Why Chasing Women Doesn’t Work and Why Persistence Does
We've had a few questions on here lately about the difference between chasing women vs. persisting with women. A few weeks back William B. raised the point when I asked for ideas on what the new forum's bonus book should be on:
“I'd like to see something fleshing out the nuances between chasing and persistence.”
And more recently, a commenter on the article on how to find the woman you want asked:
“I guess what i want to know is how does all this play in with not chasing her...if you leave enough time between your proposals it doesn't count as chasing?”
I've seen a few other people ask about it on other articles as well.
What's the difference between chasing women and persisting with them, anyway? Aren't they one and the same?
Actually, the two are VERY different - and women are right for desiring persistent men to a point... and fleeing from men who chase after that point.
Let's have a look at why that is, and how you can better walk the line between chasing and persistence.
First off, I want to say this: I don't think there's any guy out there in the world who likes chasing women.
And by "chasing women," I don't mean that in the vaguely sarcastic tone of your buddy who's really good at picking up girls. When he says, "Let's go chase some women," what he really means is, "Let's go make some women helplessly attracted to us then go take them home."
When I say "chasing women," what I'm referring to is the guy who's pursuing a woman who isn't his, is acting cold or distant or aloof to him, and is not giving him nearly what he wants from her... a man who isn't in control.
What I'm talking about with chasing is when a man desperately wants a woman who doesn't want him.
If you've ever chased a woman before - and most guys have, no need to feel too ashamed about it - you can probably think back on the emotions you felt about it and realize that it didn't feel all that great. Nowhere did you get emotions like, "Wow, this is wonderful!" Instead, all you feel while chasing are feelings of:
These are a deep, dark hole of bad emotions that drive you into feeling worse about yourself, and doing things very wrong with a girl from the point of being attractive.
Chasing is very unattractive to women.
But if it's so horribly ineffective a behavior, why do men do it?
The Psychology of Chasing
From what I've seen, the vast, vast majority of women who are chased by men are single women... women unattached from a committed marriage or relationship partner. I haven't seen many married women with a man chasing desperately after them, but I have seen many single women with chasers in hot pursuit.
Why might this be?
My theory is, the same "philosophy of women" that inspires a man to chase after an unattached woman also dissuades him from interest in an attached one.
The theory goes like this:
"Once I have a woman, she will be MINE FOREVER!"
The corollary to that, of course, is:
"Once a woman is with a man, she will NEVER LEAVE HIM."
I don't think all men who chase women regularly and desperately think this way, but for a guy who's a habitual chaser or chases women over a long period of time, from what I've seen it's usually the mindset. A woman is something to be acquired, and once she is acquired, the acquisition is permanent.
So, if a woman is attached, to the chaser, she is off the market and unattainable; if she's unattached, however, then it's a mad-grab free-for-all to acquire her, and whoever ends up with her at the end gets to keep her.
If you're mildly unnerved by all this talk of "acquiring" and "keeping," you should be; it's an incorrect view of women, but its one that men who chase seem normally to possess in spades.
Here's the really scary part for women - according to the paper "Courtship Behaviors, Relationship Violence, and Breakup Persistence in College Men and Women" by Stacey L. Williams and Irene Hanson Frieze, chasing is linked to violence... have a look:
“This study assessed college men's (n= 85) and women's (n= 215) courtship persistence behaviors (approach, surveillance, intimidation, mild aggression), which have been linked to stalking, and examined their relations to initial courtship interest, relationship development, and future violence and persistence, while also exploring the role of gender in these relations. Findings showed individuals performed surveillance when initially more interested than the other. Whereas approach behaviors were positively associated with relationship establishment, surveillance and intimidation were negatively associated. As predicted, results showed continuity in persistence and violence over the course of dating relationships. For both genders, courtship mild aggression predicted relationship violence, and persistence behaviors predicted similar persistence at breakup. Early behaviors may foreshadow violence and stalking-related behaviors in both men and women.”
Here, the study breaks "persistence" down into multiple subcategories:
- Mild Aggression
In the study, the researchers define each subcategory as follows:
Approach: sending notes, doing unrequested favors, attempting to communicate, asking the person out as a friend and asking the person out as a date.
Surveillance: waiting where the person would be, going by the residence, showing up at events where the person would be, doing an activity to be closer to the person, asking friends about the person, and asking friends to talk to the person.
Intimidation: following the person, taking the person’s belongings, trying to manipulate the person into dating you, and spying on the person.
Mild aggression: trying to scare the person, making threats, threatening to hurt emotionally, threatening to damage belongings, threatening to hurt someone else, threatening to hurt oneself, verbally abusing the person, physically harming slightly, and physically harming more than slightly.
As an interesting aside, the researchers further noted, on differences between male and female courtship behaviors, that
“[M]ales perform more approach, or regular courtship behaviors, whereas females are more likely to perform acts of surveillance, that is, attempts to make indirect contact with the love interest by way of (seeming) serendipity.”
