It was my freshman year at college. My first day on campus, as I wandered around aimlessly with my roommate looking for the dining hall, I walked by a guy who completely took my breath away. It was the first time I had been struck with the “love at first sight” feeling. He nodded his head in acknowledgement and barely cocked a smile, but my heart raced. I had to know who he was. Was he a freshman, too? Where was he living? I had to meet him somehow….
As the months passed I learned the answers to all my questions. No, he wasn’t a freshman. He was a Sophmore, and living quite close to my dorm. We would cross paths on Thursdays while I was on my way to Spanish. Sometimes I mustered a hello, sometimes just a smile. I knew he was in a Fraternity, and at any chance I got, I attended their parties but only to swoon from afar. I just never got up the courage to introduce myself.
Then, one day, one of my friends grew tired of hearing how much I like this guy and while we were out at a local dive bar, she grabbed his arm and pulled him over. “This is Jessica.” she said. “Jessica, this is hot-guy-you-have-been-pining-over-for-almost-a-year.” No, she didn’t really say that. She said his name, which I’ll keep confidential. Hot guy smiled at me, shook my hand, and said, “You wanna dance?”
The rest of the night was a happy blur of events. I was on cloud nine. Hot guy never left my side, ran to fill my beverage, sat with his arm around me, and then walked me to my car and asked to exchange numbers. I couldn’t believe it. I was officially going to date hot guy and this was the beginning of what would be a beautiful relationship….or so I thought.
A week passed after that night and nothing but crickets. I didn’t leave my dorm for fear I would miss his call and my answering machine would fail me (yes, cell phones were for rich people at this point in time.) On the way to Thursdays Spanish class I saw him standing outside Thompson Hall smoking a cigarette with some friends. He saw me and waved. That was it.
That night, I sat around with some girls that lived on my hall and retold the story of the wonderful night I had the weekend before and how crushed I was that I had not heard from hot guy. Then, one of their boyfriend’s who was sitting nearby eavesdropping came over and gave me what would become known as the worst piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. “Call him,” he said. “He’s probably scared to make a move.” Now, I had been told by my mother repeatedly not to chase boys, so this counsel was met with resistance at first, but the boyfriend continued making his case for why calling hot guy would be a good idea.
“He was drinking and he probably isn’t sure that you’re interested. If he was drunk, he probably lost your number. It’s 1996 and girls call guys now and we like it! It takes the pressure off. You’re in control.” And then he finally added, “It can’t hurt.” So, after 10 minutes of convincing, I picked up the phone and called hot guy.
It did not go well.
His roommate picked up the phone and told me to hold. “Hot guy!” he yelled. “Jessica is on the phone for you!” To which hot guy replied, “Who??” The next two minutes were cringe-worthy. Hot guy got on the phone and we struggled through 120 seconds of conversation. Then he told me his roommate needed to use the phone and he would call me back. He never did.
Even though I was crushed by this incident, and no relationship ever materialized between us, hot guy did me a favor that night by not calling me back. He wasn’t interested in me and although it took a while to get over that fact, at least he didn’t feign attraction or take advantage of my infatuation. My dorm-mates boyfriend convinced me that calling hot guy couldn’t hurt, but if he had taken my call, asked me to come over, hooked up with me and never talked to me again, that would have definitely caused me pain.
I might have been spared, but many single girls today fall into “go-nowhere” relationships with guys and the most of the time, it is due in large part to initiating contact first just as I did. They are under the impression that initiating a simple text to someone they like can’t hurt, but truly, it is this small misstep in the “hanging out” phase that can lead to a girl wasting her time with a guy who’s only moderately interested. It can segue into an unbalanced relationship, and the possibility of being used by someone for a mere steady hook-up.
Reaching out over the phone, email, text, instant messenger, or via some social media site when you are just starting to talk to a guy, not only sends the message that you are chasing him, it also robs you of the opportunity to assess if he is truly interested in pursing a relationship with you. I always tell my coaching clients that they need to read a guy’s buying signs, and those signs will tell you most everything you need to know about his interest. One of the biggest signs is, does he text you first after you’ve seen him? If he does, then he’s likely very interested. If he doesn’t, then he isn’t.
