The Three Alarms In A Guy’s Mind

Stephen Hussey

Enter Stephen

Prologue – An awkward first date conversation…


Location: Bedroom. Bookshelf area.

Her: Oh my God. Is this the relationship book you wrote?

Steve: Well, co-wrote.

Her: (Sarcastically) Oh sorry, “co-wrote” then. Can I read it?

I already regret ever mentioning it.

Steve: Um…maybe another time.

But it’s too late. She’s taken position in my office chair and is thumbing through the pages of ‘Get The Guy’, gasping and giggling excitedly at chapter titles when she scans the contents page.

Her: I cannot believe you wrote a book telling women how to get men. This is ridiculously unfair! Have you been judging me this whole date? You’ve so been judging me this whole date. Do you keep a record of what every woman you date says so you can write about in your book?

Steve: The book’s already finished. But anyway, no! Ok, I think it’s time to put the book back on the shelf now!

I try to grab the book from her hands but she hides it under her arm out of reach.

Her: Noooo! I bet you’ve been judging me this whole date.

Steve: Doesn’t everyone judge everyone a bit on a date?

Her: I suppose. But you probably have all these special little tests in your head that women have to pass in a guy’s mind to tell whether she’s worth keeping.

Steve: That’s ridiculous. Of course I don’t.

I make a mental note of the title ‘tests women have to pass in a guy’s mind’, and remind myself to write it down later…

Tests Women Have To Pass In A Guy’s Mind

There are three alarms in every guy’s mind.

If any of these get tripped early on, during either a first-date or that post-first-date-kinda-sorta seeing each other ‘middle period’ it’s guaranteed to make him back away fast.

Set these alarms off at your peril.

1. The Needy Alarm

Her affection is weirdly strong.

It’s only been two dates. She keeps saying how special and one-of-a-kind he is, but he hasn’t done anything to prove that yet. She thinks I’m a great guy already? How could she even know that?

He feels like he’s won a little too easily. And then he gets a horrible sinking feeling – Could any guy have gotten this girl? Does she even care about me at all, or would she have been happy with any semi-decent guy that came along?

He senses that his only achievement might have been being at the right place at the right time. He’s having buyer’s remorse. He doesn’t feel like he has to bring his A-game around this girl. He feels like she would want him no matter what he did.

It’s not that he doesn’t love all the affection and compliments. He just doesn’t feel like he’s earned them yet.

He’s being pushed to make big decisions a little too soon.

His needy alarm tells him he’s being trapped. What if I change my mind about things next week? Is she going to be difficult about it and upset?

Suddenly she’s asking him if he’s serious. It’s fast. It’s only been a couple of weeks. He doesn’t really know, but he’s being pressured to state all his future intentions.

The single life now looks to him like a golden meadow of freedom and happiness.

He can’t wait to get back to it.

2. The Drama Alarm

She got all weird when she talked about her ex. Weird and angry.

There was a flash of pent up rage, just for a second. She got emotional, resentful (maybe tearful) and then quickly suppressed it. There’s some epic saga hiding there.

She seems to be constantly on the edge of blowing up over something. He feels like he’s being judged constantly. He feels like every false move is being tallied up against him.

He said he would be busy the next couple of days with work and she gave him the cold shoulder. He dropped her a text to see how day was going. She just replied: “it’s fine” and wouldn’t return his messages for the next two days.

The silent treatment.

Drama. He’s seen it before. Tiptoeing around explosive topics that set off her anger. Jealousy. Petty fights over non-events. Suspicion. She keeps saying she’s “fiery” and “passionate”, and now he’s questioning if fiery passion is an overrated combination.

He decides to stop the show now before the real drama begins.

3. The Shallow Alarm

She’s cute, but has she got a life or goals or interests that engage her and bring meaning to her world?

Everything she says seems kind of vague and airy. She spends most of her time going to parties, at least that’s what it sounds like, since it’s all she talks about.

She hasn’t got many opinions, and in group conversations she seems kind of lost, sometimes just bored.

At first he thinks it’s because he’s just boring.

But then he realises it might be because she’s shallow. And he doesn’t mean that in a mean way. Hey, relax man, she’s a nice person, don’t be so judgmental. She’s fun and brings a good energy to the party.

But then they go for dinner together and he finds himself scratching around for conversations. Awkward silences prevail. Conversation is about as deep as a teacup. When he talks about something intellectual she looks directly through him, smiles and says “that’s nice”.

And she is nice. But maybe just nice.

He imagines how many more ‘just nice’ dinners they’ll have to endure together.

He realises skipping dessert might be better for his health.




Her: Are you done?

Steve: Huh?

