How To Deal With The Push Pull Guy

I  went on a date recently with a guy I met on Match.  He sent me a message asking me if I had ever been to a specific bakery because I said I love donuts in my profile, and he said this bakery made the best in the city.  We exchanged some playful emails and finally agreed to meet at the bakery on the next Saturday afternoon with his promise of buying me donuts.  I was excited by the prospect of meeting him and felt there was some potential.

I did my reconnaissance before our date and found out that he is very accomplished in his profession (journalism/academia) and had just recently come back from an extended trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s been published a ton of times in all kinds of  different publications and is something of an expert in his specific field.  Honestly, it really impressed me but also intimidated me a bit.  I don’t have a serious career, but I do have a job and I recently went back to school to finish my BS (I’m 30 by the way.) I consider myself to be generally smart and I’m still working on my formal education, but I’m a bit behind a lot of my peers in the education and career departments.

As I was driving to meet him for our date he called me.  He had gotten to the bakery before me and it was closed (which is weird because their published hours said it would be open, but whatever) and he just wanted to let me know.  I told him I would still meet him there and we could decide what to do from there.  When I got there he was searching for other bakeries, but I suggested we just get a drink at a great bar I knew a couple blocks away.  One of the very first things he said to me once we were at the bar was, “wow, your pictures are great, but you are much more attractive in person.  That’s a surprise, but I’ll take it.”  I’ve heard that several times from different guys, so I know he wasn’t just flattering me.  It was funny though, because he wasn’t unattractive, but his picture was probably the best he ever looked and was slightly deceptive.  I’m used to that though, and it wasn’t a gross misrepresentation.

We had a really nice conversation over drinks.  Nothing too personal, just basic getting to know you first date stuff, but he made a couple more flattering references to my looks.  Nothing creepy or overtly sexual, but it was more than I am used to.  Things were going well and we decided to have another drink (it was about 5:00) when he took a phone call.  I overheard his conversation ( I was sitting right next to him) and he was clearly confirming dinner plans with someone for later that night.  I was totally put off by it and just about to make my exit when he explained it was a group of friends he was meeting up with, and he asked me if I would like to go, and adding that he really wanted me to come along.  I don’t like going to dinner on a first date, but with a group of his friends? That really made me uncomfortable.  I also wasn’t dressed appropriately for the place they were going,I was wearing jeans and a tank top, and it is more of a dress and heels place.  He tried to persuade me by telling me about his friends, but it just intimidated me more because they were all like him, highly educated career people, some of whom I even knew of by name.  I begged off and told him it was just too much for a first date and I wasn’t dressed right and it was too far to go back to my apartment to change. He was obviously disappointed but also seemed to understand.  He walked me back to my car, we hugged goodbye and he told me he hoped we could see each other again soon.  I felt a bit torn over the date, but would have liked to have seen him again.

The next day, I got an email from him and it was a very polite and eloquent rejection letter.  He once again told me he thought I was “beautiful” but he just didn’t think we were a good match.  He also offered to help me with a problem I was having at my University and offered to make some calls to some people he knew there and said he’d like to keep in touch.  I was suddenly really disappointed when he rejected me and felt two inches high.  Was it because I didn’t go out with him and his friends? Was I not smart and accomplished enough? What?  I didn’t press it though and just sent him an email thanking him for the drinks and said it was nice to meet you.

But now, I keep getting friend requests from him from every thing possible, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  And I’ve gotten a couple emails from him asking me how I’m doing and how the university situation shaped up. I’ve just ignored them so far,but why does he want to keep in touch with me but not want to go on a second date with me?  Should I block him, ignore him or ask him or what?


The simple fact that he answered a call during the date and made sure you could hear his plans for later that night solidifies that the guy is a self-important asshat. He WANTED you to think it was a date. That was the point. He’s the Push Pull Guy. He likes keeping women unsteady and unsure. How fun. That’s why he went from inviting you out for dinner with his friends to giving you the boot the next day.

