Should You Ever Call a Guy? Why “The Rules” Aren’t Meant to Be Followed.

Once upon a time, there was a book called “The Rules” which said that women should play hard to get. It was a bestseller, and it taught women that the only way to do well with men was to play games and be inauthentic. 

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then. In the 21st century, gender roles have become a lot blurrier, and both women and men are more confused than ever about the “best” way to communicate while dating. 

As a dating and relationship coach for women, my advice is not based on what I feel, but rather, on what’s most “effective” in helping women do well when dating men.

So, if you’re wondering whether it’s okay to be calling a guy during the week, asking him out on dates, and taking the initiative, there’s no moral judgment for doing so.

But in my opinion, letting a man take the lead reveals a lot more than if you were to do most of the calling and texting. You want a man who leads, who takes action, who makes an effort, who calls and texts and plans and pays, rather than rewarding a passive man who thinks it’s too much work to make a date with you. 

Keep reading to learn why men and women may be equal, but that doesn’t mean they should do the exact same things when dating. 

A former client emailed me yesterday to say that he’s planning on getting engaged. With his note, he sent a link to this article, from the New York Times’ Modern Love series. The gist of it, if you’re impatient, is that the author got so caught up in playing by “The Rules” but found it all to be a bit inauthentic for her tastes. It wasn’t until she started taking control of her love life that she actually found true love.

It’s a cute piece, and I linked to it on Facebook to get the reactions of some friends. Reliable reader Cheri wrote this on my Facebook page in response:

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

Ok while I understand “The Rules” are a bunch of folly, the article flies in the face of your advice that tells women to sit back and see what he does; if we like it stay, if we don’t go. So how to resolved the two?

Great question, Cheri – and suitable fodder for my blog. In short, The Rules is a good concept, taken too far. Your goal is not to feign permanent indifference and make him beg for you – lots of good guys won’t be up for begging. Your goal is to assess how serious he is about you by allowing him to make an effort on his own accord.

So while I wouldn’t advocate the exact regimen of the author – phoning him regularly, for example, isn’t a recommended move – the spirit of her article is correct.

The easiest way to do this is by mirroring – giving back the same effort you get from him. That way, you never put yourself out there to “chase”: no “miss u” texts or “when are we getting together?” phone calls. You just allow him to reveal himself to you with his actions.


Sure, you can go out to a bar and smile at a cute guy to get him to approach you. You can write a flirty confident first email that lets him know that it’s HIS lucky day if he writes back. This isn’t needy – this isn’t Sadie Hawkins – this is getting you in the game.

But after that, it’s ALL up to him. Your best move is to sit back and let him win you over.

If he doesn’t try hard enough or consistently enough, it’s pretty obvious what you should do next.