What Do I Say to a Guy on the Phone If I Don’t Want to Go Out With Him?

Hi Evan, I follow your 2-2-2 rule, which is great, but I’ve had a couple of awkward moments and need your advice: during the screening phone call, if it’s not going well and I decide I don’t want to meet in person, how do I tell the guy without hurting his feelings?? Especially if he thinks the call is going well and suggests a date!

Gabrielle

If you’re not a longtime reader or a Finding the One Online consumer, the 2/2/2 Rule means I encourage you to exchange a couple of emails on the dating site, a couple of emails on Gmail and a couple of phone calls before meeting for a first date.

I discourage swiping. I discourage coffee dates. I discourage texting.

All of those common dating methods treat people as if they’re disposable and lead to more flakiness, less screening prior to meeting and higher volume/lower quality first dates.

The common pushback is that apps make it impossible to do this, people don’t like email, the phone is stilted, everyone uses texting, and it’s best to meet as quickly as possible.

Those are all partially valid excuses for continuing the swipe/text/meet method so I will say, once and for all, that if you LIKE dating this way, keep on doing your thing.

I didn’t and pretty much all my clients hate swipe/text/meet, and yet they don’t do a thing about it.

The 2/2/2 Rule is my best advice – and while it can be modified (say, 5/3/1), the principle of making a connection on the dating site, avoiding being part of a guy’s texting harem and building excitement and trust before meeting remains paramount.

Anyway, I’ve written a longer defense of the 2/2/Rule here and don’t need to do it again.

To answer Gabrielle’s question, I think it’s a good question with a pretty easy answer.

Would you rather have an uncomfortable minute where you inadvertently hurt a guy’s feelings, or would you rather spend two hours going on a date with that same guy?

Would you rather have an uncomfortable minute where you inadvertently hurt a guy’s feelings, or would you rather spend two hours going on a date with that same guy?

Because you’re right – it WILL be awkward. In fact, it’ll be worse than that. You’ve pretty much got a 50% chance of some thin-skinned angry guy cursing you out, all because you determined after a half-hour on the phone that he seemed selfish, negative, and creepy.

Personally, I’ve not asked out women on the phone and gotten yelled at.

I’ve had one woman refuse to go out with me after a phone call – and while I was surprised, I took my medicine and let it go without further comment. I don’t think most other guys will.

Long story short: your goal is to politely pass up a date and minimize any collateral damage. Be terse. Be apologetic. Be firm. Whatever happens next says everything about him and nothing about you.

Whether that’s enough to stop you on going on dates where you actively don’t want to be there is entirely up to you.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Noquay

    Gabrielle

    You politely and firmly say NO; problem solved. I too have had awkward phone conversations but Evan is spot on; it’s a whole lot more awkward to spend two wasted hours with someone who gives you the Heebie-jeebies. A lot of dating is about rejecting and being rejected. Yep, some men will react with anger but that’s a reflection on them.

  2. 2
    Noone45

    Women usually too much about justifying themselves. There’s no need to explain yourself if you aren’t feeling someone. Sure, it’s nice to do so, but you don’t owe a man anything and can exit when you want. I’ve always found “This isn’t for me” works fine. It avoids making things personal. I end it there and avoid explanation.  For ghosts who pop back up (which always seems to happen), I simply say “All good, have a great week” and that takes care of it 😂

    1. 2.1
      Karl R

      I have to fully agree with Noone45 on this.  While many people (Noquay, bellamytree, and Yet Another Guy, etc.) have given excellent examples of how to decline a first date, women worry too much about this.

      Gabrielle is worried about hurting the guy’s feelings.  If anyone dates long enough, they’re going to get their feelings hurt.  If you can’t bear the thought of having your own feelings hurt, or if you’re not prepared to be the cause of someone else getting their feelings hurt, then you’re not ready to date.  And as Noone45 pointed out, many women worry far too much about this.

      Be polite.  If you give a reason, don’t make it personal.  You’re declining a date, not giving unsolicited feedback about his personal qualities.  If he wants to argue about your reason, you’re not there to win a debate.  And you certainly aren’t there to bear the brunt of someone’s anger or abuse.

      In addition, people get more emotionally invested the further things progress.  So it’s automatically going to be less painful if you break things off sooner instead of later.

      1. 2.1.1
        Marika

        Hi Karl R:

        “If you can’t bear the thought of having your own feelings hurt, or if you’re not prepared to be the cause of someone else getting their feelings hurt, then you’re not ready to date”

        You say words to this effect a lot. I agree that in an ideal world, and certainly to some extent, what you say is true. But you are a very logical person and seem to have quite a thick skin. If some of us waited to not worry at all or feel bad about hurting people’s feelings (or getting our own hurt, although personally the former bothers me more), we’d never date. And, in fact, rather than sitting out of the dating world working on this…some of us only get better at dealing with worries regarding hurt feelings through practice. And more practice.

        So I personally strongly disagree that a sensitive person needs to defer dating until we become less sensitive (which may never happen). We all manage these things differently.

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          And, in fact, rather than sitting out of the dating world working on this…some of us only get better at dealing with worries regarding hurt feelings through practice. And more practice.

          I don’t think men understand how excruciating it is for women to have to turn a man down. I’d rather have a root canal. Men are conditioned and raised differently than we are. It wasn’t until I got in to my 40s  that I could say no without feeling I had to explain why.

        2. Adrian

          Hi Marika and Emily,

          I think all people… well most people struggle with rejecting someone. Especially the nicer, kinder, whatever they are. When I really sense the other person’s energy on the date and I know I don’t want another with them I start feeling bad.

          When it’s the other way around, it stings but I get over it fairly quickly. Funny huh? I wonder what Jeremy would say is the reason for this behavior? Surely getting rejected should cause more emotional hurt than rejecting someone, but I always feel worse when I do the rejecting.

          …   …   …

          Oh and Emily is the cool kid of the group… Marika I think we are just her backup dancers (^_^)

        3. Karl R

          Marika,

          You’re misunderstanding what I mean, even though I think you’re already getting the general thrust of it in your own life.

          It’s a matter of degrees.  It’s okay to feel bad when someone else get hurt, or to feel hurt when dating doesn’t go the way you hoped.

          But there’s a difference between feeling bad/hurt, or letting the fear push you into paralysis, because you want it to be painless.

           

          Look at what Gabrielle asked: “how do I tell the guy without hurting his feelings??”

          Well, in that situation, there’s a chance she’ll hurt the guy’s feelings.  But she’ll hurt him less if she tells him sooner, instead of waiting until later.  (She’ll also hurt his feelings less if she follows most of the other advice given here: be polite, don’t make it about him, etc.)

           

          Being somewhat concerned about how others feel during a breakup is great.  Years ago, someone asked a terrific question along those lines: “How do you prefer that someone break up with you?”  She was asking men, but I think the answer is about the same regardless of whom is breaking up with whom.

          I always tried to make breakups (or turning them down) less painful for the other person.  But I assumed I couldn’t make it painless, so I wasted no time worrying about that.

        4. sylvana

          I fully agree with Marika and Emily. Saying no is incredibly hard.

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          Saying no is the most necessary skill to have in dating. 99% of people are NOT your future husband. Why waste time with them? To avoid the pain of hurting his feelings? Please.

        6. Emily, the original

          Hiya Adrian,
          When it’s the other way around, it stings but I get over it fairly quickly. Funny huh? 
          I disagree. It’s harder to get rejected, but rejecting isn’t easy. I don’t feel responsible for the other party and I think it’s better to be clear and say no than drag it out, but I hate doing it, especially when I’ve been put in a position to say no I never wanted  (i.e. you start chatting with someone at a party to be friendly, who instead thinks you are being friendly. You suddenly think: I gotta get outta here before a nausea situation develops, versus a situation you know could lead to a date like a phone call from an online introduction or a second date after a first.)

           I think we are just her backup dancers

          I’ve always wanted backup dancers. How do you feel about leopard-print short shorts? For you. Not Marika. 🙂

        7. Adrian

          Hi Emily,

          You said, “I’ve always wanted backup dancers. How do you feel about leopard-print short shorts? For you. Not Marika.

          Sure as long as you rock the mullet I’m in! Do you think people who were young adults in the 80’s look back and cringe at the styles?

          You said, “I disagree. It’s harder to get rejected

          Tom10 said, “When declining to meet someone for a date are we not implicitly saying: “I don’t see you as good enough; I think I can find someone better. Period”?…. And that’s what really causes the hurt. That we’re not good enough. That we don’t cut the mustard. Something, or everything, about us just doesn’t cut it. It hurts because it cuts right to the core of who we are.

          I see what you and Tom10 are saying, I think it depends on how much you are into the person-though Tom needs to stay in his own DAMN LANE! He is stealing my roles! (^_^)

          I’m supposed to be cast as the sensitive one and he is suppose to always play the lovable cocky rogue! I’m going to my agent over this. What’s next! Jeremy waxing on about how women are entitled snowflakes in an attempt to put poor YAG out of a job?

          …   …  …

          How are things on the home front Emily? Your health? The stress of your job? Your search for a real friend in your new town?  Are men still trying to invite you to church as way to screen you to see if you are worth dating a southern gentleman?

        8. EJ

          Where did Karl R say to defer dating?

      2. 2.1.2
        Noone45

        Men don’t have the same hangups. There’s a reason why: They are not taught to be responsible for other people’s emotions. Women are taught this problematic tradition. That’s where the LW’s hangup comes about – She’s taking responsibility for someone else’s feelings at a point where it’s entirely inappropriate. You should always consider how your actions may hurt others, but at this juncture, she’s not married or committed to the guy – what he feels is of no consequence. It would be lunacy for her to think otherwise.

        This is really about boundaries. It’s not healthy to take responsibility for the feelings of someone you barely know. I’m pretty firm that I don’t do this sort of thing. In fact, I dumped a guy after 5 dates last year when he said, “If you make me happy, it will all work out”.   Na, I’m not here to be responsible for someone else’s happiness. Now, some people are going to think “What’s the point of being in a relationship if it’s not about happiness?”. You have to take responsibility for your own happiness. Other people can’t make you feel anything. That’s of your own doing. By making our emotions dependent on others, we give away our power. When you try to take on others emotions, you are meddling in something that isn’t yours to control. That’s just my take.

        1. Marika

          Noone45 and Emily

          Good points both. In terms of boundaries, I’ve done courses, spoken to therapists, read books; the lot. Been married. Been on hundreds of dates since divorcing. I finally accepted that my socialisation is too strong – I’m always going to worry about hurting people – particularly if there is an imbalance of interest. It’s just the way I’m wired. I can fret over it, book myself into some ‘boundaries clinic’ on a farm somewhere with slippers and people in white coats (I exaggerate), give up dating forever…. or accept that this is the way I am and manage it as best I can. Without seeing myself as ‘not ready for dating’.

          Of course, the logical way to manage it would be to be very careful who I give my heart to, but…yeah… that’s another story 😉

          I’m not actually sure it’s a gender thing. That may be a generalisation (and create yet another blog gender war). My brother is a lot like me. You spend 5 minutes with my highly anxious and always -worried- about- everyone- other than herself mother, and you’ll see why. I feel bad even writing that as she always means well and does her best. But that’s how she is. And I certainly don’t blame her or see myself still as a child, I just don’t think we need to all be thick skinned clones of each other to be out in the dating world and giving it a crack. Like Jeremy once said, he sees the somewhat anxious women as the best partners. And there are definitely advantages of dating someone who cares enough to worry about you.

        2. Emily, the original

          Marika and Noone

          Men don’t have the same hangups. There’s a reason why: They are not taught to be responsible for other people’s emotions. 

          Agree. Men are taught to compete. Women are taught to tend.

          Like Jeremy once said, he sees the somewhat anxious women as the best partners. And there are definitely advantages of dating someone who cares enough to worry about you.

          I consider myself an avoidant and i hate having to reject someone.  There was a comment you made on another post about being anxious and taking breakups really hard. I do, too. The avoidant will often not display the pain but will feel it just as much … unless it’s just a really bad situation (maybe a highly toxic person) and you just want out. When I’m done, I’m done.

        3. Jeremy

          I don’t think it’s necessarily about socialization.  I think that empathy is somewhat inborn in a person’s temperament.  Gendered socialization may work to reverse this, but I don’t know how successful it is at doing so.

           

          I always hated getting rejected during my dating years, but when a woman rejected me I’d sometimes find myself smiling.  Smiling because, despite the pain I was feeling, at least the stress was now over.  But I never smiled when rejecting someone else. I agonized over it.  Agonized over it even years later, re-playing the conversation in my head.  I’ve had to fire employees and let me tell you, I’d way rather be fired than do the firing.  It’s the way I’m wired.  I have always valued the emotions of others more than my own – felt them more than I felt my own – dysfunctionally so.  So I can understand others with the same problem – understand people who so fear being assholes to others, being the ones to cause pain to others, that they subconsciously choose partners who will break up with them so that they will never have to be the ones to do the breaking.  Despite the old saying, some people would rather be the nail than the hammer.

           

          Karl and Evan are right, of course, that this must be gotten over – by degrees or otherwise.  Because when you choose a partner who will be the asshole so you don’t have to be, the partner you end up with will be an asshole.  Not to say that each of us needs to be the asshole, but at least when the assholery is shared we have some degree of control of our destiny.

      3. 2.1.3
        Adrian

        Hi Karl R,

        You said, ” if you’re not prepared to be the cause of someone else getting their feelings hurt, then you’re not ready to date.

        I struggle with this a LOT. How does one get to the point where they don’t hesitate or feel guilty for rejecting someone (I mean especially when you know the person is really into you?)

        1. Karl R

          Adrian asked:

          “I struggle with this a LOT. How does one get to the point where they don’t hesitate or feel guilty for rejecting someone (I mean especially when you know the person is really into you?)”

          And further up, Adrian said:

          “When it’s the other way around, it stings but I get over it fairly quickly. Funny huh?”

          Thank you for making this explanation easier for me.

           

          Let’s take a hypothetical situation where you are out on the town, and I’m acting as your wingman.  (It could happen.)  Each time you want to approach a woman, I actively interfere, because you might get rejected and get hurt, and I don’t want to see that happen to you.

          How would that make you feel?

          Irritated?  Disrespected?  You know you can deal with that pain.  And frankly, it’s your decision to make, not mine.

           

          If I have any respect for you, I should let you decide whether you want to risk getting hurt.   You’re an adult, not a child.  You have the same right to make that decision that I do.

          That same principle holds true when I’m dealing with a woman, and when she’s attracted to me.  I respect her enough, as an equal, to make the same decisions that I do, and to suffer the same unpleasant consequences.

           

          I find it particularly interesting that you asked, “How does one get to the point where….”

          There’s another version of my quote which I’ve stated elsewhere, which starts like this:

          “If a relationship fails, it’s highly likely that at least one person will get hurt.  If the relationship succeeds, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’ll eventually both get hurt.”

