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

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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. 21
    AJ

    Evan your response is SO SPOT ON. What we women have to remember is that men will generelly say stuff like this when they really are not interested. I am not sure why. Maybe to see if they can get you on the cheap?????? However, actions speaks louder than words and this guy’s actions couldn’t get any louder.

  2. 22
    AJ

    Evan your response is SO SPOT ON. What we women have to remember is that men will generelly say stuff like this when they really are not interested. I am not sure why. Maybe to see if they can get you on the cheap?????? However, actions speak louder than words and this guy’s actions couldn’t get any louder

  3. 23
    Barb

    It’s clear he’s not interested (enough). No man would forget he was going to see you! After such a blatant sign of disinterest, you responded very forgiving and nice. You gave him the message that you can be treated that way. And now he did it again. He covered up his disinterest by telling you a story “that he thought you weren’t interested in him”. Why did he do that? Because from the previous experience with you he thought you would fall for it and be nice and forgiving. Why did he contact you again? In my opinion to have someone on the back burner until the real deal comes around. He’s probably not a bad guy but he’s not interested enough in you. If you start being puzzled by a man’s words, it usually means he’s not showing the actions that come with a man that’s truly interested in you. Please take note of that. The right response, loose interest. We’re not going to be the one for everyone, not even Angelina Jolie. Don’t believe that the chase has to be mutual. Some men think that is true until they meet a woman they truly fall in love with and no effort will be too big. Why settle for less than a man who’s truly crazy about you?

  4. 24
    casualencounters.com/blog

    True. You usually need a decent sample size before you decide that anything is bad advice. Unless a reasonable consequence of taking the advice in question is auto-deleterious. In which case change tack after the first near miss.
    .-= casualencounters.com/blog’s last blog ….PlentyOfFish review =-.

  5. 25
    BeenThruTheWars

    When a man is interested, HE does the pursuing. When he’s not, he doesn’t. This guy didn’t. Next!

    When a man finds “the one,” he doesn’t care if “doing all the work is archaic” or not. He doesn’t think about “rules.” He isn’t interested in games. He just knows he wants to be with that woman and will work as hard as he needs to to get her for himself. It’s in a masculine man’s nature. A guy who is “lazy” with one woman will be all over another one because her, he wants! I’ve seen it over and over.

    My husband let the girls and women he dated do most of the chasing — then ran away when they got too interested. Then he met me. Like Evan’s wife, I never initiated contact once during our 6-month courtship leading up to our engagement, except to break our second date because I was sick. Think that deterred him? Ha. He said, “Sorry you’re feeling under the weather, what about next Saturday night?” without taking a breath. I never contacted him because I didn’t have to. I always knew where I stood with him because he told me, and showed me. He never once asked an idiot question like, “How come you don’t call me?” He called me and had no expectations of it being reciprocal. To paraphrase author Greg Behrendt, “This is what it looks like” when a man is truly interested. Anything else is just conversation.

  6. 26
    Lulubell

    Quite an interesting topic! This guy just wasn’t interested enough, and she let him off the hook too easily for standing her up! But…usually I agree completely with Evan, and here I just don’t see how it would be realistic for me to be with a man and NEVER initiate a call for over a year. When I first read Evan’s original post about “mirroring,” I thought he meant that once a man was calling regularly, that it would be reasonable to do the same thing. (To mirror that action.) That’s what friends do, right? Don’t we also want to be friends with a romantic partner? And… I think this is important, I only call for a reason, with something specific to talk about, or maybe an invitation, which is how I treat my girlfriends. I believe in fair play, so I WILL get concert or theater tickets, and I confirm details before making the purchase, so I will pick up the phone and make the call. I want a man to pursue me, for sure, but I don’t want to take advantage of him, and if he’s treating me well, then I will do the same. Doesn’t that just make for a balanced partnership where both people feel appreciated and respected? That’s what I want. Actually, I won’t accept less.

  7. 27
    Jennifer

    I think this statement from Barb #23 has a lot of truth in it:
    …until they meet a woman they truly fall in love with and no effort will be too big.

    People tend to have lots of theories about what they would or wouldn’t do in various situations, but when you meet the right person (or at least what you believe is the right person) people tend to get quite surprised at how many of their rules get thrown out of the window.

