I Tried Your Advice on Mirroring, Evan, and It Didn’t Work. What Am I Missing Here?

Hi Evan, First I wanted to say that I am really enjoying Finding the One Online. I am very glad I invested in it and I look forward to applying what I have learned going forward. Please forgive the bad paraphrasing, but you have said that women need to stop analyzing a guy’s behavior because men reveal themselves in their actions. I agree with you and recently have made every effort to apply this to my life. Recently, (applying more of your lessons) I “opened up” to a guy on Match that I might not have in the past. The first week we started seeing each other, everything he did demonstrated his interest (i.e. he called every day, he asked me out, etc.) But, after a week or so we hit a rough spot.

For example, he “forgot” that we had plans one evening and went to a friend’s house instead. He called on his way home from the friend’s house but didn’t call back that evening when he said he would. So, I called him and left a message. I heard back from him the next day. I casually asked what had happened to our date the night before. He apologized profusely telling me he forgot. I told him it was fine and that we could get together another time. He called the next day, but didn’t ask me out for the upcoming weekend.

Then, I heard nothing from him for 5 days. After several days went by I assumed he met someone else and was no longer interested. Then he sent a text saying that things “must be over for us because when I don’t call, I don’t hear from you.” To say I was perplexed is an understatement.

If this was the first time this had happened to me I would have thought it was the individual, but even my daughter has said she has had this same problem with guys. We have both experienced a guy’s chiding for not actively pursuing them. I’m talking about the first few weeks of getting to know each other, not an established relationship. Why would a guy conclude that a woman is not interested if they haven’t taken the time to call for days or asked us out?

What gives here? I thought I was applying what you had taught us, that guys reveal themselves in their actions and our job is to “mirror” their effort. So, when I don’t hear from a guy for a week I don’t think I need to call and find out why he isn’t calling. Instead, I assume he is no longer interested. Did someone change the courtship rules while I wasn’t looking? Or, am I incorrectly applying what you have taught?

Alisa

Why would a guy conclude that a woman is not interested if they haven’t taken the time to call for days or asked us out? What gives here?

Dear Alisa,

Let’s say you wanted to lose 10lbs. You’ve read every diet book and every woman’s magazine under the sun and conclude that the simplest way to go about this would be to: eat smaller portions, eat healthier foods, and get to the gym three times a week for cardio. You do exactly that. For one month, you’re a dieting machine (with the occasional dark chocolate and red wine indulgence, of course.) To measure your progress, you get on the scale. You weigh the exact same thing that you did four weeks ago. Does this mean that you SHOULDN’T eat smaller, healthier portions and hit the treadmill regularly? Of course not. It might mean that there’s something else you can tweak, but the basic principles of dieting remain true, regardless of their results.

Mirroring a man’s efforts isn’t nearly as scientific as dieting, of course, but I think it’s pretty hard to contradict this principle:

Men do what they want to do. If he wants to call you, he’ll call. If he wants to see you, he will…

Men do what they want to do.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again.

But if he wants to call you, he’ll call you.

If he wants to see you, he’ll see you.

If he wants to commit to you, he’ll commit to you.

And if he doesn’t do all of those things, he’s not really a suitable boyfriend, now, is he?

Your observation that men are chiding you for not chasing him down is a valid one. I’ve heard it from other women before and will admit to being perplexed by it. All I can suggest is that these men who need YOU to call THEM are pretty much like women themselves.

Just look at his reaction: a text to tell you that he doesn’t hear from you enough, so it must be over. Hate to say this, but it sounds like a woman to me. I dated my wife for a year and a half before proposing and I don’t think she initiated contact with me once in that time. It’s not because she was playing games. It’s because she knew that if I wanted to talk to her, I’d call her.

Most women don’t have the fortitude to really trust that a guy WILL make the effort for them, so you try to manipulate it subtly: ”

“Hey, I’ve got tickets to the Dodgers on Sunday. Wanna go?”

