Why Men Shouldn’t Ask For or Offer Their Phone Number Too Quickly


Hi Evan,

I’ve enjoyed both your books and your blog, and have two questions regarding the email process of online dating:

1) If a man writes in his first email that he wants to meet and/or talk on the phone, is there a way to suggest a few emails first? Moving to phone right off seems to be the kiss of death.

2) In emails with men, at times they forget to ask any questions, so responding to their emails is a challenge. Is it best to just let those go – or is there a polite way to say “If you would like to keep communicating, a few questions from your side would help”?



Dear Joanna,

Let’s take this opportunity to talk to men, shall we?

Dear Men,

You’re bright. You make a decent living. You’ve been around the block once or twice. You’ve certainly been socialized well enough through school and work to know how people act.

So why would you think that a smart approach to charming women online is:

“Hey, great smile. Loved your profile. Think we have a lot in common. Call me at 323-555-1212.”

Could you imagine doing this in any other arena? Going up to a strange woman at a party and giving her your phone number before you got her name? Asking her for personal information before you’ve exchanged pleasantries? This is the equivalent of sex without foreplay, fellas, and women HATE it.

And rightfully so.

Any woman who has an ounce of self-esteem should value herself enough to turn all of you tactless, impatient, schmucks down. And you KNOW this. Which is why it kills me even worse that you don’t learn.

Seriously. Picture some woman coming up to you and asking you how much you made for a living. Or perhaps quickly trying to gauge your penis size. Her defense? “I don’t want to waste my time.” Which is pretty much your defense for offering to go to the phone before she’s comfortable.

And if simple courtesy isn’t enough reason to heed my advice, how about this: your way is ineffective. In fact, 80% of the men who put their phone number in a first email do NOT get emails back. You know why?

In fact, 80% of the men who put their phone number in a first email do NOT get emails back. You know why?

Because women want to be courted, needed, valued, and charmed. And just because you’re artlessly writing to dozens of people doesn’t mean that any of them want to feel like a piece of meat. Yet how else can one of your prospects feel? You’re not getting to know her, you’re not showcasing your wit, you’re not laying the groundwork for a great first date. You’re simply trying to secure her phone number with the minimal amount of time and investment.

Newsflash: women WANT you to invest time in them. That’s what shows them you’re serious.

I can’t believe I have to explain this to you!

Class dismissed.


So, Joanna, how do you deal with men who are clueless and pushy?…

First, by realizing that they’re probably just doing what makes sense to them. It’s not that they’re bad people; they’re just oblivious to how their methods are coming across.

It’s not that they’re bad people; they’re just oblivious to how their methods are coming across.

Remember: if they’re asking you out, they DO want to please you. So give them a road map. Start by playfully writing something encouraging — yet leads them down the path that YOU want.

Dear Fred,

What a charming email. It should come as no surprise from a man who works as a bartender at Winky’s Beer Shack. And, although you’re awfully cute, I just don’t give out my number to any ol’ Freddy who rings my bell.

So if you’re up for it, how about you answer these four questions and come up with a few of your own:

Boxers or briefs?

Ginger or MaryAnn?

Longest you ever traveled to go on a date?

Your favorite place on Earth.

Tag. You’re it. Impress me.


I just cranked that out, but you can finesse it with your personality and your questions. As long as your tone is upbeat and playful — instead of stern and lecturing — he’s going to WANT to play along.

Lead him from dating site email to regular email to phone, and you will have accomplished your goal (him investing in you) and he will have accomplished his (getting a phone number).

To take a step back, as much as it’s fun to rip into foolish guys, it’s important to remember that they’re doing the best they can. They just rarely consider how inconsiderate it is to try and rush you into a date.

Oh, and to address your other concern – if you want to get men to write questions, try asking questions and offering stories of your own. Just like a regular conversation. Keep it interesting and lively and see if he can keep up. If he can’t – if he gives you nothing back from your email masterpiece – you have every right to move on.

Successful online dating is all about proper screening. So if guys are too lazy to ask you anything about yourself, they’re just screening themselves out.

I go much further into proper email technique on Disc 4 of Finding the One Online — my comprehensive, 7 hour audio series (with a transcript and workbook), that shows you every single thing you need to learn to have success in a medium where so many others fail.

Click below to learn more about how to manipulate men to do what YOU want them to do…


Join our conversation (39 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 21
    joe trebler

    I usually give my number to women when I dont want them to call me b/c most women dont usually make the first move, and if they do call I’ll just say I’m busy or something. Most girls can take a hint.

  2. 22

    I am constantly surprised how much great information I get from Evan’s blog.   I had this happen today (within a message that was, obviously, a copy and paste job). And, while a very nice message, the fact he was asking (copied) questions of things I have responses to within my profile (which he obviously had not read) and included his phone number for me to call made me absolutely cringe. He noted within his profile (which I read completely) that he dislikes messaging back and forth and prefers to speak by phone immediately to  gauge  chemistry.   The old me would have ignored him or sent him a short, terse note. This time, I took Evan’s advice and sent him a polite response that challenged him to “hang in there, and you may hear my voice on the phone”.