  8. 28
    downtowngal

    This guy sounds like an immature game-playing jerk. Move on!

    This isn’t the first time Evan’s given the same advice to women. A guy who’s into you would never not call then break up with you via txt by claiming it’s your fault. What a d-bag.

  9. 29
    JuJu

    I am sorry, but is this the emperor’s new clothes? :-

  10. 30
    Sam

    I’ve got a question for Evan & anyone else who wants to answer, does mirroring work for men?

    I contact girls online and often the response I get had a whole lot less effort put into it than my email to her had. If her response to me is a fifth as long as my response to her, should I write her a short email too or just give up? If she takes five days to write back to me, should I take five days to write back to her or not give up entirely?

    1. 30.1
      France Fradet

      Try to meet up in person with as many people as possible. A person may not be great with words but great in the flesh, or a wonderful wordsmith, but no chemistry. I think emails should be to arrange to meet up.

      Here in France there are a few exchanges, then coffee, all within a few days or weeks. None of this interminable messaging and emails. If a woman is hesitant to meet up, move on.

      You want to meet an open-minded adventurous woman who sees you as a real person, not a list of ticked boxes.

      Also, be spontaneous. She may have taken five days to write back because she was dating someone else and it fizzled out. Or she was excited about emailing another man and he disappeared. Write back when YOU feel like writing back. Don’t take anything personally: think HARD about when you’ve been less than noble: you feel a lot less hurt then! ;D

      1. 30.1.1
        Karl R

        France Fradet said:

        “Try to meet up in person with as many people as possible. A person may not be great with words but great in the flesh, or a wonderful wordsmith, but no chemistry.”

         

        If the person is not great with words, do you really want to marry them, regardless of how great they are in the flesh?   I’m married.   I can assure you that married people spend a lot more time conversing than they do having sex.

        When I was dating, I weeded out the women where I felt no chemistry.   I also weeded out the women where we had nothing to talk about.   Since I  was  going to dump a person for either  reason, why should it be so important that I meet up with them before learning whether they could converse (instead of meeting them afterward)?

         

        France Fradet said:

        “You want to meet an open-minded adventurous woman who sees you as a real person, not a list of ticked boxes.”

         

        That reminds me of a woman that I met at a bar.   She was very attractive.   She seemed sweet.   I got  her name and number.   I asked her out.

        On our first date, I quickly learned that she could/would only talk about two things:

        1. How wonderful I am.

        2. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

        She was the most attractive woman that I ever dated, and I dumped her after the first date.   I would have preferred to dump her during the first date, but I didn’t want to be rude.

        In some ways, the date was educational.   I learned that I actually do tire of hearing someone tell me how terrific I am. It becomes boring surprisingly  quickly, in fact.

        I had a more enjoyable time on the first date with the morbidly obese woman.   Zero chemistry, but least I got a moderately entertaining conversation out of that date.

         

        You can jump right into first dates instead of getting to know the person first.   That will tend to increase the number of bad first dates you have.   On the other hand, the worst dates frequently end up becoming the best stories later on … so there is a plus side.

  11. 31
    Ruby

    “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.”

    Again, give the man a chance to do what he says he’s going to do. This is something I have struggled with, because I’m a proactive person and it’s hard for me not to push or sit back and wait sometimes. But I’ve learned that the more effort I have to make, the less likely it is that the relationship will succeed. Men, like the ones on this blog, always say that want a woman to be aggressive, but when we are, it doesn’t work. Men who are interested show it.

    EMK, wow, your wife-to-be showed tremendous restraint while you were dating, to never have initiated one call over all that time! Either that, or you must have constantly stepped up and never missed a beat!

    1. 31.1
      France Fradet

      Aggressive at demanding respect, and in bed, and about her values and protecting what’s important to her. But not aggressive in courting! That’s being a man.

  12. 32
    FrogPrincess

    Been Through the Wars (25) is so spot on! I love the example and it’s SO true.

    Guys say all kinds of things. They have all kinds of “rules” and requirements, but the minute they meet a girl they really, really, REALLY want, it’s all out the window.

    My dad never really talked about the women he dated before my mother, but he did say that he would ONLY date tall, blond women. Every woman he met he judged by an impossible set of requirements that fit his fantasy of the perfect woman. Then he met my mother and he was a goner. My mother is 4’11” and dark, but my dad is as crazy about her 37 years later as he was the day he met her. Maybe more so.

