rebelling against low expectations

Why Great Girls Turn Down Great Guys (and Why You’re Not an Idiot for Asking)


“Something must be wrong with me.”

That’s what every guy is tempted to think when a girl turns down his request for a date.

“She’s great and doesn’t like me,” we think. “Therefore, something must be wrong with me that needs to be fixed.”

To our logic-oriented male brains, this is the only plausible explanation. It doesn’t make sense to us why two high caliber people couldn’t make a great couple. Yet, it’s not uncommon for a girl to turn down a solid, godly man (or to even break up with him if they’re already dating).

Why do they do that? I’ve wondered this for several years because I’ve experienced this exact predicament. And, like many guys, I’ve had to wrestle through that gut-wrenching feeling that “something is wrong with me.” 

And, frankly, “It’s not you, it’s me” just doesn’t make sense to us because we are logic-oriented beings–and sometimes a little dense. So this is my attempt at explaining what I think is going on.

Now, I’m not saying that I think of myself as a “great guy” or that “great guys” are constantly being rejected. But I’ve seen too many guys take a “no” so personally that they either unfairly villainized the girl who turned them down or felt like she didn’t respect them enough to date.

When, in reality, I don’t think it’s either one. I’ll explain why in a bit. But if you’re a guy and you’re committed to Christ and growing in maturity, take this as reassurance that just because a girl you admire says “no,” doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with you or her.

If you’re a girl, take this as reassurance that you’re not a monster for turning a guy down.

Here’s a mind blowing fact that guys don’t understand: Sometimes, girls turn down guys they respect.

Sometimes, girls turn down guys they respect. Share on X

Like I said, this question really stumped me. Until recently.

I was talking to my friend Tanisha about this puzzle. She’s pretty wise and has been on the other side of it multiple excruciating times before she was married. She helped me, for the first time in my life, finally understand why high-quality girls turn down high-quality guys and why it’s okay.

Guys are hard-wired to need a reason. Whether you’re a girl needing to give that agonizing “no” or a guy needing to receive it–here’s your reason.

Why Great Girls Turn Down Great Guys

It seems like a “no-brainer.”

Decent guy + Admirable girl = When’s the wedding?

But it just simply isn’t that straightforward and it shouldn’t be.

I believe God put inside each of us a pattern for our future spouse Share on X

I believe God put inside each of us a pattern for our future spouse. Sometimes we identify these patterns really well and put them down on paper. Sometimes it’s just a gut-level intuition we have. But we take these patterns with us wherever we go and if someone of the opposite sex catches our attention, we hold out our patterns and line them up.

Sometimes, they match up pretty well and we guys get so excited we can’t think about anything else.

“I HAVE FOUND HER!” we think before realizing she’s noticed our gaping mouths and tear stained shirts. “She talks to me, expresses respect toward me, she’s great with kids, has a lot of similar interests and passions–she’s definitely the one.” Our patterns seem to match up, so we ask her out.

That’s what happens inside a guy’s head. The idea makes sense.

Now, flip over to the other side.

Certainly, every now and then we nail it on the first one and she says yes. The puzzle pieces line up! That’s great and awesome!

But many times, while the guy is running around flabbergasted that he found the love of his life, the girl just isn’t feeling it. Something deep inside of her doesn’t click with the idea. It’s like she’s holding up her pattern and although a lot of it lines up, it’s not a match. The guy is attracted to her because they have similar patterns–but it’s still not a match.

He’s a great man, she’s a wonderful woman–but something inside of her just doesn’t click and–often through tears–she gives a “no.

And praise God she does!

As painful as it is, it’s better in the long run because in order to make a match they’d have to take a scissors to their patterns and remove important parts of who God made them to be. That would be truly devastating. One “no” that stings for a moment, is not.

Romantic relationships can feel so complicated at times. They can be incredibly rewarding while also being incredibly painful. They can be a powerful tool in God’s hand to mold us into life-giving, joy-filled Christians, or they can devastate us and leave us paralyzed to move on.

I’m not saying this illustration of our hearts being like a puzzle piece is a perfect one. Yet it helped me to better understand just because a great girl turns down a guy or a “great couple” eventually breaks up doesn’t mean one of them is a villain.

It just means they weren’t a match.

And that’s okay!

Photo courtesy of Ian Schneider

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About the author

Christopher Witmer

is the 24-year-old Editor-in-Chief for Originally from Northern Minnesota, he lives with his family in Los Angeles where they moved to plant inner-city churches. He loves sports, travel, and music, but his passion is writing for God and lifting high the name of Jesus through his writing.


