Should I Track Down The Guy Who Didn’t Take My Number?

I sat next to an attractive man last night at a political function that included a formal, sit-down, 14-course dinner. This man and I chatted during the time he was there. Another attendee asked for my business card (because of a mutual acquaintance.) At the same time, the attractive man had to sneak out early, and said his goodbyes to the table. He hesitated when it came to me, and eyed my business card. I thought about offering him one, but the keynote speaker began a presentation.

Because this man told me where he worked (I am familiar with the firm,) would it be appropriate for me to send him a short, business-like email saying that I enjoyed talking with him?


In Why He Disappeared, I spent a considerable amount of time distinguishing between the concepts of “right and wrong” and “effective and ineffective.”

As a dating coach, I try my best not to think of things in terms of right and wrong. People have their feelings, their pasts, their impulses and their rationalizations, and it’s certainly not my place to tell them that they are flat-out wrong for feeling what they’re feeling.

However, as a student of human behavior, it’s usually predictable what’s going to happen in a given relationship. From this standpoint, we can more clearly determine what is “effective” when dealing with the opposite sex.

Your dilemma, Robin, is a classic one, since it embodies the whole masculine/feminine energy and societal roles discussion in one simple anecdote.

So instead of answering your question, point-blank, I’d like to ask you: how does dating USUALLY go? If you were to conceive of the most likely scenario about how a couple would go from being strangers to being married, wouldn’t it pan out something like this:

  • Boy meets girl.
  • Boy finds girl attractive and wants to have sex with her.
  • Boy asks girl out for a drink.
  • Girl says yes.
  • Boy calls girl on phone, makes effortless conversation, and comes up with a plan for Saturday night.
  • Boy asks all his friends where to take his gorgeous date and ends up in the same place he takes all of his dates.
  • Girl is surprised that boy does all the right things on the date and is also attracted to him.
  • Boy kisses girl at end of date and promises to call again.
  • Girl kisses him back and agrees to be receptive to further dates.
  • Boy calls the next day.
  • Girl picks up and agrees to go out with him again.
  • 6 weeks later, boy asks girl to be exclusive.
  • Girl says yes.
  • Two and a half years later, boy proposes to girl.
  • Girl says yes.
  • Boy and girl live happily ever after…

Thus, all of those clichés about men liking a chase or a challenge are TRUE.

Notice how it’s always the boy who reaches out and it’s always the girl who says yes. He asks for her number, he chooses a date place, he picks up the check, he tries to kiss her, he offers to call her the next day, he asks for commitment, he proposes.

This is what men have been conditioned to do. I’m not going to speculate whether it’s nature or nurture; I will simply point out that most men have understood this paradigm since third grade.

Thus, all of those clichés about men liking a chase or a challenge are TRUE.

We want to win you over, to earn your love, to conquer you sexually – we don’t want it to be GIVEN to us.

And, to me, that’s the only problem with you stalk–I mean–“looking up” this attractive man at his law firm. Fact is: if he wanted to ask you out, he would have asked you out. How do I know this? Because that’s what men DO.

Sure, there’s always the man who’s impossibly shy and needs someone to give him a pep talk before he can approach a woman. Yet, this is rarely the man women pine over.

Fact is: if he wanted to ask you out, he would have asked you out.

Objectively, it costs you nothing to send him an email and say, “Had a great time meeting you. Wanna grab a drink?” In fact, if it would give you closure, I say go ahead and do it.

I just wouldn’t expect very much in the way of a reply.

He had his chance to ask you out and he opted not to. I would think that would be all the evidence you would need.

Or, as my assistant wrote when forwarding me this question: “If he likes you, he, uh, won’t sneak out of a political function!”

Join our conversation (58 Comments).
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  1. 31

    Steve- 7 months.  Why?

  2. 32

    Evan, I am going to have to disagree with you. I’d say just write him along the lines of what Kat Wilder suggested. I have been the guy in this situation before, and the girl’s stock definitely went up with me when I got her email.
    There’s a big difference between being proactive in the relationship (bad) and showing that he impressed you enough so that you are willing to take a chance and put yourself out there for him just this one time (very powerful).

  3. 33

    A crucial detail of this story is that Robin already gave her business card to someone else. Yes, Robin isn’t interested in this other guy, but the guy whom Robin is interested in might not realize that.
    My point is that women often think they’re giving signals to men that have to be as clear as the Rocky Mountain sky on a cloudless night, but very often they really are not to us. There’s definitely the possibility that the guy Robin is interested in, has no idea that she is interested. So he didn’t ask.
    Write and send him the email.

  4. 34

    Send the email if you want, but to be honest, the guy probably enjoyed talking to you but did not find you particularly attractive. If he did, he would have asked for your card which was sitting right there on the table. He looked at it and passed. He’s not interested.

