How to Tell if He’s Just Fishing

how to tell if he's not interestedIt seemed so promising.

You were thrilled when this guy you met online asked for your mobile number. Although you’re careful about giving out your number (after some bad experiences with unwanted pictures), this guy seemed genuine. His texts were funny, interesting, and kept you thinking about him.

After a few weeks, though, fascination was turning to irritation. The constant texting was getting old. Why wasn’t he asking you out?

Maybe because he’s just fishing.

As a means of communication, texting was made for men. They can get to the point without wasting time on small talk. They don’t have to reply unless they feel like it. They can communicate with lots of people with very little time investment.

Even better, text messages serve as bait. No need to meet in person when he can send the same witty one-liner to every girl in his phonebook.

He can wait to see who bites before sending a follow-up. Texts are an efficient, effective way to connect without risking rejection.

Which is why you should be wary of the guy who’d rather text you than see you:

He may be more interested in the pursuit than dealing with a flesh-and-blood female.

Technology has been a blessing and a curse to dating. You’re no longer limited to bumping into someone at the grocery store or wasting an evening at the local dive. You can theoretically meet men across the world and strike up a relationship solely through the use of technology.

But it comes at a cost.

Technology is addictive in a way that hanging out with someone isn’t. Internet use triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the same chemical behind more well-known addictions like alcohol or drug addiction. Dopamine spurs “seeking behavior.” Addicts are convinced that everything they could ever want is online, if they just browse long enough.

Meet in person, however, and a different neurochemical profile dominates.

As you fall for each other over a candlelit meal, you enjoy the happy feelings brought on by dopamine in conjunction with oxytocin and serotonin. As you hold hands or hug goodbye, a burst of oxytocin gives you a feeling of connection and contentment. A bond exists between you now. You’re more than just a name on his phone.

So, what about that man who keeps texting you or messaging you, without asking to meet?

He’s not feeling closer or more connected to you with every text exchange. Rather, he’s craving a dopamine hit.

Dopamine is behind the wild popularity of apps like Tinder that encourage seeking behavior. It’s more rewarding to keep looking. Unpredictable results, scant information, and automatic notifications fuel the addiction.

You’ve got better things to do than dangle on the end of his line. So, here’s my advice:

Learn to spot the guy who genuinely wants to meet someone.  You can do so by paying attention to how soon he asks to meet in person.

If he is genuinely interested in you, he’ll want to meet you as soon as he thinks you’ll say yes. He doesn’t want you to get snapped up by some other guy before he’s had a chance to win you over.

On average, people who meet online will arrange a date between 17 and 23 days after they first made contact. [1] Usually, between 3 and 5 messages are exchanged before arranging a meeting.

Pay attention to the content of those messages. If the messages he sends you are generic ones like “How was your day?” or “Hope you’re having a great one,” then he’s probably just fishing. Some men send out large numbers of generic messages to every woman they can in hopes of getting a bite.

Look for personal details, things he could have only learned by reading your profile in depth. Comments about your personal appearance may feel flattering but could indicate that he’s done nothing more than look at your picture.

Some women decide not to give out their mobile number or social media details until they’ve met up in person. That way, they don’t have to worry about getting bombarded by unwanted messages, and they can discretely drop off his radar if they find they’re not interested.

how to tell if he's not interested

All it takes is a quick 15-minute coffee date to know if there’s potential. But you have to be face to face to form that all-important first impression.

As great as technology is, it’s worth knowing that 1 in 3 online daters have never actually progressed to meeting anyone in person. For some, seeking is more rewarding than finding.


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5 thoughts on “How to Tell if He’s Just Fishing

  1. Pingback: Can This Predict Your Perfect Match? | Your Brilliance

  2. Cate G said:

    I didn’t get into texting but I did a lot of emailing when I was dating on-line a few years ago. Happily, I met my husband after 6 months of endless emails and coffees with the world’s most boring men–and those were the ones willing to meet! I think many of them are simply voyeurs, who only want to look at pictures of women. You are so right, 15 minutes with someone and you can tell if they are someone you’re going to even like. I still get emails of my “matches” and I always check them out to see who is still “out there”…you guessed it –ALL THE SAME GUYS! So my advice is the same-if they don’t want to meet after 3 emails or texts, tell them to hit the bricks. Also, be very wary of men who only see you for lunch or week nights…they’re either married or in the case I encountered, involved with one or more other women.

  3. April said:

    You hit the nail on the head there, James. I have texted until my fingers are raw with these so called men out there, and I have to say it, but I met up with one, and got raped. Another one, everything was going so great, but he just lost interest in me due to where I live. We live like 50 miles apart. Another guy I talk to has become a good friend, but we do not have romantic feelings for each other. I was with a guy for 10 years, and he left me when I got cancer. So, When I got better, he wanted to come back, and I said no! If you cannot rely on someone when you are really sick like that, then why would you want him around for the good parts?

  4. Melissa said:

    Hello James,
    After reading this article i felt like the lightbulb went on in my head, for months i had no idea what was going on with the relationship i was involved in. The confusion and hurt was staggering,because it just didnt make any sense. Ive purchased a number of your programs now and really wish i had known about them prior to now.
    The whole time the answers were right in front of me,i just didnt know it.
    I want to thank you for your publishings because you provide very solid insight, as well as help a woman to understand in depth what a man thinks and displays in his actions.
    Thank you again,

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Melissa. I really appreciate your kind comment. It made my day! But I’m even more pleased to hear the ways you have applied these insights in your life for better understanding.


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