Getting past first

Getting past first

I was prepared to dislike Rachel Greenwald’s book Why He Didn’t Call You Back, which outlines the results of 1,000 “exit interviews” she conducted with men who never initiated second dates. Surprisingly, I’ll recommend this book to all of my clients. She doesn’t ask a woman to change her identity for a man, merely to be aware of how guys evaluate you at first meeting. Men are wary of repeating unpleasant dating experiences and try to rule you out rather than in. On a first date, he’ll pigeonhole you based on a series of seemingly insignificant statements and actions. Spend too long petting a puppy after giving signs your biological clock is ticking and he’ll conclude you’re looking for a baby daddy and disappear. Knowing you give off the procreation vibe, you may want to avoid swooning over the pooch to temper it a bit. Make a few tweaks to your first and second date behavior and you’ll be more likely to keep the door open to future dates.


Sound deceptive? You and your date don’t know each other at all. Fall into one of these labels and he’ll never have a chance to get to know the real you. More time gives him a context for your comments and actions. The more you can stay out of your danger zone on dates, the longer he’ll stick around and you get to choose who you want to be with.  It’s about being prepared to make a good impression, like you would for a job interview.

Greenwald lays out the 10 most common reasons he doesn’t call back. The top reason? Controlling behavior, which reminds him of the competitive atmosphere of work and isn’t sexy. Others include being boring, deceptive, high maintenance, a husband chaser, and self-absorbed. Surprisingly, physical appearance didn’t come up enough to warrant a separate category.

Women are bad at judging what went wrong on a date. According to Greenwald, women were wrong 90 percent of the time. 78 percent of women thought he hadn’t called for reasons beyond her control: bad timing, fear of intimacy, or his knowing she wasn’t into him. In reality, 85 percent of men didn’t follow up due to something she did or said that was a turn-off.  That’s a hard pill to swallow for those of us who take comfort in “it’s him, not you” post-date rationalizing. The good news is there are things you can do. Take the mini-quizzes to identify your weak points and follow her strategies for staying on track. If you’re really ready for a change, use her script to do exit-interviews of your own.