It’s easy to accidentally sabotage a potential relationship by doing something you normally would not do if not for cell phones or the Internet. After my epic fail with hot guy, I never called another boy again. And I’m happy to say, that strategy served me very well for all the years I dated. But most girls today don’t get the clear cut “not interested” sign like I did. Relationship have become more ambiguous and knowing when and what to text someone can be as complicated as a Game of Thrones plotline.
If you need help even on the smallest scale with someone you are hanging out with or dating, you don’t need to hire an expensive dating coach and spend an hour on the phone trying to decode a text and craft one back. I offer quick, inexpensive email advice for these small but critical situations. You can write me up to 800 words, allowing you to give me ample backstory, and within 24 hours, you’ll have a response from me about what you should or should not do. Best of all, you’ll have the peace of mind that you didn’t make an impulsive decision that cost you a chance with your own hot guy.
“He’s been texting me for the last three days, but he still hasn’t asked me out for another date! What is going on?”
I get asked some form of this question at least twice a day. Frustrated single women scratching their heads over why the man they are seeing, (or maybe more accurately, not seeing) is dragging his feet on setting up a date. The romantic tales of today are sounding more and more like this; boy meets girl. boy gets her number. boy texts girl. boy texts girl some more. girl gets frustrated that boy is not making any real moves. Sometimes there is a date or two wedged into all that texting, but not always. Quite often the relationship fizzles out leaving girl to wonder, “where did we go wrong?”
The reason these potential relationships fail to take flight can vary. Some men just prefer the comfort of a virtual relationship, others start interested but that interest quickly wanes with one text too many, but most are doing what women wish they wouldn’t do. They are texting with multiple girls at once and just don’t have the time to date all of them.
Tired of constantly losing at the dating game, my client, who we will call Grace, decided that she spent too much time during our sessions asking me when and what to text boys. Exhausted at the minutia, she decided to do the unthinkable. She disabled her text messaging. She decided she would date plugged for the next year and hope for better results.
When Grace handed out her number, she made a point to tell the guy she couldn’t receive texts. Some looked confused but others just accepted the information. Some wouldn’t call even after taking her number, but the ones who did, set up dates. Not only that, but they set up the next date before that date ended. The biggest difference came with online dating though. Since Grace was a big internet dater (and I recommended not giving that one up) she emailed with men but again told them she didn’t have text capability. The results? There were no more long drawn out texts convos with men she hadn’t met, no more waiting “day-of” to get a text about where and when they would meet (or if they were even still meeting!), best of all, she wasn’t worried that she was wasting time constantly communicating with someone she wasn’t going to see again. Grace’s story changed to boy meets girl. boy gets girls number. boy calls girl and asks her out properly.
Grace’s resounding success caused a wave among her friends. Soon they were all dating unplugged. I began telling my clients to stop giving out there cell phone numbers and go back to using their home phone. Funny, not all were up for the challenge and when pressed, admitted that they were afraid of letting go of their virtual relationships, even at the prospect of more quickly developing a real one. Most that tried did try it though, were pleased at the turn around. They felt no more angst and anxiety in between dates. They felt more confident while on them, too, because they were only going out with men who picked up the phone and asked them out, which takes more thought and courage than typing a quick “how r u?”. And while you would think that communicating less with someone would slow the relationship, in many ways it had the opposite effect. More people were going on more dates, more often, and building something real rather than aimlessly surface chatting for weeks about their daily grind, or plans for the weekend.
If you have had your fill of flirty texting that lead only to confusion, anxiety, and more texting, take the uplugged dating challenge and keep us posted on your results!
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I RUINED MY CHANCES WITH A GREAT GUY! CAN I WIN HIM BACK?
2014 has been a great year! Three of my clients have gotten engaged. Below was a very sweet email that I received from one just the other day. I don’t usually post messages from clients, but this one really pointed to a necessary change that I believe a woman struggling with finding love needs to make. This client overcame the challenge of giving into her fears and anxiety in order to make the correct moves for herself and her relationship, and I think she’s a great example for others needing help in the same area.