“Haven’t heard from you in awhile. Is everything okay at work?”

The cold, hard truth is that you shouldn’t HAVE to do anything to remind him that you exist.

The cold, hard truth is that you shouldn’t HAVE to do anything to remind him that you exist. He knows you exist. And if he’s not making every effort for you, there’s really not much to interpret. Sure, you can go back to pursuing feminine men who are apparently too busy/lazy/afraid to say things like “So, what are you doing Saturday?” But where would that leave you?

Powerless.

Because you don’t know if he’s going out with you because he WANTS you or because he’s just filling time. When you don’t do anything, you very quickly figure out where you stand with a guy. Of course, nothing I write is foolproof, Alisa; there are exceptions to every rule. Only you can decide when to apply the rules and when to waive them.

But make no mistake: when we’re hungry, we eat. When we’re tired, we sleep. When we’re interested, we call. It ain’t that complex. And if this passive guy is making excuses and claiming to be hurt that you didn’t pursue him, well boo-hoo-hoo for him. He’ll find a woman that’s more man than he is, and you’ll be free to find a man who actually knows that it’s his role to pursue you. Keep doing what you’re doing, darlin’. Just because it didn’t work with this man doesn’t mean it’s bad advice.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Peggy

    Ouch Evan. you use the term feminine (in guys) like it’s an insult associating the term with lazy/afraid. There was one post i really liked of yours – Marlboro Man vs Sensitive Artist (or something like that). Wouldn’t this be a case of that? If you want the sensitivity, the understanding, the catering to everything a woman wants type, the flip side is he will probably be less brash, cocky, and forward. If she likes this guy enough to work with him and readjust her tactics, ok. If she doesn’t, then your one-size fits-all approach won’t likely work with this champ and that’s ok. She can find someone else who does if that’s what she wants. That’s all 🙂

    1. 1.1
      Me

      Im thankful for Evan. I want a Man not a boy or “feminine” man as was the implication.

  2. 2
    Steve

    Alisa;
    Your email is actually a validation of Evan’s advice.

    Your email just illustrates a case of a guy who is not interested acting like he is not interested.

    People ( men AND women ) say all sorts of things they don’t mean in the dating arena. They are playing games, they are unsure of what they want, etc.. What matters is what they do.

  3. 3
    Kristyn

    I don’t think I’ve told you, Evan, but I seriously love your advice. Witty, fun, and spot on! I think this is going to be one of my favorites, one I’ll come back to and read to remind myself that I can let him be the one to contact me and not vice versa.

  4. 4
    Seductress

    “I casually asked what had happened to our date the night before. He apologized profusely telling me he forgot.”

    I doubt he forgot….if he did, wow, I can’t imagine he was very excited about this woman, to forget his date with her, come on.

    “I told him it was fine and that we could get together another time. He called the next day, but didn’t ask me out for the upcoming weekend.”

    Not asking her out again further supports that he didn’t really forget the other date. If he is truly interested in her, he would have been mortified about standing her up and in a hurry to make it up to her.

    “I heard nothing from him for 5 days….he sent a text saying that things must be over for us because when I don’t call, I don’t hear from you.”

    Game player, now he wants to blame her because she’s not pursuing him enough?

    The OP shouldn’t second guess herself. This is not a case of mirroring gone bad, this is a case of the wrong guy on so many levels.

    1. 4.1
      Ri

      So accurate!

  5. 5
    Karl R

    Provided that Alisa was responding to any one-way communications (e-mails, texts, voice mails), then the man didn’t have any reason to stop contacting her.

    However, if a woman fails to respond to two consecutive one-way communications (early in the relationship), then I take it as a strong hint that she’s not interested.

    Evan said:
    “I dated my wife for a year and a half before proposing and I don’t think she initiated contact with me once in that time. It’s […] It’s because she knew that if I wanted to talk to her, I’d call her.”

