Why Men Prefer to Keep It Simple

Here’s the scenario.

A man and woman meet at a party. They become Facebook friends, occasionally trading wall posts or messages. After a few months the woman suggests to the man that they meet for a drink. She suggested a time and a fcew possible meeting places. He countered with a different time and location. She replied and agreed to the location, and asked to keep things at the time she suggested due to a previous engagement. He never replied. She went ahead and went to the location they originally decided upon at the time she suggested. He never showed. She contacted him, asking if she had gotten the nights mixed up. No response.  She followed up once more a week later and asked if he wanted to try again. He replied and told her he wasn’t interested in meeting up, and thanked her in advance for understanding. The woman was confused, wondering how someone could go from one point to the other like that and then stand her up. Her friend told her that she didn’t buy that he never wanted to meet her in the first place, as he suggested a time and a place. The friend also felt his response was condescending and dismissive.


Okay. Let’s break this one down point by point.

1. This man did not stand her up – As we were discussing recently in an earlier post this week, unless the two of you verbalize an understanding or agreed upon time and location, consider the date tentative at best. He never replied to her request to keep it at the original time she suggested because he never was all that interested in meeting up. When a man doesn’t reply, that’s your answer.

2. His response, while abrupt and with a sting, was honest - We can say we want honesty. We can even demand it.  But we can’t control the delivery. Nor can we can control how we feel once we get it.  Personally, I much prefer a direct approach than something flowery. I once had a man use a Winston Churchill quote with me as he delivered his truth. “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like to be taught.” As pretentious and douchey as that is, it was an appropriate quote.  We want to hear the reason why someone doesn’t want us. At least we say we do. And then we hear it and it bites. Ultimately, though, it unburdens us.

3. We’re right when we say that it makes no sense that someone go from point A to Point B so quickly and unceremoniously – They don’t. That’s because they were always at Point B. Someone can agree to meet up with absolutely no genuine interest in you. Maybe they’re bored or have time to kill. Or maybe they plan on canceling last minute. Just because someone accepts an invitation doesn’t mean they feel or sense what we feel or sense.When you find yourself wondering why or how someone could go from hot to cold, it’s because they were probably already cold. Why did they do this or say that? Who knows. What matters is the final outcome. There’s your answer.

4.When someone is rejecting you, you are being dismissed - If it feels dismissive, that’s because it is. There isn’t really any easy way to say it. Where men are concerned, at least, there is no softening up the inevitable blow to the gut. That’s why they deliver such news rather bluntly. They are talking to you they way people talk to them and they way they talk to other men. It’s quicker. More merciful. Which, frankly, I prefer.

5. Keep it simple, stupid - That’s the motto most men adhere to. The main reason why men keep it brief is this: they know some women have a tendency to over analyze and read things in to their words. By keeping it succinct and to the point, there’s less of a chance of that.   So while it feels like they are being abrupt, they’re really just trying to be precise so as to avoid confusion. Guys, if you want something to be over with little extended conversation, keep it short and sweet and to the point. You are not doing us favors by writing prose or manifestos. In fact, you’re completely contradicting yourself when you do so. The other problem with writing too much is that you can end up overwhelming her with details and information that leave her completely confused, which will only lead to more questions from her. There’s a point where the brain just shuts down and can no longer process all the things being thrown its way.


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9 Responses to “Why Men Prefer to Keep It Simple”

  1. Dimplz Says:

    She asked him out, so she faces just as much chance for rejection as if the situation were reversed. I’m not sure why she thought his silence meant he finally relented and agreed to her time. Flexibility is the key to a successful relationship, after trust. If neither one of them can budge or find middle ground, it’s not a good match.

    • Susan Says:

      I agree that flexibility is important, but in this case I wouldn’t say that neither was willing to budge. It seems to me that maybe he just didn’t want her setting the agenda, because if he really wanted to meet her but the timing was bad, he would have replied and said so to give them a chance to work it out. Something similar happened to me recently with a guy who asked me out on a Saturday morning via email, asking me to suggest a time I would be free that week. I replied a few hours later and suggested Thursday at 7. On Wednesday afternoon he finally replied with a yes, we could go out on Thursday but it was supposed to rain. He called later that evening and said he was annoyed that I had given him just one option, because the forecast predicted bad weather. I replied that it would have been so much simpler to get back to me with a different suggestion rather than stewing about it all week.