Her: Or are you still thinking about whether I’ve passed your little tests for the first date?

Steve: Hey, come on. I showed you the book. Now you have to be nice to me.

Her: Ok. How do you rate this date so far then, Mr. Relationship Expert?

Steve: (in despair) Please stop. I beg you. It was going so well up until now.

Her: I’m only teasing (she punches my arm playfully). God, you can be so dramatic.

Steve: (laughing) Ok, we’re DEFINITELY putting the book back on the shelf now.

Her: No way. I’m not even sure we can go out now.

Steve: Aw, come on.

Her: Hmm…maybe one more chance, since i’ve caused you so much pain (we both laugh). But I’m taking the book with me. Sorry, you’re never getting this back.

I stop laughing. 

I suddenly have an idea for another article: ‘Books you will never tell someone you wrote on a first date ever again…’



To Follow Steve On Twitter For More Updates Click Here

Photo credit: Beth19

Free Guide

Copy & Paste These
"9 Texts No Man Can Resist"

91 Replies to “The Three Alarms In A Guy’s Mind”

  • Hi Stephen,
    It’s funny as reading your blog and books we are always going to wonder, with all your insights, what sort of relationships you have yourself. As if all your knowledge would help create an instant, perfect balance. But of course life is not like that and we are all different personalities interacting with each other.
    I think all of us have been guilty of setting off one or more of these alarms. I hope we do live and learn.
    It does work both ways with the ex subject. Too much referring to them, negative and positive makes a woman think they still have feelings alive and well. Could a reunion be on the cards? How do you ever tackle the subject, if you have to, without becoming a drama queen?
    I’m articulate and love stimulating conversations but I have been on dates where I’ve been so in awe no interesting words have left my mouth. It’s like being starstruck and coming over like a vacuous idiot with nothing to say. With maturity has come a confidence deep within that would overcome this but when I was younger I must of put off many a great young man because of this.
    Men don’t want it too easy, they want to have to bring their A game, so do women!
    Thank you Stephen, you have a great sense of humour and lovely manners. x

  • Hello Stephen!

    With this article I see not only you are a sharp and intelligent mind….you have also cool humour!
    An irresistible combination in men!

    Stephen, I’m asking you directly…. what happened then with your date?:-))
    you started with it! :-)

    I would like to tell you a short story…
    My grandmother always told me ” You can see A LOT in a man, the way he is opening and sharing an orange “.

    I was out in a first date with a guy, he bought for us pizza and a focaccia. He asked me if I wanted to eat from that focaccia, as I never tasted it before, and i said …yes.
    This guy took a piece from that focaccia, iwas sure to give me for tasting as he told, but HE ated that piece.

    Immediately I remembered the words of my grandmother and although not planned from my side, in my mind on that date, he didn’t pass this test….(but also for other reasons).


    1. Before I starting dating this recent guy. I surely showed some of #1 and #2. This could have rescued me! At least I know better going forward.

  • In regards to point #1, I started telling the guy I’m dating that he’s one-of-a-kind after dating just a couple of months BECAUSE I was reading your book. You and Matt talk about in a later chapter how important it is to always make your guy feel unique. Unfortunately, I think I misapplied something that’s essential later on in a relationship to an early stage when he hadn’t earned it yet and he’s reacted to that. He’s expressed that things are moving too fast and he thinks I’m over-investing in our relationship.
    And he definitely struggles with wondering if he was just in the right place at the right time. Truth be known, he was. I was seeing several guys, like I usually do, and decided this time to cut ties and date just one. I am over 30. I’ve dated a LOT of guys. I’m the woman who doesn’t have trouble getting asked out, but with sticking around/getting a guy to stick around.I decided that most of my friends who are in happy, long-term relationships only dated one person at a time, so I would experiment with that approach.
    The guy I’m with snagged a hiking trip right in the middle of two other dates I had planned. We had gone out once a month before and I’d had a great time. Then he’d disappeared. I know Matt suggests short dates at first, but this second date of ours was 16 hours long, though I didn’t even know it was a date until we were eating dinner. Had such a great time with him, great conversations, great connection that I decided to give him a go and tell the others “ta ta.” And he knows about that. And as you say will probably always be haunted by it. Is there a way to recover?