          You, more than almost anyone else on this blog, should understand why I say this.  You know how much pain a successful relationship can cause.  And you’re still willing to try again.

          How did you get to the point where you were not only willing to face that again for yourself, but also face it for whomever you might succeed in a relationship with?

          The answer to the two questions is pretty similar.

           

          Emily, the original said:

          “I don’t think men understand how excruciating it is for women to have to turn a man down. I’d rather have a root canal. Men are conditioned and raised differently than we are.”

          Several years ago, I read an interesting statement from a psychologist.  She suggested that your reluctance to turn men down isn’t due to the pain they’ll feel.  You’re trying to avoid the pain, you’ll feel.

          In other words, you’re not being nice to the men.  You’re just being cowardly about feeling pain after rejecting them.

           

          But Emily is correct in one sense.  Men are conditioned differently.

          For example, at the age of 18, I had to register for selective service.  So while in my teens, I knew that the government had the right to conscript me into the military.  They could send me to a foreign country, and order me to kill people (who might not deserve to die).  Not only was that likely to cause them a fair amount of pain, but it was also likely to cause pain to their surviving relatives.

          And if I should survive that type of encounter, I’d be expected to soldier on, and kill more people.

          As a woman, what kinds of things did you think about when you were 18?

           

          It doesn’t matter whether you’re conditioning your muscles, your mind, or your emotions.  It’s not a painless process.  And the tougher you’ve become, the more pain you faced to get there.

        2. Emily, the original

          Karl R, 
          She suggested that your reluctance to turn men down isn’t due to the pain they’ll feel.  You’re trying to avoid the pain, you’llfeel. In other words, you’re not being nice to the men.  You’re just being cowardly about feeling pain after rejecting them.
          You’re inferring something I never wrote. I didn’t say I couldn’t reject men. If someone asks me out, he deserves an answer. I don’t believe in ghosting or taking forever to respond or dancing around what I really want to say. But there’s no getting around the fact that the person being rejected often feels pain. And yes, the rejector feels pain as well. No breaking news there.

        3. Jeremy

          Karl, “She suggested that your reluctance to turn men down isn’t due to the pain they’ll feel.  You’re trying to avoid the pain, you’ll feel.”  Bingo.  Exactly so.  The key is understanding that the empathy we so value in ourselves is overblown.  We aren’t feeling what others are feeling, we’re feeling what we imagine they are feeling – then feeling THAT pain ourselves.  And for some of us, our imaginations are over-active, the pain we feel ourselves disproportionate to what others are feeling.

        4. Emily, the original

          Jeremy, 

          We aren’t feeling what others are feeling, we’re feeling what we imagine they are feeling – then feeling THAT pain ourselves.  And for some of us, our imaginations are over-active, the pain we feel ourselves disproportionate to what others are feeling.

          This is irritating. ALL we ever hear on this blog is how men have to do everything in dating … the approaching, planning, initiating, etc. And that women just sit there with all the power, getting to decide if things progress or not. So we tell you that we feel horrible having to say no and consider the other person on the other end of it, and now we’re told it’s really our own pain we care about and that we are overestimating the amount of pain we’re causing the man. OMG, what do you want? Because if we said we felt nothing when saying no, you’d take us to task for that.

        5. Nissa

          I do it by recognizing that this person, deserves someone who will like and appreciate them at the same level that they are appreciating me…that I cannot honestly return at that level. By putting my focus on not shortchanging that person, it takes the focus off of me, and back to the level of “it’s not a match”. We all deserve a match, for whatever things are our dealbreakers (of course, non dealbreakers can be negotiated). But I strongly believe that roughly equal interest is a dealbreaker.

        6. Jeremy

          It’s about degrees, Emily.  I sometimes get the feeling you think I’m some sort of emotionless robot.  I’m the farthest thing from it.  You’re a Star Trek fan, right?  Do you remember why Vulcans developed logic?  Because without it their emotions were haywire?  Someone much like me must have come up with that storyline.

           

          I’m not berating women (or men) for feeling their feelings.  If they didn’t feel empathy for the people they reject, feel pain for inflicting pain, they wouldn’t be human.  Feel the pain, break up in the most painless way possible, give the person his/her dignity and try to shoulder the brunt.  But don’t avoid having the difficult conversations or taking the necessary actions because you’re afraid of pain.  As Karl wrote, that just ends up causing more pain in the end.

        7. Adrian

          Hi Karl R,

          Thanks! You have given me a new way to view this.

          Two quick questions:

          1. Have you ever rejected a women for something that seemed important when you were my age (31 about to turn 32) but now looking back you see those things don’t matter in the long run? If so what are some of those things?

          2. Do you have a top 3 things you consider  bad dating advice? I am specifically speaking of things that many people (relationship authors, dating guru’s, etc) repeat to the masses as being smart or right when it comes to dating but in truth you think it will actually hurt not help men in dating.

  3. 3
    Yet Another Guy

    The answer to this question is simple.  The OP should should thank the guy for his time, but tell him that she does not feel that he is a good fit.  If he is a decent guy, that will be the end of the conversation.  If the guy in question hyperventilates, the OP should tell him that she needs to go and hang up the phone.  If he calls her back, she should block his number.

    With that said, herein lies the most significant reason why a woman should never offer her telephone number to a guy from a dating site before she has agreed on a place and time to meet him. Instead, she should ask him to provide his number and then dial *67 block caller id before dialing it.  That way, a woman is in complete control of the telephone dialog.  Any decent guy who is truly interested will agree to this arrangement.  I do it all of the time without being asked.

    In the end, women should not worry about hurting a guy’s feelings at this stage.  Most men have had to deal with rejection since they were teenagers.  It is part of playing the dating game.  As Evan has mentioned many times, the average guy endures more rejection in one month on a dating site than the average woman will have to endure in her lifetime.

  4. 4
    bellamytree

    Suitable phrases for not progressing from screening phone call to face-to-face meeting, if he asks for a date:
    I sense we’re not looking for the same thing . . .
    My gut feeling is that we’re not on the same page . . .
    It’s good to have the opportunity for a chat like this, but I don’t want to take things further . . .
    Thanks for taking the time to call, but I want to leave it at this . . .

    Avoid giving any concrete reason, because that gives him something to argue with, if he’s the kind of man who doesn’t have the decency to accept that your first no means no.

    If he argues, don’t get drawn into detail. just repeat your first phrase – this is from assertiveness training. The very fact that a guy would dispute your clear ‘no thanks’ only confirms that he is definitely not to be met in person.

    And whether or not he tries to persuade you, end the call quickly and in a way that is final – gotta run, have a great week/all the best etc.

    1. 4.1
      Nissa

      @bellamytree,

      I like your suggestions and use some of them myself.

  5. 5
    Marika

    I know this isn’t ideal…but if you’re getting a scary or creepy vibe, you can say when he asks you out that you need to get off your phone to check your diary, then text him later to say, having given it some thought, you don’t think taking things further is a good idea.

    Again, not ideal, but it’s just if you feel he may get abusive. Obviously having awkward conversations can be part of any relationship, but having scary conversations doesn’t need to be part of talking to a virtual stranger.

    This happened to me with a guy who just said hello when I answered his call (when I asked if he was x he defensively asked who else would be calling), asked me what I did for work but then refused to answer the same question himself & got funny when I tried to politely end a (horrible) half hour conversation. There was no way I was seeing him or explaining why! But I am very glad I ended up chatting to him before deciding whether to meet.

  6. 6
    Marika

    Well…Karl, I could be misunderstanding, or it could have something to do with your wording…or a bit of both.

    Like I said, you’ve mentioned this many times and I personally think using the phrase ‘not ready for dating’ (even though possibly you are exaggerating) is unnecessary.

    Yes, it’s about degrees, and believe me, I’d like to be like you. It’s just never going to happen. And I don’t think anyone (with the exception of sociopaths and the like) isn’t ready for dating or should stop dating or not date or whatever… it makes it sound like pathologising those of us who are on the more anxious side. I know some very anxious people (much more anxious than me) who are happily married or out there contributing to the dating world without harming anyone. Is it harder on them/us? Absolutely. Is it some sort of pathology where we should hide ourselves away? Nope.

    1. 6.1
      Karl R

      Marika,

      Let me give you some real-life examples, and you can make your own determination whether they are ready for dating.

       

      Example #1:

      He’s afraid of being rejected, so he tries to “nice guy” and “friend” his way into a relationship.  Over the course of ~6 months, I watched him slowly try to befriend a woman.  During that time, he went on three not-quite-date-things with her.  His attempt with this woman abruptly ended when I asked her out on a date.

      This man was in his late 50s, now in his late 60s, and he’s never been in a serious relationship.  In his attempt to avoid the pain of rejection, this man spent months failing to date a woman.  If he had faced the pain, he could have failed far faster and more frequently, which would have improved his success rate.

       

      Example #2:

      She posted on this blog a few years ago.  She had convinced herself that all men would eventually reject her and dump her, so she “preemptively rejected them,” (her words) before they could reject her.  That was her way of avoiding the pain.

      She’s sabotaging every single one of her relationships out of fear of rejection.  Her relationships have no chance of long term success, because she ends them before they can succeed.

       

      Example #3:

      She was afraid of hurting my feelings, so she didn’t break up with me.  After several weeks of dating, she decided to avoid the pain/awkwardness of a breakup … by ghosting.

      I agree that breaking up with someone face-to-face is difficult.  But it’s even harder to explain to someone later why you ghosted them.

      I’d met this woman through dancing.  By ghosting she’d created a more awkward situation for herself.  She was afraid of having to explain why she’d ghosted, so she started avoiding the entire dance community … because she could never know for certain what dance event I might show up for.

      Of course, this just compounded her problems.  Not only was there the awkwardness of the breakup, plus the awkwardness of ghosting me … but she’d added the awkwardness of having to explain why she’d been avoiding me for months.

      As an outside observer, at what point do you think it became easier or less awkward for her to face the eventual conversation?

      Many months later, we ran into each other.  She stumbled through an awkward excuse about why she’d disappeared.  I really didn’t care what excuse she made up.  I’d assumed that she just wasn’t that into me, and started dating another woman two weeks after she ghosted.

      To the best of my knowledge, that woman didn’t date again for the next year or so (at which point she moved to another state).  It’s been 10 years, and I believe she’s still single.

       

      Were these people ready to date?

      I don’t really care whether the three people in the examples continue to try to date or not.  Unless they change their fear-driven strategies, they’re undercutting their chances of success.  They’re actually ensuring that they’ll fail.

      This also isn’t about being anxious.  (If I had to guess, #1 is anxious, #2 is anxious-avoidant, and #3 is avoidant.)  This is about repeatedly using an ineffective dating strategy.

      I don’t even think I’m “pathologising” the people in these examples.  I’m just observing what they do, and what the result is.

      I don’t think that they should hide themselves away.  They practically are hiding themselves away … even if they’re going through the motions of getting out there and dating.

       

      People get hurt during dating.  That’s observable reality.  In order to date, you have to put yourself in a position where you will get hurt and/or you will hurt the other person.

      And people fear pain.  So in order to date, you will also have to deal with the fear of that pain (whether causing or receiving it).

      If someone can’t (or won’t) bear the pain of dating, and if someone can’t (or won’t) bear the fear of the pain, what is their other option?

       

      I am trying to state this as plainly as possible.  I am just making observations about reality.  It seems to me that you’re arguing back against it … either because you don’t understand it, or because you don’t want it to be true.

      1. 6.1.1
        Marika

        Hi Karl R

        I am just making observations about reality.  It seems to me that you’re arguing back against it … either because you don’t understand it, or because you don’t want it to be true.

        Not really. I just think you’re being overly judgemental and a bit harsh. It’s not an observation, it’s your interpretation / judgement about these people. Lots of people end relationships badly or ghost or stumble their way through dating. Hopefully they learn and improve, that would certainly be the ideal. Or get some professional help. But even if they don’t, they are quite within their rights to be in the dating pool. All of us make mistakes and deserve a break.

        I let it go the first couple of times you said it, but this time I wanted to say something. I just see things differently. I know you’re excellent at debating – but it doesn’t make every word you utter correct. And anyone who disagrees incorrect or misunderstanding or blind.

        Happy to agree to disagree.

      2. 6.1.2
        Mrs Happy

        Your mind is beautiful.

  7. 7
    Marika

    Emily said:

    “I consider myself an avoidant and i hate having to reject someone. The avoidant will often not display the pain but will feel it just as much … unless it’s just a really bad situation (maybe a highly toxic person) and you just want out. When I’m done, I’m done”

    Thank you for explaining that. I guess the only real difference between you and me in relation to this topic (and maybe our attachment types more generally?) is the last line. My sister in law said something similar to me once and I’ve never forgotten it. As soon as she’s decided something is over, she has no problem putting it out of her mind and moving on. That’s a useful skill. Of course, also useful to know that even if someone doesn’t appear upset or to be struggling, they may be. Just not showing it. That actually helps with some situations where I’ve wondered how a person can move on so quickly, like the last relationship meant nothing. It’s probably not the case, it just appears that way.

    And I know, I know, that’s how you have to do it and not waste time etc (before someone tells me that – I know). I just find it difficult. And I find these conversations and explanations useful.

    1. 7.1
      Karl R

      Emily, the original said: (#2.1.2.2)

      “The avoidant will often not display the pain but will feel it just as much”

      Marika replied:

      “Of course, also useful to know that even if someone doesn’t appear upset or to be struggling, they may be. Just not showing it.”

      This ties into an interesting point.  There’s been an underlying assumption in this thread (expressed by several individuals) that men feel less distress than women, particularly when they’re doing the rejecting.

      This reminds me of a study I found (and linked to, elsewhere on the blog) years ago.  It stated that when you scan the brains of men and women (either with an EEG or FMRI, I forget which), they show equal amounts of emotional pain.  But if you ask them how much emotional pain they feel, the women self-report feeling higher levels of pain than the men do, for the exact same amount of emotional pain.

      And it’s entirely possible that this is a conditioned response.

       

      Emily, the original said to me: (#2.1.3.2)

      “You’re inferring something I never wrote. I didn’t say I couldn’t reject men. If someone asks me out, he deserves an answer. I don’t believe in ghosting or taking forever to respond or dancing around what I really want to say.”

      I didn’t infer that, but I can see why you did.

      You assumed that men don’t understand how excruciating it is to turn someone down (even though we also turn people down and break up with partners).  Marika assumed that I’d said that a thick skin was a requirement for dating.  Both of you inferred that I was talking about getting to where I don’t feel pain.

      When you reject someone, you give an answer, because that’s the right thing to do, regardless of how you feel about it.  When I approached women, or rejected women, or broke up with women, I was doing what had to be done, regardless of how I felt about it.

