprofessionals, in my opinion. It is not only unpractical but it puts a dent in your reputation.

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    Crystal Reply:

    Robby G, you said that men who intentionally lead a woman on. “It’s not their fault that they lead the woman on, because in fact they want to do just that, it is just they are uncertain of themselves.”

    I totally disagree with that. It is their fault. Every person should take responsibility for their own actions. There’s nothing nice about leading someone on, if you tend to hurt them in the end. If you don’t like the person, then just don’t do it. People who do these sort of things are really immature boys. A man that knows himself, would never lead someone on.

    There’s no reason for someone to play games like these, because it never works out in the end. Des, he knows he leads women on all the time, yet he doesn’t have problem with it, if he hurts her. Because he’s an asshole. He only does it because he not happy with his life so he got to go out get the attention of a lot women to make him happy. In truth he is not happy in his life. People who genuine like you, won’t want to lead you on.

    It’s really hard to tell sometimes if a person is leading you on, until you uncover the mask and see that he did, the best bet see that he did and not fall into his trick again.

    People who lead people on should be really carefully, people you don’t know the person that your leading around and if you hurt them, they could just make you disappear.

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  • Michael said:

    Men and Women equally lead each other on. And, they both use lies to do it. Why? Self gratification.

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  • Des said:

    Interesting subject. I am a 45 year old guy. Divorced. I like to mess around with women. I joke around and throw around comments.
    I told a girl I like her heart shaped ear-rings. She told me its a worthless cheap product. I told her, no what made them attractive was the message they sent. Anyway she said she had more and wear different kinds at different days of the week. I told her I will swing by when its time for the heart shaped ones. I was at the book store she worked the following days, we chatted. A week later, I noticed her attitude changed, she was a lot more in-front of where I sat, moving things, walking by, talking louder with her friends, tossing her hair, putting lipstick in my view, laughing etc… Aha, I misled her I thought, not good. How can I make it clear, I could lie and tell her I have a fiance or a long time girlfriend, but did not want to lie. So I kept my distance instead. After a while when she saw me, she acted as though she was very mad, her smile towards me was gone and stopped talking to me. Well, I thought so be it but lessons learned. Men do actually reject women unknowingly and most women don’t know how to take a perceived rejection gracefully. They get very angry.

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    Crystal Reply:

    Easy Des. Be a man and tell her the truth. And stop playing games. You know why women get angry at you and you starting to have fewer women. Because they see that you’re an asshole and people do talk, and word does fly in this big/small world and therefore it ruin your reputation.

    You know what you’re doing and yet, you do nothing about it. Because, you don’t give a crap about other people’s feelings.

    I would like to note to everyone. Remember Actions speak louder than words. If you notice that person actions don’t meet up with their words, it’s a red flag and you should run for it.

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    Crystal Reply:

    I will say something. I do take the words of other as grain of salt until they prove me they are worthy. So people should not get their feelings involved too quickly. If you see someone is suddenly avoiding you, take that as a hint they not like you.

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  • Des said:

    additionally, men are in a training mode. They test the waters for reaction. From men’s perspective talking to women and make a connection to get laid is a delicate skill. The clear water is very shallow and has piled up mud underneath. Stir too hard you raise the mud. So we train, take it one step at a time. Make a move and wait for a reaction. Positive feedback, aha, try it with a different one. No so good feed back, go back to the drawing board and find out what went wrong. Women don’t know it but they are being used as targets of a training session.

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    Robby G Reply:

    @Des: I like the way you put it that women don’t know that they’re being used as target practice. It’s true in fact, many men don’t really know exactly what messages they’re sending and sometimes make mistakes. But I find that though women do more times than men, men sometimes have this arrogance about them that make them think that the slightest flirtation from a woman means that they’re interested.
    Your situation made me laugh because I’ve been in a situation where a girl liked me and thought I was interested just because I took an extra step in making her feel comfortable around me and she thought that lead her onto thinking there may be something between us. I actually did it purposely just for shits and giggles, but she really ended up hating me. This was a long time ago and I realized it’s sometimes (not always) better to look like an uninterested prick from the start than leading them on for laughs and making her mad at you. I personally have enough people mad at me so another one to the list isn’t one of my priorities right about now. Cheers.

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  • Des said:

    I learned a lesson. There is a lady I am leading on, I could stop. But I am chatty with women, why should I change my character? They seem to like me.

    Here is a secret for you though, don’t tell anyone, something they don’t know. I am scared to make the bold move. Yes I am. I don’t like the rejection. Besides I take it as a hassle, dating etc… I was burned before in the marriage thing.
    Also, my biggest problem that compounds the issue is that I masturbate a lot to internet lesbian porn. e.g Yesterday I did it 7 times in a stretch of about the same time. Today, twice. So when I am with women, I am like depleted and don’t see the reason to hassle to get a real woman. I tried to quit but didn’t last more than 4 days, I had to make a call to a regular call girl to stop me wailing like a goat at night.

    Oh by the way if I need a real woman, I make a call and viola, she is there, a trophy like female with pretty feet and pretty good attitude.

    Could this be offensive, or ridiculous to some of you, maybe, but take it or leave it, this is the truth.

