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"He's Just Not That Into You": Fact or Fiction?
June 29, 2008 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Question for the guys: I've been reading "He's Just Not That Into You," which posits that if a guy is really interested in a woman, he'll pursue her relentlessly, no matter what else is going on in his life. Is this a valid theory? Has there ever been a time when you really liked a woman and were attracted to her, but didn't pursue a relationship because of external factors that had nothing to do with her (e.g. work problems, family illness, trauma of past relationship)?
posted by zembla3 to Human Relations (59 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yes.

That book exists to sell books. It has no basis in empirical reality.
posted by proj at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Absolutely. More than once in fact.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:44 AM on June 29, 2008


Well, I broke up with my girl of 7 years about 2 years ago. In that 2 years time I've only been attracted to one other girl, and yes - I pursue her relentlessly, probably to my own detriment.

hope that's helpful :/
posted by TheDude at 8:44 AM on June 29, 2008


Is this not true for women as well? Is there a reason it would be different for men?
posted by troybob at 8:46 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not a man but I would like to point out that the author of that is a stand-up comedian.

Take from that what you will.
posted by loiseau at 8:51 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is only ever one possible situation in which a man will pursue a woman, and how, as all men (and in fact women) are equal and identical.

Are you even seriously asking this question?
posted by Brockles at 8:53 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's what I think is true: sometimes, a guy who isn't that into someone will give up when confronted with a slight obstacle; sometimes, a guy who is really into someone will pursue her relentlessly; sometimes, these things say a lot about the guy, and sometimes they say a lot about how a guy values the relationship.

All the time, a writer who is really into writing a bestseller will pursue a simplifying thesis relentlessly, no matter what evidence gets in the way.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:54 AM on June 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yes there are times when I really really would like to pursue someone but other external factors kept me from doing so.....once the stars are aligned I have tried to come back to pursue those (which havent been many) who I still care about when those circumstances are out of the way.
posted by The1andonly at 8:57 AM on June 29, 2008


Question for the guys: I've been reading "He's Just Not That Into You," which posits that if a guy is really interested in a woman, he'll pursue her relentlessly, no matter what else is going on in his life. Is this a valid theory?

I don't think this idea is really useful for people for everyone. The idea that interested guys doggedly pursue women they like is quite useful for women who desperately want a LTR but keep dating a string of uninterested men.

The idea isn't so much "Any man will do anything to be with a woman he likes" but rather "Men do exist out there who would do anything to be with the women they like. Keep that in mind if you keep dating men who are not interested in you."
posted by 23skidoo at 8:59 AM on June 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


Yes.
posted by Aquaman at 8:59 AM on June 29, 2008


Yes. Especially at the first whiff of various mindgames, "tests," and the like.
posted by adipocere at 9:00 AM on June 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Also maybe I'm being too charitable to the author of that book, but it's important to remember that even the good books of this sort, the ones that are actually trying to do something other than make money, are designed to serve a therapeutic purpose rather than be a comprehensive sociological account of how the world works. That book's there to make the (perfectly defensible) case that women who are fed up of getting mixed messages from men are best off pursuing a strategy of letting them go, in favor of men who don't give mixed messages. Just because this might be a sensible strategy, it's obviously not the same as saying that there aren't any men out there who are giving off mixed messages but who are actually totally "into" the woman they're giving them to.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:01 AM on June 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sometimes, he's just not into pursuing you because he needs to work, pay bills, feed his cat and eat. Sometimes, there is time for pursuit and sometimes not. Love and romance are wonderful things, but not worth a damn if you have no framework on which to build it upon after the initial flare up.

Also, relentless pursuit is typically called "stalking".
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:01 AM on June 29, 2008


I think John Hinckley did not let a lot of external factors get in his way in his pursuit of Jodie Foster.
posted by troybob at 9:03 AM on June 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I have to agree with many of the sentiments here. For sure there are extenuating circumstances that come into play sometimes. Heck, I've met some pretty great women since I've been married. And I've met some pretty cool married women. I've not pursued any of them.