Obviously, intimidation and mild aggression are pretty bad.
Surveillance isn't terribly good either, as you're "pretending" it's
fate while hiding true desires; women are more guilty of this one than
men are, and according to the research there's less a chance that it
leads to a relationship than a healthy interaction where the behavior
isn't needed or used.
So what's all this have to do with chasing women vs. persisting with women?
Simple - this quote from the study:
“During the earliest stages of courtship, a one-sided initial interest (i.e., a scenario in which one potential partner is more interested than the other) may reflect this unrequited love scenario and result in intensified initial courtship behaviors. Behaviors used to attract the potential partner may include stalking-related behaviors.”
What Williams and Frieze are saying here is this: intensified initial courtship behaviors (chasing) are the result of unrequited love.
The difference between chasing and persistence is that chasing is one-sided interest and highly emotional, while persistence is largely mutual, and it's largely unemotional.
What's the difference between a man who stands there at the end of a date or the end of the night, persisting in his insistence that a woman accompany him home, as we discussed in "Don't Let Her Go," and a man who continues to chase women long after it's clear they simply aren't interested?
The man who persists at the end of the night doesn't persist because he's deeply, ravishingly in love with a girl; he persists because he's trained himself to do it. Most men replete with unrequited love will not insist a girl do ANYTHING; they simply bug her and beg her and bother her in the hopes that somehow that will change her mind.
And that's the biggest difference between a persistent man and a man chasing women: the persistent man persists when it COUNTS.
The chasing man persists everywhere ELSE.
Imagine you meet a girl. She's pretty, flirty, fun. You're really tired the night you meet her; you had a long day; and you really aren't feeling that great. You guys hit it off, but eventually you can hardly keep your eyes open, and you decide that, despite this cute girl in front of you, the only thing you want to do now is go home and hit the hay.
Now let's say it can go in one of two possible directions:
You tell her you're leaving, and she says, "No, stay. We're having a great time right now; I know you're tired but you can sleep later. Let's keep spending time together right now."
You tell her you're leaving, and she says, "Okay." The two of you trade phone numbers. After you leave, you get a text message from her right away saying how much she liked meeting you and she hopes she'll see you soon. The next morning you have a text from her, saying, "Hey, how's it going?" Later she tries calling you to ask you out, but you're busy. Then you see she added you on Facebook. Suddenly, she's calling you, texting you, Facebook stalking you, and all the rest.
Which of these girls is more attractive to you?
That example makes it night and day, doesn't it... who wants to be on the receiving end of #2 (if you're currently frustrated with women / feeling a little desperate, you don't count! People only get into chase dynamics with individuals they can't get, rather than those eager to be with them)? There are other directions that scenario above could've gone too, of course (e.g., you leave and she never gets in touch; you leave and the two of you run into each other again later somewhere else; etc.), but for our purposes I wanted to contrast persistence with chasing for you there.
Chasing is what's known as unrequited love, although it's really a form of infatuation. Chasing is NOT love, though many in pursuit of their object of desire will call it that and think it that. But as we talked about in the article on when you can't stop thinking about her, this isn't real love, and often you don't even really know HER at ALL... it's simply obsession with some idealized, fantastical version of her cooked up in your head.
Women know this. They know it isn't them a chasing man wants... it's a fantasy woman that he's imagined is them.
Sometimes it's initially cute; "Oh how cute, he's really got a thing for me, hasn't he?" Then it's annoying, once the cuteness wears off. And if it continues on long enough, and becomes intense enough, it can even become bothersome or scary.
Most men chasing after women never reach the point of things becoming so extreme that it's an inconvenience to a woman's life or that she actually becomes afraid. But a LOT of men chase women enough to start annoying them.
Is there a chance you've
done this before?
Board Another Plane
Chasing is not
attractive... we've established that. You need to quit doing it.
Especially for emotional men, this isn't always easy. Readers regularly post comments on this site about how they know they should stop chasing after some girl, but they just can't help themselves. Chasing is addictive.
Where chasing comes from, in my opinion, is realizing that you might've had a shot, but didn't take it. Almost every man I've seen chasing women was chasing women that he'd say, "I could've had her... I SHOULD'VE had her! But I let her get away!"
This inability to let go, coupled with a feeling that she is there, within reach, seems to push men over the edge and turn them into pursuers. There is a desire to get her, keep her, and snap her up before she gets snapped up "for good."
Chasing after women fails to get the chaser women, then, because it is too little, too late.
It's like trying to convince the check-in clerk to get the flight team to turn the airplane you were too late to board around and pick you back up after the plane's already off the tarmac and up in the air. You might be the most convincing man in the world, but it's probably not going to happen; and besides, there's someone else in your seat anyway.
So what do you do? You board another plane.