  • Hi Stephen,

    The first thing I want to say is that this is a great article :) however I have a question. I’m seeing this guys for about two months now and we’ve been already sleeping together ( I know, not smart) last week we’ve been on another date where I asked him about what we were actually been doing. I told him that I started to have feelings for him and he said that he has them too. He also just got out of an relationship and said that he isn’t looking for a serious relationship at the moment but loves hanging out with me. We used to text everyday but since then he isn’t talking to me. Can you tell me how I can fix this because I think that he lost interest in me. I also get attached to people very quickly, is there something to overcome this?

    love Amy

  • This is such great insight!! I may be the boring one on the date. I am not the best at coming up with topics to discuss and I fear sharing opinions I have because I don’t want to come off opinionated or say something he may disagree with. I need a how to guide for this. How do you overcome shyness? I don’t have social anxiety, I just don’t know what to say on a date.

    1. Hey Ashley, here are some fun questions a little more random than usual that can bring out different sides of the person you’re dating & maybe some good laughs :)

      -If you could choose to be any superhero or have any superpowers who would you choose & why?
      -Tell me something random about yourself that you wouldn’t tell someone on a first date.
      -If someone gave you a million dollars what would you do with it?
      -What are a couple top things on your bucket list?
      -If you could be anyone for a day who would you be and why?

      These are just a few, but then tell him it’s his turn to ask a question and playfully say he can’t steal any of yours & has to come up with his own. Don’t be afraid to be yourself & always always laugh & enjoy yourself. It’s extremely attractive to show you’re having fun, he’ll feel incredible about making you smile & will end up having a great time as well.

    2. Here is the order of conversations. Start with fun and flirty. Show wonder and appreciation of their accomplishments. Next is sexual escalation.
      This will progress over minutes, hours or even weeks.
      Listen carefully. They give you topics.
      Me: Are you enjoying the band’s music?
      He: oh yes. I love this type of music.
      Me: Great! So you know several venues in the city where you can listen to music.
      He: uh well, I only moved here a week ago.
      You can now talk about where he’s from, why he moved, his plans and goals for the next year, what other genre of music he likes, does he ️enjoy dancing, ask what types of food he likes. Recommend restaurants. Offer to be a guide to city sites. Tell him to come to group happenings. Talk about sport teams in the city. Ask about his family. Does he travel often? Movies, books, fitness, cooking, hobbies. Mostly get them talking. You listen. Ask them to describe a place they traveled to. Explain their hobby to you. Multilingual? Ask them to teach you a couple funny phrases.
      Yesterday I went to a deli. High energy and bubbly. I asked the woman employee if their coffee was good. Had she tried it? Would she recommend it? I asked her to describe the taste and aroma. I maintained eye contact and told her she’d done such a good sales job I was going to invest in their product. By now she had the same high fun energy as I did. As I waited for my change a woman and her husband hollered for me to join them at their table. Never met them before. I got the man to describe his holiday yard displays and the woman her holiday baking, family gatherings, travel plans for NYE and I basically listened.

  • Hi there Stephen.

    I love how your articles are written. Clear, you say what you mean to say.
    But about this one, the second alarm. The Drama Alarm. I get a little confused.
    Of course I understand what you’re saying and I can picture the (type of) person you’re describing very vividly. Bút when we really have loved someone fully and are of course a bit angry and hurt about, for example, the way they treated us or ended things.
    We’re not supposed to be a blank page no matter what has happened in life, are we? Because that would be the Shallow Alarm. (I could have phrased that sentence better but I don’t really know how in English, I’m Dutch.)
    Then it would be like: ‘but you where in a relationship/had things happen to you, how deep does her caring go?’ right?

    I suppose what I’m trying to ask is how do we find a balance between our process and connecting in a good, fun way with the other person when they try to get to know about our past. Or why we are the way we are now.

    To help you understand better I’ll give the example I’m in now. Just to put this in context, not trying to make it about me.
    Have been to art school (I’m 22), which was terribly hard on my heart and mind. But I’ve managed to stay mentally healthy while others where going insane and worse. I just cried a whole lot and decided to stop studying, stayed home for a while to recharge and then got a job.
    So the case: I am more loving and appreciating everything around me than ever and I feel so blessed with all the little things. I haven’t been able to follow the news for about two years because it just tore me up, what people do to each other, to animals, to the planet. All the destruction. I also have lived like a hermit during those years. People being nice strike me, ’cause I just wasn’t having much of those. But I can see through their intentions most of the time now.
    I am ready for all the beauty and reality of this life. I interact with people energetic and playfully and get a lot of attention.
    BUT, when someone wants to get to know me better. I simply don’t know how to manage to react in the right way. I feel allright and warm in general, but of course it stings and I’m angry/hurt.
    The reason I mentioned this is to show you that I’m not an angry person, but I do feel it. But also so much love and caring.
    The circumstances where so intense, that it just makes me feel stripped to my bones sometimes. I look at people with this look of vulnerability straight from the heart when that happens.
    Yet I feel that’s changing and I’m doing everything in my power to make it better and be better + grow.