That sorta lame example notwithstanding, even when I was a single guy, I didn't pursue well at all. I pined, sure, but sucked at pursuing. So, in my case, even if the stars were aligned, I might have seemed to not be pursuing. Then, of course, there are the times when you are in fact, busy at work (although I think that's a lame reason) or going through something personally, or heck, waiting for the rash to clear up.

And, yeah, the totality of human experience can't be summed up in a pithy phrase, but I expect you know that and are just looking for some examples of either side of the story.
posted by Richat at 9:04 AM on June 29, 2008


I asked almost this same question once and got some good replies. From the perspective of three years (and a couple of failed relationships, including one or two where the guy pursued me relentlessly only to drop me like a lead balloon some months later, hey ho, the not so pleasant flip side of that relentless pursuer mentality) I think that book is a crock of shit EXCEPT for the part where it tells you not to be a doormat. If you're the late night booty call and nothing else, if you drop everything else you're doing and run whenever he calls you, then, yeah, he's not that into you. But if you're both acting like human beings than there's nothing whatsoever wrong with making last minute plans and calling him back and all the other stuff that book tells you means he's not that into you.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:08 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Would a woman really want a man who can find no higher priority in his life than pursuing a woman?
posted by troybob at 9:11 AM on June 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think the truth to that book is simply that drastically uneven interest levels often spell disaster.

Couple A are two people who are equally ambivalent/cautious about entering a relationship, and because there's no imbalance they may be able to move into a good relationship without any relentless pursuit at all.

Couple B are two people totally into each other from the get go, in which case there's no relentless pursuit at all because they're running towards each other.

But if Couple C mix an ambivalent person and a "totally into" person, then there might be problems, despite the fact that each of those people might have done fine in the alternative contexts.

As an aside, I don't think that book's framing of the problem as gender related is very helpful, and I'm not just saying this because I'm a feminazi. Although men and women may go about their "relentless pursuit" of a romantic partner in different ways, both genders are equally as susceptible to getting obsessed with a reluctant object of desire.
posted by footnote at 9:13 AM on June 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Depends on the guy, I guess.

I'm not a big pursuer - I simply have better things to do. Unfortunately, most women seem to expect pursuing, at least in my life.
posted by wsp at 9:15 AM on June 29, 2008


if a guy is really interested in a woman, he'll pursue her relentlessly, no matter what else is going on in his life

Fetid bullshit. Most men have figured out that obviously, relentlessly pursuing women only works in romantic comedies from 15 years ago, so even if they're a bit preoccupied they know better than to make it obvious. There's no better way to hear "let's just be friends" than to make it obvious that you are out to win someone over. Cool, detached guys get more girls for a reason.

Also, "no matter what else is going on in his life" is very broad:

"Hey, Sis! I'm not going to make it to Dad's funeral. No, no; it's not the flight. I have a date with that girl that I've been creepy obsessed with, and she's only available on the day of the funeral. So I'm just going to send some flowers or some shit like that. Give Mom a hug for me!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:20 AM on June 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


The question as written isn't answerable, because:
Has there ever been a time when you really liked a woman and were attracted to her, but didn't pursue a relationship
if most men didn't do just this every time they left the house nothing would get done.
posted by bonaldi at 9:22 AM on June 29, 2008


Please keep in mind that the book was written by a comedian simply as entertainment. Even he was surprised when he went on Oprah and it took on a life of its own.

Like all good comedy, there is some grain of truth the funny stuff is based on. But using that book as a rulebook for life would like basing your life on standup routine.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:25 AM on June 29, 2008


I don't think this idea is really useful for people for everyone. The idea that interested guys doggedly pursue women they like is quite useful for women who desperately want a LTR but keep dating a string of uninterested men.

