This same scenario happens to me often: I’ll be chatting with a man that I met on a dating site. We haven’t met in person yet because he doesn’t actually ask me on a real date. He might say, “Let’s meet tonight” or “We could go to a movie tonight” or “What are you doing this weekend?”
I don’t want to accept a date for the same day because I feel like that means he isn’t respecting my time and maybe he’ll think that he can just always be lazy and not plan ahead. I don’t think that’s how he’ll come to appreciate me.
In the past when I’ve accepted a last-minute offer or left myself open by saying “I’m free Friday night,” it usually doesn’t turn out well.
How do I let someone know that I’d like to go out but don’t accept dates for the same day? I’ve been saying things like: “Dang. I can’t tonight” or “I can’t tonight. Maybe another night?”
Is there a better way to do it? It seems strange to say “I can’t tonight” when he just asked me what I’m doing and I said, “I’m watching Netflix.” I hope this makes sense.
Things just get so awkward sometimes. Or maybe I’m just talking with the wrong men?
Great question. It’s a common one, so I know we’ll be helping more than one dater out there with this Q & A. Thanks for representing. I have very good news for you: There’s a fix for this! And…drumroll please…the fix is…your attitude.
When it comes to asking you out on a real date, if a man says, “Let’s go out,” that is him asking you on a real date. And there’s nothing disrespectful in asking for it any day of the week, whether that day is today or several days from now—as long as he’s respectful in the asking.
You say, “I don’t want to accept a date for the same day because I feel like that means he isn’t respecting my time.”
I have some questions for you:
Is your time in three weeks on a Tuesday more or less valuable than your time today, right now?
Have you found the men who plan way in advance to be more thoughtful and of a higher caliber?
Do you think that someone who’s available to see you this weekend doesn’t have a life?
Do you believe he’ll respect and appreciate you more in two weeks than he does today?
Here’s what I think is happening: You have made up stories about the significance of waiting, but waiting doesn’t buy you what you think it does.
Here are a few reframes to try on:
Maybe the guy who’s asking you out for tonight isn’t lazy, but instead just excited about you.
Maybe the guy who asks you out right away purposely leaves available times open in his calendar to fill them with highly-qualified women who are a good fit for him.
Maybe he read your reply about hanging at home watching a show as a green light to ask you out. But when you say no to a date after you’ve said “I’m home Netflix-and-chilling,” you’re sending out a signal that says, “A night at home with my cat, binging The Bachelor is a better bet than you, buddy boy” not “I’m playing hard to get, but just a little bit.”
I understand what you’re doing. You’re employing a rule famously documented in The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right (1995).
Please, UNLEARN this rule.
It’s a great rule if you’re trying to sell a bunch of books.
It’s a terrible rule if you’re trying to really connect with people.
My friend Alison once said, “How attractive is a woman who’s not available, anyway?”
A man who’s searching for his partner will sort for availability, as in, “Can I get enough time and attention from her if she becomes my partner?” Women tend to follow the “plan ahead by weeks” strategy. This backfires when he thinks, “Wow, I like her. Too bad it’s not easy to see her. Well, since I’m looking for a partner to share my time with, I better look elsewhere for someone more available for a relationship.”
You’re shooting yourself in the foot.
I know you’re worried about appearing as low-hanging fruit, but you are smart. Use your discernment—you can tell which ones want to hook up right now for a booty call vs. the guy who is genuinely excited to meet you and knows you’re doing nothing but TV time tonight, so carpe diem.
My number-one dating tip (beyond get started, don’t settle, and don’t stop) is be authentically you. Date as yourself and get to know those who like you as you. Strategizing to “train” him properly to respect your time does not align with dating authentically, and it doesn’t serve you.
I see you, girlfriend. I’ve done what you’re attempting to do. That need to set arbitrary parameters for potential matches to squeeze through is born out of fear—fear that he won’t want to step up for you, fear that you’ll only catch the desperate or the horny ones if you say yes too soon, fear that you’re not playing the game right. But nothing good in the dating world ever came from fear.
Men can sense manipulative, strategic, and fake tactics, just like we can. If you’re authentic and open in your communication and choices, then the good ones will show up for you.
I’ve come down kind of hard on you, Diana, but I’m not sorry. Amazon has trained us all too well; we get what we want in one click, and it shows up on our doorstep two days later. Finding the right person for you takes a little more time and patience than that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jump on the next-day-shipping version of a date or two as you go. Take my advice, and you’ll not only create more opportunities to meet your guy, but you might just have some unexpected fun this weekend, too!