       

      In dating you have to do things that hurt you.  You have to do things that hurt others.  You have to do both of those just to succeed.  And if you want to act in an ethical manner, you have to face up to the pain you’re causing and experiencing.

      And I don’t think Gabrielle understood this, because she asked how to turn someone down for a date “without hurting his feelings”.  That implies that maybe she can’t bear the thought of hurting men … like she’ll have to if she wants to act ethically.

      1. 7.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Just want to make a subtle distinction:

        When you break up with someone, you are not intentionally hurting them as if you were to say something vicious or throw a punch.

        You are declaring a simple truth: you’re wonderful, but I don’t see myself marrying you and you deserve to have someone who is all in. Period.

        Thus, I’d encourage everyone who is so afraid of hurting others to reframe this.

        You are not hurting them. They are feeling hurt. There’s a difference.

        1. Tom10

          @ Evan #7.1.1
          “When you break up with someone, you are not intentionally hurting them as if you were to say something vicious or throw a punch.
          You are declaring a simple truth: you’re wonderful, but I don’t see myself marrying you and you deserve to have someone who is all in. Period.”
           
          Is that completely true though Evan?
           
          When declining to meet someone for a date are we not implicitly saying: “I don’t see you as good enough; I think I can find someone better. Period”?
           
          And that’s what really causes the hurt. That we’re not good enough. That we don’t cut the mustard. Something, or everything, about us just doesn’t cut it. It hurts because it cuts right to the core of who we are.
           
          And we’ll never know why we’re not good enough because the other party almost never tells the truth; if they don’t fade out or disappear they usually obfuscate with vague language, which leads to further doubt about what is the real quality we lack that makes us not good enough! Then we magnify all our potential flaws into actual flaws! Gosh the thought processes of the insecure dater ain’t fun.
           
          —————–
           
          FWIW I’m surprised to see all the comments here about people feeling guilty rejecting others as in the real world most people I know have no problem brutally rejecting others; as they were brutally rejected in turn so many times themselves.
           
          As Karl said; rejecting and being rejected is simply an inherent part and parcel of dating.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Listen to the terms that you’re using. They’re not objective. They’re subjective. “Brutally rejected.” They’re feeling words.

          “You are not good enough” may be what you’re feeling. But if you’re on the other side – and are rejecting someone, you’re not trying to hurt them or make them feel bad about themselves. Intent matters. A lot. So while someone might – foolishly – internalize rejection as “I’m not good enough,” I encourage people to see rejection for what it REALLY is: “You’re great, I just don’t see myself spending every day for the rest of my life with you,” which, when you think about it, is quite reasonable and a lot less insulting than one’s initial reaction.

          Your emotions may be real to you, but they’re not always an accurate representation of objective reality. By the way, your comment is exactly why I wrote Why He Disappeared. People want to know the WHY – and the truth is that there are dozens of possibilities and that none of them actually matter. Your future spouse DOESN’T break up with you. Anyone who does is not your future spouse.

        3. Nissa

          Very much so, exactly right.

        4. Adrian

          Hi Evan,

          I really enjoyed your response to Tom10. So my question is what do you think were the key things in your childhood/teen years that helped shape your ability to look at rejection in such a positive manor?

          As you know from my past my parents we religious workaholics, so I didn’t date or even think about girls (without feeling like a sinner) until college. And even then it was in a unrealistic Hollywood romantic way. Which is why I ended up becoming engaged to the first girl I got serious with.

          I have the looks but not the confidence or experience and I strongly believe that confidence and experience trump looks. So I was hoping you would not mind sharing what things you believe helped cause you to not see rejection as Tom10 described…

          I wish you still had your podcast because this seems like a great subject to talk about. Have you ever thought about doing a “Go Fund Me” or a “Patreon” account to support your podcast? I would gladly pay for the content you provide.

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          “I really enjoyed your response to Tom10. So my question is what do you think were the key things in your childhood/teen years that helped shape your ability to look at rejection in such a positive manor?”

          It’s hard to answer this objectively, Adrian. As best I can tell, it was a combination of having married parents, being an oldest child, being academically advanced, and being born with irrational confidence that got reinforced by my parents and teachers along the way. Basically, I believed I could do anything, and if I failed, it was just a sign that I had to try harder. One of my proudest achievements – believe it or not – was making JV basketball in 10th grade after getting cut in 9th grade. I’m not that tall, I can’t shoot, but I’m smart and I work hard. My business is the same way. There are cuter guys who are better with social media. I just feel very strongly that what I have to say is important and am willing to put in the work to get the message out.

          My default setting is to fail, learn, fail and learn, fail and learn. It never occurs to me that I’M a failure or that I should quit. If that makes sense.

          And, for now, I’m appreciative that you’d pay for content. I have other fish to fry for now, but will keep it in mind.

    2. 7.2
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      My sister in law said something similar to me once and I’ve never forgotten it. As soon as she’s decided something is over, she has no problem putting it out of her mind and moving on.

      That’s only if I really want it be over. Maybe I’ve discovered something in the person’s personality that makes him repellent or I get to the point where I fundamentally don’t like him. But I once broke up with someone because it wasn’t going anywhere and I very much wanted it to. I felt I had no choice but it was painful. I had been hoping he’d call me after a few days to talk me out of it. He didn’t, and when I ran into him a few weeks later (for professional reasons), I was extremely cool but really more hurt than anything else.

  8. 8
    MilkyMae

    Thin skinned people who get upset when they are rejected can be men or women. The ones who ask are the ones who lash out. If you don’t ask, you can’t complain about being shot down. The only difference is that men do most of the asking so they make up most of the whiners. Men don’t have a monopoly in frustration.

  9. 9
    Marika

    Hi Jeremy

    I think that empathy is somewhat inborn in a person’s temperament”

    You do? That’s interesting. Can I ask what makes you think that?

    “This must be gotten over ”

    I agree that it needs to be accepted that this is part of dating, or even interacting with other people, it’s the gotten over part I’m not sure about. Not that that wouldn’t be the ideal, but holding out for that magical day we feel no/little pain at rejecting others (firing them etc) – for some of us is not likely to happen.

    Again, it’s mostly the ‘not ready to date’ bit I object to. I know that’s an exaggeration, but I’m just sick of hearing it. I think it’s unfair (like only secure people have the right to date) and short sighted (as you learn and grow through experience).

    1. 9.1
      shaukat

      Hi Jeremy
       
      I think that empathy is somewhat inborn in a person’s temperament”
       
      You do? That’s interesting. Can I ask what makes you think that?
      @Marika,

      I tend to agree with Jeremy on this point, and it certainly fits with some of my personal experiences. For example, the reaction of a child to a homeless person is quite different from an adult’s or even an adolescent’s response (since full blown socialization has not yet had its effect). A French philosopher, Rousseau, made this point and argued that intellectual capacity could sometimes blunt this natural empathetic response to suffering, by allowing individuals to concoct narratives that rationalize people’s unfortunate circumstances. I also remember reading a piece by an evolutionary biologist awhile back who argued that if cooperation, and hence empathy as a byproduct, had not emerged among hominids as a survival strategy, then consciousness would likely have never evolved in homo-sapiens.

      Curious Marika, as a neuroscientist, are there not pathways of the brain associated with empathy?

    2. 9.2
      Jeremy

      Re: “getting over it,” consider the difference between bravery and confidence.  Bravery is being afraid but proceeding anyway.  Confidence is proceeding while appearing not to be afraid.  Confidence (at least, generalized confidence) is bullshit – either a contrived act or evidence of extreme stupidity.  Bravery, though, bravery is something to be applauded, an ideal to which to aspire.  IMHO, of course 🙂  In the same way, one need not proceed in dating as if one had no feelings.  One should proceed in spite of them.  Bravery, not confidence.

       

      Regarding empathy, I’ve read studies that basically say what Shaukat wrote below – that empathy is somewhat innate and “grown” differently depending on our experiences.  Interestingly, I don’t tend to like how those studies were designed – particularly how they utilized discrete observations as surrogates for global empathy.  I’m much more interested in motivations than in discrete behaviors, and I don’t think that empathy has been studied well in that regard (though given your background, I’m sure you’ve read more on the topic than I have).

       

      I tend to think that each of us is born with a temperament, a predisposition, to either give more value to our own emotions or those of others.  The child who sits nicely in class, listening to teacher and awaiting her gold star has very different internal motivations from the fidgety boy who can’t wait to get the hell out of the classroom.  The one tends to value security, tends to be super-sensitive to the emotions of others because in doing so she better fits in, feels more secure, and ultimately derives her sense of values from the feedback of others.  The other tends to value expression and positive affect, valuing the opinions of others only insofar as it benefits him.  Of course, this is an over-simplification.  What I’m trying to say is that I think empathy is related to temperament, to inborn personality.  I am more interested in WHY a person is empathetic than how and when that empathy is demonstrated.

      1. 9.2.1
        Marika

        Hi guys

        Fun chat! I’m not a neuroscientist, though, I work in a related but very separate field. I’m also in clinical work, not research, and don’t recall coming across studies specifically about empathy when I was studying and working in research.

        Shaukat

        Like I said, I don’t know, but they probably have done fMRI studies looking at which brain part/s (my guess would be parts) are involved in empathy. And maybe they have compared serial killers who felt no remorse to controls or something… but that still wouldn’t tell us anything about nature vs nurture. Obviously the more you use it, the more you build up that pathway. Which points more to nurture than nature I think.

        There’s the landmark study about the teacher who built up empathy to individual differences by dividing the class into eye colour (to demonstrate that discriminating on the basis of something like skin colour is arbitrary and upsetting). As adults, some of those kids interviewed carried that lesson with them. But perhaps they only interviewed the people who were more wired towards empathy in the first place.

        Jeremy

        It sounds like you’ve read the studies.  Feel free to send me a literature review 🙂

        But in your example… it could be that the kid sitting quietly had it drummed into him/her in subtle and not so subtle ways from birth that the best way to get love and approval is by being well behaved, and the other kid has something else going on in his / her frontal lobes (unrelated to empathy) making him/her bouncy and distracted. Studies of human behaviour are tricky, as you know. Studies of personality/temperament are even trickier (as you no doubt know) – which measure do you use? Is self-report reliable etc. etc.

        I’d love whenever I came across a person with a distinct lack of empathy to put it down to ‘well that’s how they were born’! That would make life easier 🙂 But I suspect it’s not that simple. It’s probably a mix of nature and nurture. Like Mrs Happy said, anecdotally I think it can change with time and life circumstances. And in her example, maybe temperament plays a role in whether trauma makes a person less or more empathetic (Mrs Happy remember the parents of Anita Cobby, and the lady whose son was murdered by the ex who was Australian of the Year – can’t recall her name) – trauma made them more empathetic, or brought out their empathy even more. In ways that were quiet amazing.

        I love the thing about bravery. I don’t have the negative visceral reaction to confidence that you have, but I understand the distinction, and it certainly makes sense. So does Evan’s re-framing of a break up as giving the person a chance to find their life partner. That helps.

        Oh, and Mrs Happy, it seems the band is back together 🙂

    3. 9.3
      Mrs Happy

      I think empathy can alter throughout a person’s lifespan.  I think trauma, or being in survival mode, changes (reduces) a person’s ability to feel connected to others and empathic.  Having children routinely alters womens’ ability to tolerate other children being harmed, reduces their tolerance for even hearing about it.  I think for some people empathy can be a learned skill.

      1. 9.3.1
        Jeremy

        Do you think that the empathy itself is learned in such cases, or that what is learned is to value it?  I’ve missed our chats.

        1. Mrs Happy

          It think the following.  Some people (not many) cannot feel empathy no matter their parental modelling or upbringing, their brains just do not have those sections and connections, e.g. sociopaths.  These people learn to feign emotions like empathy to succeed in the world.

          Other people, e.g. children with brains capable of feeling empathy, have upbringings which are severely disadvantaged, e.g. traumatic, emotionally absent parents, horrific poverty.  Those kids just don’t get taught empathy, they don’t see much of it, so it isn’t part of their makeup.  If they are taught later in life, or modelled empathy later in life, watching the world around them, then they can feel more empathy.

          People who experience a random trauma at some stage can see their empathy change; I’d always assumed decrease, but Marika makes a good point regarding trauma to one’s family and how that can increase empathy for some.

          It is so common as to be routine that after having children women find themselves much more sensitive to stories of any harm befalling children, that I suspect that change must be hormonal and due to pregnancy, childbirth and infant bonding.

          Empathy is a feeling and I do not think it is easy (?or possible) to adjust immediate feeling states, so I don’t think empathy can be ‘learned’ in that sense?

          An important point is, empathy is fluctuant.  It changes within even a day, e.g. after a long tiring day at work, let alone a year or lifespan.  Spend any time in a hospital Emergency Department’s waiting room and watch the triage nurse… at the beginning of her career, as a bright-eyed 21-year old, 30 years ago, she cared about people and was kind and empathic (a male’s dream really).  But is there a more unimpressed-by-pain-and-suffering normal person on the planet than an old career triage nurse?   She has seen it all.  She’ll jump for a real emergency but she won’t bat an emotional eyelid for anyone in the waiting room and their protestations of pain, despair, suffering – their is nothing left in her empathy tank.

          Oh and I knew miss wouldn’t do it justice so I sent Evan’s assistant my email address to forward to you months ago when you left.  I’ve never had a pen pal.

  10. 10
    Elle 1

    I guess the only way for Gabrielle to ensure she does not hurt his feelings by rejecting him during a screening call is to switch it up and get him to decide to reject her.  Here are some lines that could help accomplish that.

    1.  I don’t like getting wet, so I only take a shower and wash my hair once a year.

    2.  I always eat supper at the table with my cat, who is very possessive, so you’ll have to get used to eating from a bowl on the floor in the corner.

    3.  I will only have sex with you if you sing the song “Maneater” by Hall & Oates with me first.  Every. Single. Time.

    4.  Some men think I am controlling because I insist on picking out the clothes they wear everyday.  I’m not controlling, I just always know what is best for them.

    5.  Speaking of picking things out, I pick my nose regularly, even in public, because I enjoy how it feels. Then I examine it, because I find the different kinds of stuff from my nose to be very interesting. Then I eat it, because I believe in recycling and reducing the transfer of human germs into the biosphere.

    A little creativity can go a long way to keep anyone date free!

    1. 10.1
      Sandra

      Why not just leave a text if the proper words don’t come out on a phone conversation?

      1. 10.1.1
        Elle 1

        Sandra

        I was just joking around. My point is that if you deliberately say things that turn a guy off because you are not interested in dating him, you won’t have to worry about rejecting him because he will stop pursuing you.

  11. 11
    Tron Swanson

    “I discourage coffee dates.”

    Yikes. You want men to go all-in financially, eh, Evan?

    I’ve never asked a woman out in my life, and I don’t think I’ve missed anything. I experienced more than enough rejection without doing that; I don’t need any extra.