    Do you know a way to show how loving and caring you as a person are, despite anger and hurt of kind of fresh situations, and how to show this in a simple conversation?

    I hope this was clearly written.



    1. Well, I just assumed the drama part was about everything. Not just someone’s ex.

      Is that actually the case?

  • Regardless, the complex nature of Windows dynamically increases the possiblity that some users
    will have some type problems installing or running the operating system.
    As a final point, tthe Professional edition adds the ability to backup your program tto a house or
    company network. There are actually windows made from several materials,
    which include fiberglass, light weight aluminum,
    or vinyls are a variety of them.

  • hey Steve, loved the article.. so true to tell you the truth I could identify with some of those instances… love love it.

    I thought thought Matt was great, but are equally as good … love you guys.

    xxx freshy

  • Steve
    This is a great article! I wish I would’ve seen it sooner. I was very recently in a relationship with a man a couple years older than me (me 27 and him 30) where he just wasn’t feeling it anymore. Like something was missing. While that might be true and exactly how he was feeling, I’m positive that I have signaled all 3 of these alarms at one time or another within the 4 months of dating. I know I’ve done that in previous relationships.

    Thanks again for the insight and I’ll definitely be sharing this article with a few of my girlfriends!

    Take care

  • Hi Steve!

    Great article, fair points; is there any room for recovery after one of these alarms has been tripped?

  • Hello Steve! It’s too bad I am french canadian. Humor is something I find often difficult to understand in another language so I’m missing half the fun! :(

    If I should choose one mistake I’m doing, it would probably be the third. I studied in social work. Even if I’m in introverted person, I work with people who have mental problems and I learned to listen more than talk.

    I have strong opinions about social justice though and have no problem of arguing with people on social media but I can’t do the same on face to face situations. So I seem like someone totaly uninteresting.

    I just look like the cute girl who never says anything and who never have an opinion over anything. Even if it’s not true that I have no goals or interests. I took photography lessons (love it but I am in learning and practising now), self-defense classes, I train to the gym regularly (lost 13 lbs since the end of may, at 128 lbs now), I volunteer at an organization to help homelesness people, I love health and nutrition related topics as well as poverty and mental health topics.

    Although, I always seem to be the uninteresting girl… And the still single one at 29.

      1. You are a great catch! Now, just say what you said about yourself in the comments on your next date or mention just one of those interesting things about you next time you talk to a guy!

  • This is a great article I have seen this shoe on the other foot too where guys can be this way as well. Its good to know what things not to do to keep the Alarms from going off. It also is a good way to look for this in guys too because I am sure if guys act this way women would also run for the hills. I love the whole scenario there as well. I am assuming this is from an actual experience you have had on a date. Thanks for sharing that.

  • Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the heads up as these are definitely not characteristics you should be showing when first dating someone. However, as pointed out in a few of the comments below these are also characteristics guys should avoid when first dating someone. There have been incidents when they have and I just want to leave, but I’m terrible knowing how to appropriately and politely leave a date once I’ve decided I don’t want to see them again. Sometimes I’ve decided within the first 5 minutes and ended up being with them for another 8 hours. Any tips?

    1. Why doesn’t any body ask Sydney any questions? :P You want to spend at least 20 minutes with them, I think, to not be rude. Why not just say “I’ve had a nice time with you, but I don’t think this is working out and I don’t want to take up any more of your time. It has been nice getting to know you.” Ok. Awkward and harsh and rejection sucks but it’s better than disappearing after a long date.

  • That was so hilarious. Especially with the “make a mental note not to tell a girl you wrote a book on the first date”. Loved it!

  • Great article Stephen. The names for the alarms were perfect. So what happens when you don’t Invision yourself falling under any of these categories but find yourself being cautious, but lite where you enjoy life and know how to be serious but you connect with someone you think is a great guy who doesn’t push the envelope and let’s you go a nice relaxed speed because of where their life is and then they just stop showing up because the revelation they have had is they need to work on themselves?

  • I wanted to comment RE: the first item and neediness. I believe it’s important to be clear about your intentions and where you are looking to take a relationship. I want to know that a relationship is going to go somewhere. I don’t want to date forever. I prefer to be up front with a man so there is no misunderstanding.

    1. I agree, Christina. A lot of men inspire this “neediness” among women. Men who talk a lot about the future, act very affectionate, romantic, kiss her passionately, maybe even pressure for sex. Then they don’t deliver on their promises, they’re surprised when a woman wants to know what his intentions are and he acts as though she’s “needy and crazy” or wanting to move too fast into a relationship.

