How to NEXT a Girl
Reading through posts in the relationship forum, as well as guys' relationship issues elsewhere on the Internet, there appears to be a lot of confusion over how and when to implement what I believe is the single most powerful tool in a man's relationship arsenal:
Throughout this article, I'm going to provide you with the proper contexts in which to execute a NEXT, which situations make it impossible or ineffective, and how to do it. But first, a definition:
A NEXT is a Period of No-Contact
That's the simplest definition I can think of. If you were to read that sentence and think, "Gee Drexel, that sounds a lot like just ignoring someone," you're right. It's ignoring the girl for a period of time, which depends on several factors.
Let's cover the theoretical side of NEXTing first.
While a NEXT can be used as a punishment, I don't think that's the best way to think about it. Rather, it can be more helpful to think of a NEXT as both a training tool and a time to re-think your priorities. A time to reflect, gather your thoughts, and decide your next actions in a calm, rational manner. Since many men cannot think rationally whilst in the middle of some big blow-up of drama or anger, it is often useful to remove yourself from the problematic environment before deciding how to proceed.
Many studies of behavioral psychology find that punishment is, quite simply, not as effective as simply ignoring behavior you don't want in your life. This is true for relationships, pets, and even friendships. A good rule of thumb is,
"Reward proper behavior, and ignore bad behavior."
By "proper behavior," I do not mean some archaic or religious set of behavioral doctrines -- though if you're a religious person, you can certainly interpret it however you want. As I mentioned, it's better to think of it as "what kind of behavior you want to deal with in your life, and what you will tolerate from those you allow to get close to you."
As such, the first thing you must do is decide what kind of behavior you will tolerate, and what you will not. Personally, my list of what I will not tolerate includes things like:
Property destruction of any kind
Invasions of privacy (checking my computer or phone, which is off-limits no matter what)
Demands (though NEXTing is not my ideal way to handle demands, it can certainly be useful)
If I'm on the phone with a girl, and she raises her voice at me for
any reason, I hang up INSTANTLY and will not contact her for several
days. I don't care if she has a good point, because her concerns are
not the issue at hand -- the way she handled herself while having such
concerns is more the point.
There are two kinds of NEXTing, which I will reference throughout this article.
A "soft next," a brief period of ignoring that lasts between 3 days and a week, depending on the severity of the behavior and how much time I need to figure out how to deal with it, and
A "hard next," which is a forever-and-ever, delete-her-number type of ignoring. In this case, you are beyond the point of reconciliation, and her behavior was so horrendous that the best thing for your health is to cut her out of your life completely. An example of behavior that would warrant a hard-next, for me, would be physical abuse of any kind. Touching me in anger, with malicious intent, means that girl will NEVER hear from me, and I don't care how much she apologizes
Which brings me to my next point:
It doesn't matter if she apologizes during the NEXT period.
What happens typically during a NEXT period, is that you will be inundated with texts, calls, Facebook messages, and emails. They will be full of emotional rocket fuel, hamster rationalizations, expression of love or hatred, or sometimes an apology.
Ignore it completely.
If this is difficult for you, I encourage you to simply delete the messages as they come in. Don't even read them, there's a good chance you will be triggered to respond (which is exactly her intention).
Once the NEXTing period is over, you simply ping the girl and act as if nothing happened. Don't bring it up, don't mention why you did it, don't explain your rationale. Just move on. Trust me, she knows what she did wrong and probably doesn't want to talk about it any more than you do.
If there is a genuine issue at hand, and her concerns are valid, feel free to explain to her (if she doesn't get the hint) that you are more than happy to sit down and with her and have a calm discussion about whatever it is. Further, if she has something she'd like to talk about, she needs to do it like an adult -- not a manipulative child attacking your emotions.
How to NEXT
throws something at you that you don't like via electronic
communication (Facebook, e-mail, text, phone call), this is fairly
easy. Just stop communicating with her.
If it's on the phone, hang up immediately and implement your NEXTing protocol.
For example, let's say you're casually dating a girl, and she wants you to become exclusive with her. The correct behavior on her part is to sit down, assert her requests calmly, and then listen calmly as you either accept her terms or reject them respectfully.
The incorrect, NEXT-worthy behavior would be for her to yell at you about what an asshole you are, how dare you be sleeping with other women, you're just a user and a scumbag!
In that case, you NEXT immediately. Not for the message, but for the way she chose to express it.
If this happens in person, you just calmly leave. Get up, grab your stuff and leave her place, if you're over there. She'll yell at you, make demands, give you ultimatums, etc. Be a man, ignore it, and just go. You might want to turn off your phone, too, since it'll be blowing up in very short order.