Over a year ago, you helped me with my online profile and later with my new relationship with Sam. I was having a lot of anxiety about losing Sam and decided to seek your help. I worked on my insecurities while continuing to see Sam. It was the hardest battle I have ever faced but slowly I changed my thinking and learn to look at my relationship and myself in a new way. It allowed me to enjoy my time with Sam and truly connect and fall in love with him (But I did wait for him to say it first!)
A few months after coaching with you, Sam asked me to move in with him and I said I was flattered but couldn’t move in unless with someone unless I was engaged to them. Sam had been married before and the divorce wasn’t easy. He told me he wasn’t sure he could do it again. Although I was very sad, I realized in that moment how much I had changed. Sam was not wrong or scared of commitment, his feelings were understandable and fair. At the same time, I realized mine were too. Although I would be heartbroken if Sam and I parted, I knew it would be worse if I moved in without marriage and that if we had to part, both Sam and I would be ok and would find love again. So I told Sam I understood and that he had to do what was right for him, and I had to do the same. I continued with my life, seeing Sam, spending time with friends and family and traveling.
Well…Sam reached his decision and Christmas morning proposed with a beautiful diamond ring he designed himself! I said yes, of course!
I am marrying my true love and best friend. Yet I knew that if Sam had reached another decision, I was still going to be fine. I learned that you have to be willing to let someone go even though it hurts in order to find your true connection.
Jess, I never would have been able to change my thinking and find myself and true love without your help. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much.
Your newly engaged client”
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I read your post about “The Chase” (and being dissatisfied when it’s over once the guy you’ve been pursuing shows genuine interest- like I thought I wanted!) That’s my issue. I want to know where you think this stems from and how I can correct that mindset (if I should) so that I can be in a happy, healthy, lasting relationship (not just with men, but with people in general). I didn’t always have this subconscious mindset, and I can’t remember when it changed, or if it was there all along and only in recent years I’ve become aware of it.
Thanks so much for your time.
I’ll start by answering your questions in reverse order. First off, no you didn’t always have this mindset. It is not something any of us are born with, but it is something that frequently develops overtime. You asked if you should break it? Well, let’s put it this way, if you don’t stop being dissatisfied with men who are interested in you, that means you either won’t ever get married or you will marry someone that does not genuinely like you. Both sound like unfavorable outcomes, don’t you think? If you want a happy, healthy, relationship then as obvious as this sounds, you need to be happy and healthy yourself. This mentality, which I call The Curse, and is the subject of my third book, causes you to only look for what is not right or what is not happening in your life. This mindset keeps you focused on that which is lacking, completely disregarding what you already have or what is easy to come by. Why? One, because we live in an instantly gratifying world and especially if we’ve had parents that contribute to this mentality by either giving us whatever we want, or the opposite, making us always want from them. We have trained our minds to be this way for so long that by the time we are adults it is just automatic. The minute we obtain something we spend little time in a state of gratitude for it, and instead, immediately jump to, “what else?” or “what’s next?”. This is what leads us to chasing men. Once a guy likes you, you don’t spend any time appreciating him because you have not learned to be grateful in your own life. The second reason is that this Cursed mindset doesn’t really seek love. It only seeks validation of self. Meaning, you think you are looking for love, but what you are really looking for is a boost in self-esteem. And men who lavish you with interest are nice for a day, but after just a short time, you get restless with them because you know they like you and that boost they initially gave you has waned. So you go looking for someone else. Someone who won’t let that feeling fade for you. A guy that keeps stringing you along for instance. One who’s interest ebbs and flows. This kind of man will constantly keep you chasing him and therefore, every time you have a small win with him (like he calls after so many days of not calling), your self-esteem gets another boost.
How do you break this mindset so that you can get married, have babies, and ride off happily into the sunset? I won’t lie to you. It is a process that takes time. There are many ways to break the Curse. The first way is just to simply be aware of it. Next time a man disappears on you, or lets you down, instead of thinking, “what can I do to get him re-interested?” (which is you looking for validation of yourself and your worth), think, “this guy is obviously flaky and I’m seeing a flaw in his character.” Likewise, the next time a guy shows you he likes you, instead of thinking “ugh, he’s too into me”, think, “I’m so grateful that he appreciates me and that someone really likes me!”
