Short post today. This is a concept that gets talked about little, yet when I offer it up as advice to many guys, it blows their minds. Sometimes the best move with a girl is to do nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is more powerful than absolutely anything you could possibly say or do in a situation.

In men’s dating advice, we have a tendency to obsess about the perfect thing to say, the exact right time to call, the precise time to text and how to respond. This tendency gets most guys into a mindset of reactivity, which causes them to behave less attractively.

Here’s a novel thought:

  • You don’t HAVE to respond to all of her texts.
  • You don’t HAVE to acknowledge everything she says to you.
  • You don’t HAVE to call her back.
  • You don’t HAVE to have sex with her.

As I type this out, it sounds so plain and obvious, but it really does blow some guys away when they realize it. It blew me away.

Think about it this way: would you rather err on the side of her feeling like she has seen you too much, or not enough? Exactly; it’s better to let her miss you too much than to have her be sick of you. Too often guys feel so obligated to act or do something or respond around a girl, that they end up making themselves too available and too easy for her.

What happens to you when a girl doesn’t reply to your text? That’s right, you sit around and obsess over what happened, how did you lose her, why isn’t she replying, what could you have done better? That goes both ways. You not replying to her can send her into the same tailspin of insecurity.

This may ruffle some nice guy feathers around here, but let her feel insecure. Her insecurity is not your responsibility. And show me a girl who is insecure around a guy, and I’ll show you a girl who is attracted to that guy. The two are very closely related.

So next time you’re talking to a woman and you don’t like or care about something she said, just don’t reply. Sit in silence. See what happens. Or next time you’re busy when some girl texts you, just don’t text her back. Wait a day later until you feel like it. If you don’t feel like calling a girl, then don’t. Call her later. Your responsibility is to yourself, not to her.

I got back from a trip to Central America last week. I went on a date with a girl right before I left. She was a nice girl and fairly cute, but I wasn’t smitten or anything. We traded some messages on Facebook while I was gone and she told me to call her when I got back. When I got back, I was tired from my trip and needed to catch up on a lot of stuff and I didn’t bother calling her for a few days. When I finally did call her, she became very nervous and actually started apologizing to me for stuff that she didn’t even do wrong. Now, I’m not saying that I relish in girls apologizing to me for crap they didn’t do, but it showed me something: that she had spent the previous 2-3 days genuinely worrying whether I was going to call her or not and had invented reasons in her mind as to why I waited so long.

Now imagine if I called her the moment I got off the airplane. Then called her the next morning. Then texted her the next afternoon. Bam. Suddenly I’m way too available and crowding her and there’s absolutely no question in her mind whether she can have me or not. Therefore she’s less excited, less uncertain and overall less attracted to me.

I’ve seen this happen to guys over and over again, and if I could point to the biggest problem guys have with follow up game, this would probably be it (that and trying way too hard to be funny over text — both are almost universal rookie mistakes).

Before I go, I should add one final caveat to this. It’s important to not mistake the “you don’t have to do it” impulse with the “I’m chickening out” impulse. It’s an easy mix up to have. For instance, if you have bad sexual anxiety or are a virgin, and you have a girl naked in your bed, and you decide that you’re tired and don’t have to have sex that night… well, you’re probably just bitching out. Use discretion. Pay attention to the REASON behind your actions. If you don’t feel like calling or having sex because you genuinely are busy or value doing something else, then that’s fine. If you don’t feel like calling or having sex because you’re scared to death that she’ll reject you, and in the process you’ve convinced yourself that watching the Knicks game is more important to going out with the hot girl you were crazy about last weekend… well, then you’re just lying to yourself and you need to suck it up.

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19 Responses to Sometimes the Best Move is No Move

  1. Leo says:

    “And show me a girl who is insecure around a guy, and I’ll show you a girl who is attracted to that guy. The two are very closely related.”
    So true, the only way she’s insecure it’s because she cares about you, otherwise she wouldn’t be insecure because theres NOTHING to lose.
    Mark I have a question, I believe what you say BUT usually women don’t take action, I think they don’t take action because they have been taught to don’t do it and because they fear rejection, as much or more as men do. They can throw hints to you if you are around but taking action…. I’ve seen that only once, the girl was super attracted to me. That’s why I take action, I call, I text, etc because I haven’t seen girls doing the opposite, at least not before sex. What do you think about it?

