How to Make a Guy Call Instead of Texting You


I’ve been on record for saying how much I dislike texting. I even found a chart to tell you when to text and when not to text.

But texting MUST be the icing; it can’t be the cake.

The real issue is that texting is ubiquitous and it’s not going anywhere soon. Instead of using it as a way to say hi or let you know he’s running late, it becomes a crutch for real relationship communication. These days, there are men who use it as the ONLY way of keeping in touch. There are women who use it as the ONLY way of having a serious discussion.

These are inherently flawed strategies. A first-person piece on concurs:

“A short text in the middle of the day to let someone know you are thinking of them is a sweet gesture. But if you imagine that sending a daily barrage of texts, such as “driving to work, heading to lunch, or just left a meeting” is a romantic way to show you are thinking of your partner, think again.”

To clarify – if these texts are used in ADDITION to phone, email, and actual dates, they’re fine. I text my wife to ask her to pick up something from the grocery store when she’s out. She texts me from the kitchen to tell me she loves me. But texting MUST be the icing; it can’t be the cake.

Yet that’s what’s been established. Men collect phone numbers online. They text five women at the same time. They never pick up the phone to make a true connection, because they want to keep their options open. And women complain that men aren’t stepping up to the plate.

They’re right in one regard – texting is a shitty form of communication. But it’s not HIS fault if the texting persists; ultimately it’s yours. If you accept that he only texts you, never calls you, never asks you out for a proper date, you’re tacitly CONDONING this behavior.

What incentive does he have to step up to the plate if he can get away with a minute of phone foreplay? Why SHOULD he call? Why SHOULD he plan dates? Really, if he can text you, on Friday night at 10: “Come over, I miss you,”. And you DO IT?! There’s no reason for him to spend more time, more money, more energy, or more emotion on you. He’s having his cake and eating it, too.

You want a guy to treat you like a serious relationship candidate instead of part of a harem? Insist on being treated that way.

“Thanks, cutie! I turn off my cell phone at night, but you can call me on my landline after 9. Talk to you then!”

“Aw, Jeff, you’re adorable. But if you want to see me, you’re gonna have to try a little harder. You have your phone in your hand. I have my phone in my hand. Press the little green dial button and see what happens!”

You want a guy to treat you like a serious relationship candidate instead of part of a harem? Insist on being treated that way.

“Glad to hear you’re having a great day, Brad. You know what would make it even better? If you were to hear the dulcet tones of my voice. 🙂 Hit me up tonight after I get back from the gym, okay?”

If the guy doesn’t respond, ignores your requests for phone time, and treats the phone as if it’s only a means to text, you know what you do?

You cut him loose. No emotion. Matter of fact.

You seem like a good guy, Alan, but I’m not looking for a texting buddy, I’m looking for a boyfriend. And since all you’ve done is text me twice a week for the past six weeks without any increased effort, I’m going to take that as a sign that you’re not that interested in a relationship. No hard feelings. I wish you the best of luck in your search. Take care.”

Don’t be afraid that you’re losing your potential boyfriend. You’re not. You’re freeing yourself of the burden of waiting for an indifferent man to show you he cares. If he cared about you, he’d WANT to call you, WANT to see you, WANT to commit to you.

The texter has already shown his stripes. All you’re doing is calling him on it.

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  1. 21

    Texting is so common in my generation that I read little into it. I’ve had guys text who really liked me and guys who called but were users. As long as they want toale regular face to face plans, fine by me

  2. 22

    Agreed.   That would be why I pointed out the examples you set forth on how to handle a situation when a guy is texting instead of calling.   If a guy texts instead of calls and and the girl doesn’t like it, she should playfully suggest that he call.   If he still doesn’t call, she should ditch him.   He’s not worth her time and effort.   However, it may not be in her best interest to quickly assume he isn’t interested if she hasn’t asked him to call.   All that I am saying is that some people have different ways of communicating, especially younger people.   It may be beneficial to take a look at all the facts surrounding each individual circumstance.

    1. 22.1

      I actually don’t think that a woman has an obligation to suggest that a man call in a “playful manner”. It’s quite ok to be assertive and simply say “I really enjoy getting to know you, but would prefer that we talk on the phone or in person”. There is no need to soften a request through playful delivery. There’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries in accordance with your preferences.