    1. 11.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I encourage women to treat men well – to make them feel accepted, appreciated and admired. I encourage women to be cool about exes, porn, and frequent male insensitivity and cluelessness. I encourage women not to sleep with men who just want to get laid if they don’t enjoy the feeling of being used. I encourage women to judge men on what really matters in the long run: kindness, consistency, communication, commitment and character. Women who listen to me end up in great marriages because they understand men and have healthy boundaries for how they expect to be treated. Why any woman with self-esteem would fuck a guy who only invested $4.25 in a latte to show his interest is beyond me, but, as always, whatever makes you happy, man.

      BTW, I wouldn’t call buying drinks and appetizers on a Friday night “all-in.” It’s just called a date.

      1. 11.1.1
        shaukat

        ‘Why any woman with self-esteem would fuck a guy who only invested $4.25 in a latte to show his interest is beyond me..’

        Sorry Evan, you know I like ya and generally support the message of this blog (I don’t spend time reading or commenting on sites I disagree with) but I find so many things wrong with this statement. First, there is the possibility that the woman is also just interested in casual sex–in which case, the latte, or the dinner, or the drinks, are completely irrelevant. But maybe you’re abstracting from those cases. Still, I disagree with this notion that the latte, or the apps, or the dinner, or the drinks, are an adequate measure of the man’s ‘investment.’ All those things simply serve as the opportunity to explore whether two people are compatible, mutually interested, and have chemistry. The activity shouldn’t, and in my experience often doesn’t, really matter. And on the flip side, I know quite a few dudes who are happy to drop cash on nice dinners even though they just want sex. They tend to view their money/status as an expression of their value when it comes to dating–not my style.

        Also, and correct me if I’m wrong, your dating model was formulated before tinder, or bumble, or any of those swiping apps. It works when a guy is dealing with a highly feminine woman who invests in one man at a time–it doesn’t take into account the fact that so many people (men and women) are trading up in this dating culture. In my experience, most considerate women no longer even expect the man to court in this fashion anymore. However, I am curious: If one of your clients were to gout with a guy who suggested splitting the bill, would you tell her to next him?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          1. If a woman is interested in casual sex, this doesn’t apply to her. Thus, anything you say beyond that misses the point. You should know better that when I’m giving sex advice to women who get hurt by men who still active on Tinder, it is irrelevant to someone who is cool with that dynamic.

          2. The activity shouldn’t matter. True, in theory. And yet, in practice, it does. If you were looking for a job with one company who flew you out to meet their executive team, put you up at the Four Seasons and took you out to a lavish dinner, while their competitor just told you they’d text you when they made their decision, which company would you value more. Thus, it’s not about money – but about consistent, personal attention. Dinner, not coffee. Phone calls, not texts. Following up the next day, not 3 days later.

          3. My model was formulated before dating apps. I did a TED talk about it. People think apps are the solution, but they are the problem. Same as social media. Everyone uses Tinder. Everyone complains about how flaky and rude everyone is. Well, of course they are! You’re a photo on an app, not a person. They have nothing invested in you. So I encourage my clients to nudge guys into better treatment – phone calls, emails, daily flirtation, followed by dinner/drinks after less than a week. The alternative is what you see now? Swipe right, text, meet, and maybe fuck a stranger. It’s a broken model. It’s wise to preserve the best of online dating – getting to know, vet, like and trust a stranger – without giving into the worst – exemplified by dating apps that, for the most part, are not good for women’s dating experience.

          4. Part of the problem is the lowering of all expectations in courtship. I may not be able to put the genie back in the bottle, but I’m going to continue to do my job in reminding women that they deserve better treatment than to be part of some guy’s coffee/texting/sex harem. I would think you would agree with that.

          5. If I were a coach for men, I’d tell him to pick up the bill, in full, without question, because it’s “effective.” As a coach for women, I find myself playing devil’s advocate and encouraging her to give him a shot when she wants to break things off after he splits the check. So you’ve got it backwards. Women can’t stand guys who treat them as disposable, yet they put up with it anyway because they don’t have the confidence to expect more. I provide them that framework. The right guy will step it up. The wrong guys will eliminate themselves. Win/win for women who listen to me.

        2. Nissa

          @shaukat,

          I’m with Evan on this one, for a surprising reason: it really doesn’t matter what you, the woman, think about this. This is how MEN think about it, and how men react to it emotionally. Therefore, instead of imposing a female paradigm on men, it is more effective to accept them as they are and how they function.

          Women do this too, in other circumstances. I have a dog with a bad eye, that I tried unscuccessfully to avoid having to remove. I put medicine in it every 6 hours a for a few months, tried different products, comforted him when he tried to get away from me medicating him, and waffled about what care to give him. That process of investing in him with my time, energy and focus changed my feeling about him. He became my favorite, because I invested the most in him.

          Shaukat, you may not see the dinner, drinks or phone call as an investment, but it’s not the money or what drink is ordered – it’s the time, effort and focus. That’s true, completely independent of the woman’s intentions or investment.

      2. 11.1.2
        Tron Swanson

        Evan,

        I’m against the idea of “investing to show interest”. Women don’t do it for me, so I don’t see why I should do it for them.

        I don’t believe that women are “being used” if they sleep with men who are only after sex. This implies that women don’t enjoy/want sex. If they want more than that and are being lied to, yes, they’re being used. But to act like women aren’t getting anything out of the equation…well, you’re either insinuating that sex is so easily-attainable for them that it’s a minimal benefit, or that women don’t place as much value on sex as men. Both of which back up my own viewpoints.

        I’ve never even taken any women on coffee dates. Granted, I don’t drink coffee. I predict that, in the future, people will view coffee dates as romantic, as men will have become reluctant to make even that much effort…

        Adrian,

        I don’t enjoy “going out” or “meeting new people”. And my idea of a “good time” isn’t “waiting to see if this woman is going to sleep with me or not”. When I spend money on myself, I genuinely spend it on myself, not others. I’m proud to say that I’ve never wasted a single dollar dating–because of that, I’ve been able to afford many things that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Your presence here continues to baffle me, Tron. I know what you stand for and live your life. I don’t know why you comment, if not to publicly declare your wisdom and superiority over what we commitment-minded people are doing. You’re like an atheist trolling a Catholic website. It doesn’t affect me at all. I just don’t get it.

      3. 11.1.3
        shaukat

        Fair enough Evan, except I disagree with the analogy you drew in point # 2; I don’t believe a man should, in this environment, approach courting a woman as if he were an employer trying to woo a high demand, sought after applicant. Creates the wrong dynamic imo, but if that works for other couples, great.

        Also, while I agree with you that swiping apps have altered the dating environment for the worse, I think you downplay the extent to which it’s also altered the preferences of women. For example, in my experience most women now prefer texting over calling as well. And it’s not just men who have a rotation of prospects. My point was simply that it’s understandable if guys adapt their dating strategies in this context.

        That said, I agree coffee dates are boring, and have personally never suggested them.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Acknowledged. It wasn’t the perfect analogy. Truth is BOTH men and women should slow down and make individuals feel special instead of treating everyone as disposable. So yes, you’re right that things have changed and women have changed along with it. I’m pushing back because I don’t see this change as actually being beneficial to women. I think it’s something they’ve been fed – the gamification, the dopamine hit (like social media) – and few have stopped to consider that what they hate about dating is embodied by dating apps. Too many choices. Not enough personal investment or connection. So regardless of what the world does, I will continue to favor MORE personal forms of communication (phone and dinner) over LESS personal forms of communication (texting and coffee).

        2. Noone45

          Why in the world are people going to the park with almost strangers? Are you trying to get stabbed? 🤣

          I get as an ugly woman I’m expected to “take what I can get”, bit most of these cheap date ideas put you at risk of getting murdered and tossed in a dumpster. Security first, your feelings later, maybe.

        3. Sandra

          Noone45
          Why in the world are people going to the park with almost strangers? Are you trying to get stabbed? 🤣
          Couldn’t agree more.  Besides, many men here have expressed their extreme dislike of activewear on any but the most fit of women, so why would a woman want to meet a man in her activewear on a first meeting?

        4. Scooter

          Noone45
          Why in the world are people going to the park with almost strangers? Are you trying to get stabbed? 🤣
          I get as an ugly woman I’m expected to “take what I can get”, bit most of these cheap date ideas put you at risk of getting murdered and tossed in a dumpster. Security first, your feelings later, maybe.

          Noone45, you repeatedly say you’re ugly.  Now, I understand that having an autistic child can negatively affect one’s dating life. I can definitely empathize, there.

          However, I wonder if you are over-stating your self-professed homeliness?  On a scale of “Sam Kinison’s crotch” to “Shrek”, exactly how ugly do you think you are, and WHY?

          In my experience, people who fixate on their ugliness tend to be much more attractive than they believe. The problem is that they cannot “see it”; they think any positive comments are out of pity.

        5. Noone45

          Sandra, what’s good for the goose certainly doesn’t seem to be acceptable for the gander. I’m going to get attacked for saying this, but women have got to stop accepting poverty penis. So many women take crap men fro who broke emotionally, morally, and financially.  I don’t get it. If you don’t have the money to date (and it goes for women to) you need to focus on getting your finances in order. It’s about priorities.

      4. 11.1.4
        Chris

        Evan’s services, and this blog, are aimed at women who are trying to attract men who can afford these dates. Though even modest meals can be pricey at some locations, and if you’re going to be going on a couple of dates a week this can add up. It behooves women to be gracious and order cheaper options if they are uncertain about their date’s financial situation.

    2. 11.2
      Adrian

      Hi Tron,

      I see your point but I also see Evan’s. There are so many study’s that are easily found with a quick google search that show how much men pay on average for 1st dates annually. When Yet Another Guy first said this I thought he was just bragging but nope he was right!

      Evan is right that putting your best foot forward is also the best way to start a relationship. Many female commenters repeatedly say there are inexpensive date options but what they fail to mention is that location dictates if that option is really viable or not.

      Honestly I think as men our best option is to just become as selective as women when approaching and asking women out. Of course because of the rejection rate (also something that has been researched and can be found on google) many men inadvertently set their bar lower and lower, while broadening their search criteria.

      This is not necessarily a bad thing but as Shaukat has repeatedly pointed out there are a lot of negative consequences that result from this. Look at it like this, regardless of the results see the first date as a chance to get out, talking to someone new, and ultimately have a good time. You are spending the money on yourself don’t look at it as you are spending the money on a stranger whom you must impress.

      1. 11.2.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Adrian

        When Yet Another Guy first said this I thought he was just bragging but nope he was right!

        I can assure you that my bank account wishes I was bragging. 🙂

        1. Adrian

          Hi Yet Another Guy,

          Do have you tried the free dates all the women talk about? Has that had a positive or negative effect on the impression it gave your dates?

      2. 11.2.2
        Nissa

        @Adrian,

        I don’t get your point about location dictating options. Everywhere you go has an outdoors, and most locations have parks, museums, malls with “entertainment areas” like fountains, not to mention places like fairs, local events and meetups. I live near LA, which is expensive in terms of real estate, and there’s TONS of free stuff to do. In every location, if you want to make a date inexpensive, you can do so. Accountability is moving past minor issues by depending on yourself.

        1. Adrian

          Hi Nissa,

          I am not sure if you can’t see my point because you have never been in the role of the person that is responsible for asking out, planning, and trying to make sure the other person enjoys the date. But…

          I have traveled across the U.S a lot and I can tell you that every major city is not the same. Even if they were I believe many of the women on here are forgetting that all women don’t consider those low cost options as good first date material.

          I fear that sometimes both sides of the commenters see women in an unrealistically positive way. 3-4 years ago when SparklingEmerald first brought up the idea of outdoor free date or low cost date ideas I thought it was genius and wondered why more men didn’t realize do it.

          Now I see that they probably have but the results aren’t universal whereas dinner does give you generally expected results because everyone eats. So first thing I will get out the way is how into you a woman is. I believe that the more a woman is into you the less she cares about the medium a guy uses on a date and the more she cares about if they have a connection or not. But as Shaukat and Evan’s conversation just highlighted women are just as into the abundance of choice age of dating apps as men are. It’s hard to really get to into a guy when you are talking to several at the same time. Women want to meet as fast as possible like guys to decide if they should next you and move on; too many options to waste time on just one. So the whole building up rapport that is the core of the 2-2-2 rule I don’t see happening much, again I’m talking about average first dates not first dates where the woman is really into the guy.

          Anyway since trying the free or low cost method I have found that most women are neutral about going out with you: not really excited but not just giving you a try because they have no better options. Most women don’t want to just walk around a park on a first date (I’ve heard it being called lame). Most women don’t want to play games in the mall entertainment area (I’ve gotten strange looks at this suggestion). Local events and fairs are great except that fairs are seasonal and every local event doesn’t interest every woman.

          Again Nissa as the person who is choosing the date the burden of ensuring that we pick something that both parties will like falls on the guy. Dinner in a nice restaurant is neutral, going to an art fair or concert isn’t. What do you do with a woman who doesn’t like art? You next her? What about the woman who doesn’t like the type of music being played? You next her to? How about a woman who doesn’t want to walk around a park? You next her as well?

           

        2. ScottH

          I find it interesting when someone from one group tells someone from another group that their responsibilities are easy (which is essentially what you’re saying).  It’s not as easy as you say it is.  Some of us live in places where it gets dark by 5:00 and is below freezing for 4 months of the year.  Yes, there are low or no cost options available but they are not always readily available or unlimited or convenient.

          Heck, child birth should be easy.  What are all you women belly aching about?  Just go to the hospital and have the damn baby.  The doctors and nurses do all the work.

        3. sylvana

          Adrian,

          I’d say you’d have to start with at least somewhat pinning down exactly what kind of woman you would like. You can’t get too specific, sure, but there’s a huge difference between a woman who doesn’t want to get dirty or do outdoor activities, prefers to wear high-heels, impeccable outfits, hair, makeup, high-end restaurants, formal events, etc., and a more sporty/outdoorsy type of woman, or an animal lover, who likes nature, enjoy burger joints and finger foods, etc.

          The first type would likely not enjoy a “free” or “cheaper”, and definitely not a more outdoorsy/sporty date. While the second type will likely feel somewhat uncomfortable in a stuffy, dress code, 5- star restaurant or an art gallery.

          While you should keep an open mind, you are likely better off eliminating certain personality types right from the start. And try to go for those you’ll have some common interests with. That alone will give you a general idea of what kind of date they might enjoy.

          As Evan suggests, if you have a phone call or two before the actual date, it should give you a pretty good idea of what the woman actually does enjoy. Things like art, museums, animals, outdoors, sports, etc. are easily determined. If you follow his strategy, you’re not really planning a date “blindly”.

          You can always create a list of a few, fun things you can come up with. Then ask ask her about it when you talk to her. Give her options (and make her give you a clue), by straight up asking her which she prefers in a fun way.