  2. Mark says:

    *Underlines the word “Sometimes” 10 times for Leo*

  3. Boo says:

    This is really a great post. Interesting topic. I’ve noticed that sometimes if I don’t respond to a girl I’ll feel bad about it, and stress over coming up with something great to say. Even after you think you’ve come up with something clever you’re still stressed waiting to see if it was hit or miss if it felt particularly edgy. My ex was the worst with this… She’d expect that I respond immediately to anything she did or said, and then would take her time to respond to me. Feeling like you have to respond right away, and with the best possible text is probably indicative of insecurity. I imagine that it has something to do with feeling that you’re not good enough to have her, so if you don’t respond quickly than you’re going to lose her. Almost in a similar vein to how they say that when people speak very quickly it’s because they’re going to lose that person’s interest unless they spill it out all at once. Ironically, as this article points out, it’s the opposite way.

  4. Axel says:

    This seems very closely related to that forwarding of Bobby Rio’s advice, which I think was to keep a girl in suspense. Never state or openly show your intentions too quickly but show it through your actions.

  5. collegeslacker says:

    Quite accurate. This was one of the biggest things I had to work on. Once you wean yourself off of communicating back immediately and instead take 20min->hours to respond you’ll notice it really does help. It raises your value. I’ve had girls blurt out to me how this makes them worried/insecure thinking I was mad at them since this is what they do when they text and what not when they’re losing interest in someone.

  6. Ben says:

    When I started dating, my uncle took me to one side and told me “Treat ’em mean to keep ’em keen”. He also told me that

    1/ You don’t make her the centre of your world or act like she is.
    2/ You don’t talk to her on the phone for long periods.
    3/ You don’t ring her every day.
    4/ You don’t stop doing things you did before you met her.
    5/ If she wanted to do something with you, say no every now and then.
    6/ The person who cares less rules the relationship.

    It surprised me that little things like that used to help keep a girl interested. It surprised me even more when I saw my friends do the opposite to girls they liked and never get very far!

    Never really understood it until I caught ‘Tao of Steve’ late one night on TV.

    “We desire that which retreats from us”

    By being a challenge, we provoke insecurity, create mystery and make ourselves more desirable. Women love to feel like we’re a prize to be won, not a free gift anyone can have!

    • Bill says:

      Just want to say that this is good advice, especially point 6. It can also help keep you centered. I remember Mark said somewhere before, (and I hope I’m not mis quoting him) that he does not make really deep connections with girl’s anymore, in order to protect himself.
      I am of the same opinion. Let them be the one’s who worry if you “really” like them etc.

    • Philipp says:

      Ben, does “You don’t talk to her on the phone for long periods” means that you don´t talk to her too long on the phone or that you don´t talk to her often on the phone?

  7. David says:

    In the world of break ups, dumpers and dumpees, it’s worth mentioning that the top reason why their girlfriends left them was because many Nice Guys (see Robert Glover for more on this) were too available, they lost their way, made her their top priority, sought approval from her and fretted about the relationship especially towards the end in a chess move-by-move kinda way. We’ve all done it at some point, and some are now ‘recovering Nice Guys’ but it’s def worth adding here that this over-attention will eventually get her to run.

  8. Gully says:

    Interesting topic. Of course, it comes down to the old dogma of cat and mouse. But I think what you touch on about how you dont HAVE to do anything with a particular girl is also interesting, it removes a lot of your own insecurities whilst making her more interested at the same time, logically speaking anyway. Its like you hit two birds with one stone.

    Whilst I fully agree with the premise, the paradox for me is that I WANT to care about the girl. Not nessacarily in the sense of one-itis or anything. But for me, I want to have a burning desire for a girl. Usually, what we are talking about plays out for me according to my genuine level of interest with the girl.

    Right now Ive got a few girls on the ‘radar’ so to speak. But to be honest, Im not really that bothered about any of them. So I dont have much insecurity of what they think or what I should do. But you know what ? I would trade that for a girl I was head over heals over. Thats the strange paradox. Of course when you dont care as much about the outcome, then ironically it may be easier to get with them etc, but then ultimately, for me anyway, its not as satisfying.

    Obviously if you can do this with a girl you have a massive interest/desire/crush on then that would be ideal, but when you find someone you really like, its a lot harder to display a casual interest.

  9. G says:

    As far as not replying now and then I think it’s absurd and that’s just another way of trying to hard to get girl’s attention. How is thinking “I won’t reply once a week, so she will be interested” different from “I’ll buy her a drink to keep her interested”? It’s doing something exactly for a certain girl.

    Or maybe you are wrong and you are not replying your friends once in a while to keep them interested? I don’t suggest, that you must call/text them ASAP, but usually if they called or texted, they want to talk to you about something. When I have enough time, I try to call them back. If I know, I won’t have any time at all (how often does it happen), I text.