    I’m a  burgeoning  writer, so I placed in my response that, as a writer, it’s important for me to strike up a relationship with a man who is comfortable and able to use the written word (romantic notes, letter, emails, etc)   to help reach new levels within our relationship, as it won’t be something I’d expect only during the initial stages of our courtship.   I stressed how important the written word is to me and how important it is for me to find a man who respects and appreciates this and, also, has a joy for written communication as well.

    I also pointed out that a girl letting every man who passes on his number in the first message is similar to a girl sleeping with every man that asks on the first date;   there are specific and appropriate steps individuals should take in their courtship.   To do them too soon, with people you haven’t properly deemed trustworthy or worthy of your precious time and attention, would be   taking those steps much too soon.

    I haven’t heard a response yet, but we’ll see how he takes that.   I don’t doubt it will be via silence. He’ll just go on and send another long winded message (full of questions he could easily answer if he actually read her profile) with his number included to some other woman on the site… and that’s perfectly alright.

  3. 23

    Also, in response to A-L,

    I don’t interact with too many men online, but when I do get that that phase, and there are no questions asked on their end, I have a strict rule to NOT send a response. You have to show a willingness to want to know about me, not just a willingness to tell me about yourself.   I can only imagine a dinner date where he’s spending an hour talking about himself and not asking one question about who I am, what I like or what I’m looking for.

    If someone wants to know about you, they ask. If they do not want to know about you, they don’t ask. That’s my take anyway.

  4. 24

    ok wow! I just sort of went through this with a guy!   met him online on a Wednesday, by Thursday night he offered his number for texting and I sent one just to confirm I had the right number and BOOM he went into overkill high pressure salesman wanting to go out that night!   I explained I had plans and usually like to talk on the phone before going out, he would NOT give up, wanted me to change my plans or meet him later in the night and he even came to my neighbourhood to hang out as he knew I’d be there but I didn’t tell him where (thank God!).   I stopped responding to his texts and he sent 4 more throughout the night! good lord! and then the next day as well first thing in the AM a good morning and then right back at it trying to set up a date… didn’t even listen to my point about wanting to talk on the phone first.   anyway, I never went and never would.   I kind of felt sorry for him, wasn’t sure if he “got it” that he was just WAY too high pressure.   he contacted me on the sunday and I just wrote back that I would want to talk on the phone before meeting… he never responded… idiot, just wanted some action for the weekend i’d say…
    Actually it happens a lot and wow guys say things like NO ONE is THAT busy or they just ignore your requests to speak on the phone, they just try to hook up, such a waste of time I want to scream at them sometimes lol  
    Anyway, Evan is bang on correct in all of this.   Just move on if he’s not “getting it” and not behaving appropriately.     

  5. 25

    My favorite is when you dont give a guy your number and then he gets worked up and keeps asking why not and on and on and on..    I guess momma let him have everything growing up.
    Life needs a junk folder with auto purge at the end of every week.

  6. 26

    I specifically googled, “what to say in online dating situations when men send their # too soon.” This was one of the top links. I’m glad I clicked it!

    I’ve never been able to put words on why exactly it feels like such a let down or disappointment when guys give their # either very first e-mail or just way too soon. It really bothers me & seems like no matter how I try to steer the direction back to e-mailing after that – it’s too late & has been ruined already.

    In addition to giving out a # without explanation – I get so many e-mails with a sentence or two to justify exchanging numbers with you that quickly. Now, considering the majority of guys who do add that sentence of justification – means you’re totally right about being socialized better than that. If it doesn’t seem shady or like it wouldn’t go over well – there wouldn’t be a need to throw in a justifying line like, “Maybe I’m old fashioned – I just prefer to meet in person rather than exchanging messages.” Or “Call/text me. It’d be much easier for us both.” Or even “I’m so busy with work lets just text instead.”

    You know those “aha” moments of sudden understanding? I want to add what a huge “aha” moment I had reading this blog post, especially in about leaving numbers too quickly, “wanting to invest the minimal amount of time and effort into getting to know you.” It opened my eyes & helped answer why I feel so upset & hate it so much when men do this. Overall, this post provided the best insight insight I’m come across thus far. So even having a little understanding feels great. I look forward to reading though more of your posts on this. I hope they’re all as brilliantly written. Thanks for writing this!

    1. 26.1

      Just wanted to add I’ve even had guys give “not wanting to waste their time messaging” as reasoning for exchanging #’s & meeting right away. How awful is that?!

  7. 27

    I was so glad to find this here, I have been going through this for years. If I like someone enough to email it means I’m interested which doesn’t happen much these days (I’m 37 and have been doing this on and off since my early twenties) so I will make a real effort with writing a good email the 2nd or 3rd time. Without fail, EVERY time I have written this, I get a reply saying something like “I loved reading your eloquent email, it really made me smile, I’m interested in many ways and I hope this isn’t too forward but could we exchange numbers?” That sounds nice, and he might really mean it, but I feel so disappointed at this. I agree with what Mel and Hope have said; once a guy does this, it’s ruined; I tried steering the conversation back to chatting via email recently having said no to giving my number and the guy misunderstood and thought I had changed my mind about chatting on the phone! At this point I am reaching for the delete button. Also, in not asking me any questions prior to this point to me it means he’s not really interested and looking to hook up. I am no longer even surprised by it and thinking about getting my money back from the dating site I’m on. I have also had an ‘a-ha’ moment when reading this as I have finally got why I hate getting these messages asking me for my number and why it’s so disappointing. I’m no longer going to second guess myself on this!

