Should you strive to make men chase you?
It seems like that’s what everyone says in the dating industry.
But that doesn’t necessarily make it true, does it.
This article will delve into the concept that women should make men chase them. And it makes the point that, in many cases, that’s not an effective strategy (read on for the specific cases when you should avoid it).
- Are Men Hunters or Lazy?
- How a Song Exposes the “Let Him Chase” Theory
- Science Exposes the Let Him Chase Theory
- When You Must Be Decisive
- So, Should You Stop Letting Him Chase?
We have already addressed (and exposed the limitations) of a few very common mantras in the women’s dating literature.
Some of them:
Are Men Hunters or Lazy?
Some popular dating books and a few articles online tell us a basic story: let him chase because that’s what men want.
They are hunters at heart. They like chasing the prey.
Millions of years of evolution shaped them that way.
Personally, I have always been skeptical of pop evolutionary psychology.
However, there is some truth here. There certainly is an innate tendency for people to want what’s lying right at the edge of their reach. And a parallel tendency of getting bored with what’s immediately available (in dating literature “cat string theory“).
So let’s says indeed that the let him chase theory has a valid theoretical foundation. In theory.
Indeed, the major drawback of the let him chase theory, is not that it doesn’t work, but when and with whom it works.
1. Works With Men With Little Options
To begin with, the limitation of the “let him chase mantra” is, at the core, the same limitation for all the other common dating mantras.
And that’s that it works… But it doesn’t necessarily work with the men you most want.
Most high quality men are both busy… And socially aware. Being socially aware means that they know what’s going on and they will either outright avoid pursuing or stop as soon as you do it a little bit too much.
Indeed, chasing works best when he feels you are above his reach and when he idealizes you.
2. Men End Up With What’s Available
The problem with letting anyone chase for anything is that people also have another powerful tendency.
And that’s the tendency of following the path of last resistance. The tendency of picking the lowest hanging fruit.
Imagine you are at home. You have two options: eating a good meal at home and a good meal outside. To go outside though you need to dress, put on makeup and then drive out.
Sure the restaurant would be nice, but… You’re in PJ now, you have work tomorrow, and you’re a bit tired. And you could just watch TV now. And save some money and time.
Chances are that, most of the times, you stay at home.
Indeed that holds true oftentimes even the quality of the meal you can have at home is not comparable with the one at the restaurant.
It’s the same for men and dating.
What’s available right here, right now, often trumps the hard to get option.
3. Men Want to Be Wanted
Finally, men, like all conscient human beings, want to be wanted.
It’s a major inner drive.
If a man telling you he finds you attractive makes you feel good, why do you think it would be any different for a man?
When used strategically, a moment of honest truth can give you loads of point.
I discussed this in the how to get a boyfriend article, but here is an example:
I wasn’t uber-excited about this date.
And I would have definitely seen the bright side of staying at home and keep working.
But when she replied she was “looking forward to meet” an immediate switch happened. It made me feel good, I loved her honesty and I valued her much more.
How a Song Exposes the “Let Him Chase” Theory
I know none of you knows Vasco Rossi.
It’s funny how everyone knows Pavarotti but nobody knows the greatest Italian rocker outside of Italy.
Anyway, I you don’t need to know him.
This is what he sings in the songs “Quanti anni hai” (I roughtly translate):
I thought of you, you know
I thought of you later
She called me first
I couldn’t say no
Where are you going later (she asks)
I don’t really know, kid
This song explains exactly the major flaw with the “let him chase mantra”.
Vasco Rossi let us know that he preferred the girl number two. But girl number one called him first. Girl number one was there, and available. And probably made him feel good for showing her interest.
She was vulnerable, not playing games.
And now he is going out with her.
Maybe they’ll never ever a relationship. Maybe they won’t even have sex. Maybe they’ll even hate each other. However, girl one has a shot. Girl two is playing second fiddle hoping for her turn… If it will ever come.
And of course, the more successful a man is, the more likely this scenario will play out (up to a certain point of course: when he has women throwing themselves at him he won’t likely pick any of them for long term).
Science Exposes the Let Him Chase Theory
But as you know I like basing my posts, recommendations or theories non just on my hunches but on some good science and data.
Let’s do just that in this section.
1. Economics of Supply and Demand
Several species of animals, and plenty of evidence suggests it’s the same for humans, show that when the availability of mates changes, the behavior of the genders shifts dramatically.
When there are few women for example the culture tends to become highly romanticized. Men tend to pursue and make a big show out of what a great partner they would be.
In these situations, ABSOLUTELY she should let him chase. That’s what he wants, that’s what culture expects, that’s what the normal baseline behavior is.