          Something like: Which is your favorite/which do you prefer (not talking just about dates, but in general)?

          Formal restaurant, burger bar, or picnic?
          History or Future?
          Day at the Spa, or day at the beach?
          Formal event or casual outing?
          Any indoor activity vs. any outdoor activity? (Like Art Gallery vs. outdoor arts & crafts fair. Or countless other things. I simply can’t come up with anything indoors, short of museums, I’d actually do, so my indoor activity knowledge is rather limited.)
          Musical or concert?

          The possibilities are endless. Fine tune them to what is available around your area. And do include some things that you really enjoy.

          True, she might say “both”, but if you tell her “if she had to choose”, you’ll get a pretty good idea of not only what she really likes, but also her personality. If she tells you neither, you’ll have a better idea as well. It will also make her feel like you are truly trying to get to know her.

          Take the stress out of the date planning by getting her to reveal some of her preferences.

          Once again, Evan’s one or two e-mail and phone calls should really give you a pretty good idea of what you both would enjoy. So, while the planning is still on you, you already know you’re planning something she does (or at least claims she does) enjoy.

        4. Nissa

          @Adrian & ScottH,

          Since I’m a woman who has asked multiple men on dates and paid for those dates, I consider myself qualified to speak about it. I’ve never had the experience of a man acting like he didn’t enjoy date, so it’s mystifying to me that this is an issue. I’ve taken men on picnics, walks at the beach, met them in sports parks (we have amazing sports parks in California that are brightly lit, full of people, so I have no idea why people are picturing dark creepy forests where bathrooms are used for illicit activities), taken men  to dinner, and met them for coffee. Now, it has been years since I’ve done that, but I remember those dates as fun and interesting even when the relationship went nowhere. I didn’t really like the asking out or paying parts but I’ve done it multiple times. I enjoyed the planning parts and I’ve only ever had one date that seemed like the date was unsuitable (and he was looking for a woman to take care of him financially, so we weren’t a fit).

          Adrian, I can see why women might not want to play video games at an arcade-like location. One, it would be too loud to talk, and two, I personally tend to see video games as being a bit childlike. So I’d have to say no to that one myself. I personally like all of the things listed above – parks, beaches, museums, art – so if a person didn’t like those kinds of dates, that’s valuable information for me that I need to know, to know if we are a match. So I see this as a good thing – you are learning exactly what you need to learn about that person, if they match you. Isn’t that the point of dating?

          Even in your own comment, you say that if a woman is into you she won’t really care what kind of date it is. Excellent – isn’t that exactly what you want to know? What a terrific, easy way to weed out the women who aren’t that into you and are just filling an otherwise boring evening? Gotta see the positive here, brah.

          Figuring out what someone likes is as simple as asking a few questions (I was able to do it easily, even before online dating – now you literally just look at what they have in their profile or on Facebook). If a woman doesn’t like art, ask what she does like. It’s literally staring you in the face if you look at her clothing. Is it designer fashion, or overalls? The phone in her hand, is it brand new or old – what’s on her playlist, what picture is her background? Do you really find it so challenging to ask a few questions? If it gets dark by 5:00 and is below freezing, surely any place that well lit and warm would be an excellent start.In Minnesota they have dates at the Mall of America, I’m sure. Sylvana is dead on when she says, offer a few options and let her pick. If you choose from what you are willing to do, there shouldn’t be an issue.

          In a humorous aside, in SoCal, health is a huge thing and so many people have either special diets or don’t eat at all. I belong to several groups of intermittent fast-ers, most of us only eat once a day or skip eating several days at a time. So in SoCal, can’t actually assume everyone eats.

        5. Adrian

          Hi Nissa, Sylvana, and SparklingEmerald,

          I fear that each of you have missed my and I believe ScottH’s point.

          All the things you all mentioned are actually great and I agree with them when they are available… Which was the point.

          …   …   …

          Nissa said, “most locations have malls with entertainment areas

          Yes those areas have games; adults play games to.

          Nissa said, “I personally tend to see video games as being a bit childlike

          So Nissa I highlighted this comment because I wanted to show a point. It’s not an attack but an observation.

          This is the point that I and I think ScottH along with others were trying to make. A point that many were not getting (and to be honest just will not get). Nissa it’s one thing to say that you are not interested in playing games but it’s another to say the malls have entertainment areas but when the guys suggest going there you then degrade and belittle him by saying it’s child like…. Again I know you won’t see it that way.

          Now again I am NOT attacking YOU. Also just being honest even if I were addressing some of the commenters they would not see any flaws in that…

          Anyway

          In one of Evan’s old news letters he tells the story of a guy who was with a woman that was upset that the guy wasn’t being a man and pick something for them to do but at the same time everything he picked she put it (and by proxy him) down by criticizing the choice… Of course she did not see that she was doing that.

          You say parks, other women say that’s murder territory (literally right above your comment) and yet no one addresses that instead you all brush over my point about it not being as simple as you think about planning a first date and instead lecture me on how simple it is to plan a no cost or low cost first date.

          I always welcome advice so that’s not the problem, the problem is that you are failing to acknowledge or perhaps you just can’t see that the low cost, no cost options are not always available and the few that are available may not be what the woman likes… Hence being called child like or a possible park murder.

          And finally I have a little niece that just turned 6, along with two baby cousins that are 3 & 2. I love all three, I love spending time with them and I watch all 3 alone on the weekends to give their parents a little free time (plus who can resist chubby cheeks). However, just because I babysit a few days out of the month DOESN’T mean I can place myself on the same level as a full time parent. I CAN’T tell them that parenting isn’t as hard as they say it is.

          Like-wise just because you have asked out a few guys doesn’t mean you understand what it’s like to be a guy who approaches, calls, plans, and pays for the majority of the dates.

          I wrote comment #12 about how our different backgrounds when it comes to dating affects how we perceive the struggles of others.

        6. sylvana

          Adrian,

          are you planning a blind date? It somewhat sounds like you know absolutely nothing about the woman you’re trying to plan a date with.

          Either that, or we are totally misunderstanding what you’re trying to say.

          I understand that some women might not like your choice. And that your choices are limited (although a picnic outside is available anywhere), since I live very rurally, and options here are limited.

          What I’m not understanding is how you, after exchanging a couple of e-mails, then talking on the phone, still have absolutely no idea what the woman might like. Aren’t likes and dislikes one of the first things to talk about to establish if you even have anything in common?

          And why not just ask what her idea of a fun date would be? If a woman thinks less of you for asking, you don’t want her anyway. That would mean she expects you to be a mind reader.

          Or are you saying that the kind of women you like aren’t the types who would enjoy a simpler/cheaper date?

          Or that you’re trying to entertain a high-end restaurant, formal event kind of woman in an area that doesn’t offer much to her liking?

          It’s no different from planning any event for anyone. Find out what that person likes, then plan something around it. Hopefully, they’ll like it. If they don’t, they’ll either appreciate the effort, or you move on, because it’s not a person you want to be around.

        7. SparklingEmerald

          https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/free-activities-nyc

          Here is an article that lists 21 totally free things to do in NYC.  One of the most expensive cities in the US.  Whatever city you live in, go to your google search engine and type in free things to do in  (your city).  This link is a tad old (2015), but all or most of these things should still be available.

          Nissa lives near LA and there is a ton of free stuff to do.

          I have traveled and lived in many places in the US, and I have always been able to find, low cost or no cost things to do.  Not just in terms of dates, but planning fun social events with friends.  I also used to be a Meetupcom.com leader and most of the outing I planned were free events.

        8. Nissa

          @Adrian,

          No worries, I am not feeling attacked, but I realize that I meant something which didn’t come across. When I said “entertainment areas” I meant the fountains were entertainment…like the water show in front of the Bellagio in Vegas, or the art displays in the mall, meant to entertain people as they walk by or sit down in the provided seating. I’m not offended by people joking about parks as murder setups, because some people hear “parks” and think “hiking miles into sparsely populated areas with a stranger” which seems valid – but since that’s not what I’m suggesting, there’s no reason to be offended.

          I’m sorry you feel your choices were belittled. I want to point out that this is just my opinion, as I am sure there are many others that don’t feel that way, so I certainly agree that many people would be happy to do that. I would say, that it is my intent (and possibly the intent of others) to show you how easy it can be, when you would prefer to feel understood. That your tone suggests you feel powerless, and we are suggesting that you have the power to make a difference. That you are pointing out a few things that don’t work, and we are suggesting to focus on the things that DO.

          Maybe an example would help. There’s a guy who makes videos about how easy it is to make money, by doing things like getting free stuff from Craigslist, or cheap things on clearance or from 99 cent stores, and reselling it. He’s right. Would I want to do that, or experience it as ‘easy’? No, because I personally don’t much like shopping and I can’t stand shipping things. I don’t know why, it’s not rational. But my personal preference doesn’t mean this guy is wrong. Technically, he’s correct in that it only requires skills almost everyone has or is willing to use. Low cost dating is the same thing. There’s always something that would be available to you. You (or your date) might not want to do them, but that does not mean that they aren’t available and don’t exist.

          You seem like a great, smart, fun guy in many respects, but in this one instance you seem like you are making it harder than it needs to be. Many things are simple if we like to do them, and feel “not-simple” if we don’t like them. I think that’s what is happening here. You aren’t enjoying it, so you are experiencing it as hard. Whereas I enjoyed planning the dates and experienced it as getting to have more choice in activity, timing and effort.

          You might experience more pleasure if you plan what you want to do and invite others to join you in that. It’s certainly worth a try.

      3. 11.2.3
        SparklingEmerald

        Adrian said : “Dinner in a nice restaurant is neutral, going to an art fair or concert isn’t.

        You really think so ?  With so many people and all their dietary concerns, I don’t think so.  She could be vegetarian, vegan, dislike Italian food, be gluten intolerant, etc. etc.  She could dislike your choice in a restaurant, etc.  So picking a restaurant is not a sure deal, and suggesting art or a concert is not a near sure fail.

        You seem to be digging for a reason to not go low cost or no cost.  Personally, I don’t like dinner for a first date with a stranger.  I don’t like the constant interuptions form the wait staff (and yes, I realize they are just doing their job),  and I don’t like wanting to contribute to the convo, but my mouth is full of food, and doing the “just a minute” hand signal, etc.

        I AM fortunate in that I live in a warm weather climate, and our parks have nice sculptures and fountains etc. We also have nice hiking trails and nature trails, all free.   Our museums are free on some nights, there are art walks (free).  Free concerts in the park.  One of the funnest dates that I went on was in downtown.  We went to a free museum exhibit, then we walked up and down Central Ave and my date showed me his “favorite elevators”  We rode up glass elevators in the taller buildings to get a nice view of the city lights.  I know it sounds corny, but I had a nice time, looking at art, walking around downtown, and riding the glass elevators.

        Also, when I wrote my OLD profile, I put those types of things under the question “First date ideas” and gave specific park names, hiking trails etc.

        So look at her profile, hopefully, she gives some ideas of what she likes to do.  ASK her in that screening call.

        I have met OLD dates at the park where a free concert was going on, at the library where they had a free exhibit, for a walk in the park, a hike up a mountain,  and yes, for coffee dates.  Also, I know EMK doesn’t recommend “coffee dates”, but it was an initial coffee date that led to me now being happily married !

        If a girl doesn’t like the idea of a “cheap date” for an intial meet and greet, then you’ve just weeded out a gold digger.  You want a girl to like YOU, not your wallet.

        Good luck !

        1. sylvana

          SE,

          those all sound wonderful 🙂

        2. PacNW Smile

          I would LOVE an elevator date! How memorable and fun. I would forever look at elevators and remember that date.
           
          The best date I ever went on probably cost $10. He suggested we meet at a park adjacent to an art museum. The grounds had water features and sculpture and it was just beautiful. It was free and a real hidden gem. I was so impressed with the romance of walking around a beautiful setting and talking about art and the ducks and swans. Then we found a picnic table to sit for a minute. Out of his backpack, he pulled out a couple of red solo cups and two beers. When we met, we had the typical “Where are you from?” conversation and he remembered I was born in Texas, so he had found a Texan beer and he had a beer from his own home state. I was so impressed that he remembered something about me and then made the effort to find a way to celebrate my uniqueness that way; I felt really special. Honestly, I was floored. And the fact that he was sneaking these beers out was also kind of thrilling; he clearly had a bit of an edge and that was a turn on. We were being “bad”, and we were doing it together. On our second date, we drove to a scenic point and watched the sunset over the city from a bench. We talked and made out; it was very romantic. Our relationship never took off for several reasons, but over twenty years later, those are still my most favorite dates of all time.

      4. 11.2.4
        AdaGrace

        @Adrian: Here’s a list of the best dates I’ve been on over the course of about 35 years dating.  All were inexpensive, many extremely so, compared to the income of the man involved, and I would have been willing to pay my share in all cases (actually did so in all cases where I felt it would be graceful and not signal lack of interest to the man involved):
        – A drinks date at my favorite lounge with a guy I’d met online (Usenet).  He showed up nicely dressed… I showed up a few minutes late, out of breath, sans makeup and wearing sweats, because I’d lost track of time — I had to fly out the next morning to give a conference talk and wasn’t done making the slides yet.  Even more embarrassingly (and kind of hilariously) I’d forgotten my ID and looked maybe 13 at the time, so we walked nearly a mile back to my place and THEN back to the venue talking about obscure science fiction stories, my upcoming math talk, the chem lab he was teaching, our similar backgrounds, and many other things. (we ended up together/married for 13 years)

        – We went to a local amusement park together and rode the rides until we were dizzy, getting smooshed together while talking and laughing about the physics involved. (together for 11 years)
        – We went to a free concert of minimalist vocal music together — we both thought the *idea* sounded cool but discovered neither one of us were even remotely enjoying ourselves, so we snuck out of the concert hall and cracked each other up over cheap food with our own “unique” renditions of the pieces we’d just heard. (together for 18 months)
        – We planned to attend one of the early Ignite Seattle! events (kind of like a local TED talks thing) where, during intermission, there was a contest to see who could design a sufficiently protective container for an egg… container+egg would be fired (catapulted?) from a trebuchet at a brick wall, and would “win” if the egg remained unbroken.  Before the event we hit a local store and pieced our entry together out of duct tape and free scraps of foam the store unexpectedly *gave* us — then celebrated our egg’s survival over cheap but good late night food.
        – a 5-hour coffee date with a math professor that included, at one point, him pulling out a laptop to show me a simulation, which I later found out was totally his intention in bringing it.  Much discussion and hand-waving ensued.  Date ended with arguably the best end-of-first-date kiss I’ve ever experienced.
        – We met in a well-populated park in late July just after lunchtime and sat on a blanket under a tree, chatting and working on our individual chainmaille projects.  By dusk we were nestled against each other and quite hungry — Whole Foods was close by so we grabbed dinner from their salad bar.
        – Our first date had ended early because I was getting a cold, so he proposed a raincheck:  dinner and an hour at an escape room.  Working together with him to solve problems under time pressure was not only a blast but also gave me some insight into who he was, how he might handle difference of opinion when stressed, and even whether or not he’d be threatened by my competence (he wasn’t)

        ==========

        Obviously these specific dates wouldn’t work for most women (or men), but I think the *reasons* they were good dates are worth thinking about:

        – Each one came about because we’d made enough contact ahead of time to have a good idea of which thing(s) we both enjoyed doing for fun, had in common, or might enjoy learning more about from each other.

