You can listen to this as a podcast episode:
Quite a few guys have asked this question – “How do I differentiate between taking the lead and being masculine… vs being too controlling?” Or put more simply, “How can I take the lead without turning into a control freak?”
Easy – by taking the lead and asking for her input, before making the final decision. You’re the captain of the ship, but she’s your first mate.
It looks like this:
1) Take the lead by initiating the conversation.
2) Ask for her input, listen to it and take it into consideration.
3) Make the final decision.
You: “I’m hungry, let’s go get some food. How’s pizza?”
Her: “That sounds really good, I’d love pizza.”
You: “Cool, let’s go.”
In this example, she’s completely happy to go along with your plans (most of the time, most girls are happy to go with the flow) – but you still gave her a chance to give a bit of input. You asked her, “How’s pizza?” If she really didn’t want pizza, you gave her a chance to tell you, and you would have picked something else. But you still took the lead by offering pizza in the first place.
So, you took the lead – while still asking for her input. That’s all you ever have to do in order to not be controlling – just ask for a bit of input.
Compare that to an example of being too controlling:
You: “I’m hungry. We’re going to go get pizza.”
Her: “Oh, ok.”
In this example, you obviously haven’t even offered her a choice. You’ve told her what you’re both going to do. Sometimes chicks dig that – especially in the bedroom. But if you do it all the time, and never give her a chance to give some input, that’s when you stray over into controlling territory.
It’s also possible to go too far in the other direction, and ask for too much input, whilst also not even bothering to take the lead. An example:
You: “I’m hungry. What do you think we should eat?”
Her: “I don’t know. What do you feel like?”
You: “I don’t know, what do you feel like?”
Her: “I’m happy to eat anything, so let’s pick whatever you like.”
You: “No I’m happy to go anywhere as well, so tell me what you want.”
Yeah. Shit. I’ve seen so many guys do this – they won’t even bother trying to take the lead, and they basically dump it on the girl, expecting her to make all the decisions. 99% of girls don’t find your complete lack of direction very attractive.
So hit that middle ground – take the lead and offer a plan/solution, ask for her input on it, then make your final decision.
For bigger decisions (eg decisions that are more important than just where you’re going to eat dinner), I like to explain the rationale behind my final decision. Particularly if my final decision is different to what she said she wants. I’ll talk it through with her, show her where I’m coming from, make it clear to her I took her input on board, and explain why I’ve chosen a different decision. If you want someone to go with your idea rather than their own, explaining the rationale behind your decision is the only way to get them on board so they’re not resentful.
I also like explaining my thought process to people for the reason that it helps me think through why I’ve made a particular decision so I’m more sure about it. And it’s a brilliant teaching moment, especially if you’re dating younger or more shy/less assertive girls. A lot of them literally don’t have the tools to easily make decisions yet; I like to teach them those tools, give them little techniques on being more assertive (this book helps, so does this one).
A lot of times a girl will give me her input and it’s immediately clear if we went with her suggestion, it’d be a bad idea. In those cases, I’ll take a bit of time to explain why her suggestion wouldn’t work, and then I’ll give her a chance to come up with a better decision with me. Or, I’ll pick a better decision, and again explain my rationale and thought process behind it so she doesn’t feel like I’m just rejecting her idea and steamrolling over the top of her.
If all this sounds like a lot of work, don’t stress – a lot of this stuff only applies once you’ve been seeing a girl for a while. Early on, particularly on the first couple of dates, most girls will be fully ok with you taking the lead and making almost all of the decisions – as long as you make a token gesture to get her input. Again, even just a casual, “Does that sound good?” is perfect. As in, “Let’s grab a drink at 6pm at [this bar]. Does that sound good?”
As I said earlier, I’ve also seen some guys over-worry about “being controlling”, and go too far in the other direction, and end up not taking the lead at all. Remember, as the man it’s your “job” to take the lead, so to speak. 99% of women don’t like taking the lead; they prefer you to do it.
After you’ve had sex with a girl, you then want to continue taking the lead. When you next want to meet up with her, it’s up to you to send the message saying, “Hey cutie, free tomorrow night at 6pm?” and then inviting her over to your place to bang again. You should always be the one planning dates/sex/hangouts – of course, allowing her the room to give her input if she wants to. And let’s be clear, you should be steering things towards what you want – whether that’s a fuckbuddy situation, a relationship, whatever. 99.9% of girls want a man who leads; they’re very happy following a guy who (appears to) know what he wants. As long as you ask for a bit of input along the way, most girls are very happy to go with what you want to do, 95% of the time.
And don’t feel like you always have to know exactly what you want. It’s ok to be unsure sometimes. I don’t always know exactly what I want. In those cases, you can still lead by initiating the conversation and asking for her input. The very act of initiating the conversation is taking the lead. An example: “Hey I’ve been thinking we should try something new and fun in the bedroom. What’s some things you’ve always wanted to try?” If she doesn’t have any immediate suggestions, you can both jump on this site and “research” some fun ideas together.
So again, taking the lead doesn’t mean you’re controlling. Taking the lead doesn’t mean you never ask for input. I ask for input all the time, especially with my girlfriend (someone I’ve been seeing for a few years now). The longer you date a girl, the more you’ll start to ask for her input; the more you’ll respect her input.
Girls will love you for being masculine enough to take the lead, but also considerate/decent enough to always give them an opportunity to tell you if they really don’t like your plan. You’re going to find just by allowing them the chance to give input if they want to, 99% of the time they’ll just say, “I’m happy with your plan, let’s do it”. The fact you keep the door open to her input is what makes her trust your judgement and what makes her more likely to just defer to whatever you suggest.
- Take the lead.
- Ask for her input, take it into consideration.
- Make the final decision.
No More Mr Nice Guy:
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty:
Subscribe to hear the latest episodes from my DAILY podcast, The Inner Winner Show. I release daily episodes, guides, life advice, stories of what I’ve been up to, and much much more, available on all these platforms: