Notice who initiates ongoing communications

Women know that if a man doesn’t ask to spend time with her, he’s not that interested in her. We have learned some men appreciate when a woman suggests a first date, but what about other communication?

If a woman initiates phone calls more often, she may tell herself, “He’s too busy at work to think of calling. So I’ll give him a jingle to see how he’s doing.”

If the woman is generally the one who starts email or text exchanges with a man, she may think, “He’s just not much of an emailer/texter.”

Recently I’ve become aware of a more subtle indicator: who initiates an IM most often. When a man asks if he can IM me and I accept, we can both see each other on our buddy list. When I’m online, I can see when he logs in and out, and he can see when I log in and out. I’ve often looked forward to seeing when a man who interested me logs in and I’d initiate the IM. Now I don’t. I figure if he wants to say hello, he can see I’m online.

More often than not, I put myself in invisible mode, not allowing people to see I’m online. If I want to make myself available when I notice someone come online, I can. But mostly I don’t.


Because that makes it too easy. I want a man who puts a little effort into our communication. If he can IM me w/virtually no effort, then he isn’t really thinking about me, just bumping into me online. I prefer he actually decides he wants to talk to me and dials the phone.

Is this being a prima donna? Of course, I don’t think so. To me a prima donna would NEVER initiate. I initiate some, but now I’m conscious of not doing most of it.

Why is this important? Because it’s so easy to delude ourselves that someone is into us when really he is just responding to our overtures. I’ve been on the giving and receiving ends of this. I’ve had men contact me who didn’t really interest me and yet I responded if he was nice. However, I’ve learned not to imply there is any romantic interest because I don’t want them to misinterpret my niceness, and I don’t want either of us to waste time. And early on, I’ll suggest that we be friends.

By not initiating IMs, I am seeing how much interest a man really has in getting to know me. If I’m just a mouse-click away and he only IMs me, there’s not much interest. If he at least picks up the phone and call, there is much more. It may seem like a little thing, but I’ve learned it takes Herculean effort for some men to call. In that case, how interested can he really be?

What have you noticed about who initiates IMs vs. phone calls?


Winning at the Online Dating Game: Stack the Deck in Your FavorMore is explained about geting to know men onlin in Winning at the Online Dating Game: Stack the Deck in Your Favor


24 responses to “Notice who initiates ongoing communications”

  1. rkintn Avatar

    This is one of my biggest pet peeves! I’ve really noticed it with online dating. It’s almost as though the art of conversation is lost. I will ask icebreaker type questions, and the men will answer the questions and put forth no other effort. Very frustrating! I’ve encountered this in real life as well and have finally adopted the attitude that if they are interested in knowing me but won’t put forth a little effort, then they aren’t worth my time.

  2. Pat Avatar

    I understand what you mean about just “bumping into” someone online vs. putting in some effort to really talk to that person. And it’s also important to notice whether you are always the one initiating the IM. But sometimes I’d rather IM than talk on the phone. Many of my IM conversations have been better than many of my phone conversations. I’ve analyzed this quite a bit. Typing is slower than speaking, and you usually think about what you type a little more than about what comes out of your mouth. If there is a slight delay in responses on IM, it’s nothing, but if the same thing happens in a phone conversation, it seems like an awkward silence. However, some people do not type well, or write well, and so their best mode of conversing is talking. I happen to like men who can write. If you think the art of conversation is being lost, it’s minor compared to the art of writing!

    My current man (almost a year now) did not IM or call. We wrote emails. They were wonderful. We did this for two weeks and then met in person. He is a fine conversationalist, and could have just called me. But he wanted to find a woman who could write and would take the time to do it, and I did. We were both happily surprised to find someone who actually had ideas and something to say and could write complete grammatical sentences and spell decently. This is quite uncommon on dating sites.

    I know I have gotten somewhat off the original topic, but I guess what I’m saying, beyond my diatribe on the low level of literacy in the online dating pool, is that I agree. You have to see that some effort is being put into it.