  3. 23

    Oh My Goodness!!   This is truly excellent advice for us all 🙂     Evan.. this is the one that I need to “tattoo on the inside of my wrist”” as you so often say.   Thanks also for the assorted ‘response scenarios’.   Will use as directed!

  4. 24

    I agree with this advice!
    And I use it with almost all guys.   If they start off by texting, I gently and coyly, yet firmly, encourage them to call instead.   If you do it flirtatiously, it works a treat, and there’s usually no problem after that.
    Every now and again though, you get a guy who genuinely hates the phone, and is not a player.   I actually am not a huge fan of phone calls and prefer to keep them short and occasional.   In the beginning though, I encourage a guy to call because it is a sign of effort.   When I’m more established with a guy, to be honest, I have no problem with someone who doesn’t phone a lot.   I prefer e-mails and IMing, I find they can be quite warm and romantic.   It would depend on the guy though.   It would have to be someone I trust.   But I have essentially NO problem chucking the phone call criteria out of the window for the right man, because it’s not something I’m wild about.   I’ve had guys who wanted to have hour long phone calls at night, or called during the day when I was busy at work and while sweet, I just found it irritating.
    I guess we are all different, and there is a lid for every pot.

  5. 25

    WhatsGoingOn #20, no offense to your fiance (or is it husband now?), but every day on the road, I have to swerve, change lanes, brake etc to avoid being plowed into by drivers who are so busy talking on their cell phone, they can’t be bothered to pay attention to the road. That’s not dedication, that’s dangerous driving and would actually lead to getting a ticket in some cities. My pet peeve. Sorry, I had to say something.
    I’m torn on the whole texting vs calling thing. I personally prefer texting because it’s less invasive (you don’t have to drop everything and stay on the phone because the other person suddenly wanted to chat) and is also much easier on my phone bill. That said, talking on the phone does feel more personal than texting. Maybe there’s a middle ground – try to have a phone conversation a day, but maybe schedule a time for it instead of calling the other person whenever the mood strikes you. Just like we schedule dates instead of just showing on the person’s doorstep.

  6. 26

    Funny, another dating adviser just wrote about this, but he described “e-tethering”, where a man keeps a few women in his rotation using texting. A man will text a few women at once, “thinking of u”, “just wanted to say hi”, etc. He might hook up with whoever responds to the text. The adviser describes it as “activity, not action”.

  7. 27

    Im surprised that some of the women that don’t get what Evan advised. Women usually have great intuition so texting limits that power.  
    The reason I prefer to speak to a guy on the phone fairly quickly for about 10-15 minutes is that I want to get a more intuitive sense of him before committing my time to a date   I can sense his energy, his interest in me, how he thinks, his out look,his type of humor and whether I can pick up a chemistry vibe. I couldn’t do this with texting. I have many guys contacting me and Id rather stick a fork in my eye than meet with a guy who isn’t interesting.  
    When Ive hired people this initial “screening” phone contact is invaluable to me also before I decide to interview them.  
    Most all guys who have tried to mainly text are the same guys who try to invite me to their house to meet them for the FIRST time since the date plans in public somehow deteriorate. (There must be women out there who are rewarding this because its not uncommon they try this. )
    By the way an online guy who never called me 3 weeks ago, texted me last night at 1145 pm without using my name to ask if he could call me tomorrow. How impressive is that   LOL !!   

    1. 27.1

      a lot of these men are inviting women over for a first date to their place, lol.   scary….and cheap.    i’d never meet any guy at his place on a first date.   I’ve noticed this is a trend a lot with single dads….they think because they have kids they are automatically “safe”.  