If it happens at your place, politely tell her that she needs to leave. At that point, she'll either relent and calm down, or she'll escalate…"What! How dare you tell me to leave!" If that happens, calmly explain that she is no longer welcome at your place, and will be trespassing if she does not leave right now.
If she continues to stay there and yell at you once this point is reached, feel free to call the police. By this time, what would have been worthy of a soft NEXT, is now (in my opinion) worthy of a hard NEXT instead.
For emotional guys, like me, this can be very hard -- especially at first. Everything inside you will tell you to argue, feed the drama, yell at her, put her in her place, defend yourself, etc. Just realize that every time you do that, you are giving her what she wants -- drama -- and increasing the likelihood that she will do it again later. Instead, do your best to just stop talking, remain calm to the best of your ability, and head out.
As I mentioned, you might be tempted to contact her or respond to her messages. Fight it! Be a man and carry through with your plan.
If you're having to do this a lot, with any particular woman, I encourage you to drop her from your rotation and hard NEXT her. She is a high-conflict individual, which will not change regardless of your response to her drama.
Now, for some troubleshooting:
But Drexel, how can I just ignore her? I love her so much and it would hurt her!
It's not about her, it's about YOU. It's about YOU making a clear statement of how YOU wish to be treated, and what YOU will tolerate in your life from your loved one(s). Also, you probably have oneitis and/or are codependent if you fail to do what's best for YOU out of fear of hurting someone else.
How can I do this if I live with the girl?
You can't. One of many reasons to never cohabitate with a lover. I know there are guys who think they are NEXTing girls they live with, either by leaving the house or ignoring her for a few days, but you need to think about this from the woman's perspective.
She knows you have to come home. She thinks you're pouting and being a baby by giving her the silent treatment. She'll harass you about it until you relent, if you share space with her. Literally 100% of the power of the NEXT is removed if you have to come home to her that night, or the following day.
Relationships take work, and arguments are just a part of smoothing over your issues.
If this is your belief, then don't complain about why she's nagging you and arguing all the time. You've brought it on yourself by not realizing that happy relationships are drama-free, don't "take work" to manage if you do it properly (as in, utilizing NEXTs when need be), and you probably enjoy the drama too. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, just realize that you enjoy it on some level. I'd be lying if I said I don't get off on a good heated exchange every now and then, so you're not alone here.
I can see this working when you're spinning several plates and have other girls to go hang out with instead, but will this work for a monogamous relationship?
Yes. I will never give advice on monogamous relationships, since the only one I've ever had was about 6 years ago, but I believe it's probably even more important when it's your only relationship and thus, the one you really want to manage properly.
This is how you manage it properly! That one mono relationship I had, with a gorgeous California blonde who was president of her sorority, I NEXTed her twice before we even slept together. It set the proper stage, showed her clearly how to treat me if she wanted to be a part of my life, and was to this day one of the best relationship experiences I've had. Not once did I have to NEXT her after those initial two. She was a smart cookie, and won my heart completely by catching on and treating me right (ladies, take note! Treat your men well and they will fall in love with you, guaranteed).
How do I know she'll come back?
You don't, though in my experience, a NEXT usually increases her investment and desire to please you. You do have to make peace with the fact that she might not come back, but is it really that big a deal to lose a girl who was treated you poorly? Asking whether she'll come back is quite dependent on the outcome, and shows that you are prioritizing your relationship over your own health and sanity. I understand that relationships are important and you don't want to lose one, but consider what's best for YOU, since that is what NEXTing is all about.
Why is a Next So Effective?
There are several things to consider here, so I'll try and list a few.
It reminds her that in any relationship, YOU are your first priority. If she's been taking you for granted recently or treating you badly, it's a sharp reminder that you care about yourself more than simply acquiescing to her frame.
It provokes competition anxiety, which ramps up her attraction to you. Why can you ignore her so easily? Is it because you're seeing another girl? Is she better in bed? Does she treat you better? Will you leave her for the other girl? These are all good things to be going through her mind right after you've shown her that you won't stand for her crap.
Similar to above, it shows the ultimate trump card in any relationship: a willingness to cut contact and walk if you're not being treated well. So many guys put up with so much abuse and other garbage, that it truly separates you from the vast majority of men to simply go, "You know what, screw this, I'm leaving" and then take a few days or weeks to figure out how or whether you want to proceed.
So there you guys go. A little guide on what NEXTing is, why it works so well, when to do it, and how to do it. Implement NEXTs from the very first time you meet a girl, and you will find great women who want to treat you well coming more and more into your life, while the ones who can't treat people well get kicked to the curb.
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