These are some of the most common biggest early dating mistakes.
I have seen them over and over again and they are making countless women (and men) around the world unhappy.
Early Dating Mistakes
The biggest dating mistakes I’m focusing on here are those which happen before the relationship starts getting any serious.
This is a highly critical period because you haven’t developed a bond with a man yet. And any mistake in early dating is much more likely to lose you an otherwise great partner.
Note: all the tips here are based both on the science and data of dating and on personal experience. All texts are actual texts I received.
Date Frequently, Date Fast, Date Forward
I put it first because most sources recommend the opposite: that you should show value through being unavailable (Glamour cra**y advice example).
I can’t think of anything more counterproductive.
Making yourself unavailable, either when you’re scheduling a date or by playing aloof upon the first meeting, does not do much good to you. If a man is pursuing you it’s because he already likes you (wants to sleep with you for sure, and very possibly more). Thus, being unavailable or playing too hard to get gives you limited additional benefits.
Being unavailable and aloof is one of the biggest risks women take in dating because many men don’t like to chase too hard, and they just stop pursuing. And that is all the truer for higher quality men with lots of options.
Why It’s Bad
1. Time Passes And You Forget
Early relationships and dating are a bit like clay pigeons shooting. It’s not a very romantic analogy, I know, but it fits perfectly: from the moment you meet your possible beautiful relationship is hurtling away. And the more time goes by, the fewer the chances you’ll ever get together. You wanted to play unavailable, but then you (or him) forget, get busy, it starts feeling stale and less fresh.. And it never happens.
Like the example below. Don’t let that happen to you!
Strike when it’s hot.
Hard to say if she was playing a game. But since she canceled a few hours before, it’s possible. I didn’t reply. She wrote me sometime later, but we never met. Great chemistry, gone to waste.
2. He Will Self Reject (and Stop Pursuing)
Play coy, fake busy, and be unavailable too much and men will self-reject. Such as, they read your unavailability or postponement as a possible no, and instead of pursuing further and “risking”a full blow-off, they decide to protect their egos and stop pursuing you.
3. You Will Unconsciously Downgrade Him
Read it as this is possibly new info for you.
Playing unavailable makes him chase and you unconsciously interpret his reach outs as a sign of him being lower status compared to you -otherwise, he wouldn’t need to chase me, you tell yourself-. And of course, you want men who are “higher” than you, so very soon you will unconsciously start liking him less and less.
It probably happened to you that you met a cool guy but he began losing points after a while, right? Now here’s the funny thing: you changed your own opinion! He probably IS a cool guy but you’ll never know.
Other women who say yes and meet him quickly will find out for you.
4. Available Women Will Steal Your Lunch
This is particularly true if you are dating in a difficult market.
In difficult markets, women less intent on playing unavailable games will simply tell him when they’re free. And they will schedule. And they will meet up with him. Like the woman on the right side of these two texts behaved. And if he’s as cool as he seemed at first, he might soon be off the market.
Cool guys don’t stay single indefinitely: go meet him!
It’s not a question of opinions, it’s a simple fact of offer and demand.
See an example, same place, same woman:
At parity of sexual market value the more available woman will date more, and have more options to choose from (and just to be sure: dating more doesn’t have to mean “sleeping” with more men).
The unavailable one, especially if she’s catty, will generally have a harder time.
Say yes to the men you like when they ask you out.
If there was a good vibe between you two men do NOT interpret eagerness to meet as desperation. Men interpret eagerness to meet as great chemistry. As a matter of fact, they’ll feed off your eagerness and get more excited to meet you (look at point 7 for an example and read: waiting for sex or not?).
Look at this girl.
Her supportive attitude is exactly what made me want to meet her even more:
Or, even better, look at these examples:
The “Equity Theory of Love” is pretty clear about this: when you demand more and more investment, you make the relationship unbalanced, and unbalanced relationships are unhappier and shorter.
