Hi, my name is Dave.
But it could be Simon or Bob. Basically, I’m the guy you don’t want to go on a date with.
Which is fine. I’m okay with that – really. Look, I’ve been asking out women for 20+ years. Any guy who has been dating more than a few years can handle rejection, or having you change your mind. You’re not going to shatter us — at least not me, a man in his forties.
The problem is, often YOU are the one who isn’t okay with that. So instead of leveling with me and letting us go our separate ways, you try keep up the illusion that you do want to go on a date with me … while trying various stratagems to get out of it.
That’s gotta stop. Because instead of sparing our feelings, you’re making men angry. And turning them into angry daters.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
The 7 Most Popular Runaround Excuses / Games:
1. ‘Whoops, I-Keep-Missing-Your-Calls’
The old phone-tag ploy – I call you to set up the date, and it goes straight to voice mail. Then you call me back at a time when I’ll probably be unavailable, and you leave me a very vague message with no mention of when you’ll be free.
This goes on until I get the hint and I go away. Like a bad magician trying to keep up a sad illusion, you hope I won’t notice the purposeful dodge. Also known as ‘The Slow Fade.’
2. “Things Are Just So Crazy Right Now”
This is a very popular phrase and meant to imply that you would me dating me if you weren’t so damn overextended.
Then I see that you’re still active on Match.com every 24 hours. Or I happen to run into you on a date with a guy a week after you’ve told me this (that happened).
3. “Call-me-in ____ weeks”
Similar to “Things Are So Crazy Right Now” – you tell me that we should talk after you get back from The Kentucky Derby with your family, Ireland, some business trip, etc. Usually two weeks or more.
Historically, if it’s more than a week, week and a half: you’re never gonna call, and you won’t end up returning my calls.
4. The Clumsy Lie
You cancel a date with an excuse that stretches plausibility. Here are actual examples: “I have to go in to the office tonight.” (It was a Sunday.) “My girlfriend is having a meltdown.” “My professor from college came to town unexpectedly and I should take him out to dinner the one night he’s here. (same woman from example #2)”
4-a: “I can’t make it — my kid is teething / graduating from middle school / coming down with something.”
Yes, stuff happens with kids and kids scheduling. But if you are using your kid as a reason not to go on a date, please stop. Not cool.
5. The “Scorching-The-Earth” Cancellation
You cancel in a rude and egregious way — like within an hour of the date with a weak excuse or no excuse at all. (“Um, I’m going to have to cancel because … uh, I’ll just talk to you later.”) — screwing up my plans for the evening and/or sticking me with an extra ticket I have to eat the cost of.
You figure I’ll never ask for a reschedule or ask you out ever again. And you’re right. But this is better than telling me nicely, at the right time, that you’re just not interested? No.
6. The Wrong Number
I ask you for your phone number. You write it down for me or email it to me.
Yes, this still happens: OMG, it’s a wrong number! A few months ago, I got this treatment from a 40-year-old yoga / spiritual mom who encouraged me in previous e-mails and then wrote. “I am always flattered when an attractive, smart guy like you takes the risk to put himself out there – thank you for that — here’s my number...”
7. The Second-Date Shuffle™
We’ve been out once and had a good time! I ask you again, and you agree! But then you cancel, usually a day before, using some non-confrontational method – text, Facebook, e-mail. Then we go back and forth a few times, setting up a time and then when it gets close, OMG, you change it AGAIN. Or you only discuss vague, potential times — nothing concrete. (“The middle of next week might work – let’s touch base then.”)
It’s only after the shuffling has ended – fruitlessly – that I realize you weren’t interested … and that you’ve wasted my time, energy and good will. I thought you liked me, but that was just a very drawn out lie.
7-a: The First-Date Shuffle™
Things are never going get off the ground in the first place, but it takes a week or more for me to figure this out.
Recognize any of these? Can you see how you’re avoiding hurt feelings, but increasing them? If so, then what should you do instead?
It’s simple. Tell me you changed your mind. Or tell me you don’t see us as a couple. Or just don’t return my follow-up call. All of those are better – more thoughtful, believe it or not – than having you string me along until I give up … and understand that you didn’t want to go out with me in the first place.
And what if you do want to go on a date with me, but actually did have to cancel at the last minute, or your kid has got an infection, or things really are crazy right now? That’s simple, too. Just say, “I’m so sorry.” Maybe say, “I owe you a drink for this.” And offer a specific alternative, like “How about the same plan, but on Thursday?” Or “Could we do something Saturday afternoon instead?” (And then, whatever you do, DON’T CANCEL the reschedule!!!!!!).