  8. 28

    I haven’t commented here in ages. Probably to thew relief of many, but anyway, I always find these texting/e-mail/phone call discussions funny. Because what folks say about texting today was almost exactly what was said about e-mail less than 10-15 years ago. And go back a generation or so, and you’d find similar comments about phoning. New technologies tend to be considered “weaker forms of connections” until they’re replaced by the next, most popular thing.
    A lot of the comments here are more about personal preference than anything else. And it’s a mixed bag, which I think is accurate in a period of shifting technologies/approaches. There’s also a generational divide at play as well, although clearly differences are cutting across generations here.
    As a Gen Xer on the young end of the X age spectrum, I grew comfortable with e-mailing, and until recently, used e-mail as my main form of communicating early on in the dating process. Then I finally got a cell phone and began texting. I always have treated phone calls as part of being in a relationship context, and like Goldie above, have felt that lots of phone chatter in the beginning stages is kind of invasive. It also in a few cases proved to create a false sense of intimacy that didn’t play out in real life.
    The same can happen with texting or an e-mail, but it’s a different set of abstractions. With the phone, you get the nuance of voice, which can either give you helpful information, or fool you into believing/wanting someone. I get why some women want guys to call them and feel it’s a good tool for weeding out ones that aren’t interested/or are players. But phone calls are still riddled with abstractions. You got a person’s voice, but nothing else. Some people are better phone talks than others. (I have always found calling artificial and stunting. I’m much more myself in writing or in person.) Some folks use calling as a substitute for relationships they either don’t want, or can’t handle. Some unconsciously default to phone calls to keep an otherwise weak connection going, mistaking the fun and/or flow of phone calls for a real life connection worth pursuing. And players can create a hell of a lot of false intimacy in a short period of time through calling.
    Point being, there’s a double edge to wanting phone calls. Just as there are dangers in relying solely on texting. Or e-mailing. Or whatever. None of them are close to foolproof, and these days, it’s always a guessing game as to what someone else prefers. Seriously, if I had a dollar for every “why don’t you get a cell phone” comment I got from dates back before I got a cell phone, not because they wanted me to call them, but so we could text.

    1. 28.1

      if you live geographically close to each other….or within an acceptable travel distance for both, it’s the most prudent to just meet in person ASAP.   why drag it out…..unless you both want a virtual thing.   all communication portals are just an obstacle to meeting the first time.   people can be different on the phone than in person, too….and some guys suck women into phone sex anyhow….so nothing is sacred except meeting in person.

  9. 29
    Karmic Equation

    @Kathleen 28
    Hmmm…I’ve been lucky in that the men I’ve met have all been interesting. However, I think I need to get over being phone-averse to screen out voices I don’t like since I’m so particular about that.
    So when you decide that you and the guy aren’t a match, what do you say?
    @Ruby 27
    That’s interesting. Did the advisor consider it a problem pre-first-date, after-first-date-but-before exclusivity, or after exclusivity? I want to comment further but need more info…Thanks!

  10. 30

    I’m not of the younger crowd (41) but I lead a full, busy and enriching life. Phone call, text, email? It’s all about the same to me. Each has minor perturbations on advantages, disadvantages and limits sure. Though it sounds narcissistic perhaps, she should be glad she’s getting my communication. Sometimes I want to communicate/respond but can’t actually talk (in a meeting, on the bus, waiting for the dentist) or I want to include a link, pic or w/e, with want I want to communicate. Much like this blog frequently notes that a lot of the information contained herein is based on how things ARE not how he/we/I/you wish them TO BE, (communication) times have changed and we have to change with them. I think it’s fantastic – life is vastly more interesting, varied and capable with all these modes of communication.  

  11. 31

    @ Kathleen:
    “The reason I prefer to speak to a guy on the phone fairly quickly for about 10-15 minutes is that I want to get a more intuitive sense of him before committing my time to a date   I can sense his energy, his interest in me, how he thinks, his out look,his type of humor and whether I can pick up a chemistry vibe.”
    Wow! You get all that from a 15-minute phone conversation? Clearly my intuition is lacking. All I can sense is what his voice sounds like, whether English is his first language and whether he knows how to carry on a phone conversation (I’ve had some that sounded like job interviews). Sometimes I can also hear whether he has any children or dogs living in his house. But that’s about it.
    When I dated (my last round of dating was two years ago, plan on getting back into it sometime late 2013-early 2014), I used phone calls to screen out the scary, the creepy and the weird. If a guy didn’t say anything in a phone conversation that would scare the living crap out of me, we’d go ahead and meet face to face. Otherwise I’d tell him that it wasn’t going to work.
    Have to add, once during that time I ran into a guy that I thought I’d had mad chemistry with on the phone. We talked for an hour. First date was a flop. Turned out, the man just liked hearing the sound of his voice; there was never any phone chemistry. Just throwing it out there to show that, just because a phone conversation goes well, doesn’t mean he’s interested. There’s nothing wrong with a phone conversation in my opinion, it just doesn’t have the magic powers that I’m hearing here it supposedly has. And it is infinitely more formal & awkward than a face-to-face meeting.
    Nathan and SAL9000, good points.