For the sake of clarity, throwing yourself to him IS also a mistake (this message is an example). Making yourself available because you like him and see potential is one thing, top priority is another.
The top priority has to be earned over time.
It’s also after sex has been consumed that is too easily available, especially for booty calls, and risks lowering your long-term girlfriend value (here’s an example).
But 90% of women are instinctively aware of it.
#2. Demanding Too Much
How Do You Take It All? By Not Asking
The second biggest dating mistake women do is Investments Requests, or put simply “demanding too much”. It’s often jarring for guys when women’s demands are too big or come too early. The most common demands include:
- To have dinner/drinks paid
- That he comes to your chosen spot
- That he has to write you first and last (unspoken demand)
- To help you with stuff
- To do what you say
Having men commit to increasing demands is a sneaky and effective way of getting… Poor quality mates. Read investment imbalances for more details.
Why It’s Bad
The first reason is that a big imbalance of money spending risks turning the relationship from a collaborative, loving one into a “market one” (read the psychology in Predictably Irrational).
Second is that when you demand too much too soon it’s either you end up with a puppet or you’ll drive the cool guys away.
Funny enough, some men will even comply with women’s requests but then resent you for it. An example from a Dating In The Dark episode:
Note: demands and investments are always a question of balance.
- Men appreciate women who say a genuine thank you when they are invited
- Men appreciate women who offer to split -even if he ends up paying in the end-
- Cool guys don’t appreciate women who expect to be invited and don’t say thank you
#3. Focus On Getting More, Not on Balance
NO Begets NO; YES Begets YES
This is the smaller brother of the above.
That’s a mindset of “get as much as possible, give as little as possible”.
Many women in the West seem true to follow that rule, and they focus more on “staying ahead” instead of “staying in balance”.
Some small acts that keep relationships out of balance:
- Not letting the guy plan the date
- Refusing to comply with small favors
- Not chipping in for the date expenses
This is what you will see a lot from women who are considered “stuck up”.
Why It’s Bad
The problem with refusing investment is that balanced, cooperative investment is one of the major drivers of relationship growth.
And a refusal to invest is also a refusal of moving the relationship forward.
Look at these messages below and notice both the refusal of investment and the consequences.
Coming after a long first date together and after sex, this was a fairly balanced request: I invite her over, she brings some food -whatever she likes- and I get the wine.
A win-win collaborative effort to spend a nice evening together to eat, enjoy good wine, get to know each other better and make love.
That’s the perfect date to deepen the bond.
Her refusal to participate not only stops the relationship from growing, but takes it back onto game playing and a combative “someone win, someone loses”.
In spite of her great looks, after this message, I wasn’t keen on a closer relationship with her.
The issue I saw here were two:
- She seemed more hell-bent on power than on collaboration
- She missed the chance of escalating mutual investment
What could she have done better?
She could have said, “OK, I will bring X, can you make sure you get Y and Z?” Easy and efficient way to move the relationship forward with mutual investment and mutual acts of caring.
#4. Too Little Femininity
There have been cultural and societal shifts that brought women to behave less feminine these days.
One is that more women work today, and many lines of work reward testosterone more than femininity (Pease & Pease).
The other shift has been feminism, a great and welcome cultural revolution. In some western countries though feminism reached a stage where it’s not helping women anymore but damaging them.
Feminism has become the new slut shaming it purported to fight (slut shaming in Wikipedia).
A few examples:
1. My ex-German girlfriend had the biggest fallout with her best friend when the friend told her she wasn’t “emancipated enough”. Apparently, being too happy about one’s boyfriend is terrible because it signals a girl “needs” a boyfriend;
2. This year a local girl visiting my room hated the painting on the wall because the woman figure was too sensual. Apparently, it’s wrong to look “girly” and women should avoid sensuality
3. Notice how Charlotte feels guilty for deciding to quit her job instead of simply being free to do what the hell she likes:
Basically, for some of the current feminists, girls should be more like men and never too sensual.
And a subset of the female population is buying into it.
