Never treat someone like a priority when they treat you like an option.
I saw this phrase a few weeks ago, and it made me think…. I remember when I was young and new to picking up women in bars, I used to get flaked on quite a bit, and it was a big issue for me and a lot of the other guys I hung out with back then. Nowadays, I get flaked on very rarely, and I think it all comes down to an attitude shift – changing my attitude towards dates from treating them like priorities, to treating them like options.
Let me explain.
Cool people who have stuff going on in their lives don’t treat dates like priorities. Hot girls don’t pull out their iPhones and write “Chris Shepherd, 8pm Thursday” into their calendars when I invite them out, and they don’t expect me to do so either. Even if you’re a really cool guy, and she really likes you, chances are any plans you make together are still options, not priorities. And that’s fine with me, because I don’t expect to be treated like a priority, and I don’t really WANT to be treated like one anyways.
So what is the difference between a priority and an option? A priority is when you mark a date off in your calendar, cancel your other plans, and start tidying your apartment just in case she comes back to your place. A priority is when you presume that the date is going to happen in a certain way, at a certain time, and you get fixated on that. Implicitly, when you treat a date like a priority, you’re presuming that the other person is treating it like a priority too. And most importantly, when you make something a priority, you get disappointed when the plans change or get canceled.
An option, on the other hand, is much more flexible. An option is simply the possibility of doing something, with real plans TBA. When you have an option open with a woman, there’s no pressure, there are no real plans, there’s just an agreement that you like one another and will hang out as soon as your busy schedules work together. An option is when you have plans for Thursday, but you call her up on Wednsday and say “let’s grab a pint tonight”. Options are not real plans, they only become solid plans a few hours before the event, when you call up and say “Hey, it’s Chris. You still down for some Vietnamese food in the market?”. They are emotionally driven – we will meet up when it feels right, and we will do what we feel like doing at that time. Any plans are really only guidelines for what is going to be an emotionally driven activity.
The great thing about treating dates options is that they’re low-pressure, comfortable, and make you look like an easygoing, busy guy who is confident and attractive and doesn’t care too much. . By treating dates like options, you’re preventing the logistics of the situation from interfering with the emotions of the situation. As long as the emotions are good, as long as she’s attracted to me and wants to meet up with me, then you can be confident that the logistics will work out eventually.
The other thing about options is that they’re easy. Easy come, easy go, easy to reschedule. Because I never treated the option like it was a big deal, I don’t care if she reschedules or cancels. In fact, I usually have several options on any given night (either with girls or with friends or other activitis) so there are always backup plans. And of course, everyone I have an option with is treating it like an option too, so I’m not leaving people high and dry.
If you treat a date as a priority, or worse, try and make her treat your date like a priority, you’re going to damage the emotional momentum that is driving her to want to meet up with you. If you’ve treated the date as a priority, and it doesn’t work out, you’re going to be disappointed. And if you’re disappointed, chances are it’s going to come out in your voice or in something you say, and all of a sudden, the emotions of the interaction have changed. Maybe she’ll think you’re lame, or maybe she’ll just feel guilty for bailing on you, but either way, attraction and excitement has been replaced with something else. Your emotional momentum is lost, and it will be much harder to get her to meet up with you again.
If you try to make her treat your date like a priority, you’re probably going to come across like a tool. Some gurus advocate calling women out on their flakeyness. That’s a great idea if you don’t care about talking to her again. Likewise, trying to pressure or guilt a girl into going on a particular date with you is a great way to ruin attraction and ensure she doesn’t answer the phone when you call next. The fact is, unless you have tickets to a big concert or something, it’s really lame and needy to expect a woman to treat your casual date plans as a priority.
Treating dates like options can sometimes be a bit of a pain. Sometimes, you have to wait a week or more between getting a girl’s number and meeting up with her. You can’t plan really complicated dates, and you often need to have some decent phone game to keep the emotional momentum going in between meetups, but in the end, it’s a much more effective strategy. Eventually, as long as she’s attracted to you, she WILL meet up with you in the end. And the hard-to-get, busy women are usually the most fun anyways.
See also my post on Six Reason Women Flake (and how to deal with it)