Be aware in other aspects of your life were your thoughts gravitate to what you don’t have. With your job. Your friends. Your wardrobe. Your body. If you are the type that is always shopping because you never have enough, always gossiping because you thrive on drama, or always pursuing the next job, promotion, award, or accolaide, it it very possibly that you are also only attracted to men (or women) who aren’t available and really don’t care about you. Being cogniscient of your thought patterns will help you slowly change them and begin to break the horrible mindset of the Curse.
For more on The Curse, check my website or amazon periodically. It is scheduled to be released later this year.
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 Continue reading
How many of you have ever been in the situation where you know you shouldn’t call or text a guy back, but for some irrational and illogical reason, you go against your own sound judgment and do it anyway? Maybe he said he would call one night, but didn’t. Or maybe he’s disappeared on you for a few days and he’s suddenly come back. Whatever the reason is that he is contacting you now, you know that dating etiquette would tell you to either send him to voicemail, or let him hang in textual limbo. Maybe you leave him there for good, or maybe just for a night. Whatever the specifics of your situation are, you know that the right move is to not call or text him back right away.
But somehow the right move just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t sit well. It’s like day old pizza in your stomach. You can tolerate it for a little while but sooner or later you have to do something about it. Every book out there will tell you it’s perfectly okay not to return his call. In fact, many will say that it will only help you gain the upper hand. So why can’t we follow this one little-bitty, time tested, widely known piece of advice?
Not Calling is Tougher than Calling
While you are waiting for his call, a tremendous amount of angst builds up inside of you. You are stressed, nervous, sad, and angry all at the same time. It’s emotional overload. You walk around with a cloud over your head, and no matter what else you do to keep yourself occupied, it’s still there.
Until that phone rings. Then suddenly all that emotional build up is wiped away. Thank God! He’s called (or in many cases, texted.) You are satisfied for the moment. That will teach him to make you wait. But then, not ten minutes later all the angst is back. Now the ball is in your court. It’s up to you to make the right decision. You have all the power. What if by not calling back he thinks you are a total bitch? Or what if you wait too long to call him back and he calls someone else? Someone cuter and less neurotic? What if he thinks you are mad, or worse, what if he thinks you are playing a game? Is it possible you could push him even further away at this point? Now the emotional stress is even more unbearable because it’s contingent on you. Before you only had to sit there and do nothing. That was easy. Now you have to make the right play or you could ruin everything!
What to do when you know you should not call.
For whatever reason, earlier you decided that this guy did not deserve a call back, either right away or maybe at all. While you were waiting you gathered all the evidence you needed to support your decision. You were just waiting for him to call so you could immediately start not calling him back. But once your cell lit up with his number, emotion took over, and rather than stick to your original plan, you became consumed with one thing: making yourself feeling better. The problem here is that holding out on calling him, means holding on to the stress. You’d rather call him back and be done with that, than prolong this agony. You’d rather call and lose a bit of your pride than not call and worry about it for the next three weeks. We’ve all been there, and there is no shame in that place.
The problem is that if you call or text him back, you will just be starting this vicious cycle all over again. You were finally going to stand your ground and do something different. Something he wouldn’t expect. And while you planned this all out in your head, you felt good about it. You felt powerful. And that is where you need to be. So how do you fight this urge to immediately respond? How can you win this internal battle with yourself and come out victorious?
Just when you are about to pick up that phone and make that fatal mistake, I want you to think of one thing. I want you to imagine going to your “Favorites”, pressing his name, and hearing the phone ring. I want you to imagine it ringing and ringing. And ringing some more. And then I want you to imagine the worse thing possible happening. His voicemail picks up.
Can you even fathom having to leave a message? You could hang up of course, but if he doesn’t call you back after that, then what? Then you will be in an even worse position than you are now. So you would have to leave some sort of message and then you would have to hang up and wait for him to call you back…again.
Same goes for texting. What if you text him back, and then as some guys are known to do, he doesn’t respond. The text-then-no-text is the absolute worst!
Just thinking of him not replying to you yet again should be enough of a deterrent for you. The best way to ensure that he will pick up his phone or reply to your text is to wait a long enough amount of time so that when he sees your number finally pop up he thinks, “wow, I wasn’t sure if she was going to call me! I better answer because she took a long time to respond.” At that point, he won’t want to miss his chance to talk.