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    Crystal Reply:

    So what you are saying you have no confident in yourself so you have to hurt other people in the process to feel better about yourself? You’re an asshole. If you don’t like her then don’t lead her on. Simple as that. In way I think you are using it as an excuses for not dealing with your problems or your fears of rejection. So what if you get rejection, everyone does get rejected in their life. The world isn’t going to end if you get rejection by the person you liked. There many more people out there that would like you if one didn’t work out. Many people have problems in their life not only you, so stop playing I am the only person that gets hurt in life card. People have problems all the time, but the difference between survivors and the ones that sit in total darkness. Survivors continue on and be come stronger where as people who do nothing, don’t go anywhere in their lives.

    (Tell you the truth I wouldn’t date you, why would I want to waste my energy on someone that just going mess with my feelings just to hurt me, because he can? Not worth it. Why would I want to date some Mr. Doom and gloom? That isn’t attractive at all. But then again I would never babysit a man.)

    And if you don’t like the hassle of dating and getting the balls to talk to person to get to know them and all this, then you should really just take knife and cut your own dick off. That is laziness right there and an excuse for not owning up.

    I am going to be blunt, I don’t think you could handle a real woman, and real woman wouldn’t waste her time on the likes of you. Real women like real men, who take charge of their lives, if they have problem they fix it and not dwell on it and do nothing. A man that is true to themselves. The only women you could have in your life that would put up with your BS. Is a little girl. Someone who is frail and let’s other people walk all over them and will do anything to have someone love them, regardless if you go out and cheat on them. That’s the difference between men and boy and girls from real women.

    So the reason why you treat other people as worthless pieces of trash, because you don’t think your worth much in own life, so you treat other like that to make yourself feel better.

    By the way. Telling people your secret on a public site, it isn’t a secret if you tell others about it.

    And ladies and stay away from guys like these, these type of men will suck you bone dry if you let them.

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  • Des said:

    But I like women. Want them around my life although there aren’t that many these days. What is left is the casual, sometimes funny conversations I have with stranger women. You take that away from I will be depressed. Until I solve my masturbation problem, women hang on for a little while. There won’t be any misleading then. The big engine will be ready.

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    Crystal Reply:

    There’s nothing wrong with masturbation. It’s only a problem if it rules your life. Like you can’t go to work, you don’t bath, if that is all you ever do, and you are not taking care of yourself, then you need to seek help. The only way you can fix it, is recongzie you have a problem and go out and fix it.

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  • NONE said:


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    Yat G Reply:

    You know, I really feel what you’re saying. I recently dumped a jerk who I felt was on his way to doing the same thing to me. He always let me know that he liked smaller women,but he was still attracted to me and loved me. He pretended to love me and be in a relationship with me, when he was really waiting for someone else he really liked to take him and kick me to the curb. But its okay for us None, we’re better off without them, and there is somebody out there for each of us.

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  • Crystal said:

    I hate it when people do that. I really do. I recently got lead by a guy. He gave me the signals that he liked me. You know starring at me, wanting to be where I was in the gym, always trying to impress me. I test him few times to see if he found me interesting. I flirted some, he get all nervous, red around me. Walk up in his personal space to see if he would move away, and he didn’t. And he knew I liked him too. So when I went up to him to give him my number and then he told me he had girlfriend that he had been dating for a year. I felt bad about it and really stupid. I don’t like flirting with another woman’s man and if I knew he had a girlfriend I would have not done it.

    But this shows what type of person he is and I know my worth in life, I know I can do better. If a man really likes you, the last thing he wants to do is lead you on. Because I find that men that lead women on and there is one on here that does. Have really low-esteem. If you are confident in yourself then you don’t need the attention of others to make you feel better. Just to use people as an ego boost is wrong, because you can’t handle your life or fix whatever is making you feel sad.

    And before someone tells me how do you know he was interested in you, not just finds you attractive?

    I have many many many male friends, and I know I’m good looking. My male friend don’t give me “The Look” that says I am interested. Nor do they follow me where every I go because they want to be next to me, nor do my male friends try to impress me, nor do they stare at me, and when I catch them looking they don’t look away with a blush. They treat me one of the guys. And they don’t try to get my attention when I ignore them.

    And if this is a way for him to believe I will chase him, because maybe he believes girls like a man in deep relationship. He can think can. Because I won’t be the girl to do it, nor will I be his ego boost when he feeling down. He has a girlfriend he needs to impress her and if his girlfriend is not making him happy, he needs to grow some balls between his legs and do something about it. So I am going ignore him and not give him the attention he wants.

    If you know if someone likes you and you don’t like them in that way, one needs to do the brave thing and say, “I know you like me, but I have girlfriend.” don’t play these childish games. I have told men bluntly to their face when I knew they liked me more than a friend and said. “You like me don’t you? I am going to honest and I don’t want to lead you on, but I am not interested in you that way.” And you be surprise how much respect they have for you, when you are honest and not willing to play games and hurt them.

    Another thing people only lead you on, if you let them. If people know they can walk all over you, then will. So ignore those who lead you on, because in reality they are really pathetic. And they will get what they deserve in the end. One day they will fall in love with someone and find out the person really didn’t love them. Good rule of thumb “Treat others like how you would to be treated.”

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  • Too Short said:

    I must say, women do this as well. We are just as guilty. Women cant be so hard on men because that would be hypocritical. Bad things happen to people. If you’re oblivious to things in your relationship, well you have yourself to partially blame. People don’t want to see the bad things. They become naive when they’re in love. Pick up the pieces and move on. Try not to blame the next person who comes into your life because they may actually be a good person. Learn from mistakes. There’s my little tangent. =)

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