I Got Her Number: Now What? – The Joy of Text

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If there’s one thing that guys obsess upon, it’s the “getting the girl’s number”. Let’s say that you’ve impressed the girl at the party/bookstore/gym/mall/what-have-you with your looks, charm, wit or Audi R8. Now you’re walking back to your friends holding up that napkin with the most coveted of prizes: her digits! Score! Mission accomplished! She totally digs you! It’s all smooth sailing from here, right?

Wrong.

One of my jobs here at Paging Dr. NerdLove is – sadly – to vigorously stomp on some of your most fondly held dreams when those dreams and delusions are holding you back. And so, allow me to apply the hobnailed boot of reality upside your head. Just getting her number means absolutely nothing. She may like you and wants to hear back from you. Or she may have given you a number just to make you go away. Hell, it may even really be her number… but she’s never going to actually take your call.

In the days of cellphones, voice mail and caller ID, a phone number is an absolutely meaningless trophy when it comes to meeting women. Just because she didn’t give you the number for the local cement processing factory doesn’t mean that you’re ever going to hear back from her. If you want to make sure that getting her number leads to an actual date in the future, you have to understand phone game.

Getting Her Number

Obviously, before any of this comes in to play, you have to get her number in the first place… and be assured that she’s actually going to respond.  A general rule of thumb is that the longer you’re talking to a girl, the better the odds are that it’s a solid number; if she gives you her number within the first five to ten minutes it’s likely that either she gives her number out to a lot of people or that she’s giving you the brush-off without having to be direct. If it’s within twenty to thirty minutes, it’s probably far more likely to actually respond when you try to get ahold of her. Similarly, if she’s willing to move around with you – to another section of the book store, back to the bar to grab a drink, to a quieter section of the party where you can talk – it’s a strong indicator that not only is she interested, but that she trusts you… and therefor she’s more likely to pick up when you call after getting her number.

"No, it's Brad. Braaaad. You know, we met at Pure on Friday night, you spilled your Appletini on me and I told you that... hello?"

Time and social context makes a difference here too; the rules of meeting women during the day versus at night and on weekends are different. During the day, there are usually legitimate time constraints that will keep girls from hanging out with you for a half-hour; you may get the number sooner and she’ll still respond, but it may well take longer to get her to actually meet with you in person.

The best way to get her number isn’t to just ask for it, nor is it to say “Hey, we should hang out some time” or “I want to continue this conversation later”. The best way is to make specific plans for a date. Besides creating a context where she will be expecting to hear from you, you will also be weeding out potential flakes; any girl who says “Well, I dunno…” or “Call me the day of,” or indicates that the day may not be the best for her without suggesting another day is someone who’s likely going to flake on you and you will be well rid of them.

The Intimacy Ladder

When it comes to women and dating, you have to understand that there are levels of intimacy when it comes to communication. From most intimate to least, it goes:

  • In Person
  • Phone
  • Text
  • E-mail
  • Instant Message
  • Facebook1

Obviously you want to be moving up the intimacy ladder as quickly as possible. Dropping down a level – she only responds to your voice mails with texts, for example – is generally a sign that you’ve screwed up somewhere along the way. If this is a regular pattern, it’s an indication that you’re now in damage control mode and the odds are good that you’re not actually going to see this girl any time in the near future. Similarly if the two of you have been texting back and forth and she starts to call you instead, it’s a very good sign.

So remember to keep aware of where your interactions are on the intimacy ladder and keep trying to move upwards… after all, the sex doesn’t happen until you’re actually meeting up in person.

The Power Of The Text Message

The text message is a surprisingly versatile and powerful tool in the arsenal of any man who’s looking for dates. It’s one of the best ways to establish communication with girls you’ve just met – as well as confirming that you have a working, valid number. You can use it to build comfort or intrigue in order to help get her excited and eager to meet with you face-to-face. You can use it to maintain a connection with a girl you’ve been seeing or one you’re trying to see but circumstances are getting in the way. You can use it to re-establish communication with a girl when things have suddenly gone quiet, even after weeks or months of inactivity. And it can be used to bypass women’s inhibitions and build momentum towards sex.

You see, text messages provide a layer of distance between you and the person you’re talking to. This level of detachment allows for people to step outside of their public roles or personas and adopt ones that they would never cop to in public. You’re mutually agreeing, in effect, that these texts are not “real” and therefore anything goes. Once you’ve gotten more used to talking to girls and mastering phone game and texting, you’ll be amazed at just how easy it can be to go from basic teasing and flirting to surprisingly intense sexual topics and role-play. I have set up dates and hook-ups with girls I had met while out solely via text, just by escalating the sexual nature of our texts back and forth.

Man, I had no idea you could do that with a Zima bottle!

But before you ever worry about that, you need to know the basics of text and text game.

Establishing Contact

The first thing you need to do after getting a girl’s number is to send out a ping. You want to establish that yes, this is her number and that she’s actually going to respond to you when you try to contact her. Text is invaluable here not only because it’s low-investment on both your parts, but also because you can use it to make yourself stand out from the other guys she’s met and given her number out to. I’ve mentioned before that I encourage giving girls teasing nicknames as a part of flirting; using that nickname here helps re-establish not only who you are and how you met but also works well as call-back humor.

There are a lot of so-called “rules” out there about when you should call after getting the number – see the classic scene in Swingers – whether to wait one day, three days, a week. Ignore all of those. I will usually send a text ping within a couple of hours of getting the number. Why so soon? Well to start with, you don’t want to lose the emotional momentum you’ve built up. You also want to establish contact while you’re still fresh in her memory instead of playing the classic “Hey, it’s Jake, we met two nights ago at The Library, I was wearing the Dr. Who shirt…. no, Jake. Jay-ay-kay-ee.” conversation.