Here are a few mindsets which aren’t helping women when it comes to dating:
- I don’t need a man
- I don’t have to take care of myself (for a man)
- Men and women are the same
- I shouldn’t allow a man to lead or decide for me
Why It’s Bad
There’s no point in pretending it’s not true:
Men are attracted to feminine women.
If you’re a high achiever, it might not be easy to blend femininity and a go-getter career, but it’s not impossible.
And therein lies your opportunity.
Some articles on femininity and successful women dating:
#5. Combative Stance
Warriors Rarely Find Love
I have seen this dating mistake several times, often from younger / less experienced women.
It’s born out of an internal struggle and out of fear of:
- Being “one of many” or a quickly forgotten sexual thing
- Falling in love (too soon)
- Being not good enough
The first is when the man comes across as a player. She likes him and wants to be with him, but at the same time, she resents him.
The second is when the emotional whirlwind is very intense, she likes him a lot and she’s afraid of falling head over heels.
For the first two, belligerence is the armor she wears in an effort to push him -and the danger he represents- away.
The third case is a bit more complex, and she uses a combative stance as a way of getting back at him and taking power away from him to re-balance the relationship.
This can also happen in already established relationships (video example below with Elon Musk and Talulah Riley)
Here are a few examples of combative dynamics:
- Running Away
Can be physical and quite literally in an effort to make the man chase.
This is childish and I’ve seen it mostly from Asian girls and labile women (picture below).
More commonly it’s emotional and looking for the same reaction but only at an emotional level. Both try to raise her value and lower his value by making him chase.
- Pushing him Away / Rejecting Him
Rejections hurt, and women are even less used to it.
So when a woman (often mistakenly) feels the man is too good, she will push him away or reject him before he can reject her.
It’s an unconscious mechanism of ego protection.
- Fighting for Wins / Escalating
Fighting for wins and escalating smaller issues into “my way or the highway” are most often the consequence of feeling unworthy or not cared for enough.
More rarely it can happen when she felt sex happened a bit too quickly and/or she feels it’s difficult to get a relationship with him and now she resents him.
This is the below example, notice that’s both a major escalation AND a refusal to invest.
I let my ego get in the way and I should have understood where she was coming from. But she also started an unneeded escalation trying to make me jump through her hoops.
- Taking Value Away
When she feels he’s too good -or people think he’s too good-, she will try to make him look bad as a way of re-balancing the relationship (check combative relationships).
Note she says “she would have said yes to anyone”, basically communicating to him “you’re not special”. Super mean. And later on, she says she sometimes feels like taking a plane and running away.
Why It’s Bad
A combative attitude is a major dating mistake because high-quality men don’t want a relationship with a combative woman (makes sense, no?).
When you catch yourself acting combative, stop immediately and assess what’s driving you.
Are you self-sabotaging because you’re you might get hurt?
Are you resentful because you feel he’s too good?
Because you feel he’s a player?
Once you’ll know the reason why you’ll be more able to act accordingly and, if that’s what you’ll decide, overcome the internal resistance to the two of you getting together.
#6. Fear: When It’s Too Good
I can’t count the interactions I have had with overflowing chemistry.
Big emotions, excitement, the sparkle of a great romance in the air… And yet they never had a follow-up.
Look at this example below.
She was so overwhelmed that, she admits herself, she couldn’t speak. Theoretically, if this girl were you, you should be very happy to meet him again, right?
Well, often unluckily, it’s wrong.
She was so nervous and excited she couldn’t speak. Did she come out and meet me again? Nope
Women way too often don’t meet the men that excite them the most because those same big emotions end up playing against them.
And it’s relatively common. This is one more example.
Let’s see why:
- Fear of Getting Hurt
When you like someone a lot and want something to happen badly… You’re also very afraid it could go wrong.
Maybe you tell yourself he’s too good.
Or you tell yourself you will say yes… But you’re a bit nervous or emotional to reply now, so you tell yourself you’ll do it later on. And you put it off.. And then put it off more… And it never happens.
