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. 61
    downtowngal

    Adding to Selena’s comment, I also think that there is more vested after you meet someone. If a guy’s interested AFTER meeting you, he should follow up promptly.

    Before you get to that point, I think there’s not as much you can expect, just go with your gut.

  2. 62
    Jennifer

    I think the beauty of it all is that people with similar preferences find each other- those who prefer faster responses end up selecting those who prefer to wait out and vice versa. So it all works out in the end.

  3. 63
    AJ

    Jennifer,
    If it were that simple we would all be hooked up, Lol Actually complements work better when it comes to relatioships.

  4. 64
    Jennifer

    @AJ I know what you mean and I agree! But I’m saying that if I like a quick response guy, and I meet guy that takes a week to call me back, i’ll no longer be interested in him. Then I won’t have to struggle with him taking longer than I prefer to do things and he won’t have to deal with always feeling rushed by me, cause we won’t be dating!

    The only catch is figuring out your preferences and sticking to them…I think that’s where people (myself included, in the past anyway) make things difficult for ourselves.

  5. 65
    AJ

    Jennifer,
    I think the difficulty comes for many women with over-analyzing and investing too much feeling and emotion so early in the dating process. We tend to “fall” for guys after a few conversations and maybe one date. You cannot tell from a response time online how someone operates in their life necessarily. Case in point, I am not a fast responder online, yet I do everything else really fast ie.. walk, talk, think…etc. My friends call me speedy. I really believe that we all have to take our time, don’t get caught up and invest feeling too early, and do not make assumptions.

  6. 66
    FEsperanza

    Hi! I’m a little late to the discussion, but I’ve been using the mirroring technique with the guy I’m currently dating. We don’t have any major drama, but I noticed that he started to pull back some and become a little distant after a whirlwind, intense  one-month courtship. He went from emailing and texting every morning, IMing throughout the day  and us hanging out every weekend, to not being online and contacting me sporadically and limited contact.

    I figured he must be freaking out that he’s losing his freedom and needed some space. I was freaking out inside, but I kept it in and just mirrored his actions. I didn’t initiate any contact or ask him what was going on. Finally, after five days he texted me to ask if I was distancing myself from him! I was shocked that he put  our lack of contact  on me!

    Instead of reacting negatively, I just said responded a few hours later saying “Hey! Sorry I just got your text! How are you?” I didn’t even acknowledge his question. Now he’s contacting me on a more regular basis and he’s always online. I think by saying “Must be over” Alisa’s guy was trying to re-establish contact, but did so in a whiny and emotional way.

    Ordinarily, I would have freaked out and caved in after a day or so, but I held my ground and typed up what I wanted to say, but I didn’t send it. I waiting patiently, but anxiously for him to come back around and he did. We have a good thing going, so I also took that into consideration. I’m going to keep using this mirroring concept while using my common sense. Sometimes men need ego boosts and the periodic short and sweet or maybe racy  text can do that. I just won’t do it so that he’ll come to expect it.

  7. 67
    Londongirl

    Ah, such a timely blog Evan! I’ve had 3 good (really good) dates with a guy, but he hasn’t been in touch for 4 days. When we first started dating I stuck to the mirroring concept (even though it was killing me ha ha) and he always followed up, always text first, asked me out again. Now, we seem to have stalled. I haven’t been in touch with him since his last text – and I have always replied to his texts promptly, always showed appreciation. He might get in touch again, he might not. But I’m sticking to my guns because being the pursuer has NEVER worked for me in the past. It’s a rough ride, but I’m going to trust that if it’s right, and if he’s into me – well, he’ll be in touch. If not, then I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off and get right back out there. I’m learning so much from Evan’s blogs – to be honest, even getting to 3 dates is progress for me, so I know what I’m doing is working 🙂

  8. 68
    enlightened

      
    To the men saying that its work you sound like you want the best of both words. But trust me when one of those girls stop showing interest or you meet someone who you want you will do anything to make her know you exist. Men like to pursue and women like to be chased just like Evan says. When a girl chases the guy he feels like it’s no challenge at all and give up cause he really didn’t winner her over. It like for instance you want to well at work so you dress nicely, you try to impress you boss and you work hard an receive a reward for your hard work. You feel so much better than if it was handed to you. Here is a true story that proves my point. One of my close friends at high school she had a huge crush on one of the most pursued guys. She wanted him to notice her so she went out of her way to chase him. She eventually gave up as she felt he was never going to chase back so she stopped contacting and pursuing him. Months later mutual friends started asking her why she stopped and suddenly he always turned up at events she was present. Even while dating a significant other he went out his way do you know why cause all of sudden the girl who always made the effort wasn’t making effort anymore and he was the one who wanted her to know he is alive. Truth is sometime people don’t know what they have until it gone it may take them days; weeks, month or years before they realise they want you and miss you in their life. If they want you they make it known no matter how many people they have throwing themselves at them because they want you.
      