        – Nobody got bent out of shape about how much or little our activity cost or whether it was “the sort of thing one should do on a date” — from my POV it’s really the man himself I want to know and engage with, and hopefully vice versa… as long as the setting allows that to happen and shows you were paying attention to some extent, yay.

        – In cases where something went wrong, we were both able to adapt and find humor in the situation — obviously not something you can guarantee your date will do (and I’m against the idea of manipulatively *planning* a “shit test”) but you have control over how *you* handle the unexpected.  If you’ve clearly made a genuine effort and your date still can’t deal, are you likely to be all that well-matched?

        – We were *both* active participants in making the experience mutually enjoyable even though the guy was the one who’d technically picked the activity/ies, set much of the pace, and (in many cases though not all) felt inclined to pay.  If you feel as if your efforts consistently aren’t reciprocated in a way you can appreciate, and that this is going to be an ongoing thing rather than a “first few dates” expectation of hers, are you targeting the right women?)

        And yeah, I’ve enjoyed planning enough dates to empathize to some extent but seem to mesh best with men who have somewhat more masculine than feminine energy — somewhere between 70-30 and 60-40, maybe?  Possibly the reason my own “best” first dates weren’t planned by me but one or more subsequent ones with the same men often were.  (If you’re targeting women with a lot of “feminine energy” but also have a fair amount yourself, you might want to rethink who it is you’re approaching; the right woman will see that as an advantage.)

        1. AdaGrace

          @Evan Aw, thanks… this is the kind of stuff I *wish* I hadn’t been too overloaded with work stress to write for you to shape into my profile last year… I feel really lucky that you were able to read (listen) between the lines to figure it out anyway 🙂

      5. 11.2.5
        Mrs Happy

        Dear Adrian,

        I read an interesting book last year, called “The no spend year: how I spent less and lived more” by Michelle McGagh.  It was a fascinating account of a year she lived in London, didn’t let herself spend anything on entertainment, travel, clothes, etc, (couldn’t even pay for public transport, she walked or cycled) but she was allowed to pay rent + electricity and a small amount for food (about ?$50/week or something) – she ate lots of veges, rice and lentils and never ate out.  Anyway aside from being a funny look into the minutia of someone’s life (stuff I love), she learnt about the numerous free things to do in her city, and there was an enormous amount on offer.  If you were serious about considering different sorts of dates, read the book, it will broaden your thinking on this issue.

        BTW it is not your job to make sure the woman enjoys her evening with you.  Plan an evening and let her feelings fall where they may.

  12. 12
    Adrian

    Hi Marika,

    You said, “On the topic of empathy, I agree with you that it’s an important trait and one that is often lacking…There are some people on here who do nothing but talk about what they want but can’t get, and complain about everything, never take on any advice or suggestions

    Today I fell victim to click-bait on YouTube. There was an interview with an American comedian named Chris Rock and it was titled “Being famous is like being a hot chick;” it turned out to be a interview he did in Australia 3 years ago.

    When the Australian reporter was asking him about his childhood of being a poor black kid in America I could see the disconnect. She wasn’t mean, nor rude, and it wasn’t awkward (technically), but at the same time you could tell she sympathized with it but couldn’t empathize with it. I liken it to perhaps if you or I read a book about someone from the 1400’s going out to sea for the first time, their fears and struggles. Sure we can understand the struggles of the character intellectually but no matter how hard we try we can never connect with their issue more than that.

    Reading Scooter’s conversation and replies (his and everyone else’s) about his struggles with dating reminded me of that. I think the biggest cause of conflict we have here is that most people have different backgrounds and levels of achievement/ease when it comes to dating. The problem kicks in when we are unable to see that others may not have had it so hard or easy.

    It’s easy to take for granted something we’ve had/used since we were old enough notice the opposite sex. This also applies to people of the same gender. It doesn’t matter if it is height, looks, intelligence, or even wealth, people who have advantages in dating take those things for granted and even start failing to see it as a big deal or an advantage.

    When we offer someone sympathy for their struggles here in the comments we get upset when they don’t take the unsolicited advice we throw in along with the sympathy for free. But how can someone feel like we understand them when as soon as we say I feel bad for you we turn right around and also say it’s not as bad as you are making it out to be; it’s YOUR FAULT for only going after “__” type of men/women.

    …   …   …

    As a side note I realized that your voice in my head doesn’t have an Australian accent,  Tom10’s doesn’t have a European accent, and Clare’s doesn’t have a African accent. I wonder if I am the only one who imagines American English when I read everyone’s comments?

  13. 13
    Marika

    How picky are people? You don’t love the location of the date – so what, you get over it. How bad could it possibly be anyway? Even if you don’t LOVE art, looking at a few pictures certainly can’t be a deal breaker (can it?).  I think it’s ridiculous to worry so much. That being said, I’m from a place where it’s most likely the date will be at the local! I think I’ve had two dates where the guy gave thought to my interests. And while that was certainly touching, after the first date, I didn’t give it much ongoing thought. Plus, with one, I knew within half an hour it wasn’t working. But I felt obliged to stay as he’d put so much thought into it.

    I would imagine if the date planner finds a cheap location he or she enjoys and feels comfortable in, that would be the ideal. Nervously trying to impress a stranger rarely works.

    And parks are open spaces with lots of people (presuming it’s a landmark type park like Central Park, I doubt the suggestion is to meet up in a kids’ play area). How are you getting killed??

    1. 13.1
      Noone45

      “And parks are open spaces with lots of people (presuming it’s a landmark type park like Central Park, I doubt the suggestion is to meet up in a kids’ play area). How are you getting killed??”

      Because the US is not New York city. You do realize people have been murdered on Central Park? I’m not saying it happens that often, but women have been murdered meeting people off OLD sites. You cannot take that lightly. That is why you should never allow someone to pick you up for a first date and that date should always take place in a VERY public place. I do not do parks as it’s too risky in my area. Not all parks are well lit and stocked with people,  even during the day.

      I maybe a princess,  but I won’t be dismembered and tossed in a dumpster.

      1. 13.1.1
        Marika

        Yes, I know the US it not New York. I said ‘like’ Central Park. It was an example. I’m not going to go on Google maps and list out all the big/well known parks across the US.

        People were murdered in a cafe in Tasmania. But I’m not going to spend the rest of my life avoiding cafes.

  14. 14
    Marika

    PS. Nissa: Thank you 🙂

    Women organise and pay for dates too. Decent, non-princess women that is. So it’s not a stretch to understand this concept or weigh in with location ideas.

    The childbirth analogy is completely ridiculous.

    1. 14.1
      Nissa

      Thank you back :-). Maybe the guys can go on Bumble and get to experience the side of waiting to be chosen.

  15. 15
    Marika

    Adrian said:

    “I fear that sometimes both sides of the commenters see women in an unrealistically positive way”

    That comment is beneath you.

    It’s like saying men who claim not all of them (you included) are just after sex are ‘seeing men in overly positive ways’. No. It’s seeing them in a balanced way.

    If you choose to date princesses who demand fancy dinners on first dates, that’s your business. But there are plenty of nice, normal women who don’t feel like that (granted that’s probably less the case in the 20 year age group when women have less life experience and some see themselves as having endless options).

    In any case, it’s a losing strategy to make ridiculous claims like it’s being overly positive to claim not all women are crazily picky, we have NO experience organising dates, or Scott’s childbirth analogy.

    That’s where you lose me.

    1. 15.1
      Adrian

      Wow! Marika my friend I fear you have succumb to blog jadedness without realizing.

      Of course you can disagree with that statement but I hope you will consider it.

      Statements can be true while simultaneously not be putting down all women, nor absolving men of guilt.

      But as you know it’s not my policy to argue or debate so if you wish to take that comment and that single comment alone out of all the things I’ve said and regardless of the context of the sentence as my somehow putting down ALL women then that is your right.

      1. 15.1.1
        Marika

        Adrian

        I’m sorry if it bothered you. I stand by what I said though, I think SE, Nissa and I aren’t being overly positive at all – the particular statement bothers me because I strongly disagree. In fact, when this comes up (which is often) the prevailing view is that women as a group expect too much on a first date. I’m trying to balance out that negative view. And Nissa and SE are trying to help you come up with ideas that don’t break the bank. Because we can recognise it’s not okay for men to have to pay through the nose to date.

        …although I do admit you may have copped some of my anger at Scott comparing planning a date to childbirth.

        You and Scott have clearly met some awful women, and that’s terrible. I’m sorry to hear it.

        But, like you think we are missing your point, I strongly believe you are missing our point.

        Our point (or certainly mine) is NOT that you as a man should have to come up with amazing date ideas and/or be subjected to abuse if you don’t. Or that all women are completely cruisy and non-demanding and everyone will be happy with every free/low cost options.

        My point is that you should do something you feel comfortable with, within your budget, and worry less about what the woman will think, or likes, or may potentially say behind your back. You may never see her again. You may dodge a bullet from avoiding getting into a relationship with a demanding, pushy woman. It only matters what she thinks to the extent you want to have a nice date. But you can’t please everyone. And the most important thing is to be calm and happy and good company on the date (not pick the perfect location). If she can’t see that, she’s not worth your time.

        You also seem to be bothered by the idea of Nissa & SE giving you a few ideas. Why? If you disagree with them, don’t do them. They are just examples. And they show that not all women expect men to pay through the nose to meet up with them. And they do come from their personal experience of planning dates themselves.

        We were trying to help. Really. And we can relate – at least to some extent – as some of us do plan dates and are happy to contribute financially.

        1. Adrian

          Hi Marika,

          Anyone else I honestly would not waste time replying to when the conversation starts going south but I really love talking to you and I love your comments because of all the brightness  you bring to the blog… Which is why it pains me to see you suffering from the blog jadedness. The old Marika would have seen both the subtle and the blatant negativity but unfortunately I think you have become so use to the negativity that you no longer even see it (-_-)

          I pull away and take breaks when I start becoming infected, but I think you have been submerged too long.

          Just look at the whole thing with Jeremy and what chased him away. NOT ONE woman that attacked him apologized yet they all pretended to mourn his leaving and praised his return…. How could it be genuine when no one acknowledged the cause of his departure?

          And what was he saying or doing that was so bad? One point of disagreement among all the positive things he said about women and suddenly he was labeled someone who looks down on women (I believe it was you specifically who said that). Everyone was so upright and virtuously attacking him yet no one looked at their own self in the mirror…. I thought this was a site for women to learn about men, not just learn “only” about the things from men they want to hear. I know I personally really felt horrible about chasing Jeremy away which is why I apologized to him as soon as he came back.

          But I always apologize if I wrong someone on this blog, always have and always will. I don’t have that level of hubris which is why if I truly believed I offended the women here with my statement I would apologize…

          Thus this whole long post is not about me defending myself, it is about me trying to show you that maybe… just maybe you are suffering from blog jadedness without realizing it Marika.

          ….   ….   …

          You said, “I’m sorry if it bothered you. I stand by what I said though

          That’s not what bothered me, what bothered me is the fact that you the bright light of the blog can no longer separate a comment in “context” from a person’s overall character. I said “women sometimes”… are you saying it never happens…EVER? Of course not but you jumped to conclusions and attacked/got defensive and that is not like you.

          You’ve always been smarter and sharper than me.

          You said, “I think SE, Nissa and I aren’t being overly positive at all ”

          You said, “You and Scott have clearly met some awful women, and that’s terrible. I’m sorry to hear it

          See you acknowledge that not all women enjoy low cost date or are easy to please Nissa didn’t. That is why I said “sometimes”: NOT ALL WOMEN, NOT ALL THE TIME…

          I believe that if you were not suffering from blog jadedness you would see this. I was addressing a specific point not making a definitive broad statement.

          You said, “Our point (or certainly mine) is NOT that you as a man should have to come up with amazing date ideas and/or be subjected to abuse if you don’t. My point is that you should do something you feel comfortable with

          Yes that is great and all… except it was not the point of my original post. I first acknowledged that low cost and free date ideas are great. Nissa, SparklingEmerald, and Sylvana gave more idea and I acknowledged they were all great again as well! I just simply said they are not always available in every area… That’s it. Nothing else.

          The women are the ones who started making it about weeding out high maintenance women, which was not the purpose of my comment, nor the reply to their comments.

          Again I believe that a Marika not suffering from blog jadedness would have seen that and not got sucked into the negativity.

          You said, “You also seem to be bothered by the idea of Nissa & SE giving you a few ideas.

          But I don’t. And never was, I was only pointing out that it is more nuanced that that. Perhaps one day you can go back and re-read my post objectively.

          The fact that you of all people would assume that I would be bothered by suggestions and ideas and that you of all people would project a negative outlook on my response is what again leads me to believe that you are suffering from blog jadedness.

          I ask more questions than anyone on this blog. When SparklingEmerald first suggest low cost and free date ideas years ago who do you think she was answering?

          You don’t project or add things that people didn’t say; that’s not you Marika.

          You said, “And they show that not all women expect men to pay through the nose to meet up with them

          But where did I say that? When did I even bring up wanting a women to pay? Sounds like someone who has an agenda or who is defensive and is striking back… You know… like a jaded person would do…

          Now it’s no longer about the subject of low cost dates being available, it about men vs women, who should pay vs who shouldn’t, being used vs not, who does more on the first date…

          Wow! That’s a lot of subconscious negativity. That’s the power of blog jadedness, we don’t even realize all the implications of our words but they are there in the background of our minds and at the core of our arguments. The jadedness stops us from looking at a person individually and we start seeing everything as male vs female.

          You said, “You and Scott have clearly met some awful women, and that’s terrible. I’m sorry to hear it

          Really??? Awful??? Why? Because they don’t want to go on a low cost date or because they don’t like fairs?

          This^^^... This is why I truly believe you are suffering from blog jadedness without even realizing it. The Marika I know would not call women awful for not liking certain dates. They are free to like and not like certain things just as I am. Awful would be if she used a guy but being awful for not wanting to walk in a park? Terrible because we had to do a little extra work and find something fun for two people instead of being lazy taking the easiest route or selfish and just doing something we liked?

