You Don’t Have to Ask What He’s Thinking. Just Watch What He’s Doing.


I know you’ve spent a lot of time reading about other people’s bad dates and babies, so I wanted to get back to doing what I do best: giving powerful dating advice that will help you better connect with men.

In the FOCUS Forum, I am privy to the most intimate thoughts of hundreds of women just like you. They share their “date reports” and their worries on a daily basis, opening up for constructive feedback from the community.

Here’s my latest observation:

After 9 months talking with hundreds of women in the FOCUS Forum, I’ve come to the bold conclusion that the biggest problem in many relationships… is the one in your own head.

“We went out on our third date. He said that he was really enjoying my company. Then I said that I was really enjoying his company. Then he smiled and started sipping from his glass of wine. Which I thought was really strange because I had just told him I liked him. Later that night, I got home and he texted me to say good night. I thanked him for our date and said good night, but he didn’t sign it with an XO, which he usually does. Does this mean he’s pulling away from me. Is this the quality of a good partner or is he losing interest in me? Should I just bail and avoid wasting time on him? What do you guys think?”

My advice?

If you had fun with him on Date 3 and he asks you out for Date 4, go out with him.

Don’t agonize about every word, every look, every text, every second you’re in limbo and don’t know if he’s “the one”. Because all you’re doing is exhausting yourself, and you can never figure out the answer to all of your questions.

Dating doesn’t have to be such agony, where you over-analyze everything to death, and cause yourself a tremendous amount of undue heartbreak.

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Join our conversation (16 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Worst question you can ask a man: “What are you thinking?”

  2. 2
    Happy Person

    I would add to this. I would suggest that women behave with every guy as if they already have a boyfriend/husband/lover so that those needs are already taken care of. In other words, if your anxiety over being single and your desire for a mate are so overwhelming that you just can’t be normal in a particular situation, getting to know a guy, picking up info about who he is as he offers it, waiting for things to unfold in their own way, then you probably aren’t going to get a good understanding of that guy anyway. You’re going to be writing fantasy scripts in your head, saying the wrong things, living in the future, missing good things, denying bad things.

    Instead of a crazy-making internal story (“could he be THE ONE?!! What if he ISN’T?!! What if he IS and he smells like THAT?!!”), you can have a perfect inner boyfriend/husband/lover who always does the right thing and makes you feel great. That way all the outside you has to worry about is getting along with that person sitting across from you. “No, I’m good–it’s really great just hanging out with you, a person I am getting to know.”

    And then maybe one day the two will morph into one cool person that you get to be with, both inside and out.

    Men are just people. With different hardware and different formative experiences, true. Still just people, though.

  3. 3

    I think it is obvious if they are into you or not. All the game playing is just worthless. I have taken Evan’s advice and liked a guy who liked me though the physical attraction was much less than I prefer initially, I am still going with the relationship because he is nothing but wonderful to me. If you like their personality and they are good to you looks should not be the major factor in the equation cause that totally fades with time, that is the huge chemistry that you get in the beginning. Chemistry that goes from low to high is much more sustaining. I was married first to major chemistry and that ended after 17 years when he left me for another woman he had chemistry for.
    Thanks for your wonderful advice Evan, I think it worked for me and if my guy fails, I will work the same magic again with a new one.

  4. 4

    Joe, that’s why I never ask you guys what you’re thinking. I’ve kind of developed a “none of my business and don’t care, furthermore” attitude and it’s worked beautifully. I have alot on my own plate without worrying about what someone else is thinking. Besides, if they’re not interested in me, then why the hell would I care what they think? NEXT.

  5. 5

    I thought the worst question to ask a man is “What are you FEELING”

  6. 6
    Happy Person

    [email protected]: 17 years sounds pretty successful to me. I wouldn’t say that it didn’t last longer because you had super chemistry initially.

  7. 7

    i read recently that if a man likes you, you can do nothing wrong. ergo, the anxiety that goes with being the woman wondering, projecting, whatever, won’t actually matter to the guy that actually likes you.
    and if he doesn’t, that will be that.

    seems pretty simple really.

    now if only i could stop worrying about whether they like me or not;)

  8. 8

    @ Susan, I have heard the same thing, actually. Which is actually rather humbling for me, because I would not want to use that and trample all over the guy and act badly, assuming he can find no fault with me.

    I think it’s awesome if a woman can do no wrong in a guy’s eyes, if he’s really into her, but there can be problems with that, too. That’s why I keep a lot of things to myself and don’t share every little thing in my life, with my guy, nor do I ask him to do the same. His life is his, my life is mine, and we’ll see where this goes from here. But again, I have too much on my plate right now, to be bothered with worrying about what he’s thinking or feeling. The truth will reveal itself at some point, and I can choose whether to stay or go.

  9. 9

    Susan @ 7
    You wrote, “I read recently that if a man likes you, you can do nothing wrong. ergo, the anxiety that goes with being the woman wondering, projecting, whatever, won’t actually matter to the guy that actually likes you.”