However, the opposite is true when there are few attractive men and lots of attractive women.
Indeed Birger brilliantly shows in his wonderful Date-Onomics that men chase very little -if at all- when there is an abundance of women.
What does it mean to you?
Do not make him chase when there plenty of (attractive) women.
Because he likely won’t.
2. Auction Theory
Auction theory is the second big issue for the make him chase theory.
I’ll try to be brief and simple.
In auction theory strong bidders are the bidders with more resources and more confidence they can win the auction. These are the equivalent of women with a lot to offer.
Conventional wisdom would have that these bidders would win most often.
Mark Gimein says though that’s not what happens in real life. Auction theory predicts, and empirical studies confirm, that weak bidders win more often.
This is because weak bidders know they can be outgunned and they feel the pressure to “bring something home”.
The strong bidders are more likely indeed to hold out, keeping their powder dry for the the imaginary great auction to come. The great auction is the equivalent of Mr. Right.
As you know, in real life Mr. Right is extremely rare. In the meanwhile, almost all “Mr. Almost Right” and “Mr. Good” have all already paired up.
3. Paradox of Choice
The Paradox of Choice is another scientific argument against the “let him chase” theory. Barry Schwarz indeed brings enough empirical evidence to make the case that having lots of choices often leads to choice-paralysis.
And, perversely, when a choice happens, we tend to be less happy with it.
People with fewer options instead, knowing they didn’t have that much to choose from, tend to be happier.
Does this make sense to you now why it’s often the women with the most to offer who stay single in their 30’s and 40’s?
They wait for a great man to show around. They think they have enough goods that they don’t need to pursue anyone. And they buy into the advice of “let him chase”. Or the other popular advise that “they need to stay independent and strong and do their thing: it’s men who need to shape up”(read independent women VS submissive women in dating).
When You Must Be Decisive
Now reality is complex and I don’t like making sweeping generalization.
However, there are a few situations when dropping the “let him chase” theory and being decisive is a clear winner.
These are some of them:
1. When There Are Few Attractive Prospects
When men have a lot of options they get lazy. Very lazy.
There is no hunter there anymore.
2. When You’re a Good Prospect Yourself
As we’ve already seen, weaker prospects are naturally more aggressive.
If you think of yourself as a good prospect, chances are you will tend to wait and dawdle.
And dawdling has rarely led to dating success.
3. When You’re College Educated
If you are consuming content here, chances are you are either a smart gal and/or an educated one. Possibly both.
In the West -and in many other areas of the world as well- there has been a massive shift in the education and earning potential of the genders.
Women are kicking boys’ ass. Big time. But that comes with huge dating handicap. There are now lots more college-educated women in he West than men.
And that trend is not getting any better.
And since women, on average, don’t like to “marry down”, that means that they are dating in a market where women prefer to go for the available women.
That means that if you hold a college degree and/or are a smart woman with good prospect, chances are you are already in a difficult dating market.
4. When You’re Still Young
Difficult markets get worse with time.
Indeed, as time goes by, dating becomes a bit like a game of musical chairs.
The more chairs get removed (bachelors who pair up), the higher the percentage of people who don’t find a seat (women staying single).
Just like a musical chairs game, it becomes a mathematical certainty that dating in such a market will only get worse with time.
And as we have seen, women who locked in early weren’t necessarily prettier or smarter. Often, they were simply more decisive.
So, Should You Stop Letting Him Chase?
Well, not always.
Sometimes it can be a good strategy.
If you’re trying to make a man spend on you for example, it’s a great idea staying just a bit outside his reach. Or if you are confident he will not meet any other woman, it can also help increase your value.
It’s difficult to give specific advise without knowing the specific situation, and that’s why you should stay away from all generalizations. However, as a rule of thumb, I would not overdo it and I would skip the let him chase game in all these situations:
- He’s a great guy and he’s socially aware (he can stop the chasing any time)
- There are few good male prospects
- You have a history of holding back too much (that’s a warning sign for you)
- You live in a big libertine city with lots of options
- You two have great chemistry (chasing games will only douse water on the flame)
This article is no bashing of the “let him chase theory” here.
Whenever you can get people coming to you, that’s all power!
But on top of not being the best mindset to start a relationship, it simply works against you in many situations.
This article explained the limitations and why, for most college educated women, helping him along the seduction road is better than “letting him chase”.
And as for everything: balance. This is not a free pass to doing all the chasing and romancing. Quite the opposite. The most skilled gals indeed are great at “helping” the man along the romancing process (story for another article).