There’s a lot of uncertainty in dating these days. Common complaints amongst the single ladies start with the fact that guys these days often don’t ask a girl out, and kind of hope it will just happen. Or if they do, it’s so vaguely put that we are left to agonise over whether this is a just-friends situation or an Actual Date.

Last week I read this article from the Sydney Morning Herald, which cited an survey and found that only 9 per cent of respondents had recently asked someone out in a cafe or bar situation. That’s not a whole lot when you think about a world population that needs continuing! However I am definitely inclined to believe it. What interests me most however, are the reasons for all of this. Why don’t guys plainly ask out a girl anymore?

I think that at a most basic level, our culture has lost a sense of respect and manners. Back in the day, the guy’s intentions were made clear. Why? Because of respect for the girl, and because it was the proper thing to do. Now, a lot of the time, the guy doesn’t even know what his intentions are. Case in point: I have heard of many a relationship that started with a drunken hook-up on the dance-floor, and evolved from there.

The article’s author, MJ Angel, cited a few potential reasons for why we can’t seem to make our intentions clear: that we have become cowards when it comes to approaching the opposite sex and we fear rejection; we feel like others are watching and judging us in our attempts; we have become snobby and/or complacent posers; or because we’ve forgotten how to communicate with another human being without the presence of a Facebook wall, mobile number or witty hashtag.

I think she has hit the nail on the head with a lot of these points, but I’d have to say that the most prevalent reason is probably the fear of rejection. As a culture, we’ve definitely become softer – after all, a “no” may sting but it’s far from the end of the world! We’re also much more concerned about our immediate gratification as opposed to future happiness: we end up sacrificing a potentially great relationship just to avoid the possibility of one awkward, semi-hurtful moment.

There’s also the issue of laziness – because by not labelling the relationship, it’s almost like people can enjoy the perks of a “kind-of” relationship without having to put in the hard work.

Now I know you’ll be wondering, “what about the girl asking the guy out?” Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the approaching and asking to be left to the male – as that means that they’re doing the chivalrous thing of dealing with potential rejection themself, instead of having the girl to deal with it. And as a female, I can attest to the fact that girls really appreciate knowing where a guy stands. So guys, if you’re interested in her, let her know. Whether her response is positive or negative, no-one can say that you went about things the wrong way.

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.