  8. 28

    This is a tough call.    No pun intended!   It seems more and more these days men are asking for numbers with the second or third exchange.    I also do not want to be strung along via email, but many string you along via phone too.   I know many men who are texting 15 or more women at once keeping some in the bullpen while dating four of five, most who think they are the one and only.   So it does not matter if it is emailing or texting all the same.      My rule evolved into this, you get my number after we meet up.      That way I know the man is legit. If a man refuses to meet me if we don’t talk on the phone or he does not get my number prior to that, then we don’t meet.    It is a good way of weeding people out.   I used to give out my number but I had a lot of men who would not stop bothering me and ended up having to block them.   Sometimes I would show up for dates and the men would look nothing like they said they did, or be downright crazy.      If a man cannot respect my boundary request early on, its a red flag.

  9. 29

    I would have to say myself from free online dating experience.   Me personally I usually ask for numbers quickly cause I worry about the hole catfisher deal. I’d hate to invest time on a dating site and the person not be the person. :/ I call within a few minutes of receiving their number. To justify any doubt I may have. I dislike anxiously thinking about calling someone so I immediately call not only for my sake but her’s as well. So my anxious thoughts dont linger. I figure its really between you and her. If she feels rushed. She should be able to express this. Hopefully being EI intelligent. Another reason would be computer errors. I’ve read only 33% of messages are returned on free dating sites. In the same article. I read something about computer error is a reason some don’t get returned. With that said I attempt to ask for a number so that I could contact this person without a dating app.   My opinion, falling in love with someone doesn’t have a rule book. There isn’t a drawn out illustration of how to ask someone out. Yes it takes time for relationships to develop and plenty of patience. In the end it’s between you and the other person.   I enjoyed your class and agree. While investing time and energy writing or sending emails is a waste of my and the other individuals time. Sending your number in the first email is a bit hasty. In the end not knowing someone personally you are just asking if they would like to be friends and get to know you. After getting to know them you should be able to instinctively tell the person’s intentions and then judge their social behaviors. Getting to know someone in person is more important. Less interaction through phone and computers and more in person is what most men are pursuing.

  10. 30
    Cheryl j Jenkins

    I agree with Jason on this and I am a woman.   I think that asking for or giving your number after 5 to 6 emails of asking questions and bantering is acceptable.   As a grown woman I feel pretty sure that I can gauge if the situation is going south or I become uncomfortable.   At that point I would just block that person on my phone and the site.   Another reason I don’t mind going to the texting level, then the call level is that I get tired of logging into the site to read and respond.   I have found that once you have moved into the texting phase the man will ask if he can call you and you can decide if you are comfortable with move.   The relationship needs to move off the site fairly quickly especially if you think that you might be interested in the person.   I think that less computer and more personal contact will get the relationship moving in a one on one pace much faster if you move the communication away from the dating site quickly.

  11. 31
    Justin D. Silverman

    I too ask for a woman’s number relatively quickly. I get ignored often without any explanation, which is fine. That tells me the woman’s communication skill is not very good. So I say good riddance, and don’t ask nor talk to her again. There are exceptions though: one lady explained me the reason why she didn’t feel comfortable (she said she’s shy.) I understood. We agreed on texting each other. See? She communicated and we fixed the problem, like adults. Now, yes, they’re are weird, crazy guys out there but once you determine the guy is sane, communicate   your need and expectation instead of getting angry/disappointed when he asks for your #. It’s a gift when someone invites you to a conversation over the phone where you would be heard and felt (instead of typing hiding behind a keyboard.) We’re adults, nothing beats communication over the phone. If I were unemployed and have tons of time on my hand, perhaps I wouldn’t mind typing endless messages to you before you feel “comfortable” to talk over a phone like a grown adult.  But time is precious. You’re either in or out. Just my two cents.

  12. 32


    You know how you advise that men pay for dates and such and do all the initiating because its a societal convention, and even if they don’t like they had better get used to it because thats how things are?

    Same issue here. As much as women want to have better conversation OLD, there’s no point waiting for Godot.

    Ladies, sorry, its just too much of a numbers game. If we write a thoughtful, personalised messages to everyone we’d be on Tinder for 24hrs/day.

    Just to hopefully give you a little perspective. Myself and my group of friends are mostly fit, employed, decently attractive guys in our 30’s. Our main topic of conversation lately seems to be Tinder:) We’re from the era of men who research how to maximise your profile. We’re all University educated and capable of constructing a coherent couple of paragraphs. Most of our messages are ignored. It’s too demanding to write thoughtful messages to just have them ignored.

    In summary: you may want guys to write more online. Same way we may want women to pay more for themselves etc; but you can’t fight society. Or you can, but you may miss out on a lot in the meantime.

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