    Susan, I don’t think men are all that different from women when it comes to making conclusions about a new date. Every expression, every comment, and every action becomes a data point for the assessment of the new person.

    It is the compilation of these data points that determine whether someone “likes you.” The good news is many data points are either neutral or positive. The bad news is everyone is alert for red flags.

    I might be very interested in you based on your appearance, your profile, and our initial communications. Let’s assume our first date is a very short lunch date and I leave the date with an interest level of 9. So far, so good.

    I call you that night and you don’t respond to my call for 2 days. When you respond 2 days later without any explanation for the delay and your agreement to meet me on Fri evening sounds rather tentative, my interest level begins to drop.

    On Fri, you arrive 30 minutes late — you didn’t call or text to let me know you were running late and when you finally show up you only state, “sorry, I was running late.” My interest level drops even more.

    During dinner, you begin a 20 minute rant about your ex, you’re rude to the waiter, and then send your dinner and your drink back because you are not satisfied – well at this point I have lost ALL interest in you.

    I’ve actually been on dates like this and I don’t think many guys would have overlooked such behavior.

    I will agree that men will overlook quite a few minor quirks at the beginning if the interest level starts off high (perhaps it is lust keeping their interest). Once one begins to exhibit red flag behavior, however, the interest plummets because the attractive attributes we thought/assumed existed have disappeared.

    Men are not seeking perfection — to paraphrase EMK, we are seeking someone who is fun to be with. Most men, and women, won’t tolerate too many “wrongs” before they merely say, “Next!”

  10. 10

    Still Looking,

    You know, that makes a whole lot of sense. That’s happened to me before, just saw a string of things go on in a date or two, that made my interest level just plummet, despite a real and genuine interest in the guy, and finally I just wanted nothing more to do with him except to tell him that I wasn’t interested in seeing him again. At first, I thought the guy was wonderful, amazing, etc. And then as I’d really get to know him, I’d think well, yeah this isn’t for me, gotta go.

  11. 11

    yes I agree, and i didn’t mean to say that those red/amber flags would be ignored. i meant more that if you make some of the ”minor” mistakes of dating, like maybe appearing a little keener than the rules tell us to be, if someone really likes you they are going to be keen to see you again anyway.
    and yes what you see in those first few dates usually define that.
    i still stick by my point though that the deciding factor, pretty much every time, is that someone actually is into you, or they’re not. so far, for me, beyond about date 5, they’re not;)

  12. 12

    [email protected]
    I learned through the trials & tribulations of dating that trying to impress someone or trying to get them to like me is a complete waste of time — she needs to like me, as I am, because eventually the real me come out. On occasion I still slip and think “she might be the one” and then there is the inevitable second guessing and wishing I had done something different (all a waste of time btw). Now I don’t get my hopes up and realize she either likes me or she doesn’t… just like I either like her or I don’t.
    It’s a numbers game and it takes a while for two compatible people to meet.

  13. 13

    he/she might be the one? yikes, I’m still at the ”i wonder if this one will actually phone me” stage….

  14. 14

    Still Looking,

    Isn’t that the truth. It sounds awful, but for the last few months before I met my now boyfriend, I’d think OK. Don’t get hopes up. As the old saying goes, Blessed is she who expects nothing for she shall not be disappointed. Just don’t expect anything. Don’t be surprised if he says he’ll call and doesn’t. Don’t be too shocked if he just no-shows. Don’t allow yourself to get too upset or attached, don’t give him that emotional power over you.

    It really helped me alot. And it’s kept me from getting too attached to my boyfriend, too needy. If he doesn’t call me or text me back right away, oh well. If he wants to do something with his guy friends instead of me one night, OK, whatever. I can easily find something else to do.

    Learning to watch what a guy does, and disregard what he says oftentimes is the very best course of action. Believe it when someone shows you who they really are.

  15. 15

    amen to that, i have learned this thru alot of trial and error, its not about what he says so much as what he does, men are actually not all that complicated, their actions sooner or later will reveal how they feel.

    if hes telling you how much he likes you and that he wants to see you etc. but not calling and or actually seeing you, he isn’t serious,or dare i say, he’s just not that into you.

    there are exceptions but most of the time, we dont fall into those exceptions. people who like each other enough will make time to see each other, or call / communicate something.

    watch for clues in behavior, body language, etc. not so much words. i also dont think most men go out intentionaly looking to hurt us in relationships, maybe they do start out interested but find out ur not the one for them, or they can’t give you / not willing to give you what youre looking for etc. and a host of other factors. their feelings change just as ours may

  16. 16

    I’ve been following this rule for a bit. Made some sound decisions by it. But I recently met a guy who was doing everything right for an entire month and suddenly told me that he couldn’t commit to serious relationships. WTH? I was that close to give in a little bit more. Who could tell me how to deal with this situation in case it happens again?

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