Juma Kapur is the co-founder of The Wing, which has over 3,000 women-only members across 18 cities in America, and he is the author of The Power of First Impressions.
When he speaks about being passive in relationships, there is a lot to think about.
The Power of First Impressions, written as a guide for first meetings, has had multiple women try it out, it was voted as one of the best books of the year by Cosmopolitan, and he has written two more on the subject: The Start-Up of You, a guide to starting a business, and what you really want.
What are the reasons you do not go up to a man and speak to him first?
Because people have told you they like you, or you think you can make a great connection.
For me, I write off men all the time because I tell myself, “I can make a great connection but we’re in a society where I’m not allowed to approach men because they’re men. I have to be the nice guy.”
In the book, I make the distinction between ‘trying hard’ and ‘being passive.’ In ‘trying hard’ you’re seen as arrogant, but in ‘being passive’ you’re seen as a bully.
The other thing is we’re in a culture where there is an expectation of you to be the chivalrous guy, so when you go up and say, “Hi, I’m Juma Kapur.”
Some women think, “Well I am an independent woman. I want to do this on my own, I don’t need your help.”
This is such a dangerous thought, that you don’t need the guy you’re having a date with. The whole ‘get this great guy and he’ll take care of you’ idea is so detrimental.
What do women think are their greatest insecurities in approaching men?
We are scared to not get the wrong guy.
Women want to meet someone special, but we also want to be in control of when the relationship ends.
If you approach a man, he can think that you’re taking advantage of him and it’s going to hurt your career.
And so women don’t approach.
What does successful dating look like in your book?
When I speak to high-level, powerful women at offices or universities, there are no sparks.
So the question is if women are not meeting men for one reason or another, and they have desires that they haven’t been pursuing, what do they do about it?
And if they don’t actively pursue it, they will lose out on many great people.
The book suggests strategies on how to ‘female your dating pool. Why is that important?
With women, it’s always been an ‘opposite day’ movement.
You went out with men to be successful and it worked but when you had fun, you just went back to the man’s house and had a nightcap.
As opposed to, ‘What’s your personality like, can I trust you? Can you handle my workload?’
When you meet someone, have an internal debate about:
What do you really want and what can you get if you go out and talk to the guy.
It’s about finding out, first of all, how you feel about yourself?
And the second thing is what you want from a partner, and if you want things that they have.
It’s really important to be able to know your self-worth.
If you don’t know that, you won’t be able to know what your worth is to a man.
Tell us about how men feel about women approaching them first.
It’s a good question. We asked 150 of them about that. We had a ratio of three women to one guy.
There is more willingness to have a conversation with a woman, and they will be more open to the idea
But more men will say that a man should do the initial approach because they’re looking for a safe, good-looking, reliable partner.
It’s funny, the main reason a guy will say he doesn’t want you to go up to him is that he doesn’t want to be embarrassed, they don’t want you to ‘get it wrong.’
It’s like a game of tag, where the woman always thinks she’s going to be able to sneak in but they can run faster and try to catch her.
You are careful to note that a lot of the research suggests that older women are more successful when it comes to dating.
Why do you think that is?
Women are looking for men who have a lot of resources and who are emotionally stable.
They will look for a man who can be a successful role model. And they don’t want someone who has money.
A lot of people get married and get divorced, and they’re afraid they’re going to do that in their relationship, but there is nothing in the research that supports that.
You can be successful and not have money, and be financially stable too.