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:

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

“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…