The other day, a reader wrote in with a question about keeping your cool when women are being flighty or slow to respond, in reference to the post on what to do when girls flake:
“In your article on girls not returning texts, I was wondering what your idea of a socially savvy way to deal with it was. I've found it hard not to take this personal, especially when it's from girls I've known longer that still do it. I understand it's quite common, but to me there's really no excuse. I'd much rather hear "I'm not interested" than waste my night waiting around, especially when considering how girls get when guys don't call them back.”
You know, a long, long time ago -- it almost seems like another life -- I made it a point to respond to every single person who texted or called me, no matter what. I looked at it as a matter of honor, and took it as a point of pride -- I was reliable.
And it annoyed me to no end when people didn't respond. Like the reader above, I couldn't understand people who didn't respond -- I thought it rude, and I considered it inexcusable.
Of course you can take 10 seconds to text a reply, or 10 minutes to return a phone call, I'd think to myself.
I considered it a personal slight, those people who didn't respond.
I see things a lot differently nowadays. Often, I don't even notice when one person or another -- when one girl or another -- hasn't responded, until maybe much later -- and perhaps never at all. And, for all my earlier "principles" on being 100% reliable in responding to those who contacted me, I'm now sitting at somewhere decidedly below a 100% response rate -- maybe 85%, maybe 90%. I still try to respond most times, but it's no longer an unbreakable rule.
The reason why I changed -- both in how I saw it when others didn't respond, and in why I don't chase women with texting or phone calls anymore and why I don't always respond when people chase me anymore -- is what I want to share with you here.
Things Done Changed: More People, More Problems
Although I am a good bit more flakey than I used to be, and a good bit less responsive than I once was, I still try my best to be reliable and responsive. I think being responsive says good things about a man.
But, well, you see, life's changed.
I routinely get texts, emails, and messages from girls wanting to meet up with me. Girls I'd met before who are telling me they're going to be in town and want to see me. Girls I've spent time with at earlier dates who say they miss me and want to know why I'm not on instant messenger anymore or Facebook anymore or why I don't talk to them anymore and what happened to me.
Well, two things:
- I'm swamped -- like, literally, I'm working between 10 and 16 hours a day, juggling a social life, trying to get back to the gym, and I'm still falling farther and farther behind in everything I need to get done. I really can't spare another 2 or 3 or 4 hours a day responding to every single person who wants a response that day, and that includes a lot of women who want to meet up or chat or whatever.
- I've realized that these are girls who want to take up my time and offer little in return. It used to be that I'd just go for any girl I had a chance with who was reasonably attractive and had a tolerable personality. Now, just because of where I'm at with things, even if a pretty cute girl is chasing me hard, if she can't fit herself into my schedule or I'm not super sold on her, there's a good chance we aren't going to meet up.
Here's the thing: you can't tell people this stuff, because it makes you sound like a dick.
I'm not trying to be a dick. I really do feel a little bad each time some girl is messaging me excitedly to meet up... and I don't respond right away, because I'm busy, or just lazy, and then don't even remember that she messaged me again until like 2 weeks later. Whoops.
Of course, when I didn't have as much choice with women, it would be more like, "A girl messaged me! Wow!" and then I'd respond right away (well, after waiting a few minutes to not seem overeager!).
Now I more look at it and I'm like, "Ah, Jesus, another one... what am I going to do with these chicks?" I've been trying to meet up with buddies lately and pass them girls that I just don't have time for who've been chasing hard. Like, I'm not going to do anything with this girl, but maybe my buddy can make good use of her.
Funny thing is, this is all stuff girls do to lots of guys. Girls ignore guys' texts and emails, or maybe write them back much later. Girls get flustered because they're being bombarded with lots of messages from all these men chasing after them. Girls try to be cool and introduce a guy who's chasing them to one of their gal pals and try to get the two of them together.
I never understood this until quite recently.
I mean, I understood it in theory, but I'd never been in the situation where I was doing it myself. You really have to be in the situation and have the experience to be able to understand and really empathize with what's going on in someone's head -- and empathy's one of the biggest factors in keeping your cool.