The idea isn't so much "Any man will do anything to be with a woman he likes" but rather "Men do exist out there who would do anything to be with the women they like. Keep that in mind if you keep dating men who are not interested in you."


Quoted for truth.
posted by desuetude at 9:25 AM on June 29, 2008


Yep, pretty often in fact.

Mostly the reasons were that she acted like she didn't want to have a relationship with me. Granted, not the first time. But when you've been trying for a while and seemingly getting nowhere, why should you waste your time trying? If she was into me, things would have progressed.

I've done it because my family was moving. I had no desire to start a relationship with someone when I knew I'd be moving in a few months. Granted, this was high school. But the reasoning still stands.

I've done it because she couldn't make up her mind if she liked someone else or me. I'm not going to deal with that kind of mess.

I've done it because of a string of past failures where I didn't want to ruin a possible friendship by trying to make more happen. I'm actually really happy that I stopped the chase with that one.

I've done it because I started to have a real interest, and she ran with it and told people we were together. I don't want to be with someone who jumps to conclusions like that.

I've done it because of other (non romantic) relationships she had with with people in my family.

That's probably more than you ever wanted to know.
posted by theichibun at 9:27 AM on June 29, 2008


I think any claim that "all men will do X in Y situation" (or a similar one about women) should immediately register on the bullshit detector. People are different and it's an oversimplification to pigeonhole men and women into specific behaviors in relationships. Look at the varying responses in just this thread.

As for me, I've pursued women on particular occaisions during which I should have spent time doing other things, but I haven't completely devoted an extended period of time to one. If you want to know about specific person, then consider whether he is a very focused or obsessive person about other things and how high a relationship is a priority for him.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 9:43 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Has there ever been a time when you really liked a woman and were attracted to her, but didn't pursue a relationship because of external factors that had nothing to do with her (e.g. work problems, family illness, trauma of past relationship)?

The book's premise is bullshit.

Men do a cost benefit analysis on whether to pursue or not. They factor in external and internal influences. External stimuli (a blouse's neck line for instance) from the woman in question is also considered...

Seriously. What guy who a.) really likes a woman, and b.) is really attracted to her as well would let bullshit like "work problems" and "trauma of past relationships" get in the way? No guy does that.

Now, what guy who a.) sort of likes a woman, and b.) is only passingly attracted to her would let those things get in the way? Every damn one of us. Because it's easier for both parties if we just say, "Yeah, I'm really busy with work..." rather than, "yeah, I'd like to fuck you but your cats and weeping spells drive me bonkers."

Men are pretty simple. Please don't try to build us up into these complicated, brooding, emotional creatures...
posted by wfrgms at 9:50 AM on June 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Men are pretty simple. Please don't try to build us up into these complicated, brooding, emotional creatures...

Hard to tell if you're joking or not. I, for one, am a complicated brooding emotional creature, and have shied away from at least two women who I was really really into for emotional reasons that had nothing to do with them.

including one or two where the guy pursued me relentlessly only to drop me like a lead balloon some months later, hey ho, the not so pleasant flip side of that relentless pursuer mentality

Bears repeating. Most of the relentless pursuers I've known enjoyed a good chase a lot more than being in a relationship.
posted by tkolar at 10:02 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that book is a load of bullshit. I've been strongly interested in a number of women who I didn't pursue at all.

Of course, this may be why I never ended up with any of those women.

Huh.
posted by Justinian at 10:05 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


As others have said, Greg Behrendt's a comedian. According to more than one person I know who used to be on the comedy circuit with him, elements of the book come straight from his old stand-up routine. It's really not meant to be taken this seriously.
posted by scody at 10:06 AM on June 29, 2008


No, it isn't, and yes, I have.
posted by box at 10:07 AM on June 29, 2008


I think you have your answer by now but one more complicated brooding, emotional guy here.