          Emily was right you are the heart of the blog Marika don’t go dark. I was not attacking women and I don’t want you to attack women. Women who don’t pay are not awful, just as women who want a fancy date are not. We are not a match sure but they are a perfect match for some guy.

          A person’s taste is not to be used to judge their character and a good person can sometimes say or do nasty things… Marika use to always say that, that’s who I learned it from.

          If I came to your city right now and you had to plan something for us to do, you would use what is available right? What if on that particular weekend there were no free or low cost options? What if what was free or low cost was something I told you I would hate to do or would be miserable doing it? If someone implied that you were at fault for not being able to find something low cost for you while also fun for me, would you say they have an unrealistic view of dating… of men sometimes?

          Yes I stand by my point that in certain situations some people have unrealistic views of how women act during dating . Change the subject and I would say the same about men. Marika you use to always say women were not a monolith, so just from that statement is it possible that some people do believe that all women are kind, nice, and easy going about dates?… Maybe I’m wrong, maybe women all women are like that.

          Okay here is my last point I promise then I won’t speak on this again.

          Look at most of the commenters that everyone calls positive, me, Tom10, Karl R what do we all have in common? We all take breaks from the constant negativity of the comments section. Tom10 and I do it specifically because we notice when we start becoming negative, aggressive, defensive, pessimistic about dating, etc…

          You said, “We were trying to help. Really. And we can relate – at least to some extent – as some of us do plan dates and are happy to contribute financially.

          And this is why you don’t realize that you are infected because you only see  YOUR intent not the results of your actions. Remember I made that comment to Nissa specifically, someone who has been very vocal about guys needing to be the ones to approach, plan, and pay first. I didn’t say that to all women and I certainly didn’t say it to you or Sparkle, two female commenters that have been very vocal on this blog about women paying.

          The majority of our most negative regular commeters honestly can’t see that their comments are negative.

           

        2. Nissa

          @Marika,

          Thank you for this post, you are exactly right.

        3. Nissa

          @Adrian,

          You said to Marika: See you acknowledge that not all women enjoy low cost date or are easy to please Nissa didn’t. 

          I acknowledge that ALL women don’t enjoy low cost dates and not ALL women are easy to please.

          I was just under the impression that you (or most men) wouldn’t want to date women that preferred high cost dates and were difficult to please. But you are right, that’s an assumption.

  16. 16
    Marika

    Oh Adrian

    That’s a lot…

    I can see you’re upset, so I wouldn’t want to respond to everything you said and asked, as it would likely  further upset you.. (but can’t in all good faith just agree to placate you, I think you’re assuming a lot of bad intentions here and making some pretty extreme accusations).

    Let me just say that I do hope you find a lovely woman who likes you for you and is happy with whatever date suggestions you come up with that makes sense in your area and your budget – which of course I don’t know. You know what works for you far better than me. But always remember that you’re a catch and these women would be lucky to have you!

  17. 17
    ScottH

    Adrian-  I think we have suffered the same illness and I’ve recently come to realize what I was doing.  My frustration after another bad date came down to: “why wasn’t this one, #349, exactly what I’m looking for?!?!?”

    My bad for expecting this to be easy, to find someone remotely close to what I’m looking for at this age.  It’s NOT easy.  If you’re chatting with someone and suggest a meeting,,, at an arcade and she scoffs and wants 5 Star restaurant, you just weeded out another unsuitable candidate.  Once, I was chatting with someone and suggested meeting for ice cream at the mall.  She literally LAUGHED at me and asked if I was kidding.  It felt good to block her.  Another woman went cold after I suggested dinner at a happy hour.  Must not have been good enough for her.  Next….

    I was chatting with another and she suggested meeting for a drink before I asked her.  Hmmm, I think I’m liking this one.  Drink turns to dinner and she said that she should pay because she asked me.  Trying to be a gentleman (it’s hard for me sometimes), I insisted that I pay and she let me.  Hmmm, I think I’m liking this one.  Then she told me that she preferred eating at home to going out.  Hmmm, my type.

    I must add that my favorite first date is a walk in a nearby estate that is amazingly beautiful and ALWAYS makes a good impression and is totally free.  I don’t think I’ve had a bad date there and I’ve done it many times and there’s a good, reasonably priced restaurant nearby if I decide to treat her to a meal.  There are also some really good happy hours with full dinners at ridiculously low prices.  However, the walk is not good in the cold winters and happy hours are limited and not always convenient.  There’s also a world class museum (free entry) that has free concerts and is a super classy date, but again, is sometimes limited because of location and times and not real good for a first date because it’s in the city.

    About paying for dates:  I’ve talked to plenty of guys IRL and there is a strong consensus where I live (Metro Detroit) that guys get fatigued over paying yet most women observe that guys will pay the whole bill with a smile.  This means that a lot of guys (where I live) secretly resent paying.  Women would be wise to recognize this.  Sometimes when I’m inadvertently with a gold-digger, it just feels like she has conscripted and distorted chivalry to satisfy her slovenly desires.  Don’t think that we don’t notice this.  IMO, there should be woman’s version of chivalry, which I think is what Evan is trying to teach you all.  Some women seem to think that men have to be chivalrous, yet they don’t have to exercise any appropriate code of conduct.  Wrong!  And I know that I do NOT speak for every man.

    A friend of mine summed up his dating philosophy quite well (and he just got remarried):  1) the guy should take the lead, 2) the woman needs to let him know that it’s safe to do so, and 3) she needs to make it easy for him to do so.  I like his philosophy and I think women looking for a guy would be wise to heed this advice.

    Just remember-  99.7% of the women you meet are not suited for you (or me or any other guy).  That is an immutable fact, like death and taxes and there is no point in getting upset over it.  And it is our responsibility to fend for ourselves.  If she laughs at us for suggesting ice cream (or video games) on a first date, she’s not right for us.  I firmly believe there is a lid to every pot and there’s some pretty weird pots out there (just go to any concert and look around).  Good luck.

    1. 17.1
      AdaGrace

      @ScottH: I’m so happy to read this, deciding not to be a victim is a huge deal and I suspect ultimately a winning strategy 🙂

      Something to think about: Hopefully you’d be cool with a woman saying something like “That’s a nifty idea but I’m all thumbs — is there someplace else besides an arcade we both might enjoy an doing an activity together?” or “I’m severely lactose intolerant but enjoy other kinds of sweets — is there someplace else we could enjoy a treat?”  i.e. making it clear without putting you down that the specific activity was a no-go for a good reason but that she liked the *general* idea and still wanted to spend time with you?

      For instance: While I happen to like videogames and can tolerate small amounts of ice cream, as a celiac I’ve had to think a lot about how to decline the suggestion of a specific restaurant that will cause me days of pain — without making it sound as if I’m any less interested in the guy, or as if I don’t appreciate his efforts to find a place that will please me.  Usually I say something like “Sounds delicious, but for medical reasons I can’t eat gluten so (proposed restaurant) sadly isn’t an option for me; is there someplace else you know of that would be safe?  I realize this may not be something you’ve ever considered, so I’m perfectly happy to suggest a few appropriate venues or leave the research completely up to you.”  If he asks for suggestions I offer 3-5 — slightly varying cuisines, locations and price ranges, but hopefully at least one that’s pretty close to the cuisine/location/price range of his original choice.  In other words, I try to honor the *general* idea he originally had and provide useful information without trying to take charge.  If he feels comfortable doing the research, I quietly double-check his choice online (since I can’t afford the downtime of him being wrong) and then make sure to compliment the quality of the alternative(s) he’s offering.  Given that I can’t choose the least awkward path of simply not having celiac disease (I wish!), this approach seems to minimize awkwardness.  At best it gives him an additional opportunity to make an effort, and in turn gives me an the opportunity to show how much I appreciate that effort… i.e. a mutual win.

      1. 17.1.1
        ScottH

        Ada Grace-  i have no problem at all changing plans because of things like that.  I would appreciate her feedback on making a choice.  One of the things I find awkward is picking a place without knowing her preferences.  I would prefer to throw out a few options and seeing what she has to say.  Maybe that shows lack of confidence or that I’m a weak beta male or even that I’m feminine but I really don’t give a sh!t.  The right one will appreciate it.   After all, I’m trying to please her.  Those who expect me to read their minds should just say so and save both of our time.

        1. AdaGrace

          Nice!  I like it when guys do what you’re talking about (offer several options and allow me to choose).  You put the time into researching several possibilities instead of just one, i.e. took *more* initiative, viewed a certain way — you’re giving her super-clear evidence that you care that she has a good time.

    2. 17.2
      SparklingEmerald

      Scott said “My frustration after another bad date came down to: “why wasn’t this one, #349, exactly what I’m looking for?!?!?

      I know EXACTLY what you mean.  When I was in OLD, I wasn’t frustrated with the MEN per se, but with the PROCESS and that it wasn’t working.  Even on “beige” dates where there was obvious mutual disinterest, I would be frustrated at coming up empty handed AGAIN, not upset that I was rejected by someone I wasn’t interested in to begin with.  It would be like job hunting and the 200th place of employment you inquired into  said “We’re not hiring anyone at the moment” after the 199th prospective employer told you, “We don’t think you are a fit for this position”, and after the 198th prospect wanted to hire you on the spot, but you didn’t want to touch THAT job with a 10 foot pole, so you had to reject the offer.  You might realize that NONE of those 200 interviews for a job would have worked out, but you are still FRUSTRATED at not being able to find the right job.

      I felt no bitterness towards the men I was interested who rejected me after an initial meet and greet. The men that I had to tell “We’re not a match”, I didn’t think they were awful or anything, just not my match.  In the case of mutual disinterest, well, no reason to be upset with the other person in that case. But after the 100th or so date and coming up with ZILCH, it became frustrating.

      “Once, I was chatting with someone and suggested meeting for ice cream at the mall.  She literally LAUGHED at me and asked if I was kidding.” 

      How rude of her.  Glad you blocked her.

      Trying to be a gentleman (it’s hard for me sometimes), I insisted that I pay and she let me.  Hmmm, I think I’m liking this one.  Then she told me that she preferred eating at home to going out.  Hmmm, my type.

      Hope you and this lady work out !  Keep us posted.

    3. 17.3
      MilkyMae

      Just remember-  99.7% of the women you meet are not suited for you

      At the risk of sounding nerdy, those odds are about 1 out of 300 dates lead to success.  Odds like that are simply not good enough.  1/3 of a percent is less than random.  People in motley groups form intimate relationships at a greater rate.  You need much better odds especially given that people don’t go on arbitrary dates.

  18. 18
    Marika

    Scott & Sparkling

    Yes!

    Then your friends, who either never tried OLD, or happened to meet their partner on there quickly say ‘I just don’t know what you’re doing wrong!’…. Sigh…

    Hope it works out with the new lady too!

  19. 19
    Jeremy

    Adrian, it’s hard to respond to what you wrote above, so I’ll focus on just one thing. Of all people, I know you are on this blog to learn, so here’s something important to understand about communication : men tend to communicate by what they say. Women communicate by what they say, what they don’t say, the way they say it, the way they choose not to say it, their tone and their context.

    You wrote that no one apologized to me – that isn’t true.  Some apologized with their words, and some apologized without words but with manner. With praise, with almost over the top self effacement. As if to say, ‘I’m too proud to say sorry  but I’m saying it without saying it so I hope you hear me.’ I heard.

    A woman turns to a man and says, ‘do you find it cold in here?’ He doesn’t look up and says ‘no.’ And the two are having completely different conversations. She is saying, “I’m cold and want you to turn up the heat. But I don’t want to put you out by asking you. And I want us to establish closeness by you telling me that you are also cold or at least care that I am cold, and take action to show you care.” and when he says no  she hears,” I don’t care about you, don’t want to be close to you, won’t do anything for you, and will make you take all responsibility on yourself. ” Of course  he don’t hear any of that and wasn’t saying that. He just wasn’t cold. She accused him of being uncaring, he thinks she’s nuts. They are speaking different languages.

    The advice to women is to learn not to be emotionally hurt by conversations that never actually happened. And the advice to men is to know that as far as women are concerned  these conversations have happened  so learn to listen differently.

    1. 19.1
      Emily, the original

      Jeremy,

      A woman turns to a man and says, ‘do you find it cold in here?’ …. They are speaking different languages.

      No. She ask if it’s too cold. He says no. She learns he likes it colder than she does. No surprise. Men tend to like it colder. So she asks if she can set it to a temperature that is a bit warmer but maybe not as warm as she’d like. If he refuses to compromise on a temperature they both find somewhat comfortable, she learns he’s selfish.

      Some women communicate very directly. If she wants to apologize, she does. She still may speak the man and be cordial but feel an apology isn’t warranted or that a discussion isn’t necessary because they’ll never be able to agree.

      1. 19.1.1
        Marika

        Yay, Emily you’re back!

        I’m not a direct communicator by any means, but I very much agree with your second paragraph. This also ties onto the conversation about not taking responsibility for other’s emotions.

        Not every misunderstanding, strong emotional reaction or decision to take space needs to involve apportion of blame.

        1. Emily, to

          Marika, 

          You are a sweet person. Whenever I read your posts, I picture you beating men off with a stick. (“Beating off” probably wasn’t the best turn of phrase.  🙂  )  But you get what I’m saying.

      2. 19.1.2
        Jeremy

        That may well be so in some cases, Emily. The pitfall of unspoken conversations is that someone may hear something that was never intended.  But I find it’s better to give people the benefit of the doubt of good intentions. Ive written before that apologies don’t interest me. Behavior does. It’s nice to hear from you  btw.

        1. Emily, to

          Jeremy,

          You’re a sweet person, too. It’s good to have you back.

          I was just pointing out that not all women talk in some kind of double speak, I’m-expecting-you-to- pick-up-my-subtext-because-I-won’t-come-out-and-say-what-I-mean. For some, “Is it cold in here?” really just means “It is cold in here?”

        2. Jeremy

          You are a sweet person too, Emily  under all the sass. You remind me a lot of my sister. And if course you and Sylvana are right that not all women communicate indirectly , any more than all men communicate directly. But men should still look out for the subtle when dealing with women and women should assume men miss the subtle. I find that’s a good starting place until one learns more about the individual they are with.

        3. Emily, to

          Jeremy,

          You remind me a lot of my sister

          Wow. This must be what it feels like to be put in the friend zone.   🙂

           But men should still look out for the subtle when dealing with women and women should assume men miss the subtle. I find that’s a good starting place until one learns more about the individual they are with

          I agree. I try to be as blatant as possible when talking to men. As a general rule, they don’t pick up on subtlety.

      3. 19.1.3
        Marika

        Oh Emily TO

        Hardly!..

        Thank you, though 😊

      4. 19.1.4
        Yet Another Guy

        @Emily, the original

        No surprise. Men tend to like it colder. So she asks if she can set it to a temperature that is a bit warmer but maybe not as warm as she’d like. If he refuses to compromise on a temperature they both find somewhat comfortable, she learns he’s selfish.