Understanding It Intellectually vs. Actually Living It
I started coming to an abstract, intellectual understanding of women flaking and being unresponsive some time ago, just from talking to women about this and from meeting enough girls and talking to enough girls and having enough of them flake on me and enough of them not flake on me that I really started to see the patterns.
First, I want to remind you about the relationship between the level of attraction a woman has for a man, and the amount of time she knows him. This is what we discussed in "Attraction Has an Expiration Date," and the normal distribution for time and attraction in a situation where a man doesn't sleep with a girl right away looks roughly like this:
Basically, the longer a girl knows you without becoming your lover, the lower her level of attraction for you will drop. As discussed in "Social Circle vs. Cold Approach," you get a little more leeway when you're dealing with women from your social circle -- but still not much.
Attraction's fairly high when you first meet a girl -- and then it spikes soon thereafter, before starting to fall if you haven't bedded her. There's some sort of mechanism buried deep in the most primal part of women's brains that seems to scream, "This is not a guy accustomed to sleeping with women! Therefore, he must be less successful with women. Therefore, he'll give me sons who won't do so well at spreading my genes with other women. Therefore, he's not a good choice as a mate."
To a woman, this just feels like, "Meh, he's a nice guy, but I'm not really all that excited about him. I was, when I first met him... but yeah, turns out he's really just a good, nice guy. Maybe we can be friends or something."
Time passes, and her excitement, enthusiasm, and sexual interest in a man quickly and precipitously drops. What that means for the man is this:
- She'll become less and less eager about responding to him over text, phone, and email
- She'll become more and more apathetic about seeing him in person
- She'll fade more and more from his life
This is a value assessment, where the man is assessed as slow and unconfident for failing to move expeditiously, and he's judged as not being particularly desirable and the girl loses interest.
When you're a guy, it sucks, and it feels inexplicable. "Why did she just disappear? I don't get it!!!" And then you start chasing, trying to make things right. Often this happens totally unconsciously... you gradually and inadvertently toss aside the maxim of "don't chase women" and you start to chase instead.
I came across a great example of this last night in a conversation with my girlfriend. She was telling me about some of the guys who've been chasing her for a year or more. We talked about one of these guys on this site before, a fellow my girlfriend terms "Shopping Guy" because he'd always go hold her bags for her on little shopping expeditions (actually, he was either fortunate or unfortunate enough to have his own featured article, "The Sad Tale of Shopping Guy"). The guy my girlfriend told me about last night was a guy she calls "Ho Hai Guy," because he took her one time on a date to a place here in town called Ho Hai.
Ho Hai Guy, my girlfriend told me, originally ignored her, back in the days before she'd met me. And she considered him charming, and a good guy, so she chased after him and flirted with him a bit. She'd talk to him and try to get him to notice her. She really, honestly, legitimately wanted to date him.
So what'd Ho Hai Guy do? Well, he started spending time talking to her to, and texting her, and going and doing things with her here and there. None of those activities involved the two of them becoming lovers, of course, and with time, my girlfriend came to see Ho Hai Guy as just a friend.
And of course; if you think about it logically, what else would you expect?
Spend a lot of time with a girl doing only friend stuff -- talking, chatting, texting, shopping, going on little outings, having meals -- and absolutely zero lover / boyfriend-girlfriend stuff -- making out, sleeping together -- and you're really soon, really quickly going to get yourself seen as a friend.
Of course, right?
What happens though is that there's an imbalance in information.
Most of the guys who end up in the friend zone don't have many or any women in their lives. So, they move slow, not wanting to mess things up with this girl they like. And they project their realities onto her. She's the only woman in their lives, so they assume they're the only man in hers.
But it isn't that way for most women, especially not if they're pretty and nice and sociable and well-liked. Women like that get a lot of men chasing them, and they have to categorize men fast.
So, a guy who tries to take her home fast and rules himself out as a boyfriend and doesn't let her cry on his shoulder goes into the lover category. And the guy who wines her and dines her and sends her romantic messages and steals a kiss here and there goes into the boyfriend category. And the guy who talks to her and goes shopping with her and goes to do little activities with her but never makes a move goes into the friend category, or the "guy chasing after me that I might, someday, in a moment of desperation, be glad to still have around just in case of the off chance I might need him" category.