    I think too, that some people are just lonely, and like to talk online, even if it doesn’t result in a date. But that’s another topic…

  3. Mitsy Avatar

    I know I sound like a broken record, but so many of these topics remind me of the lack of effort I witnessed from these online men who supposedly wanted “long-term relationships”. Many balked before even meeting, so it wasn’t a case of no chemistry or no attraction because they had never set eyes on me. I think too many men (and maybe women as well) sign up for match or eharmony or yahoopersonals with NO intentions of going through with the process of meeting or dating anyone. They may be bored, they may trick themselves into thinking they are serious about it when they are actually just playing games with people. It happened enough times with me that I don’t have much good to talk about in the grand scheme of online dating in general.

    Sure, I think it can work, but I think the odds are never what the commercials pander to. At worst, the commercials are false advertising. Match has apparently heard enough complaints about their site that they are now offering the 6 months free if you sign up and don’t meet someone within a certain time period. They didn’t have that offer when I was on it. However, I think if people were real and didn’t lie about themselves or what they were seeking, more people might actually find the person who would fit them best. But, as Dr. Phil says, you need to find someone who fits you 80-90% because there is no one who matches you 100%. I think you can easily get hung up on the 10-20% that might not match but if it’s not a dealbreaker, then people are being unrealistic if they continually throw the fish back into the ocean hoping for a better catch time & time again. That seemed to be the mindset of many of the men I met online.

  4. Samantha Avatar

    I agree with you, Misty. What you said there is what I mean by online dating is like finding a needle in a haystack. My therapist told me she sees sooo many people in my area who say something similar to you and I, and it seems to be a needle in a haystack kinda thang.

  5. Samantha Avatar

    >>>What have you noticed about who initiates IMs vs. phone calls?<<<

    If he never called, yet always try to find me online, ask about when I’ll be online, asking me out via IM or email… i would conclude IM’ing is his personal style/mode of communication. In other words, he could put a lot of online effort in to making sure we stay in touch. I think if he was doing that, he might already have some indication from the me that’s it’s OK. We would have already been communicating via IM from the start or something. Since that’s not my thing….

    I would say right off what I need. If phone calls are my preference, I’d say so. It becomes apparant pretty quickly if they want to make sure they’re pursuing/not allowing me get away! Being too available online/chatty just isn’t the best way to go in the beginning if doing this and mostly this with him is going to end up making you unhappy.

  6. Elisa Avatar

    Plain and simple: if a man is interested, he WILL call / email. Online dating sort of jaded me. After years of meeting players, men with hang-ups, oddballs, etc., I almost didn’t believe you could meet a serious prospect for a long term relationship that way. IMing is “easy” and those who are just looking for titillation, sex and relief from boredom are plentiful. However, eventually I did meet a good guy on and we dated for 4.5 years before parting company amicably. However, we moved from email to phone to our first date within a week. HE picked up the phone to call me and again to confirm the date. No games. My current love (fingers crossed, but this one is a keeper) and I met through speeddating, which I highly recommend. After talking for an hour and a half post event, he emailed me asking for a Saturday night date and for a tele #. He called two days later and we shared our first date was wonderful and organized by him with careful consideration of me. We email daily except on weekends and he generally calls me every other day during the week. I am no shrinking violet, but believe strongly that the male must take charge to some extent, especially since I am not shy and could easily “do all the work.” It requires discipline on my part (no reaching for that phone every time I have the impulse to hear his voice). Our email exchanges are wonderful and usually thoughtful as well – heartfelt, witty and just plain “real life”. I hope a line or two strikes a chord with some of you. Thanks for the opportunity to share this!!

  7. Mitsy Avatar

    Elisa, I really hope things pan out with your current guy. As for the guy you were with for 4.5 years, I consider that a pretty good length of time for dating. Apparently, there was something there or it wouldn’t have lasted that long.

    I guess I should be thankful that some of those men I met online ended up ghosting or ending things much sooner than I would expect which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I didn’t waste months and months on them before finding out they were players, confused, fickle or otherwise just not interested.