      Plus a lot of men keep things ambiguous. i.e., wanting to take my number down and acting affectionate, yet I notice they don’t call to see me or ask me out. So if you only want to be my friend, act like a platonic friend and leave the romantic gestures out. Don’t come on to me all flirtatiously as though you want something more. I have developed a sharp intuition about people so I don’t over invest in men too early, fall for what they say anymore and know how to weed them out.

      Yet, I really can’t blame women who start to feel a little needy or curious to know what a guy’s intentions are towards her when he’s acting overbearingly romantic, while he may only want something casual in his life or a friend with benefits. And not all men behave this way. A lot of men today still have enough awareness and integrity to not act as though he wants the girl in a deep romantic way when he doesn’t.

      Men want a woman who invokes their masculinity and who he feels respected by. And every woman wants a man where she feels cherished, safe and secure. These behaviors I mentioned won’t inspire her to feel that way. I won’t just go with the flow and I expect a man to have clear intentions. I still have had a few men tell me straight up they want to take me on a date from the beginning, and that’s good. Keep the ambiguous “I want to be friends with you but also want to make out with you, but don’t expect anything more” away from me.

      1. @Anais

        That is why I now find it fishy when men talk a lot about the future, act very affectionate, romantic etc at the outset. It rings alarms in my intuition that they are moving things too quickly, and not realistically. Ideally, men like women should reveal themselves slowly, and not engage in a resume-like conversation and aim to reveal every single detail of their lives down to a tee. I also think its ideal to have a moderate level of friendliness, affection and passion when the relationship just started to avoid generating too much emotions of “euphoria” and blind expectations of what the relationship could be in either parties.

        I think what we can do as women is to set healthy boundaries and communicate them to any man who approaches us. If a bloke is being wildly romantic and flirty when the relationship has not reached that stage yet, let him know that you are not comfortable with his ostentatious displays. If he has integrity he will accept and respect your standards. If he does not step back and adjust, just walk away from the relationship.

        Self respect is the key to avoid turning out as a fling in a casual relationship, you need to be upfront (but not overly aggressive) about what you can and cannot accept in a relationship, as early as possible. I find that any man with a decent amount of respect for women will honour you when you step up for yourself and show him clearly what you expect and require for a relationship. It builds attraction and raises your status as a high value woman as Matthew has mentioned on his blog here. That’s what I do now with men I’m interested in, and I’ve never received a negative response when I’m candid about my expectations.

        You’re absolutely right that most men want a woman who makes them feel masculine, and that’s something I still need to learn and reflect about. But I also think that women should be just as clear about what they want as they expect from men, without the fear of emasculating them with open communication. I firmly believe that when you do communicate well with men, most of them are able to and will respect your boundaries, just for the fact that you have enough self esteem to not be a doormat girl. :)

  • I thoroughly enjoyed your article and I must admit she seemed a bit… Trying to find the correct word(s)… INSECURE. Had she been confident the fact that Stev had written a book on “how to get a guy” would be irrelevant as she could have taught him a thing or two. I must admit, first dates can be intimidating, although I have always tried to make the most of every date I have gone on.

    I never knew what really goes on in a guys mind, whether it’s during a first date, first time he laid eyes on you or post first date. But what I have learnt over the last few months is that men generally freak out over needy women and women who want serious, committed relationships from the get go. I mean, how can you want to commit to someone you don’t really know?

    Finally, the “shallow card” in my opinion is when a woman realises her “mistake” on a date of being too needy and wanting something serious from so early on, that she tries to rectify her mistake by seeming more aloof to her male date.

    At the end of the day her desperation for a serious relationship over powers who she really is and overtakes her true personality. I recently went through a breakup and the amount of nonsense and “guidance” out there for women to use in either getting your ex back or just dating advice is pathetic and downright useless. The tips and tricks which are available don’t apply to everyone. Let’s be realistic, every situation is different. I must admit that I have found the “Hussey” advice to be the most caring and genuine. Matt, you have really been such a great inspiration. I watch your vlogs, follow you on Facebook and Instagram, all of which are so truly genuine and honest. Stev really is wise beyond his years too and I have so appreciated both of your words :) You both share this unconditional kindness that so few in this world posses and it is no wonder why you are successful.

    Please come to SOUTH AFRICA. There are so many women who need your help and valid advice.

    Kind regards
    Bianca Santamicone
    South Africa

  • Is it good to “pass” these three tests?


    “The single life now looks to him like a golden meadow of freedom and happiness.”

    Best. Article. Ever! Very fun read.

    There is always an epic saga behind everything!

1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All-Time POPULAR Posts