    Ok, it’s not the same as mirroring, but I also know SHE DIDN’T CALL HIM!!! He did all the persuing. Granted that was another age, but men haven’t really changed all that much. At the end of the day, if a man truly likes a woman, he will do just about ANYTHING to be with her. He will call her, he will set up dates as soon as he can, he will persue her like mad and she doesn’t need to do anything. A few thousand years of evolution really hasn’t changed the male instinct for hunting or the female desire for persuit. That’s just the way we roll.

    The key, as a modern woman, is to remember that and not drive yourself up the wall trying to figure out how to get some guy to like you and commit to you. If he’s the right guy, you won’t have to.
    .-= FrogPrincess’s last blog ….Day of the D-Bags =-.

    1. 32.1
      France Fradet

      Literally, men GIVE of themselves and we RECEIVE. You just have to look at our bodies: they’re a perfect fit, but it’s the man who penetrates US, and not the other way round. This is a basic fact of life. Wise women have known this for millennia.

      There’s a French saying: l’homme propose, la femme dispose. The man shows interest, the woman decides if she’s interested. If you stick to this rule you won’t be disappointed. Men are the rulers of the planet ladies, sad but true. A man who is interested and knows you are too, will be very determined indeed, and LOVE you fighting him off in the beginning.

  13. 33
    BobGuy

    I agree with the guys. I’m a very busy man (a physician), and interested in several women. The woman who actively expresses interest by taking the initiative will get my attention (and dates) more than the passive (or mirroring) woman.

    1. 33.1
      France Fradet

      But there’s an art to flirting and getting your attention surely? I mean, French women will NEVER EVER EVER ask a man out, but will make it clear through flirting that they’re open to suggestions…

  14. 34
    Jennifer

    I tend to think that men that are more interested in getting laid than anything else like it when women are aggressive.

    I’ve observed that men that are interested in getting to know women to see if there is a possible fit for a relationship prefer women to be receptive (as in obviously receptive to their advances, not coy to the point of madness) and assertive when appropriate (as in when going along with plans or something she doesn’t like would cause her to show resentment towards him later, just saying no at the outset).

    No one wants to feel that their advances are unwanted or like they are bothering someone and at the same time, no one wants to feel like you always beat them to the punch.

    I agree with Evan that women should let him take the lead with making plans and contact in the beginning, and I agree with Seductress that when he does, women should let him know that she is happy that he did! (if that is indeed the case)

    Acting totally reserved and uninterested until some imaginary milestone has been reached just means that at some point in the future, she’s going to start acting like a whole different person. And who likes that?

    In the OP’s case, I think the guy pulled quite a punk move but if she felt compelled to respond she could’ve said ‘oh really, i just figured you were busy. how’s your week been?’ throwing the ball back in his court and seeing what he does. If he doesn’t play, he just doesn’t play. But if I were her I think i would’ve just taken my ball and gone home.

  15. 35
    Diana

    I think my response would have been different. When the guy didn’t call later that evening as he said he would, I would not have left him a message. While he voluntarily called on his way home from his friend’s house, she doesn’t mention that he apologized and explained his forgetfulness until after he responded to her message. At the least, he should have shared this during that first call heading home. I think he would not have even called her a second time, if not for her message the next day.

    Putting curiosity aside, his actions: the forgotten date, lagging phone contact, and no desire to reschedule showed that the date meant little to him, so why bother asking what happened. Who cares. He didn’t deserve her further attention.

    I am glad she didn’t continue to call him. This would have left no doubt in his mind that his earlier behavior was acceptable. Perhaps it was his ego that made him feel that she should be willing to chase him. I wonder about this because of how she commented that she opened up to someone she might not would have in the past. Whatever his thinking, it sounds like a “tit for tat” approach or someone intentionally playing games and that’s juvenile.

    Evan is right about tweaking our experiences, of course, rather than throwing out the basic principle. And while it’s frustrating and perplexing as always, we DO learn, even when “there’s nothing to learn.” 😉 Good luck.