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  • Great thoughts here! Having gone through this season myself and now walking through it with members of my church family, I am seeing more and more how complicated the dating season can be! There are no simple, cookie-cutter answers. I think its important how you point out the fact that we are molded into certain patterns. We christians often fall into this trap of over simplifying the issues down to two godly people = potential marriage. God made us different. True biblical romance is full of nuance and details! I think one thing that can help guys here is to learn to understand and see the girl for who she is in her details. When guys ask a girl out because she fits into their two (extremely) basic categories of “godliness” and “attractiveness”, they show the fact that they really have not taken the time to consider her as a unique individual. They have not broken out of their own personal (perhaps selfish?) desire to date. And therefore, they don’t actually see the girl, her needs, her world – and perhaps the differences that will likely lead to her saying “no”.

    • I think you nailed it, Andrey! That whole thing of looking beyond your own desires and wishes and thinking of her as a real, flesh and bone person, who has her own desires and needs, is something guys, unfortunately, often forget to do.

  • Ah yes, good good thoughts. I’m had several moments like these… where I wonder why a great couple broke up or where friends are encouraging me toward a godly guy that I’m just not feeling the connection with. Romantic relationships are definitely complicated! Thanks for writing this article, I really enjoyed reading it!

  • Yes, so true! I had to say “no” to a guy ( though it was only a prom date thing) even though I have a hard time explaining even to myself why I don’t reciprocate his feelings. He is a godly person but I just can’t relate to him very well. Thank you for this article!

  • So where does the idea of patterns of our feature spouse come from? This seems like a very western / modern concept that has very little foundation. Plus i think this points more to the issue of reading to much into asking someone out to coffee or a first date, i know some guys and girls that think when someone is asking them to coffee they almost take it as a marriage proposal instead of an individual wanting to get to know you better.

    I work from home and attend a small church and most of the christian girls i know I don’t spend a lot of time with, the only chance i might get to know someone better is to ask them to coffee, or on a first date. But in Christian circles the pressure of is this person the “One” is too much.

    • Thanks for your comment, Timothy!

      So, I totally get where you’re coming from regarding the pressure we put on dating. If there’s just “one” out there, then there’s a lot of pressure to find her/him! What if one person messes up? Does that create a domino affect where everyone loses?

      I’ll just be straight with you: I don’t have very good answers.

      But here’s some thoughts:

      First, I didn’t talk at all about styles of dating because there’s as many different styles as there are people. I think this concept applies to whatever style you adhere to. Personally, I’m not necessarily of the persuasion that dating has to be a heavy handed, strict thing. However, I don’t think it should be half-hazard entertainment, either. I do think it should be with the long term goal of marriage, but I don’t think it’s very healthy to put that pressure of “We have to get this perfect the first time” in a dating context.

      I’m totally with you: if asking a girl for a date were a marriage proposal, then good heavens, why go through the process at all? Let’s just put a ring on it right away! =/

      Here’s why I think two people should date: To see if they’re a match for marriage. You may take a more casual approach than I do, but for both of us, I think (correct me if I’m wrong), dating still comes down to that basic function.

      If, after dating for a while, you realize that you’re not a match–it’s not a failure, it’s a success. You found out that you’re not a match! It can get complicated and painful, however, because most of the time one of the parties thinks they ARE a match! That is a whole other article.

      So… there’s some rambling about my dating philosophy.

      My second thought is that I think there’s a world of difference between “good” and “best.” A “Good” or a “Great” match might not be wrong, but it might not be the “Best” match. If that makes sense?

      At the end of the day, I’d say you really have to lean into the Spirit. The illustration of “patterns” was just that: An illustration that helped me understand why a girl might turn me down, but that doesn’t mean I’m terrible boyfriend material. It just means we weren’t a match. And that’s okay.

      Does that mean there’s exactly one person in the world out there and if we don’t find each other or accidentally marry the wrong people, we’re hopeless? Absolutely not!

      That’s why, I think, it’s so important to lean into the Spirit. Because I’m a whole lot more confident in His ability to find the right wife for me and lead us together than I am in my whimsical feelings and crushes.

      So my heart is this:

      YES! As guys, let’s seek God, put Him first, and pursue romantic relationships as He leads us. If we get a yes that eventually leads to marriage, that’s great. If we get a no, that’s also great.

  • Like Timothy seems to be saying, I don’t think there’s really just one person who you are destined to marry. I think God would be pleased with whomever we marry so long as that person is also “walking with the Lord” and you believe that your marriage would be wise. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see this perspective, and I bet a lot of guys would benefit from understanding that many girls feel like this, having their expectations of what a guy must be in order to fit with her, even if those expectations aren’t necessarily right.

    • I think you’re on the right track, Olivia!

      I think this illustration is beneficial in helping us guys see that just because a girl we admire turns us down doesn’t mean we’re terrible dating material. It also, I think, gives girls permission to turn down guys if they’re just not “feeling” it.

      But at the end of the day, it’s just an illustration.

      I think what’s most important is that we follow God’s leading. Our future spouses won’t be perfect, our marriages won’t be perfect (we’ll have problems, like the Bible says), but I think we can be confident that God will lead us to the right matches.

