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Pro Dating Tips: Stop Trying to Guess

If you’ve been dating recently, you’re probably familiar with the exciting but agonizing moment when you realize you like someone, and you’re trying to figure out if they like you back. If you’re like many people, you take a break in this moment from being a relatively sane person meaningfully engaged in your day to a bit of a junkie, constantly glancing at your phone, trying not to obsess over when the next text is going to come. Really, am I wrong?

The amount of time and energy that goes into decoding texting, phone, and asking-out behavior alone could power a small city for weeks. Let’s cut through all that so you can focus on more important stuff, like work and friends and family and curing homelessness and whatever else you guys think about. Here are some ways to handle common dating questions without spending a ton of time and energy on it.

Q: Why haven’t they texted me today?

A: They’re doing something else. If you feel like texting right now, send a text. Wait for a reply. Give yourself the luxury of ignoring any “rules” you might have heard about who should text whom and when. Let it be simple.

Q: Why haven’t they texted me back?

A: They’re doing something else. Give it some time. Or they forgot, or got distracted. You can text again, but not more than once. Or they’ve decided they don’t want to continue the conversation. Please don’t jump to this conclusion though. If someone really doesn’t want to go out anymore, there will be more signs. They won’t text or call or make dates / agree to dates, or they’ll tell you outright. Look at all the data, not just texts, before interpreting what might be happening with your beloved dating partner. Either way, do not text something snarky about them not texting you. Nobody likes that. You wouldn’t either.

Q: How long should I wait to call someone?

A: If they’ve given you their number and you feel like calling, you should call. Give yourself the luxury of ignoring any “rules” you might have heard about who should call whom and when. Let it be simple. If you don’t know the person well, don’t call more than once before they call you back.

Q: Why haven’t they called me back?

A: They’re doing something else. Or, if it’s been a day or more, they might not want to call back. As above, look at the person’s overall dating behavior to try to understand what's going on.

Q: Why are they doing _______________________ (fill in the blank with confusing thing, mixed message, protracted silence, or other dating conundrum).

A: It doesn’t really matter why. You don’t need to try to get into the other person’s head. A better question to ask is, is this relationship meeting my needs so far? Mostly? Partly? Not really? If the answer is ‘not really’ or even a tenuous ‘partly,’ you might consider moving on. The amount of work you’d have to do, or what you’d have to sacrifice, to make it work is probably not worth it. You can free both of you up for a better match.

If the answer is ‘mostly’ or a hearty and optimistic ‘partly,’ consider what you might want in order to meet your needs more. For example, do you want more texts? Ask – “Hey I really like texting. Do you? Could we text more? I like communicating with you between dates.” See what happens. Do you want more touch? Ask – “Hey, I really like touching you. Is that comfortable for you? Can we cuddle while we watch this movie?” And so on. See what happens.

I know you’re thinking, I’m going to sound like a huge dork if I ask stuff like that. So what? The awkwardness is temporary, and you have a better chance at a satisfying relationship. Isn’t that worth temporary dorkiness? Plus, good relationship skills are sexy, ultimately, and rare.

Hope this helps. Have fun dating!

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