Does everyone take dating WAY too personally?

Stephen Hussey

I was initially surprised this week at some of the reactions to Matt’s latest video blog.

In case you missed it, the video was about some of the fun, high-value messages you can send back to a guy when he texts you out-the-blue after “going cold” for a few weeks.

Although many of the comments were overwhelmingly positive (as proven by the like/dislike ratio on the YouTube video), I also noticed that some of the most popular comments were the angry ones, which said something like the following:

“I would NEVER message a guy back after he did any of these to me. I would just tell him to F**K off and stop playing mind games. Matthew, why are you telling people to be playful with these guys who are obviously PRICKS that just want to mess women around. Not impressed with this advice!”

That’s not an exact quote, but it’s the general summary. On reflection, I can see why this topic would provoke so much anger.

I can imagine the frustration: “Why would Matt tell me to be playful or confident or even care AT ALL about what messages I send to some douchebag that didn’t get back to me for weeks!”

Well, ok.

Fair enough.

And yet…

I can’t help but worry about people who approach dating with this kind of mentality. It’s not that I believe the reaction is somehow wrong, but something about the aggressive, affronted, tone in the comments makes me wonder if there’s a little too much being taken personally here.

In other words, is such an emotive, infuriated response to a guy suddenly getting in touch after a few weeks of no-contact really necessary?

Because the truth is, sometimes, just sometimes, there are reasons not to hastily dismiss someone just because they went off the radar for a while, or just because they prioritized other things above us at first.

Sometimes it pays to have an open-mind before we write someone off and allow our blood to boil with rage at the very thought of them. Even if it’s just for our health.

When And When Not To Be Pissed Off

Let’s face it, after a few dates, we still don’t really know someone at all.

We barely know what’s going on in their real lives, we know they are presenting a slightly better, more polished version of themselves in order to impress us, and consequently we don’t really have a reason to expect a lot of obligation from their side.

The point is, sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes a man (or woman) really is in a month where his or her career takes absolute priority over everything else and they just don’t have time to keep moving ahead with a burgeoning relationship. So maybe they drop off the radar for a while.

Then maybe they come back and send one of those texts, like the ones Matt mentioned in his video: e.g. “Miss u” or “Thinking of you”.

Now, as I see it, Matt’s point here is that although in the moment you might immediately feel hurt or offended that this guy hasn’t been in touch and then suddenly messages you out of the blue, there is a way you can respond and stay high-value, whilst still giving HIM a chance to try to win you back over. Or at the very least, you’re not giving him what he wants (i.e. your affection) in that moment.

It doesn’t mean he will win you over. And even if you don’t want him to win you back over, it’s still worth being confident and not overly reactive in your response. 

Maybe his excuse will be crappy and you’ll decide he’s not worth it. Maybe he won’t even make an excuse at all and you’ll realise he doesn’t care much about how he behaves (or doesn’t even realise there’s anything wrong with not getting back for so long). Maybe you just can’t be bothered and have better options. Who knows? I’ll let you judge that for yourself.

But we can lose a lot in life by letting pride continually get the better of us.

While it’s true that Matt and I have always talked about the importance of having standards, I like to think that can also mean having a standard of being open-minded to giving people second chances, or even just not taking ourselves too seriously in dating.

Now, of course, that’s not appropriate in every case.

If you’re receiving a text saying “miss u” from a particularly shitty ex-boyfriend who has jerked you around for the last year, and now wants to mess with your feelings one last time just as you’re about to heal and finally be over him…then be my guest. Ignore away. Think him a prick. Be judgmental, tell him never to message again, and resolve not to give the manipulative asshole another single minute of your time.

But my impression is that this isn’t always the case.

My impression is more that we sometimes come to just simply expect that a new person we’re dating should see how awesome, unforgettable, and unique we are after a relatively short amount of time. And if they don’t see it immediately? NEXT!

My worry is that this becomes about our ego, an expression of our need to protect ourselves by immediately branding the other person a user, jerk, player, fuckboy, whatever adjective you choose.

I told a friend about this and she said to me, “But you have to be careful, because women will read this and assume that you’re just telling them to be blind when it’s obvious a guy is treating them like crap.”

So then let me say as a disclaimer: If a guy’s behaviour seems in any way to be purely motivated by selfishness, or you feel used, or messed around, then I would be the first person to recommend cutting them out of your life without a second thought.

But sometimes, just sometimes, we can react too quickly. Or we try so hard to protect ourselves we give no-one a real chance. Or we tell ourselves if a guy isn’t immediately everything we hoped for then they aren’t worth another thought. Or we just take everything way too seriously and forget to amuse ourselves along the way (which is what those text messages are for!).