    The longest dating experience I had from online was 3.5 months with the guy who ended up leaving town without even telling me. Although I was not “in love” with him, my ego, self-esteem and emotional well being was badly damaged by his behavior. Because I’ve remained friends with his sister, I’ve been able to hear that his life has not turned out hunky dory for him. The sister doesn’t have much use for him either so she kind of wrote him off to a degree. He’s made some very foolish and selfish decisions in his life. It’s so obvious that we would not have lasted as a couple even if some other things had gone differently. Hindsight is always 20/20.

  8. Beth Avatar

    Wow… I read this and it kind of hit me in between the eyes, even though I knew it already. This just kind of made it harder to deny. I am the initiator. With one guy, I’ve written to, I’ve tried asking questions and thought I finally hit on the right topic to keep things going, but … it petered out. I asked a different guy who’d emailed me a few times if he’d like to meet for coffee. I haven’t heard from him since. Face to face with a new person, I’m incredibly shy and tongue tied, but by writing it out, I can talk to complete strangers with relative ease. So, that’s what I’ve tried. I guess it’s time to back off… to see if the men who have indicated an interest in me really are… and who is “just not that into me”. Sigh.

  9. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Beth: Don’t feel badly. It happens to all of us, which is why I wanted to write this posting. I NEVER suggest to a man that we get together. It’s a way I see 1) how interested he is in actually meeting me and 2) how assertive he is. If we talk for a while and he doesn’t initiate, I put him in the friend category.

  10. Hot Alpha Female Avatar

    Really interesting discussion.

    I hear a lot of women say that they don’t like to play games and play hard to get and all these things.

    But there is a huge difference between playing hard to get and actually “being” hard to get.

    See when you “are” hard to get, your life is so full of meetings, experiences and passion that you literally don’t have the time to be available 24/7.

    Women are usually contacting the men first, because they feel vulnerable because he hasn’t contacted him.

    They say to themselves. Well its the 21st century, why should I be able to talk to him?

    Well let me ask you this … Do you like it when a guy makes the effort to want to talk to you? Do you feel special and well taken care of.

    Compare that to how you feel when you are doing all the conversation initiation.

    yes you can contact him first now and then … but in the initial dating stages esp, its good to let him contact you first.

    Men speak through their actions more than their words.


    Hot Alpha Female

  11. Mitsy Avatar

    I agree w/Alpha Hot but looking back, I would have had many FEWER dates had I not done “some” initiating on my part. I think there’s a fine line between letting things just happen vs. doing all the work yourself.

    What I continue to be baffled by are the numbers of men who make little to no effort while on the dating sites. Especially for the ones who had not met me, there was no way of knowing for sure if there was chemistry or not because until there’s a face-to-face meeting, neither of you really know. Maybe part of it is fear. But when a man is in his 40’s (as most were that I was meeting/seeing), then it’s time to grow a set and realize that “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

    It seemed that a lot of men were more content to have NO ONE than risk meeting someone who might or might not work out for them. No one wants to get hurt, but if you are going to have a profile online, then common sense would dictate that if you don’t follow up, don’t make some effort, then you are wasting your time, money and efforts on a dating site that isn’t actually being used for dating purposes. For a lot of men, they see it as a “hobby” a fun play thing to pass the time of day rather than a legitimate way of meeting eligible women they might have something in common with. I still say it’s a crapshoot because too many men are fickle, confused, players, or simply are not serious about finding someone.

    Likewise, I think if women make no effort either, THEY will also wind up alone. Thinking that a man must chase you is a fantasy. Few men will chase and few women will wait around for a guy to do that if that is not in his personality to do so. I sometimes think that if God meant for people to get married, it would be a hell of a lot easier than it is today. Dating is too draining & emotional for a lot of people. I know it got that way for me.

  12. nysharon Avatar

    Hi, this very question plagues me. I have been seeing someone now for over a month about once or twice a week. We met at a party via his cousin. There has been mutual admiration and intimacy that has been on spot. Finally, I say, I have met someone who has potential. Then I realize that I have been making the contact sometimes too often. I wait and two days later I have not heard from him. I am going crazy but I think its important to hear from him. Or am I crazy???? do I need more attention–YES. I am tempted to text or email or whatever, but I want him to think of me. Is that so wrong. Talk to me girls–am I just having self doubt???