I also wouldn’t put too much stock in those credits or his resume. I’m sure he is somewhat accomplished. But anybody can be anyone these days, especially on the internet. I once dated a guy who claimed to be “in the entertainment industry.” His bio on his company’s website was vague and he had an obscure title. His IMDB page listed him as being some kind of producer on a fairly popular film at the time. He’d tweet about being at a big awards show with a famous actor and spending the day at The Soho House Rooftop pool and going to a spa. Come to find out, he was actually someone’s assistant. The vanity film credits were simply negotiated in a deal. His involvement in the film consisted of schlepping an actor’s bags around the set. The Soho House visit was because hiss Boss let him use her membership.I’m sure he did some other more upper level stuff here and there and dealt with clients. But his actual job was  basically Executive Fluffer. He just negotiated a more impressive title.

It was pretty much all a lie. He, like this guy, was a Push Puller. Guys like this intentionally keep their partners in this suspended state of insecurity. They also tend to gravitate towards women who are, not to be rude, unaccomplished. That way they are less likely to be caught up in their fabricated image and will seem more impressive.

Again, like you, my Push Puller would, shall we say, keep up to speed with what  I was doing via Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t surprise me to hear that this guy still contacts you. This is what they do. And judging by this letter, he’s accomplishing his goal of getting you to wonder what the hell he wanted and why was he bothering to stay in touch or stay up to date with you.

Ignore him.  He wants you to be all twisted up. Don’t feed the beast.



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7 Responses to “How To Deal With The Push Pull Guy”

  1. Leah Says:

    I really don’t know why he broke it off so suddenly. But as I was reading, given all the compliments about your looks, I wonder if the main reason he was so insistent about going out to dinner was to show you off to his friends, which is all about his ego rather than a desire to spend more time with you.

  2. Laura Says:

    I can’t speak to what guys want, but I could see it being a huge turnoff that one of the main reasons you cited for not going to dinner with him was your outfit. (I know you felt uncomfortable about dinner on its own, but what you communicated with him was that you wanted to go home and change). Saying you were dressed inappropriately just comes across as high maintenance, in my opinion (though I completely get where you’re coming from).

  3. offensivedan Says:

    This guy seems to be in love with himself and probably likes to namedrop. He just wanted to add you to his harem and, possibly, screw with your head. Also, hunting you down on all those social sites and sending friend requests is a bit extreme. i can understand one but not all the rest after he dissed you. He is just looking a for another dame to install in his circl of admirers. Also, he wanted to intro you to his friends to see what they thought of you. Strictly for entertainment and for self-adoration. “Hey look at me and look at what i brought, aren’t i cool” type of vibe.

    In short, dude;s a major narcissist.

    • LaRubia Says:

      Nailed it – the last guy I’d dated was like that – wanted to introduce me to most of his friends ASAP; 4th date took me to a couple’s house for dinner who he’s besties with the hubby, and we were the third couple there; he barely told me ANY info about the couple/homeowners, etc. – strike ONE! Give me SOMETHING to help me navigate, please! At least he’d told me it was the wife’s Bday a few days earlier, so I made him stop off before we got there and I bought her some flowers – that’s JUST whatcha do, yanno? ESPECIALLY when wifey is a VERY stylish interior designer from ITALY! Talk about singing for my supper – EXHAUSTING. But I passed THAT test; a few weeks later, we went to a concert/show, which he’d invited his closest buds/dudes to – I passed THAT test, too – and then a week later, we had our first disagreement – he’d done something VERY inconsiderate and I called him on it, and wanted an apology – instead, he IGNORED me for a day and then broke up with me the next night. *sigh* Guess I was meant to be seen and not heard . . . Ugh. And he, like the OP’s date, is also “accomplished” in his field . . . *sigh* And now I know why he’s divorced . . .

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        Well, no. Your story really isn’t anything like the OP’s. Your guy was actually trying to incorporate you in to his life by introducing you to his friends. It doesn’t sound like he was testing you. It sounds like you got freaked because the guy as actually available and showing interest.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      I actually don’t think he had any intention of taking her with him. I think he knew she’d say no. The point was to make her think he was more interested than he actually was.

  4. FeminineWoman Says:

    Hi.i think you misunderstood his intentions. given his background, i think he’s highly interested and is the type to look for a serious relationship. he wanted to do the things a normal couple would do right away instead of going through the games of dating. His intention of telling you that youre not a match could be a reaction to you, freaking out. he probably sensed you were turned off by his move and tried to keep his cool and control of not appearing too interested. some guys are just awkward and are not used to the games thats why they are often misunderstood. if it went too well,thats when id freak out because id assume that hes a date expert and is shuffling women behind my back.

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