I know that in my love life, sometimes it’s taken me a while to really fall for someone. To really make them a priority and realise I have something special in front of me. That means I let myself be open-minded for other people to do the same.

Why Matt’s Texts Still Make You High-Value

For those still in doubt, the reasons Matt’s texts from the video are so effective are the following:

  • They are short
  • They are non-commital
  • They don’t require you to put yourself on the line
  • They make you MORE High-Value by showing no emotional reaction to him
  • They’re amusing (if only for yourself)

Plus, you always get the option to ignore him whenever you want. So it’s totally win-win in every scenario!

I’m not saying you should have low expectations. By all means, aim for the best. But dating isn’t an exact science. Sometimes people’s situations change, circumstances change, and that means we should keep a sense of proportion when taking everything so personally.

If nothing else, we gain so much more from letting go of our anger. It’s at least good for the blood pressure.

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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

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52 Replies to “Does everyone take dating WAY too personally?”

  1. Ladies, stop taking everything these two men say like they are condoning bad behavior! Relax… Stephen and Matthew are on our sides :) Thank you for clarifying.

  2. We all need to lighten up and get over ourselves really. Not all guys are idiots, only on the planet to mess you around, they genuinely might be busy and wouldn’t you just prefer it that way anyhow?! There are pricks out there, but you don’t know that in the beginning and as time or dating goes on they will surely give out all the warning signals. The key is not to ignore them (the signs!) and to stop investing. This is why the messages are so good as you’re not investing emotionally. And we all think twice about giving up on something we’ve invested in.
    There has been a lot of carping in the press about a certain former model becoming engaged to an older billionaire. But what is glaringly obvious in every photo are the smiles and how happy they look just to be out and spending time together. It’s so nice to see when there is no agenda, purely the joy of spending time with someone you love being with, chatting to, being close to and adoring. And we can’t do that with suspicious minds. xx

    1. Thanks so much for this Kathryn. Totally agree – the reasons Matt’s messages work so well is because they don’t involve any emotional investment from you as the sender, so they don’t mean you’re giving up your power.

  3. I totally agree! I am in a relationship now where our first date was a crash literally! I had a car accident on my way to meet him. It was on the anniversary of what would have been my 17 year wedding anniversary and I was in the process of a divorce. My mind was all over the place that day and I shouldn’t have been driving let alone meeting someone new. I called my date and told him that I was in an accident and he rushed right over to me. I wasn’t physically hurt, my car was and my pride was but I felt very embarrassed and knew that I had made a terrible 1st impression! That night I called him and told him that I didn’t think we should see each other anymore. He said he understood and that he wouldn’t pressure me. I couldn’t stop thinking of him though…and the following week I sent him an I am thinking of you message to which he replied… I haven’t stopped thinking of you and praying that I would hear from you again. Well, that was 7 months ago and we are so happy and I am glad that I reached back out to him.

      1. Steven you and Matthew have been so helpful to me! I am so grateful that you two are working so hard to help women and men with their relationships and potential relationships. Bless you both for your dedication to your mission :-*

  4. This article does a pretty terrible job at defending Matthew’s advice to actually interact someone who has flaked out for weeks and then texts you with “hey”. The only actual defense the author mentions is “well we don’t know the circumstances of that person”. This is such a weak argument that the author spends most of the time defending THIS VERY ARTICLE from not meaning that he encourages women to give assholes assholes second chance. But that’s ultimately what this behavior is, assholish. The rest of the article is just character attacks on people who can see through the bullshit of your logic. Someone goes out with you, disappears for weeks, then texts you “hey”, and we should give them a second chance? Lol what kind of shit advice is this? Especially when you both preach that women should stay high value and uphold their standards, this is high value to you? Reframing high value to mean “open to giving people second chances” is another lame cop out. You know there are plenty of women who have an issue of giving people TOO MANY second chances. This advice fuels their bad choices. Seriously, how do you distinguish between a good and bad person who flakes out for weeks and then texts you “hey”. What, their excuses? Lol yes I’m sure they’ll have an excellent sob story to back themselves up. Because texting someone you’re interested in a simple “hey things have been busy but lets catch up soon” before weeks have gone by is so difficult. Then to spend the rest of the article just calling people who don’t believe this behavior warrants any response as “aggressive” and taking things too personally? Of course dating is personal, what kind of shitty click bait title is this. Lately both of you have crossed a line by encouraging women to interact with assholes, whether they’re sending you dick pics or texting like twats. Please stop giving women hope that if they “properly” talk to these dick heads that somehow they’ll get something positive out of it. I don’t know if you’re running out of material or something, but I believe you’re both a bit more high value than this.

