That dreadful barrier between you and a potential date
Poor communication and a communication void are roadblocks for establishing a dating relationship. I am often asked these two questions: “How can I get someone to return my messages?” and “How many messages should I leave before giving up?” The answers to these questions depend on the individual situation. There are no steadfast rules — but there are socially acceptable behaviors that you should know about for when communicating with a potential date.
Let’s first review important communication dos and don’ts for use at the onset of a potential dating relationship.
Now let’s consider an actual problem situation.
I met someone I’m attracted too. She gave me her contact info and expressed interest in us going out. I called her the next day. After three days she had not returned my call. So I texted her. After a few more days, I still hadn’t heard from her. I sent her an email. Now it’s been two weeks since we first met, and she never replied to my messages. How can I get her to return my messages, and when should I stop trying?
First of all, you can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do (barring when bullied or tortured). Furthermore, focusing on getting her to return your messages only intensifies your attachment, plus makes detachment a much more uncomfortable process for you than it would have been originally. The more time you invest in a potential date who does not reply, the more you set yourself up for unmet expectations. Sounds logical right? But it is surprising how many of us struggle to let go of a someone when a relationship has not even been developed.
What You Should Do
Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly so you avert frustration:
– Did I communicate in a pleasant manner?
– Was I brief but clear in my communication?
– Did I make assumptions that were presumptuous?
– Did I allow ample time (one week is reasonable) for a reply before sending another communication?
– Did I try a different communication platform (phone, text, email, social media, etc)?
Accept that there are a heck of a lot of unknowns about the person, and that you cannot possibly know why s/he is not calling without actually having relative factual information. Since the person isn’t in your life and you do not know anyone in her/his life, try not to waste time pondering uncontrollable and unknown factors. What you also must accept is that there is no digital black hole where all of your communications fall into, unseen. Yes there are one-off times when texts are received days late or emails are thrown into spam or not received at all. This way if you use multiple communication platforms, you can be pretty sure that the person has seen at least one of your messages. More likely, the person has seen all of them and chose not to respond. Rejection never feels good. Just accept that the person is uninterested and get out and meet new people.
Ask the other person, only if you happen to meet again, if everything were alright … because you never received a reply to your communications after both of you had expressed interest in connecting. This style of questioning is considerate of the other person, especially if they had a traumatic event happen. It is also considerate, in case the person has mental issues that disallow them from being a healthy communicator. Other than that, this style prevents you from releasing negative energy all while giving you an opportunity to get factual information to better understand the person. Keep your eyes and ears open because the information is relayed verbally and nonverbally. So watch their body language too.
Move on if the person lets you know that they are no longer interested or if their response seems dishonest. You must move on if you have no way of reaching the person other than via the communication channels you already tried. Of course for some of you this will be exceptionally difficult, because you are filled with spite from being “shunned,” or you are severely attracted to the person. Do not continue trying to communicate with the person who is not responding, because your persistent communications can be deemed as harassment. Also, do not stalk the person just so you can demand an answer. The best you can do is take advantage of the moment when you happen to cross paths again. At that chance meeting, if you must know what happened or you really want to let the other person know how you feel, then be sure to express yourself in a pleasant manner that is void of ill-intentioned thoughts.
Before you reach out to schedule a date, it is wise to remember two socially acceptable behaviors as criteria for establishing reasonable expectations.
1) In this high tech age (with a myriad of communication channels going directly to a device on our person) ONE WEEK IS A LONG ENOUGH TIME PERIOD TO EXPECT A REPLY, and to send another message when you haven’t received a reply. I usually recommend no more than two attempts to connect with the person via different communication channels before giving up and moving on. Although digital communications are difficult to ignore, the person could have been in a crisis when your text arrived. Then, one week later, forgot about the text because they were coming out of the crisis—so a follow-up email from you may be just the reminder needed to prompt a reply. Just remember, if they aren’t interested in you, they most likely will not respond.
2) The other expectation to have of a person is that s/he should be courteous (although what is courteous to you may not be to the other and vice versa). Being courteous is being polite, respectful, or considerate in manner.
Keep it simple. Expect a person to reply to your communication within a reasonable time frame (say one week), and expect them to be courteous. Without either one of these socially acceptable norms, you should move on and keep yourself open to discover a new opportunity with someone who is a better fit for you.
Wishing you happiness.