Dear Jess, Last week I gave a guy my number. It took him six days to
contact me, but he finally sent me a text. How long do I have to wait to respond to him?
I’m a fan of applying old-school rules to new technology, so the first time a guy reaches out to you, you should wait at least twenty-four hours to respond. It does not matter if he texts, calls, e-mails, or instant messages. Whatever mode of communication he chooses still warrants the same reply time. Having difficulty with that? Think of it this way: Ever since you gave him your number six days ago, you’ve been staring at your phone, recapping the night you met him, second guessing his interest, and undoubtedly doubting yourself, what has he been doing? Going to the gym, seeing his friends, and, oh yeah, not calling you. As you’ve been sitting there in a quiet panic, wondering if you were going to hear from him, he’s been living life worry free. Now that he’s called you, it’s his turn to wait and stress a little. However, if you call or text him back immediately, that won’t happen.
If he actually calls you, do not pick up. Let your voice mail handle things for now and return his call the following day. This isn’t revenge for making you wait—it’s just rebalancing for the greater good of your future relationship.
After you text him back the first time, you are going to have to vary your response tactics. If you religiously wait exactly twenty- four hours each time, he will eventually pick up on your pattern and think you are playing a game. It’s always a good idea to let time pass before you reciprocate a call or text, but if you want to remain a mystery and keep the chase going, the key is to be unpredictable. Text back immediately some of the time but then wait a few hours or a whole day the next. Keep him on his toes by being unpredictable when it comes to your return texts and calls.
What If He Calls and Doesn’t Leave a Message?
Dear Jess, Update! He just called! But for some reason he didn’t leave
a message. Can I call him back?
If you want a guy to know that you have been sitting by the phone eagerly awaiting his call, then by all means, go right ahead and call him back. But consider this first: How do you know that he really meant to call you and this wasn’t just an accidental pocket dial? How embarrassed will you be if you call him and he says that he didn’t really intend to call you? Then all that self-restraint you’ve been exercising will be for nothing. He’ll think, “Wow, I pocket- dialed her and she got so excited she called me!”
For argument sake, let’s say he did purposefully call you and did not leave a voice mail; if you call him back, you will be setting a precedent that he doesn’t ever have to leave you a message. While you may not care about that right now because you are so elated to hear from him, you will care after it happens for the tenth or fifteenth time. He will learn that he can do the bare minimum, and you will still jump to his attention. In essence, you are positively reinforcing bad manners and unconsciously telling him that you aren’t worthy of being properly pursued.
One of my clients constantly struggled with her phone etiquette, too. She would always answer when a guy would call and promptly returned texts no matter what time of day. Eventually men stopped leaving her voice mails because they knew they didn’t need to put in the extra effort. I tried to explain to my client that she needed to break her bad habit, but she would argue that because guys knew she had a cell phone, if she didn’t reply quickly, they would assume she was playing games and get annoyed with her. The irony was that men seemed to get annoyed with her anyway. She was never properly asked out on a date and had a hard time turning the few first dates that she did get into second dates. After reaching her wits’ end, I convinced her to try to reform her ideas on mobile communication. Guess what happened? More guys called, more left messages, and more asked her for second dates.
In your case, the best thing to do is ignore that missed call. Don’t send your guy a text asking if he called, or reach out to him.
I haven’t heard from him in a while, can I send him a casual text saying hello?
Dear Jess, I had three amazing dates with a guy last month, but I
haven’t heard from him since! It’s been over two weeks and I really want to see him. Can I send him a causal, “How are you?” text and see if that gets us reengaged?
If you had three amazing dates and this guy hasn’t called you again, something has happened that a casual text won’t fix. Maybe an ex-girlfriend came back into his life, or perhaps he met someone else. Either way, your reaching out to him isn’t going to change his feelings about you, and making the text “casual” won’t cover up your true intentions. Men are perceptive, and he will undoubtedly know that “How are you?” really means, “Where have you been?”If you absolutely must contact him because you cannot control yourself from doing otherwise, here is my best suggestion:
To continue reading and get my best suggestion for contacting a guy that has disappeared on you, turn to page 13 in my book, Was it Something I Said?: The answer to all your dating dilemmas – download the kindle edition here.
You have been reading an except from the book. If you have other texting, hook-up, or relationship questions, you will find all the answers plus how to handle sticky situations and tough conversations inside. Check out the Table of Contents. Or comment below and ask Jess a question about any situation!
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To learn the techniques to find a guy, get him interested, and keep him that way, check out this book. You will learn the techniques Jess used to find and keep her husband, as well as what she teaches her clients! For more info on Jess and her coaching, check out www.jessmccann.com and follow her on Twitter @iamjessmccann to ask a dating question!