  16. 36
    Mr_Right

    I think a interesting topic for discussion would be when advice conflicts. For example, Evan says to women, let men make the first move, and mirror their interest. While I have seen other dating advice coaches (for men) say to let women make the first move because it shows that they’re interested, and you only want to date the women who ARE interested.

    You know, it might delve down into the level of control and choice. If we have someone who is really interested in us, we have the control in the relationship, and we have the choice whether to keep the relationship going or not. I would think that both men and women want that in their relationship, that control and the choice.

    Can anybody also suggest any other situations where you would get conflicting advice? Perhaps on how soon you should call after a first date, or if you should call at all after a first date or leave it to the other person. Evan, do you have any clients who come to you with conflicting advice given by other people that would go against what you’re saying?

    Heck, sometimes you should just throw the rules of dating out the window and just go for it. :p

  17. 37
    A-L

    As far as the OP goes, everyone’s pretty spot on that the guy was a complete tool and that she’s well rid of him.

    But as far as the issue of mirroring goes, it’s generally worked for me. But I don’t take it to the extremes that some do (18 months without calling you!!!). For instance, if we’ve already had 2-3 dates and I see an e-mail about an interesting event, I might forward it on to see if he’d like to go.

    It may also be a regional thing. Down in the south there are a lot of guys who expect to do the pursuing and find it disturbing if that’s not the case. And almost invariably they will NOT allow a woman to pay. I’m thinking maybe about 5-10% of the guys have let me pick up any kind of meal (and some of those guys only let me pay for after-dinner ice cream). Perhaps in more “modern” places that’s not that case, and guys are more willing to be pursued. But I doubt it. I think if they were really into you, they’d be doing all of the chasing.

  18. 38
    FrogPrincess

    I agree with Jennifer’s comment: “I tend to think that men that are more interested in getting laid than anything else like it when women are aggressive. I’ve observed that men that are interested in getting to know women to see if there is a possible fit for a relationship prefer women to be receptive…”

    That’s definitely been my experience. Men that haven’t a) taken the time to get to know me and b) have wanted me to be the agressor (make all the plans, contact them first, etc) have been interested in only one thing: an easy lay. When they didn’t get it, they moved on very quickly. Those who have persued me and have been interested in actually getting to know me as a person, seemed to be more interested in a relationship, even if ultimately it wasn’t me they wanted for that relationship.

    My girl friends who are very out there and agressive, making the first move and calling and what not get loads of guys. And I mean LOADS of guys. Unfortunately those guys are only interested in sex, nothing else, and often treat my friends with little or no respect. My friends that allow men to persue them (and trust me, these women are not “passive” in any way, as some guys on this site are labelling women who mirror) tend to attract men who are serious about wanting a real relationship. Using lack of time as an excuse is a total cop-out. If you really want something, you make time.
    .-= FrogPrincess’s last blog ….Day of the D-Bags =-.

  19. 39
    zann

    I think the key point here is to reasonably apply the principle. There are always going to be exceptions to any rule or situation, but overall the mirroring concept is one that works for me. I’ve proven to myself over & over again (I can be very dense sometimes) that if I pursue instead of mirroring his behavior, that’s the pattern that will continue and will be what’s required to keep the relationship — lame as it may be — alive. Relationships that have been successful for me have been the result of the guy being proactive from the start. Call it archaic, call it passive, call it whatever you want, but I’m sticking with what works. Oh yea, Key Point: that DOESN’T mean I act coy or disinterested when he pursues. I express clearly that I’m glad to hear from him, I listen to what he says & give feedback, and I don’t pick apart every suggestion he makes. I show interest & tell him I appreciate his efforts. That isn’t game playing or even a “rule,” it’s a method for successfully getting the type of relationship I want, not to mention just plain common courtesy.

    Alisa, I’ve met this same guy under various names, over & over…the one who forgets dates and who basically just doesn’t do what he says he’s gonna do. My women friends and my daughter have met him, too. He defends his behavior by spinning it out like it’s somehow your fault — not calling him, playing hard to get, blah blah blah. It’s manipulation, designed to put you on the defensive & get the focus off his lazy, lousy behavior. Run in the opposite direction of this dude and don’t look back. We all deserve better.

  20. 40
    AJ

    Dr. Bobguy. You really have not met anyone that you are head over heels about. When you do, you will change.

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