        We have touched upon one of the biggest incompatibilities between men and women.  The average man is comfortable at 68F/20C whereas the average woman is comfortable at 72F/~23C.   There is a reason for that difference; namely, men have higher metabolic rates than women due to having more muscle mass.  In essence, men generate their own little heat islands via the evaporation of waste heat.   That is why a lot of guys do not like sleeping cuddled.  A woman’s body prevents the evaporation of waste heat, reducing comfort for the man.

        1. Scooter

          AMEN to that!

          As crazy as this sounds, this was a source of friction in my last relationship! She loved to spoon, in bed.  I’m not one who likes to cuddle, but of course, I’m willing to do it for my partner. The problem?

          She radiated heat like a fireplace!  I could only take it for a few minutes at a time (unless I had the window cracked on a cold day).

          I explained this to her, but it still led to arguments.  Ugh.. lol.

        2. Mrs Happy

          My husband insisted on individually adjustable air conditioning and heating in every room.  He sets his areas of the house to arctic year round, and I steam up the other rooms all winter.  We spent the first few years sneakily repeatedly adjusting min and max temps in each room, and fighting about the other doing so, before reaching a “marital agreement” (#2 of only 2 marital agreements) of 23C for 9 months, then colder in summer.  We have 14 rooms in our house, many quite large.  Our electricity bill is harrowing.

        3. sylvana

          Scooter,

          better than the cubes of ice (aka a woman’s feet) shoved into your side that men always complain about…lol.

          But I can relate to what you’re coming from.

        4. Jeremy

          Lol, ok I’ll help you procrastinate. I’m typing this on my phone as I sit on an oversized day bed on the oversized veranda of my oceanfront suite, overlooking the turquoise water and white, sugar-fine sand of Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos. The sun is rising over the water – I wake up early and like to watch the sunrise – and breakfast will be delivered to our suite at 7:00 before I go for a run, shower, and go on a snorkeling expedition to the local 70km reef. Goal is to find queen conch shells I promised to bring home to the kids. Wife doesn’t like snorkeling so she will be at the spa this morning. We will meet back up for lunch, then spend the afternoon on the beach with a book in one hand and a fruity drink in the other, with breaks to occasionally take the sea kayak out on the water or sail on the hobby catamaran. Then we will facetime with the kids (at home with the in laws) before going to the candle-lit private dinner on the beach that I arranged.  It’s been a long time since we vacationed just the two of us , so we are vacationing the hell out of it. But I will likely be as overwhelmed as you with work when I return, Mrs happy. My patient schedule for the next few weeks is scary, and that’s without whatever might have cropped up since I left.  Gotta live in the moment .I’m not good at doing that  Trying to get better at the mindfulness stuff.

        5. Nissa

          Mrs Happy,
          I also get cold feet, but I found a miracle – Heat Holders socks. I buy them on Amazon, the extra long ones, because they are 7 times warmer than regular socks but don’t make my feet sweat. They are my house slippers now, because they regulate my body temperature so much better. Now, I’m in California, so cold to me is 40F, but I love them.

        6. AdaGrace

          @Mrs Happy:
          “My husband insisted on individually adjustable air conditioning and heating in every room.”
          .
          Seems like a good arrangement 🙂 In winter my dad likes the kind of sleeping temperature where the glass of water by his bed freezes, and my mom… doesn’t. I remember when they got rid of the memory foam pad on top of their mattress — they went in to get ready for bed, looked over, and realized their outlines were still pressed into the foam from the night before. Actually I think that’s also around the time my mom started sleeping in a different (warmer) room 🙂

    2. 19.2
      sylvana

      Jeremy,

      This, right here, is why I totally fail at being a woman. There’s no way, no how I could ever even form such a complicated thought process, or try to come up with ways to express myself in the most round-about way possible.

      If I’m cold, I’ll tell him straight up that I’m cold (I wouldn’t even bother asking him if he’s cold, since it wouldn’t change, or have any influence on the fact that I am cold).

      Then simply ask him to turn up the heat at least a little, or tell him I need to put on something warmer (if it’s outside), etc.

      How in the world does a brain go from “I’m cold” to “let’s see how many ways I can test his care/devotion/etc. by asking him something only somewhat related (are you cold) then seeing if he can find a way to interpret my actual meaning somewhere in the process”?

      I’m exhausted just following that thought process.

      Then again, I’m a rather impatient person. I have been known to tell people to get to the point, and tell me straight up what they want if I thought they might be hinting at something.

      1. 19.2.1
        Mrs Happy

        Me too Sylvana,

        – I don’t think I fail at being a woman, but I certainly don’t buy into all this ‘I’ll get someone else to do something for me or make a decision for me, by hinting or being passive (?aggressive) or talking in a roundabout unclear quite frankly irritating way’.  Good grief.  If the tables were turned and a man communicated so pathetically I’d scream.  Is this sort of crap really what men have to put up with from normal women?  Just communicate clearly, and own your own state of being and opinions.  I hate how girls learn all these wishy-washy passive behaviours. I hate how some cultures laud compliant, biddable girls as the height of femininity.

        1. Jeremy

          You think this sort of communication makes girls ‘bidable’ ? Lol. Ask any man who asks his wife what’s wrong and has her reply ‘nothing,’ or say  “I’m fine.”

        2. Emily, to

          Mrs. Happy,
          “I hate how girls learn all these wishy-washy passive behaviours. I hate how some cultures laud compliant, biddable girls as the height of femininity.”

          I hate the helpless act some women adopt. “I couldn’t possibly drive all the way to visit my family by myself.” OMG, it’s a 3-hour drive! Put your big girl panties on and get in the car!

        3. Marika

          Hey! Here’s some directness for you – stop making fun of indirect women!!

          Jokes ;)…just think of us as a fascinating puzzle to solve..or a museum exhibit.

        4. Mrs Happy

          Dear Emily, The Original,

          so glad you have returned to the fold.  The driving thing aghgh!  My now hubby drove all manner of women around quite huge distances in his younger years, and I was thinking recently, I never get driven around for basic errands etc.  I mean not that I want to, well … maybe a little bit sometimes would be nice, but geezz.  Drives half of Sydney’s population everywhere then stops after marrying me. Humpff.

           

          Dear Jeremy,

          maybe the sort of women, who after years of marriage say ‘nothing’ when asked what is wrong, who don’t answer that question clearly, bluntly and logically, are the sort of women who, when dating, were flexible, easygoing, fun, didn’t voice strong opinions, didn’t challenge the status quo too much, didn’t prioritise their feelings or wants, didn’t state things directly – some/most of which are traits many men say and show they want when dating.

          A woman like this, when asked a clear emotional question that requires her to identify and discuss her wants or emotional state, cannot; she hasn’t the habit of thinking in that way.  She has the habit of putting others’ feelings and desires first.  She is so uncomfortable at being asked how she actually feels, what is wrong, that she can’t begin the process of thinking about is, and she says “nothing”, which is shorter, easier, and requires someone else to do her emotional work.

        5. Marika

          Hi Mrs Happy

          The driving thing – can’t relate to that specifically, but similarly I don’t get why people mention things they did for previous partners? Especially if they aren’t doing those things now. Personally I barely mention previous partners at all (it’s only really if they ask). I’m assuming they don’t do it to be hurtful? To be clear, it’s not that they did that specific thing (their past is their own), it’s that they are telling me about it. I actually asked a guy once “why do you think I’d want to know this?”. Didn’t really get an answer.

          The temperature thing made me laugh. I personally don’t see the need for any artificial heating or cooling in Sydney between March – June and September – November. Can’t you open/close a window or use a blanket? That being said, something more than a fan would have come in handy the last few nights! I worry about the environment, though, given Australia’s love of coal.

        6. Jeremy

          I don’t know, Mrs Happy.  Is it that such a woman does not prioritize her own emotions, thereby leading to hesitation in asking for what she wants?  Or is it that she very much prioritizes her own emotions and desires, but wants a man who can intuit them without having to be told?  A man who, as the manosphere describes, “just gets it?”

        7. Mrs Happy

          Dear Marika,

          re the driving women around, it’s not that a spouse lists all the past efforts for other partners, it’s just that stories are told, and patterns observed.  After decades of marriage, I assume stories are told again and again and again…

           

          Dear Jeremy,

          Most of us want the people near and dear to us to understand, without having to be told, what we are feeling.  I appreciate that.  But when someone we care for doesn’t know what is wrong, and is asking, surely it’s just better to tell them, rather than become angry they can’t read a mind.  The irritated “nothing” or “I’m fine”, when they most assuredly are not, is more an expression of sadness and anger, that their partner doesn’t know (=care, if you have sloppy thinking) enough about them.  I just want people to take responsibility for their emotional state and thoughts; if they have a problem, tell me clearly, and don’t huff around.  A close friend gave me the “silent treatment” once for a month, rather than tell me he was upset.  I didn’t even notice we hadn’t spoken for 4 weeks, and there he was, absolutely seething with anger.  What a turkey.

          It does my head in when adults don’t communicate clearly, and play these games.  Children, I put up with it, because they still have to be taught how to behave normally.

          How are the islands?  I’m writing here because I’m so drowning in work I don’t know where to start, and clearly I’m going for the Hamlet Best Procrastinator award, so to hear others are swanning about on holiday, oh boy…

        8. Marika

          Mrs Happy:

          It does my head in when adults don’t communicate clearly, and play these games. 

          The silent treatment is definitely immature and unhelpful. But sometimes “nothing” can mean something like, you don’t quite have the words to communicate what you’re feeling in that moment, you’re sorting through your feelings, or you want to ensure you put your thoughts into words appropriately before communicating (/fighting) with your partner. In the midst of a fight or with ‘hurt feeling overwhelm’ it’s not always easy to communicate (and depending on the type of partner you have).

          I sense your irritation at women who don’t always act in clear, direct ways in romantic relationships. But none of us are perfect, mature, logical adults in all areas of life… the best way to explain that it’s not always so straightforward – and do forgive me if I’m recalling this incorrectly – didn’t you do a bit of an experiment to test which friends were there for you and willing to put in effort? As you were feeling there was an imbalance in effort levels (or similar?). Again, I could be wrong here (it was a long time ago), but I think you wanted them to do a little bit of mind reading to show they cared. Disregard if I’m wrong.

          We get triggered by different things. I’m not like that with friends, but I do admit to at times being a bit like that in romantic relationships. Maybe that at least helps explain it somewhat. I think putting it down to immaturity is too simplistic, personally.

          I’m also keen to hear about the islands from Jeremy as I sit here at work with 0% motivation! C’mon Jeremy, help us live vicariously 🙂

        9. Mrs Happy

          Dear Marika,

          Your memory is correct, it was me not contacting “friends” who had not contacted me all year, all this year, and boy am I sending out fewer Xmas cards right now as a result of this experiment.  But in no way was this me wanting them to read my mind.  It was to see whether they wanted to talk with me, or catch up: if they did, they’d call/message me.  If they don’t call all year, I relegate the friendship down to “used to be friends”, or “acquaintance”.   The year has been sad but illuminating;  I’ve realised I was 100% carrying a few relationships.

          I try to be logical, but I’m sometimes emotional just like the next person.   I just find as I age, I’m increasingly intolerant of BS behaviour, waffle, passive aggressive crap, lack of clarity in communications (unless you have a brain disorder, then I’m all empathy), and a whole lot of other things.  It’s like a weird personality transplant and has just come out of nowhere over recent years.  I used to be such a people-pleaser; I was raised constantly scanning for my alcoholic mother’s mercurial mood shifts and adjusting my behaviour accordingly, and calming any room full of people and personalities.  Now, I’m over it all.  Emotionally burnt out.  People can manage their own junk.

           

        10. Emily, to

          Mrs. Happy,

          Your memory is correct, it was me not contacting “friends” who had not contacted me all year, all this year …  It was to see whether they wanted to talk with me, or catch up: if they did, they’d call/message me.  If they don’t call all year, I relegate the friendship down to “used to be friends”, or “acquaintance”.   The year has been sad but illuminating;  I’ve realised I was 100% carrying a few relationships.

          I’m in the same boat. If all someone can manage to do is shoot me a few texts once a year, I don’t bother with the friendship anymore. I have one friend to whom I said I’d like us to stay in better communication. She agreed. I initiated contact a few times but she never did. I was supposed to go visit her a few months ago but I changed my mind. Did I really want to make an hourslong drive for someone who was doing so little?

      2. 19.2.2
        Marika

        Maybe you’re the perfect woman? All the other benefits, without the indirectness. I would imagine that would be a bonus! 🙂

      3. 19.2.3
        AdaGrace

        >I’m exhausted just following that thought process.

        Yeah, the last guy I most recently dated used to (admiringly) say stuff “wow, you’re not like most women I’ve met — you actually say what you mean and don’t play games.” I’ve also had a guy reject me, telling me that I was too direct and “lacked mystery,” a criticism that amused and delighted me 🙂  (Sorry-not-sorry, I’m a straight shooter who (tactfully) says what she means, shows up on time, follows through consistently, and does her best to communicate clearly.  Since, after all, that’s what I expect from others.)

        Since I’m both a good hostess and a good guest, as well as perpetually cold, I will (in my own space) warn a guy that I’m turning the thermostat up or (in his space) ask him to please turn the thermostat up.  Direct but courteous.

        When away from home I’m usually carrying a few extra layers since I seem to be on the upper tail of female equilibrium temperatures and keep my place at 80F/27C most of the time, so at my place it’s more often the case that he’ll hint that he’s warm (many Seattle men are frustratingly indirect themselves) or ask if there’s any way I can turn the heat down.

        I think there’s also an ask-vs-guess thing that happens here in addition to any entirely gender-based differences or expectations.  (I’m from more of an “ask” culture but living in more of a “guess” culture right now)

        1. Mrs Happy

          Yes 27C is my preferred temp too, and if I didn’t have the marital agreement, that’s where the thermostat would be during winter.  When my husband complains about the heat, I just tell him to take his clothes off.  Works for me, double win, his muscles on show, and warmth for me.

        2. AdaGrace

          @MrsHappy:

          I just tell him to take his clothes off.

          Awesome! 😀

  20. 20
    Marika

    I guess the difference is Em-ster, that you directly spoke to your friend. She didn’t step up, so it’s all on her. I would want that myself rather than being part of an experiment. The silent treatment guy Mrs Happy mentioned was probably running his own experiment (to see if his silence was noticed).

    That said, friendships aren’t that triggering to me. I guess it’s quite easy to be direct and in control of your emotions when something isn’t triggering.

    I am sorry you both had some shitty friends. I’m telling you E, move here, I’ll show you a good time! 😉

    1. 20.1
      Emily, to

      Hi Marika,
      I am sorry you both had some shitty friends. I’m telling you E, move here, I’ll show you a good time! 😉
      I could use a good time. 🙂

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