    1. 31.1

      I personally have found the phone call extremely useful. I haven’t been doing it for long (but plan to keep doing it now I’ve read about the 2/2/2 rule). This is what I’ve managed to identify through phone calls, which either can’t be identified via text, or would be quite difficult:

      – If the guy is willing to actually do something that is important to me (I suggest a phone call, does he blow it off, make fun of it, or as one guy did say – oh, I’m mr spontaneous, that sounds too planned to me!.. – said a lot about him!)

      – If the guy values my time enough to be reasonably punctual in his time of calling

      – If he can have a phone conversation without getting distracted

      – If he’s off-the-cuff funny (as opposed to just planned, in-writing funny), which is very attractive & important to me

      – If he can sustain an interesting conversation (ditto)

      – If he seems socially anxious/shy (not necessarily a deal breaker, but good to know before meeting him)

      – If I like the sound of his voice (again, not a deal breaker, but nice to know)

      – If he says any clearly stalkery/paranoid things (this happened to me, and it hadn’t come up in his texts, but on the phone he clearly had some serious issues, so I’m very glad I didn’t end up meeting him)

      I also think you can sometimes get a good   (or bad) visceral/gut feeling about someone from talking to them, in a way you can’t via text.

      I think the phone call is  an awesome idea! It guarantees nothing, of course, but for the above reasons I agree with @ Kathleen that 10-15 minutes can tell you a lot!

  12. 32

    Karmic #30
    Actually you aren’t alone in your voice issue I read that a lower pitched voice is most attractive to women and the male voice matters a lot to women . ( Think Teddy Pendergrass LOL Is my age showing ??? )      Afterall hearing is part of the senses necessary for attraction along with pheromones for smell and the visual etc… Guys may not realize if they have a good voice, they loose some sensual appeal to women by texting . My ex had such an amazing voice he should have been in broadcasting.   !
      I admit I have immediately backed out of interest with   guys if they left me a voice mail with a high pitched nervous voice I didn’t like.
    If I speak on the phone and realize he’s not a match I warmly end the conversation by saying it has been great speaking.   90 % of time they know, but if they contact me again I say it was great speaking, thank them for their time, but I didn’t feel any spark between us.  
    All my dates have also been interesting and fun but I attribute that to my screening process .  

  13. 33

    @Goldie 26 – wow, dressing my husband down whom you don’t even know for calling me as he’s driving home from work. Are you kidding me? Ever heard of BlueTooth and a handsfree device? His car does this automatically and as far as I know it’s legal in most states. Unlike texting during driving which is illegal in a lot if states and which I see all the time.

    Look, no one is telling anyone to stop texting or emailing. A good dater will be able to use all modes of communication effectively as we did. We emailed and texted during the day and talked at night in between dates. What I think is that people who cut out phone calls altogether in favor of only texting or emailing are missing out. And no mode of communication is safe if you run into a player. But then it depends on what you mean by player. All men (and probably women) are playing to some degree until they meet their match and fall in love. That’s the risk of dating.

  14. 34

    KE #30
    After first date, but before exclusivity.

  15. 35

    I agree with Evan. I’m 51, old school, and only desire to date guys within my age range. Middle aged guys grew up during the era when texting did not exist, so you had no choice but to pick up the phone and call a woman if you wanted to get to know her and date her. If I find that a guy I’m interested in getting to know better is acting like a Keyboard/Texting Romeo, especially after I have playfully indicated that I would like for him to call me, then I wouldn’t even continue to respond to him.
    Like my late mother used to say, “People can only treat you as poorly as you allow them to.” And, “I can show you better than I can tell you.”  