The text ping doesn’t have to be terribly complex or crazy – just a little reminder of who you are. One of the most reliable out there is the classic “Hey $NICKNAME, do you speak text?  :) $YOURNAME”. If I met her while out at a bar or party, I may send something along the lines of “Hey $NICKNAME, it’s $YOURNAME, I’m texting you now before I forget who you are when tomorrow’s hangover kick’s in, so WRITE ME BACK, WOMAN!” or “So I have a couple hours before the consequences of my actions kick in $NICKNAME so I wanted to say ‘hey!'”

You want to bait girls into writing back; this is why you don’t want to say “Hey, it was great meeting you last night!”. A little humor and/or intrigue works best as does a challenge. “Hey $NICKNAME, this question will forever decide whether we can be friends: favorite Bond Girl?” Make or break questions, especially any involving a binary choice, will get good responses; cake or pie, beach or skiing, Los Angeles or Miami, New York or San Francisco, New Orleans or Austin, Game of Thrones or True Blood. Regardless of the answer, a teasing response “What, are you serious? Oh God, I can’t take you seriously…” can keep the conversation going.

Text Message Etiquette, Responses and Timing

A number of people – especially would-be PUAs will make a point of using response time as a power-play in order to manipulate the girls they’re talking to; the idea is that the anticipation and expectation of a return message will keep girls interested. If she takes a day to respond, they will take a day to respond… or longer.

This, frankly, is absurd. People who play these sorts of head games are people you do not want to date or emulate. Passive-aggressive behavior and manipulation really has no place when it comes to dating. This sort of behavior is the emotional equivalent of a brightly-colored reptile: it’s how nature tells us not to touch it.  The last thing you want to do is punish someone for responding to you in a friendly manner.

Now at the same time, you don’t necessarily want to respond right away; you don’t want to give the impression that you’re waiting with sandwiches by the phone after all. So if it isn’t with someone whom you’re close with – good friends, family members, an actual girlfriend – wait around 15 minutes from when you receive the text to respond. Occasionally you will want to vary it up; sometimes you will respond immediately, other times you will take a little longer… being a little unpredictable is good. Holding a response hostage for hours or even days – assuming you aren’t legitimately busy and can’t respond – isn’t appropriate behavior, nor is it as attractive as others would have you think.

Similarly, some people will advocate sticking to a specific number of texts per day… period. At that point either you call or you don’t respond until the next day. Again: this is ridiculous. If the two of you are vibing and having a good time chatting via text, there’s no reason not to keep chatting that way. I have had text conversations that went on for hours and ended up being literally hundreds of back-and-forths… a very good reason to get unlimited texting if you can possibly afford it.

He's not going to be nearly as happy when his next phone bill comes in.

The Power of Intrigue

Never underestimate the power of intrigue to get responses, establish role-plays or even to set up an open loop to bait a conversation. This is can be an incredibly powerful tool; when used properly, you can even prompt responses from numbers that have been unresponsive for days or weeks. These can be used to help keep her interest and maintain a spicy and flirty conversation – helping to build the momentum towards an in-person meeting and/or sex. Again, these texts are short and simple; you’re just giving them a quick poke, not writing War and Peace.
Hey, I think I just met your twin.”
“You just popped into my head, so I wanted to say ‘Hey’. Oh, and stay out of my head.”
“I had a really weird dream about you last night.”
“Hey, I just saw something awesome and it made me think of you. Text me back.”

One that I’ve had some success with on numbers that had gone silent is: “Sure, come on over. Key’s in the usual place.” As soon as I get the inevitable “What??” response, I reply “Oh shit, replied to the wrong text. Sorry about that.” It’s a risky move and one I only use rarely; as often as this baits a girl into talking again, it also will occasionally end in silence… or someone calling me out on it being a blatant bait into a conversation. So use it with caution.

Flirting Made Simple

The distancing effect of text messages can be an advantage when it comes to flirting. Because you feel a certain level of remove, you will feel more comfortable in making more sexual or coquettish replies that you might not feel as comfortable making in person. It works best as a push-pull; you’re pulling in a little by expressing interest before pushing her away. It’s a playful way of injecting sex into the conversation without coming off as crude or creepy.

“You just gave me a really inappropriate thought just now, and I really don’t know you well enough for that yet.”
“OK, stop that. You’re turning me on and that’s just really not appropriate right now.”
“Oh man, what am I going to do with you? I mean I have some ideas, but they’re really not ok yet.”
“Hold on, you just gave me a really interesting mental image… OK, I’m back.”

These work as an open loop to bait a response as well as establishing the frame that she is the one who’s pursuing you sexually; if she doesn’t directly contradict you, she’s passively accepting the frame and the interaction has changed. It also works as an open but unspoken invitation: you’re willing to go sexual, but you’re also not going to be weird or force the matter on her.


Check back next week for Part Two of “I Got Her Number, Now What”, when I cover the actual phone calls, how to not be intimidated when you make that first call and handling the dreaded voice mail. And if you like this article, please remember to Like it, share it on Facebook, Google Plus, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg and in your blogs and forums!

  1. This, incidently, is part of why it’s a bad idea to try to pick girls up via Facebook. A LOT of girls – especially younger ones – will friend anyone. And because you can set up lists and filters, just being Facebook friends doesn’t mean she will ever actually see your status updates or messages []

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