    I don’t believe mirroring has to go quite that far. As long as a guy is initiating calls at least half the time, I’d say that the woman is “mirroring” his behavior, not pursuing.

    That said, in Alisa’s case I would say it was definitely the man’s responsibility to make the effort after “forgetting” a date.

  6. 6
    Mikko Kemppe - Relationship Coach

    I agree with Evan’s advice here that it is best for women to stay receptive to men pursuing and for Alisa to be careful not to pursue him more than he is pursuing her.

    And I think Seductress has got it spot on, I agree this being the wrong guy in many levels. Very insightful answer!
    .-= Mikko Kemppe – Relationship Coach’s last blog ….Mikko, How Do I Know Where I Stand With This Girl? =-.

  7. 7
    Steve

    Peggy Aug 6th 2009 at 06:27
    Ouch Evan. you use the term feminine (in guys) like it’s an insult associating the term with lazy/afraid

    I was raised on the Marlo Thomas “Free To Be You And Me” crap when I was a kid. I became a lot happier( and better with women) when I started looking at what people actually do and what actually works with them.

  8. 8
    Honey

    How how do you “mirror” a text like that?

    🙂 Love the new layout! Much easier and cleaner.
    .-= Honey’s last blog ….Seducing A Sagittarius Is A Big Pain In My Ass =-.

    1. 8.1
      Cynthia

      You don’t.

      The ball was in his court and it was up to him to make it up to her for “forgetting” that he stood her up.   His last text was meant to trick her into doing all the work / pursue him.

      Next!

  9. 9
    Joe

    You weigh the exact same thing that you did four weeks ago. Does this mean that you SHOULDN’T eat smaller, healthier portions and hit the treadmill regularly?
    No, it means you’ve lost fat and gained muscle tissue. :-p

  10. 10
    Aguy

    you’ll be free to find a man who actually knows that it’s his role to pursue you.

    COME ON! Absolutely archaic thinking, if I have to do ALL the contacting, planning and paying and the woman don’t do anything then dating her becomes WORK. I prefer dating to be pleasure for both parties.

    Further, if she don’t do anything about contacting me, or subtly suggesting a date. I’ll extrapolate how her don’t do anything attitude will play out in other areas life ie: in being planning a vacation she probably don’t do anything, in bed she probably don’t do anything.

    Those first several contacts and dates are crucial, I only have a few e-mails, calls and dates to figure out whether to stay involved or move on, so everything she does is really looked at.

    If I’m dating a couple women and really prefer to date only one, all things being equal, the one who expresses some interest in me will get my interest in return.

  11. 11
    WithLove

    Wow, this is an interesting topic. I totally agree with Seductress. This is definitely a “game player”. Ambivolent man syndrome. It’s interesting on askmen.com they talk about quite the opposite in some of their advice columns. They are trying to turn the tables and do exactly what this “guy” was doing to Alisa. Well, come on aren’t ya gonna chase me??? Well, what is going to happen if both sexes start to play this game? If Masculine or feminine energy men do this as well as women with masculine or feminine energy we are going to have alot of stuck single people out there. With mirroring who starts the pace or becomes the lead sort to speak? Again, I guess depending on your choice of Masculine or Feminine energy. Alisa, let this one go….on to the next one…wish you the best my dear! Hang in there it’s gonna be a bumpy ride….but like Evan, you can and will find your love, never give up Hope! =D

  12. 12
    Lance

    If he misses a date entirely, he’s a d-bag. Even the most playerish of players won’t commit that foul. At least I wouldn’t.

    I understand Aguy’s frustration in #9 above. The first couple of dates are always volatile and it takes a lot of energy to constantly be the chaser. I understand it’s my role and I relish it, but it’s also nice to be appreciated and get an honest effort in return. My chief complaint about women in early dating phases is that they don’t do anything to advance the connection…they simply wait around for things to happen. They wait for you to make that spark happen. They’re takers. And if nothing happens, they say they either didn’t have chemistry or the guy was a player.

