If You Want Dates, Avoid This
After plowing through online dating profiles, you’ve finally found one, or two, that you might actually be interested in meeting. You initiate, she responds favorably. Within a few messages back and forth, numbers are exchanged. Soon a phone conversation or two transpires. You are more certain than ever that you’d like to meet this person. So, you take the plunge, call her up or text her and ask her if she’d like to meet up this evening at a local outdoor patio/pub/restaurant you both know of. She says she’d love to but she’s made other plans. Okay, that’s fair. So a few days later, you call her up, ask again, and you are turned down again. “Hmmm,” you wonder. So you try a third time. Same story. You’d chalk all this up to the realization that maybe this woman really just has no interest in meeting up with you, except for the haunting truth that this is not the only woman that this very scenario has played out with. You’re beginning to notice a pattern, and the pattern is one of you being refused. Let’s assume that the woman actually would like to meet you, or you have no indication otherwise, what could be the reason for being turned down? I think I might have the answer.
Well, okay, I might not have the answer, because there could be many reasons a woman initially turns a man down that she’d like to date. I do have one answer, however, and I know that if you try this, you will stand a much better chance of actually getting to yes, rather than reeling from rejection. The trick is simple, men. It’s also easily remembered with two words: Plan ahead.
In the last week, I’ve been asked out by four different men, two of them asked me out twice for different things. I’ve turned all of them down. No, I didn’t have a date with someone else. No, I wasn’t going out with friends. No, I didn’t have to worry about childcare arrangements and, yes, I would like to meet all of these men. Then why did I turn each and every one of them down? Because I have a personal rule that if someone, anyone, wants some of my time, they need to plan ahead. I know it sounds crazy. I did choose to stay home and do my own thing rather than meet up. Let me try to unwrap my perspective for you. I know that I’m not the only woman who operates this way. It’s possible, this could be helpful to those men out there, who are not planning ahead and who, as a result, are getting turned down.
Guys, let’s face it. You want a woman who is attractive, active, interesting, etc., etc. Don’t lie. First on the list is attractive, however you define it. After that, you probably want someone you can relate to and with whom you have fun. This is no big secret. Women pretty much want the same thing. Women also want you to treat them well. And what does planning ahead have to do with treating a woman well? Everything. It is all about respect.
We’ve all heard the stories of the men who call and ask women out at 9:00 at night for that night. We have a name for that. It’s called a booty call and nobody says yes to that invitation unless they are okay with giving and being the booty. That’s an extreme example of how men fail (or intentionally refuse) to plan ahead and thereby mistreat women. It’s also a great example of ways women compromise and allow themselves to be mistreated.
Now, we can let the proverbial pendulum swing all the way over to the other side where the guy plans a big date, two weeks in advance, and has all the arrangements made. That’s a bit extreme for a first meet up. While there are certainly occasions where that kind of approach might be warranted, a first meetup is not one of them. (In fact, the more meetups I go on, the more convinced I am that a big formal dinner date at an expensive restaurant is just not the way to go the first time you meet someone.) With every extreme swing of the planning pendulum, there’s a whole continuum in between. Some women have different standards than others. Some women are busier than others. Others make plans two weeks out and are booked solid in between with all the things they are responsible for. How can you tell what part of that continuum is right for the woman you want to meet? Well, this is where it gets messy. It’s not an exact science, but I can offer a few considerations that might guide you in your planning.
First, is she a single mom with kids at home who are still in school? This is something that should come up fairly early in your conversations. I’m assuming you’ve decided that you are okay with dating a woman with children still at home and that you’ve thought through all that this implies, if you were to become seriously involved. If you haven’t, put down the phone and walk away. Do some thinking about what you are getting into first. It’s just not fair to play games with moms and their children by being cavalier about the possibilities. Consider, all that she has to be responsible for without a partner. She’s probably going to need a few days notice, just to get someone to watch her kids (if they are young enough). It almost impossible for a woman with young children to get an invitation on Sunday morning for a meetup Sunday afternoon or evening. Give her several days to a week to make the arrangements. It’s considerate. It communicates the message that you paid attention when she told you about her kids and her lifestyle. It also lets her know that she is important to you and that she isn’t you second, or third, option after the first choice person turned you down.
