The Psychology of Men and the Next-Day-Text

by Amelia Diamond
January 13, 2014
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I’m like the Malcolm Gladwell of this subject

tommytondudeswhotextIn my seasoned four years of life as a New Yorker, I have — between my friend’s stories and my own — scrutinized every dating scenario there is in the book of courtship. There have been numerous occasions where I’d rather slam my scalp into frozen sand than decode a three y-ed, pre-midnight “heyyy,” and yet I do it because my friends do it for me. By the end of our sessions, we usually feel like we’ve accomplished or established something. Like a riddle has been solved, order has been restored and life carries on.

But one feature of the dating game continues to stump us. It’s nearly impossible to decode and it is rampant in New York City. But it can’t be limited to this freaky island, so, I ask: why do men take our numbers if they don’t plan to ask us out?

In the name of all those afflicted, I enlisted the help of 30 heteromalesSome were my friends, some were strangers, one was an excuse to con a guy into asking for my number (JK! Or am I? I am! Am I? I am. Stop.) and the responses were overwhelmingly unanimous and as such can be fractioned into five succinct reasons.

1) Time and place should be considered

If a man gets your number midday after having met you in line at a coffee shop, he’s far more likely to contact you and set up plans than if he’d got your number during last call at a bar.

“You’re in much clearer headspace to tell if there’s a real connection or not,” said a friend we’ll call Montgomery. (Monty for short.) Apparently, men don’t typically peruse the waiting room at the dentist, hoping that the attractive girl reading a decaying copy of Highlights will go home with him. There’s no alcohol involved, no pressure from friends. Just him, you, and the receptionist who’s annoyed you showed up 10 minutes late.

“If we ask for a girl’s number during the day, we really want it. It took balls to ask. We saw something there, and we’re going to use it.”

So why are the stakes lowered at a bar? See number 2.

2) Sobriety Level

Every man, no exception, told me that when asking for a girl’s number out at a bar, there is a 100% chance they’ve been drinking and therefore a high likelihood that they won’t remember crucial details the following day to encourage a follow-up message.

Said one man who didn’t have a preference for his alias so let’s call him Bud Light, “It seems like a great idea at the time, then the next day, you can’t remember what you saved her in your phone as. Or a variety of other details that are usually deemed important when considering asking a girl out. Going on dates is kind of stressful. You want to be absolutely sure you like the girl. If you can’t remember stuff, it’s not worth the risk.”

3) The Getaway 

Some men said they ask for a number in order to end a conversation they don’t want to be having. “It’s an easy out, and you don’t look like dick.” When I said this was childish, one interviewee retorted, “How many times have you told a guy, ‘Be right back, I have to go to the bathroom or find my friend’ to end a convo, and then never returned?”

To which I said, “BRB gotta go to the bathroom. I think my friend’s in there.”

4) The Challenge

Several men said they enjoy the challenge associated with getting numbers. “Guys are going out to meet girls, for sure, but we’re not on the hunt for relationships. Getting a number is like a bit of validation — it says you still have the charm. You’ve got game.”

But to further said game, why don’t they use it?

“It’s sort of like when a dog is chasing his tail. If he caught it, he wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

5) The Fear

On a less chauvinistic plane than point number 4, some men admitted that they’re afraid. Bolstered by liquid courage the night before, they’re back to normal come morning, and just like the rest of us, doubtful and insecure. “What if a girl just gave you her number to end the conversation? To be polite because I asked?” one friend who I will call Ryan Gosling since I’m feeling generous today said. “I mean what if she actually hates me? Or what if I do ask her out, she says yes, and turns out to be a dragon?”

The aforementioned Monty (Montgomery for long) explained that when he does use a woman’s number, he means it. Many of the interviewed agreed, which is simply to say that, we continue to inhabit a city of big green avocados.

Photo via Tommy Ton for GQ

REPLIES
  • Aubrey Green

    The sobriety level is kind of funny because girls always tell other girls, “maybe he lost your number..?” Well, in this case he kind of did because he doesn’t remember what he saved your name as, or that he saved your name at all.

  • Quinn Halman

    This is basically the advice I’ve always wanted to get from the wiser, older sister I’ve always wanted to have. In my experience enduring these teenage years, the whole “can I have yo numba” seems a little foreign. It’s more like what’s your Instagram, snapchat, twitter and those are kind of sketchy because it’s already “given away”. Either way, I totally agree with the getaway. Whipping out the smartphone to take a selfie is a sure way of getting a guy to leave you alone. Also, funny story, I think this might be the new “blind date”, instead of your friend setting you up with a guy in person, you get a text saying “hey i’m max, hailey’s friend” and it gets CRAY

    • Jasmin

      Jesus, this comment makes me feel old.

  • hila

    “like a dog chasing its tail?” Is that boy seriously comparing boys to dogs? I think we need a pros/cons list of men vs dogs.