    1. As I said in the article, ignorance is always an option you have when a guy texts you out of the blue after going cold. Neither Matt nor I said you are *obliged* to give every guy a second chance or respond to his messages after he comes back. The point of my post was to express surprise at the indignation and level of anger that this topic provokes, when in truth sometimes it can pay dividends to be more relaxed in the way we handle these situations. But I don’t judge anyone for being mad and ignoring guys (or women) who flake. I just think it’s not the only way to go.

      For me, it depends on the reasons, and I sometimes prefer to be more fluid in how I respond to these situations. Sometimes giving the benefit of the doubt has paid dividends in my love life. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to write people off immediately. But as I was very careful to say in the article, it is always *your* decision to make as to whether you want to let anyone back into your life. If you feel the behaviour is shitty, that’s your call and you can ignore him and move on immediately. Often that’s a good option. I have no desire at all to encourage women to give *any* guy a second chance whatever his behaviour. That would be crazy, and I hope my article didn’t convey that. But Matt’s video, if I interpret it correctly, is basically saying: “Look, a guy might come back and text you, expecting you to immediately show him affection and warmth. But here are some great, playful, high-value responses that deny him that affection and leave it to him to do the hard work”. That’s all. That doesn’t even have to mean he *gets* a second chance. It just shows that you won’t jump immediately because he happened to text you.

      Thanks for commenting,

      Steve

    2. I think the text messages that Matt demonstrated were funny, and great ways of taking control. I see a high value woman as a person who does not take situations like this so seriously that they allow themselves to be affected. After all, a high value woman has better things to do than play games! A high value woman is confident, and kind. She is playful, but also sets boundaries and standards, because she knows that she deserves to be treateD well.

      There are a million reasons that a man could have not to text back after a date.. or that he could send a somewhat thoughtless sort of text like the aformentioned. There is a difference between this happening once, and this happening often.. Remember, people are always showing you who they are. Maybe after he leaves a seemingly assholeish text, he makes a great effort to make things up to you, and does not do it again.. but if you ignore him, or tell him to “fuck off,” you are being reactive, and showing that you are not in control of yourself/your emotions, which to me is not an attractive quality.

      I went on a date about a month ago with a guy who thought it was okay to answer his phone, not open doors, and not make sure I got to my car okay at the end of the date. If he texts me at any point in the future, I would love to use one of Matt’s responses, because I think they are fun, and let the guy know I am not messing around. He did not meet my standards for the type of guy I want to be involved with, but that doesn’t mean I need to take it personally, or tell him to fuck off. I can just move on. :) I am holding a standard for a man who will treat me with respect.

      Thanks for this article, Steve!

      Warmly,
      Arianna

      1. Can you guys Please stop saying ignorance is always an option? You mean Ignoring is always an option? Right am I right or just Crazy?

        Ignoring sounds harsh but heck I’d rather be ignoring shit than exhibiting ignorance.

    3. I agree with you 100%. But I also see no point in getting angry or calling the guy out on his behavior or taking revenge. What I would do is IGNORE him and his text completely and go about my merry way as if I never received his text.

      I have trained myself to be interested in only those who show enthusiastic interest in me from the beginning and this behavior shows the contrary, no matter how valid his excuses are. If I saw in him real life, I’d just say a breezy Hi and walk off and not bother about it too much.

      I believe in second chances but only if someone comes apologizing and even then sometimes, no. Most of the times in my life when I have given people the benefit of the doubt, they manage to disappoint me again. Still it is worth for the few who might be different but disappearing acts do not qualify for second changes in general–though there may be a rare exception here and there. Then I’d just trust my gut.

  5. Thanks anon. I wanted to strike the right balance between saying “have an open-mind” but also ensuring that women don’t settle for rubbish behaviour.

  6. This is a great post offering sound practical advice and it really works! Anything that allows women in love and life to assert their standards and feel powerful is a brilliant thing. Take it from a girl who avoided getting hurt while increasing attraction by following these tips and principles. Matthew and Stephen are my one truth when it comes to dating and other relationships. My advice to all people reading is just try it and find out for yourself.

  7. I saw the video …it was fun and very creative I loved it :D . if I don’t like a guy I won’t replay his messages ( wasting time ) , but if I like him I’ll say to him my opinion , and what my feelings are towards what he did . what I mean is when I like a guy I’ll be vulnerable , and I won’t be afraid to show my disappointment ( disappointment comes when I see a man is a High-Value man , but sometimes he behaves in less High-Value way ….unfortunately I do that sometimes , but I improve myself ) . we are human sometimes we impress ( vulnerable , … etc ) and we express ( disappointment , love , … ) .
    so , if I’d like to have fun definitely I’ll use Matthew’s texts :D
    THANK YOU STEPHEN :*

  8. Stephen, I think the deeper problem is that we maybe get too emotional invested too early in the process. So when a guy disappears on us, we’re devastated when probably it shouldn’t have affected us that much. Can you perhaps talk about ways we can be open and vulnerable when we are starting out dating, without placing so much significance on that one guy where he is capable of producing such intense feelings when it doesn’t work out. How do we pace ourselves and guard our hearts? Are we too frantically desirous of a relationship?