      • Susan Says:

        To DrivingMeNuts, yes I told him I had gone ahead and made other plans for Thursday because he never replied to confirm the date. Is that “bizarre”? The guy in this scenario never confirmed the date, so the woman should have assumed he wasn’t going to show up.

  2. Joey Giraud Says:

    I agree.

  3. Paula Says:

    I’m wondering if the guy didn’t realize it was a date when she first asked about getting together for drinks, and then it was only with the back and forth about times that it dawned on him. Since women are less likely to ask men out (not saying they shouldn’t, just that it’s less common), her intentions (to have a one-on-one date kind-of-thing) might not have initially dawned on him.

    If a Facebook friend with whom I had a friendly casual interaction (but in whom I wasn’t interested romantically) suggested meeting up for drinks, I’d probably say sure, because I’d do it whether or not it was a date. But if I then got the impression that they were taking it really seriously as a date, I might do what the OP’s guy did, or might just say something at the end of the date…but it’s definitely ambiguous and potentially awkward. I had a situation a couple of years ago where a guy kept asking me out on what I thought were dates, and what I thought was getting to know him and building towards something romantically, to him was just friends hanging out.

    I also don’t understand why she thought he would show up when they never reached an agreement on times. He proposed an alternative time, and then when she insisted on keeping it at the original time (without hearing whether he could do it, which we could presume he couldn’t, since he proposed a different one), she shows up anyway? And then contacts him like he did something wrong? This is the opposite of the situation from the other day: there was no confirmation, no agreement on date, time, and place. That’s weird and inconsiderate enough that it gave him an out when she wanted to do it again.

  4. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “Keep it simple, stupid – That’s the motto most men adhere to. The main reason why men keep it brief is this: they know some women have a tendency to over analyze and read things in to their words. By keeping it succinct and to the point, there’s less of a chance of that. So while it feels like they are being abrupt, they’re really just trying to be precise so as to avoid confusion. Guys, if you want something to be over with little extended conversation, keep it short and sweet and to the point. You are not doing us favors by writing prose or manifestos.”

    Being “abrupt” can be just as socially inappropriate as writing a “manifesto.” It depends on the situation. And, of course, different people have different ways they’d like to be approached. It sounds like you prefer a direct approach. Doesn’t mean everyone does. I certainly don’t. Which is why I don’t think this is a “men like this, women like that” issue. Your experience with men has more to do with the men you choose to date more than men in general. Some men LIKE that women “overanalyze,” and use mystery as a social strategy. Give them a puzzle to solve and keep their attention. In fact, I’d say it’s a more effective strategy for dating and dealing with women than “direct and honest” but I guess that’s just my experience. What’s that? Yes, I’m immature, I get it.

    As for this issue regarding setting up dates and confirming, it seems to me to be a tempest in a teapot. Do people really have this much trouble communicating and setting up first dates? Maybe because I’ve never been “stood up,” I guess I don’t understand why people view this as the most painful experience of their lives. I’ve had the experience, as in the other post, where I contact a woman a few hours before the date and she says she made other plans because “I never confirmed.” Yes, I think she’s dumb and “bizarre”, but who cares? I move on. And, god forbid, there was a miscommunication and I showed up to the bar and drank by myself for a bit and she never showed up? Annoying, yes, and maybe rude. But, is it that big a deal? Would I change anything generally as a result of the experience? I don’t think so.

  5. just_me Says:

    OK, not to over-analyze this, but if they were FB friends for a few months and she was the first one to “make a move” (by asking him out for a drink) then he probably was not really interested, and probably initially said yes (thinking “why not, what the heck?”) and then later changed his mind (for whatever reason). I agree, the OP was not blown off as they never both confirmed the final time and place.

  6. Karen Says:

    He agreed but countered with a different time. She told him to keep the original time. Really? She didnt even try to negotiate it with him. I would say she came off abrupt and he never responded to that. He lost interest then and there. She really came off psycho when she sent him a message asking him why he didnt show up. Nothing was ever really planned.

  7. Stacey Says:

    I wouldn’t say she came off as psycho, just desperate. I think the fact that after meeting her at the party, all they become are facebook “friends” , and he is currently not involved with anyone else, is a sign that he’s not interested romantically. She took a risk by asking him out. It is not clear from the scenario whether he countered with a different time and location that might have been less” datey” and more “friend-ish”, like day time group activity as opposed to night time drinks. When she contacted him if he got the nights mixed up, and he didn’t even respond, that was a clear indicator that he was not interested at all. If this woman still couldn’t get the hint at this point, it’s actually kind of sad.

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