I was completely infatuated with a girl at work and never pursued her because:

1) She's about 9 years younger than me and I thought she might not be interested in an older guy.
2) I thought she might be out of my league looks-wise.
3) We worked at the same company.
4) I chickened out. (you know, the general fear of rejection stuff)

I am still kicking myself about it
posted by eightball at 10:10 AM on June 29, 2008


I think the book simplifies things to an absurd degree, but I do think it's helpful for women who spend a lot of time obsessing over whether or not a man is into her... We all deserve people who show us how much they like us (whether by relentless pursuing or by just being nice). If they seem unsure, or act nice sometimes and awful others, we should walk away--they're never going to be our soul mate.
(the book could have taught twice as many people that lesson by choosing a gender-neutral title)
posted by smoakes at 10:25 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


For anyone who answered "yes" to your questions, ignore their answers. They didn't read the book or, if they did, they didn't understand the book and I think you're missing a big chunk of the book too.

The premise of the book is not only "he's not that into you". The main premise of the book is for women who want to get married (and that bares repeating) to not dwell on guys by making excuses for the men in their lives and having these women end up losing themselves at the expense of the guy. "he's not that into you" is code words for "he doesn't want to marry you". The individual situations in the book are filled of relationships where the woman is making excuses for the guy's bad behavior and allowing herself to wallow and to suffer and to tolerate behavior that she shouldn't be. The guys in these situations don't want to get married and, above all, are too chicken shit to actually know themselves and to have the courage to break up with the girl. Women, when they want to be in a relationship where they want to get married (this actually isn't stated as well as it should be - I personally think there are plenty of women who want to be in relationships but don't want to get married and they are not the target audience for t his book), seem to allow themselves to gain a "wait and see" attitude; their own dreams, fantasies, or whatever are blinding them to the reality that this guy who they are with does not want to marry them. The women are lying to themselves and these "wonderful" "hot" "foxy" "fabulous" women should not be putting up with this when, what the really want, is to get married.

Has there ever been a time when you really liked a woman and were attracted to her, but didn't pursue a relationship because of external factors that had nothing to do with her (e.g. work problems, family illness, trauma of past relationship)?

This isn't the right question because "relationship" for "He's Just Not That Into You" means "leads to marriage". The co-author, Liz, writes long essays about being 41 "and still single" and being annoyed by that. She wants to "win", she wants a loving relationship, she wants "to get married" and have everything that comes with that. So Greg's point of view is that, if a guy wants to get married, he will pursue you. This might seem silly and the first chapters about having the guy be the one to ask a girl out might seem retarded in this regard but men, when they want to get married, do their best to get married. They don't play games, they aren't assholes, they don't not call you. When a guy gets in his mindset that he should settle down (either consciously of subconsciously), he will find a gal to pursue. And if a woman wants to be in a relationship with a guy that will lead to marriage, shouldn't she seek out that guy? And if he's not doing that then, really, he is just not that into you.

There are plenty of times when a guy will NOT pursue someone they are interested in if real life throws distractions at them - everyone does this and, lets face it, if a guy doesn't want to settle and isn't a total loser, he's going to let these fly-by-night events happen and not give them a second thought. There are plenty of guys who love to only pursue (and actually hate real relationships and never want to get married) and there are also plenty of guys who CAN'T pursue (there is a good reason why the book does everything it can to distance itself from men who are mentally ill, have problems to work out, suffer serious forms of depression, etc). However, for the big chunk of men out there who, at some time in their lives, want to actually be in a relationship that can lead to marriage, kids, a white picket fence and a 2 car garage, when that guy comes into your life, they are going to "pursue" you and you won't be in the position where you will have to make excuses for you suffering through the misery of being with someone who doesn't want to marry you.
posted by Stynxno at 10:35 AM on June 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Listen to this episode of The Sound of Young America, starting at a little after 20 minutes in for Jesse Thorn's interview with Greg Behrendt.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:38 AM on June 29, 2008


(Oops, mis-fingered... about 29 minutes in.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:39 AM on June 29, 2008


If I really like a woman, the slightest obstacle will put me off. If there are no obstacles at all, I'll invent one.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:11 AM on June 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


No. Stop reading those books. That relentless pursuit crap is simply desperation.

