Hi Dr. Ali,
Boy, was this a timely article! I was pondering sending a scintillating email to a wuss of a guy who’s gone “poof” on me after 6 dates…but I won’t.
What’s your take on these “fadeaways”? I thought it was going fine, a girl goes away for 3 weeks…then comes back, and he’s changed. Whatever the reason, JUST TELL ME STRAIGHT i.e. “it’s not working out”…instead of disappearing off planet earth for 2 weeks and leaving me wondering… And this is a 46-year old man!
I realise you’re very busy. Maybe you’ll address this in a future article as it seems to be a common occurrence here in New York at least
So I’m not saying anything about it at all. Clearly he doesn’t care enough to send a one line email, or call. That says it all. It’s just common courtesy, respect…
Thanks for the advice you’re sending on, it’s very helpful.
Thanks for the note! Yes, it is tremendously frustrating to both the men and the women on the receiving end of The Disappearance. I mean, what happened? Did you get severe tendinitis in both hands so you can’t write or call? Were you deported back to Sweden for your obvious abuse of our fabulous American health care system? Did you die, without even having the courtesy to invite me to your funeral or give me dibs on your book collection?
So the first thing you can do about this is: DON’T DO IT TO OTHERS. I know you’re frustrated, Samantha, and I’m also pretty sure you’ve blown off a guy at some point in your single career. Y’all will reap as you sow, so sow good stuff, not so-so stuff. The Buddhists say that all of your karma eventually evens out, so if you do something mean, it’ll hit you backside the head someday when you least expect it.
Second, set up a rule that you will give someone X chances to respond to your communication. I mean, maybe his ship really did get stuck in an ice floe in Tierra del Fuego — you just don’t know. Once, a girl wasn’t answering her cell phone because it really fell into a bucket of water. I assumed she had good intentions and still wanted to see me, so I kept trying to reach her until I got through and the date was saved.
So assume good intentions, give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and make 2 or 3 cheery attempts at communication, give it a deadline and see if they turn around.
The uncertainty is what gnaws at people’s minds — did he stop liking me? Did her grandma die? Did she get back together with her ex? So put in a clause like this:
“Hey, if you’re no longer interested in hanging out, no problem. And if you still do want to hang out, I’d love to hear back from you. Either way, I’d really appreciate the courtesy of a response by XYZ date so I can tie up the loose ends.”
So I would say if you like the person who went poof and are willing to put in some effort towards seeing the bloke or bird again, follow this model:
- Have a set number of attempts you’re willing to make to wake this person up from sher* stupor. Two is the minimum; max is 3.
- Be upbeat and lighthearted in your attempts. Vindictiveness, judgment or neediness are not attractive.
- Be clear about what you want. If you want a response, ask for it.
- Stick a deadline in there. That way, it’s not something you have to fret about forever. When the deadline passes, you’re free to move on.
With this policy, you give yourself peace of mind if the person’s truly gone, while giving both of you another chance to get together, get married, have 2.3 kids and a mortgage and traipse into the sunset laden with crippling debt happily ever after.
*What, you thought I meant sheer here? Nope. That is totally not a typo. That is sher, my contribution to the English language, which stands in for his, her, or him. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to continue using the ultra-clunky him/her kludge (“I gave it to him/her“), or the abominable them or their for singular (“If you love someone, set them free” — whatever, Sting), which just makes the terrorists win every time you use it and also makes you sound like a goober.