If your first dates outnumber your second dates, there’s a reason. Let’s explore why they didn’t call… unless you’re the one not picking up the phone?
When I surveyed people on social media to find out reasons why men and women don’t follow up for a second date, a friend of mine responded and said, “I thought you were asking for reasons why someone didn’t call me for a second date!”
Oops. While I wasn’t asking that question directly, that is the information I’m after. Certainly not specific to her, but for the dating world at large. What does a connection look like? More importantly, what are the signals that we send—either blatantly or inexplicably—that tell others truths about ourselves that might turn them off.
Why They Didn’t Call Back
“Too needy,” was a common reason people cited for not following up for a second date.
One woman said, “I once went out with a loud talker. His ‘normal’ speaking voice was shouting. I couldn’t deal with that. One date was enough.”
Another explained, “She was so boring, not my type, and way too into animals.”
The ease with which people are able to engage in conversation is an important factor in determining whether there will be a second date. One person said he recognized there was no connection because, “The conversation is always forced. The things you’re into aren’t the same.”
Then there are those times when the conversation is interrupted by one person who needs confirmation that all is going well. That desperation is a sure sign that there won’t be a second date.
Derek, 40 said he didn’t call a woman for a second date because she was too needy and desperate, and I asked him to explain. How did someone say “I’m needy?” without coming out and saying it? “She kept asking for reassurance that I was interested,” he said. “And I was until I got tired of her asking. When I left I knew that she was just too much work, and I didn’t plan to call her. Then she called me. I knew I wasn’t interested, so I didn’t return the call.’” It should have ended there, but she got a little upset when she didn’t hear from him. “She posted a note on the outside of my condo door for everyone to see, basically yelling at me for not calling her back,” he explained.
Ouch. That verges dangerously on crazy, and I question the motivation in taking such action, though I understand the inclination. Few things are as unnerving as the unknown, and trying to understand why someone is not drawn to you can eat away at your sanity.
How We Lose Ourselves
Dates are filled with hope and anticipation, so much so that it is easy to lose ourselves in the hope of finding love. The very idea of it is marketed to the world over from the moment we leave the womb, and those who don’t have it feel that they are somehow scared with some terrible affliction that has rendered us unlovable. For it is as Bon Jovi said, “What do you got, if you ain’t got love/Whatever you got, it just ain’t enough.”
Thus is the reason why men and women flock to bars and museums and online dating services in search of a chance at finding love. Years ago, I was one of them. I tried everything and went on lots of first dates, a few second dates, and even fewer third dates.
I might as well have worn estrogen as a perfume and printed save the date cards with a blank space to be filled in with the name of my future husband. I secreted desperation from every orifice. I was—to any single man—an olfactory nightmare.
If I could have known when I was 27 and single why someone wasn’t interested in me, would that knowledge have guided my behavior in any way? If I were changing my behavior to secure a call back for a second date, would that have made the experience of the first date less authentic? Or was there no hope of authenticity because I wasn’t really looking for a connection as much as I was longing for a husband?
Dating coach, Rachel Greenwald, interviewed over 1,000 men to find answers to these question in her 2009 book, Why He Didn’t Call You Back: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They Really Thought About You After Your Date. Informed by experiences that go beyond the generic excuses of, “Too needy” or “didn’t click”, the book offers some of the most common reasons why men don’t call back.
When You’re the One Not Calling
So what about those of us who don’t want the man to call back?
Once she figured out what I was actually asking, Alison, 25 from New York admitted that one reason she didn’t go on a second date with a person was because, “he was a man.” Cheers to giving it the old college try and being open-minded in her dating, but this guy didn’t bring enough to the table to win her over.
Alison’s answer along with others cited a lack of attraction as a reason for not going on a second date; which made me wonder whether it is possible to develop a physical attraction to someone over the course of time. Are daters being too dismissive if they give up on someone with whom they enjoyed great conversation but felt no physical sparks after only one date?
When I was in my early 30s, I was set up on a blind date with a really great guy. I always felt I was being condescended to when people described me in that way, but he really was charming, kind, interesting, and fun. I enjoyed hanging out with him. I really wanted to like him. He was well educated, came from a good family, liked playing pool and video golf, a game in many bars at which I was really good.
I just didn’t want to kiss him. I kept hoping that if I spent more time with him, I would develop those mini fireworks inside that make you want to melt. When after several dates, he finally worked up the courage to lean in and kiss me, I pulled away.
I’m sure he was embarrassed and confused, but I felt terrible. I really wanted to be drawn to him.
So I completely understood when Alison said, “Overall, the main reason I wouldn’t go on a second date is that I wasn’t attracted to her. Why wouldn’t I go on a second date with someone who’s cute unless they’re totally awful?”
Whether it is better to face the reality that there is no physical attraction or to hope that one will grow over the course of time I do not know. I suspect that in my case it would have been better to be honest with myself after the first date, but my hope won out.
What if I hadn’t pulled away? I guess neither of us was desperate enough to find out. It might have gone on a few dates longer than it should have, but we both accepted the situation for what it was and went on to find perfect partners in the future.
[image: via shutterstock]