On the flip side: besides a fit firm form, nothing is more attractive to me than a woman who doesn't need a man to "complete" her.
posted by Zambrano at 11:32 AM on June 29, 2008


Given the OP's reference book, I think some of the earlier replies might have unintentionally encouraged her to believe--possibly to her detriment--that this guy really does want to be with her even though he isn't. She doesn't know why he's not relentlessly pursuing her, and she still doesn't want to buy the simple likelihood that he truly is just not that into her. Alas, there must be something holding him back, something other than the OP herself, that is. This is magical, "some day my prince will come against all odds" thinking, the kind the book apparently intended to try to counter (despite its author claiming he wrote it as a bit of a joke).

To the OP I say, deal with what's real. What's real is that he ain't with you. If the guy wants to be with you, knows his desire is mutual, and knows where you are, he would be with you. Else, a decent, non-game-playing, emotionally mature adult would at least let you clearly know why he isn't with you, along with awareness of whether and/or when the preventing circumstances can be expected to change. Absent these facts, you may just be allowing yourself to be cast in the live-action role of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, but with no actual possibility of the happily ever after ending you might be dreaming about. I hope for your sake that the guy isn't getting his jollies by deliberately pushing you into this role.

Living inside a perpetual fantasy only works in fairy tales. For us mortals, interminable waiting for something that never arrives and never will arrive is the stuff of which obsession and bitterness are made. You probably suspect that the situation cannot be what you're hoping for, and that the guy may not be willing or able to tell you. You might try to get yourself unstuck from this while you still have good humor about it and can still find your way out relatively unscathed.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:03 PM on June 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


No, like all gender-based assertions of universally applicable behavior it's a bunch of crap. Relationships are too complicated to apply simplistic, universal rules to what's going on in them.
posted by nanojath at 12:12 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Would a woman really want a man who can find no higher priority in his life than pursuing a woman?
posted by troybob at 12:11 PM on June 29

Amen, brother.

Beware the relentless pursuers who won't stop until they get you, no matter what else is going on their lives! These guys are often the six-month wonders, looking to use you as a fix, and once it's time for the actual "relating," person to person, they are often bored and restless and off to the next woman who will "complete them".
posted by availablelight at 12:24 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a guy, I don't think the examples you gave (family illness, work problems, past relationships) would prevent me from making at least an effort to connect with you if I felt some attraction. With the last woman I dated, I had at least two of those three in play - my mother had a significant surgery and I travelled home to be with her twice during that time, and my business partner became very ill and was out of the office for a few weeks, meaning more work for me. I still found time to call, e-mail, try to set up dates, etc. Maybe if I hadn't been that into her I could have used those circumstances as a convenient excuse for why I couldn't connect. But then again, past maybe two dates, if I'm not that into her I'll just tell her that politely and let us both get on with our lives.

Now if the obstacles are imposed by the woman herself, that's a different story entirely. Once I get past maybe the first two dates, if I feel like I'm exerting much more effort than the other person, or if I think she's playing games or putting me through a series of tests, I just call it quits. It's really no fun to try to get to know someone who isn't trying to get to know you. In my mind I've coined a term called "ratio of reciprocation" : If I'm making, say, more than two significant gestures (calls, planning dates, etc) for every one that she's making, I think it's a lost cause unless there's some horrible extenuating circumstance.

When dealing with other (normal, healthy) people, you can't do much better than the general rule "People pursue most what they want most, they pursue least what they want least, and they avoid what they dislike most". There are exceptions to this rule, but I've almost always been disappointed and wrong when I think that the person that I'M dealing with is the exception.
posted by sherlockt at 12:27 PM on June 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


For me, I look at each potential situation the same, regardless of any feelings I have, what is in it for me? If I don't see return, my feelings are immaterial. Nobody but the guy is going to look out for his own interests.

