What to Text if She Won’t Meet in Person

Girl who hasn't texted back

Here’s how to get her to meet you if she’s always “busy”…and how to know when to move on.

It’s been several texts, several phone calls, or even several dates.  You’re trying to lock in a date and can’t get her to commit.  She says she’s busy.  Or sick.  Or doesn’t respond with when she’s available.

You feel stuck.  You don’t want to lose her.  And you don’t want the time you’ve invested to be wasted.  What do you do?

This week I had two different coaching calls with two different men, on two different dating apps, on two different continents.  Yet the advice I gave them was the same:

Tell her she needs to shit or get off the pot.

If you want more detail on my clients’ situations, read on.  If not, scroll down for what you can do if you find yourself in a situation like these:

Case Study: Gavin

Gavin had spent several months talking to a woman on Bumble who lived an hour and a half away.  They’d set two dates to meet but she cancelled, first due to illness and then overwhelm at work.  Their texts and phone calls dwindled due to her lack of engagement and the more time that passed without meeting.

Yet, when Gavin stopped being the one to reach out (as an act of self-preservation), she began to text him first again, asking, “how are you?” and “how’s your week?”  When he’d respond, their previous pattern would repeat: him asking all the questions, them talking about her, and her not reciprocating his interest unless he stopped replying.

Gavin didn’t want to the two months he’d spent getting to know her to have been for nothing…and she was beautiful…and maybe she really was sick that one time…and busy at work, after all…

He had stayed on the hook because he wasn’t sure how to — politely but firmly — get off of it.

Case Study: Sam

Sam had met a woman from Match.com in person twice.  They’d had two long, chatty, dinner dates.  Yet, the impetus was always on Sam to carry the conversation over text and bring up going on the dates. (Part of my coaching process is to review message exchanges; Sam was open to my reading his text chain, and I vouch for his ability to lead an engaging and respectful conversation.)

Sometimes when Sam asked her out, she’d say she wasn’t sure about her schedule – or she would ignore his invitation completely.  She said she wasn’t comfortable sharing her phone number yet, so Sam stayed stuck on Match, waiting for her short replies to his longer, more thoughtful and curious messages.

Like Gavin, Sam stayed in limbo because she wasn’t responding to his attempts to move them forward.

If you’re frustrated reading these stories, join the club. 

It’s complete and utter bullshit that these smart, sweet, kind, and curious men – who, by the way, are also good-looking, successful, and emotionally intelligent! – get stuck carrying all the weight in their interactions with these women who seem to be along for the ride to enjoy the attention and have someone nice to talk to when they feel like it.  Fuck that.

OK, #NotAllWomen, right?  True.  It’s some men, too, I can tell you. 🤦‍♀️

This is a pattern of privilege we’ve all noticed poisoning online dating. 

It’s about ego, entitlement, and the decline of basic social skills.

But complaining about it isn’t useful.

What is useful is taking action. Here’s what I advised both coaching clients to do:

1) Stop carrying the entire conversation

If you are the only one asking questions or otherwise keeping a conversation going after three, five, or fifteen exchanges, stop.  Reply to her last test with a statement, but not a question.  Or don’t reply at all if she didn’t ask you a question.  See what happens.

Maybe she’ll notice you’ve been doing all the work and she’ll take her turn asking a question and genuine curiosity. If not, give her the benefit of the doubt again once, maybe twice.

But if she can’t match your interest and communication skills, she is not the girl for you.  Find someone who can hold a conversation ­– and who proves with her actions that she’s open to possibly being the girl for you!

2) Stop getting strung along

Yes, maybe she is sick.  Maybe she is busy at work.  Maybe she is getting ready to go on vacation.  OK, that’s life!  But if restrictions on her time, energy, and other resources render her unable to date at the moment, then she shouldn’t be dating. 

Don’t permit yourself wait longer than two weeks for someone who is continually unable to meet, but might be able to next week. If you’re not sure how long to wait, count from the last text you sent inviting her out, or from the text you’ll send in step 4 (proceeding on to step 5 if needed).

3) Stop making excuses for bad behavior

We all have baggage.  We all get busy. We all make mistakes sometimes.  But when someone is consistently talking about herself only, not asking you questions, not showing interest in the specifics of your life (i.e. “how’s your day going?” doesn’t count), not matching the length or level of engagement in your text exchanges, not getting back to you in a timely or consistent manner, not deepening your connection the longer you get to know each other, and most of all, not agreeing to meet…stop.

This is not the behavior of someone who is interested in building a relationship with you built on mutual respect. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

4) Send a text that says, kindly but effectively: “Shit or get off the pot.” 

The key is to say this with a direct question.  If it’s the first time you’re asking to meet (or even the second or third), keep it simple and clear.

Here’s how to ask her out (and here are some more tips):

Hey, would you like to get a drink this week?

Btw, when are you free next week?  I’d love to get a drink, coffee, or do something else.  Let me know what you’d be comfortable with!

How about meeting this week at that sushi place we both talked about?  Let me know what nights you are free! 

Hey, would love to meet in person!  That’s what we’re all here on the apps for, right? To get off them haha.  When are you free?

If you’ve been trying to plan a meeting for a while, it’s time to be more explicit about what the consequences will be if she puts you off again.

Here’s what to text:

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, and I’d love to meet up [again].  If you’re too busy at the moment, I get it. Life is busy! But let me know, is that the case?  If so, feel free to circle back when you have more bandwidth and are able to get together. If not, let me know when you’re free this week!

Would you like to get a drink next week?  It’s been really nice getting to know you, and I think we’ll have a great time in person.  If you’re not ready yet, I understand.  But I am here to meet someone who wants to build a connection offline, so I’d like to invest my time that way if meeting isn’t a next step you’re ready to take at this point. 

I’ve enjoyed our conversation here and I’ve love to continue it in person.  Let me know if that’s what you’d like too and when you’re free to meet this/next week.  If not, I understand and wish you all the best! 

Find a version of this that you feel comfortable sending. Remember, when you text with kindness and respect, you’re not being rude by asking to meet someone you’ve matched with and have been texting with.  That’s the purpose of online dating.  Dating = meeting!  

5) Don’t accept excuses 

OK, let’s say she says she can’t meet this week, but what about in two weeks?  Fine.  Lock down an actual date, time, and place, and then stay in touch.  Watch the conversation for mutual effort and progression – or backslide.  If she pulls back, reduce your effort to match hers.

If she cancels the date when you get closer, do not reschedule.  Wish her well:

It seems like you’re in a place where you’re not able to date.  I understand, but it’s time for me to move on.  I wish you all the best!

6) Don’t reengage. DO open yourself to new possibilities.

Set yourself free to meet someone wonderful, who’s excited to talk to you, learn about you, meet you, and continue seeing you.  She is out there.  It’s a frustrating numbers game at times, but you only need one to win it.  You will find her.

One way to change the current dating culture is to not perpetuate it. 

By taking these actions, you’ll be making the world of online dating a better place for you, me, and the person you want to meet one day. You are making a difference. Thank you!

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