Anyway, I was discussing intermittent rewards with my girlfriend, and how rewarding people sometimes, but not all the time, encourages addictive levels of attachment, and I talked about specifically in responding to people who were chasing after you, and she mentioned that yeah, this guy Ho Hai Guy sends her messages, asking her how she is, what she's doing, when they can talk, telling her he misses her, and rubbish like that, and she usually ignores them, but every now and then she writes back something like this:
“Hey, sorry I haven't been responding, I've been really busy with studying for my exam in September and with family stuff. I'm fine; thanks for asking! I hope you're doing good too.”
And then she says she can see how happy and relieved he is in the response he texts back. He tells her it's okay; he understands she's been really busy and that it's very important for her to be studying for her test and that that's exactly what she should be doing. And then he tells her that after she takes her test, the two of them should do something.
Made me think of when I used to do this with girls. Also made me think that poor Ho Hai Guy really doesn't get it.
If a girl wants you and likes you, she's going to respond to your messages.
Yet here this poor guy is, chasing after the same girl he's been chasing for a year with no luck, not realizing that she's been in a relationship half of that time and she's just keeping him on the backburner, because 1) she feels bad not responding to him, and 2) she feels better knowing that she has some guys out there who are chasing after her.
"I think everyone likes that feeling -- the feeling that people are chasing after you," she said to me. And this isn't a manipulative girl -- she really cares about people, and doesn't want to hurt anyone. She's just very candid.
And she's right. Everybody does want to feel like someone is chasing after them. It feels good.
But until you experience it -- not just being pursued by anyone, but being pursued by women who are actually desirable and who other men want and pursue -- it's extremely difficult to empathize and understand what that feeling is. And what it is is power, security, and validation that you are, in fact, a very desirable, awesome person.
Keeping Your Cool, and Refining Your Strategy
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be like Shopping Guy or Ho Hai Guy.
Once I realized that this was going on -- that women kept guys in the wings because it made them feel safer, and because they could call on those guys at times for emotional support, or because they needed a guy to hang out with or go shopping with or see a movie with -- that was the moment that I became very anti-"hanging onto a girl."
If I didn't sleep with a girl in 2 dates, I didn't ever see her again usually by my own volition. Nowadays, it's the first date; if it doesn't happen then, it won't happen, even if she chases me. She probably doesn't get another shot.
And most girls do chase these days, and most girls do try to get another shot after our first date even if I didn't take them to bed. I just don't give them that next shot, because I'd rather go onto a more promising prospect, or else work on one of my businesses.
I went through a "moment of weakness" a while back after coming out of a long-term relationship, and in that moment of weakness I actually did, for the first time in my life, the traditional nice-guy-friend-chasing-a-girl thing. It sucked.
I plowed a lot of time into a girl, thinking that of course we were going to end up together -- I spent a great deal of time with her, I got her a prestigious new job after she'd been laid off, I single-handedly pulled her out of depression, I rebuilt her entire social circle, from scratch, I was her number one best friend and confidante -- I completely renovated her life and made it better in so many ways. Yet, I found myself unable to get beyond making out with her, despite repeated attempts. But I kept plowing hours a day into her, kept helping her out with stuff, confident that of course we'd be together. Meantime, I slept with a few other girls, but this one was the one I wanted as a girlfriend.
What finally snapped me out of my delusions were when I found out she'd been going on dates with other guys. I was like, "Wait -- what? This girl that I just, like... did everything for???"
I finally understood what nice guys go through. It was a big slap in the face.
So, I let her know I must've had the wrong idea about us; that I was going to have to go hit the dating pool pretty hard and wouldn't have so much time for her anymore (she protested, of course); and then I faded her out of my life really fast. She started chasing hard, and less than a month after fading her out, she called me up desperate and needing to talk and wondering where I'd been one night and I talked to her for about 20 or 30 minutes, told her she was going to be fine in her job and in life, and then dropped it on her that I had a girlfriend and that I had to go because my girl was almost over... and she seemed honestly stunned. Guess guys didn't do that to her.
Anyway, she got quiet and disappeared for a while. I broke up with my girlfriend, and then that girl reappeared and pushed hard to spend some time alone with me in my place. Guess by then she'd decided the overwhelming value I'd provided to her life before was sorely missed in my absence, and she'd finally decided she wanted to get together. I shot that idea down because, well... by that point, I was over it and not really interested anymore. That moment of weakness was gone, and I end up seeing her as pretty thick-skulled for not realizing the best thing in her life (me) and grabbing onto it with a vice grip when she had the chance.