  13. nysharon Avatar

    BTW: this comes on the shirt tails of a “relationship” I had with someone on line who I contacted a lot and he finally said “you want more than me”. I am not wanting to step in those footsteps again.

  14. Samantha Avatar

    nysharon… yes you are having self doubts. post here, call a friend – anything but contact him. let him do it… guys need to ease in to these things sometimes. he might need to think about it.. if he feels overwhelmed or like you’re there too much too soon, it could scare him off. so you know you need more attention BUT don’t elect him as the person who should be filling that void. you haven’t known him very long.

  15. Donjuan Dekuwait Avatar

    What do you think of a guy who is hard to get?

  16. Mitsy Avatar

    I think Sharon is experiencing the same bull crap that I dealt with when I was doing online dating. You want the guy to know you’re interested but you don’t want to sit around waiting for him to call. He sounds like another “on-the-fence” kind of guy who isn’t sure what he wants. A lot depends on whether you’ve met the guy, had a date or two, but to my way of thinking contact every day or every other day is not asking too much if you are trying to get to know someone or want to start a relationship. How can anyone know if they don’t step up to the plate & call? For the most part, I do believe the guy needs to do the calling, and if he doesn’t and you’ve made the effort to try to contact, just back off & let him go. He sounds fickle, confused or perhaps a player like some of the others. The lesson I kind of learned was that you will eventually beat yourself up over all the time & energy you exerted for a guy who didn’t want to be caught to begin with. That’s the bottom line. I stand by my belief that a guy in his 40’s should be PAST the mind-games that 20-something year old’s do.

    To address Don’s question, no, I don’t think playing hard to get is attractive myself – for either sex. No woman should have to pretend she’s not interested in order to win a guy’s attention, but at the same time, she shouldn’t make the guy feel that she’s waiting for him to call or that he’s so important that she doesn’t have other fish to meet. If they exert little to no effort, then the are either not interested, LAZY or both. They snooze, they loose.

  17. Meari Avatar

    I stay invisible online most of the time for this very reason. I also don’t like texting. IM’s and texting make it too easy for men in the dating world. It’s also very impersonal. I want someone who will pick up the phone and talk so I can hear the inflection as well as the sound of their voice. Even before SH’s book came out, I was very aware of who was intitiating conversation. I figure if HE is not doing the initiating, then he’s either 1) lazy, or 2) not into me that much. Therefore, why should I waste my time?

  18. nysharon Avatar

    Thanks for the input. He actually called me later that day and we made plans for a couple days later to have dinner. In general I notice though, that he will let too much time go by. He spent the night on Friday night, we said good by Sat morning and now its Sunday night and no call. There is no hurry for me but I do want to feel like I am being pursued a bit. Yellow flags, must be patient, observe and if someone else asked me out–I’ll go.

  19. nysharon Avatar

    Guess what I was trying to say is that I have gone so long with out meeting someone I feel connected with that I’m OK with the slow pace. I’m 51, not having any more children and its nice to have a companion who is in a similar field to me who meets ALL my other “check offs.” At some point if I feel truly disappointed I’ll let him know and he can decide how he wants to play things. Isn’t that what relationships are about. Then of course, I may decide I don’t want to be with him anymore.

  20. Angela Avatar

    I think excuses are being made. If a guy is interested he will let you know. You do not have to guess. You can let him know you are interested but he needs to pursue you! Online or off some guys will spend a short time with woman they really are not into particularly if the woman does all the work. Then after a few months they leave.

  21. Play Avatar

    Interestingly as a guy, I don’t do IM as I do not have time for it even though girls have asked me to. I wonder why a girl would actually date someone who IMs her.
    I like to phone, but not very often and if I mention meeting up a couple times and the girl doesn’t take me up on it, I stop calling as I want someone who wants to see me. I think a girl should have time for me and if she doesn’t, I don’t have time for her. I’m sure there are a few confused women who have no Idea why I was interested and lost my interest. My advice, meet up fast as after a while a guy will forget why he liked you.