So if a guy is leaving town for example, he may not pursue. What is the purpose of getting attached if the likely benefits (short term fun) are outweighed by the negatives? (Long distance complication--longing that cannot be satisfied).

Don't confuse your powerful feelings for him and his response that you can detect for they key ingredient to a successful relationship--benefit to both parties.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:45 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm, if that was true, that would mean a man would pursue you despite any signs of compatibility with you, without any positive interaction with you, without any attention to lifestyle or personality differences that become obvious... So by what basis would such a man continue to pursue you?

It might be nice to imagine the world where wonderful men pursue you consistently and confidently, against any and all roadblocks. And those men do exist. But they rarely stay for breakfast.
posted by lubujackson at 1:52 PM on June 29, 2008


I think the idea is less that guys will always relentlessly pursue if they truly like you, but rather that actions speak louder than words. As in, it's better to focus on the actual evidence that he likes or doesn't like you rather than try to make unfounded speculative excuses for the hard evidence that he's not that into you.

Right?

It's been a while since I've held the book in my hands, but if I remember correctly, some of the examples are "if he's sleeping with someone else, he's just not that into you" or "if he breaks up with you, he's just not that into you." Those don't sound so unreasonable to me.
posted by lampoil at 2:00 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the inverse of that statement is actually kind of true. Any guy that is chronically bailing on you, not making a move, not calling, forgetting about you, is dating several other people, "just isn't ready for a relationship", etc etc probably just isn't that into you.

I also think it's true that if the guy isn't pursuing you, even if it's for other reasons and not because "he just isn't that into you", it's still unlikely to work out. Because whatever that obstacle is, if it's really big enough that it's keeping him from pursuing you it's unlikely to change. Whether it's an ex, a job, deep emotional problems, he may be madly in love with you, but the relationship is still misery and you still shouldn't be wasting your time.

So whatever reasoning you put in for "he's just not that into you" if his actions are X, Y, and Z the answer is still probably you shouldn't be wasting your time and at the end of the day who cares if the reasoning is "he's just not that into you" or the million other reasons it could be, the result is the same. I think that was really the major point of the book. Stop wasting your time psychoanalyzing the guy and move on to something else that might work.
posted by whoaali at 2:20 PM on June 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't know much about this book except for a few summaries on Amazon. It looks like it does make a good point, one which I've always phrased as "if he's ambivalent, he's ambivalent".

This other idea, about unequivocal pursuit, is nonsense. Especially if the guy isn't in the relationship yet... that makes it just ridiculous. But everyone else has already told you that. It's this book that concerns me now. For the sake of everyone else reading it, I hope that this idea was just a misinterpretation.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 2:35 PM on June 29, 2008


Nthing Yes. Sometimes you like someone, but don't pursue it because you have other stuff going on; work, family, etc. Good relationships take work, and sometimes you just don't have the time or the energy to dedicate to them.
posted by baggers at 3:01 PM on June 29, 2008


Nthing No! To the book's premise that if a guy is into you he will go all out and pursue you.
Looking at the big picture here, most people have been burned by a relationship at least once in their life.
Sometimes people get burned a couple of times, and sometimes some people can't catch a break at all.
Sometimes people are well into their late twenties and haven't had any significant relationships at all. They are really shy, they don't know what to say, they don't have any lines and may even get tongue tied easily.
Do yourself a favor, toss the book into the bin. Relax. If a guy likes you it should be obvious.
One person is going to be chasing more than the other person will. Are you asking whether the guy should do the chasing to prove himself or would you like some kind of reciprocity when dating? The latter is quite reasonable, the former is just ridiculous.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:01 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The premise of the book isn't "If a guy likes you, he will relentlessly pursue you."* He might, he might not. The premise is "If you're dating someone and he doesn't call, acts like a dick, etc.", he's just not that into you. If he were into you, he'd treat you respectfully. HJNTIY teaches women not to put up with other people's bullshit. And if I ever have a daughter, I will give it to her when she hits 13.