I'm grateful for the lesson though, and I don't think I'll ever plow a lot of time into investing heavily in the life of a girl I'm not lovers with ever again. Because what happens is, as we've talked about other places on this site, if you become too valuable to a girl you aren't lovers with, she won't want to risk losing you for something as replaceable but potentially disastrous as physical intimacy. She doesn't want to risk the two of you getting together, then you breaking up with her or disappearing and then suddenly you aren't her friend or advisor or supporter anymore.
So, you don't give girls those things until the two of you are together.
- You don't spend a lot of time on a girl,
- You don't spend a lot of money on a girl,
- You don't talk a whole lot to a girl,
- You don't do a lot of things with a girl,
- You don't try to help a girl too much,
- And you don't try to revamp her life,
at least until the two of you are lovers.
At that point, if you're sleeping with her and she's sleeping with you, if you want to spend a lot of time on her, or buy her something nice, or talk to her all night, or go skiing with her, or help her find a better job, or introduce her to cool new people -- yeah, that's cool.
But you can't do that stuff before the two of you are lovers, or you probably will never become lovers.
Most guys try to do this stuff up front as "proof" of what great boyfriends they're going to be. I know, because I used to do some of it -- not the nice guy friend stuff, but I did do the "I'm going to spend a lot of time talking to her on the phone and text her a lot and I'll become an integral part of her life -- THEN we'll get together!"
Nope, doesn't work that way.
You do it after... otherwise, you're going to encounter a wall of resistance to the two of you becoming lovers that's a mile high.
She won't want to risk sacrificing ALL she's getting from you for what might be a one-time roll in the hay.
And that can even include just knowing that she's "got" you -- that can actually be quite valuable to women.
One more thing my girlfriend said about Ho Hai Guy: she said that she'd wanted to "conquer" him. Because he'd been a charming guy, and he'd been ignoring her. But once he started chasing -- she knew she'd won. The challenge went away, and with it, her desire for him.
Most women aren't as honest as my girlfriend is with me. But most women, to one extent or another, really do feel this way. It's not so good an idea to get into the habit of chasing women; you sabotage yourself when you do.
Don't Chase Women -- Make Stuff Happen Instead
Chasing is one of the most poisonous things you can get into doing with a girl. Once you're chasing, you're done. Almost always.
If you disagree, then riddle me this: how many women you've chased after -- like, really hounded with calling and texting and begging them to go on dates -- how many of those girls have you slept with or turned into girlfriends?
Probably none of them, right? So why do guys keep doing this?
It's an unconscious response, and it's one you can't control. Chasing is just how people respond to things they want and can't have.
The thing is, the harder you chase, and the more invested you become, the more and more and more you end up wanting something, and going crazy over it.
Chase after a job, and you come to want it more and more.
Chase after a certain school you want to attend, and you want to get into that school more and more desperately.
Find a girl you like and start chasing her, and she transforms from a girl you liked to a girl you want bad, to a girl you're crazy about, to a girl you're head over heels in love with (or at least you think you are... it's more your idea of her than her as a person, especially if you've been chasing her a long time and not spending much time with her. Ho Hai Guy and Shopping Guy are chasing after ideas of my girlfriend. Another guy -- Fetish Guy -- I'll get a post up on his rather interesting story too at some point -- he hardly knows my girlfriend, only met her once for an hour, and is chasing after the idea of her too, even as he thinks he's falling in love with her).
Don't chase women. It kills their attraction for you, and it's going to tear you up inside pursuing a girl who's -- because you're chasing her -- forced to start running away.
Here's what you do instead:
- You keep things simple, direct, and to-the-point.
- You only use texting and phone calls for a very little bit of getting to know a girl.
- You primarily use texting and phone calls for setting up dates and handling logistics -- sell her on you in person, not over the phone.
- You get her out soon after meeting her, and move fast.
- If she's social circle and you've known her for a long time, you make a big push to get her out, and close the deal then.