Another thing to consider, is whether or not there is an ex in the picture and, if so, is there a regular visitation schedule in place? Many women, myself included, do not want their kids to know they are meeting people or “dating”. They plan not to introduce their children to anyone they are seeing until they know the relationship is established. Determining what the visitation schedule is for the woman you are interested in, should also come up fairly early in the conversation. For me, it’s an every other weekend deal with 5 weeks (determined by me) during the summer. If you can figure out her visitation schedule and, if you are lucky enough to have it coordinate with yours, then setting up a time to get together on your “No Kids Weekend”, should be fairly simple IF you don’t wait until Friday of the free weekend to ask. Many women start making weekend plans on Tuesday and have them all firmed up by Wednesday evening, so if you want to bid for her time, get the offer in early in the week.
A final thing to consider is her work schedule. If you spent any time at all on the phone talking or emailing, you probably have a good idea what her lifestyle might be like. You know whether or not she has to work weekends. You know a little bit about how flexible she can be. Pay attention when you talk to her and invite her to meet up at a time that is most likely going to work for her based on the information you have. Again, don’t wait until the day of as this sends a pretty negative message about you and your intentions. It can be interpreted as inconsiderate, inattentive, and disrespectful. Asking someone out the day of or the day before indicates that you think she has nothing else going on and is probably free. Or, it could be read as your original plan bailed out so you’re asking her. So, if she wants to meet you what does she do? Drop everything and go out? Likely not, if she’s worth her salt. More likely, she’s going to decline and wait for you to give some notice. If she really likes you, she’ll decline, but counter offer for a time that is further out. Think of it this way, if you were planning a business meeting with someone, you’d most likely have to plan a few days out in order to make that happen, wouldn’t you? You’d also designate the when and where well ahead of time. Why doesn’t the same situation apply in dating?
This last week, I had six date possibilities. All of them called up asking me out on the day that the event was supposed to happen. I find this completely exasperating and somewhat humorous. All of them know and have been told that I have an every other weekend parenting schedule. Every one of them know that my schedule until the middle of next week is insane. All of them know I’m a very busy, active individual with interests and lots of friends to do things with. Not one of these men, was considerate enough to plan ahead. Not one of them has paid attention when I said, “I have every other weekend free and last weekend was it.” I like living in the moment, and I’m all for spontaneity, but not when I’m starting to get to know someone. If they don’t treat me well from the get-go, things aren’t going to improve over time. I’m busy enough, that on any given week, I’ve made weekend plans the week before. I even tell my children that if they can’t get an activity on the calendar by Sunday evening, they cannot expect to rely on me for transportation.
I don’t expect men to call me Sunday evening for a meetup on Friday or Saturday, but it wouldn’t hurt. The truth is, the impression I got from all of these men was that their plans for the evening had changed and they had no one else to ask. Another impression it left me with was that nagging feeling that they had nothing better to do so they thought they’d call me on the off chance I was free. I’m so much better than being someone’s afterthought. I’d really love to meet these men, but not on those terms. If the guy doesn’t think enough of me to plan a bit ahead, then I’m just not very interested in living a last minute lifestyle. I know I’m not alone in this thinking, but I also know many women would disagree with me. It’s very possible, I may never go out on a date if I stick to my guns on this, but I’m okay with that. Everyone says, “Don’t settle.” This is the first place one begins to settle. The right guy will treat me the right way. No one wants to feel like they were an afterthought, and that is definitely how I felt. If you’re a man, and asking women out at the last minute, and you’re getting turned down, what’s it going to hurt to try a different approach? After all, you know what they say about doing what you’ve always done. It just could be you’re sending a message you don’t intend.
Whether you’re male or female, I’d love to know what you think. Do you plan ahead for dates? Why or why not? Do you think it shows respect/lack of respect or not?