    Eventually, you run out of energy, and as Aguy stated, if I’m dating a couple of chicks at once, I’ll choose the one putting in the same energy as I am.

    My perspective is that the early dating phase is a mutual seduction. You both make moves together. She has to realize that she’s negotiating to get him also.
    .-= Lance’s last blog ….Seducing A Sagittarius Is A Big Pain In My Ass =-.

  13. 13
    Ruby

    I am with #5 Seductress on this one. A guy who’s truly interested doesn’t “forget” a date. (I wonder who the “friend” was). Why tell a man that is acceptable behavior? I’m all for playing it a bit cool in the beginning, but I would have expressed some hesitancy about seeing this man again. I would have – coolly, not angrily – called him on it. And then, 5 days later, he has the nerve to blame the LW for not calling HIM via text message, when he didn’t even attempt to reschedule right away? Doesn’t sound like a man who is very interested in getting a budding relationship off the ground. Just because a man says you should call or pursue doesn’t mean you should listen. He is either lazy or the dreaded “he’s just not that into you”. This isn’t about mirroring, it’s about not accepting inconsiderate behavior.

  14. 14
    Ruby

    #9 Aguy

    The LW DID return the man’s calls. She was ready and willing to go out with him again. He stood her up – it is up to him to reschedule the date. We are talking about common courtesy here.

  15. 15
    JuJu

    Not calling a guy for a year and a half is more than a bit excessive… Not to mention, passive as hell. Sometimes I want to talk when it’s convenient for me, when it generally works for me, and not wait around until the guy deigns to call. Besides, occasionally stuff happens that I might want to discuss immediately. If we’ve been dating a while, obviously we are close.

    As for this letter, I am also inclined to think that the getting offended by her not calling him was an act, an excuse he made up for his own behavior (perhaps because otherwise it’s just way too weird). Everything she describes points to him having met someone else.

  16. 16
    JuJu

    Btw, I am sure what’s additionally ticking this woman off is that this was the kind of guy to whom she, admittedly, wouldn’t normally give the time of day.

  17. 17
    Seductress

    I believe women should pursue but in a different way.

    If she is sincerely interested in the man, she needs to give him all the green lights IN PERSON, show she’s happy to hear from him when he calls, give positive body language, eye contact, flirting, showing genuine appreciation for the date he’s taken her on, compliment him, tell him straight out how much she enjoys her time together and when he suggests getting together in the future tell him how much she’d like and look forward to that.

    That isn’t ‘doin’ nothin’ as AGUY #9 suggests.
    It’s leaving the active pursuit to the man as Evan suggests and the sublte pursuit to the woman.

    If a man really likes a woman and he feels like he’s winning, appreciated, desired when he’s with her on the phone or in person, he won’t whine and say “why don’t you ever call me first…..”

    1. 17.1
      Suzanne

      Exactly, it’s about receptive interest, showing you like a guy and appreciating his efforts but letting him pursue.

    2. 17.2
      Kate

      100% agree.

  18. 18
    vino

    Hmmm. Time for some cold analysis.

    I think the guy in OP’s letter immediately relegated her to bullpen status for whatever reason. It sounds like he had other options he’d prefer to focus on, but trying to keep the OP warming up in the bullpen if necessary.

    Bad baseball analogy, but it does work.

    And I’ll second (or is that third?) AGUY #9 and Lance #16. Everyone should read those posts, then re-read them.

  19. 19
    starthrower68

    To Aguy #9,

    I think you’re missing the point; a woman wants to be courted and pursued. She wants to be “won”. Now, I could see when the relationship has gone on a while and both people feel comfortable with more initiation on her part, then that’s one thing. But while a man is deciding what his intentions are in regards to a woman, he should be doing the initiating at first. If that’s “work” for you, then how truly interested are you in a woman to begin with?

  20. 20
    starthrower68

    Lance,

    We are just damned if we do and damned if we don’t, aren’t we?

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