* See also: the T-1000 from Terminator 2
posted by heffalump at 7:18 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I asked exactly the same question once, four years ago. We went to a movie and he said he had an early morning at work the next day and couldn't come up. We've been married almost three years now, fwiw.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:26 PM on June 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


nthing yes, for reasons that everybody seems to have already stated, from a quick skim of the responses.

In case nobody's made this point yet, though, some of us are simply a lot more passive than the stereotypical aggressive pursuers. In every relationship I've been in, for example, the woman has taken the first initiative, or else it was an instantaneous mutual 'clicking'.

That doesn't mean I haven't pursued women occasionally, but I feel that it's a great raving waste of time & energy, and I have enough sense of self-worth & self-respect that frankly I can't see why it should be necessary for me (or anybody else, for that matter) to beg for somebody's attention. Either they're into you or they're not, and I don't believe that any amount of persistence is ever going to change that on a fundamental level.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:51 PM on June 29, 2008


Another way to think about it is: if a guy is really interested in a woman, he'll pursue her. Period.

Maybe not relentlessly, but he'll return her calls, ask her out again, try and keep the lines of communication open even when your schedules are too busy too see one other, etc. Relentlessly, sort of assumes the women isn't giving positive feedback and like in a bad movie, the guy goes on relentlessly trying to win over her affection. But if a guy is interested in her (and isn't merely dating her to just date someone) he'll want to see her, he'll want to talk to her, he'll want to be in a relationship with her, and he won't be throwing in a bunch of artificial impediments between him and the relationship --> exes, commitment crap, not calling, etc.
posted by whoaali at 9:20 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that's an important clarification by whoaali. Not the bad movie version of pursuing, but rather being adequately responsive, and also proactively organising things & keeping communication open, at least to the same extent as the other party to the relationship is doing those things.

There's another ambiguity that's muddying the waters of this question, too: the difference between deciding whether or not to 'pursue' (in the sense of investigate, progress, take any kind of action) something that's only a possibility ("oh, there's that cute girl from the office again, should I approach her or not?") versus putting the requisite energy into something that's already up & running.

It could be that a lot of people saying "yes, for sure, I've not pursued various girls because of other things going on in my life" actually mean it in the sense of not *starting* something, as opposed to backing away from an existing relationship that's in its early stages.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:35 PM on June 29, 2008


That book, and many others, recommends game-playing. Probably not the way you want to have a relationship.
posted by theora55 at 6:26 AM on June 30, 2008


I've had plenty of women I never pursued for a wide variety of reasons (already interested in someone else, I don't date co-workers, too much of a wimp, etc), so my answer would be yes.

However, I do think there is a lesson to be learned from the book. Don't waste huge amounts of time on someone whose not treating you well and showing interest in return. Other than that, open communication solves most relationship problems (including whether there actually is a relationship in the first place).
posted by bda1972 at 9:20 AM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bears repeating. Most of the relentless pursuers I've known enjoyed a good chase a lot more than being in a relationship.

tkolar is paraphrasing Spock:

"Having is not the same as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
posted by CollectiveMind at 12:49 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


The only serious relationship I've ever been in where I didn't relentlessly pursue the object of my affections was my current one. With my wife.

Stop reading stupid books -- you will learn about how life and love works by living.
posted by anildash at 11:12 PM on June 30, 2008


By his own logic, anildash's comment is redundant.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:33 PM on June 30, 2008


I just want to add here that Greg Behrendt, while he may or may not be a great advisor, is a really, really spectacular standup comedian. Just a brilliant, brilliant comic.
posted by YoungAmerican at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2008


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