So instead of going out with the guys with whom it was “soooo good”, you end up going out with the guys with whom it was “OK”.
- Cognitive Dissonance
Meeting a man with perfect chemistry can be a huge emotional roller coaster.
But emotions can dissipate or can come crashing down. And that’s where it all goes to waste.
Your rational side takes over.
Now you feel silly, or weak for having been so excited. Maybe you have a more boring boyfriend, or you see yourself as “rational”. So to avoid he reminding you of your moment of “weakness” you cut him out (Commitment and Consistency principle, Cialdini).
And if you were horny and nothing happened, guess what?
You get angry, disappointed.
You will ruthlessly cut him out, maybe even being angry at yourself.
You will rationalize your feelings telling yourself something like “I thought he was great but how silly of me, another good-for-nothing man..”.
It’s because from an evolutionary perspective, a man who can’t capitalize on a horny woman is an ineffective man.
But here’s the funny thing: your unconscious mind won’t differentiate if you met him half naked in a cave a hundred thousand years ago or with your mom at the mall -the latter being a bit more difficult to make happen right there and then… –
Why It’s Bad
These are three slightly different instances, with fear probably being the most common.
However, they’re all interlinked as the most damaging early dating mistake you could commit because they all happen with the men you like the most. Basically, when you give in to fear and fall prey to cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957), you are missing out on the very best!
The men that excite you, the men that give you strong emotions and the men with whom you have the biggest chemistry are also the men with whom you can have the best encounters and the best relationships of them all.
Spend time with him right there and then when possible, and if not possible, make this your new rule: any time, upon meeting someone, you:
- like him
- have butterflies
- are sexually attracted
- there’s strong chemistry
Go meet him no matter how you feel afterward.
Worst case scenario, it will be a new experience and a drink outside. Most likely, you’ll do a favor to both him and to yourself.
#7. “It Will Happen When It Will Happen” Mindset
Big cities, Tinder and chatting apps trick your brain into believing there are more options than there really are.
You hold out and pass up good opportunities one after another -the phenomenon has a name: The Paradox of Choice-.
Why It’s Bad
Put simply, while you’re lazy, other women take charge of their dating life, make things happen and pair up with cool guys.
Below is an example.
Cheeky, bold, and sexy at the same time.
The issue is even worst for appealing and educated women, who mistakenly bide their time confident in their “strong hand”.
But the opposite happens: more commitment-aggressive women pair up with the cool guys early and the longer you wait the fewer good men left (game theory for dating).
The solution? Drop the “waiting” attitude.
You have to help him make it happen.
And when the phone rings it’s time to wake up from the passive dream and do your part to make it a reality.
Sometimes you won’t feel like, but make an effort if you like him.
Don’t be like her:
As I was saying in the “unavailability games” this didn’t feel easy or overbearing.
It felt special that she had chosen me in connection to her lofty feelings and emotions.
And it felt like immediate, powerful (sexual) chemistry.
A memorable night followed and a beautiful relationship blossomed from there.
Take a leaf out of her book, be brave, and go for it.
Many women are unhappy being single and many more are not in great relationships.
This post only addresses the mistakes happening early on in the dating process.
But a good start is half the way already.
Quite simply, the women who get the early process right and get the relationships they want are the women who say yes to the men they like and (help those men) make things happen.
These are the women who, without necessarily taking an active role, remove the obstacles along the seduction road (and oftentimes make him feel like he did everything).
- Send easy-to-read signals (men need more than women think)
- Are pleasant in the first approach and make him feel liked (no aloof games)
- Say yes and find the time to meet later on (no unavailable games)
- Go meet him
- Escalate mutual investment
- Keep him by being feminine and making him feel like a man
There are very, very few women like that, and they don’t stay single for long -provided they want a relationship of course-.
So once you will become one, you’ll definitely stand out.
And once you pair up, you can even chill and enjoy the rainy nights in with him after.