      And sometimes, His way of doing that is by giving a guy a “no.” And that realization makes me happy and content.

      Does this make sense?

      • Yep, that makes sense. The idea that there’s one particular person for you to marry can cause a problem for people who worry too much about finding that particular person and get confused about who that person is. So if you take it too literally, it can be problematic. But, as an illustration, it works, and there is truth in the fact that God knows and has planned every aspect of our lives, including future spouses.

  • Fantastic articulation Christopher.

    If we agree that the Lord knows us by name before we are even born, we must also agree that He has a purpose for our life. Given that marriage is arguably the second most important decision after the decision to follow Jesus, then it also follows that our marriage out to be purposeful. Clearly God works through our shortcomings and mistakes, but the fact that there is a “right” person for each of us is the natural conclusion.

    Marriage was created to be more than just finding someone who is “ok enough”, otherwise Jesus wouldn’t use the Church as the example as His bride in scripture; indeed, if there was no “right” spouse, then taking this analogy of marriage to scripture would imply many different brides for Jesus of which the church is just one! We ought to have the patience and faith to wait for the appointed time God has for us — and sometimes that might mean not getting married!

  • Dude! This is awesome. I’ve decided not to date for a while, even though I’m in college and know some great guys, so I’ve been thinking about the “no’s” in my future and this was really encouraging/helpful. Thank you!

  • I think this article was a really good read! Another thing I would like to mention- sometimes it’s a timing issue too. Like I’ve known a guy my whole life and we both know that we “like” each other, we have similar dreams and the same beliefs, we get along really well (we fit the pattern), but if he decides to ask me out, I’m going to have to tell him no just because of the timing. I still want to grow closer to him through friendship and possibly date in the future, but I don’t feel like the timing is right.
    So to any guys:
    Don’t shove a girl away if she tells you she likes you but isn’t ready to be in a relationship. Standing up for what she feels is right is an extremely hard and terrifying thing to do! Respect her and be a good friend. The LAST thing she wants is to lose your friendship.

    • Wow, that’s really good insight from a woman’s perspective, Katelyn! It’s kind of hard for us to wrap our minds around that, but it’s good to know! =) Thanks for sharing.

  • Christopher, your articles never cease to amaze me! These are things that I have repeated to myself, but sometimes we just need someone else to come and speak truth too before we really accept it! Thank you! Not matching up is definitely ok! And it doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. God can teach you so much through that I believe and mold you more into the person you were created to be,

  • Wow, this was so incredibly helpful right now. Thanks so much for writing this article and allowing God to work through you!

  • This is a really interesting article… Still, as a girl, I sometimes wonder if it would be right to turn down a guy just because of some feeling, if there are every reason to believe he could be a great match. Doesn’t everybody sometimes have doubts? And perhaps our feelings aren’t right? Well, I don’t really know, but I find difficult to just trust the feelings of “doubt” when the feelings of attachment and love and admiration also are very strong.
    But I appreciate what you wrote, especially the fact that often, those “no”s really are agonizing, and not just a light decision made for fun…

    • I totally get that struggle, Mary. It’s tough to sort through our feelings sometimes.

      It’s hard to explain, but there’s a difference between what our emotions are telling us and what the Holy Spirit is telling us. It’s not always easy to know the difference, so we have to ask God to help us learn how to discern between the two.

      But I do know women who, though they didn’t FEEL like dating a guy accepted anyways because they felt a distinct, strong nudging from God that it was the right thing to do. In that case, to say no would have been blatantly disobedient to what God was saying. And it turned out to be the exactly right thing (not easy, but right),

      That’s not always the case, but it is sometimes. Does this make sense, or am I confusing everything?

      You really have to lean into the direction of the Holy Spirit, but I guess that’s what God wants, isn’t it? =)

  • This article was really encouraging and lifted me out of guilt.
    I’ve decided not to date during the rest of high school and college (because I’ve been through enough romance drama already & witnessed its destructive tendencies, in addition to the fact that I want to focus on other more important things in this season of my life).
    The issue is, I still have to deal with my crushes on boys, and being asked out. I felt absolutely horrible when a great Christian guy asked me out, or showed romantic interest in me, and I had to turn him down! (It felt even worse if I had feelings for the guy!)
    But reading this has given me hope for the future and given me the freedom to not feel guilty about this.
    Especially the part where you said, “He’s a great man, she’s a wonderful woman–but something inside of her just doesn’t click and–often through tears–she gives a ‘no’. And praise God she does! As painful as it is, it’s better in the long run because in order to make a match they’d have to take a scissors to their patterns and remove important parts of who God made them to be. That would be truly devastating. One “no” that stings for a moment, is not.”
    So thanks for this, Chris, and God bless!

rebelling against low expectations

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