So next time you are struggling with the no call back, just envision this scenario. That should keep you nice and strong for at least a few hours. Because nothing is more frustrating than waiting a week to hear from a guy, only to have him ignore your call back to him.
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Photo above is courtesy of adamr/freedigitalphotos.net Continue reading
My friend Megan called me last night completely confused. She recently met a guy online and was starting to really like him. “He’s cute, smart, and very witty,” Megan said to me. “The only problem is, I can’t tell if he likes me, or if he’s just looking for a hook-up.” Of course I was intrigued, and I asked her what made her think that he was trying to get into her pants verses her heart? She thought for a second and said, “The dates we go on seem to be going downhill. First date was a nice restaurant. Second date was drinks at a bar. Third date he just asked me to come over and hang out at his house. What do you think? Is it in my head, or is he just out for one thing?”
Good question. And with just that information, it would certainly seem so. But let’s not jump to conclusions here. Yes, there are some guys out there that are not interested in getting serious. They want to play the field, and have sex with anything they find aesthetically stimulating. However, there are also men out there that do want to find a good girl to hunker down with. So the question is, how do you know which guys are which? How can you spot out the guys who are just out to score and split?
1. He doesn’t try to impress you. Most guys want to make a good impression with someone they like. They try very hard to please a girl, especially in the beginning. But if he doesn’t seem to be making much of an effort there could be a good reason why. Vanessa was dating a guy that called her everyday. He seemed to want to get to know her since he was making such frequent contact. But when they were together he didn’t pay much attention to her. “He would have me come over and sit on the couch while he watched football. Or he’d invite me out with his friends but spent more time with them than with me. It became very obvious that the only time I got attention was when he wanted to make out.”
Don’t get confused if he is extra attentive over the phone, and not so much in person. It takes no time or effort to send a quick text. The real test is how he acts when he’s around you.
2. He doesn’t go the extra mile. It’s the little things that make all the difference. Does he open your car door, hang up your coat, or take you out for ice cream when you’ve had a tough day? For Rachel the answer was not so much. She was dating a guy that wouldn’t go an extra inch, forget about a mile. “He would always make me go meet him whenever we went out. He never picked me up at my house. I had to drive to see him or else we weren’t getting together.”
Be wary when you feel like you are doing all the work in the relationship. It’s a give and a take, yes, but in the beginning a guy will bend over backwards to win over a woman he cares for.
3. There is no mental connection. He wants to get to know you in the biblical sense, but how about just getting to know you period? Does he ask you about yourself? Your friends? Your career? A man that wants to settle down will ask you about yourself to see if you are the kind of woman he wants to be with. He’s fishing to see if there is a future. But if the relationship never gets into serious discussions it’s because he has no serious plans for it. My client, Brynn was dating a man that talked about himself incessantly. He was so self-absorbed that she eventually realized he would never love her more than he loved himself.
4. He is pressuring. Does he tell you that sex is really important to a relationship? Does he make you feel bad for holding out? Does he make it seem like he can only open up emotionally if you open up physically? If that is the case, run for the hills. This guy is just out to get some nookie. Don’t let him manipulate you. Sex is important to a relationship yes, but are you even in a relationship yet? Or have you only been dating for five weeks? Truth be told, a good guy will wait forever for the right girl. A selfish guy, however, will wait for no one.
If you really like the guy you are hooking up with, and want to find out how to get him to take you seriously, you must do one very important thing – stop hooking up with him. He won’t give you more if you don’t require more. There is a way to let him know that you like him, but aren’t going to keep casually hooking-up with him until you have decided where the relationship is going. It’s a tricky conversation to have but it’s all laid out in my new book, “Was It Something I Said? : the answers to all your dating dilemma’s.” Check out an excerpt from the book right here!
In this Question and Answer book you will find all the best advice for handling every romantic situation. We cover it all – from hooking up, texting back, and moving forward to a lasting commitment. If you have ever been stuck searching for the right words to say, this book will give you word-for-word instruction on how to tackle the most troubling scenarios. How do you bring up the “Relationship Talk”? How do you ask him if he’s seeing other girls? What do you say if you like him but don’t want to go all the way? You will never again be at a loss for words. Any question you may have is answered right here!
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The dating book that has helped single women across the globe!