    • Amelia Diamond

      No no he’s not comparing men to dogs, and I’m not either. I like both men, and dogs though. It’s just the *concept* of the chase, the challenge…yet when handed the sought after result it’s like — now what do I do with this? Another scenario perhaps is my dumb cat who used to always chase birds. Then one day, she actually caught a bird, and was so freaked out and didn’t know what to do with it. Same thing.

  • monkeyshines

    amazing ensembles!

    monkeyshines
    http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  • http://eileentheooer.blogspot.com/ Eileen

    A dude put his number in my phone what does that say Amelia???

    • Aubrey Green

      Don’t call him.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I asked a ton of guys about this actually. If it was a mutual swap (sometimes a guy will ask for your number, then call you), then he’s probably just checking that you gave him the right number. If a guy gives you his number, he’s 50/50 and put the ball in your court. If you’re into him, text him, gauge his response, go from there. Feel empowered that you hold the cards in this scenario! Just write, “Hey, it’s Eileen. Now you have my number.”

      • Amelia Diamond

        One more thing: a huge part of me enjoys rules. It keeps things simple. Sometimes, however, the rules are so damn arbitrary and OLD. Go with your gut. If you want to, just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? A date? (Although considering some of the dates I’ve been on……)

        • http://eileentheooer.blogspot.com/ Eileen

          This should be a class in gender studies. Especially considering the extensive research you’ve done. :P :))

        • http://eileentheooer.blogspot.com/ Eileen

          Dr. AMILLIoNAIRE

      • pollyannna

        bloody hell i wish i’d had that advice yesterday

    • Hannah Cavaciuti

      In the UK guys put their number into the girls phone as it means the girl can do it in her own time and doesn’t feel harassed by some stranger with their number. Interesting how it’s so different across the pond!

  • brunetteletters

    One time a guy (guy 1)asked for my number. He never called. Three years after, I meet his brother (guy 2)… 2, asks 1 to borrow his phone to call me…Once he called me, my number already appeared on 1′s cellphone as a ‘saved number.’ He was obviously curious as to where I met guy 1(his brother), so after deep thought I finally remembered it was guy 1 that never called. I then bumped into guy 1 again, and that time he did call and we dated for a little and then he married someone else. HA!
    love your essay Amelia!

  • Lisa Bell

    Makes sense when you think about it from those angles, people really need to develop their character however to mean what they say and say what they mean. Be brave and honest people and you will be refreshing to those around you instead of yet another predictable game player. Very well written!

  • s

    i feel like “the challenge” works both ways! Sure, men want to know if they still have charm, but they won’t want to show that charm to women who don’t impress them. Perhaps we feel like “we still got it” when a guy wants our number!

    xx

    http://spoonfulofdiamonds.com

    http://www.facebook.com/SpoonfulOfDiamonds

  • Sophia Simons

    I met my boyfriend when he was working in a gay bar. I thought he was cute and my gay friend introduced us as “you are both hetero, so talk to each other”. We talked a little and later that night when I went home I said bye to him and he gave me a little white note with his phone number. I was so impressed with this so last century move that I texted him a few days after (I didn’t wait so long for strategic reasons, I just didn’t feel the urge, I’m very happy on my own as well…). After I few dates I fell madly in love with him. Do you think it was the note?

  • Hannah Cavaciuti

    This is so different to in London, UK! Here, a guy will only put his no. in your phone. It shows that he likes you enough to go to the effort, and is willing to give his personal information to a stranger rather than a girl having to. You have the power to text him if you want, and they say they prefer the mystery of the wait.

  • Alexandra

    Ladies, the trick is to weasel the guy into following you on Instagram or Twitter, then promptly post an amazing pic the next day. You remind him of your greatness AND you gain a follower. He will then find a way to get your number… All around winning.

    http://www.luckyrabbittesfoot.com

  • CarlotaLMorais

    A lot of fun to read but I’ve had a boyfriend for a long time now and it made me remember the golden days! The chasing, the text you’ve been waiting to get the entire day, the stress, the first dates, amazing!
    And also its good to hear their side off the story for a change! Girls always try to make each other feel Better when things dont work out its very exausting, truth is much better

  • http://ImperfectWonder.com/ Casey Shteamer

    This was a great read. Reading the reasons to why they don’t call actually make so much sense. I can’t believe that I never realized it before. I could totally see myself in a guy’s shoes getting a number and then not remembering how much I actually wanted it the next day and just doing nothing with it. No games being played just lack of desire and ambition to call and spend my time and money on some random girl I can’t remember. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for this.
    Casey
    http://ImperfectWonder.com

  • http://www.creamstop.com/ Mademoiselle C.

    Wow I’ve been out of the dating game so long, met my mister at 19. I think we actually emailed and talked on the home line phone (whilst having my little brothers listen in & my mum yell at me to get off). How times have changed!

    Mademoiselle C. xx

    http://www.creamstop.com

  • Shonima Kaul

    i think its simple – “He’s just not that into you” :-)
    http://www.fashionufeel.com

  • rbhasin

    Absolutely true, its not just NYC, but this trickles down to New Delhi too!

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