    I realise that this topic is for online dating, but I have found online dating to not be verry effective so prefer to meet women in public places. If you saw the statistics for real matches from online dating, you would be shocked at how bad it is… the odds are far better for winning the lottery. However for women who want a free lunch or something, it is not a bad deal.

    Most guys will leave after a while not becaus you did all the calling, but for other reasons.

    I like it when women call, as long as it isn’t too often.
    Also I’m more likely to like and date someone who shows me some interest.

    I believe that those women who say don’t call, play hard to get etc. are trying to keep away the competition.

    The other day, I was watching a talk show and there was a woman who wrote this book “why men mary bitches” She was sooo wrong about guys.
    I’ve read that book “the rules” as well. No wonder women can’t find a good relationship as they are always plaing games. Follow these man hating secrets and you will only attract players and short term relationships.

    My advice, meet up fast as after a while a guy will forget why he liked you.

    If you want to know what he thinks about calling or how soon you should be intimate, ask him. Some guys like to wait and some don’t.

  22. agnes@dublin Avatar

    Play I don t know who you are but I like you already :-)))) this is it TALK, COMMUNICATE , what are you risking ? Just plainly ask the question how would you like to communicate ? how do you feel confortable with ?
    That s seems easy but not that many women or men do ask these questions when the first meet … thanks Play I will remember

  23. macreds Avatar

    Well…I’m not quite 40 but it seems as though it doesn’t matter because the issues I read on here are the same I’ve seen at any age. I just had a first date with a woman who texted me during the day (I was at work) and was annoyed I didn’t contact her yet. It was only 1 1/2 days after the date. I was going to call her that night but she didn’t give me a chance claiming that she had to initiate everything, which isn’t true. I had called her twice, set the date up and paid, for which I didn’t get a thank you. From a man’s perspective I have to a agree with Play.

    Women, if we are interested we will call, text or email. I usually do it within 2 or 3 days. Some men a bit longer. I prefer calling since texting and email are impersonal and can be misconstrued. Texting is good for “I’m running 15 min late” or “7pm at the gallery” NOT long drawn out conversations that are angry or emotional and especially not a day or two after the first date. A man will run for the hills thinking she’s needy, bitchy and nuts. Who needs that?

    Dating someone in the beginning should be easy and fun not argumentative and annoying. True relationships are different. A few dates is NOT a relationship. But, even in a long term relationship texting someone every day or even every other day is a bit extreme. That’s like a n electronic ball and chain. What could you possibly have text about everyday?

    I guess the one post was correct, men are not as verbal they go more by actions. I know I’m more like that. Men, in general are more literal. If you say you won’t be home before 7pm I won’t call you until after 7pm. Don’t expect a call before that and wonder “why didn’t he call yet” or “even though I said 7pm he still should have tried earlier” and start playing mind games with yourself.

  24. ZVA Avatar

    I realize this thread has been cold for some time now, but I thought that this was worth saying for anyone else who may come along.

    As a man, I find that I have a higher respect, not to mention level of attraction, for a woman who has the courage to actually initiate a conversation with me, and doesn’t NEED for me to be the first one to make a move. Do it in a non-desperate way, and you’ve just set yourself apart from the other 3.7 billion women out there.

    As for SMS/texting and email…
    While I don’t mind doing either in small amounts, I hate trying to carry on conversations through texts. It strikes me as lazy, almost like it’s a safety blanket for some people… it is too impersonal. But the one thing that irritates me more than anything else… when someone says to call them, do not text them instead.

    “But there is a huge difference between playing hard to get and actually “being” hard to get.”

    This is key. I don’t care if the person is male or female, the words “I am too busy to X” translate directly into “X is not important enough for me to make time for.” If you want to contact someone, just do it. If they won’t make time for you, either on the spot or plan for a future time, that should be your first sign. Working 40+ hours a week and a full time college student, I can attest that there is always time at some point. It does not matter how many people you know or what you have going on. I will tell you the same thing I tell anyone else; stop making excuses for what you want, and do it. Instead of hiding or being invisible, say that you are “getting offline” and “call me.” Instead of PLAYING hard to get and hiding, show that you can be worth getting.