  9. 69
    Lilly

    Hey, does mirroring include ‘actions’? So this guy has made me dinner twice and weve dated for a month. He wants to meet over the weekend and suggest seeing a improve show. Should I say ‘I will bring dinner’ or should I just let him continue to do everything? I feel bad that he is always ‘planning’, ‘cooking’, ‘deciding’ everything for us and I need to put a little input into it. So should I bring dinner? or just go with flow and be appreciative if he makes dinner again? Does mirroring include ‘mirroring’ efforts? He cooks me dinner, I cook him dinner too? I dont know lol. HELP

  10. 70
    Still-Looking

    Lilly @ 69

    Mirroring is great to prevent women from being too aggressive and pursuing a man.   If I’ve been dating you for a month I would expect you to start coming up with ideas for dates, calling me when you want to talk, inviting me over, fixing me dinner, etc.   I’d appreciate it if you initiated a kiss on occasion too! LOL 🙂

  11. 71
    Clare

    I have to say I think isabelle archer’s comment @ 49 was very wise.

    Mirroring is all very well but I think it should be taken to mean on a general level. Generally you are as committed to him as he is to you. Generally you have confidence that he *will* contact you, but you don’t fear contacting him, and on the whole, contact is initiated more or less equally, with it perhaps being a bit weighted on the guy’s side.

    I don’t think this rule should be interpreted to make you feel like you should deny your personality if you are expressive and communicative, or that you should never contact a guy. I think if you interpret it that way you run the risk of stilting the natural flow of communication, and of not giving yourself opportunities to clear up simple misunderstandings when life’s ups and downs may cause lapses in communication, instead of stewing.

    I know Evan said his wife never initiated contact the whole time they were dating and I think it’s wonderful that he was secure enough to know exactly what this was, and it obviously worked out well for them. But I know for the guys I have loved, they would have enjoyed receiving the *occasional* loving message or phone call, and at times welcomed my suggestions of activities to do together.

    What I mean is that, whilst my boyfriend does the majority of initiating of contact, there are times when he is under stress and doesn’t, and during those times I reach out to him. I get the feeling he appreciates it.

    As I say, I think it has to do with the overall tone and feel of the relationship. If it has a natural, happy flow to it, and is overall reciprocal, I don’t think there is a reason to get too stressed about rules. I have noticed that whilst it is true that a guy will contact you if he wants to speak to you, he will also make himself available to be contacted if he wants to hear from you.

    If the channels of communication are all of a sudden shut down *that’s* when you should worry.

  12. 72
    Rochelle

    I’ve noticed a lot of men these days, especially in my   age group (late 20s-early 30s)   seem to be stuck on having a woman do equal or semi-equal pursuing during courtship…Did other women “train” them to think they should be like this? Are they using game playing tactics or just insecure? Not all that interested? All of the above, likely.   I think they are just up to finding some sort of self-validation and trying to get women to chase them or plain confused.  I mean they will take the lead in terms of taking me out, etc.   But after a certain point when it’s still just dating, they ask why I am not  contacting  them during courtship or let   me know I can call them sometimes.    I don’t ignore these guys and give them all the positive cues that I am interested to let them know it’s ok to stay in touch.  

    At least I’m finding it   easy with all men to just let   them come to me, like Evan’s wife who didn’t  initiate  any contact. It feels natural; reaching out to men when I didn’t hear from them didn’t feel natural at all. Reaching out made me feel insecure since sometimes I  wouldn’t  get a reply or not be sure whether or not he really  wanted  to see me or if he was just being nice. Without taking initiative it’s easy to figure out how the guy feels and more relaxing, even if I dislike the answer sometimes. :-/ I find it so natural that I know the right man for me wouldn’t mind to always take the initiative while I just “lean back” as dating coach Rori Raye says it.   

  13. 73
    Cynthia

    Hi Evan ! I’ve read   a lot   of   your advice   and I love it ! Yes, it really does work ! This is my first post to you and I must say that you speak the truth !   In my opinion too many women waste time pining over men who are not right for them. Also, you can’t depend on e-mails and texts to determine a real relationship ! Nothing can take the place of meeting someone in person, spending time with them and really getting to know them as a human being. All of this takes time and if a man isn’t willing to spend real quality time with you there is something very wrong. There is no point in wasting one ounce of your precious time on them. Women need to face the truth and not get caught up in illusion. Men will always spend time and money to do the things that they enjoy. If a woman is waiting for a man to treat her right it won’t happen.   Anytime you have to remind someone how to treat you they are not worth having in your life ! In closing I would like to wish you all the best in your great works, Evan ! You are a true source of light who will help many people in the coming years ! All the best to you !