  5. 35

    I would send him an email in the way the writer proposes. If he hesitated in saying his goodbye to her and he eyed her business card, he was at least considering her.
    The fact that he hasn’t initiated contact with her could be for a thousand reasons, including business that might be keeping him away. Not all reasons have to be he’s already seeing someone else, etc.
    Rather than playing armchair quarterback, put a close to the mystery. No harm done. I am sure she can handle it, if he doesn’t respond, or not in the way she hopes, and he’s not going to freak out, if she contacts him in this manner. He’ll likely feel flattered.
    Also, he may have misinterpreted her gesture when she offered her business card to another gentleman, i.e. she liked him more. We do not know for sure if the writer explained this gesture other than to Evan or that the guy realized she didn’t offer him her card due to another presentation starting. How long does it really take to offer someone your card and say, “I’d enjoy talking more later” with a smile.

  6. 36

    I think the lesson here is to 1. Have a business card 2. Hand them out to everyone at the table/function 3. Smile while handing them out

    I would send him the business card in the mail to his place of employment, and attach a note with something along the lines of ” What an interesting group of people to spend the evening with. We have all swapped business cards, and there was talk of another get together at some point in the future. If you would like to be included, dont hesitate to let me know. Kind Regards…

    This will open the door. 

    Im voting for you every day Evan! 

  7. 37

    PS I have a friend who has a card for the sole purpose of giving out his details to someone who takes his fancy in awkward situations or where there is not much time to strike up a conversation.

    It is a white card, has a pair of black rimmed spectacles in the middle of the card. Underneath is written “Minor Internet celebrity”. Contact details are his Facebook URL and his Twitter details and his mobile #

    He says it works a treat. The last time he used it, he was diembarking an aircraft and saw a girl sitting in a seat that he wished he’d noticed earlier. By the time he got to baggage claim. he was prepared. Handed her the card, smiled and turned and walked away. They are now dating.

  8. 38

    I agree that women should let the man do work to pursue us. I’m presently dating a man who asked me out, reached out for the first kiss, and continues to ask me for dates. It has worked like a charm. That said, I think it won’t hurt to contact him. Write him a brief note. If he writes back, great. If he doesn’t, so what. If he writes back, keep it real simple and start letting him to the work to pursue you! i.e. Don’t ask him on the first date!

  9. 39

    Robin doesn’t say whether the other attendee to whom she gave a card was male or female. She has a business card, the man saw it, hesitated, but neither asked for her card or offered his own. 
    I wouldn’t use the “talk of another get-together” ploy, because what if that’s all he’s interested in, and there’s not going to be another get-together? If she wants to, a casual, business-like email is best. Not the end of the world if he’s not interested.

  10. 40

    When I first started following Evan I loved the idea of “do nothing”. Then, I’d meet men who didn’t call back after a few dates and I’d try to debunk Evan’s theory such as “maybe he’s not sure if I’m interested” etc etc etc ad nauseum.

    Then, I had a date with R. The date lasted hours, we had a great time and I went home. Two days later he sms’ed me asking if I wanted to catch up again. We did. That day he planned the next date. On the third date he revealed that he wasn’t sure whether I was interested as “I didn’t text him” and that “I made men work for it”. I chuckled on the inside. A few dates later again I asked him about the comment that I hadn’t texted him and his mindset was that he had paid and was surprised that I didn’t text to say thank you. I did thank him on the evening and said that I figured if he was interested he’d contact me again.

    He agreed that ALL men want to do the chasing. He drills it into his 15 year old niece.

    My point being – when it suited me I wanted ANY reason not to believe Evan and the theory of “do nothing”, but it’s the only way you will KNOW a man is interested. And if he’s interested HE WILL CONTACT YOU!

    I say move on.

  11. 41

    Well, he told her where he works, so she probably told him where she works. He should be the one tracking her down. In my opinion, if a man doesn’t have the balls to pursue a woman he’s interested in, there’s usually something wrong with him. He could be shy, insecure, on meds, etc. If she wants someone like that, then she can send the e-mail. Chances are he’s not interested though, or not interested enough.

  12. 42
    Christie Hartman

    If she has a way of finding him, he could probably find her. He didn’t. He isn’t that interested or has a girlfriend. At this point, sending him an email is hypothesis testing – to see if your suspicion is true. If he responds, it’s not enough for him to seem friendly; he has to pick up the reins and seek her out from then on.
    In 2nd my book I differentiate between initiating and pursuing. Women initiate, men pursue. If you aren’t sure about a guy, you can make one move, and only one. Then he needs to take over and start calling, etc.

  13. 43

    @ Margo / 42 —
    He’s not shy or insecure (he’s a lawyer — I’m assuming — not really qualities that go along with the profession). He’s not on meds. He’s — OMG — not interested. He SAT NEXT TO HER ALL NIGHT and didn’t once get HER info before he left.