    1. It’s like riding a bike. It really doesn’t matter if you fall of a few times. Just get back on. It’s not the Olympics. If you “blew it” with this guy, you have a billion more chances to try again.

  9. This is the quote I have a issue with: “Sometimes a man (or woman) really is in a month where his or her career takes absolute priority over everything else and they just don’t have time to keep moving ahead with a burgeoning relationship. So maybe they drop off the radar for a while.”

    As adults who are opening their hearts and putting themselves out there, what is so difficult about at least communicating this? Don’t “drop off the radar” and leave the person wondering what happened. Be brave and communicate that other things are simply taking precedence at this point in your life. I would respect someone for being open and honest, not for pulling a disappearing act on me.

  10. I think you’re absolutely right. I really enjoyed reading your post and listening to Matthew. I think you guys are very senseful. And I’m specially enjoying learning to react in a calm, positive way to whatever the other person may be giving. If we take ourselves less seriously, and the whole situation too, things become indeed more manageable. And we become better. Concerning Matthew’s four sms’s, I thought the whole video really funny, and I ‘ve noted them down. Sometimes I ‘m just too tempted to answer, I have a hard time ignoring someone that is/was important in some way, so thank you for the good ideas.

  11. I am going to respond to this article from a feminist perspective. I think the reason why women are often quick to dismiss a guy who flakes on them is because that gives them the impression that the guy thinks lowly of them. And as the “weaker” gender (as perceived by society) women are tired of feeling like they’re not taken seriously. So when a guy is not respectful enough to text back or disappears without warning for a period of time, the woman is not necessarily JUST pissed off at the guy. She is also pissed that one more person in her life is dismissing her off. This might sound a little far fetched and like an overreaction, but it is important to understand the role socialization plays in someone’s life. From the media to subtle gestures or comments everyday, women are faced with the reality that they are not equal to men. As long as men keep making women feel like the inferior gender, women will keep reacting with aggression or anger. I believe they are completely justified in doing so.

  12. Great article. I love the idea of not being too reactive and giving others a second chance. That’s very classy. After all, there wouldn’t have been a beautiful love story if Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice would’ve stayed in reactive mode and not allowed each other a second chance. <3

  13. I don’t see this about giving anyone second chances so much as empowering women to be in the drivers seat when it comes to who we decide to invest in. Men are simple creatures in many ways and Matt’s advice empowers us to be the ones to decide outcomes. That’s the heart of the matter. Giving someone a ‘second chance’ is merely the output of that power.

  14. To me, what also makes the difference (apart from me otherwise liking the guy), is at what stage this happens. I wouldn’t find it acceptable from a boyfriend of course, but in the very early stages of dating, when really you’re just getting to know each other, it can happen to anyone, for hundreds of reasons I quite frankly don’t even need to know and wouldn’t necessarily want to give if it was me to “disappear”. A date or two don’t entitle me to anything, the way I see it (unless there was a precise commitment to meet up, of course). I find the texts a sensible and cool way to start off again – and then I’ll judge from there.

  15. No one is that busy that you can’t respond to a text for weeks. If there’s complete silence then just a ‘hey’, that’s just not gonna cut it for me. There’s just not enough interest. If a guy is interested, he won’t wait for weeks. So simple! No need to find ANY excuse for him…just move on. I wouldn’t even bother to send back any text, just let him go! :) Who are we kidding, Stephen, Matt?

  16. I agree with this in general that there is no need to get all angry if a guy drops off the radar and returns as if nothing has happened. I have learned to not take things so personally in dating and stopped overeacting.

    That said, I am unlikely to respond to a guy like this…not because I’m hurt or angry but because what I want is a guy who is enthusiastic about me. Not necessarily someone who rushes in passionately because we know how that can end..with a crash and burn BUT I DO want a guy who is enthusiastic about me from the get to. I don’t believe I am entitled to anything but I tend to simply lose interest in guys who are ambivalent, passive or too slow or flakey like this. A guy who is really interested WILL make an effort to tell me he is busy and THEN drop off and not assume that I will be sitting around waiting for him. He wouldn’t take me for granted.

    And so this is the reason I would probably not respond to a guy’s text…because by then it is ME who has lost interest–no matter how valid his exuses are. I am only interested in those who are very very interested in me from the start and give ME a full chance from the beginning and THEN decide if we are meant for each other or not.

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