  14. 74
    Amie

    One possible explanation for this man’s behavior is that he is a human being. We are, all of us, looking for love and affection in one form or another, and through the many hurts that we experience in this lifetime, we learn to be fearful and afraid of putting ourselves out there. We fear rejection and hurt.
    My advice? Save your money on dating books, etc. and live your life with compassion. Do what feels right. Don’t engage in relationships that feel hurtful or confusing. Take responsibility for your own pain and heal yourself. Walk through this earth with compassion for others, which includes dropping judgments about what’s properly “masculine” or “feminine.”
    Ladies, if you like a guy, fucking text him. You have the right to declare and seek what you want from this world and from relationships.

  15. 75
    Tanisha Marie

    i like how you said, when we are hunger we eat, when we are tired we sleep…. Confidence Confidence Confidence… this is why i wanted to develop a special app that does a couple of things
    1) app allows  lady to enter in a telephone number which tells phone not to  to call or text #
    2) the app also has anayltics such as the number calling in is  either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 man depending on how many times #/man has initiated contact with you
    3) send simple awesome messages to the ladies such as you are wonderful, dont settle  

    its just an idea,  and it will not solve womans immediate confidence issues, but it will help her not call a man  that she clearly is needing attention from.     its one of the hardest things not to do is chase a guy.     

  16. 76
    Shena

    Thank you Evan.   Your advice is straightforward.   I used to be the girl who called, texted, and jumped up and down waving my hands in the air. After reading your literature, I don’t anymore. A real man will pursue me. In the meantime, I am enjoying my life.

  17. 77
    ChariBright

    Alisa, thank you for asking that question and thanks Evan for the very good and honest answer. It helps me alot and gives me a sense of focus cos I’m actually living the same life. I’m experiencing te same situation. I now know exactly what to do. Thanks a million

  18. 78
    mery

    there seem to be many guys like that nowadays and it is really tiring. They have issues expressing their emotions or being emotional honest. such as, they like or not like you, but they are not capable of being direct about it. Can’t imagine to live with a partner like that for the rest of my life.   like Evan says, u get what you accept! Seriously thinking to weed out more men.

  19. 79
    Janie

    I agree with Steve. And I also think that instead of calling this guy’s unusual behaviour “feminine,” I think it’s more likely he’s just basically looking for an ego stroke, and playing games in order to achieve this, such as pretending to be genuinely interested, when he’s really just interested in the attention. I’ve noticed people with low self esteem do this often–men and women. When someone really likes them, they milk them for the ego boost it gives them. If he were genuinely interested, he wouldn’t send a text like “I guess it’s over for us, cause you haven’t been calling.”, like, “Oh, well, too bad for you, you missed out on this great opportunity to date me.”

    1. 79.1
      Erica

      I think this is most likely the correct interpretation of this guy’s behavior.
        
      Another possibility maybe is that this way, in his own perception, he is making somebody else out to be the a-hole. Deep down he knows his behavior was less than noble, but making this ridiculous proclamation justifies it to himself.
        
      Either way, LW: this is weak, worthless, inconsequential man, whom you really shouldn’t fret over. Deciphering his motivation is not worth your energy. In fact, I would say that with most of these unfortunate dating experiences the best thing you can do is just move on with your search. If you get bogged down in analysis of each individual case, you will become bitter and depressed. Based on my own experience, trying to figure out such men’s reasons is unproductive – what you need is instead to find a man who will be considerate and respectful.

  20. 80
    Jennifer

    Oh Evan, you are ALWAYS RIGHT!   I love your blog and thank you for clarifying that which shouldn’t be but is so complicated.. I literally feel like your whole site could be called “Dating Advice for Jennifer” as there isn’t a word you have said/wrote that doesn’t ring true for me.   I have bought Why He Disappeared and Believe in Love.. probably will have a whole library of yours by the time I am done but you know what – it helps! Actually I am making progress.. slow yet steady.. or steadier than before.   I had a guy I met and followed all your advice, things were great for a while until a few months in he started to drift away, almost no phone calls and only the occasional text and no plan making.   I did what you said and just let him go politely, he came back 3 weeks later trying to grasp to hold on to his ‘easy thing’ but I sent him away and am still on the hunt.   I know I am blabbing but I want you to know how helpful you are!   Much appreciation <3   Jennifer

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