  14. 44

    I think the fact that the guy eyed the business card and didn’t ask for it is pretty telling and I would let it go – he’s not interested. If he wanted it, he definitely would have asked.
    However, if there had been no card out, or even though it was, I see no harm in finding the guy’s email and sending a brief note.  If it was an industry event, in this day of social networking where some people “friend” pretty much everyone they meet online, I think it’s harmless to reach out. He can ignore it or give a polite response. He won’t initiate anything further unless he’s interested.
    Basically, I would send the email b/c there really is nothing to lose but not expect much more than a nice to meet you, take care response in return.

  15. 45

    I do not necessarily agree with Evan’s advice.  The man may have liked Robin but maybe he wasn’t sure whether she would have wanted to give him her card – maybe he thought it would have been embarrassing to ask in front of all of those other people?
    Women really do have it a lot easier than men when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex.  Some of the women who put forth as little effort as possible themselves and expect everything to be handed to them are the same ones who are going to be bitter single women when they are in their late 30s.

  16. 46
    Karl R

    Kurt said: (#46)
    “The man may have liked Robin but maybe he wasn’t sure whether she would have wanted to give him her card”

    Why would he have thought that?

    People go to functions like that in order to network. (Otherwise, they could just send a check to the party/candidate.) Some of the networking is professional, some is personal. They bring business cards so they can give them away.

    Unless the man regularly gives off a “creepy stalker” vibe, anyone who has been chatting with him for the length of a dinner would be willing to give him a business card.

    Kurt said: (#46)
    “maybe he thought it would have been embarrassing to ask in front of all of those other people?”

    Embarassing, how?

    I get the impression that you find it embarrassing to ask a woman for her phone number / email address / business card, and that you’re afraid that she might not want to give it to you.

    In the four years when I was actively dating, I got a phone number or email address every time I asked a woman for one. Half of the women didn’t want to date me (they declined a date when I later asked them), but they were still willing to give me some form of contact information.

    And even if Robin had declined to give him her business card, why should he be embarrassed by that? He made a perfectly normal request in a perfectly normal environment. Even if she’s not interested, she’s going to decline in a very polite way (or else her behavior will reflect poorly on her).

  17. 47

    Karl, when a woman has given me her phone number, she usually wants to go out with me.  However, there have been a couple times when I asked for a woman’s phone number and got rejected – trust me, it definitely happens.  But maybe the scenario is different for Robin because she met at a networking event…

  18. 48

    I actually did this.  It was a disaster.  Met the guy in a bank.  He actually came up to me and started talking.  Then he left to be served and as I was leaving the bank he rushed up behind me, opened the door and then walked me to my car.  Hmmm… We chatted for a while and he gave me his business card then we parted.   I was puzzled that he did not ask for my number and debated my next step for a day of two.  Then with the encouragement of my best friend I sent him an e-mail.  I received back a very business like response and never heard from him again.  : (  I consoled myself with the thought that he is probably MARRIED.   Will I do it again?  NOPE, NOT AT ALL.

    1. 48.1

      Venus, (#50) If some guy “rushed up behind me” as I was leaving my bank, I’d probably think I was getting robbed and promptly jab him with my kubaton! But maybe that’s because we have a lot of bank robberies where I live. (Once they even took the whole ATM!)

      Safety first, ladies! 🙂

  19. 49
    Karl R

    Kurt, (#48)
    Whenever you ask a woman for her phone number, or you ask her out on a date, there is a chance she will decline.

    So what.

    That happens to everyone. Since it happens to everyone, why should I be embarrassed when it happens to me?

    Paraphrasing Evan, all a guy needs to get dates is a way to break the ice and the courage to fail. The lawyer that Robin met had already successfully broken the ice….

  20. 50

    LOL!  I hear you Cat.  But this guy was a professor at the local community college.  Middle aged and balding, but very outgoing and articulate.  Didn’t look the part of a robber.   I  have run into him since then and I’m very embarassed at having sent him that e-mail.

  21. 51

    I rarely get guys chasing after me, but it IS true that they’ll track you down if they want to.
    I was working as a reporter, interviewing men in a nightclub for my (big-city) newspaper. This one tall, dark, handsome guy I interviewed — and never thought would give me the time of day — called my newspaper, found the department I worked in and left me a message! I was pleasantly shocked and flattered. So — much as I would even justify to myself that my sitch is unique — I gotta say Evan’s and most of the commenters’ advice is spot-on … move along now.

  22. 52

    First off,for all of you that “pretend” it’s so hard to “find” someone just Google anyone or yourselves and chances are if you’ve been breathing in the last decade anywhere on the planet you can and will be found. If the guy wanted to get in touch he certainly knows how but I would still tell Robin to drop him an email,what have you got to lose? So what if you never hear from him,ask all the men on here how many times we’ve been rejected/ignored on and off line.Men are funny creatures you just never know.Peoples “situations” change everyday so he might be more receptive after some time.I know when I was younger there were dozens of times I walked away after a conversation somewhere and said to myself  a little later “damn,why didn’t I ask her for her number?”.

  23. 53

    If a man didn’t give me his business card or contact, why the hell should I ask for his?
    Stuff it.

  24. 54

    Dont email will be sorry. If a man is interested you will know!

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