- Aim to get together with girls on Date #1. Why? Because she's out with you, and there's a good chance life intervenes and there never is a Date #2, even if Date #1 goes reasonably well. Also, the chance that a girl sleeps with you on Date #1 is higher than Date #2 and way higher than Date #3 in most cases. Even conservative girls -- yep, still will sleep with you on Date #1 if you handle things appropriately most times.
A few notes on this one: don't ask girls, because they'll tell you of course that won't happen. And before you say girls won't go to bed with you on Date #1, answer me this: how many times have you tried?
- For your own sanity, adopt a cut off mark for girls. e.g., you might say, "Okay, if we aren't lovers after Date #3, she and I are done." Of course, to make this legitimate, you need to be trying to get together with her too -- you need to tell her to come home with you at the end of Date #1 and/or 2, and if she doesn't, you need to try again at the end of Date #3. If she still doesn't, write her off.
- After you adopt a cut off mark, add a conditional exception. e.g., for me, I have a few exceptions to my one-date rule. If a girl's really exceptional, and I really really like her and I think she'd make a great girlfriend, I might see her one or two more times if we don't sleep together on Date #1 and I'll try to make it happen then. If she's not as exceptional, then I'll have the condition that if she wants to come over and hang out at my place, we can do that, but otherwise, I won't invest any more time into her.
So like a girl I've been on a date with who wouldn't go home with me, normally I'd write her off, but if she started texting that she wanted to meet up, I'd text her back, "Honestly, I've been doing so much lately that I really can't get out from under a pile of work. I could chill though -- you could come by, we'll cook some food or order a pizza, and just kick back and watch a movie. You game?" That weeds out a lot of them and you won't hear from them again -- those were the ones looking for a friend or a guy to chase them -- but both the ones that like you a lot, and the ones that just want a strong, sexy guy to take them to bed -- both of those girls will say, "Okay."
Getting some rules like this up and running gets you keeping your cool a lot more easily, streamlines your dating a lot, and really ups your results. You become lovers with more girls, higher quality girls, and you get the girls you want.
Wait, you might say, how does being aggressive and ruthless like this help you get the girls you want? Won't those amazing high quality women be scared off by stuff like this?
And that's a completely understandable concern. Here's why I'm recommending the route I am:
Think of what happens when you meet an amazing girl that you really, really like. Maybe she's incredibly beautiful; maybe she's got a killer personality. Maybe both. So what do you do?
You go really, really slow, try not to mess stuff up... and then you don't get her. She fades away, and you end up becoming upset that she isn't responding to your texts anymore, like what happened with our reader at the start of this post and what happened to me plenty of times in the past.
So why's having a solid process like this help you get the girls you want to get?
Because even incredibly beautiful girls and girls with killer personalities and girls who have both are still just GIRLS. And they still all respond to exactly the same stuff. They still all want a man who's going to man up and make stuff happen... and all the guys who aren't get to go cool their heels in the friend zone and spend the next couple of months or years chasing after them until they finally give up and go repeat the process with some other girl.
Don't be one of those guys. Don't chase women; don't go crazy holding out for that one special girl. Understand that past a certain mark, she really is lost, and that trying to get her back is like trying to get back a job offer again once the opportunity's already passed you by because you took too long to take action and seize that opportunity.
Sure, maybe if you hound the people at that company like crazy, they'll eventually hire you. Probably not, but maybe. And sure, maybe if you hound that girl like crazy, she'll eventually date you. Probably not, but maybe. But yeah, really probably not.
Sucks to hear, I know. You've been throwing a huge amount of time into chasing after a girl, for a long time, investing boatloads of your time and energy and effort and everything else into trying to get her, and all the while she's long since moved on and sees you as a friend or a guy she's "conquered" or is keeping on the back burner "just in case."
But what's encouraging is knowing that next time -- with all the other women you're going to meet in your life -- you can do it right. Just like you're probably not going to get that job that you had a shot at but didn't take the shot for and now it's gone, so it is with women you had a shot with but waited too long to take that shot. But just as there are plenty more jobs out there you can do it right with next time, so too are there plenty more women out there you can do it right with next time, too.
You've just got to make sure you seize the opportunity, and push for the close. That's what separates the friends and the conquered and those waiting in the wings from the guys who end up being girls' lovers and boyfriends and more.