How many times have you been doing well with a woman you’d just met only to have it fizzle out the next day with no warning? In the moment, everything was amazing; you were flirting back and forth, you got her number and the promise of getting together later. By all rights it should be all systems go for getting a date that weekend. Instead, it’s all last minute cancellations and radio silence. That first time you asked her out ended with “Sounds great, call me the day of, ok?”. The day of, it was “Oh I’m so sorry, but I’m actually busy today. Maybe next time?” Then… nothing. Your texts get one or two word answers. Your voice mails are never being returned. You’re shouting impotently into the void, hoping for an answer.
She flaked on you. Sucks, don’t it?
Unfortunately, flaking is a common occurrence when you’re dating, especially when you’re building your skills. It’s incredibly frustrating because it can feel as though it came out of nowhere – you were doing everything right and then suddenly you hit that wall of silence. So what can you do about it? Well, to start with, let’s examine why women flake… and then how we can prevent flakes from happening1 .
What Is Flaking, Anyway?
Sometimes it can help to define our terms in order to avoid confusion. There’s a difference between a flake out and, say, someone cutting of contact because he or she just plain doesn’t like you.
Sudden radio silence – watching a flirtation over OKCupid cut off without warning, or a string of unanswered calls or texts without even the promise of a date in the first place – are not flaking. These are signs that, for whatever reason, the person you were talking to just decided that they were no longer interested. Maybe you screwed up. Maybe they just weren’t feeling the chemistry. Maybe they have an irrational hatred of the way you use the oxford comma, who knows?
Flaking, on the other hand, is a last minute-cancellation of tentative plans; you’re all spruced up, so caught up with excitement for your date with that cute woman you met at the bar last Monday that you’ve shown up twenty minutes early. You’re half-caught up in imagining the sloppy make-outs that are in store for you later that night when you get the dreaded text: “Hey, turns out I can’t make it today. Maybe some other time.” Suddenly, you’re left all dressed up with nowhere to go, feeling your ego (and your half-chub) deflating like a leaky pool-toy. Any subsequent texts get non-commital answers and your voice mails aren’t being returned in the first place.
Why Women Flake
Flaking usually comes down to one of two issues. The first is very simple: she’s not that into you. She may have been having a good time with you in the moment – after all, everybody appreciates talking with someone who’s funny and interesting, especially if they’re good looking – but ultimately, she’s just not feeling that spark she needs that pushes her from “Well that was fun,” to “That was fun and I want to see this guy again!”. Other women will simply play along for a while… maybe out of boredom, maybe just because they’re going along to get along and just waiting for a socially acceptable excuse to send you packing. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why women will just hand out their number so easily to people they don’t give a damn about; it presents a natural break in the interaction and most guys will take it and go away. In an age of omnipresent cellphones, caller ID and voice mail, giving out a phone number is low-risk, low-investment. A woman can tell at a glance that someone she doesn’t care about and let it go straight to voice mail – and then from there to the digital garbage bin.
The best way to avoid this is, simply, be better at knowing how to build her interest in you. One of the best ways is getting her to qualify herself to you; the more attraction you can build, the more likely she will be looking forward to actually meeting up with you instead of giving you the 21st century brush-off.
The other cause is the loss of what’s called “emotional momentum”.
The excitement and rush of a positive in-person interaction is heady, but it can wear off quickly if you don’t do anything to maintain it. Like a car running out of gas, you go from speeding along to sputtering to a halt. Leaving with vague promises to “hang out later” or to “talk sometime” won’t help maintain the excitement or emotional connection that you just spent the last X number of minutes/hours building. Wishy-washy texts and voice mails cause her excitement to fade even faster. Similarly, going for long periods of time without contact will cause the momentum to diminish. The more the momentum fades, she stops picturing you as the awesome guy she was really interested in and become just another guy she vaguely remembers giving her number to.
Keeping The Momentum Going Through Proper Use of The Phone
If you want to prevent flakes from happening, you have to keep the ball rolling, and the best way to do this is to know how to use texts and phone calls to your advantage. This means that as a general rule, you want to start the contact as soon as possible after getting her number.
A lot of guys will balk at this stage; they don’t want to appear “too eager” or worry about creeping her out. Instead, they wait for some random interval of days (the “three days” rule, for example) in an effort to appear more confident or aloof – when in reality, they’re just trying to muster up the courage.
It this sounds like you, think about it this way: if you met someone cool and had an amazing conversation with them, wouldn’t you want to keep in contact so you could keep things going?
Rather than calling right away, I advocate a quick text “ping” – a short, cute message that helps establishes contact and gauges how interested she is in talking to you – within 24 hours of getting her number. In fact, depending on the context of how we met and for how long, I recommend pinging even sooner; if you met in, say, a club or a bar, she will likely have given her number out several times and the sooner you can establish contact with her the less likely you will melt into the blur of every guy she met that night.
After a successful ping, you should start a text conversation – one that leads towards setting up a call. It can be as simple as ending a conversation with “Hey, I’ve gotta do stuff, but I want to keep talking to you. I’ll call you a little bit later, ok?”
Naturally, you want to make sure you actually follow up with that phone call that day. Long periods without contact will kill that momentum, leaving you with another dead number.
Once you make the call, you should ask her out on a definitive date. No “we should hang out some time” or “hey, if you’re interested, maybe we could get a drink later…”. No putting the onus on her to set up the date for you; this not only betrays a lack of confidence, but it leaves things vague and unclear. You want to be specific: “Hey, I’m going to see this art show on Friday at 8, you should totally come with me. I think you’d love it.”
Having a firm time and day makes it more concrete, which in turn makes her much less likely to flake out.
- Let’s get the Head and Shoulders jokes out of the way now, shall we? [↩]