At this point, you've got a handle on what chasing is and why it's bad. Chasing usually happens when:
- A girl likes you, to some extent, or seems to
- You fail to make a move or miss an obvious sign
- You beat yourself up for it later, and resolve to get her
- You start trying to get her any way you can - calling, texting, etc.
- You refuse to give up on this girl, convinced you'll win her heart, despite the fact that she is not reciprocating
So what do you do instead?
Here's what persistence - proper persistence, not pursuing uninterested women - is all about:
Acting now and not later. The thing that gets most men into trouble (chasing women) in the first place is a lack of proper persistence the first time around. Whether because the man is slow to realize he likes a girl, or hesitant about taking action and leading women, or simply doesn't know how to recognize how girls show interest, one way or another, he doesn't move fast and he doesn't make things happen when he has the chance to.
Persistence is all about acting now. What the persistent man knows that other men don't is that when he gets a chance with a girl, it's probably going to be his ONLY chance with that girl. Opportunity knocks once, but if you don't welcome it in on its first visit, it goes and finds someone else a little more welcoming and stops coming by. Tomorrow never comes; if you have a chance to be with a girl now, then... be with her.
Establishing leadership and staying on-target. Men who chase are lost; they flail about, unsure of what they're doing, hoping that if they can just talk to women enough or be around them enough or send them enough text messages or emails that those women are going to decide they're the men of their dreams and leap into their arms. Except... it doesn't work like that.
You're the man, you must lead. That means that if you don't know where you're going... then you're not going anywhere. You need to be moving girls; you need to be progressing toward an end point; and you need to be focused on how you'll close an interaction (e.g., getting a phone number or taking a girl to bed), then doing it and keeping follow-up contact to a minimum until you're ready for the next step (e.g., the next time you'll see her).
Being willing to walk away and meet someone else. Contrary to what most chasing men think, women are not a scarce resource. They are abundant; they're everywhere! A man needs to be prepared to walk away from a woman who will not come with him; who won't give him her phone number, who won't go on a date with him, who won't accompany him home, who won't become her lover.
You cannot get every woman you want; in fact, you'll walk away from quite a few. And that's fine... so long as you continue to meet new girls, because as you meet new women, you'll learn and refine your process, and get better at persisting right away with women who are interested in you or on the fence, and dropping girls and moving on who aren't.
Those three are all huge differences between the man who chases and the man who persists, but the last one is arguably the biggest: men who persist properly are willing and free to move on at a moment's notice; men who chase are not.
There's one more thing that persistent men know that chasing men don't, though.
Why Chasing Women is Silly (and
Wastes Your Time)
What persistent men, and men more talented with women, know is this:
If she wants to be with you, it won't be that hard!
It doesn't take weeks or months or years of pursuing a girl to get her. I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard a man tell me he chased a girl for a long time and finally got her, and I've heard thousands of men's stories about the women they got together with. The long sought romance that finally became real: it doesn't happen.
If a girl likes you, if she has any desire to be with you, it's not going to take a month or more to happen, unless YOU are really slow. And if you are really slow, she'll almost certainly have lost interest by the time you get around to doing what you should've done much earlier on, and she'll be lost (never to return).
Chasing women isn't just annoying for the girl, and futile for you. It wastes your precious time, in addition to everything else.
You only have a short amount of time on this rock to do the things you want to do. If you spend months or years of your life pursuing some other human being who has no interest in you, you might as well have spent that time sitting in a prison cell, or in a coma. It's time wasted, flushed down the drain, tossed away like yesterday's newspaper. It's gone, and you got nothing back for it.
She was out partying with some guy she likes, didn't notice or care that you texted her, and you were sitting at home waiting to hear back, imagining a life together with her.
But you could be out meeting women who like you... women who want you... women it isn't too late with yet, where you can move faster, take action, and make something real with.
It isn't hard to get together with girls. And if you realize you've put a lot of time into a girl... you've chased after her... you've worked hard to get her... and you're still nowhere with her (e.g., you're not lovers, not romantic partners, you're still "working on" her), it's time to cut the chord.
Back when I was inexperienced in the ways of women and dating, I overheard a conversation between two men about a girl one of the men had met. "This other guy's been working on her for a couple of weeks, so I'm not sure if I should go for her since he's already got a head start," the first man said.
The second man laughed. "A couple of weeks? Go for her. If that other guy was EVER going to get her, he'd already HAVE her."When I heard this, even back then, I knew he was right. All the guys I'd seen "working on" girls... all the girls I'd spent time "working on"... it never worked out. The girls you got were the ones it happened relatively quickly with... and if it didn't happen within a few weeks max, it didn't happen.
So don't waste time, and don't make things harder than they need to be. Life's too short to spend your ticking clock on people who don't want to be with you. Spend it on the ones who do - and on finding them, if there aren't any around at the moment. And, move fast and take action - you've got better things to do than chase around some girl who's busy living her life while you dream idle dreams of her.
Persist - but don't chase.
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