  16. 36

    I think it’s far too easy to over-analyse texts, there are even specialist websites dedicated to this! I’m guilty of over-thinking what write, when in reality it doesn’t matter much. I do feel though, that texting shouldn’t be the only form of communication when dating. When someone likes you, they’ll call, arrange to see you etc. It really is that simple. People over-analyse when the texts are the only crumbs they get…. In this case you have to open your eyes and go by the evidence and not make decisions based on how much you like them. I agree with what Evan says- it is wise advice and will save a lot of heartache.  

  17. 37

    Wow, a lot of generalizations about those who prefer texting.  
    My (sweet, giving, devoted, relationship-oriented) boyfriend and I have spoken on the phone exactly once: when he had an office phone installed in our house and needed to test it. Neither of us likes the phone. We happily keep in touch by text when apart.

  18. 38
    Karmic Equation

    Thanks, Kathleen.

    I had a dinner date with a man whose voice I wasn’t crazy about. But when I met him, his voice fit him, so I wasn’t as turned off as I thought I would have been. He was attractive, smart, sporty, but he tried too hard to be funny. Maybe he was trying to impress me. Maybe that’s his personality. I decided I wasn’t attracted enough to figure that out and we ended dinner on good terms, particularly as he made some jokes that allowed me to joke about not seeing him ever again because he was way too unlucky. He’s survived accidents that would have killed others. If I were standing next him and he got hit by a bus, I would too, and he’d survive and I’d be dead. Hence, I cannot date him. I took the opening he gave me with his jokes.

    Thanks, Ruby. That’s what I suspected.

    Doesn’t Evan advocate that a woman should be dating several men simultaneously until one man steps up? Or am I confusing Evan with another coach?

    If yes to the former (circulating dating), then how is a woman ACCEPTING dates with different men after-first-date-but-before-exclusivity NOT the same as a guy continuing to CONTACT multiple women until he decides he wants to be exclusive with one of them? While we women hate being one of many, it’s the reality if you’re wanting to date an alpha with options. One of the tradeoffs. So if you don’t want to be one of many, and you don’t like competing, set your sights for beta guys.

    I think the advisor you quoted is catering to women’s antipathy of competing for a man. We feel insulted that we’re not a man’s first choice once he dates us and we’ve decided we like him. A woman needs to get over that antipathy if she wants to be successful in online dating.

    It’s really NOT hard to do. *YOU* have JUST AS MANY options to date other men as he has to date other women. Try circular dating. If you’re dating several men…or like me scheduling out first dates with interesting men two weeks ahead…you won’t get caught up with who’s calling you or not.

    And just to be clear, I’m not saying have sex with any of these men prior to exclusivity. Just DATE them…and round the bases like Evan advises. It’s ok to round the bases with more than one man, but probably not in the same room…unless you’re into that sort of thing.

    So back to texting…
    I agree with Louisa that we women tend to over analyze our interactions with men…And we’re much more prone to do so once we have a chosen one on our minds. If you distract yourself by circular dating multiple men, you’re not going to get caught up with whether this one is calling you enough. Don’t CHOOSE a man until he declares himself. Treat yourself like the sought after free agent you are and don’t choose a man until you get the contract (i.e., relationship) you want with the team (i.e., man) you want. When you’re circular dating you need to remember to only circular date men you like and are attracted to. Don’t date someone you don’t like just to have someone to date. That doesn’t help you in the least.

    Circular dating is really fun when you act like a free agent. And it totally messes with men’s minds when you have too much going on to respond or text him daily. They’re not used to that from women.

  19. 39

    KE #39
    I think that adviser’s point was that texting was used as a substitute for trying to build an actual relationship with any one woman, as a way of stringing a woman along when the man isn’t really interested, and even after sex. I’ve seen men who were more beta than alpha do this too, so it’s not strictly a competitive alpha thing. Personally, I’m usually dating more than one man until we talk about being exclusive, but I also don’t date anyone if I don’t see any relationship potential there.

  20. 40

    Well said!   Wish I’d had this exact verbatim for my last boyfriend… he traveled Mon-Thur every week for his job yet all I ever got were texts.   In 5 months we never talked on the phone ONCE.   This would have saved me some grief.

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