    Why should I treat the girl any different? To get her attention? No way.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t text/call too much, because I don’t like this, I don’t facebook (I don’t have account), I don’t chat. But I won’t pretend, that I am superbusy.

    Oh, by the way – girls usually know, when you start playing games. Seriously, they had many years to master to social games and they know how to play them much better, then man do. And that’s fine. We are men, for fucks sake. We don’t need to play games.

    • Mark says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging guys to “play games.” I’m encouraging them to no longer FEEL OBLIGATED to respond or reply to everything immediately.

      I agree. When you start timing your text responses consciously, you’re just seeking more attention.

      I’m encouraging guys to get in touch with what they actually want. Not what they think others want or what they feel obligated to do out of politeness or whatever.

  10. Philipp says:

    Hey Mark!

    This post is awesome! I mean is not something that is completly new to me, but its good to be reminded and your exmaples are very good for showing, what it exactly means. Man, I simply love your blog!

    Ok, enough dickriding lol. I made both of these rookie mistakes with one woman I am gaming. We didnt see us much in person, becus she has to travel a lot, but we used to exchange messages everyday for a week or so and call from time to time. IN the text i was kidding around a lot of times, and get a lot resonds back like “LOL! Silly. Blblabla” and so on. Plus I was way to available, almost everytime I was on skype i responded to her when she wrote me. Additionally, I made it too obvious that I find her really attractive.
    My question is, how can I make me more attractive again? Is just reducing the contact and not writing/calling back from time to time enough?
    I have in general problems staying in touch with a girl, specially when she doesnt live in my town. Sometimes I think I am to needy, sometimes I dont contact her enough. What is the best way not lose contact with her but also not being to availbale/easy when u cannot see this girl for a longer period?
    Thanks a lot mate!

  11. Breeeeeett says:

    wow, I never realized that I have a compulsion to answer people, and that I could just NOT answer people…that sounds so retarded now that I say/type it. I’ve been ignoring people all day and it feels great! lol. Thanks Mark!

  12. JohnnyK says:

    Good read, but I’m not totally on board. I know for myself that I can forget about girls I meant to call. If I get around to it a week or so later the girl has, on numerous occasions, either been unresponsive or I have lost ground.

    So for me anyway I try to put thought into following up, maybe set a reminder on my phone and play it by ear.

    That being said I really liked the novel thoughts. Not responding to everything she says and not responding to every text is so important. Good post mark.

  13. Fluffy McGee says:

    This is the classic DGAF (Don’t Give A Fuck) attitude, and yeah I have to agree. Not only is it extremely empowering to not give a fuck when it comes to girls. You can take a moment to sit back and think “What do I want to do?” Then you can do whatever it is you like.

    Having said that, it’s difficult for beginners to emulate this attitude, because they are often so desperate to land that “hot chick” they just met the previous weekend. It even happens to me if I take a break for too long from getting laid. The important thing is being aware of it, then you can control it to some extent.

    As time goes by and you get better at pick-up, this attitude comes naturally. When you have a dozen roses, losing one doesn’t matter, but when you only have one, you are forced to worry about losing it constantly.

  14. Matt says:

    I wish you could elaborate on the rookie mistake of trying to be too funny via text – I’m very guilty of this. Went to the Mall today, I got this girl’s number (didn’t even ask for it … just handed her the phone, then she said “You are good!”) … then I blew by trying to be too funny and I over-bantered because I got arrogant.

    If you could make a post or blog on trying to be too funny via text then that would be awesome.

  15. Peter says:

    Hi, interesting topic. Recently, i have met a girl in a summer camp and she is 2 years smaller than me. I m now 16, and i have been texting to her for the last 2 months, and we went to disneyland with our friends. And sometimes, we would skype or call, but really not much. A week ago, i ask her to watch a movie with me and she told me that she like someone else at her school, but i think she isn’t into relationship yet. And of course my heart broke, and i stop texting to her for 2 days, then she suddenly ask me to watch a movie with her and her friends, and i accept the offer. But i really dont get how girls think, i thought she has already forgot about me, and i dont know what to do in the future. Plz help

  16. Ted says:

    Mark, this is a great article and everyone great follow ups. I am new in the dating game so I am learning a lot from you guys. Need you view on this girl I am dating. So far we met four times and after third date we made out. I feel like I am putting all the effort in making plans and going out of my way to be mr. Nice guy for now. Is this common in the beginning. I don’t want her to think that she has all the power to do anything she wants. Pls help.thx

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